Session Two at Sappho’s Couples Counseling Service

Part 2

by Ximena



As characters, Xena and Gabrielle, and any others borrowed from the show, Xena: Warrior Princess, belong to MCA Universal and Renaissance Pictures. As fantasies, they belong to us all. In this series of therapeutic vignettes, I’ve borrowed them for my own perverse purposes as a hopeless subtext romantic. This session contains specific references to several, episodes, among them: "Giant Killer," "Return of Callisto," "A Fistful of Dinars," "Ulysses," and especially "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun."


"Now, then," Doctor Love smiled at both of them. "What is the issue for today?"

"Spying." Gabrielle didn’t waste a breath. "Eavesdropping. Promise-breaking. Need I go on?"

Why is it always my fault? Xena was thinking as she sat there with her legs astride either side of the fur-covered couch, sneezing into her armband. Not only had they not made it to Amphiboles, but Gabrielle had insisted they turn right back around and take the next boat back to Lesbos.

"I’m not going anywhere near that bat-shit cave, Gabrielle," Xena had said, and yet, here she was.

"I see," said Sappho, looking even more radiant than the last time they had visited. She wore a loose emerald gown trimmed with gold netting at the breasts. Her large nipples were very clearly etched against the gossamer fabric. The girl standing behind her chair, deeply massaging her bare brown shoulders, was evidently responsible for Sappho’s radiance (or so the doctor’s assistant had confided in Xena out in the waiting room). "Intimacy got a little frightening, did it?"

"I don’t know if it had anything to do with intimacy," said Gabrielle. "Xena violated my privacy."

"Wait a minute, Gabrielle," Xena stepped in before her reputation got completely dragged through the loam, "those are strong words and you know that’s not true."

"What do you mean, ‘not true,’ Xena? You were sitting there reading my diary to your heart’s content when I specifically asked you not to do that. I caught you."

"I wasn’t hiding what I was doing," Xena parried, "you’re the one who stalked off all mad at me, nearly pushed me into the river when I went over to grovel for your forgiveness--"

"Let’s take five, here, shall we?" Doctor Love said, then turned to her handmaiden and winked at her to stop the massage. The girl retreated quietly from the room. "Forgiveness for what, Xena? Why were you groveling?"

"She wasn’t groveling," Gabrielle said.

"I made a stupid remark about how heavy the saddlebags were getting with all of Gabrielle’s scrolls, and she took it the wrong way and acted like I was saying I didn’t appreciate her writing. I tried apologizing to her, but she wouldn’t cut me any slack, and when I--" By the gods, I hate all this tattletale stuff, Xena thought, rolling her eyes, but went on with her rendition, "--when I begged her to forgive me, she nearly shoved me into the river and told me not to give her any ‘half-assed’ apologies. Those were her exact words. Gabrielle didn’t say things like that before--" Xena bit her tongue and glanced at Gabrielle.

"Go on," Sappho prompted. "Before what, Xena?"

"Before the last time we were here," Gabrielle chimed in. "Xena’s got this theory that just because we were able to work out that little problem we came to you about last time--"

"Oh, so you worked it out?" Sappho beamed.

"Just once," said Gabrielle.

"It’s a start," said Sappho. "And that means progress."

Xena scoffed at Doctor Love.

"You don’t agree, Xena?"

Xena’s lip curled into a smirk. She’d said enough, and she’d had her fill of these little meetings.

"She’s just shy," said Gabrielle, slapping Xena on the knee. "She doesn’t like to talk about it."

"May I fill in the blank, then?" asked Sappho. "I think I see the pattern here."

"Hmmm," said Xena, lifting an eyebrow. "I got another pattern for ya." Getting smitten by every Tom, Dick, and Joxer that comes around, she added in silence.

"Do you want to tell us about it?" asked Sappho.

"Ladies, first," said Xena, still smirking.

"From what I hear, you were able to trust Gabrielle enough to allow her to do what she wanted to you,

and that’s a very good thing, Xena. I know how hard that must’ve been for you, and you probably haven’t fully recovered from that, have you? There’s probably a tinge of resentment somewhere in you that Gabrielle coerced you--" Doctor Love held up her hand before Xena contradicted her. "--not that she forced you to do something against your will, but that you went through with it because you wanted to please her, and in that sense, you felt coerced by your own love for Gabrielle and her love for you." She paused and watched the effect of her words on Xena’s face.

Xena drew her impassive warrior’s expression and stared back at her, focusing her gaze on the dark ridge of the woman’s eyebrows.

"Gabrielle? Does this feel like an accurate assessment of the situation?" asked Sappho.

"I guess it makes sense," said Gabrielle. "She really was very hesitant about it, at first. Hesitant or in pain, I don’t know, but then, it did feel like she gave in."

"Did you enjoy it, Xena?"

"I’m not going there!" Xena said. "All I know is that ever since then, Gabrielle’s been short-tempered and rude to me, she’s been using all this language she never used to use, and, the real story is that she’s mad at me because I found out about all the boys she wanted to throw herself to while I was busy saving a race of people from the Philistines, for example."

"That’s what you discovered in her diary?"

"‘mong other things."

The handmaiden came back into the room and whispered something in Sappho’s ear, playfully tickling the older woman’s neck with the tip of her tongue before leaving again.

"You promised you would never read my diary, Xena," said Gabrielle, oblivious to everything.

"I didn’t read that in your diary, Gabrielle. Your diary has nothing to do with it. I’m sorry you caught me reading it, but there wasn’t anything in there that you hadn’t already written about in your stories. Does ‘I sing of David, warrior poet of the Israelites’ ring any bells to you? That wasn’t in your diary, that was in one of the permitted scrolls, that’s how I found out, and that’s why I read your diary. I wanted to see how many other times you’d cheated on me. End of story."

"Not quite, Xena," said Sappho. "Story’s just beginning. Multiple levels of trust and betrayal here, all interacting with each other but conveniently hiding behind this issue of the scrolls. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s something we’ll be able to resolve in this session. I’ve just been told that Aphrodite and the other Muses have arrived a day earlier than expected--it’s our monthly Muse Council, you see--, so I’m afraid I’m going to have to cut it short for today. I won’t charge you, of course, but I do want you two to meet with me again--"

"Look, no offense, but I’m tired of coming here," said Xena. "Gabrielle thought you could help us. Okay, so you can’t, thank you very much for trying. We’ll be on our way, we’ll figure it out as best we can. Let’s go, Gabrielle. I’m not coming back to this cave."

"You won’t have to," said Sappho. "I want both of you to be my guests tonight. My home isn’t far from here, and I trust you’ll find the surroundings much more civilized than this cave, Xena. No bats, I promise. We can continue our talk in the morning, after breakfast. I’m sure Aphrodite would love to see you again." A knowing look passed between Xena and Doctor Love.

Gabrielle looked at her partner. Already she was beginning to look like the old Gabrielle, imploring her with those deep green eyes that could look so gentle and beguiling, at times, but Xena knew that was just a facade for the little firebrand underneath.

"We’d be honored?" said Gabrielle, not quite sure if Xena was going to gainsay her. Xena let it slide, even though it meant delaying their arrival in Amphiboles by another two days. She wasn’t looking forward to seeing Aphrodite again, either. That goddess always stirred trouble between her and Gabrielle.

"Splendid," said Sappho. "And I want to ask you to do something in preparation for tomorrow’s chat, if I may? I’ll leave you two to yourselves tonight, think of it as a well-deserved respite from your travels, and I’ll have your dinner and wine sent to your quarters, so you needn’t bother mingling with the guests. We’ll be in Council till late, anyway. After you’re all settled in for the night, I want you to tell each other a story, a memory, perhaps, of something sexy that you did together that you never talked about. Will you do that for me?"

"Sounds easy enough," said Gabrielle, gesturing at Xena with her head. "If this one will cooperate."

Without meaning to, Xena reached across and yanked Gabrielle’s head back by the hair, then planted a lewd kiss square on the bard’s mouth, for Sappho’s benefit.

"That answer your question?" said Xena.

Continued in Part 3

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