Disclaimers: See Part 1
Additional Note:(Please Read): This tale is tied in with, The Conqueror & Ri: A Twist of Destiny. If you haven't read both stories' chapters preceding this one, you should do so now.
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Xena and Gabrielle,
A Turn of Fate,
Chapter 17: Mental Wall
'Why is she reading my fucking scrolls!' Gabrielle groused, reposed on her cot during the predawn morning, whilst clad in her scarlet attire.
The Amazon was restless after listening to Tanya beg her to interpose between she and Xena. The bard didn't care how the auburn-haired teen felt when she declared that her help wouldn't be forthcoming. Gabrielle's concerns were directed at the ex-lover who broke her heart and had such nerve to read the blonde's inner most thoughts.
'I should have taken them with me. I'm so dumb for leaving them there in Argo's stall. Xena's probably having bemused laugher from the words I've written. A nice big laugh at the silly woman who loved her.'
Gabrielle became truly abraded by what she assumed Xena was doing with her scrolls. She didn't have access to solely the ones detailing their adventures, but her private parchments as well.
'Maybe she misses me?' Gabrielle almost chuckled at the absurd cognition.
Xena made it known perfectly that she still loved and wanted Akemi, leaving no doubts there. Nonetheless, Gabrielle couldn't lie to herself. Although, majority of times, she'd pushed the Warrior Princess out of her mind, the truth was, she remained desirous of her and if Xena asked to come back, the petite female would welcome the blue-eyed beauty without hesitation, repudiating her renouncement.
'But where would that get me?' Gabrielle queried herself. 'A postponed heartbreak... Again!'
She knew within her spirit that it was Xena's nature. The tall warrior didn't know or chose not to learn how to love and be faithful to a single person. Would Akemi suffer the same fate as Gabrielle once her life became restored, or was she Xena's preferred match?
'How the hell is Akemi getting revived anyway?'
Gabrielle never bothered to inquire about that. She wondered if the Shogun had knowledge of such a feat. There was no way she would question Xena directly. The Amazon's heart nearly escaped her chest when Tanya asserted that she loitered in the stables. Seeing her gorgeous soul mate would be a disaster to the cerebral barrier that Gabrielle had strived to build to keep her out. Lately, with each passing day, ever since visiting the healed Zicalus, layers had been removed slowly, causing a lost in focus on how to fortify them. Thinking of Xena wasn't helping at all. People who brought her name up weren't aiding at all.
'I should have went back to Greece like Xena said. Staying on this warship is only making things harder for myself...but. But, what if she is feeling regretful? Is that why she's reading my scrolls?' Gabrielle cogitated, realizing she was tearing down the walls she supposed to be strengthening. 'She's a dichotomy! Changeable when the mood strikes, not unlike one of those chameleons we'd espied in Africa that changes colors!'
Gabrielle clenched her fist, reinforcing her determination.
'Even if she does miss me, I won't take her back. I've done that too many times. I can't...I cannot do it anymore. She hurts me... She'll always hurt me!' Aqua irises looked at the silver ring on her index finger, the engraved words resonated in the bard's brain. 'My Heart My Love.'
Gazing at the golden, bonding band lying on the table in her cabin that once belonged to her former fiancée, Gabrielle's memories flooded with recollection of when she threw herself at the Warrior Princess, only to achieve sexual gratification at night, before great disappointment in the morning after Xena met Ulysses.
"We can set up camp here." Xena predicates, dismounting Argo.
I dismount as well, helping her unpack our belongings. We have just departed the castle where Apex, an advisor to the king, tried to marry me off to the ruler. Problem was, other than the fact I didn't love this unknown monarch, he was dead. Being blind by sumac, Xena had risked her life and eyesight to save me from the crematory, along with the man who'd sold me to them to begin with. What was his name again? Palaemon? That's it. A handsome guy when he's not kidnapping me, even with that scar on his face.
It is the woman working in tandem with me that has my attention while we complete our campsite. She could've been blind permanently if not for Vidalus. The palm oil and Egyptian senna that Xena needed was located in Athens, but luckily he grew some in the royal gardens. Thanks be bestowed to the gods for the blessing. I would have lived the remainder of my life in regret if Xena's sight never returned.
We finish setting everything in place, and I state, "You must really love me, Xena."
She glances at me briefly, then turn away to put the furs on our shared bedrolls saying, "I do. You are very dear to me, Gabrielle."
"I mean, you must really love me."
"Are you hungry?" Xena questions, ignoring my sentence.
I shake my head, watching whilst she arises on her feet and whisper softly to Argo. Next, the Palomino gallops in the glades, compelling me to look at Xena quizzically as she un-equips her chakram and sword.
"I let Argo go grazing." She grins. "We may not have an appetite, but I'm certain she does."
"Are you sleepy?" I query.
She takes out her whetstone, and I lay on the furs beside her, listening to the familiar sound of stone scraping metal. Shutting my eyes, I ponder over everything that has happened to us, reminiscing when Xena died and she had to possess Autolycus' body to get the ambrosia to come back to the living. Making the deduction that I'd lost her forever, the days without my best friend were tough for me. That night after I had abandoned the Amazons to go with the self-proclaimed King of Thieves, Xena came to me in a dreamscape. I was consumed with sadness and relief once I saw her. Prior to the dreamy illusion's dissolution, she kissed me.
Two days later, we had to contend with Velasca becoming a goddess when Xena regained her life. Thereafter, I had to accept Xena's decision to allow the immortal Callisto, that cruel maniac who'd killed my spouse, to become a goddess, too, purely to stop them both in an elaborate plan. The Warrior Princess rescued me from falling in the lava pit with them.
My eyes open and I descry her. Those lips that brushed mine for a short period of time were so close, yet far away. I tried to give myself to her before marrying my childhood betrothed. However, Xena spurn me, stating that I was meant for another and not her. In a way she was right, because I got swept off of my feet by Perdicus, and had a wonderful night of pleasure in his intimate embrace, merely to lose him the following day. I wasn't sure if I was relieved or unsettled by my choice of not allowing him to spill his seed inside me. Though he did ejaculate, I took measures not to get pregnant.
He's gone now and I'm alongside Xena once more. Leaving her was the hardest part when I got married, and if given an opportunity to do it all over again, I am positive I wouldn't. I'm counting my lucky stars that I am able to travel with her without the burden of a child, for surely if I did get pregnant, Xena would've transported me to Potidaea to be safe during my pregnancy. She would have feasibly left me sooner or later. And there I'd remain; a widow caring for my newborn, while pining for my best friend...
A friend who loves me.
Today proved that she veraciously loves me. Xena is willing to sacrifice her wellbeing for me, signifying that I have power over her. It's plausibly lesser than what she has over me, albeit, influence all the same. She saved my life again and this time I'm showing my gratitude physically.
The resounding crescendo of the whetstone halts and I decide to make my move. Please, don't let it end in failure like the last occurrence after we defeated Bacchus.
"I'm happy you have your vision, Xena." I express, whilst she put her sharpening tool and blade away. "Thanks for saving me."
"You're welcome." She replies, removing her various pieces of armor and scabbard to lay down. "I'm glad I didn't lose it, too."
"You took a big chance coming for me, in lieu of going to Athens."
"Call it blind faith, not chance." Xena touches my face. "Gabrielle, if I hadn't, you would have been burned alive. I'll give up anything to make sure you're okay."
"Because you love me." I claim.
"Yes." Her hand withdraws. "'Cause I love you."
"You are in love with me." I grow bold.
Xena displays uncertainty. "I care a lot for you."
"I care greatly for you also." I aver.
Xena smiles and closes those blue orbs. I take initiative, gently touching her chisel features.
"You're magnificent." My fingers caress her lips. "I love you, Xena. Let me show you."
Lifting myself up slightly, I try to capture her mouth with my own just to be rebuked.
"What are you doing?" Her eyes snap open.
I dawdle halfway on top of her, eager to taste Xena's lips, withal, I'm apprehensive to do so.
"What are you doing?" Xena repeats, gripping both of my wrists.
"I want to kiss you." I admit. "The way we did when you were in Autolycus' body."
Xena stares at me, and for a sparse moment it appears like she was considering it. "Gabrielle, what happened in the dreamscape was done to simmer your pain and dolor over losing me."
I remember the look on her mien before closing my eyes in expectation of our intimacy.
"You're not being honest." I respond with a grin.
It is erased off my countenance once she pushes me off of her.
Shoving me aside, Xena explicates, "We've already went through this moons ago. I have no intentions of being with you sexually."
My pride is wounded. "You are retaining your continence with me. We both know I'm telling the truth."
"You got one more time, Gabrielle." She threatens. "If you continually insist on contumacy, I'm sleeping on the other side of our campsite farther from you."
Argh! Xena can be so stupid and hurtful without even knowing it. Laying on our contiguous bedroll, I try to restrain myself from speaking.
"It's not like I'm alleging any of this stuff falsely. We desire each other." I huff under my breath.
Quickly, Xena arose, grabbing her bedroll and making good on her threat.
Straightening the portable bed, my comment continue, "You know you want me!"
Silence rejoin my announcement, causing me to fear that I've prematurely pushed beyond our friendly boundaries. Nevertheless, I'm no longer fighting to make love to her, because it's more than that to me now. I want Xena to acknowledge our love for one another and see it extends pass friendship. I feel it, so why does she constantly deny it?
I stand on my feet, using only the moonlight to seek Xena. The weather is warm, negating any need for a fire tonight.
Coming to her prone body lying on the furs of the bedroll, I bend to my knees and cry, "I'm sorry, Xena. I... I shouldn't continuously avow my feelings, but I can't go on like this. My affections for you is so profound, it consumes me. Friendship isn't... It's not enough for me anymore. Howbeit, if sharing my emotions with you adds up to be for nothing, then you'll never hear it again."
Beginning to rise and go back to my sole bedroll, I wipe the few tears drops when a strong hand grasps my wrist.
"Gabrielle." Xena's voice sounds strained. "You forgot a person."
I'm confused by her pronouncement. "What?"
"You listed every guy who had captured your attention the last time you tried to give me your heart."
I remember that horrible night when I chose to relinquish my virginity to Xena. Instead, it would be Perdicus who'd received that sacred prize.
"When we first began travelling together, you met a warlord's son, Sphaerus." Xena professes.
Sphaerus! By the gods, I was so flirtatious with males that year and I always made sure Xena knew about every one of them. Although we had bumped into a couple of her lovers and admirers, she hadn't ever exposed them to me like I did.
Except for one of them.
"You avowed he could have been your tree, similar to that story you told me anent to Zeus and the two lovers." Xena interjects. "You'd seemed very amorous for this man you hardly knew, claiming he was possibly the companion you were putative to intertwine with to have kids, and if you never saw him again, you'd end up an old, pathetic woman... Like me?"
My silly mouth and the words that spew out sometimes. I did confess such foolish notions.
"I didn't mean-"
"Don't answer, Gabrielle." She interrupts a second time. "No reply will suffice. Throughout that whole year you've left me for some reason or another, and I've also found happiness with a family, but declined to keep it after the chariots of war. You expect me to give you my heart when I don't know how...and in turn, you wish for me to accept yours, while you are capable of leaving me whenever the fancy strikes you. That is unfair to us."
"I swear our love won't be arbitrary." I'm desperate to alleviate her worries. "I'll never leave you for anything, nor anyone ever again. I swear. I swear."
"Even if you are veridical, Gabrielle, how can I trust my love for you to stay strong and unselfish?"
I bring her hand to my mouth, planting small kisses on them.
"You can love, Xena, and you've admitted to loving people before." I reveal a long kept secretive knowledge, "I-I heard you in the throes of passion, too."
I don't have to discern Xena's wide-eyed shock.
"When you were with Marcus the last night he was alive, I... Well, I didn't hear you, but I heard him as y'all made love."
"My apologies." Xena offers, looking rueful.
"No need for amendments. At least you had somebody to cherish and love you." I purport, believing that I can fulfill all those attributes for her.
"Likewise when it comes to Perdicus and you."
The declaration amazes me and I evince, "But he wasn't you...and... Xena, do you love me?"
Her astonishment from my disclosure vanishes, and she concedes, "Yes."
"In love with me?" I query.
She breathes slowly. "Yes."
"Enough to make love to me?" I hope aloud.
Our irises espy each other's, and she assents, "Yes."
I hardly can believe my ears. Ardently I try to kiss her, but Xena's hands clutches my cheeks tenderly, impeding me from my goal.
"Gabrielle, if we do this, you have to understand that we won't be committed to one another."
"What?" Why would she ruin such a wonderful moment.
"Gabrielle, there's a million reasons why I can't be with you. Still, it takes every ounce of my will power to stay away. I want to make love to you, but to protect ourselves, especially you from limiting your experience in having a prosperous future, we can't let anyone know. It must be our secret. Secondly...monogamy isn't possible for us. If we keep that in prospective, we're free from expectations."
She have doubts concerning this spark between us, yet wants to have sex with me! That's all she needs from me, whilst keeping our relations hidden? Notwithstanding, Xena loves me... No, she's in love with me, and she wouldn't hurt me. The choice is mine. I can denounce our forthcoming erotic act, and we can travel simply as companions like we always have.
Her extremities smoothly rubs my lower jaw. "Do you consent?"
Why would I?
I'll feel used in the end, won't I?
My answer is no.
"Yes, Xena." My response is a contradictory compared to my genuine feelings. "I consent."
She smiles the biggest I've ever seen knowing her, and with haste I'm placed on my back with Xena atop me. Fingers caresses every inch of my visage, prior to descending downwards, finding my green halter's laces. Undoing the strings, Xena lowers it below my torso, in lieu of taking it off me completely. My breath hitches once my breasts are revealed to her sight. I'm unsure what to do and far more nervous than when I was with Perdicus. Xena looks ravenous as she observes my twin mounds. She has seen me naked plenty of times, but now, being under her keen observation, it coaxes a hunger in me also; an arousal I hadn't felt with my deceased husband.
We lock eyes and I whisper, "I love you, Xena."
I prepare to hear the affectionate asseveration reciprocated, but Xena's lips touches mine and I forget everything. It is better than when we were in the dreamscape. When her tongue slips into my mouth, it enliven me to higher extents. Our tongues glides together and my soul is engulfed in fire. Her hands slides from my face to my breasts, provoking me to gasp lightly while she palm them. After she breaks our kiss, I wail in disagreement.
She trails down my pulse point, sucking it in intervals of gentleness and roughness. My new lover's fingers pulls my nipples and I gain bliss from the sensation. Xena's right hand slowly goes beneath my skirt, caressing my inner thighs whilst her tongue and lips encloses around my hard nipple.
"Mmm." I groan, spreading my legs further in invitation.
This drives Xena onwards as her hand moves towards the source of my need. She sucks both my breasts with in-depth intensity that I'm assured they'll be bruised by tomorrow. One talented hand is alternating between playing with whichever nipple isn't in her mouth at the time, whereas the second is moving my loincloth to the side, rubbing the length of my sex.
Xena's mouth ceases its ministration and she affirms, "You are very wet."
Kissing my earlobe, she returns to sucking the flesh of my hardened crests once more. Finally, I put my hands to use, trying to drag both her straps down. Xena has other plans, stroking my soaked core in a quicker pace, and my appendages latches onto her shoulder and hair as I ride the erotic wave.
"I wonder what your pussy taste like." I hear her say.
I'm not entirely unfamiliar with the word she used to allude to my vagina. Many of tavern drunks had propositioned me to do sexual things to my body. They'd disgusted me using the vulgar allusion. In spite of that, Xena's employment of it has flourished my lust.
Next, Xena's fingers on her right hand dallies in my wetness, before bringing them to her mouth. I watch fascinated at the sight.
"So delicious." Xena utters.
She saturates the remnants of my nectar on my breasts, then starts to lick and bite them, meanwhile her hand once more goes to my vagi...no, my pussy. I feel one of her digits enter me leisurely. It only causes brief discomfort, howbeit nothing like my first time with Perdicus.
"Damn, you are tight, Gabrielle." Xena attests, thrusting me gently.
"Faster..." I moan, becoming untroubled by her being inside me. "Faster."
Xena gazes at me, her oral orifice cajoles mine to open with her left hand on the nape of my neck. I accede to her action whilst feeling an additional finger join the intrusion of my body. I taste myself on her and I'm a little put off by it, but don't want to stop our dueling tongues. Her thrusts picks up as our mouths sensuously come together, making me feel a sudden burst in my loins. Gods, what is she doing to me? We continue to kiss and her sedulous penetrating fingers stroke me to a release I haven't ever felt before in my whole life.
"Mmm!" I scream down her throat. "Xena!"
Her fingers plunges into me multiple times, prior to discontinuing. Though I enjoyed making love to my husband, he hadn't satisfied me like this that night.
"Are you alright?" Xena inquires, kissing my forehead, withdrawing her extremity from my drenched womanhood and twitching thighs.
"Yes." I am breathless. "That was remarkable."
"There's so much more where that came from. Tons to discover, but not tonight. I want to hold you." Xena expels my disgruntlement apropos to not touching her with a kiss. "Remember, this is our secret."
"Yes, Xena." She settles the fur over top of us, and I snuggle into her arms agreeing, "Secret lovers are we."
"Secret lovers were we." Gabrielle reiterated, banishing the remembrance.
She listened as her cabin door opened, knowing it was the familiar presence of the monk making his morning rounds.
"Are you awake, Gabrielle-San?"
"Yup." She replied, sitting up on her cot. "Morning, Kenji."
"Good morning." Kenji greeted, carrying a bag in his hand, instead of a new basin of water to replace the old one. "May I sit?"
"Mm-hmm." Gabrielle acquiesced with a smile. "Items today in place of the normal breakfast and water?"
"Actually, yes. I'll bring your food and water after I give you these." Kenji reached into the pack to take out a silk, sky blue kimono.
"For me?" Gabrielle was flushed with joy by the gift she'd received.
"Yes. This as well." Kenji pulled out a katana, setting it beside the cot. "Congratulations Gabrielle-San, you are now a Samurai."
The first newly petite, Amazonian Samurai jubilantly hugged him. "Thank you for giving me such welcoming news. God, I can't formulate proper words to show how I am feeling right now."
"I understand. Furthermore, it is the Shogun you should be showing your gratitude towards. It was his choice to make you a Samurai."
"Still, it is you who's informing me of this." Their embrace ended. "The messenger deserves thanks, too."
"The Shogun would have presented it all to you later this evening in the armory, but he's handling the recent report from Japa. An emergency meeting for the elites is taking precedence today, so the Shogun won't be able to train with you." Kenji elucidated.
"Is it bad in Japa?" Gabrielle urged.
"I'm unaware of the events there. The Shogun will address us all about it in time." Kenji supplied. "Zicalus sends his regards that he will not be joining you this evening. Himself, the Shogun, and Moku gives their felicitations also."
Koska's name not being among them, didn't bother Gabrielle in the least. "Thank them for me. If you are free, grab some breakfast for both of us and let's celebrate."
"I'll bring the saki for you." Kenji phrased, ready to exit, but stopped. "Oh, I almost forgot. Xena-Sama bestowed this upon you."
Gabrielle's geniality faded while the monk brought the yin-yang chakram to her view. "What is this, Kenji?"
"She wishes for you to have it and keep it at your side forever."
"Why?" Gabrielle took the proffered chakram from him.
"She won't need it where she's going. It would be a waste if such an extraordinary looking weapon were to be lost." Kenji responded.
"Not taking it with her when she goes to Akemi doesn't make sense to me... What is she playing at?" Gabrielle probed, ruminating, 'Maybe it has something to do with my scrolls?'
"Gabrielle-San, you know she won't be able to bring anything with her when she meets Akemi in the spirit world."
"That's how she's revitalizing Akemi." Gabrielle surmised. "By going to the spirit world."
"Huh?" Kenji became perplexed. "Akemi isn't being revived. Xena-Sama has to die in order to get there."
Gabrielle swore she heard the monk wrong. "Xena has to die?"
"She's making the ultimate sacrifice for the entirety of Japa." Kenji grinned gloomy.
"That's ridiculous. Xena can't die. She's-" The bard's rebuttal ceased.
Every pivotal profession she hadn't paid heed to that occurred after boarding the humongous ship surfaced.
'She is making a monumental sacrifice.'
'When Akemi calls me, I will go to her.'
'Xena-Sama is gonna repair everything. It's a terrible price she'll have to pay, though.'
'You're correct, Gabrielle. I should've talked to you first, instead of making an impulsive decision without your acknowledgement. I shouldn't have told you to depart the conversation between Harukata and I to begin with... But now that the truth is unveiled, you do conceive why I have to do this, don't you?'
'Xena? What are you doing? Why didn't you tell me? You were gonna just let me go?' Gabrielle mused. 'You were going to let me go!'
"Gabrielle-San, are you alright?" Kenji queried. "I didn't intend to daunt your happy mood."
"It's okay, Kenji." She lied. "I've forgotten Xena has a death sentence awaiting her in Japa. Could you leave me alone for a while? I have to meditate to calm myself."
"Take the time you need." Kenji stood on his feet. "I'll check on you later."
Kenji left the room and Gabrielle sat frozen on the cot with thoughts ravaging her. The palpability that the woman she loved was laying down her life for some unknown reason, boggled her consciousness. Most of all, Xena was willing to leave her in the dark pertaining to it, and so were the Samurai.
"Ahh!" Gabrielle growled, throwing the chakram at the interior of her cabin.
The circular disc became lodged into the wood whilst the mental wall in Gabrielle's mind shattered.
To Be Continued
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