What if the magical scroll had somehow conjured up three naked, dancing Xenas instead of three naked, dancing Gabrielles? This short story takes place within the same time as it did in the show (“The Quill Is Mightier”).
Gabrielle was humming to herself when she heard something moving in the bush at her side. She stopped with the berry bush as she cupped the blueberries in one hand, looking around and listening just as Xena had always instructed. She was alone for a few days, and worried with the sound. She would have to be careful, so she was quiet and she listened.
The sound became a little louder, and Gabrielle felt a tree at her back as a figure was revealed - a figure that took all of her breath with surprise. It was Xena, but naked - and was she dancing?
With a very subtle move of her hips and a carefree smile on her face, the naked brunette sauntered a little closer to Gabrielle.
Words were difficult at first, but then Gabrielle swallowed hard and tried to relax. "... Xena? ... What're you doing?"
What would usually be mischief lighting up in Xena's eyes was nothing. Gabrielle looked right into her eyes, and saw nothing of her long-time friend, which confused her to no end. Her and Xena could always communicate with looks. This woman ... this thing wasn't Xena.
"Oh no ... Aphrodite? Did you do something?" Gabrielle asked aloud, turning to check the area only to find her alone with the brunette. The woman was moving in so close that Gabrielle gasped. "Xena! ... Don't scare me like that," she smiled, putting her hands out when the brunette leaned in and kissed her.
It was nice enough, but it wasn't Xena. The lips were familiar, but there was no passion behind it. No hesitation.
"Wait wait wait," Gabrielle slurred, pushing Xena's shoulders back as she tried to clear her head. That kiss had felt awfully nice after all the long nights she had spent wishing for Xena to hold her. Just to hold her, she told herself. But Xena just wasn't really that type.
"Xena's coming back in a few days," Gabrielle reasoned aloud, staring into those blank eyes looking back at her.
Holding her breath, Gabrielle's eyes dropped down to take in the naked sight before her - jerking them back up with the reminder that this wasn't Xena. Looking was wrong. Did Gabrielle want to look?
"Stop, stop ... wait," Gabrielle continued, walking off back toward the set-up by the pit for fire she'd made earlier. But she wasn't in the mood for a fire, because she'd been too tired all day. So instead, she just went over to her bedroll and sat down on it, trying to pay no attention to the pretend Xena. Whatever it was, she wouldn't pay it any attention.
It would have been nice to have it so easy, but the brunette just insisted on being close to her. Those big, strong hands slipped over Gabrielle's shoulders without permission, and kneaded into her sore and aching muscles.
Without meaning to, Gabrielle let out a long, heavy moan, and dropped her head. "Uhhh ... you can keep doing THAT ..."
The fingers became a little more persistent, and Gabrielle could feel herself melting to the touch, and yet she couldn't seem to stop it. She reminded herself it wasn't even Xena standing behind her, but just the thought of Xena caring for her so intimately it gave her shivers. She wanted it to be real, and pretending for a few moments couldn't hurt, could it?
That was when she heard another rustle in the bushes, and she had to admit she felt safer - even with the blank version of Xena. At least she wasn't alone.
"Hello?" she called out, forcing herself to get up from the heavenly treatment to be on her feet if need be. The false Xena went on hands and knees to follow Gabrielle as she took a few steps back. "Stop it," Gabrielle chuckled quietly, just thinking of how humiliated Xena would feel crawling after her like that. "Stop that."
But the pretend Xena pressed on, eventually catching up with her just as another figure appeared - another naked, dancing Xena. And with that same sultry sway of its hips, Gabrielle let out a long, exasperated breath.
The first Xena was on her knees, touching Gabrielle's legs gently, but without the need Gabrielle felt in Xena's usual stare. It was just a touch, but it was heavenly. These things looked just like Xena.
The second Xena made its dancing way over to Gabrielle to gently kiss her and hold her. It wasn't Xena's arms or her grasp, but it seemed almost just like it, and Gabrielle couldn't help herself from kissing back.
She hardly even realized she was on her back until she squirmed and felt the cold ground on her shoulder. With one Xena kissing her and moving a hand down Gabrielle's leg, and the other Xena caressing her breasts, the blond was at a complete loss for words. So much was happening at once that she began to worry. These things weren't Xena - what was she doing?
"Wait, wait," Gabrielle insisted, trying desperately to ignore the hands that felt just like Xena's, wandering all over her legs and her stomach ...
When the Xenas didn't stop to her concerns, Gabrielle gave them each a shove as she sat up and drew back.
"Wait! ... I can't."
They just stared blankly at her, inching a little closer.
"Okay, this ... is insane," Gabrielle laughed, getting to her feet as she raked her hands through her hair. "Okay, I'm gonna start gathering some sticks for a little fire before it gets too dark ... Stay." The Xena's were sitting, just looking at her. "Good Xenas," Gabrielle purred, giggling to herself as she went to gather some sticks.
By the time she came back, there were three Xenas.
"Oh no no no," Gabrielle mumbled, walking up toward the fire the three Xenas had built without her. Apparently they had SOME skills - other than their inescapable desire.
She wondered if she could simply slip back into the forest to keep from any trouble that might transpire, but then she felt something for those simple, clueless Xenas skipping around their fire together. Maybe they couldn't protect themselves, and the real Xena would be mortified if anyone else happened upon her naked form. So Gabrielle entered in the little dance, hoping to make light of the atmosphere. She skipped right in with the other Xenas, happy to dance for once in a very long time.
She skipped and clapped her hands with the carefree Xenas, until she let her movements become a little looser. It was then that the Xenas changed their technique as well, moving a little slower - and closer, too.
"This is bad," Gabrielle laughed, when one of the Xenas smiled plainly at her and dropped to its knees. "No no, we can't do this. Don't you see?"
But then another Xena came right up to Gabrielle, and dropped to its knees, too. Eagerly kissing the backs of her thighs.
When Gabrielle lost her balance momentarily, the third Xena was at her side, stroking her lower back. Gabrielle tried talking to that one: "Listen - we really can't be doing this! ... Xena's just ... You're not Xena!" But she was only convincing herself, and desire won out - surging through her. Those pouting lips ... those strong hands ... but the blank eyes threw her off every time.
As the eager fingers slipped under her skirt, Gabrielle chuckled and pushed it back down, helped onto her back with three sets of hands on her.
"Wait! ... Wait ... this is crazy ..." Gabrielle panted, her top unlaced before she could reason with what was happening.
Hands alternated between her stomach and her breasts as a mouth closed over hers, and she was lost in the sea of seemingly never-ending Xenas. They were too good, too quick. There were too many to deny.
One of the Xenas gently parted her legs, and started venturing up with its hands and lips.
"No, no ... Xena!" Gabrielle whispered, closing her eyes. It was all too much at once, and she couldn't seem to push them off anymore. "No ... WAIT ..."
Just as an excited tongue smoothed over Gabrielle's nipple - hands moving up her thighs - a voice rung out in the otherwise silent darkness of the forest.
"You heard the lady."
Suddenly, all three Xenas stopped and turned to the voice: the real Xena.
"Geez, I leave for two days, and look what you get yourself into," Xena teased, crossing her arms at the sight of three Xenas ready and willing to please the blond. "They're really ... at your service, I see."
"No, it's not like that," Gabrielle said, her cheeks flushed with embarrassment. And as Xena saw that, she approached with a gentler tone.
"I know, I saw."
"You were watching?" Gabrielle asked, somewhat hopeful. So Xena wasn't completely repulsed by the scene?
"I heard something strange, and that's what I saw ... Wanted to see if you'd rather me be gone, I suppose."
"No, never," Gabrielle insisted with a breath of laughter as she got up to her feet. The three blank Xenas just looked up at her in all of their simplicity. "Xena ... I'm sorry. I really don't know what happened ... I don't know where they came from, or why they're ..."
"All over you?"
When Gabrielle tried for rebuttal, Xena put up her hand and took a step closer, toward the fire.
"Gabrielle ... it was my fault. All about some awful scroll that I tried to make up, but ... like always ... the words didn't really find me quite right."
"You wanted this?" Gabrielle asked with a cheeky smile, her hands clasped behind her back as she stepped over toward Xena.
"Don't put those ideas in your head," Xena insisted, scratching the back of her neck.
"When they were trying to ... you know ... all I could think was that their eyes ... weren't like yours, you know?"
Xena listened, completely still as Gabrielle stood before her, explaining.
"They were blank, and when I would imagine something you might do, or something you would say to tease me, they just said something. They were working like ... just a part of a system, I guess. And ... it was ... disappointing."
"Not like you'd imagined," Xena supposed, arms crossed.
"I guess ..."
"Well, that's good, because if you pictured something like this with three replicas of ME ..." Xena teased, rubbing her upper lip to try and hide her smirk.
When Gabrielle looked shy by that statement, Xena was shocked. Did Gabrielle desire her? Could she?
"Sorry," she said at last, quietly clearing her throat. She brought her hands behind her back, so Xena couldn't see her tremble nervously. 'Can she see that I desire her? Oh gosh - don't think such things!'
"I ... could ... just go back the way I came ...?" Xena teased again, pleased to see a little blush to the girl's cheeks. It was very becoming of her.
"NO!" Gabrielle insisted immediately, then softening her voice and warming with a smile. "No ... I mean, please don't. They don't listen to me, and ... well. They've got these ideas, you see?"
"Yeah, I saw," Xena smirked, biting the inside of her cheek so as not to laugh. She waited for Gabrielle to blush a deeper shade of red. "Wonder why that is."
Gabrielle gasped. "Did you write that?!"
"It was a mistake!" Xena laughed, blushing a little herself.
Thankfully, Gabrielle was too embarrassed to notice. "Well, can't you just reverse it?" When Xena shrugged, she offered more suggestions. "Or make them disappear again, or have them go somewhere else safe?"
"Eager to be rid of them, are you?"
"Aren't YOU?!" Gabrielle scoffed, "It's three versions of you - naked - and they're prancing around. That's a way to ruin your reputation, if ever there was one."
"Alright, alright. I know you're right. I just don't know how to reverse any of this myself. The scroll thing was Aphrodite's doing. I don't know what else to do but wait till morning. I guess the delusional threesome will have to stay with us for the night so we can get some sleep."
Gabrielle tossed a smile over her shoulder as she headed over to the horse. "Oh, sleep? ... We'll see about that."
"You don't know EVERYTHING, you know."
"We'll just see," Gabrielle insisted as she took out their bedrolls and handed one to Xena.
It would be a long night.
Just shortly after they had laid out their places to sleep, the three Xenas had gravitated over toward Gabrielle again - helping her sit up at first, and then setting to massage her shoulders and her back.
"Mmm ... No! No no, that won't be necessary," Gabrielle insisted, turning to the naked Xena staring blankly at her shoulders. "Please ... it's okay." The three Xenas seemed to love to massage her.
"She needs sleep - let her rest," Xena commanded - her voice filled with authority, but also a prickling jealousy that she hoped wasn't as evident as it felt.
Gabrielle didn't seem to notice, tucking herself under a little blanket that Xena had always wished was bigger. She knew how Gabrielle could thrash in her sleep, and some nights she made excuses to go and hold her.
Unfortunately, the three naked Xenas had exactly the same idea.
"Xena ..." Gabrielle whispered at first, excited always to feel Xena getting in close behind her at night, but shocked when she realized it wasn't Xena - it was one of the empty clones of her friend. "No, you go lay with the other Xenas," she explained, giggling when she realized how silly that sounded. "Go on! Go to sleep!"
But the Xena was persistent, drawing the other two in with its desire to touch and kiss.
Gabrielle laid on her back as she tried pushing at the Xena's shoulders, laughter spilling out at the nonsensical scene. "You're crazy! Stop that!" she laughed again as the Xena licked at her neck at the wrong time. It started to tickle. "Xena! Stop it!"
It only took another second for the licking to stop, before Gabrielle looked up to Xena standing there with the fake Xena's hair in her hand - angry and commanding. The Xenas seemed only to listen her to her, and the other two crawled off to their own little bed for the night.
"Now all of you - stop it."
Gabrielle felt a chill of excitement, but she made sure not to smile or sigh too heavily. She tried not to even make eye contact with Xena at all. It was much too tempting, seeing her there with another naked woman's hair in her fist. So strong ... so powerful ... so protective ...
The last Xena made herself scarce as the real woman got down on her knees next to Gabrielle to send a protective stare over to the other three Xenas. Although replicas of her, Xena didn't want anyone else that close to Gabrielle. She didn't utter a word, but cuddled in behind Gabrielle to hold her as she did if ever the young woman had nightmares or pleaded for some company on cold nights.
"They listen to you," Gabrielle whispered, interrupting the otherwise silence of the little cave they'd found for shelter earlier that night. "I wonder why."
"Well, I made them," Xena answered, getting tense with the implications.
"... And their desires ...?"
It was a long night indeed.
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