THE BETWEEN THE LINES SERIES
(or what happened between the episodes)
For Disclaimers, see "Looking for Trouble"
2.18 If You Could See What I See
(post "Blind Faith")
Palemon: "Well, if I were you, I'd be headed for Athens."
X: "Well, you are not me. I've gotta save my friend."
Palemon: "Well, that must be some friend."
G: "Have you ever been in love, Vidalis? Huh? I mean really in love."
Vidalis: "Well, there was a certain someone."
G: "Now, when you think of that person, can you imagine being with anyone else? Well, now you know how I feel. I can't marry the king because my heart belongs to another."
X: "Now that's a sight for sore eyes."
-- Blind Faith
I look into her eyes, memorizing each distinct fleck of color, all over again -- the tiny bits of gold and blue that dance there against all that green. They flutter closed, and I kiss each eyelid, studying her long pale lashes. I flick my tongue across a pink cheek and take a nibble at a very soft, plump earlobe, then taste the smooth salty skin just below it.
She started this well over an hour ago, after we left Palemon and Vidalis. We needed some private time together, just the two of us. Both of us were almost overcome with emotion -- me at how close she came to dying, and her at the notion my blindness might have been permanent. So we found this cave. No fire has been built yet, and the only thing unpacked is our sleeping furs. We had more important things to attend to.
Her having started this, my body is more than satisfied. She always loves me thoroughly and well, and more often than not she hears me sing her praises in several languages by the time she's done. Now, it's my turn. Precious things were almost lost, like this -- holding her very live body in my arms, and watching every emotion and reaction, seeing the beauty of her face as our bodies are joined. I don't ever want to take this for granted again.
"Don't close your eyes," I whisper into her ear. "Please?"
She complies and I smile. They're beautiful. She's beautiful. She licks her lips and they remain parted, a gasp of breath escaping as I slide my hand up her stomach, covering a firm, round breast. "Xena." My name floats up around me. "Gods." Her voice is husky and low, and I can feel it rumbling against my lips, as they close around a pebbled nipple. I love the sensation of her against my tongue, and the color -- it's the same shade of pink as her lips, and other parts of her body I'm aching to see all over again.
Normally, I'd close my eyes and savor her taste and her texture, but not this time. I keep them open and this close, I can see the flushed skin of her chest, and watch it rising and falling as her breath warms the top of my head. In my peripheral vision, her hand comes up, her fingers already curled, and then I feel it come to rest against my head, her other hand planted firmly around my shoulder. I move to her other, equally lovely breast, giving it the same thorough attention, and I feel her body arching up against me as she gasps out my name once more.
"Patience." I scoot up and gaze into her eyes again. She's panting, and I cup a soft cheek with one hand, stroking it with my thumb, taming some of her fire, as I take a leisurely amount of time kissing her. Her mouth is warm and inviting as she eagerly returns my
affections. One of her legs curls around my hip and she pulls me even closer.
Out of the corner of my eye, I spy the indention of her collarbone, and decide it needs further inspection. Reluctantly, I draw away from her lips and kiss my way down her jaw, pausing to take tiny bites at a corded neck muscle. I watch goose bumps appear on her skin, and feel her arms tighten around me. "I love you so much," I speak softly into
her ear, then kiss my way slowly along her collarbone to her shoulder.
She's not the young girl I found outside Potadeia. Months of traveling all day long, fighting, working, and making a life together have changed her body. I have no complaints. Her shoulder is firm and smooth, the muscles going down her arm well-defined. I press my palm against her arm and stroke downward, rolling her onto her side in the process. "Your back is so beautiful."
I curl around her from behind, wrapping one arm around her waist to steady her. I love her back. It's one of her most gorgeous features. I nibble at the base of her neck, then kiss my way downward, meandering around, watching her muscles move and tremble at my touch. I feel her stomach fluttering as well, pressing against my hand as her breathing becomes more labored.
Reaching the base of her spine, I pause, then lick it, following with a long breath of air over the same spot. Her whole body jerks and she gasps. "Xena." I chuckle and continue on, palming her behind, kissing the round firmness of her. I long to take this part of her body into both hands, and I will, soon.
I roll her back over and settle between her legs, sliding one hand slowly up an inner thigh. It's covered in fine blonde hair that stands up as I touch her. Her skin here is creamy white and smooth, and soft as a baby's bottom. I have to kiss it, and so I do, hearing her whimper as I move closer to where we both want to be.
I have to pause and look at her, worshipping her body, knowing she's my life. She's like the most delicate, beautiful flower and I touch her, parting her and stroking the velvet soft wetness of her. Watching her tremble, I'm amazed all over again that someone like her
could ever love someone like me. The sight and scent of her are intoxicating, and I nuzzle her wetness, reaching out with just the tip of my tongue to taste her. We both moan in appreciation and her hips buck against me in reaction. She's perfect in every way, her skin soft and pink, her scent musky sweet, and she tastes divine. I want
more. Much more.
Grasping her behind, I pull her to me and finally, I close my eyes, savoring her. I feel her hands at my head and shoulders, her strong calves against my upper back. Her body rolls up against me, over and over, as I kiss her in the most intimate way possible, exploring and teasing every inch of her. Her voice is low and breathy, and although her words are unintelligible, I understand her perfectly. I lift my head for only a second, and meet her eyes. They're hooded and soft, her face beautiful and glowing, her expression one of complete desire. "Hold on, love. I'm going to take care of you." I lower myself again, fulfilling my promise.
As her climax washes over her, she cries out, her hands clutching at me. I bury my face into her, making it last, wanting to feel and see and experience this for as long as I can. Holding her afterward will be the greatest peace I've ever known. It always is.
She continues to shiver, as I inch my way up her body, paying one last round of homage to her with my lips and fingers as I go. Reaching her face, I take it in both hands, kissing her in utter reverence.
Finally, I'm holding her, cradling her against me. Her fingers trail lightly in circles across my belly, and I kiss her forehead several times, both of us too spent to talk just yet. I stroke her hair, the light from the low afternoon sun breeching our cave and creating a
pale halo around her head. There are a dozen shades of gold in her hair, something I know I've noticed in the past, but now I actually pay attention, memorizing it along with every other aspect of the beauty that is Gabrielle.
"Dinar for your thoughts." She kisses the upper curve of my breast, making my nipple harden in reaction. I chuckle. My body has no inclination to go another round. All I want to do is hold her, glad beyond words to see her body plastered against mine.
"You're beautiful." I kiss her head again. "That's what I think."
"Thank you." I watch a blush color the one cheek I can see. "Weren't you afraid?"
She doesn't need to clarify. I know what she's asking, and I have to think for a moment about how to answer her. There was fear on many levels. I'm just not certain she needs to know about all of them. "I remember, walking along with Palemon, praying to the gods my last vision of you was not going to be while I was rolling my eyes at your
wanting to shop. So, yes, I was afraid." I swallow.
"Come on, Xena." She rises up and looks at me, her expression as earnest as I've ever seen it. "I'm flattered, but surely you were afraid of more than that."
I close my eyes. Much as I don't want to miss a moment of sunlight, she knows me too well. If I keep them open, she'll read thoughts I don't need to share. Like the fear that blindness would have separated us.
I'm no fool. If word had gotten out I was unable to see, every bounty hunter and enemy for leagues around would have been hot on our trail. I wouldn't have been able to protect her from that. There would have been no choice but to send her someplace safe, and that would have meant away from me. But that didn't happen, and she doesn't need to hear about the 'what ifs.' My mind scrambles, searching for some truth I can share. "If it had been permanent, I was afraid of being dependent on other people." There. Truth. Just not the whole of it.
"Even on me?" Her voice is hurt and I hear that note of uncertainty I wish to the gods I could erase forever.
"Never of you." I kiss her, saying wordlessly what I don't think I could explain aloud. No one has ever gotten as close as her and no one else ever will. "But I would hate for you to see me helpless for the rest of my life." Another, more painful truth, but one I'm not afraid to share. Not with her.
"You helpless?" She snorts. "Not hardly. I heard the fight outside that casket. Even without your sight you were kicking butt and taking names." She rolls over, belly to belly with me. Her fingers caress my cheek and she forces me to look at her. "But I would've taken care of you, Xena. Anyone trying to get through you would've had to go
"I know." I cup her face, trading touch for touch. And boy, do I know, more than I care to. More the reason if I ever am incapacitated, that I'll need to send her away. She's not a village girl anymore. Her skill with her staff is a sight to behold, her protectiveness of me fierce in its beauty. I've no doubt she'd do her best to fend off my enemies, and I've no doubt she'd die trying. My sorry carcass isn't something worth her dying for. I won't let that happen. Ever. "But I'm glad you don't have to."
"Oh, me too." She blinks, and I capture a few tears. "Your eyes --" She sniffles and her own eyes flutter closed. I see and feel her taking deep breaths, and I do my best to remain still and quiet, giving her time to compose herself. Her eyes open again, soft and
shining back at me with a love that breaks my heart. "Your eyes are so beautiful. I could write a million poems about them and never capture their beauty. You not being able to use them --" She traces my eyebrows with her fingers. "I can't bear the thought of it."
I smile and she smiles back at me. "I love the way you look at me, Xena. Losing that would have been incalculable."
"Losing that, I would have been inconsolable," I answer quietly. I know we are both on the verge of emotional breakdown. It's all been too much. I hug her tightly, and just lay there, feeling her body gradually lose tension. Slowly, I knead the muscles on either side of her spine, until she's completely relaxed on top of me, her face resting against my chest. "Nap before dinner?" She nods and I chuckle, then roll over until I'm spooning her beneath our furs.
I hear her breathing deepen, and I know she's asleep. I fight it, waiting for the sun to go down. I don't want to miss one moment of watching her sleep.
Next in the BTL series - Shades of Meaning (post "Ulysses")
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