~Tender Mercies~

or: How I Learned To Stop Chafing And Love The Bard.

By Kamouraskan and Lariel



General Disclaimer: Usual suspects owned by RenPics & Studios USA. This is fanfic, people. Ahh...but there are some cringing moments involving sex and health care. Between two women. So you've been warned.

Comments welcome: Write to us both, if you want. We'll be more than pleased to find out what sort of person would actually read this... Kamouraskan@Yahoo.com and Lariel_a@Hotmail.com

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I: Nobody is a Hero to Everyone all of the Time, or Putting Your Foot In It


"FOOT LOTION!"

"Now, Gabrielle..." Xena smiled weakly while making placating movements with her hands. The writhing, crimson-faced bard wasn't listening, at least charitably, and it had become obvious to the Warrior that she wasn't going to charm her way out of this. Gabrielle rocked forward and screamed into her ear.

"FOOT LOTION!" The recalcitrant warrior winced as the prostrate bard yelled some more. "I was ALREADY in pain. Then the BRILLIANT, expert healer Warrior Princess says ŽI know what will help blahblahblah...' Arrrggghh! Whatever possessed you to use Foot Lotion??" Gabrielle shook the small stone bottle right in front of Xena's eyes.

"We ran out of the baby oil, and you said you were sore..."

"Xena!" The bottle was brandished again, and a wobbling finger prodded the label vigorously. "Foot...Vagina?" Again, Xena smiled feebly as the smaller woman, lying flat on her back with her knees in the air, made helpless fists and growling noises. Luckily, the bard was unable to move - intense physical pain can do that, Xena mused, as she moved subtly out of striking range. Gabrielle continued to lecture and rant. "Watch my lips. Foot!...Vagina!!!! Catch the DIFFERENCE?"

"But I read the label!" came the defensive reply. "It said Žmoisturizes dry rough feet. Suitable for sensitive skin...'

"For FEET!" Gabrielle almost managed to raise herself off the damp bedroll. Almost. By the gods, thought Xena to herself. She looks just like a turtle on its back. Fair arms waved furiously, and Xena was relieved that the arms weren't able to reach the sais tucked into the bard's boots.

"I did test it on some sensitive skin first..." Xena offered, meekly.

"Uh huh? Where?"

"Well, you know, while you were getting sore... uh... there, I was chafing another part of my body..."

"You tested it on your knees." The voice was strangely flat. For a moment. "YOUR KNEES??!!"

Xena decided to change tactics. "Look. You're acting like this is all my fault. I wasn't the one thrusting and grinding away. You were doing it all ...OWWWWW!" The growling Gabrielle's eyes were mere slits as she gave Xena one of her best stares. It was a pretty good stare, Xena mused. She'd obviously been practicing lately. Again, the contrite warrior gave a unsteady smile. Gabrielle's eyes became even smaller, and Xena practically paled under the full watt glare. The fact that the poor blond was squirming on the bedroll and rubbing very gingerly at a certain portion of her anatomy added a larger load to Xena's sense of guilt right at that moment, and she reacted with all the support she could muster. "I said I was sorry. I'll go to the apothecary. But I think you should admit that it was a mistake anyone could make."

The blonde's glare could have frozen water in a glass. "Right. Well, that should make it MUCH easier for you. You can just break into the front of the massive line of people who put FOOT LOTION on their girlfriend's vagina today, and listen to what the apothecary is advising allllllll the rest of them to do."



II: Take Your Medicine Like A Warrior


"Xena! What can we do for you?" The plump, chirpy figure in front of her was the icing on the cake of her day.

"Salmoneous. Please tell me there's another apothecary within a days ride?"

"No, My new partner Sol and I have the exclusive rights to the whole area." At Xena's doubtful expression, he pointed to a cave situated just behind them, a little further up the hill.

"That's Sol up in the cave?" She asked, musing on the intricate system of ropes and pulleys that linked the chubby entrepreneur's Žoffice' and the cave. Salmoneous looked about shiftily, and he waved her closer, whispering in a confiding tone.

"We were having a problem with kids. Drug users. So Sol stays up there, and drops the orders down when I shout them up to him."

"Shout the orders..." The warrior eyed the queue of people who were stirring impatiently behind her, and closed her eyes.. "Sal...this is a public market."

"I know. I have to really bellow to be heard. Works like a charm though. What do you need?"

"Gods." Casting a brief prayer to the heavens, she started bravely. "I need...I need something..." Uncharacteristically, she stuttered. Salmoneous stood patiently, and the two handsome soldiers behind her smiled encouragingly.

"C'mon, Xena. I AM a professional." Salmoneus patted her arm.. She shook her head, and took a deep breath. "I need something for vaginal chafing."

The tubby merchant took a step back. "And you can ride a horse? I am impressed."

Xena tried to not to begin grinding her teeth. "Look Salmoneous, just place the order."

He turned and bellowed. "HEY SOL! LADY HERE NEEDS SOMETHING FOR VAGINAL CHAFING! VAGINAL!!"

"Gods." She glared warningly around, quelling the sniggering which was crawling along the lengthy queue behind her.

Salmoneous coughed. "Xena? Um... Sol says to try hot wax."

The former Destroyer of Nations managed to hold onto her temper - not to mention her sanity. Only the image of her poor bard, helpless and furious on a blanket managed to sustain her. "I'll hot wax you, you little.. Not Shaving, Sal. I said chafing!"

Raising his hands apologetically, Salmoneous cried out "SOL! Not Shaving. Chafing! VAGINAL CHAFING!"

There was a deep and defeated sigh beside him.

Finally, with a tremendous creaking as the ropes and pulleys ground into life, within moments a small flagon was thrust into her hands. " Here you go! Five dinars to anyone else, but as it's you..."

"What is it?" She uncorked it, and winced as she sniffed at the thick brown liquid inside.

"Ah... Preparation Alpha. For piles and vaginal itch."

"This is the right stuff?" she asked urgently. "My life, and yours, won't be worth living if you're wrong."

"Xena. I'm offended. For friends there's always a moneyback guarantee. Anyway, we only have one cave."

Hurriedly, she stuffed five dinars into his outstretched hand, vaulted onto Argo and thundered off.

Salmoneous watched her leave, half ignoring his partner's voice that continued to recite the attributes of Preparation Alpha. Until something caught his ear. "What Sol? WHAT?! It's also good for burning off corns and bunions? Did you say burning?" With one frightened glance to where the warrior had last been seen, Salmoneous hurriedly pulled down the gaudy "Dr. Salmoneous' Patent Cures and Unguents" sign that festooned the front of his desk, and started packing up the various certificates and testimonials that lay scattered around the grassy enclosure. "Sol, how fast can we move to the other cave?"



III: Out Of The Frying Pan And Into The Fire


"Gabrielle? Gabrielle! I thought you were going to stay in that nice cold stream until I came back."

"Xena? Iolaus dropped by." The bard's voice was peculiarly flat.

As was her stare.

"Oh? What did he say?"

"Xena? I was spread legged naked, unable to move, lying in a stream. He swallowed a few times, blushed and ran off. I have NEVER been so HUMILIATED!"

"So there wasn't a message?" The warrior replied, feebly holding out the flagon.

"XENA!"

"So you want to put this stuff on, or do you want me to do it?"

"You think you're putting it on? You wish."

"Gabrielle. It'll be easier if I do it..." Xena pointed to the place in question.

Gabrielle thought for a moment, flung a last glare and then nodded. "Alright. Careful....CAREFUL! No.... slowly...."

"How's that?"

"Oh my..."

"Gabrielle?"

"BY THE GOD'S!! What did you DO?? Pour Greek fire and stick a torch on it?"

"Gabrielle....!! I can't help you if you keep hitting me...!!"

"Get it OFF! GET IT OFF GET IT OFF!!!!!!!!!!!"



IV: Refunds are a Bitch


" Ouch! Xena! Is this any way to treat a friend? OW!!" Salmoneous cried as his head was hit for the third time. Unfortunately, it was hit with Sol's. Xena smiled grimly as she lifted both men off the ground and clanged them again.

"You...two...just...don't...realize...what...you've.. DONE!" Each word was punctuated by squeals, whimpers and cries as she tried to educate both men to the depth of the mistake they had made.

"Xena! I gave you a discount!!" Salmoneous tried one last time, to no avail.

With a screaming, writhing and lately violent bard in her bed, (or rather, not in her bed) Xena was in no mood to be merciful. She dropped both men into their respective quivering heaps, and glowered down at them. They both cringed under the weight of the stare. It was almost as good as the one that Gabrielle had given her, right after Xena had managed to remove most of the Preparation Alpha from that most sensitive of places. Quite a difficult task if you're not allowed to use your fingers, and when the subject is yelling, screaming and hitting anything within a five foot radius. Xena'd had to get quite inventive. She licked her numb lips with a anesthetized tongue, and tried to calm down.

"Right. Now you listen to me...I have a...friend of mine..." she gave Salmoneous a warning glare. "...who NEEDS something BADLY! See these bruises? THAT'S how badly... Now, what do you two quacks have in this so called apothecary that will help with bruising and chafing in VERY SENSITIVE PLACES??"

Sol scrabbled away, hunted around his various bags for a short while, and then returned holding out a spiky looking plant. "This should do the trick." He managed, shaking.

A cold smile made an appearance. "You have a death wish, right? You think I'm gonna rub Gabrielle with THAT?"

"It's Aloe. Its renowned for its healing properties."

"And Gabrielle's renowned for her...look, I can't rub a spiky plant all over..."

"No, Xena." Sol looked like he was about to die of fright. Or something. "It's a cactus. A contact of mine smug...uhh, acquired it on his last trip. It's very valuable, or at least it would be if it was legal here. Heh."

"Legal?" Xena's voice was flatter than a frog run over by a speeding chariot. And her eyes weren't much better.

"It's very effective, Xena. Just milk the cactus..." Sol's Adam's apple was bobbing furiously, and Salmonious was making valiant attempts to slither away unnoticed.

"Milk the cactus? Are you crazy?" Xena reached out one brown arm and grabbed the escaping Salmonious. Amazing how a fist wrapped round the throat can hamper escape attempts, she marveled, watching the spurious medicine man's face turn a strange shade of puce. "How in Hade's name am I supposed to milk a gods-be-damned CACTUS??"

"Uhh....could you...?" Sol pointed at his choking colleague. "I find it quite offputting."

With a final shake, Salmoneous was tossed aside. Xena bent down, straightened his collar and patted his head threateningly. Sol nodded gratefully, sidled over to his gasping, still puce-faced partner in crime and stood behind him as he explained the complicated procedure of milking a plant which had no apparent udders. With a final and concluding glare, Xena grabbed the sprig and bolted, completely missing the last words of the still quaking "doctor".

"Xena...just don't use the outer bark...oh, do you think she heard me?"

Salmonious stood on wobbly legs. "You know, I hear they're having a problem with plagues of boils in Egypt lately. What do you think?"

"Let's go." Both men once again packed their bags, and fled.



V: The Morning After The Morning After


"Gabrielle?"

No response.

Xena tried again. "So, you should be able to walk again by tomorrow..."

Silence.

"I can get the aloe for you. Is it time for another...?" She grabbed the sprig eagerly, broke off one of the branches and knelt down by the bard.

"DON'T. TOUCH. ME." Gabrielle would've leapt off the blanket, if she could move. She couldn't though; she was lying flat on her back with her legs in the air and certain portions of her anatomy covered in slimy gel. The always perceptive warrior could tell she wasn't happy.

"Gabrielle? Some day we're going to look back at this and laugh..." Xena lisped, her blue eyes pleading hopefully.

"Someday we might share the same sleeping fur again, but I wouldn't advise holding your breath until it happens..."

Xena - baited and guilty ever since the...uhh...unfortunate incident, and still nursing a numb tongue - couldn't stand this final and frankly unwarranted threat from the little blonde. "At least you can put aloe on your.. ahh. What about my tongue?" She stuck out the muscle, and waggled it around before Gabrielle's eyes, to illustrate the point. A dangerous glint crept into the bard's eyes, and moments later, Xena's long pink tongue was grasped, squeezed and yanked.

"Is that better?" asked the bard, sweetly. "And how are your knees now?"

"Thtill a bit grathed.." Xena lisped.

"Ahh...poor Xena. Why don't you put some PREPARATION furkin' ALPHA on them?"

"Ahh...but look, Gabrielle." Xena's tongue came out again. "You've made it all red now."

"Don't come near me with that."

"But look...!"

"Keep it away from me!"

"But it's sore...it needs to be kissed better..."

"Where's your chakram? I'll show you what it nee...mmmmfff!" Dead silence (well, mostly silence) reigned for several long minutes as Xena's tongue proved to Gabrielle just how sore it really was. The bard however was so suspicious, that she insisted on a couple more demonstrations just to make sure.

With a final "slurp", the two broke from each other's arms and Xena said happily, "Okay - my tongue feels so much better now."

"Hmmmph."

"So how are you doing?"

"Uhh...still a bit sore actually." The bard lay back on her blanket and stretched sensually. Xena's eyes lit up at the familiar sight.

"Really? Then it must be time for your next treatment?"

Gabrielle's slightly glazed look cleared slightly. "Ummm. I guess... But I'm still too tender to rub. Uhh...unless you have something else you can...ahh, put it on with?"

"Mmm. Well, my tongue's feeling a whole lot better now." Xena leered as she picked up the discarded aloe sprig and squeezed out some of the gel.

"Uhh... Xena... that's how we got into this whole mess. Remember? Xena? Xena!...ahh, oh yes... oh, what the Hades..." And with a delighted sigh, Gabrielle wound her arms around the warrior, and took her medicine.

Took more than she needed to, actually.

After all, tomorrow was another day.


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