Copyright © February 9, 2011, Holly Rose
Disclaimers: Unfortunately, I have no rights to these two characters. I have to give them back when I'm finished with them.
Warnings: The story contains mild violent flashbacks. This piece is sexually dark, overtly graphic and of an alternate nature. If this sort of thing sinks your boat, do yourself a favour and throw it overboard!
Comments? Insults? firstname.lastname@example.org
This story takes place immediately after the events of the episode A Family Affair .
I collapse on the bed, with a weight which feels so much heavier than my slender build. Only when I exhale, do I finally allow myself to uncoil and come down from the debilitating high of families, death, tragedy and too many questions.
I hear you speak, commenting on how that was easier than you thought it would be. Was it really?
I look up as you close the bedroom door and begin to remove your amour.
‘Here, let me do that.' I move to unbuckle the metal, surprised to see my hands trembling slightly. ‘They only restrained themselves because you were here.' The words were harsh but I hope I didn't hurt you.
‘Yeah, maybe.' You turn around and drop your armour onto the floor with a clank that you don't even hear anymore. You turn your eyes on me. ‘You okay?'
I sit back on the bed with a sigh. ‘Yeah, I'm fine. Just. . .overwhelmed I guess.'
‘Well, maybe you should get some sleep.'
I frown. Strange, as late as it is, somehow I don't feel tired. I just feel a strange heaviness in my body as I sit on the bed, listening to you shift around on your feet uncomfortably.
‘You know, you can sit down, Xena,' I tell you.
You look between the beds. ‘Which is yours?'
‘This one.' I bounce gently on the mattress.
You sit down next to me and I place the weight of my head onto your shoulder.
‘Tell me how I should feel, Xena,' I command feebly.
‘You know I can't tell you that, Gabrielle.'
‘But I want to feel something- hate, loss. I just feel numb. She was my daughter Xena!' I cry, with indignation I just don't really feel. I listen as you spout nothings about Hope which are supposed to help me feel better.
‘She may have been your flesh and blood, Gabrielle, but she was not anything like a child,' you explain as gently as you can. ‘I'm not going to say you shouldn't feel responsible for her, because I know you, and I know I can't take that guilt that you're feeling away from you.'
I close my eyes in mental exhaustion, only to be forced to open them again as the image of Hope, dead, flashes before me. It's all so surreal. It'd be funny if it hadn't mutilated everything.
My daughter, the daughter of darkness, who Xena said looked identical to me. Did I really look like that? I felt repulsed at the very notion. And then there was my grand child, a sexless spawn of Ares and a formidable monster.
How in Tartarus am I supposed to feel?
My mind wanders, like a devious theatre reel, to the moment father slammed open the barn door, a hefty weapon swinging in his hands, after hearing the screams I can't remember screaming. And my dear, poor mother running back to the house after seeing a replica of her daughter bloodied and cradled in the arms of a monster.
It took the two of you – you and father– to rid of the remains while I attempted, unavailingly, to console mother and Lila. I busied them with preparing food before I walked outside again. Father brushed past me, with a look which unmistakably read ‘ we'll talk later' and left me with you as we sat – how long did we sit? - and tried to convey our feelings into words. Now, I just feel muddled again.
I just thank the Gods that you took me up on my feigned yawn and ceased the endless spew of questions. Now, my parents are safely tucked up in their room and Lila on the couch in the lounge.
Gods, what would I ever do without out you, Xena? I shake my head.
‘I'm sure you'd be just fine.'
I shoot you a weary glance. ‘Sorry. Didn't realise I spoke out loud.' I'm too drained to feel embarrassed, to feel anything. I take a pained breath. ‘I'm so glad I found you again, Xena. I felt so broken without you.'
You nod, probably understanding how I felt. Then you chuckle to yourself. I imagine you're thinking how different we handled things. ‘Cause I know you, Xena, and I know you would have pursued to the brink of insanity to find me again.
‘You know, you'll never believe just what I did to find you again.' I bet I could, ‘cause I'd have done the exact same.
I laugh weakly. ‘Whatever it is, I'm sure it topped my feeble attempt to find you which was a quick trip to Amphipolis then back home.'
‘You went to Amphipolis?'
‘Mmhm. I was devastated when I found you weren't there.' In fact, I recall beating myself against your mother through the burn of my sobs, knowing there were just too many other places where you could've been. ‘I came back to Potidaea figuring you'd find me here.'
‘And I did.'
‘Yeah, you did,' I agree, poking you in the ribs. ‘You thought I was Hope didn't you?'
You nod. ‘But I knew, as soon as I looked into your eyes, that you were Gabrielle. I can't believe I thought Hope was you that first time. All that hatred I saw in her afterwards,' you spit, disgusted at yourself.
‘It's okay, Xena. You didn't expect to see her after she fell into that pit. Of course you though it was me.'
‘I didn't expect to see you either. But when I saw her holding that basket, smiling at me, I felt so...I felt like I had come home. And then,' you make a wild hand gesture, ‘gone again.'
I sigh and wrap my arms around you from the side.
Then it hit me, so quickly, I only have time to throw a hand over my mouth before the tears choke me, the guilt of hurting so many people in such a short amount of time crushing down on me with affliction.
‘Gods, Xena!' I bury my face into your shoulder. Save me!
‘Gabrielle?' You sound frightened. ‘Hey, shhh, don't cry. I got you.' You turn, and wrap your arms around me, stroking my hair, a gesture I didn't realise just how much I missed until now. I can feel your throat swallow, a thousand times, and I know you're trying desperately to keep a hold on your own emotions.
I stand up, and wipe furiously at my tears. You're supposed to be the strong one! ‘Gods! I promised myself I wouldn't do this. I've already cried more than enough times at that stupid hospice.'
You wince at the evident loathing in my voice, but it's not intended for you, please know that. ‘Hey. Gabrielle, it's okay,' you assure - a lie - as you place your hand on my shoulder.
I shake my head and step away from you, my back still turned. I need to calm down. I'm all too aware of my chest drawing in short, shallow breaths, the urgent need to release myself in some way terrifies me. So I cover my eyes with my hands and concentrate on taking deep breaths, trying to drag my attention away from the presence at my back. Futile, I know, I can never stop thinking about you.
Finally, I turn.
‘Xena.' My voice is hoarse with tears. I clear my throat. ‘Are you...are you sure you want to do this again? I should stay here. I-' I clap my hand over my mouth as another sob threatens to erupt from me. ‘I don't think I can go through this again.'
I can see you have stopped breathing and your chest constricts as you sway dangerously. The fear of what I'm proposing is killing you, isn't it?
‘Wha...?' But your mouth merely forms the question. You swallow with effort. ‘What are you saying Gabrielle? You can't leave me again.' You are begging, you know, but you don't care.
I feel anger suddenly grip my heart, as sharp as a blade. Don't you care at all how I felt? ‘Why?! Why, Xena?!'
‘Because you mean so much to me!' You gasp.
You stare at me with large, frightened eyes.
But I'm the one caught in the trap. I stand, stunned, at your more than sincere confession. The anger that struck dissolves in a glittering instance.
I shake myself mentally and walk over to you, stopping so close I can feel your breath. I run my hands over your shoulders, your arms, your stomach, my eyes fixed on your chest as my mind whirls.
'Take this off,' I command you, glancing into your puzzled eyes. 'Please,' I beg, 'I need to see you.'
You are still for a moment then pull the straps off your shoulders and loosen the leather dress until it falls to the floor. I hear myself emit a quiet sound, almost a sob, and press a hard, quick kiss on the centre of your chest and pull you to me tightly.
I know my desperate request holds you shocked but slowly, I feel you wrap your arms around my lower back and bury your face into my hair, allowing yourself to simply revel in the feel of me; the smell of me; the sound of me. Because I know that's all you've wanted to do.
You must feel me move, the hold never loosening, as I remove my own top and drop it to the floor. Our bodies mould in naked contact, the soft heat warming us as we stand bare from the waist up ridiculously.
I trail my fingertips up and down your spine with intent, hearing you sigh and the sudden convulsion of your arms around me. I feel the shift in the room and pray to the Gods you do too.
Acting on impulse, I turn from where my cheek is resting on your chest and softly kiss the skin there, lingering slightly, and then moving up towards your throat. I imagine holding a knife to it, a simple wield of this power I feel, as my mouth moves near to your ear and jaw, expelling gentle kissing sounds. They sound loudly in the stillness of the room.
I feel a quick, fleeting moment of doubt at my promising actions as a voice inside screams at me that I must be crazy and to back off. Perhaps I knocked my head harder than first thought on the sides of that pit.
Then it is gone.
Lifting my face away, I reach up and kiss you solidly on your closed mouth. Pulling back, I can see your lips are drawn into a straight line, your eyes firmly fixed on me.
Your face in expressionless, and it annoys me, so I capture your lips once more and gradually begin to move them. And, ever so slowly, your mouth begins to cooperate.
I slide my hands from your shoulders and to the back of your neck, pulling you closer.
The kiss deepens and I hear you groan. I move my hips slightly, feeling a wet kind of excitement building low in my body - something I had yet to feel until this moment. You once tried to explain to me what desire felt like, but you were never the bard. I guess this is it.
I've never needed this from you before. Sweet words, perhaps a hug, have always been enough to lull me back to contentment. This urge of physical release, the animal intensity, is something I was sure I would never succumb to. I feel cheated thinking I would be any different from you.
It takes a small amount of gentle coaxing, on my part, to walk you backwards until the backs of your knees strike the end of the bed. I push you back onto the mattress and lower myself to the floor and extract your boots. I am nervous, I decide, after fumbling with the laces with shaking hands.
I shoot a quick glance up, noticing you looking back with a perplexed look on your beautiful face.
‘Xena. . .Is this okay?'
‘It's fine, Gabrielle.'
‘If you don't want to do this, Xena, we don't have to.' I raise myself up and sit on the bed next to your outstretched legs. It's the first time I've felt uncomfortable in my state of undress.
To my surprise, you chuckle. ‘I have no quarrels about sharing my body with you, Gabrielle. I'm just surprised.'
‘At you making the first move.'
‘Oh.' I laugh. ‘Well, I'm not as innocent as I look.'
You smirk. ‘Evidently.'
The gentle banter restores my courage somewhat and I find myself cat-crawling up your body and dropping a kiss on your lips.
I lean my weight on your body and press my mouth deeper into yours. I feel your soft lips and tongue contrasting with your strong jaw. It's dizzying and I find I can easily lose myself in you.
I shift and try to place my thighs on either side of your hips but I'm constrained by the unresisting materials of my skirt. I reach behind myself and tug on the clasp which holds my skirt together. I'm surprised at how easily it releases. I pull the compliant material over my waist and, as a quick afterthought, grasp my underwear too.
I sit up then, gracing a woozy head-rush as I gaze down at you, suddenly noticing your bare form in all its primal intensity. Your chest is flushed a light pink colour; your nipples dark and taut. Your black hair is messed, the inky colour bringing out the red of your lips after my assault on them.
Licking my own, I attempt to replenish my dry mouth, consequently receiving a neat eyebrow raised in my direction. The spell is broken and my heart starts to beat faster. I'm not used to this. I'm not used to your carefree manner and the attention is trampling me.
Your hand chucks me under the chin. ‘Hey, you okay?'
I nod, my head is low. ‘I just. . .feel a little overcome.'
‘Is it me?'
I jerk my head up. ‘No!' Then quieter, I add, ‘No, it's just I haven't does this a lot of times and never with another woman.'
‘Okay then,' you whisper.
You sit up and wrap my legs around your waist, gasping at the warmth pressing into you. You turn and push me gently against the headboard and claim my mouth in a kiss so gentle and slow, I can't help but to sigh.
You free my legs and straddle my thighs, your knees pressing up against the headboard. Your leather-clad centre rocks gently against my abdomen as you try to get a rein on your passion. This is not another one of your conquests, Xena. You can't help but growl, though, as you feel my hands running across your buttocks and down your thighs. They come to rest at your waist.
I pull away, breathless, and stare into your eyes which loom over me in a most protective way. The warmth between us penetrates my chest and soothes my long-aching heart. Gods, this is where I belong. My fingers toy with the waistband of your leather underwear.
‘Take them off,' I breathe.
You move down the bed and allow me to slide underneath you. Keeping your eyes locked with mine, you remove the clothing and gently lower yourself down on me. We both sigh at the impassioned union and arms come to wrap around each other. You buried your face in my neck and attempt to catch your breath.
You blow into my ear, feeling me shudder, and take the lobe between your teeth. My legs wrap around your waist, my wet centre pressed up against your pubic bone. The hips underneath you begin to rise and fall in a subconsciously urgent gesture. You release my earlobe and slide your body down, careful to press yourself into my most sensitive areas.
You gasp as you feel your nipples glide against mine. ‘ Gods! '
Hungrily, you cup a breast and take the nipple into your mouth, running your tongue over the hardened tip. You suck on as much flesh as you can take in, feeding on the quiet moans I'm trying so hard to censor. You suddenly moan into my breast.
Releasing the nipple with a wet pop, you rake your teeth down my side, feeling the slight bumps of my ribs. My skin goose-bumps and I shiver.
You nuzzle the juncture between my hip and thigh with your nose, the heated smell of my arousal making you lightheaded as you pause. Moving your hands to the inside of my thigh, you push them apart, bending my legs at the knee.
I gasp at the draft hitting my core as I expose myself to you. I feel a flush race through me as I anticipate what you're going to do.
I feel lips on my thigh, kissing away from where I need them but a hand on the other thigh is stroking upwards. The contradictory sensation sends my mind into a whirl. I close my eyes as the mouth begins to reverse its course, only to stall and move outwards again. She's teasing you, a voice told me from somewhere. I can see now how easily warlords fall into the trap of your seduction when you are so clearly trying to manipulate them. And I'm no better.
I grab hold of what's left of my senses and take hold of your head and tangle my hands in the black tresses, pushing my lower body towards you.
You look up at me in surprise and I raise my head and look back. Please, I beg you, I'm not playing.
I see your eyes flash before my head falls back on the pillow, my mouth forming a silent scream. Your tongue, Gods , your tongue! I barely keep myself my bucking relentlessly into your mouth. I grasp helplessly to my shattered shards of self-control, terrified of losing it. This vicious urgency is not me.
Your tongue begins moving in maddening circles against my fiery clitoris. I close my mouth and moan as your rhythm begins slowly at first, then quick, and then slow again.
I feel a burning longing deeper inside of me but can't think for the jolts of pleasure shooting from your lips.
'Oh, Xena!' I breathe, gripping my fingers tighter in your black hair. I face the ceiling, my mouth open in shameless pleasure. I pray you do not look up at me.
You place two fingers inside of me and my mouth clamps involuntary.
'Relax, Gabrielle,' you command gently.
I try to comply, breathing in and out deeply, feeling the alien sensation build with each exhale and curl of your fingers. This is where I want you.
I feel my thighs stiffen and my body feels like I'm teetering on some cliff edge. I lift my hips and a ragged moan is torn from my lips as wave upon wave crashes through me. You continue sucking gently as you pump your fingers until the last my shudders subside and I come to myself once more.
Crawling back up my body, you place tender kisses along my skin. You smile affectionately at me and I can only imagine my reddened face and heaving chest. And as you push damp hair from my forehead, I'm filled with a such rush of love I'm forced to close my eyes.
'Are you okay, Gabrielle?' You whisper.
I nod, and look up at you.
'I...I didn't know it could be that intense.' The way I spoke then, that hesitancy I heard in my voice, reminds me of that lost little girl in Potidaea. You saved me Xena. Now let me reward you. . .
My eyes focus suddenly and yours widen as my hand slides up your thigh. I place my hands on your shoulders and you allow me to roll you onto your back.
I lean back slightly and slowly circle a nipple, my eyes lowered on your breast.
'Xena, I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to do,' I whisper nervously.
'You're doing fine, Gabrielle, trust me.'
Shaking my head, I place my hand in yours and say, ‘Show me.'
I feel your legs rise around me and you glide my hand down your slick skin. Gods, you feel like silk! I linger at your stomach, rubbing my palm against the muscles there, feeling them jump playfully. You're impatient, and wanting, as you take hold of hand again and move it lower until I feel your coarse hair. I hear you sigh as I coast lightly over it but you don't stop there.
You grasp two of my fingers and run them through the folds of your lips. I'm amazed at the abundant wetness I find there. Did I do that to you?
Your hand leaves mine and grasps my shoulders. I can feel your nails digging into my skin as I hasten my speed. Your clitoris is so engorged as I touch it with the pads of my fingers and rub. You cry out and arch your body into mine. I think you are close.
I change position and stroke you with my thumb as I place two fingers inside of you. You're still not filled so I enter a third. You're heat is searing and smooth and it feels so wonderful to be doing this. I begin to thrust slowly and your heads lolls back in pleasure as you moan, a low, groaning sound.
I concentrate on your face. The expressions which cross it are captivating and I pick up speed, curling my fingers in a move which brought me to dizzying heights. You gasp suddenly.
Your eyes are wide, your mouth open, as you cry my name.
My hand comes over your mouth and I hiss, terrified, 'Shhh! My parents are opposite us.'
You continue to moan gently into my hand, your eyes closed. I can feel your muscles squeezing my fingers. Eventually, I remove it and your beautiful eyes open as you gaze sleepily up at me.
'Do you think they heard us?' You murmur with a smile.
I laugh softly. 'No', I assure, cupping your face with both hands and gently wiping at the tears which leak from the corners of your eyes. Why are you crying?
‘Good,' you whisper and pull me down next to your hot body.
My skin is so sensitised. I lay silent, dazed, as you stroke my black with one hand and my forearm with the other. I count ten tiny kisses placed to my head before I speak again. I am surprised at how distant my voice sounds.
'Xena. . .that's the first time that I've ever. . .'
I nod my head slightly, my face flushing.
'What about your wedding night? You and Perdicus did. . .didn't you?'
'Yeah, we did, but I didn't. . .well it felt good but. . .' I trail off, shrugging slightly. I don't want to think about him.
You are quiet when you next speak. You lift my chin to meet your gaze. 'Gabrielle. Haven't you ever touched yourself?'
Jerking my head down quickly, I feel the heat rush to my face. I shake my head slightly. 'I mean, I've tried it but, I dunno, it just sort of felt sore after awhile so I stopped.'
I feel your chest expand sharply and I think maybe you are recognising the honour of effectively claiming my virginity. Or perhaps you're laughing at me.
'Xena, did you. . .the first time you bedded someone?'
You snort loudly, startling me. 'I didn't bed them-' you stop, seeing my confused look. You sigh and play idly with my fingers. 'Yes, I did,' you admit quietly. 'And what I meant was, I didn't take them to bed, I didn't do things properly. It was just a quick fumble that felt good.'
'Was it a man or woman?'
'A man. Well, a boy. We were young.'
I nod against your shoulder. My brows are drawn as I imagine what mother's reaction would be if I had participated in 'a quick fumble' as you called it. Or worse - father's reaction.
'Does that bother you?'
I frown. 'Does what bother me?'
'That I've been with so many people,' you clarify.
'No. That was all in your past, Xena,' I state determinately. ‘And I know most of the times were so you could climb the ladder of power. Like Borius,' I add. I feel you nod.
'You're right. Most of the time I felt no emotion at all. It was all physical, to get what I wanted. . .this is different.'
I smile at the end of your words. How do you do that, Xena? As a woman of so little words, the ones you do utter always produce such a profound effect.
I smile more at the timid way you voiced them. I know it's hard for you to let someone in, especially using words. Half of me even believes you found it easier to give your body like that.
'Different, huh?' I ask quietly.
'Yeah,' you take a breath as if you are going to continue, and then you shut your mouth again, swallowing. 'You know, as much as I'd love to stay like this all night, I don't want to be responsible for giving your father a heart attack.'
That made me laugh. 'Oh, come on Xena! He's not that bad.'
You raise an eyebrow at me, looking doubtful.
'Okay. Point taken.'
I sit up abruptly and gaze down at your naked body lying before me. ‘Hmmm,' I mutter. I put on my proverbial thinking cap and purse my lips.
Standing, I walk towards the wardrobe in sudden shameless naked splendour. I open the door, wincing as the wood creaks and leans dangerously on one hinge. I shake my head.
‘You know, I asked father to fix this long before I began travelling with you.'
‘I could do it,' you offer.
I shrug. ‘There's not really any point. I don't use it anymore and Lila obviously doesn't have a problem with it. . .ah-ha!' I pull a heap of material from the cupboard and promptly launch it towards you, grinning as it lands on your head, consequently dishevelling your hair. You hold it up to your sprawled form.
‘And what is this for?'
‘What do you think it's for?'
‘I could just war my usual clothing, you know,' you drawl.
I sigh dramatically, hands on my hips. ‘Xena, you have the opportunity of wearing comfortable clothes and sleeping in a comfortable bed. Why not take it?'
‘Because-' you pause as I throw a night dress over myself.
‘Urgh. Smells musty,' I remark, wrinkling my nose in displeasure.
I hear you sigh. ‘Alright, fine,' you relent and proceed to get dressed. I watch as you pluck uncomfortably at the material.
‘Xena, you look adorable,' I state honestly, coming to sit on the edge of the bed.
You shoot me a look. ‘Geez, thanks, just the look I was aiming for.'
‘Well, it's not like anyone is going to see you in it. We'll be gone before anyone wakes up.' You eye me wearily. ‘Look, if it really makes you feel that uncomfortable, take it off.'
You wave your hand. ‘Nah, I'm fine,' you brush off, and I believe you're marginally embarrassed you caused a fuss . I hope it's not because you think you're not welcome here, Xena.
‘Right. We should really get some sleep,' I advise, failing to stifle a yawn. I hover on the bed hesitantly.
Smiling, you hold out your arms. ‘Hey. C'mere.' I readily tumble into them, falling in love with you all over again. The light cotton of the night dresses scuff comfortably against us. You kiss the top of my head, holding me a moment longer before pushing me away. You nod towards the other bed. ‘G'wan. Before I'm barred permanently.'
I giggle and cross the small floor space and climb upon the rickety frame. Shuffling under the covers, I shiver at the crisp chill of the unused bed.
‘Xena, could you get those candles?' You oblige, blowing out the flames and eyeing the skies from the open window before crossing back over to the bed.
I watch as a gentle breeze ruffles the hem of your night dress. I wonder if this would be how you'd look if you hadn't chosen the way of the warrior and grew to be a simple village girl.
I scrunch up my nose as you waft the scent of our previous love-making when you settle the covers back over yourself. ‘You know, we should really wash.'
‘Yeah, I thought about that, buuut,' you exhale loudly, ‘Frankly, I can't be bothered right now.' You smile at me. ‘We'll go find a lake in the morning.'
I nod as I yawn. ‘Okay.' I snuggle down further. ‘Night, Xena.'
‘Night, Gabrielle,' you reply quietly, closing your eyes.
I gaze at your moon-lit face with a sated heart and whisper, ‘I love you,' before too closing my eyes .
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