EYE OF SIEVES
Disclaimer: Xena, Gabrielle, Ares, Varia, Autolycus and all other characters that have been previously mentioned on Xena are property of Ren. Pics. Any other characters are owned by me and are the property of my own twisted little mind. I own this story and it is copyrighted to me, thank you very much.
Content: There's a little of everything, but nothing explicit. Sorry, but that's just not my bag. If you're lookin for a good roll in the hay, its not to be found here. Read accordingly. There is violence, but not anything graphic.
I appreciate any comments. Please use constructive critism. This is my sequel to my first endeavor. Im think about extending this to a sequel, so please HELP ME OUT! Feed the bard! And no flame or hate mail please, lets be mature. Thanks firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy the Show.
Xena waited patiently by the priestess.
And waited .and waited and waited.
With every ticking second, she became more and more nervous. More and more away of her vulnerability. Where is she? Xenas eyes darted back and forth searching for any sign of the bard, but she found none.
Her already speeding heart increased to a deafening pace. Xena changed from a light perspiration to a cold sweat. She began to tremble. She trembled with fear. Fear of what was keeping Gabrielle. Fear of what could be. Fear of what might be. It was a mind numbing fear.
She became lost in herself. Lost in her own self loathing. Lost in her fear. Lost in her thoughts. She was entranced by her racing mind. Xena stared blankly at the back of the crowd, and waited. Waited so long, too long. Where is she?
The warriors deepened trance was broken by the sight of Sara walking through the parted crowd. Xena looked up for signs of hope. She was met with a disturbing vision. Sara stopped and held an inexplicable forlorn look upon her face. Xena trembled.
Sara simply looked at her and shook her head. Xenas eyes popped wide open. What is that? What does she mean? No no what? IS she coming? The warrior was filled with questions. Questions she wasnt sure if she wanted to know the answers to.
Sara sensed her confusion and could do little to ease the womans pain. She didnt know what to say because she didnt know what Gabrielle was going to do. She just knew that the bard wanted to be alone. I have to do something. I cant let her just stand out here, for nothing. The long walk ahead was intimidating, but Sara tried to maintain an inconspicuous repertoire. She slowly strode up to Xena.
Xena was now beside herself in worry. She was left less then hopeful by Saras gesture. And now, if shes coming all this way up here ..oh no! An ominous impeding sense of doom thickly coating the air. Xena closed her eyes and inhaled its musky scent.
Still several feet away, Sara saw Xenas closed lids and depressed expression. She looks so sad, like a lost child. Sara knew she could lie. Go up to the warrior and whisper in her ear Shes coming. Shes just late, you know how girls are. Everything has to be perfect. Something cheery and to that effect. But she couldnt, she couldnt lie about this. All that remained was the truth.
Sara tip toed over to the silent warrior and placed a hand on Xenas shoulder. She leaned over to whisper into Xenas ear. But, Xena stopped her.
The entire situation was flying out of Xenas control. She wanted it back. She didnt want to have to have her heart broken by Saras words. It was already written all over her face.
"Shes not coming is she?" Xena said in a high tone, ending it as if it were a question rather then a statement.
"I dont know." Hopeful blue eyes shot up. Sara immediately corrected herself. "I dont think so."
A single tear slipped from Xenas eye down her cheek. Gabrielles not coming. The realization hit her harder then a punch in the gut. Shed lost control. She hated that feeling. Control was her base, her balance, without it she was thrown into this sort of chaos.
This is what I get. There you go warrior, you finally get what you deserve. Xena had put herself in a position to be vulnerable. There were no defenses against battles of the heart.
Sara saw Xena retreating deep within her thoughts. She had to stop her before it was too late. There might still be a chance.
"Go to her." Sara voiced with desolate urgency.
"Whats the point?" Xena asked, lost. She had given up the war before even setting foot on the battlefield. It hurt too much to fight.
"Go to her. Talk to her." Sara looked her squarely in the eye. "You might not have a second chance."
A second chance. Gabrielle had given her that and she had promised herself she wouldnt blow it. Her mind perked up again. The Warrior Princess determination began to shine. Xena nodded at Sara and stormed through the crowd towards Gabrielles tent.
It took only several seconds to pass through the entire Amazon nation that had gathered for the wedding, but to Xena it felt like an eternity. It didnt matter. She was a woman on a mission.
The only thing on her mind was Gabrielle. We were supposed to be married today. We will be married today. Xena neared the collection of huts, easily spotting Gabrielles. She was the queen; of course she had the biggest one. Gabrielle had waved it off and royal frivolity and begged for something "normal", but the Amazon guards simply shook their heads and put it up anyway.
Xena reached the entrance and was just about to enter when a sound from behind stopped her.
"I wouldnt go in there if I were you." A cocky, self satisfied voice spoke.
"What the hell are you doing here Varia?"
"Oh Xena Xena Xena, I was just wishing the bride good luck. I hope youre not mad. I gave her my wedding present early ..at least if there still is a wedding." She smiled despite herself.
"What are talking about?" Xenas blood began to boil.
"Lets just say I let her in on a little secret." Varia said, sharply winking at the disturbed warrior. She turned and began to walk away, but her actions were thwarted by a strong hand on her shoulder.
"I dont know what youve done, Varia. But I do know that whatever you did, youve made an enemy today. I wont forget that. I plan to divulge a tremendous amount of time making sure you dont forget that either." Xena gave a cold glaze.
Varia simply shrugged her off, but with much less arrogance. In truth, she had almost wet her leathers but was determined not to show any signs of fear. She stormed off over to the ceremony without saying a word. She had bit off a stinging reply because .well .she didnt trust her own voice at the moment. Better to leave Xena to her thoughts.
Xena watched, wary, as the woman scanted away. She chose not to dwell upon the matter right now; she had much more important things to divest time into. Xena turned to the tents entrance. Do I just barge in? If I ask her if I can come in, that gives her the ability to say now. If I just run in, shell feel threatened.
Xena chose the safe route.
"Gabrielle? Can I come in?" She asked tentatively. She waited for an answer, but was only greeted with a faint sound of a soul breaking.
"Gabrielle?" Again no answer. "Ok, Im coming in alright?" She slowly opened the tent flap and entered.
There was a heart wrenching sight. Her bard, the love of her life, lying on the floor crying her heart out. Xena was torn to the core. Her first instinct was always of comfort and compassion when it came to Gabrielle. She quickly bent down to the girls side and took Gabrielle up into her arms.
Gabrielle, for her part, had been completely oblivious to Xenas entrance. She had been so encompassed by her own sorrow; the rest of the world had just faded away. Her tears overtook her senses and she desperately tried to cry out all her pain.
She was finally alerted to the fact that she was no longer alone by two strong arms cuddling her in a strengthened embrace. Unconsciously, she snuggled in tighter to the warm body. Anything was better then the coldness she felt now. Anything.
Gabrielle reveled in the contact for as long as she could obliviously. She held tight. Xena was all too happy to keep fast her strong grip around the bard. She tried to take the pain away. And, for a few moments, she knew she had. But Xena also knew that Gabrielle truly wasnt with her right now. Xena provided a short escape from the pain. Anyone would welcome that.
As the minutes rolled by, Gabrielle fell further and further out of her sorrowful haze. She became more aware of her surroundings and aware of her very near companion. Puffy green eyes, still wet from crying, shot up and took a deep look at Xena.
The warrior down cast her eyes. She knew the moment was lost and prepared for the suffering that would follow.
Gabrielle jetted away from her assailant, skidding back almost all the way across the tent. She didnt know what to say. She wanted to yell. She wanted to scream. She wanted to ask why. She wanted to know why. But, instead, there she stood, open jawed in her distain.
Silence. Xena couldnt stand the silence. Gabrielle was a bard, words were her nature. To find the woman of words hurt so badly that she was without ones to express it that was a pain Xena could not stand. She needed to know what was going on. She needed to know what had happened.
"Gabrielle," Xena called in as complacent a manner as she could muster. "Whats wrong?"
Xenas calmness at the situation set Gabrielle aflame. How dare she come in here so coolly after what she just did to me. Green eyes began to heat in anger. Xena quickly realized her manner had been mistaken, but before she could redeem herself, Gabrielle began.
"How dare. How dare you come in here. How dare you do that to me." Gabrielle spoke with heightened fury.
Xena stood dumbfounded. She was completely in the dark. She knew her soul mate was filled with incredible amounts of anger and pain. And, Xena knew somehow she had caused that. She was spinning out of control. The unknown served as a catalyst to the sorrow within. The warrior became frantic.
"Gabrielle, I dont know what I did. I dont know whats wrong. You have to tell me. You have to tell me so everything will be ok. I have to know, so I can fix things. So we can be together " Xena spouted through an endless sea of tears. " forever." She ended in a faint whisper. But, in only heightened the true weight of the word.
Gabrielle was at odds. She was torn between her own pain and Xenas. Xena was so careful with her emotions. She kept them under the highest level of control. To see her lose it the way she just did, Gabrielle could feel her soul breaking for the warrior.
But, she couldnt forget. She couldnt ignore the gnawing ache in her belly. The tearing of her soul. She couldnt ignore that. She needed her answer.
"What did you do Xena? You lied to me."
"What? When?" Xena quickly began to search her brain for something of this magnitude that shed lied about.
"Dont play like that with me. Varia came, she told me .." Gabrielle let her words trail off for they both knew where they would end.
Xena had turned pale in fear. The one thing shed never wanted Gabrielle to know, Varia had told her. That bitch!
"Xena, how could you not tell me about you and Ares? How could you sleep with him? After all weve been through with him, after all hes done to you. Whats wrong with you? How could you do that to me?"
It was entirely too many questions with far to little answers. Gabrielle had sprung upon the warior like a lion upon its prey. Xena had no weapons to defend herself. Being a warrior, she immediately returned on the defensive.
"I didnt lie to Gabrielle, you never asked." Xena said with mounting anger.
"Oh yes I did. Remember, in the cave. I ask where you were when I was being whipped."
"And I told you. I wasnt where I needed to be. That was enough."
"No, it wasnt. You lied to me to protect yourself Xena." Gabrielle said in brutal honesty. "How could you sleep with him?"
Again Xena was taken aback by the bards cruel truths. She had done all those things. Xena felt like a cornered animal. She had to avenge herself. She had to fight back.
"What about you?"
"What about me?" Gabrielle answered back in confusion.
"You .you and youre little trampsings with Aphrodite. How could you with her? You never told me about that."
"I just " Gabrielle had been thrown off her own tangent by Xenas words. Maybe Im guilty too
"I assumed she How did you find out?"
"I read your scrolls."
"You read my scrolls?" Gabrielle repeated with a mixed tone of anger and amazement.
"Yes I read them. And they are wonderful, but it hurt too. You never told me about her, or your relationship. We never talked about it. How is that any different from what I did?"
"It is different. You never asked Xena. I never lied to you about it."
"And if I had asked?" Xena raised her voice in expectation.
"I would have told you." Gabrielle answered a little too sure of herself.
"Really, somehow I doubt that."
"Anyway, its different Xena."
"How? Tell me how its different? You feel hurt and betrayed by my actions. I felt the same way about yours. You feel hurt about my silence on the issue. Gabrielle, I feel the same way. The only difference is that Ive learned to move on. Ive gotten over it. I still want spend forever with you." Xena pleaded urgently.
"Xena it was different. With you and Ares, it was just a quick lay. With me and Aphrodite, it was more then that. It was different."
"How? Gabrielle, how was it different?" Xena asked in fevered passion. The argument was at its height.
"I mean I didnt ..I wasnt in love with her. But, but I felt something deeper. Something deeper with it, something deeper for her." Gabrielle rebuked.
"So did I." Xena spoke without thinking.
Both Xena and Gabrielle let out a shared gasp at the words. Gabrielle at the truth of the revelation; Xena at the fallacy of them. She hadnt meant what she said. She only wanted to defend herself, to justify her actions. But they had only served to create further damage.
Gabrielles mind was racing. Did she just say she felt something for Ares something deeper? What if shes in love with him? What if Im simply a second choice? The bard couldnt handle that. She couldnt handle anything less the Xenas entire heart. She didnt want simply a place there, she wanted to own it. Anything less would kill her.
"Is that true?" The bard asked earnestly. Xenas head was downcast, like a guilty child. She avoided Gabrielles gaze. The woman needed and answer, she needed to see Xenas eyes to know if it was true.
She walked closer to Xena and placed a hand under Xenas chin and lightly lifted up the warriors face. Xenas blue eyes sparkled with the remnants of tears. Gabrielle calmly and coolly spoke. "Is that true Xena?"
"No." She spoke with such honesty, it touched Gabrielles soul. "No, I didnt feel anything of him. I I just said that to try to defend actions. But, I know theres no way to do that."
Gabrielle opened her mouth to speak, but Xena quickly quieted her with a slim finger to the bards lips.
She still had more to say.
"Its you, Gabrielle. Its always been you. Its only been you. You are the only one who Ive ever felt this way for. I love you, so deeply .so much."
"I love you too Xena." She automatically responded .and it was the truth.
"Im tired of hurting. Tired of hurting you, of you hurting me, of me hurting myself. I just wanna be happy. "
"I want to be happy too." Gabrielle responded in kind, enthused.
"And I know, the only way I can be happy, is if Im with you. I need it to be forever."
"Forever." Gabrielle repeated in a whisper, hazily. She had been entranced by those beautiful blue eyes. Forever what a beautiful word. The bards gaze drifted down to Xenas lips. It was too much to resist. The bard tip toed up and placed a light kiss on the warrior.
Xena pulled Gabrielle in for a deeper embrace, craving the contact .thriving on it. Everything is going to be ok. They kissed for several more minutes before breaking the embrace. Xena walked away to allow them both a minute to recover.
When it seemed to be no repercussions for their actions, Xena smiled and took Gabrielle hand to lead her out of the tent.
"Come on. Lets get married."
Xena led Gabrielle out of the tent and they headed out to face their future together.
They walked out of the tent, hand and hand, and began their journey back.
"No." Gabrielle spoke solidly.
"No what?" Xena asked, confused.
"I cant do this. I cant get married." She said sadly.
Xenas face dropped almost as far down as her heart. She doesnt want to get married?! What?! Gods no, this is the end. Its over.
"What do you mean you dont want to get married Gabrielle. About that Ares thing, Im sorry. I really am. If I could take it back I would, but I cant. Please, can you forgive me? Please! Cant we just move on, be happy together." Xena said threatening tears.
Gabrielle was moved by Xenas words. But, this time it was her turn to have her words mistaken. Xena
had misperceived what she meant. She had to make things right.
"Xena, I do forgive you, for everything."
"Yeh, I do."
"Then why? Why cant we be together? Why cant we get married, Gabrielle? I need it to be forever."
Tears flowed freely from the warrior; there was no point in trying to hold them back any longer.
"I need it to be forever too, Xena. But, forever can wait."
"What?" The warrior asked in mass confusion.
Gabrielle needed to ease her pain. She moved in and placed a palm on Xenas wet cheek. Xena leaned in to further the contact. She closed her eyes and let the sheer electricity of Gabrielles touch overtake her body. It was sensual, it was comforting. It was everything.
"Xena," The bard spoke in a whisper. "I do want to marry you. I do."
I do Xena let the words roll over her like a warm blanket. The bards rich velvety voice was a cure for what ailed her. She wants to get married. She wants to be with me.
"But ." The bard began. Xena was sent into sudden panic. One word threatened the existence of her happiness. One word threatened to destroy her dreams.
"But?" Xena asked, terrified.
"But Xena this is too fast. First youre back, then were together. Now were getting married. Its too much too soon."
"I I but I thought this," Xena said pointing to the crowd of gathered Amazons. "Was what you wanted."
"I do want it Xena. I do. But, not now. Not yet. Give me time. I want time to appreciate just being together. Time for us to be just us, without any expectations. Without any promises, just us."
Xena tried to understand, but simply bowed her head and let Gabrielle speak.
"I love you so much. So much, Xena. And I do want it to be forever." Gabrielle again pulled up Xenas chin. "I do. But, Not now. Not yet. Please, give us some time."
Xena looked into the bards eyes and found nothing but unconditional love. She wanted to believe her, she truly did. Her sea green eyes called to her, brought her in. Made her believe. Everything is going to be ok, Xenas mind spoke what Gabrielles eyes had just said.
"So not no, just not now." Xena said hesitantly.
"Yeh." Gabrielle agreed.
"Ok. Im ok with that. Ill wait as long as you need me to Gabrielle. I love you." The warrior voiced the beatings of her heart with potent honesty.
"I love you too." Gabrielle smiled and they embraced in deep hug.
Everything was going to be ok.
The music began a seductive beat. The participants on the dance floor swayed to the beat.
Although it hadnt been easy, Xena and Gabrielle explained to the nation why once again there would been no marriage. There had been a few upset faces, but most took the news light heartedly. The couple assured everyone that there would be a wedding, just not right now. Sometime in the near future, and when it was to happen, not even Ares himself could stop it.
But, the food had been made. The hall prepared. And hundreds of Amazons dressed in their best. It was too much to waste. No Amazon worth their leathers could resist a party. So, too please the masses, Gabrielle and Xena decided on throwing a little celebration. They called it a delayed engagement party.
The two took their spots. The queen and consorts chair was placed at the bead of the room. Varia had strategically decided to skip the events, reasons apparently unknown. So, Gabrielle was set to fill her shoes as well as her seat. The bard fell naturally into the role and Varia was barely missed.
Xena sipped sparingly on her wine. It was very sweet and very potent. She drank lightly for tonight shed rather stay alert. Be fully aware of her time with Gabrielle for she was never more conscious of the preciousness of their time together.
The warrior lightly popped her head to the music. Not a bad song, the warrior thought as she took another sip of her drink.
Gabrielle was enthralled in the music. She loved he beat. She tapped her toes and swayed her head to the rhythm. That she was able to do anything physical at all was a miracle in itself. Gabrielle had just consumed a humongous amount of food.
With all the tribes together, each had brought a chef from their region. The cooks got together to create some of the most tasty morsels Gabrielle had ever seen. She had originally planned just to taste everything. But, every little taste was so good, she couldnt resist.
First it was a bite, then it was a helping, then it was seconds. Before she knew it, the bard had been thoroughly stuffed. The monster had ceased ..for a while. And now, the monster was creeping up again, but Gabrielle was content to sip on her cider for the wine was much too potent, and listen to the music.
She smiled as she saw all the other Amazons dance by. It was very reminiscent of her last Amazon celebration. That of course had turned into an Amazon orgy, herself included. Aphrodite. It had been a while since shed seen hide or hair of the Goddess.
Gabrielle truly missed her. It wasnt that she missed the sex or the intimacy, but she missed Aphrodite as a friend. She was great to talk to. She was great to party with. And she was an excellent dancer. When they were out on the floor, it was as if they meshed into each other and became one with the beat.
The bard remembered her first dancing experience with the Goddess. That was a load of fun. It had turned into an almost orgy on the dance floor. Stirred up a couple Amazon hormones then didnt we? It had not only been sensual it had been fun.
As Gabrielle watched the others twirl around, her mood was unusually dampened. I wanna dance. She thought. I wonder if Xenas a good dancer. The only time she had truly danced with Xena was back in Amphipolis. While they had both been somewhat possessed, the dance had been extremely passionate and had left Gabrielle more unsatisfied then she was willing to feel.
Even so, that dance had only been for several moments, barely long enough to create a memory. Now, now they had all night to revel in each other without shame. Gabrielle peered unabashedly over at Xena. Gods, I wish she would ask me to dance. Her beautiful green eyes spoke pleadingly.
Xena, however, was oblivious to Gabrielles silent pleas. She was too enthralled in her voyeurism. She watched the other couples silently mesh together. Their dancing was so sensual, so sexual, so open.
The Warrior Princess, herself, had seen many displays as such. Hell, shed even taken part in quite a few, but shed wondered if Gabrielle had seen so much sexuality in full view. She was curious to see how the bard would react.
She suddenly felt Gabrielles gaze upon her. She turned to find the bard staring straight at her. The warrior smiled and leaned over to place a chaste kiss upon the bards lips.
"Simply breathtaking." Gabrielle breathlessly remarked.
"Yes they are." Xena replied, looking out to the dancing couples.
"I was talking about you." Gabrielle smiled and was rewarded with an uncharacteristic Warrior Princess blush. "All that red for me?" The bard teased coyly, grazing her fingertips over Xenas cheek.
"Everything is for you." She remarked, heartfelt. Now it was Gabrielles turn to blush. Not out of embarrassment, but out of the sheer excitement that those words brought.
"Good music." Gabrielle said is a light tone, her eyes widened. Trying to alert the seemingly thick headed Warrior Princess to her desires.
"Yeh, it is." Xena replied glancing lightly at the dance floor, missing Gabrielles hidden meaning. She seemed much more interested in her drink.
Gabrielle waited and waited and waited for Xena to ask. She didnt wanna seem too eager, but she really wanted to dance. She tossed another quick glance at Xena which the warrior picked up but took with a grain of salt.
More time passed by and Gabrielle continued given more and more glances at Xena. Finally, Xena had decided something was wrong and asked her blonde companion.
"What? Do I have something on my face or something?" Xena said moving in close to Gabrielle.
"What?" Gabrielle asked, dazed.
"You keep staring at me. Did I do something?"
"No, its nothing." Gabrielle said quietly and turned around, avoiding Xenas gaze. The warrior picked up on Gabrielles quick retreat and realized something was probably amiss.
"Come on, its not nothing. Please, whats wrong?" Xenas voice held a desperate quality. Gabrielle saw how her behavior had been completely mistaken. Great Gabrielle, you just got over this and youre starting something already. I forget how worried she gets.
"I want to dance." Gabrielle said sheepishly.
"What?" Xena asked, completely thrown for a loop.
"I said I want to dance. Come on Xena, lets go dance." Gabrielle said taking the warrior hands in her own.
"Gabrielle, I hate to dance. No thank you. Ill just end up embarrassing myself." Xena said, taking her hands back.
"Oh Xena come on. The music is so great and its so much fun. Please, lets go dance. Just me and you, no one else is watching."
Xena took the bards hand and brought it slowly up to her lips.
"Gabrielle, if you go out their and dance I doubt anyone will be able to turn away." She winked at her partner. Gabrielle smiled but still was not satisfied.
"Same goes for you, but who cares for that matter. Everybody can watch, it wouldnt matter. Youre the only thing that matters. Lets go dance."
"No." Xena said, trying to sound concrete, but her will was bending. Gabrielle, on the other hand, was getting more and more determined. Alright, miss Warrior Princess. Obviously, begging is having little to no effect. Guess Im gonna have to try a different route. Jealousy is always good.
"Fine, Xena." She said, smiling, with a fake tone of compromise. Xena smiled, thinking shed gotten her way. She took the bards hand in hers and returned to her wine. Gabrielle, however, was not so easily defeated. "But " She left the word hanging in the air.
Dammit! Xena thought. Theres that word again. But.
"But, if you dont wanna dance, Ill just have to go find someone else who will." The bard said with eyes innocently looking towards the ceiling.
"Please Xena, I know hearing is one of your many skills. Now, if you dont wanna dance, Ill just go find someone who will. Mmmm lets seee." Gabrielle feigned deep thought for a moment, trying to goad the warrior even more. "Theres always anyone here. Hmph maybe Varia, I know she was pretty eager last time."
"Well, when I said I didnt want to dance .." Xena began, but was interrupted by Gabrielle continued on.
"Oh I know. I can call Aphrodite!" Gabrielle spoke in enthusiasm when Xenas eyes shot up to twice their normal size. "Yeh, she said Ill I had to do is just call and shed be here. I could do that. She loves to dance. You should have seen the last time she was here. Woo! Not only did we dance, but we kicked off and entire Amazon moon festival aka orgy. That was fun." She smiled as she watched Xena squirm.
"APHRO " Gabrielle yelled out, but was silenced by a steady hand over her mouth. It belonged to one deliciously jealous Warrior Princess.
Xena was now completely flustered at Gabrielles words. Jealous, I havent been jealous in forever .well since the last one of Gabrielles little boy girl toys. Just no one can get to me like she does. Xena thought retrospectively. Who are you kidding Xena? You love the way she gets to you.
"You want to dance? I love dancing. Lets go." Xena pulled Gabrielle on to the floor. The bard grinned smugly, she loved getting her way.
The dancing Amazons moved out of their way, allowing the couple some allotted space to groove. The beat was somber and reflective .and just a little but sexy. Gabrielle reveled in the music as Xena lad her to the center of the floor.
The warrior took the lead, placing two confident hands around Gabrielles waist. The bard responded in kind, putting her arms around Xenas neck. They began to sway lightly to the music, together.
"See, this isnt so bad." Gabrielle remarked, reveling in her small victory.
"Yeh." Xena said with a raised eye brow. "I could get used to this. A pretty blond in my arms." The warrior smiled and let her hands roam down to Gabrielles derriere and gave it a guilty pinch. The moved earned a short yelp from the bard. "Oh yeh, I could definitely get used to this!"
Gabrielle smiled at her companions obvious enjoyment of the situation. She leaned her head forward as placed it comfortably in the crook of Xenas neck. Strange, Gabrielle thought. My head fits so perfectly there. It was funny, they seemed to fit so perfectly together. Obviously, we were meant to be.
Xena was simply reveling in the closeness. She had forgotten about the hungry eyes watching her. Shed forgotten about everyone else in the room because to her, there was no one else. Only her and the woman she loved. Gabrielle was huddled closely to her, fitting perfectly within her arms.
This was the way it was supposed to be. Xena thought as she let out a heavy sigh. Gabrielle felt the deep release of breath and came out from within her little hiding place to see what it was all about.
"What was that for?" She said, indicating the sigh. "This is supposed to be fun."
"Oh, it is fun." Xena assured with a genuine smile. "I was just thinking, you know. This just feels so right. We just fit together, just right. Like we were made for each other, you know." The warrior spoke introspectively.
Gabrielle felt an innocent tear fall down her cheek at the warriors sentiment. Geez, when she decides to speak she really says it all. Xena watched hesitantly for Gabrielles response, feeling a bit sheepish at the depth of her words.
"I guess thats stupid, forget it."
Ohh, Gabrielle thought. Sometimes I forget how truly insecure she can be.
"No, no its not stupid Xena. Actually I was thinking the same thing."
"Really?" The warrior spoke with child like wonder.
"Yeh, really." She grinned confidently before regaining her spot on the warriors shoulder.
Just then the music changed pace. It went from a somber beat to a more seductive rhythm. Xena noted the change but was content to remain the way she was, lightly swaying with a bard in her arms. Gabrielle, however, had other things in mind.
One of the arms around Xenas neck was gently removed. A liberal hand began a journey down the length of the warriors body. The warrior shuddered at the contact. Gabrielle made a slow descent down to Xenas waist as dropped a firm hand, grasping onto the lower back. The taller woman simply smiled at the contact.
"Now I have you." Gabrielle said in a sultry tone.
And it was true.
"You do have me." Xena repeated, looking deep into a sea of green. "You have me in everyway. You always have. Forever." She remarked honestly.
The bard was moved beyond words. A rare condition that she seemed to be coming down with a lot more often. She decided humor was best to lighten the mood.
"You know you better be careful oh Mighty Warrior Princess. All these kind words lately and feelings. Next thing you know you might be asking to share my feelings and be giving ritual hugs." She laughed light heartedly.
"Am I really that bad?" Xena asked honestly.
"Xena, I was joking. Come on. Besides, I understand. You cant get too mushy, itll ruin your image. Remember, I like em rough and tough. And, especially the strong silent type."
Xena smiled slightly at the comment but still had her reservations. Dont I tell her how I feel? Obviously not enough. Shes everything to me. Its about time she knew as much. Ive got my second chance. I cant blow it.
Gabrielle saw Xena lost in her thoughts as was determined to bring her out.
"Hey " Gabrielle said with no avail. " Heeellloooo Xena." Still, the warrior remained in her thoughts. The bard would have to resort to more drastic measures. She bent her head back into the crook of Xenas neck and gave her a quick little nip.
"Ouch! Hey." Xena exclaimed looked down at her little culprit.
"Ouch?! A little bite and ouch?! Xena: Warrior Baby!"
"Hey, that did hurt!" She brought a hand up to her neck.
"Did not!" Gabrielle defended herself, maturely sticking out her tongue.
"Thats nice." She said alluding to the protruding tongue. "If I only knew you still had some bacchae blood I you "
"Well you know, every few moons or so the monster is unleashed and I attack an unsuspecting, defenseless young girl."
"Of course. No one can quite resist my charm!" She cackled devilishly.
"Ill drink to that." Xena agreed, bending down and taking her own little bit of the bard. "Tasty, I guess we both have a little Bacchae left."
"Hmmm would seem so." Gabrielle agreed, letting several moments of slow silence pass between them.
"Gabrielle, about what you said earlier about me not telling you " The bard prudently interrupted.
"Xena stop, ok. It was a joke. I wasnt serious." But, the bard saw that Xena still was not convinced. "You do tell me how you feel, everyday."
"Its different kind of communication. You dont say it in words. But, your actions, your gestures, they all tell me how much you love me."
"What do you mean?"
"Like the way you always make sure that my ink well on my desk is full. Or how you always give me the last piece of bread, even though youre still hungry. Or, how you stay up at night and listen to my stories, even though I know all youd rather do is go to sleep."
Xena cocked a comical eyebrow.
"Well maybe not all youd rather do. The point is I know how you feel. You tell me everyday. I use words, you use actions. But we still love each other just the same. Ok."
Xena nodded in agreement.
"No more feeling guilty?"
"I cant promise that."
"Can you try? For me?"
"Ill try, just for you."
"Good!" Gabrielle smiled giddily and placed a gentle kiss upon the warriors lips before returning to the warriors shoulder. Xena began a more seductive sway to reflect the beat. She placed her head on top of Gabrielles head and intook a deep breath and inhaled the scent of the bard. This is how it was meant to be.
A trail of wet nibbling awoken Xena from her thoughts. It seemed the bard had more then just a little Bacchae in her tonight. Gabrielle started a nice wet trail of kissing on Xenas neck, then she began to move to the shoulder, giving it adequate attention.
The bard worked her way down the Warriors neck to her collarbone and began to give it her full attention. For a moment, Xena was able to simply revel in the contact. But, before long, the rest of the word came back to her and the Warrior Princess became very aware of their illustrious onlookers.
"Gabrielle " Xena only half heartedly protested. The bard paid her no heed and continued on with her feast. "Gabrielle .." She spoke up again.
"What? Im enjoying my meal!" She bent down and took another kiss. "Tasty!"
"But, Gabrielle, everyones looking!"
"Really! And, you being the model of modesty would care why .?" Xena, instead of giving a vocal response, raised an eyebrow to the bards words. "Xena, I dont care!"
"Really! And, since when have you become the little exhibitionist?"
"Well, since I fell in love. I dont care whos here or who sees. All that matters is us." Gabrielle said, leaning forward, placing her lips upon the warriors.
All that matters is us. It was beautifully true. Xena stopped her half efforts to thwart the bard and simply succumbed to temptation. Oh hell, let em watch. Well give them something to talk about this week. The queen and the consort getting it on on the dance floor. She deeply returned the kiss and let her hands begin quest across the bards body.
She began a light but fluid motion of drawing her hands up and down Gabrielles back in synch with the music. Gabrielle, for her part, kept one hand pleasurably massaging the warriors neck. While the other hand kept inching lower and lower down the Warriors back.
The two meshed into each other. They truly did fit together perfectly. The music drew them in, revealing deeper passions, pushing them further and further to the surface.
For Xena the room was spinning, Gabrielle was making it do so. Her eyes, her head, her thoughts were filled with nothing else but the woman before her. The woman she loved: Gabrielle. It didnt matter that other people were there. Gabrielle was here, that was enough. That was everything. Sometime I should tell her that.
Gabrielle was just reveling in the intimacy they were sharing. It was so rare to get Xena to be so attentive and loving in public. Not that the warrior wasnt loving, but Xena had two sides. One she wore for the world, and one she wore for Gabrielle. It was very rare that the two ever meshed. Tonight they did, and it was all Gabrielle could do to relish the rare occurrence.
The music played on and they continued to dance. Unbenounced to them, the entire floor had cleared out. Simply everyone was dying to have a gander at their beloved queen and her beloved Warrior Princess. But, tonight their looks were not of loyalty or of respect, although they felt it deep within their heart. Their looks were of desire. Of surfacing passion which the two inspired. Oh yes, there would be no early nights for any Amazon tonight.
Things were getting hot. Too hot. Xena was feeling much too turned on. Not that any of that was a bad thing. But, she was losing her control. She wanted Gabrielle. She wanted her now. If they continued this seduction, here and now, she was afraid she could not be able to stop when prudence called for it.
Gabrielle too was feeling the loss of control and the temptation of chaos. WE could really have an actual orgy! The idea spun around for a moment before being quickly discarded. Plan B lets get the Hell out of here!
"Lets get out of here." Xena said in abandonment. Gabrielle shook her head in agreement and the two slipped out of the gathering, hand in hand.
They went for the hut in a mad dash and, after what seemed like forever, finally made it. Xena began the arduous task of removing her armor. But, with years of experience, it flew off and landed precariously on the floor.
Gabrielle was lost within herself and simply followed Xenas lead. The two barely made it over to the bed before collapsing unto each other. Xena initiated a series of very passionate kisses that lasted not quite long enough.
Xena began descending her kisses lower, but the bard stopped her, bringing her mouth back up upon hers. Another series of delicious kisses ensued. Xena made yet another attempt to push the contact further, but this time Gabrielle verbally stopped her.
"Stop." She voiced breathlessly. Xena simply smiled and continued on with her menstruations. Gabrielle allowed her to do so for several minutes before regaining her will.
"No, Xena Im serious. Stop." She emphasized her words by giving the warrior a short push back.
Xena took the shove with stride and raised a hand to her chest as if shed been burned. Rejection, it was always worse from the one you love.
"Nothing .everything." Gabrielle answered cryptically, still leaving the warrior princess completely in the dark.
"I thought everything was ok. You said everything was ok." She stared, pleadingly.
Again with the fear, Gabrielle thought, sometimes I really forget how truly insecure she is. Well have to work on that.
"Everything is ok Xena, I promise."
"But but I thought you wanted this."
"I did I do but " She stuttered for an answer.
"But what?" Xena asked feverently, fearing the worst.
"Everythings happening so fast. I promised myself I would wait. And, I wanna wait."
"Wait for what?"
"This .us being together. I mean, I still a little confused about everything that weve been through. I dont want to complicate things even more."
"But it never has before." Xena said, leaning in so the full length of their bodies were touching.
"But it does now. You know how I said I wanted more time for just us. I think, I think we should spend it without sex. You know, so we can focus more on us."
Well, not as bad as she thought. Xena, in truth, didnt quite understand why Gabrielle wanted to wait or what purpose it would serve. But, if thats what her bard wanted then thats what her bard got. Im willing to wait for her. Im willing to do anything for her.
"So you want to wait? Till when?" She asked in as even a tone as she could muster.
"I dont know. Im not saying forever, just until Im sure everything is fixed. I want the next time to be absolutely perfect, you know. I dont want to take anything for granted." She blushed at her won sentiment. "Probably think its stupid." She hung her head.
"No." She lifted the bards chin up. "Hey, no I dont. Its not the root I would have taken, but I understand what youre getting at. I think its a good idea. Lets wait until we are perfectly settled."
"Thank you Xena."
"So does this mean no nothing?"
"No, no thats not what Im saying. I mean kissing, cuddling and all that is completely ok. Just no you know."
"Sex." The bards less modest companion finished for her.
"So " Xena began moving in and placing a light kiss on the base of the bards neck. "This is ok." She finished as she worked her way up to an inch from the bards lips.
"Ok." Gabrielle answered.
"And this is ok?" The warrior asked as she descended upon the bards lips for a passionate kiss that left them both a little too unsatisfied.
As they continued on, Xena stuck to her promise. They didnt do .it. They came very close several times, and at the end of the night they were both needing, but they maintained.
And, at the end of the night, they held each other until the sun came up. It was nice It wasnt it.
But, for now, it was enough.
Gabrielle decided to make a last trip over to see Varia and Lethara before she left.
Xena and she had decided to hit the road again. Though they both enjoyed the Amazon Village, Gabrielle especially, but the only way they get to fix their relationship was to be by themselves. They needed to be together, alone, without a whole nation of well wishers, match makers, and noisy Amazons clocking their every move.
The warrior herself had been ready to leave right away, but Gabrielle had asked for an extra week just so she could prepare everything for her incoming replacement. One of the queens from the nearby village was going to come and fill in for her prolonged Vacation.
And, that is what they had told everyone that it was: A vacation. Gabrielle had spent the better part of last year in the village and was not ready to leave her comfortable establishment. Of course, she wasnt ready to settle down either. She decided on keeping the best of both worlds.
Xena had already headed out to the stables and Gabrielle had promised to followed suit as soon as she said goodbye to a few friends. It wasnt as if she would never see them again, but never the less the hero business was not a sturdy profession.
Gabrielle inched over to the council room. She was afraid to enter. She knew Varia was in there, and although she really didnt want to talk to the woman, she had to say goodbye. Their relationship had been strained ever since Xena had returned.
The bard knew that Varia was in love with her, but she could do nothing more to stop it or discourage it. And, with her warrior back, that void Varia had somewhat filled had no vacancy. Gabrielle knew Varia felt their friendship had been threatened because of it and had simply avoided her.
Taking a deep breath, Gabrielle slowly entered into the hut. There she found Varia, seemingly hard at work on some sort of treaty. The bard slowly approached, making as much noise as possible so Varia would hear her and not feel threatened by her presence. But, Varia showed no signs of recognition and remained fully engrossed in her work.
Finally, Gabrielle took the initiative to speak up and greet the woman.
Varia looked up from the scroll to the bard.
"Hey." She repeated back, putting down the scroll. "Can I help you?"
Gabrielle was taken aback by the harshness of her words. She was overwhelmed with regret and accidentally spoke her thoughts.
"Im so sorry I hurt you." She said in a whisper. Varia didnt answer, she simply hung her head.
"I never meant to, Varia."
"I know you didnt."
"Youre my friend. I value you. The past few weeks, you dont talk to me or anything. And, Im about to leave I couldnt just leave with things this way. Your friendship means too much to me."
"Im Im sorry Gabrielle. Its just hard. Watching the only thing in your life youve ever wanted, in someone elses arms." She spoke with heart breaking honesty.
"I am sorry Varia that things happened this way. But, you have to understand, Xena is my soul mate. Shes all that I am. She makes me happy."
"Thats all that I wanted; a chance to make you happy. I could have done it too, if you would have let me."
"No, Xena makes me happy. Varia shes the half of my soul. I dont want to be incomplete every again."
"Yet thats how I feel everyday, Gabrielle." Varia spoke and then stormed out of the room.
Gabrielle chased out after her, but trying to reason with her would have been useless. She watched as Varia walked out of her line of site.
"Goodbye Varia." Gabrielle whispered. An arm came around her shoulder for strength.
"Now I wouldnt be saying your goodbyes quite yet." Lethara said, smiling. Gabrielle was thankful for the comfort.
"Do you think shell be ok?"
"Shell be ok. Shell learn to live with it. And someday, shell be over you. I know Varia. I dont think shes ever been in love before. You were her first."
"I didnt mean to hurt her."
"Of course you didnt, but it happened just the same. But, shes strong, and eventually shell be ok. And shell fall again and this whole experience will only make her stronger."
"But, I didnt wanna lose her friendship Lethara."
"Oh, you wont Gabrielle." She spoke in assuring tones. "Youll always have that. She may be hurting at the moment, but she still respects you as much as she ever did. You two will always be great friends."
"Thank you." Gabrielle spoke, enjoying having someone else to lean on. They stood in silence for several moments before returning from their introspection.
"I guess I should say goodbye."
"Oh no, dont say goodbye." Lethara spoke coyly. "Goodbye implies that we wont see each other again, and I definitely plan to see you soon. At the very least, Ill be at attendance for youre wedding .when you finally decide that you are ready."
"Very funny." Gabrielle spoke drenched in sarcasm. They laughed nervously and then let several seconds of odd silence pass.
"Well " Lethara began.
"I guess we should "Gabrielle continued on.
They both embraced in a strong hug.
"Thank you." Gabrielle whispered into the healers ear. "Thank you so much for everything. You healed my body, you healed my soul you " The bard threatened tears. They pulled away and looked at each other sentimentally.
"Shhhh. Lets leave with a smile on your face. No gratitude necessary. I was more then happy to help in any way that I can."
They hugged once more and Gabrielle left off towards the stable, with a smile on her face.
She found Xena lightly stroking her horse. She instantly felt the bards presence and lifted up her head and smiled.
"Hey." Gabrielle greeted back.
"Are you ready?" Xena asked hopefully.
"Yeh, I am ready."
They mounted their horses and left, together.
The day had been pleasantly uneventful.
The two had rode, side by side throughout the day. Several times, sharing a horse had been brought up. But, Gabrielle conceded that it was simply too much temptation for either one to resist. They had talked, light chit chat about everything.
Most of it was in good spirit, but some conversation had been of the more serious nature. Xena had asked about Aphrodite, and Gabrielle openly answered. She told Xena about their precarious arrangement, but assured the warrior it was nothing more then a deep friendship.
"A friendship with perks." She explained, giggling to lighten the situation. Xena grudgingly accepted it and they moved on.
Gabrielle had asked Xena about her little encounter with Ares. Xena was reluctant to explain, but she knew it was the only way either one would get over it. She explained tat Ares had caught her at a weak moment, she wanted to feel good. He offered that and she was not in any condition to resist.
It had been purely sex, nothing else. It only served to further her torment and she wished it had never happened. Everyday they were apart; she wished she could take it back. In the end, it only made her feel more hollow then before.
"Because it was just sex." The warrior admitted. At first, I tried to somehow justify it but saying that maybe he meant something to me. But, I knew he didnt. I knew it didnt. It was nothing."
And that was the end of it. They had both confessed to their indiscretions and they both forgave each other. It may never be forgotten, but they could both say concretely that they had moved on.
Night came quicker then either had realized and before long they were both looking for a place to set up camp. The cave would have been a nice choice, except it was out of range. They had made good time today and traveled far away from Amazonia. Gabrielle had been keenly impressed, but it had been Xenas plan all along. She wanted to be far from that place as soon as possible. The bad memories definitely outweighed the good .for now.
When we go back Ill have to work on that.
Xena spotted a serene little spot right under a giant tree by a small stream. Perfect, she thought as she veered the horse in the direction.
"What do you think?" Xena asked, pointing to the secluded area. Gabrielle looked up to the delicious hollow and gave a genuine grin.
"Perfect!" She exclaimed as they rode off towards the direction. I knew it, Xena smiled despite herself.
They soon reached the spot and routinely began to set up camp. They feel in sync and it was as if no time had even passed. Once the area was set up, Xena began to pick up some of her gear and headed out to hunt or was about to head out when she was stopped by a strong hand on her shoulder.
"Stay." Gabrielle spoke innocently.
"I was just going to scrounge us up something to eat. These field look like decent hunting grounds."
"We have plenty of trail rations, plus there is a stream right there. Why dont we just have fish tonight?"
"But, I know prefer rabbit to fish, we just had that the other night."
"I know, but "
"Is something wrong?" Xena asked honestly.
"No, I just want you stay." She blushingly admitted. Xena was touched by the sentiment and was all too happy to stay. Who needs rabbit anyway?
"Ok, Ill stay." Gabrielle grinned and Xena couldnt help but return it. "So you want fish do you? Well, lets see what I can do about that."
The meal had been superb. Sometimes Xena forgot just how great of a cook Gabrielle really was. Just another one of those little things I love about her. I wonder if I ever told her that.
Gabrielle was secure in a full belly. She had turned their meager means into a feast fit for two. Everything had been perfect. Theyd had idol chit chat over the meal and then theyd both helped to clear away the remains, which there werent much of. Both had truly ate their full. After that, theyd taken short baths. Separate bathes, in the stream. It would have been simply too easy any other way.
Now they were simply lying on their backs, gazing at the stars. They were beautiful, it was beautiful. In Gabrielles eyes, everything tonight was beautiful.
"Gabrielle." Xena called.
"That was really great. You truly are a master when it comes to meals."
"Why thank you." Gabrielle responded in kind, turning slightly crimson at the praise. "Wasnt too bad it I do say so myself. You know today, just riding and talking with you, it was really nice. No despots to foil, no damsels in distress, just us being us. I really loved that."
"Me too." Xena agreed, taking the bards hand within her own. "So what does that one look like?" She pointed up to the sky.
They discussed the stars until they were both too tired to keep their eyes open. Then, Gabrielle crawled over to Xena and placed her head on the warriors shoulder. Then she brought an arm around to securely hold the Warrior Princess within her grasp. Xena indulgently enjoyed the bards possession of her and took it in stride. There they fell asleep, wrapped in each others arms.
And that, that was beautiful.
A splash of water woke Xena up with a start. She swung and arm over to protect her bard, but found nothing more then a cold side of the bed roll. The warrior rubbed her eyes before slowly opening them and was met with the vision of her missing bard before her.
"Wake up sleepy head." She taunted, bending down to place a chaste kiss upon the warriors lips. The motion caught Xena off guard. But soon she melded into the motion, greedily accepting the kiss. She brought an arm up around Gabrielle to deepen the contact, but the bard slapped it back.
"None of that now. We start that, who knows where it will end." Xena pulled back, pouting.
"Youre no fun." She teased, mockingly saddened.
"Yes well one of us has to be the serious one." She joked. "Come on, come on. Time to get up oh Warrior Princess. "
As a response, Xena threw a handy blanket at her and outwardly groaned.
"Its too early." She protested, rolling back into her bedroll.
"Oh, I see youre getting lazy in your old age."
"My old age. As I recall dear, counting up the years, that makes you well over fifty."
"So are you." Gabrielle taunted back bending down to within an inch from the warriors mouth, teasing her tempting her. "Now, get up."
"Well, I could be persuaded too." She continued the seduction. "If I had a little incentive."
"Oh, Ill show you incentive." Gabrielle said before she dashed away.
"Where are you going?" Xena called out. Gabrielle turned her head to answer back.
"If you want a reward, you gotta catch me. Hows that for incentive." She giggled and ran away.
That definitely was incentive enough. Xena got up, tossed on her leathers with lightening speed and ran off towards the bard.
Gabrielle ran frantically threw the woods, trying to escape her oncoming assailant. The trees whipped by as she ran through the forest.
Xena was steadily on her tracks. She knew, speed wise, that the bard was barely a match for her. Although Gabrielle was fast, Xena had longer legs and could travel further. She knew she could have easily ended the game. But, that was what it was, a game. A she was happy to continue to string Gabrielle along.
The bard knew was being played. Xena could have had her in a second, but it was a rare occurrence that the warrior was willing to play. The bard reveled in it. She laughed as the warrior inched nearer and nearer.
"Im coming to get you." Xena yelled to the bard.
"Never!" Gabrielle replied back, defiantly.
The warrior neared closer and closer. Gabrielle could hear Xena gaining on her. It only served to speed up her retreat. Gabrielles added energy only added to Xenas resolve as she neared.
The bard was about to cut a corner to escape when she found two strong hands around her midsection, holding her securely in place.
"Gotcha!" Xena cried, victoriously.
"Yes you did." The bard whispered back.
"Now," Xena said, inching a hand up the little Amazons midsection. "You are going to have to pay. Are you going to go nicely or are you going to struggle for me?"
"What do you want?" A small voice asked innocently.
"Everything." Xena whispered as she leaned down and kissed her way up Gabrielles neck. Xena began to take the lead making a series of hidden kiss around the bard neck and face. The seduction lightly continued until something interrupted the two.
Gabrielle slowly brought her lips to Xenas ear.
"One behind you." She whispered.
"Two behind you." Xena whispered back. They prepared for an attack when a voice boomed behind them
"Let her go."
The warrior spinned around, drawing her sword. Sadly, she had been in such a hurry to catch the Amazon, that she had neglected to put on her armor. No matter really. From the looks of her opponent, she wouldnt need it.
Gabrielle turned around at the same time as well, drawing her Sais so the blunt end was pointing out. She readied for an attack.
"Excuse me?" Xena asked arrogantly with one eyebrow cocked.
"I said let her go " The man said much less confidently.
"Never." Xena said sternly, baiting him. Gabrielle, however, was not in the mood for a fight this early in the morning.
"What she means is she wasnt holding me against my will."
"Im sorry miss." The man said bowing. He had a somewhat snobbish appearance about him. He wasnt a very tall man and disgustingly gangly. Hes supposed to be a threat? Xena laughed inwardly. But, he had been trying to protect the bard and that in itself demanded merit. "We heard the commotion and figured you were being followed. We only meant to help." He gestured to his two other counterparts who were much more imposing then himself.
Gabrielle smiled warmly.
"Of course. I we appreciate your concern." Xena didnt speak, just stood with an intimidating look upon her face.
"Again, Im sorry. I just if you werent fighting what .what were you doing?" The man asked, confused.
"Well ." Gabrielle began.
"We were .um " Xena searched for the words to somehow, without embarrassing her soul mate, explain their earlier actions.
"Yes of course." Xena agreed, nodding her head.
"If you dont mind," The man spoke politely. "What were you practicing for?"
Xena was beginning to be angered by the mans presence. He was preventing her from spending time with her bard and she would have none of that.
"Listen buddy " Gabrielle sensed her partners growing anger and gave her a quick jab to the stomach to silence Xena.
"We were practicing, chasing and fighting. Its a little drill we do. One of us runs and the other tries to catch us and then once caught we try to escape."
"And why would you need that sort of practice?"
This man truly must have a death wish, Gabrielle thought noting her partner rapidly epitomizing anger. She again took charge of the situation.
"Ah well, practice makes perfect. It speeds up our rescuing times. You see, we seem to be in the hero business. Let us introduce ourselves. My name is Gabrielle and this is Xena."
The bard waited the customary several seconds for her words to sink in. Allowing the man some time before he burst into the usual By the Gods, the Warrior Princess or You really are the real Xena?! Or something to that effect.
But instead, the mans eyes grew to twice their normal size.
"Gabrielle?! As in the Gabrielle, the bard."
"Yeh, that would be me." Gabrielle hesitantly, somewhat confused at his reaction.
"Well, then that would make you the Xena, Warrior Princess."
"Yes it would." Xena answered highly perturbed.
"Weve found you. I cant believe we found you. His majesty will be so pleased! We were about to comb the entire Grecian countryside looking for you. Oh what luck!" He clapped his hands with glee. The other two guards quickly followed suit.
"Excuse me .can we held you?" Gabrielle asked.
"Yes, yes! Our majesty is in dire need of your services." He said in over emphasis.
"And just who exactly is Your majesty?" Xena asked, skeptical.
"Why, none other then the King of Sieves."
"Now remind me where were going again?"
"Sieves, Gabrielle." Xena said, placing a light hand over her companions shoulder.
"And why are we on a boat?" The bard asked, making no effort to hide her misery.
"Because Sieves is off the coast of Greece. The only way to get there is by boat."
"Not true! I could have just called Aphrodite and...maybe ." But Gabrielle let her words trail off.
"Oh come on, its not so bad. Its only for two days, were half way done." Xena tried to lighten the mood
but was doing nothing for the bards discomfort. Gabrielle looked at her with a glazy look in her eyes before tossing her head over the railing and disposing of the contents within her stomach. Xena held her hair while she did so. When the bard came back up for air, Xena pressed two fingers to Gabrielles wrist to jab the pressure point, but she quickly stopped her.
"No. No pressure points."
"Why not? Itll make you feel better."
"Yeh, and possibly compel me to eat raw squid which in the end will make me sicker then I was earlier. Ill just have to grin and bare it." Gabrielle disgustedly admitted.
"Youre so tough." Xena whispered, nipping the bards ear.
"Well, maybe not grin " She remarked before retching over the railing again.
After a few hours on deck, Gabrielle finally felt well enough to go below and try to get some semblance of rest. But, Xena knew neither would have any sleep tonight. Gabrielle because of her sickness, Xena because of her worry about Gabrielle.
Xena took Gabrielle below to their room. Although Rubrik, as they came to find out his name was, assured them there was more then enough room for everyone, Xena had insisted they share accommodation. She needed to tend to her bard after all. And, she wasnt about to be separated from the bard all for the sake of keeping appearances.
The steps would be an arduous task for her soul mate so Xena had elected to carry her the rest of the journey. Gabrielle had adamantly protested to being treated like a baby but Xena had silenced her with effectively with her words.
"Yes, but youre my baby."
Xena deposited Gabrielle onto their lavish bed. It was very large and feather filled. Very comfortable. The room was very luxurious. Even Xena, in the height of her warlord days hadnt had accommodations this regal. Sieves must be doing very well.
Gabrielle took a deep breath and closed her eyes. She fell back into the comfortable bed. It helped a little. The only real thing that had ever helped her sea sickness was Xena. Her presence, her voice. It kept the bard off her ailing stomach.
The two got comfortably situated on the bed. Xena sat up in the bed and Gabrielle placed her head gently down on Xenas lap.
"So, do you know anything about Sieves? Ever been there?" Gabrielle asked, making conversation. Anything to keep her mind of her raging stomach.
"Well, I was there .once."
"Let me guess, another one of your prospective conquest. Oh Please Xena, I really am not up to defending your honor once again. Not when Im only at half speed."
"Oh, dont worry. It was nothing like that. Believe it or not I went there on vacation."
"Really?" Gabrielle asked surprised. "I didnt know that Warlords went on vacation."
"We dont. But, well, I went to Sieves as a prospect for conquest. I went as more of a surveillance." Xena embarrassingly admitted.
"Ahhh, so the truth unfolds. So what stopped you?"
"The King. I met the man for dinner. Of course, knowing me, I made no attempt to hide my budding interest for land. And instead of the defensive, he welcomed me in. Brought me to his home, he introduced me to family. He was so kind to me and it had been so long since Id had any semblance of genuineness in my life. I was moved."
"He touched me somehow. He treated me like I was one of his children. I never really a father, you know."
"I know." Gabrielle said, sitting up and taking the warrior in her arms. It was her turn to offer comfort.
"I spent a week there. And it was incredible, I had such a great time. I couldnt attack them after that. After the way he accepted me. I put Sieves under my protection from then on. I never got back, but I never forgot it."
"One of the only good memories I have of that time." She said reflectively.
"Whats it like Xena?"
"Yeh." Gabrielle said in childlike wonderment.
"Well, I can honestly say it is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Simply breathtaking. It has all the corners of the earth wrapped into one island." Gabrielle closed her eyes as she tried to envision the island.
"It has the most beautiful beaches. The island also has a huge waterfall that, at night, glistens in the moonlight. It has a wooded forest like the mainland but also, towards the west had a small mountain range that is absolutely breath taking. Its wonderful."
"It is beautiful."
"Xena," Gabrielle spoke in a low voice. "Do you think Ill like it there?"
"Gabrielle, I think youll love it in Sieves."
The bard was warmed at her warriors assurance. A smiled coated her face as she slip back down to the bed. But the smile quickly vanished as she felt her stomach begin to churn.
Xena was alerted to the change in her soul mates disposition. She quickly reached over to side of the bed where she had strategically placed an empty bucket for such an occasion. Gabrielle stood up off the bed, giving her stomach some time to settle.
But, it wouldnt, instead it persisted. The bards green eyes widened and Xena quickly produced the bucket for Gabrielle to vomit into.
Another several hours would pass before the bard was finished and the bucket needed to be emptied. Xena, hated to leave her companion, but she needed a new bucket. She placed a light kiss on Gabrielles head and headed for the door, assuring the bard shed be back.
She headed up deck. Night had descending and the deck was conveniently vacant except for the captain at the helm. Xena walked over to the railing and dumped the contents of the bucket over into the sea. She walked up to the Captain.
"Excuse me, you wouldnt happen to have another bucket would you?" Xena asked surprisingly polite.
"Sure, over there." He pointed over to the corner. "Dont mind if I ask what its for?"
"Ah, a friend. She doesnt take to kindly to boats."
"Oh, the young light haired miss."
"Yes, thats her."
"Well, rest assured, we should be in Sieves by tomorrow evening." He smiled.
"Thank you." Xena said as she walked back down into the haul. She reached the door of their room and opened it to find Gabrielle lying in the bed.
"Xena, if I ask you, would you do anything for me?"
"You know it." Xena answered deeply.
"Promise." Xena said, putting a hand on Gabrielles stomach. Making soothing circles on the bards exposed midriff.
"Then kill me." Gabrielle said honestly.
"Im serious, Xena. Im not gonna make it through tomorrow. Gods, Im not gonna make it through the night. Please, just do the humane thing. Take me out." She groaned.
"How about plan B."
"Xena, there is no plan B. Just get it over with." Gabrielle tilted her head, fully exposing the length of her neck. "Use the pinch. Its quick, minimally painful. Please, just put me out of my misery!"
"Gabrielle ." Xena raised her voice.
"Ok. I know, I know. Ill stop. But, seriously, Im a woman in pain."
"Well, is there anything else, aside from killing you, that I can do to ease your pain?"
"Hmmm ." The bard thought for a moment before speaking. "There is one thing."
"Sing for me. Youre voice; its so soothing, so warm. I know it would just lull me to sleep. Please, sing for me." Gabrielle pleaded.
"Like I said, anything for you." Xena whisper into the bards ear. She began singing a lullaby she remembered her mother had sung to her. And, soon Gabrielle fell fast asleep in her arms.
Xena was not afforded the same luxury.
They arrived the next evening, in Sieves, as promised.
Gabrielle had jetted to dry land, but had refrained from kissing it .barely. Xena had earlier mentioned that they were on a royal ship and that thing just might be frowned upon. Instead, she was content to sit in the sand and revel in its beauty.
Xena smiled despite herself and the bards menstruations. Xena was content to watching Gabrielle, although she did feel somewhat compelled to perform her own ritual. Although she held no malice towards the sea, Gabrielles pain was her own. Relief was very much welcomed.
Rubrik had informed them they would set up camp for the night, for the palace was further inland and too long of a journey to travel at night. Xena had reluctantly agreed. Se had hoped this trip to take as little time as possible. She had some much needing bonding time with her bard planned.
The tents had been set up and Xena had once again requested to share Gabrielles.
"Have to make sure the patient has no relapses." She prudently explained. Although, the way Xena was feeling, separate quarters may have been a good idea.
Maybe it was the boat, the close quarters, but probably it was just Gabrielle herself. Either way, Xena was feeling very sexually frustrated. Although it had only been a little over a week, Xena was now deeply yearning. Well warrior, you can do without. You did for sometime while you were with her. Now you can while you really are "with" her. Come on, its only a couple of weeks .or maybe months or maybe even years. I hope Gabrielle feels ready to get married soon!
Gabrielle too, was feeling a bit of the urge. She, however, attributed it to her sea sickness. Ive only been without for a week or so. Must be some weird side effect of my sickness. Although, Ive never had it before. Of course, Ive never been sick while me and Xena were .you know. Anyway, I can deal! Gabrielle told herself, trying to strengthen her resolve.
Rubrik offered them a delicious meal which Xena decided to eat in their tent. She grabbed to portions for her and the bard and headed off in their direction before the man could protest. When she entered the tent, she found Gabrielle changing into a shift and instantly felt embarrassed on walking in on her soul mate.
She immediately lifted her hands to cover her eyes, but in doing so dropped the food. It fell to the ground with a loud "CLANK!" Nice one Xena! She berated herself.
Gabrielle, however, could only laugh at the precarious situation. My Xena, embarrassed. Well, this is a
rare occasion if I do say so.
"Ill go get two more plates." The warrior grudgingly spoke, heading out of the tent before her hidden blush became completely evident.
She returned to the tent several minutes later. Xena had given Rubrik some weak excuse about the food. Saying something to the effect that "It was so good, they just needed some more." It left no explanation for the missing plates. He still looked skeptical so Xena sent him a customary Warrior Princess scowl and he handed them over right away.
Xena stood at the entrance of the tent. To prevent from another embarrassing encounter, Xena decided to announce her presence.
"Gabrielle, its me." She called out. "Can I come in?"
"Of course Xena."
Xena entered, finding Gabrielle in a night shift preparing their bed rolls for the night. Xena set the food down in the opposite corner and waited for Gabrielle to join her. The bard shortly there after did, sitting down beside her companion.
The warrior princess blushed at the site of the Gabrielle in the white shift that was just a little bit see thru. The bard caught the color and fought it an occasion to tease the already embarrassed warrior.
"See something you like?" Gabrielle asked seductively.
"Yeh." Xena responded, dry mouthed. Her eyes never leaving Gabrielle.
"Really. Well, why dont you take a bite?" She spoke in a husky tone.
"Huh?" Xena asked, still have dazed.
"I said, take a bite." The bard giggled brought a piece of chicken to her mouth. The warrior realized she had been had and tried to hide her growing embarrassment.
"Geez Xena, youre turning into quite the blushing maiden arent you? Who would have thought?"
"Well something about the proposed sight of a naked bard sends me into a shade of crimson." Xena teased back.
"You know you have seen me naked before. Several times I might add."
"I know, but its just different." Xena admitted.
"Yeh, I know. Is that okay?"
"Definitely Gabrielle. I dont want you to do anything youre not comfortable with."
"Its not that Im not comfortable with it. Its just, I wanna wait. I want to wait so that next time, it will be ultimately special."
"I understand Gabrielle." Xena assured, placing a firm hand around the bards waist. "And, I meant what I said, Im willing to wait as long as you need me to. Forever, if need be."
"Forever?" Gabrielle asked lightly, placing a teasing kiss on the warriors collarbone.
"Forever." Xena repeated.
"Well, dont worry. I wont make you wait that long. Gods, I dont think I could wait that long. I just want us to have time to completely sort everything."
"I understand, whenever youre ready."
"Ok." Gabrielle grinned at Xenas reassurance.
They eat the rest of the meal in a welcomed comfortability. Sometimes they talked, sometimes they didnt. Gabrielle, despite her earlier stomach acrobatics, was feeling quite hungry as if that were a surprised. She polished off her plate in no time.
Xena, no wanting to explain to Rubrik why she needed yet another helping, pushed her plate in Gabrielles direction. The bard, at first, protested. But Xena assured her she had eaten on the boat and was not hungry. Gabrielle reluctantly accepted the plate and without effort finished that one off as well.
This time, seeing somehow the bard could still be hungry, Xena offered to go retrieve some more food. Gabrielle, however, refused stating she was full. The warrior looked at her skeptically, Gabrielle was never full.
But, the bard contented that the beast would rest for the night. She was very tired. Xena didnt need to be told twice. She quickly changed and jumped into the bed. She was all too happy to snuggle with her bard. My bard, I keep thinking that more and more often. Has a nice ring to it doesnt it.
Xena placed a curious hand and the base of Gabrielles back. The hand seemed to move of its own will. It swung around Gabrielles hip and down her behind. It began a steady climb up the bards stomach and reached right below her chest. Temptation was setting in. Gabrielle grabbed the hand with her own.
"Xena!" She scolded.
"What?" She exclaimed, trying to hide the fact that shed been caught.
"If I didnt know better warrior, Id say you were trying to cop a feel."
"Well I .what can I say, these hands have a mind of their own." Gabrielle gave a lighthearted laugh at her words, but immediately let her mood turn somber.
"Im sorry. I know how hard this is for you Xena."
"Its ok, Gabrielle. Forever, remember."
"Forever." The Amazon repeated.
Forever, they both thought, what a beautiful word.
The ride to the palace was a long one.
Although Rubrik had seemingly prepared for any and every occasion, it seemed he was short one horse. Gabrielle and Xena had agreed to share. After all, wasnt anything they hadnt done a thousand times before.
However, Gabrielle had strictly instructed Xena to sit up front. She couldnt trust the warriors wandering hands. Though, it seemed today Gabrielles moved of their own free will. She was everywhere. Rubbing up on Xenas stomach. Massaging the small of her back. At one point, she even began wracking her finger nails across Xenas inner thighs.
It was delicious torture for the warrior who threw her head back and simply enjoyed the sensation. But, after several moments, she realized they might be attracting somewhat of an audience so she reluctantly stopped the bards menstruations.
Gabrielle, in truth, had not even been aware of her actions. She was thankful to be behind the warrior so Xena was not privy to her deep blush.
"Now whos incorrigible?" Xena said in a throaty tone.
"Stop!" Gabrielle teased. "So how much longer before we get there?"
"Shouldnt be much further, should my memory fail me."
Knowing Xena had an impeccable memory, Gabrielle set out to spot the castle. She let her eyes scan back and forth over the horizon before she spotted something that looked like it could be the place.
"Xena, is that it?" Gabrielle asked, pointing to what she had seen.
"Yep, thats it Gabrielle. Shouldnt be much longer now." Xena assured as they trotted on. The nearer they got, the more in awe of the building Gabrielle became.
The Castle sat in the center of the local village, which she was informed was named Elieg. The whole settlement was based in the valley, surrounded by the protective mountain tops. The castle was a beautiful establishment. It stood towering above them. Engraved in the body work were several gargoyles, watching over all who entered. Instead of giving the place an eerie feel, it only served to heighten the mystery of the palace.
In the center of the Castle Stood a large tower, cowering all other buildings around it. Unlike its counterparts, the tower held no elegant design or intricate carving. It was just a tall stack with two windows on top. Strange, Gabrielle thought, have to ask Xena about that later.
They reached the inner sanctum of the castle. Servants took away their horses and gear to be placed accordingly. Rubrik led the two into the castle.
"His majesty is most eager to see you." He assured. He led them to two thick brass doors, delicately designed with gorgeous metal work. Rubrik entered the doors quickly, shutting them behind himself. Several moments passed before he resurfaced again.
"He will see you now." Rubrik said, opening the doors for the two ladies.
Xena and Gabrielle casually entered the room. A man stood at the head of it, his back to them. He was of a lean build, short brown hair, and from what Gabrielle could tell, about Xenas height. Nothing too out of the ordinary.
Then the man slowly turned around.
Both Gabrielle and Xena let out a sharp gasp.
"Hello ladies." He introduced himself, although the man needed no introduction. His face was one they knew all too well. "Im Autolycus, King of Sieves."
To Be Continued in Part II
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