“An Andante for Two”
Lori A. Meyers
Xena: Warrior Princess is © to Universal Pictures, Renaissance Pictures, and Networks USA. I’d love to own the characters of Xena and Gabrielle, but, alas, it’s not to be. There is love here between our two heroes, and a little romance, and, a little sex as well. Go away if you’re under age, or if the thought of two women together upsets your mom.
Hmmm…after this no more disclaiming that Xena and Gabrielle are in love, or are lovers. Everyone knows this at this point, so why be redundant?
Spoilers: Heart of Darkness & FIN
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I don’t know what made me do it. What made me stand in front of everyone and hold out my arm to her? The atmosphere in the room was palpable; I know everyone felt it. The music…the swaying of sensuous bodies…men and women clutching, grinding. I tried to ignore the pounding of my own heart because it kept time with the growing ache between my legs. But the more I tried to ignore it, the fiercer it grew—spreading from my inner being to run like a tingling sensation along my spine and limbs. Glorious lust—unbridled, untamed—it roared to life within moments of entering that room, lying prone on the divan, with attendants all around me. All where waiting to see whom I would choose, who would be the lucky one?
I did not have a heart for any of them. My lust was singular; it had been so for months.
But why now…why like this?
I wanted her, but not like this. Not in front of Eve or Virgil or any of the other damned souls in the room.
When did it begin? I realize that I didn’t know. One day she was an annoying kid who left home because she was bored, and then the next day, well, the next day she was all woman. How could the beautiful woman she had become not affect anyone? All sleek muscle, bulging in all the right places, and yet, so soft and supple I could have wept. And when she cut her hair and threw away her peasant clothes I lusted after her more than ever.
But I’m the biggest fool the world has ever seen. When I wanted her I turned to others and ended up hurting her in the end.
It began about eight months ago. When we, once again, came to the defense of a village in need. Someone was slaughtering the livestock at night. At first I couldn’t understand what doing such a thing would accomplish. Then one of the local magistrates told me that one of the wealthy landowners from the neighboring town was pushing the locals to purchase sheep, pigs, and goats from him alone. That was easy. Now that I knew who was behind it I could set up a trap at one of the local farms.
She didn’t like the plan at all. She was aggravated, had been so for weeks, and just wanted to leave. I told her I promised to help these people. She argued back that now that we knew who was behind it all why couldn’t we let the local militia handle it? I should have known not to push her, but I did. She stormed past me, pushing me away from her as she passed by. Any rational person would have just let it go, but not me. I took two strides up to her and grabbed her arm, spinning her to face me.
“Let me go, Xena!”
I hated it whenever someone talked to me in that tone. “I made a promise, Gabrielle!”
“Yeah? Well, I didn’t—now let me go!”
Before I knew what was happening she was up against a tree. I shook my head and tried to calm the beast. “What is it with you? You never try to get out of helping people.”
She looked up at me, and her eyes were defiant. “Maybe I’m just tired.”
I blinked, and my eyes roamed over her, making sure she wasn’t injured in any way. “Are you all right?”
She shrugged off my concern. “What do you care?”
There it was, the thing that was causing her aggravation. “What makes you think I don’t care?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
But I did. She was defiant, but she also looked defeated. “Gabrielle, have I done…”
I never finished the question. Her eyes darted up and pinned me with the hardest stare I’ve ever seen from her. Her look was both accusing and pleading at the same time.
I didn’t know what to say, so I said something really stupid, like always. “Fine, go back to the village.”
She stormed by me again and I was left staring at the empty place where her body once stood. I started thinking…what happened about eight months ago that was out of the ordinary? Where were we? What were we doing? Whom were we with?
I seemed to remember being in Athens. Gabrielle wanted to go because Aristotle was visiting there, and she wanted to meet him. What could---then it hit me. I ran into him—Aristaios—the first day we were in Athens. He was a friend of Virgil.
I stopped in my tracks and whirled around, hoping to see where she had gone. It had been long, so long since I had experienced the pleasures of the flesh. So when Gabrielle settled on the stoa to talk to Aristotle I grabbed Aristaios by the hand and we went to the baths. He was just as eager as I was, so we stayed in the baths for hours until our desires were spent. As we walked out of the baths, hand in hand, Gabrielle met us, and she was furious. Her eyes narrowed as she looked at me.
It made me feel guilty; and when I feel guilty I get mad. “What’s wrong with you?” My voice held no compassion.
That day comes back to my memory as if it happened yesterday. Gods, she was jealous. And I, being the jerk I can be, made her feel worse. I ran my hand down my cheek and sighed. If Gabrielle was jealous, did that mean she had feelings for me?
For all my physical prowess I can be pretty dense sometimes. All the years leading up to that day held a new meaning for me as I now saw it in a new light. The looks by the fire that lasted a little too long…her soft expression when she comforted me after a fight, the way she would lay my head on her breast…the way her breathing would hitch when we stripped for a bath—all the little things that I ignored, simply because I’m the dumbest warrior that ever lived. But thinking back was it really all new?
No, no it wasn’t. I had loved her for years but lived in denial of my feelings. Simply because I thought she could never love me as I loved her. Like I said, my addle brain gets in the way sometimes.
But still I hesitated in my new knowledge and the days and the weeks went by. I should have taken her in my arms on that day in Athens, but I didn’t.
I thought I wasn’t ready. I was a coward.
And then, eight months later, on that foolish day when I had planned on seducing Lucifer, and sending him to hell where he belonged, she was like a siren—calling to me, awakening my lust, pulling me towards our desire.
If she had had plans with Virgil they were quickly abandoned. Our fingers met, then our arms clutched as I pulled her towards me. The dance was erotic as we teased each other with simple touches and longing looks. She looked away from me but I brought my hand up and turned her to face me. She ran the back of her hand along my neck and I shivered with desire.
But that idiot interrupted, and I took my lust out on Lucifer instead. I kissed him the way I wanted to kiss her. I should have known what was to come next.
Her eyes again—accusing, taunting, teasing, pleading, breaking down my spirit. I may have been the most cunning warrior the world had ever seen, but when our eyes met again after Lucifer left, I felt like a bumbling fool.
Her beauty, her smile, her charm, her sensuous body, and her eyes that sparkled like a sun-lit sea captured me again—and I was lost.
“Xena?” A question on the one hand so innocent, yet so alluring.
I took her hand and drew her to me. “Yes, Gabrielle?”
She tentatively wrapped an arm around my waist. “Is this real?”
I bent my head, ever so slowly. “Yes, my love. Oh so real…”
It was not the first time that our lips met. But all the other seemingly innocent kisses were never like this. My tongue begged entry into her waiting mouth, and she responded in kind. My arms lifted her and our kiss deepened. I twirled her around as she wrapped her legs around me and it felt so good.
I reluctantly broke the kiss. “Do you want to go to our room?”
She ran her hand gently down my cheek. “Not here, Xena. Please, not here. Not with Lucifer and Eve so close.”
She was right. “Come with me then.”
I set her down and then took her hand. I grabbed a couple of blankets from the courtyard we were in and led her outside into the trees beyond. The sounds of the party faded the further we got into the trees. When no more sounds were to be heard, except those of the forest at night, I stopped and spread out the blankets on the ground.
I looked up to her, then my eyes fell on the blankets. “This is not how I wanted this to be, my love.”
She took my hand in hers. “What is it, Xena?”
And now my own pain was upon me, there was nothing I could do to hold it back any longer. “You deserve more than the damp ground, Gabrielle. We ought to be far away from here—at a warm inn, with a soft bed. Somewhere else, where the sun shines and my darkness is but a memory.”
She slowly pulled me to her and our bodies fit perfectly. “Anywhere with you, Xena, is where I want to be.” Then her hands cupped my face. “Make love to me, Xena.”
I reached for her and drew her even closer, until there was no space between us. I slowly lowered my head until our lips touched. Her lips were so soft. When she opened up for me I hesitated no more. Her arms encircled my neck, and I deepened the kiss.
We continued to kiss, our mouths touched and teased. Then I ran my hands up her back and unclasped this simple garment that imprisoned her breasts. It fell away and I slowly caressed her upper back and shoulders, reveling in the feel of her soft skin. I bent down slightly and ran my arm under her knees.
With very little effort I easily lifted her up. I gazed into the most beautiful eyes I’d ever seen. “Are you sure?”
The question was more for me than her. I was asking myself if I was indeed ready to make her mine. But then I chuckled at my own imprudence. She was already mine.
I think she understood because she smiled and caressed my cheek. “I love you, Xena.”
So I lowered us both to the blankets and settled next to her. At that moment my only thought was her pleasure. I took my time until finally we were both naked. I tossed our clothes aside and gently pushed her onto her back. I settled next to her and ran my hand from her shoulder to a soft breast. When she caught her breath I cupped it and brought my tongue down to taste her sensitive flesh. Her nipple hardened and I had to check my own breathing, because it was coming in short rasps.
My tongue slowly twirled around her nipple, and I brought my hand up to caress her flattened stomach. She inhaled deeply and her hips rose slightly off the blankets. I moaned at that obvious sensual move. I lifted my leg and brought it over her hip, I slowly parted her thighs and moved so that I was half straddling her. All the while my mouth never left her breast.
I ran my hand down her hip and pulled her closer to me, it was nearly my undoing. Without thought my body lifted and moved on top of her and finally my heated flesh knew her body. I had been craving it for months and now finally I felt her soft flesh as it met my own. She wrapped her arms and legs around me and all thought finally went by the wayside.
I began our rhythm but she followed me easily. When I pressed hard against her she moaned. When I kissed her soundly she raked her nails across my back. I had known sexual pleasure before, but nothing like this sensuous paradise I was now in. Our eyes met and I tried to convey everything I felt in that quick glance. She reached up and brought our mouths together again. Our kiss united us that night, as much as any marriage ever could.
It was heartbreakingly real and profound, and I knew I would be hers forever. Later that night, when our passion was spent I held her in my arms, and spoke of our undying love—how it would last forever and that nothing could ever tear us apart.
Little did I know how easily it all could be taken away.
I had promised her forever but it was not to be. I made another devastating mistake, and let my pride get the best of me. Honor held me bound to an old debt, and once again, I left her for the sake of another. But this time, there was no ambrosia to bring me back.
So here I am, existing somewhere that is neither in the world nor in heaven, with only shades around me for companionship. I can still see her and touch her, but it is like trying to grasp water and hold onto it. And her eyes, those once were filled with love, are now hollow and resigned.
She has gone to Egypt. They could use a girl with a chakram, and we both know it.
I overheard her talking to the Ptolemaic ruler the other day and she blushed slightly when their eyes met. If I had had a beating heart I would have plunged a knife into it. But she is alive, and life is meant for the living, not the dead.
I was dead once and wished for life—and then my path ran into hers. I was alive once and then sought my death, only to find it a bitter end. Now I’m stuck between two worlds and can find happiness in neither.
So I turn to the blackness and leave her for a while to suffer alone. I wish I could cry real tears, for if my tears were real then that would mean I was alive. So I shed nothing, because that is all I’ve become.
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