Summary: Here’s a little scene based on the Season Three episode, Been There, Done That, that I think many of us would have loved to see. What if it weren’t just Xena who knew that the day was repeating itself? What if someone else were using it to their advantage instead? What could possibly go wrong? What could possibly go right?
Sex: Despite the fact that this is a cute little fic, it does celebrate erotic love between two women. By describing it. In metaphoric detail.
Disclaimer: The characters Xena and Gabrielle were originally imagined by the creators of the television show, Xena: Warrior Princess. Xena: Warrior Princess™ is the copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. Use of this material, including the likeness of its characters and any material pertaining to Xena: Warrior Princess, is for personal use and entertainment only, and not for personal gain. There is no intent to infringe upon copyright or trademark. The creators of this project are not affiliated with, and do not represent any of the actors, companies, or organizations associated with Xena: Warrior Princess. All other original characters and stories in this series are copyright © Gili Estlin Hirsch 2019.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org and https://xenarevival.wordpress.com
Joxer had been long asleep, having bonked his head several times during the day—no more than usual, Xena noted—and the barn was surprisingly warm where she and Gabrielle sat behind a stack of hay that was off to the side. Xena took off her breastplate gingerly. Silently, Gabrielle eased it off its hooks, rubbing Xena’s shoulders with a strange force of habit, and the brunette, her feet crossed, turned, so her back was to Gabrielle, and used her right hand to lift her dark hair, leaning her tired neck on the blonde’s shoulder, yawning.
“Oof,” Xena let out a sigh of relief, and Gabrielle smiled. She partially unclasped and lowered the leather Xena was wearing, letting the straps fall; Gabrielle’s hair spilled down, framing her face like an undrawn curtain, and it made Xena bite her lip.
“Very rough day,” Gabrielle whispered into Xena’s ear, and the brunette shivered. Gabrielle knew what she did to Xena very well, and knew Xena knew what she did to Xena very well, but with the brick wall surrounding the topic, allowing for soft touches only in small holes in the structure, and Xena’s insistence that she will never deserve happiness, no clash could happen, no explosion, the one they both knew was impending, that would change everything forever when it came about. Xena closed her eyes but raised her hand to meet Gabrielle’s where the blonde rested it on her shoulder.
Xena moaned when Gabrielle traced her bare shoulders, then massaged them—gently at first, then strongly, writing letters on her skin. This was nothing unusual. Not the moans or the massages or the rest of it. Certainly not the letters. Xena nuzzled Gabrielle’s neck and the blonde laughed, straightening her legs so Xena could comfortably sit between them. They found themselves in this position—or something similar to it—every night. It a was a slow progression, as all progressions were with these two: from bringing bedrolls together inch by inch, to sharing a blanket, to Gabrielle’s shaking hand around Xena’s shoulder, to Xena’s soft massages when Gabrielle hurt her back, to them falling asleep together, their bodies intertwined.
It became a way to wash off the day to them. Bathe in each other’s skin. More often than not, it was Gabrielle carrying Xena’s weight, and that was the case this evening, as well. And Gabrielle was happy to do so. Xena adjusted herself so every part of her was touching Gabrielle, and Gabrielle in turn touched every part of Xena, rubbing her hand down Xena’s arm and massaging her shoulders. They were like rocks; Gabrielle knew that, even now in this moment, Xena was rigid, ready for a fight. Xena, she understood, eased herself for rest, dreamed, slept—made love—all with her hand ready at the sword. But she liked it anyway. And Xena liked the touch of Gabrielle’s fingers; they radiated heat all over Xena’s body and they’d make her feel as if she were melting into whatever part of Gabrielle that was touching her.
Gabrielle trailed her fingers back up Xena’s neck.
“Sounds like a nightmare,” she said.
“Recurring,” Xena said softly. Gabrielle with her arms on Xena, Xena with her arms on Gabrielle’s long legs, they found a pace that they kept up. Absentmindedly at first, the brunette began stroking Gabrielle’s thigh, right by where she was positioned, past the rhythm. Stronger. It didn’t occur to her at first what she was doing and then it did, and so she did it with greater intent. Yes, she was clueless. But by choice. And the truth of it was that she was afraid of her punishment and wanted to postpone it; but one moan out of Gabrielle’s mouth and her core shook and moisture began to build at the apex of her intent. And then with greater intent still, when she felt Gabrielle stop, Xena’s touch turned fluttery, and the trail of her fingers became longer and longer with each stroke. Gabrielle’s hand was stroking Xena’s hair. Xena kept raising her touch with every stroke, until she got what she wanted. Gabrielle couldn’t help a sharp intake of breath that echoed around the barn.
Xena halted her movements. Since her back was towards Gabrielle, she could more easily control her expressions, though neither Gabrielle nor Xena, it seemed, planned on moving. Xena was shaking, though, and Gabrielle placed an open hand on her clavicle, causing Xena’s head to jerk to the side, her turn now to breathe audibly, quickly, before her body turned rigid for a few moments—Gabrielle’s hand stayed where it was—and then, with no reason or explanation, she folded back into Gabrielle so she could feel her hand better.
If she’d just move her head to the right, Xena thought, if she’d just straighten her position and turn her head to the right, she could look Gabrielle in the eyes. Then there would come explanations and reasons, maybe confessions—on her part—maybe berating or rejection or pain from Gabrielle’s part, she didn’t know, and didn’t want to risk it, so she stayed where she was, except she sent her long arm back, behind her body, to touch Gabrielle’s side.
She felt her shudder.
There was a silence then, and the two women sat still, and the barn was still, the animals still at their sleep, Joxer still in his sleep. So maybe this ends here, Xena thought to herself. An inner voice rang in her mind: all these nights were just of platonic favors, a gift to a hero. Then came the mind of the true warrior—this is advancing towards romance. And you will not let it develop to that, since true love will not exist for you, not ever, not after what you have done. Parts of it stood too late. She had already loved Gabrielle a true love. Now the struggle was to keep her from loving back. To keep from satiating her infinite thirst for her skin.
Her body, her smile.
It left her struggling with the facade she had to put on every day. To the point where she cut corners in putting it on, where she let tears or needs escape, but only to be able to maintain it more somehow. Xena was no writer, no bard, but she knew to sing of Gabrielle—majestic with beauty, glowing with kindness. She thought it often, a choral voice damning her in its harmonious retort: but never yours, never yours; you are the dark one, you have killed and will again. She’d play the role of the princess. She is anything but.
Xena knew this read like one of the terrible tragedies—the ones she’d lie to Gabrielle about and say they were “very moving”—the heroine (was that her) wishes to redeem herself (she never will) and manages to (right on time) but must be punished eventually (it’s starting to make sense) for her crimes. Punishment by death. Death, death. Xena fought the way she did because she was haunted by death as much as it was haunted by her. When Lyceus died she went to the woods and fell on her knees—I didn’t ask for this, she had cried—and she did so often. Really until she met Gabrielle.
It happened, though, a few times Gabrielle was looking or watching when she lamented the things she could never have. She would lie then, flat out, fighting both the choir in her mind and, usually, Gabrielle’s hand on her shoulder or cheek. Xena’s acute remembrance of the faces of men she had killed, or women she had hurt, or children she had orphaned would surface. She would think herself selfish to have lied, to have not thought of that, and to have continued her foolish behavior. Her eyes would grow wide, then, feral, and, like a confessional, Gabrielle would absolve her; like a bird assembling a nest, she’d gather twine and twigs to wrap around her heart and keep it from spilling over with emotion.
Back in the barn, Gabrielle turned her head so it was buried in Xena’s hair. She felt warm to the touch, sweaty.
“You know,” Gabrielle said. “I’m still not 100% sure I know what you’re talking about.”
Xena said that she wasn’t either.
She knew enough to know the day would repeat itself, but not enough to know if Gabrielle would remember the events of the night prior. Every moment she spent talking and feeling regarding Gabrielle made her berate herself. She was a warrior. Her mother had told her love is mightier than the pen or the sword, but she refused it—not for everyone, she said, not for me.
“What the last thing you remember?” Xena tried. “From last night?”
Gabrielle placed her lips on Xena’s neck. Xena didn’t answer, but clenched her jaw, and after a few seconds, Gabrielle simply replied,
“I just remember waking up.”
“Dinner with Joxer? He dropped all the soup?”
Gabrielle shrugged. Her lips curled into a smile and Xena couldn’t see.
Xena’s breath hastened, and Gabrielle bit down on her own lower lip, trying to keep from laughing. Xena turned slowly. She wasn’t trying so hard to control her breath anymore. With the knowledge that what she did now probably would not be remembered taking over her slowly, her rigid body gave way a bit from its stoic evidence to comfort. She tried to speak a few times and couldn’t. When she did, she’d already been through this in her mind.
“So, it’s not just the morning,” Xena said. She rose quickly, pulling the straps of her leather garment back up. “It’s…what? After the stars come out?”
“That would make sense,” Gabrielle said. Her voice was already seductive, lowered. Waiting? Xena didn’t notice. She was breathing faster.
“I don’t know.”
“What’s the last thing you remember?”
A twinge of guilt awoke in Gabrielle when she had to improvise. But she was, after all, a storyteller.
“Coming back here, I guess?” She added a thoughtful face. “So strange. It just seems to…blur.”
Gabrielle felt guilt run through her. Not like her to lie. She stamped it acting, even when she did think again and again about whether this was in any way taking advantage of, or unwillingly extorting….
“What is it?” She heard Xena say. She acted slightly differently each night. She didn’t say that the night before.
“I was just thinking of what it could be.” Gabrielle cleared her throat. “And…and what will happen once it gets settled.” Gabrielle took a few steps closer to Xena. She looked for her direct gaze, now an expert in how she behaved when she was fighting what she wanted, and when she captured it with her own, she wouldn’t let go.
Xena swallowed. The distance between them was getting smaller and smaller. It occurred to Xena she should take a step back, and instead took a step forward. Close enough to touch, Gabrielle cupped Xena’s face in her hands. Xena hung her head immediately, slouching.
“It’s, uh,” Xena tried, and Gabrielle was getting closer—she was so warm, Xena thought, and Xena was so cold, so empty, and her powers of resistance were disappearing fast, “I think I…” she started, and Gabrielle, smiling, closed the distance between them completely, her thighs touching Xena’s.
“I think I found a solution. I think I settled it today,” Xena whispered. She wasn’t sure she had said anything at all. Gabrielle sent one leg forward and leaned into Xena, her hands still on the brunette’s face.
“Mmm?” Gabrielle said. Two nights before, they were both sitting together when Gabrielle finally kissed Xena, and then last night outside of the barn—but she liked this, she thought, heart pounding.
“I think so,” Xena nodded. She lifted her head in what she told herself was an effort to free her face of Gabrielle’s grip, but Gabrielle simply slid her hands lower, taking with her the straps of Xena’s leather shift.
“Gabrielle,” Xena whispered. She didn’t think they could get any closer, but they did, and Xena’s hands instinctively wrapped around Gabrielle, her right palm rubbing her skin. “We shouldn’t….”
Gabrielle brought her face as close to Xena’s as she could. With more information now than ever, she found she could shorten Xena’s torture over taking what she wanted—what was offered to her, what was already hers—and she was happy of it.
Gabrielle asked, on the first night, why Xena wouldn’t let herself, making the mistake of dueling in words with her. They slept in opposite ends of the barn. But the next night, she simply stopped her massage, asking Xena to rub a knot on her shoulder, and, as they switched places, she brushed her lips again the brunette’s.
Now she knew the key to snuff out the very last of Xena’s resolve:
Gabrielle kissed Xena, and Xena could have cried or fallen, her lips were so warm. She pulled back, like she did in all four previous nights. Gabrielle knew what to do now, though. She followed along Xena’s face, running her hand past Xena’s shoulder and resting on her cheek. She leaned forward.
“Xena,” she whispered, when she was so close to the warrior princess that her long, jet black hair fell upon her own cheeks. “I need you,” she finished her sentence, ready to grab Xena when she suddenly lost balance. Gabrielle hated this part. Xena’s eyes became bewildered and distressed; she shook her head, tears welling in her eyes.
“I can’t,” Xena whispered, and Gabrielle knew to hold her tightly to prevent her from turning. They were standing next to a tall pile of hay and were backing into it, Gabrielle’s hips and thighs insistent on touching Xena’s long legs and never breaking contact. Gabrielle nuzzled Xena’s ear. She brought her hand forward when she heard Xena breathing heavily, resting a palm across her chest.
“Xena,” Gabrielle started again. “Do you want this?”
Gabrielle closed her eyes. She knew what she would see if she opened them: Xena’s tortured features, and she selfishly wouldn’t look. Xena found no strength in her to get away.
“Yes,” Xena said. The word was clear, as was its intent, and it always had been, since this started, Gabrielle thought, and again tried to tell herself she wasn’t doing anything wrong by lying to Xena about what she remembered; that it was the only way they could finally be together, and Gabrielle ached for her, and hurt along with her when she knew she thought herself undeserving, and she wanted so badly to make that feeling go away. Gabrielle opened her eyes, wiping tears from Xena’s cheeks.
“You are good,” she whispered, and Xena opened her mouth to breathe better, shaking her head. Gabrielle nodded.
“You are good, and you deserve this,” Gabrielle whispered. “And so do I.”
Xena shook in Gabrielle’s tight grip.
“I know what it is you think,” Gabrielle said. “That nothing good can be yours after what you’ve done. But I’m here, too,” she said with a plea. “And I want you. I need you. So badly,” Gabrielle said, with more emotion and truth than the previous night. “Don’t punish both of us,” she begged. “Don’t punish yourself.”
Xena was still shaking her head when Gabrielle kissed her again. She allowed herself to melt into the kiss this time. How was Gabrielle so warm, so soft?
“You’re all I want,” Gabrielle whispered. She might have been playing on the spirits resuming the day, but everything she had said and was saying was the absolute truth. “I can’t be far away from you anymore.” She brought Xena’s hand to her bare stomach. “I won’t make it,” she breathed.
Xena was trying to think, or consider. Something in her said that this was alright since she was doing what Gabrielle wanted; another part said it was wrong because of the jolts of lightning that ran through her entire body, warmth washing over her. But the biggest part of her couldn’t think, trapped between the pile of hay and Gabrielle’s body. Rather than refusing or agreeing flat out, she closed her eyes, moving her face so it touched Gabrielle’s: her forehead, her cheeks, her nose. Xena moved, basking in the heat formed from nuzzling Gabrielle’s face, until Gabrielle’s mouth was on her forehead. Gabrielle kissed it, and Xena drew a sharp breath.
“Why,” Xena said. She didn’t ask. Gabrielle had answered this before.
“Because I love you,” she said immediately. Xena’s hand was still on her stomach, and she weaved one of her hands into Xena’s hair, leaning so close to her that her elbows rested on her shoulders.
“I love you so much,” Gabrielle said, and it sounded like a hymn, like a confessional. “And I’m a selfish girl,” she continued. “I want you to forgive yourself so you can be with me.”
Xena tore into Gabrielle with an icy blue stare.
“So I can be with you?”
“Tonight?” Xena asked. The last of her strength dissolved. She was melted in Gabrielle’s embrace.
“Every night,” Gabrielle said. “And every day.”
Xena shook her head again, and again, Gabrielle stopped her motions with a kiss. It was long this time, languishing. Wandering. Xena felt renewed somehow, her teeth nibbling on Gabrielle’s lip, her hands already untying her green top. Gabrielle didn’t like the break in contact. She turned slightly so she could kiss Xena again, and again realized her thirst was insatiable, that hours upon hours of kissing wouldn’t be enough for her.
Gabrielle scratched at Xena’s leather shift, not willing to stop the kiss in order to take it off.
“Easy,” Xena breathed, and her breath turned into a smile. She led Gabrielle’s hands to the clasps holding the outfit on her back, and Gabrielle opened them hurriedly, disobeying Xena’s reassurance; something had changed from the previous nights. Something had turned urgent. Gabrielle’s eyes were wide with surprise. She moaned from a place so low in her body that Xena’s knees buckled under her, and she let them, pulling Gabrielle down with her.
“What?” Xena whispered. Gabrielle found that she was blinking away tears. She lay on her back on the barn floor, unable to stop her hands from exploring Xena’s body.
“I just realized how much catching up I have to do,” Gabrielle said, surprising herself, and, lifting herself only enough to lose her top, she pulled Xena flush against her. I need you like water, I need you like air, Gabrielle thought, but didn’t say—were the spirits playing with her, now? The need in her built quickly, like a storm. Xena kissed her neck.
“We have time,” Xena whispered, and Gabrielle nodded, running her hands through Xena’s hair, saying nothing.
Xena was up before the sun. Nothing romantic about it, she didn’t like sunrises, not in particular. But it was strategically wise. The barn was warm. All the heat that had collected in it throughout the cold night was easing Xena’s bones, and the massage from Gabrielle helped, too.
She suddenly tilted her head sharply, the events of the evening prior—finally—returning to her, crystal clear. Crystal. The soup and the massage and the kiss, and the—she looked down. Gabrielle’s head rested in her lap, the blonde was blissfully asleep. Xena’s mouth fell open, her hands hovered above Gabrielle’s long blonde hair. She registered in her mind everything that had happened; every kiss and slide of the hip and finger and tongue. She remembered crying out, Gabrielle’s hand on her mouth barely muffling the sound, and she remembered her long fingers gliding over Gabrielle’s bare chest and waist, the skin there so soft always.
Now that she was awake, she realized how tired she was. How many hours they’d spent simply kissing, stroking each other’s bodies, making up for years of lost time and lost touch. Xena kept resting her hand on Gabrielle’s heart. Gabrielle placed her own hand on Xena’s.
“All day, every day,” she remembered Gabrielle saying. Xena didn’t move for fear of waking the blonde. They did it—they’d made love, they’d confessed their emotions towards one another, they’d come together over and over again, what they could never do before but ached to, both knowing the other ached to, as well. Xena stared at Gabrielle’s face. Oh, she let out a breath of air, oh, no. Was she trusting the night to make Gabrielle forget? Maybe she was. And maybe she will. A hurricane of thoughts barraged her: this isn’t for you. What did you do? You promised you’d never ruin her. You’re going to ruin her. You are no good for her. Isn’t what you’ve done enough? Xena shook her head, and Gabrielle stirred in her lap. She opened her eyes to steal a glance at Xena, and then, coyly, buried her face in Xena’s thigh, giggling.
Gabrielle’s soft hand went to Xena’s heart.
“Hi,” she said. Her voice was the happiest Xena had ever heard it. She wanted to take her hand and kiss it. She stroked her hair instead.
“Hello,” Xena said.
Gabrielle stretched, curling into Xena.
“Is today today or yesterday?” she wondered. Xena tilted her head again.
“I mean,” Gabrielle caught herself, rising so she was in a sitting position, “did you fix it? You fixed it, yeah? Yeah. You fixed it. Cause I remember…last night. Do you remember—do you remember last night? I remember last night.” Gabrielle stumbled over her sentences. “It just seemed like you remember last night, but you probably don’t remember last night, not that anything happened, I mean, not anything worth mentioning,” she coughed. “Last night.”
Xena sat up, holding her knees. She shrugged.
“No, I, uhm…don’t remember.” She followed Gabrielle with only her eyes. “I guess I’ll have to give it another go.”
“I guess so!” Gabrielle exclaimed. “And you should hurry! So many things to undo.”
“So many things,” Xena nodded. Her voice was deeper than usual, and Gabrielle shivered. The blonde bit her lip, looking away.
“It’s a big, uh…mess,” she tried to say. Xena closed the distance between them until her nose and mouth pressed against Gabrielle’s cheek.
“Huge mess,” Xena whispered. Gabrielle gasped.
“You’ll work it out,” Gabrielle fumbled, having a go at a fake laugh, until Xena grabbed her hand, easily laying her down on the ground and hovering above her. Gabrielle was cautious of this position. Her body would always start moving rhythmically, without her even consenting to it.
Xena shook her head, tutting her tongue.
“Gabrielle,” she said, her hands holding Gabrielle’s wrists above her, her body on top of the bard, straddling her. “Did you take advantage of me?”
Gabrielle, panicked, tried to think. Was Xena joking? Playing? Insulted? Forever?
“I didn’t—I don’t….”
Gabrielle tried. Xena stretched her body downward.
“Answer the question,” she whispered in Gabrielle’s ear, and her eyes found Gabrielle’s, green on blue on icy blue, all together like a small morning in only the infinitesimal distance between them. Gabrielle breathed heavily.
“Ye—yes,” she answered, breathing hard. Her body was already moving of its own volition, and Xena looked down, and laughed.
“Oh, you are a horrible girl!” Xena admonished, her smile mischievous. In a good way, Gabrielle thought. Hoped. “That is a terrible thing to do.”
Gabrielle nodded. Even though it wasn’t in her to ignore Xena’s almost naked body over hers, she nodded furiously. “I know. I know. It’s so bad. Please forgive me. I thought it would be the only way to—”
“To what?” Xena taunted. She leaned back, moving her hips so that they were over Gabrielle’s, pressing down. The blonde whimpered.
“To…to be. With you,” she managed. Xena began to move her hips and Gabrielle matched them in rhythm, automatically, channeling; she had no control over her body at all. She told herself to stop and then felt Xena’s breath on her neck.
“I—” She inhaled sharply, her mind becoming dazed. “I thought if you would…forget the next day, you wouldn’t…you wouldn’t say you’re not good enough for it, and it wouldn’t get ruined.”
Xena stopped moving. Gabrielle was filled with dread. Here it comes, she braced herself. She’ll leave. At least Xena would never hit her. The brunette rolled over, getting off Gabrielle, and hugged her knees again.
“How many nights?”
Gabrielle bit her lip and shook her head.
“I’m sorry,” she said. Tears were streaming down her cheeks, but she never intended them to. Xena shakily wiped them away.
“Is that what I do?” Xena whispered. “I ruin it?”
“No!” Gabrielle cried. Xena’s hand was on her cheek, and she leaned into it, desperate for comfort. “No. No, it—it gets…it gets—”
“Ruined,” Xena completed her sentence, letting Gabrielle’s head rest on her palm. “Because of me.”
“No, no,” Gabrielle said. “No, you never…please. Please,” she begged. “You never do anything wrong. Okay? This was me. It was me being selfish,” she whispered, pleading. “I didn’t want you to tell me this is too good for you to deserve, like you always do.” She found herself crying. “I just wanted you. I just wanted you…with me.” Gabrielle tried to demonstrate with her hands, weaving her fingers together. “And not to think about why it’s bad,” she said. “Xena—”
Xena lowered her head. She pulled her hand away from Gabrielle, and the blonde whimpered again.
“Please. It was a selfish, stupid thing to do. Please, forgive me.”
Xena was rocking back and forth. “Is that what always happens?” She looked at Gabrielle. Her head was rested on her knees so that her cheek was touching them. “Is that what I always do?”
Gabrielle, distressed, had no idea what to say, or do. She braved the odds and reached a hand to run down Xena’s dark hair. She did it slowly and found no resistance.
“Well,” Gabrielle said with hiccupped breaths, “because of all that’s happened to you, you think that—with all the pain, you don’t seem to think you deserve—” Xena’s eyes welled up with tears. “Yes,” Gabrielle finally managed. “Yes, yeah. You say you’re not good for me. You say you’re not allowed to be happy that way. And then it ends.”
Xena was quiet for a bit. Then she changed her position completely, grasping Gabrielle’s head and back and bringing her forward, flush against her.
“And what do you think?” Xena asked. In fear?
“I want you,” Gabrielle said. “You know that. I’ve told you.” She cast her gaze downward, only looking up when Xena coaxed her to, needing to see her eyes. “Not just in the night time—”
“Every night, every day,” Xena echoed Gabrielle’s sentiment from the night before. She was breathing heavily.
“By the gods,” Xena said. Her warm breath moved wisps of Gabrielle’s blonde hair. Gabrielle placed her hand on Xena’s cheek. “I was trying to be selfless!” she exclaimed, a sad smile on her lips. “I was trying to be selfless, and I took what you wanted away from you,” she said. “Didn’t I?”
Gabrielle nuzzled Xena’s nose. “It’s more complicated than that. With everything you’ve been through—”
“With all the joy you bring me.” Xena stopped her mid-speech. “With all the times I wanted to—”
She stopped. Gabrielle waited a bit, then drew in a heavy breath.
“All the times you wanted to what?”
“Kiss you,” Xena whispered, and she kissed Gabrielle. Just her lips at first, and it was like a silence fell upon the room. Then Xena pulled Gabrielle closer, and they kissed and kissed, running their hands across each other’s faces and shoulders, and then, Xena managed, “But you are too good for me.” She shook her head.
“No,” Gabrielle whispered, her lips still on Xena’s. “This isn’t you, alone. This is us. This is us together,” she tried. “I want you,” she said softly, and then cried again. “I need you.”
Xena breathed hard at the words. She pulled Gabrielle into a hug.
“And you were busy with what you didn’t deserve,” Gabrielle managed. “So, you made me undeserving of it, too,” she cried. Xena rocked her back and forth.
“I’m so sorry,” she said. “I’m sorry.”
Gabrielle’s cries subsided.
“Please,” she stared into Xena’s eyes, shaking. “Please don’t undo this,” she said. Her voice was barely audible. “Please don’t leave me agai—”
“No,” Xena said, wrapping Gabrielle up. “No, no. I’m here. I’m here,” she murmured. “If you want me.”
“You’re all I want,” Gabrielle said loudly, her words muffled by Xena’s shoulder. “I kept—I told you—”
Xena hushed Gabrielle. She stroked her hair and rubbed her back until she was calm, her face red. They both sat then, an even distance from one another, feeling the same exact pull they always felt when they were together.
“So, you tricked me,” Xena smiled.
“I thought it was the only way,” Gabrielle said. Her voice sounded so lost, it made Xena cry again. “I thought, even if only for these four nights.” She breathed oddly again. “If only the day could repeat itself, you’d be with me.”
Xena closed her eyes, shaking her head. After a few beats, she spoke.
“How about a morning?” she said. Gabrielle was confused until Xena pushed her back again, straddling her thighs. Gabrielle’s back arched.
“One morning?” Gabrielle breathed. Xena kissed her neck. “Yes, I’ll take it,” she said hurriedly. Xena sent a smooth arm down Gabrielle’s stomach.
“All the mornings,” Xena offered, and Gabrielle was about to answer when she suddenly jumped at Xena’s touch, gripping her shoulders with her nails.
“What?” Gabrielle managed.
“I won’t take away what you want anymore,” Xena said. She straightened one leg between Gabrielle’s thighs and pushed it forward. “Tell me what you want.”
“Only you,” Gabrielle whispered.
“I come with a whole lot of problems,” Xena whispered, stopping her ministrations for a moment. “A lot of spirits from the past. A lot of demons.”
Gabrielle raised her head, running her tongue along the corner of Xena’s mouth.
“I want you just how you are,” Gabrielle said, her voice a plea again. “Don’t take what I love most away from me.”
Xena nodded, letting tears fall down her cheeks as she gingerly smoothed her skin against Gabrielle’s, kissing the blonde’s breast and shoulder.
“Please,” Gabrielle added.
“I won’t,” Xena swore. “I won’t.” She ran her hand through Gabrielle’s hair, then buried her head in Gabrielle’s neck. “You have four nights of expertise on me,” Xena said. Gabrielle giggled, her legs around Xena. “Well?”
“Well?” Gabrielle said.
“Share your knowledge,” Xena smiled, and Gabrielle led Xena’s fingers to the meeting point of her thighs, skipping ceremonies, and both women turned immediately serious. “Start here,” Gabrielle said in a commanding tone. Xena nodded furiously, searching Gabrielle’s face. She gasped when Gabrielle arched completely into her, taking long breaths with her mouth open. Gabrielle shook in her arms. She lowered her face to kiss her stomach.
“Every night and every day?” she whispered, not intending for Gabrielle to hear her. But she did.
“And all the hours in between,” Gabrielle said breathlessly. “What? Think you can’t keep up with me?”
Xena bit down on her lower lip, moving her hands slightly so that Gabrielle cried out with pleasure. She bit Gabrielle’s pulse point.
“Oh, I think I’ll manage,” Xena said.
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