Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle belong to MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No infringement on their rights is intended. All other characters are my own and belong to me.

Subtext Disclaimer: This story contains references to a loving relationship between two consenting adults, who happen to be of the same sex. If this offends you, or you are under 18 years of age, or you reside in an area where this type of material is illegal, read no more. There is plenty of general fanfic out there for you. Go find it.

Shock Factor: 0. Plan D #1

Timeline: Past, present and future.

Please send any comments to asdease1@gte.net

Don't drink and drive!

Enjoy, I hope.


Written by FlyBigD


“Oh boy.” Escaped as a whisper as Gabrielle's head plunked downward. Closing her eyes, she covered them with her hand and, pressing her thumb and middle finger, to her temples, rotated them slowly around, trying to massage away her mounting frustration. It was a valiant attempt and probably would have worked, if it hadn't been for one small thing . . . that noise.

A low, rolling rumble, it was still too far away for the average person to hear, though, for the bard, who'd been listening to the sound, for years, picking it up, even from great distances, had become almost second nature. And, there it was, again. Giving the international signal of resignation, the bard shook her head, ran her fingers through her short blonde hair and opened her eyes. Resting her chin on the heel of her hand, she scanned the room watching the tops of twenty-eight heads bowed in consternation. Why does she always do this on test days , she thought. Not knowing the answer, she watched her students as they racked their brains trying to remember why they had taken this class, in the first place, and, more importantly, who the hell was Anaximenes and what was his philosophy. Smiling, she noticed that Jeff was chewing the end of his pencil. Not a good sign , she thought and spotted Mr. Daniels leaning suspiciously to his right. Prepared for such occasions, Gabrielle picked up a rubber band, from a small pile, on her desk and took aim. Letting it fly, she gave the young man her best stern look, when he glanced up, raising an eyebrow for added effect, and nodded as he shifted back to his left.

Sensing she was being stared at, Gabrielle glanced to her right and found a pair of gray eyes quickly replaced by auburn hair. The big lug , she smiled to herself while David pretended to take the test seriously. He's got it bad , she thought and heard the rumble again. Listening carefully, she glanced at her watch. Maybe , she hoped to herself, she'll get caught at the light. Turning to stare out the window, the bard concentrated. Red, red, red, turn red. The rumble died down, then began a slow fluxuation between soft and loud. Thank the gods. Relieved, she took a deep breath and held it, then let it out slowly as she relaxed. Closing her eyes again, she smiled. Just five more minutes , she thought. Just five more minutes.

"You've got five more minutes." The nurse said, standing in the doorway.

Xena growled over her shoulder until the woman disappeared, closing the door, behind her.

"Xena." Gabrielle whispered, taking the warrior's hand.

"Gabrielle." Returning her attention to the bard, she leaned down close to whisper softly. "I'm here." Brushing a gray hair from her friend's brow, the warrior ran her hand gently over the rough stubble of the bard's face. "You need a shave." Giving the old man before her a warm smile.

Smiling back, she looked up at a face as male and as wrinkled as her own and couldn't help but laugh, even though it hurt. "I'm not the only one." Reaching a shaky hand upward, she ran her hand slowly over Xena's chin. Funny , she thought, no matter what body our souls are put into I never get tired of that face. Laughing again, a pain shot through her chest, causing her to cough violently.

"Easy." Xena soothed, taking the shaking hand, she brought it to her lips and kissed it. "Easy, Gabrielle." Placing a gentle hand on the bard's shoulder, the warrior waited until the spell subsided then leaned in closer. "I've gotcha. Just hang on to me."

Closing her eyes, Gabrielle smiled through the ebbing pain then suddenly felt it coming and squeezed the hand holding her's so gently. "Xena."

"Right here." Realizing that her own hand was shaking, she tried to focus and felt the bard's grip slacken. "Gabrielle." Her head began to shake slowly as the grip weakened. "No, please. Just stay a little while. Don't go."

"I love you, Xena." She said softly, as a light appeared in the distance. Slowly the pain continued to ease off and she heard the voice calling her name fade into the distance. "I'll be waiting for you." Her voice barely audible.

"Gabrielle! Gabrielle!" Gripping the hand tighter, hoping for a response, Xena looked down at her partner with tears in her eyes. "No! Gabrielle! Nooooo..." Then came the gut wrenching scream that had come so many times before.

Gabrielle sat, watching angels as they walked here and there. Although her times in paradise had always seemed too short, she enjoyed the peace it brought and sighed, knowing that soon Xena would be there and they'd start the journey again. How many times have we done this? She asked herself. How many times have we traveled the circle? The question was rhetorical, because the answer didn't really matter, at least, not at the moment. Having spied a small group gathered, across the way, the bard focused her attention on them and the side-long glances, they'd started giving her. "Now, what?" She wondered, knitting her brow. Staring at them, the bard's curiosity began to bristle and she finally got to her feet to quell her infamous nosiness. "What's going on?" She asked as the angels parted before her, trying unsuccessfully, to hide their smirks. "All right, give." Placing her hands on her hips, she saw a young woman point to a medium sized rock and walked towards it. Getting closer, she realized it was a reflecting pool. "Who are you snooping on?" Leaning over slightly, she gazed at the still water. "Xena!" Looking up, she saw some broad smiles and heard a few ill hidden snickers. "Gods, what's she done, now?" Rolling her eyes, she returned them to the pool to find out what trouble her soul mate was stirring up.

Still in the body of an eighty-something year old man, Xena was pacing back and forth, in a small room, waving her bony arms around and shouting. Though, just what she was saying and who she was supposed to be saying it to, Gabrielle didn't have a clue. Because, from what she could see, the only person in the room was the warrior. "Has she gone crazy?" She whispered, confused.

"That depends on who you talk to." Coming up from behind, Michael tucked his wings and looked down at the water.

Lifting her head, the bard turned to give him a concerned look. "What's going on?"

Not taking his eyes off the scene, he shook his head. "Unless I'm mistaken, I believe Xena is throwing a fit." Suddenly, the warrior picked up a vase and sent it crashing into the wall, across the room. "Yep, that's a fit." Smiling, the angel tapped the edge of the pool with his finger.

"Michael?" Placing a hand on his forearm, to get his full attention, Gabrielle searched his smiling face. "What's going on?"

"Apparently Xena is not too happy with her current trip through the circle." Pointing at the reflection.

"Why?" Glancing down, she saw another object disintegrate against the wall. "I know I was only with her for two days, but her life couldn't have been that bad." Ow. She thought, cringing. That looked expensive.

"That's the problem." Shaking his head, as the old man struggled to pick up a chair.

"What?" Almost mesmerized by what was taking place, the bard listened to his explanation.

"She's not happy about spending eighty-six years looking for you, only to have two days before you left." She's gonna strain something, he chuckled to himself.

"Don't laugh." The fury showed on Xena's face and it hurt her to see the warrior in pain. "I wish I could help her."

"Oh, she's not the one who needs the help." Wincing, he closed one eye. "Ooo, he's gonna feel that one, in the morning."

"What?" More confused than before. "He who? What are you talking about?" There went another vase. How many of those things does she have? She thought, in wonderment.

"Oh, right. You can't see them." Michael waved his hand over the pool, causing the reflection to ripple then calm.

"By the gods." Gabrielle whispered as the image changed and some familiar figures appeared in front of the wall Xena was hurling projectiles at. "That's..." Pointing at the pool in disbelief, she was suddenly speechless at what she saw.

"Yep." Michael nodded, with a smile. "A who's who of the powers that be. Look out! Incoming!." Grimacing a tad, he thought that one was going to require some medical assistance. "You know for an old man, she got quite an arm." He commented dryly.

If Gabrielle hadn't been so shocked at the scene, she would've laughed. Bobbing and weaving, like punch drunk prize fighters, TPTB seemed to be having little luck either soothing the warrior's ire or evading her aim. "What's going on?" She asked absently.

"I told you. Xena's having a fit." Ouch , he winced as another vase found a victim.

"I can see that, but why are they there?" Shifting her torso to the left, in an unconscious attempt to help the wayward PTB. the bard watched as the onslaught paused while Xena ranted and looked for something else to throw.

"According to unofficial sources." Clearing his throat, Michael glanced around at the other angels. who hadn't gone far and were standing on tip toes to see the action. Giving them an admonishing archangle glare, he waited until they moved to a discreet distance before whispering to the bard. "She's calling in her markers."

"She's what?" Turning her head, the bard stared at him in another round of confusion.

"Calling in her markers. Favors" Seeing that he wasn't getting through, he explained further. "You know, as well as I do, that over the centuries, Xena has pulled a few godly butts out of the fire and now she's using those instances as leverage."

"Ahhh..." As the light finally dawned, Gabrielle turned back to the pool, remembering their previous lives and took stock of the bodies present. "That's about everybody." Nodding, she smiled, then leaned down for a closer look. "Why can't I hear what they're saying?" Staring intently at the image of the warrior, she watched her lips move and winced. "Never mind."

"Mmmmm, she has always had a way with words." Able to hear what was going on himself, Michael blushed at the less than heavenly language being used.

Almost able to feel the heat of his blush, she looked up to smile. "Don't want to singe any feathers, huh?"

"To say the least." Nodding, he shook his head, then lowered it to watch the event of the universe. Apparently Xena had given up on trying to hurl furniture and had moved closer to TPTB to continue her assault verbally, with a few added gestures thrown in for good measure. "She's pissed." Chuckling softly, he saw that the TPTB knew exactly what the gestures meant.

"Michael!" Using her best 'you're and angel and therefore you're not supposed to use words like that' tone, Gabrielle smacked him on the arm.

"Right. Sorry." Rubbing the offended appendage, he shrugged then went back to being the studious Archangel that he was supposed to be.

Her eyes glued to the pool, the bard watched closely while her emotions swung between pride at Xena's ability to stand against TPTB and a sense of concern for the love of her lifetimes. It was evident that TPTB were not happy campers; who would be in their position and although the onslaught of projectiles had ceased, they were now putting their respective feet down. Shaking their heads, there were a few stoic figures with arms folded across their chests, but they were obviously united in their stance. Whatever Xena was asking for was apparently out of the question, no matter how many markers she had and they were not going to cave in to her tantrum.

To Gabrielle, this seemed like a very bad idea. Xena didn't like to hear the word no and in her present mood, the word could have cataclysmic consequences, despite the body her soul was in and this fact was demonstrated when the old man straightened to his full height, cracked his neck and put two wrinkled hands on hips. "Oh, shit." She whispered in the most heavenly of places and closed her eyes, but not before seeing the last signs of an all out explosion ready to go off, which was one gray eyebrow going up on the mighty warrior princess' forehead. Placing both hands on the edge of the pool she felt a tremor shake the stone enclosure.

Now, keeping tabs for both of them, Michael saw Xena hurl herself at the nearest supreme being, her hands aiming for his neck. “Oh, boy.” He whispered, cringing in empathy. Then, just as quickly, the angel's expression changed to one of confusion, when the warrior suddenly froze, mid-throttling. Frowning at the pool, his gaze danced around the scene, looking for the source of the interruption and, there, to the right, a few feet behind Xena, it shimmered into view. Uh oh. He thought, his eyes going unnaturally wide.

The new arrival made no move to seperate the static warrior from her prey. Instead, she just stood there, arms folded relaxed across her chest, staring meaningfully at the godly line-up. Then, a few moments later, having apparently driven her point home, she turned and popped back out of sight. A heartbeat after that, the action resumed, but not for long. Throwing up his hands, the god within Xena's grasp gave in, albeit grudgingly, to the warrior's request, at which time the entire lot of them vanished and the old man fell to the floor, clutching her chest. A shockwave followed, shattering the image into fractured shards. Shaking his head at what he'd seen and knowing what was coming next, Michael let out a heavy sigh. “Here comes trouble.”

Xena appeared from the mist, back in her old body, but in no better mood. “Gabrielle!” She shouted, as she tromped around, searching for the bard. “Gabrielle!”

Having missed the last bit, because her eyes were closed, Gabrielle's lids shot up in surprise. “Xena?” Turning, she saw the warrior, in the distance. "Xena! Over here.”

At the sound of her name, the warrior's head snapped to the left. Spying the bard, she made a bee line in that direction, sending up whirling tendrils of mist, as she passed.

Watching the warrior approach, Gabrielle couldn't help, but smile. “Now, that's the Xena I remember.” Murmurning to herself, she held out her hand, as the woman she loved drew near and nearly had her arm yanked out of the socket, when Xena took her hand and kept right on going. “Xena, what are you doing?” She asked, stumbling forward.

"C'mon. We're leaving." With the bard firmly in her grasp, Xena turned on her heel, heading back into the mist. When a hand touched her shoulder, she stopped, slowly rotated her head until her blazing blue eyes found the source of the annoyance and growled.

Michael, wanting to keep his hand attached, removed it from Xena's shoulder and, letting her go without further delay, used it to give Gabrielle a parting wave . "Have a nice trip." He added with a smile and got a crude modern gesture as a response. "Oh, that's not nice."

Faith felt her butt hit the sidewalk and looked up at the boy laughing at her. "Butthead!" Kicking out with her leg, she tried to get up, but was pushed back down by the same leader of the pint sized brat pack. "Hey!"

"Look guys, the runt can't get up." In mock dismay, the boy laughed again as the blonde squirt tried to get up again. Giving her another shove, he got a round of laughs from his buddies at the girl's predicament.

Realizing that she couldn't take on these bullies with bulk, she switched to a verbal assault. "Look, you goat faced, smelly, flashback to the sixties pin head, if you don't leave me alone, I'll..."

"You'll what?" Bending down, he hovered over her like a predator ready to pounce and drew back his hand to strike, but froze mid stroke.

Faith cringed at the expected blow and waited for the pain, which didn't come. Opening one eye, she looked up at her assailant and was surprised to find a pained expression on his face. Confused, she followed his gaze to see a dark haired girl to her left. Checking closer, she realized that the girl had stopped the blow and was now holding the boy's wrist in a white knuckled grip.

"Let go." Goat face said as he tried to break free, unsuccessfully. "That hurts."

"Funny, I don't feel a thing." Smiling, Xena pulled the bully towards her and tightened her hold.

Being only eleven, Goatface hadn't had a lot of experience with icy stares, but, even at that age, he had definitely been around long enough to know mad, when he saw it, and, as he tore his gaze away from the girl's crushing grip, to her firey blue eyes, mad was definitely what he saw. “I . . . I . . .I'm.” He stammered, under his breath.

"If you ever touch my friend again," dropping her voice as low as it would go, she snarled, "I'll tear off your head and shi..."

"Xena, no!" Shaking her head, Faith held up her hand for an instant, giving the dark haired girl a warning stare, then flicked the stare to her hand, when she realized what she'd said. "Xena?" She whispered and brought her hand back down, turning it over in confusion. "Who's Xena? Where did that come from?"

Never taking her eyes off the bully, the dark haired girl just smiled. "I think you get the point." Arching an eyebrow, she watched the bully nod his head furiously. Smiling bigger, she unwrapped her fingers, as the group took their cue and dispersed. Well, ran like their butts were on fire, actually.

Faith watched her tormentors disappear in the distance and then looked up to see a hand reaching down to her. Not knowing why, she smiled as she took it allowing the other girl to help her to her feet. Brushing herself off, Faith bent down to retrieve her books from the grass and noticed two bare feet in front of her. "Where are your shoes?" She asked, annoyed at the sight, then slowly raised her body and took stock of her rescuer in the process. No shoes, tattered cut-off overalls, long legs, hands on hips, tan skin, t-shirt, no sleeves, dark hair, evil smirk, straight nose, baby blue eyes... "By the gods." She whispered as a freight train ran through her brain and the world went dark.

"Gabrielle?" Cradling the bard's head in her lap, Xena had a worried look, as she stroked her friend's pale cheek. "Gabrielle?"

Hearing her name, the bard's eyes fluttered open. “Xena?” She whispered, her eyes trying to focus on the face staring down at her. "Is that you?"

"In the flesh." Relieved, the warrior's mouth creased into a wide smile. "You know, you had me worried, there, for a minute. I thought I'd lost you, again."

"What happened?" Gabrielle's mind was clearing and she quickly discovered that it was filled to the brim with memories. Lots and lots of memories. Lifetimes worth of memories. Grabbing the crammed item, she groaned softly.

"Flashback." Running her fingers gently over a sweat moistened brow. "Sorry, I didn't have time to warn you. It's the memory dump. Now your head is full of all the memories of our past lifetimes." Smiling in empathy. "Hurts, huh?"

Nodding, she stopped instantly when a pain shot up from the back of her neck. "By the gods." Putting her hand over her eyes, she tried to sit up, but fell back with the pounding in her head, making her dizzy.

"Here." Placing her hands on the bard's temples, Xena began a gentle massage. "Better?"

"Yes." Letting out a soft moan, Gabrielle relaxed. "Oh that feels good." Lowering her hands, she kept her eyes closed while the warrior continued to use her skill to get rid of the killer migraine. After several minutes, the pain was gone and she opened her eyes again. Taking a deep breath, she smiled up at her friend to thank her, but never got the words out. Staring upward, she saw a face she hadn't seen in over two thousand years and it was beginning to bring the headache back. Blinking a couple of times, she tilted her head for a better look then felt her forehead wrinkle. "Xena?"

"Hmmm?" Continuing the massage, the warrior smiled down at her.

In all her lifetimes, the bard had given up hope of ever seeing that face again, but even with that, she was amazed at how young Xena looked. "How old are you?"

"Ten." She admitted simply and watched Gabrielle's face go from curious to astonished.

"Ten!" Bolting to her feet, Gabrielle spun around to look down at the woman she'd loved for two millennia, in the form of a ten year old girl. There, sitting on the grass with her long legs stretched out in comfort, was the destroyer of nations, mother of peace and warrior princess smiling up at her as if this wasn't supposed to be a shock. "Ten?" Still trying to register the news, her brain suddenly took a side street that circled the block. "Well, then how old am I?" Almost afraid to ask.

Tilting her head, Xena's smile faded as she contemplated the question. Wrinkling her nose, she bit her lip, shrugged, then looked over at the books the bard had been carrying. "Six?" She said with a little conviction and turned to give the bard another smile.

Her eyes going way too wide, the bard looked down at herself. Seeing her outfit and the seemingly small body in it, she closed her eyes to concentrate. Pushing the old memories aside, she sorted though two thousand years and multiple lifetimes, to get to this one. When she did, she let out a small sigh as the answer came to her. Holding out her hand, all digits extended, she opened her eyes. "Five actually."

"I was close." Shrugging again, the warrior leaned back on her hands, crossing her legs at the ankles and took in the sight before her. Slowly a broad smile filled her expression.

"What?" Seeing the smile, Gabrielle put her hands on her hips.

"You were a cute kid." Giving her a wink.

"I was a . . ." Taking a closer consideration of her present form, Gabrielle realized that Xena wasn't the only one in her original body and sighed heavily with this new knowledge. "Do I even want to know what you did to TPTB to get us back into these bodies?" She asked, again not really wanting to know the answer.

"Ummm..." Rolling her eyes skyward, Xena cleared her throat. "Well . . . "

"Never mind." Holding out her hand to stop the warrior before the truth came out, she shook her head and smiled. "That's my Xena."

Gabrielle opened her eyes as she heard, or felt the rumble draw slowly closer. Why does she have to do this on test days? She asked herself. Letting out a sigh, she turned to her students and noted that their training was complete because the Greek mid-term they'd been taking had suddenly lost it's allure and they were staring out the window in anticipation. Groaning inside, she shook her head and followed suit. Glancing out the window, she waited the ten seconds for the show to begin, as a tall, lean figure glided up on the two wheeled monster, then stopped. She also noticed that the rider had again failed to even consider parking in an actual space and instead had parked the Harley on the sidewalk. Making a quick mental note about flattening some tires on the beast, she arched an eyebrow when the rider unstrapped the black helmet and she went as slack jawed as her testosterone filled, non-test taking students, when the warrior princess emerged. Taking a sudden quick breath at the sight, she thought that somewhere in two thousand years she should've gotten used to these little displays, but felt her heart begin to pound despite this insight.

As the other blonde eyebrow went up, she saw long dark hair tumble down, released from it's fiberglass prison and could feel the oxygen level drop in the room as Xena bent over toward the class. This sent her dark hair tumbling forward and she shook her head to get rid of any signs of 'helmet hair' before she straightened, sending the dark wave back to fall down her back. With this done, the helmet went on the gas tank and the warrior moved on to the next oxygen depleting action, which was the sloooow removal of her black leather jacket. Unzipping the item with a calm ease, it came off at an agonizing pace, shoulder by shoulder. "Breathe." She whispered, reminding herself and her students to exhale before they passed out.

Her eyes glued to her warrior, Gabrielle watched the jacket get placed by the helmet, then a set of jeans covered, and oh so lusciously long legs swing over the tank bringing Xena to a standing position, as she stretched and flexed her cowboy booted feet. This move elicited another round of gasps that permeated the room and masked the bard's own intake. Then came the sunglasses, removed slowly, folded together, as one arm slid beneath the fabric of the 'I should've never bought you that' low cut, v-neck, dark blue, I'm too sexy for words t-shirt.

With a little stretch of the arms, Xena turned to see the gawking faces through the glass and smiled at them. Finding Gabrielle amongst the crowd, she flicked her eyebrows once and waved a fingers only wave.

Waving back, Gabrielle imagined the idiotic grin on her face, but couldn't prevent it and caught a few extra waves out of the corner of her eyes. Moving them to the left, she watched the warrior disappear up the sidewalk, then though the double doors. This broke the spell she'd been under and she glanced at her watch, then sighed. She's got this down to a science, she thought and waited. Looking up she found that her students had recovered, although not completely, some still had drool on their chins, but were making a concentrated effort to pack up their things. "Okay." Clapping her hands to finally snap them out of it, the bard stood and moved to the front of her desk. "Remember that those essays are due on Wednesday and put your tests on the table by the door as you leave." One, two, three. The bell rang, just as the door opened. Refusing to even look at the woman, the bard folded her arms across her chest, leaned back against the desk and waited for the room to empty.

Xena held the door open and smiled as the boys filed past her, giving a wink here and there, until the last one straggled out. That one she glared at and remembered not to growl as he went past. "Big lug." She hissed at his back. Knowing David was always the last one to leave, she entered the room, closing the door behind her.

"You are in such big trouble." Her head held low, Gabrielle lifted her eyes only to shoot daggers at the warrior and began tapping one foot in agitation.

"What?" Apparently surprised by this announcement, she gave the bard an innocent look as a defense.

"You know what." Pushing off the desk, she walked over, unfolded her arms and placed a finger right above where the sunglasses hung. "And don't give me that look." Giving the warrior a one fingered shove.

"What look?" Sticking to her innocence, Xena saw that it wasn't working by the scowl on Gabrielle's face and decided not to push her luck. Switching to plan beta, she put on her best pout. "I'm sorry."

"It's not working." Waving a hand in dismissal of the quivering bottom lip, Gabrielle picked up the tests beside the door. Returning to her desk, she sat down and ignored the fidgeting warrior princess.

Damn, she thought, she's really pissed. Okay, I can do this. I'll just have to go with the old standby. Plan gamma with a smile. "Hungry?" She asked hopefully and smiled her best smile.

"No." Flipping through the papers, the bard squashed the plan flatter than the pancakes she'd had for breakfast.

Xena's smile faded instantly and was replaced by a sincere expression of loss. Closing her eyes, her shoulders slumped in defeat and she leaned against the door to let out a heavy sigh. "I don't have a plan delta." She said under her breath and put on a real pout.

"Wouldn't do you any good if you did." Gabrielle stated firmly, keeping her eyes on the papers and away from the irritation at the door.

"Gabrielle. . ." The warrior began, but stopped when she opened her eyes to find two green anger-filled beams glaring at her. "I'm sorry." Lowering her head, she let out another sigh and studied her boots. After a few minutes, she lifted her baby blues and saw the bard flipping through the papers. "I. . ." She began again, but was again stopped in her attempt at an apology when those fiery emeralds found her.

"Xena." Her agitation in full swing, the bard pushed the papers aside and looked at her sad excuse for a best friend and wife. "Why do you do this?" Resting both elbows on the desk, she clasped her hands together, waiting for the answer.

"Because it's fun?" Xena answered with a smile, then lost it a second later with the unamused stare she got. Wrong answer, she thought and scratched her cheek. After another minute, she shrugged. "I don't know." Studying her hands. "You used to like it."

"Yes I did. Fifteen hundred years ago when there were no such things as sidewalks and my students were Greek and you were still riding a horse." Feeling her frustration slipping, Gabrielle rolled her eyes, bringing them to rest on the tall, dark, beautiful, dejected warrior princess. "Xena, we aren't in Greece anymore."

"I know that." Refusing to meet the bard's gaze.

"And we aren't kids anymore. Your Dad may be Superintendent of Schools, in this county, but not even he can keep me from getting fired if you keep this up." Without looking, she pointed to the motorcycle parked on the sidewalk. "This has got to stop, Xena." Sounding harsher than she intended, the bard could see the sadness in those baby blues as the warrior looked at her, then out the window. "What am I going to do with you?" She asked herself softly, but knew the answer already and gave into her fate and let out a heavy sigh while her hands moved to collect her things. Picking up the briefcase beside the desk, she placed it on top, opened it, then picked up the tests, placing them inside. "Why don't you go home, Xena. I'll be there in a little while." Her eyes on her work, she avoided seeing another pout.

"Gabrielle. . ." Looking away from the bike, Xena started to apologize when something brought her eyes back to the windows. "Bitch!" Growling out the word.

"What?" Gabrielle's head shot up to glare at the warrior. It took a moment before she realized that Xena wasn't making the biggest mistake of her life and she followed her gaze out the window to a see a large, heavyset woman walking toward, what had affectionately been labeled by her male students as the 'blonde bombshell.' "Oh, no." She said as the breath left her body and what was left of her day went straight down the crapper.

"If she touches my bike. . ." The threat left hanging, the warrior spun around, opened the door and was down the hall before the bard had a chance to stop her.

Glancing down at her desk, the bard tried to decide if she should take the tests to grade or try to find boxes to pack up her stuff, knowing a dead 'grinch' would surely end her teaching career. Looking back out the window, she saw Xena burst through the front doors and approach the the larger woman with ill intent. "Oh boy."

"Don't you touch her!" Coming up behind the woman, Xena quickly passed her and placed herself between the moving mountain of human flesh and her pride and joy.

Mrs. Lynch sized up the woman in front of her, and was unfazed, nonplused and unimpressed by the twig with hands on hips, so she huffed. "You're too late, missy. I've already called the tow truck and they're coming to take that thing away once and for all." Raising up to her full height, which matched the twig's, she puffed out her considerable chest and smiled triumphantly.

"Thing!?" Feeling her blood starting to boil, the warrior saw red and took a step closer to her victim, giving her the most lethal glare imaginable. "That is no thing. Mrs. Grinch." She said through gritted teeth and pointed behind her. "That is a motorcycle and it happens to be a classic."

"That's Lynch and I don't care what it is." Moving a step forward, she continued to smile, showing the lack of awe. "It's got wheels and it doesn't belong on the sidewalk."

One more step and Xena closed the gap between them. "Now you listen to me." Bringing a single finger up, she put it an inch from the 'grinch's' nose. "You so much as look like you're thinking about touching my bike and I'll . . . rip . . . your . . . something . . ." Losing her legendary focus, the warrior caught sight of a sight that made her forget what she was mad about and virtually everything else she knew.

Stepping out of the building, briefcase in hand, Gabrielle walked out into the sun and stopped. Bending down, she placed the case on the sidewalk and looked up at the glowing orb, feeling it warm her body. Smiling, she unbuttoned the dark blue jacket she wore and pulled it off ever so slowly to reveal the dark green, low cut, sleeveless silk shirt beneath. Folding the jacket, she placed it over one forearm, then she bent over again to retrieve her bag. As she did, she gave the warrior an eyeful of what she had to offer, then straightened with a smile. Feigning complete oblivion to the warring pair, she continued to look upward as she started forward and ran a hand through her short hair, then gave her head a shake.

Wondering if she'd ever breathe again, Xena watched the show and felt the color drain from her face. When she got her eyeful, she gulped to keep from drooling and let a soft moan escape her lips. Running her tongue over the dry items, she continued to watch as her pulse sped and she wanted to look to see who Gabrielle was waving at, but her motor skills hadn't quite returned, so she just gawked instead. "By the gods." She whispered at the sight before her and when Gabrielle turned the corner in front of her, with a swish of her hips, then gave her a wink and a smile, Xena's knees went weak, but she recovered instantly and followed the bard with her eyes, pushing the mountain out of the way when it blocked her view.

Pausing in her display, Gabrielle turned to glance over her shoulder and gave the warrior a sultry smile, as she ran a finger over her bottom lip for fun. "Xena, I'll see you at home?" Asking the question in their native tongue, she didn't wait for an answer and turned back to walking down the sidewalk. Adding a little more sashe' to her sway, she nearly lost it when the bike horn sounded and she had to fight the urge to burst out laughing.

"What did she say?" The 'grinch' asked, totally confused by the recent chain of events.

"It's all Greek to me." Xena managed with a smile, just before her legs gave out and caused her to step backward for support, which she found in the handle bar of the bombshell and it's horn. Moving her hand, she silenced the sound, but held on when the bard turned to walk backwards a few steps and gave her another wink and a wave. "Oh, my." Feeling a message come up from parts south, she sent another wash of saliva down her throat.

"Did she just wink?" Frowning, the 'grinch' turned back to the twig.

Her heart pounding in her ears, the warrior's brain finally got some blood and she pounced on the effects of coherent thought. Taking action, before the real bombshell could get any further away. "That's for me to know and you to mind your own business." She said with a smile and hopped on the motorcycle, flipped up the kickstand, then flipped out the kick start and began stomping the pedal for all she was worth. "Come on, baby. Don't fail me now."

"And what do you think you're doing?" Remembering why she was out there in the first place, Mrs. Lynch moved to stop the menace to society from escaping, again. "You're not going anywhere."

"Look," her eyes still focused on the bard, Xena paused in her efforts to start the bike and pointed, "I haven't spent the last two thousand years hop scotching through bodies and saving up favors from the powers that be, to finally get these bodies back and have you stand between me and that bard now." Giving the crank another kick, the engine turned over. Sitting down on the seat, she pulled the clutch in, dropped the gear shift into first, then released the clutch, easing the bombshell forward.

"What?" Hands on her hips, Mrs. Lynch didn't have a clue about what she'd just heard, but she was sure she had no intentions of moving.

Narrowing her eyes, the warrior tore them away from her favorite blonde to give the arch nemesis a look that was ten times more deadly than the one she'd gotten over the motorcycle. "Move, or die." She growled out, her voice blending with the low rumble of the engine.

Seeing the feral snarl on the woman's face, Mrs. Lynch chose the better part of valor and stepped aside. As the twig rode past, she watched her drive the thing down the sidewalk, to follow the little blonde. "I'm calling your father!" She shouted and shook her fist, then huffed and turned to make the call.

"Bite me." Xena shouted over her shoulder, as she slowed her approach to the bard. Not really wanting to change her view for the moment, she followed behind the behind, matching the pace of those vertically challenged and incredibly sexy legs. Somewhere, way back in her mind, where rational thoughts were stored, a voice asked if this was really worth all the trouble she knew she was getting into. But watching the figure in front of her, all other thoughts that didn't concern getting naked and sweaty were pushed aside and the answer her brain gave was a heartily shouted yes! "That's the body I fell in love with." Flicking her eyebrows.

Gabrielle knew Xena was close behind her, how could she not know with the noise the engine made, but she chose to ignore that fact and continue walking casually, like she wasn't being stalked. Stepping off the sidewalk, into the parking lot, she held on to her feigned ignorance when she heard some very ugly words, thankfully in ancient Greek, pour out behind her and laughed as she imagined that the warrior wasn't too happy to discover that the blonde bombshell she rode, was too large to fit between parked cars.

"Gods! You're as bad as Argo." Pulling in the clutch and the brake, Xena managed to stop the bike, with the handlebars an inch away from two sets of tail lights and watched the bard get further away. Taking a deep breath, she set her feet firmly on the asphalt, then pulled back hard, until the front wheel was free to turn. Letting the clutch out slowly, she gave the throttle a little nudge and turned to head toward the end of the aisle. Keeping an eye on the blonde head, the warrior made the turn easily and caught up to be parallel with the bard. Holding the pace, she stood on the pegs to search for Gabrielle's final destination, then spotted the truck at the far side of the lot. Smiling, she gave the throttle another nudge, sending it ahead and made for the last row of vehicles. Timing it perfectly, she pulled up just as Gabrielle slipped in between her truck and the car beside her. "Hi." Putting the bombshell in neutral, she put her feet down and revved the engine.

Turning to see the grin on the warrior's face, she leaned against the truck bed and twirled her keys. "Hi." Smiling back.

"Whacha ya doing?" Flicking her eyebrows suggestively, Xena gave the throttle a twist.

"Waiting for you to move that thing so Glenda can pull out and I can get into my truck." Gabrielle said, giving the warrior her own sultry look.

"What?" Confused, she saw the blonde nod to the car beside her, then noticed the red and white tail lights lit up on the car. "Oops. Sorry." Smiling apologetically, she waved as she backed the bike out of the way. Waiting until it was clear, Xena pulled into the empty space, shut off the engine and put the kickstand down. Drinking in the vision, she tilted her head as she watched Gabrielle unlock the truck, open the door and toss her jacket and briefcase onto the seat.

Turning around, the bard felt, not for the first time in her lifetimes, like she was completely undressed while being completely dressed. "Ahem." Clearing her throat, she folded her arms across her chest and leaned against the truck.

"Hmmm?" Hearing something, Xena untilted her head when her gaze finally made it up to the bards face and found herself on the wrong end of an indignant glare. If she had been able to pry the grin off her face, she would've, but since she couldn't; she just went with it.

"Are you lost?" Gabrielle asked, raising both eyebrows for this question.

"Huh?" Losing a bit of her grin, she was shifting to a frown in her confusion.

"I said, are you lost?" Repeating the question, she said it slowly to make sure it was understood.

Looking around, she saw the parking lot and thought no, I'm not lost. "I don't think so." She said with a mild amount of confidence and turned back to the bard. "Why?"

"I figured you must be to actually end up in the parking lot." Pushing off the truck, she sauntered forward. "And in an actual parking space." Her smile belying her sarcastic tone.

Looking around again, Xena put her hands on her hips and frowned. "Damn. I was looking for the lunch room." Turning back, she discovered the bard next to her and her two favorite snacks at eye level. "And look. Here I am." Licking her lips, she leaned forward for a nibble, but was halted in her endeavor by a firm hand under her chin, which brought her eyes and her lips away from their intended targets.

"Xena." Making sure she had the warrior's full attention, Gabrielle waved a finger in front of the warrior. "The lunch room is closed." Smiling into those sparkling sapphires, she almost lost her resolve, but by sheer force of will continued. "Until you promise to stop parking your bike on the sidewalk and park it in the parking lot, in an empty space." Covering all the bases, Gabrielle closed any loopholes her wife might try to use and got a genuine pout in return, but ignored it. "Xena." She purred, letting go the warrior's chin and putting her hands on her hips.

Closing her eyes, the warrior took a deep breath, inhaling the faint hint of jasmine and baby shampoo, that was uniquely Gabrielle and let the breath out as a sigh. She was already fighting the urge to wrap her arms around the bard, which she had promised years ago not to do on school grounds and now it seemed that her last bit of pleasure was being wrenched from her. Finding the choice of becoming forcibly celibate and having to park in the parking lot a tough decision for about two seconds, she opened her eyes and fell into two deep green pools. "I promise." She said with a smile and gave up one pleasure for the ultimate in fulfilled desires. Adding a devilish glint to her grin, she leaned forward, with the hopes of finally getting close to the bard and kept right on going until the holes in the asphalt met her gaze, as Gabrielle stepped back. "So close." She whispered with regret.

"And." Not quite finished, Gabrielle returned to lean against the truck. "For disrupting my class, yet again. . ."

Hoping that by closing her eyes, she wouldn't hear what was coming next, Xena squeezed them shut.

". . . you have to help me grade the mid-terms." She said smugly and heard a groan, which was followed by Xena slumping further toward the ground. Nodding in satisfaction, she let out a soft chuckle.

So much for that theory, she thought and sighed before straightening to look at the smug grin on those disgustingly tempting lips. She hated grading papers worse than bamboo shoots under her nails, which she'd actually experienced. So, thinking as quickly as possible for an excuse, she fell back on the differences in their chosen professions. "Gabrielle. I'm not the one with the degree in Education, here."

"Your point being?" Having spent over two thousand years with Xena, Gabrielle still found herself surprised when something new was learned, but this wasn't one of those things. She was well prepared for the argument and had her weapon locked and loaded, ready to shoot down the warrior's sad reasonings for not wanting to grade papers.

"Don't you think those kids deserve to have their work graded by someone more qualified than I?" Fighting the urge to clasp her hands and plead, she hoped the bard would take the bait.

"Xena." Taking mental aim, she pulled back the hammer on her invisible pistol. "It's ancient Greek history." Finger on the trigger. "Who better to judge than an ancient Greek warrior princess?" Fire and smile.

Dropping her jaw, Xena rubbed her forehead feeling for the bullet hole that just had to be there. As her attempt fell to pieces, she surmised that love must be blind, because she never saw that one coming. Closing her eyes, knowing she was done for, she sighed. "Just tell me it's not philosophy." Still trying to find the hole, she let her hand drop to tap the black helmet still securely on the tank between her legs. No wonder they make you wear these things. Opening her eyes, she looked up to the bard with pure agony in her eyes. "Anything but that, please." Her shoulders slumped in defeat, she pleaded with her voice.

"Sorry." Bag it and tag it, she thought and smiled triumphantly. Turning as the warrior groaned, she slid into the truck and closed the door, then turned her smile back to the woman of her dreams. "Oh and Xena."

"What?" Gods, I thought trying to redeem myself for being a bloodthirsty warlord was bad. "What now?" Getting a little miffed at being out maneuvered.

"I love you." Starting the engine, Gabrielle smiled and winked as she put the truck in gear, backed up, then pulled away, leaving Xena to stare blankly after her.

Once the bard was out of sight, Xena resolved herself to her fate and put on her leather jacket. Then she tucked her hair in the helmet, fastened the strap and started the bombshell. Revving the engine, she mumbled inside the plastic shield. "I have really got to come up with a plan delta. That's all there is to it."

Xena smiled, chewing on the end of her red pencil. Propped up on one elbow, she admired her handiwork laying on the bard's bare back beside her. "Gabrielle?"

"Hmmm?" Stretched out on her stomach, Gabrielle stared through half-lidded eyes into the fireplace, watching the flames dance. Smiling, she felt the warrior's bare leg rub against her's under the blanket and wrapped her arms around the pillow under her head. Now this is how you grade papers, she thought and fluffed the pillow to get more comfortable, if that was possible.

"You must not be a very good teacher." Looking at the line of red circles she'd made on the paper and smiling wickedly. "This guy doesn't even know English, let alone Greek."

"What?" Broken out of her contentment, she frowned and raised up on her elbows to turn her head around. "What are you talking about?"

"This guy is a real rock." Lifting the paper, Xena tried to hide her smirk.

"Let me see that." Snatching the test out of the warrior's hand, she gave her wife an arched eyebrow glare before looking over the material with a teacher's eye. Seeing the damage done and the name on the test, she growled. "Damn it, Xena." Looking back at the warrior, Gabrielle swung hard, smacking a chuckling shoulder, before snatching the red pencil to begin trying to undue Xena's artwork. "David is not a rock. He happens to be one of my best students and just because he has a schoolboy crush on me is no reason for you to act like some jealous brat." Erasing furiously, she saw the red smear instead of disappear and sighed. "Look what you've done." Sounding as disgusted as she felt, she turned to hold the paper up, which resembled a bloodied parchment. "How am I supposed to explain this to him?"

"Tell him the dog ate it." Suggesting the unoriginal universal excuse, she patted herself on the back and got another hit on the arm. "Ow." Rubbing the pained spot.

"I'm serious, Xena. Just look at this." Shaking her head, Gabrielle considered what lie she was going to have to tell. It had been an essay test instead of one of those fill in the dots and there was no way she could ever forge the boy's handwriting. "This is hopeless." Sighing heavily, the bard dropped her head in despair. "I can't believe you did this."

Realizing she'd screwed up again, Xena's face saddened. Me and my stupid ideas, she chastised herself and felt all of an inch tall at that moment. "I'm sorry, Gabrielle." She whispered her apology.

"That doesn't help." Talking into the pillow, the bard closed her eyes.

Chewing the inside of her bottom lip, the warrior could feel the pain she'd caused by her joke and sighed. Placing her hand on Gabrielle's back, she began to rub gently. "I make your life miserable, don't I?" Wishing she'd learn when too much was too much.

"No." Sighing heavily, she lifted her head to look into sad blue eyes. "You just make it hard sometimes, ya know?" Wondering how many more times they were going to have this conversation.

Nodding, Xena lowered her eyes from the bard's gaze. Running her hand over Gabrielle's back, she thought of what they'd been through together and how, even though there were no more warlords to vanquish and no more real evil left in the world, that their lives were still full of turmoil. Yet, through it all, Gabrielle had stayed. She'd put up with Xena's antics for over two thousand years and somehow always found it in her heart to forgive her her fallacies. Remembering this, she raised her eyes to meet the disappointed ones of the woman who loved her. "You'd think," she said softly, "that after I'd fought so hard for a life and a love I needed so badly, that I'd be smart enough to find better ways to say I love you than little red circles on a piece of paper." Her face solemn, she leaned over, placing a soft kiss on the bard's shoulder. "I love you, Gabrielle." She whispered.

Setting the paper aside, Gabrielle sighed, then reached up to tangle her fingers in dark tresses. "I love you, Xena." Smiling warmly, she rolled onto her back, bringing the warrior on top of her and stared up into the blue eyes she'd missed for centuries. Tugging gently, she brought soft lips down to meet hers and melted into the warmth that was the warrior princess. That was Xena.

I think I found plan delta, she thought and lowered her body to cover Gabrielle's. Falling into the love in the kiss. Falling into the love that was her heart, her soul and her reason for living.


The End.

Epilogue: David, the big lug with the crush, never did find out what happened to his mid-term, since it was never seen again, although he was happy with the A+. Xena kept her promise about the sidewalk issue. She had her father put motorcycle parking right beside the sidewalk, much to the grinch's dismay and Gabrielle found a nice collection of posters of Greece, placing them neatly over the windows of her classroom, so there would be no more test day distractions, except by her desk, of course. She was the teacher, after all and therefore allowed to be distracted by the long leggy brunette that rocked her world.

Thanks for reading.


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