I SING OF DAVID
Session Two at Sapphos Couples Counseling Service
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, Ive 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."
They followed the handmaiden through a grove of olive trees to a clearing at the crest of the hill, where a house worthy of a Turkish palace suddenly loomed into view. The white walls and turrets were glazed to an apricot color by the light of the setting sun. The sea wind sloughed through the cypresses that lined the stepped path to the house. The surf pounded the cliff on either side. From where they stood, Xena swore she could see clear across the Aegean to Vesuvius. Argo neighed contentedly behind them, anticipating, already, a hefty bushel of oats for dinner.
"This is a gift from the gods," Gabrielle said in a low voice. "Itll be so nice to take a real bath and sleep in a real bed."
At the mention of a bath, Xenas muscles started to ache. But she felt something else, as well, a distinct tightening of her nipples as though soft fingers had suddenly tickled her back. Yes, a bath would be nice.
The doors to Sapphos home stood wide open, no sentinels posted anywhere in sight, just a boy who took Argo to get rubbed down and stabled. Xena lifted the saddlebags off and slung them over her shoulder, but immediately, another boy rushed out of the shadows to carry the bags to their room.
Gabrielle gasped at the sight of the interior courtyard. The blue and white tiled fountain, the potted flowers, tables and chairs arranged in intimate corners and under the shade of great magnolia trees.
"This is how Id like to live," Gabrielle said, more to herself than her partner, but Xena heard the nesting tone to her voice loud and clear.
"Too much work," said Xena, though in truth, she was grateful not to have to spend the night on a beach or by a river somewhere. There was a lot to be said for the civilized life, at times.
"More work than fighting for a living?" asked Gabrielle.
"I dont fight for a living, Gabrielle. I fight to live. Thats the path Im on, a path youve chosen to take with me. Its not glamorous by any stretch." She tousled Gabrielles hair. "But it does have unexpected moments like this one."
The handmaiden led them through yet another courtyard, this one with two pools in it and a grape arbor held up by tall statues of naked men, their marble bodies twined with old vines, their crotches dangling huge clusters of red and green grapes.
Xena bent over and whispered in her lovers ear: "Hey, Gabrielle, wanna grape?"
Gabrielle jabbed her in the ribs, but laughed aloud anyway.
They walked up a circular staircase to a gallery that overlooked the pools. A row of miniature lemon trees, fragrant with blossoms, took the place of a balustrade.
"This will be your chamber," the handmaiden said, standing outside an arched door. "Sappho wanted to put you in the east tower, far from the central activity of the house, to make sure you werent disturbed. Can I get you anything? Refreshments are on their way."
"A bath," said Gabrielle, "if you dont mind."
"The waters being poured and scented as we speak. If you think of anything else--"
"Matter of fact," said Xena, sniffing at her underarm, "our clothes could use laundering."
Gabrielle scowled at her. These women werent Amazons, at the Queens beck and call. "I wouldnt want to impose," she said.
"Not at all," said the handmaiden. "Just leave out the things you want washed and Ill have someone take care of it. There are fresh shifts you can use, if you need something to sleep in." She smiled. "If there isnt anything else, Ill bid you both good night, then." She reached down to hug Gabrielle and gave Xena a kiss on each cheek. For an instant, Xena expected to feel the tip of the girls tongue on her skin, but, alas, it didnt happen. Good thing, too, given Gabrielles eagle eye.
The room was appointed in silks and rich walnut furnishings. A pair of slave girls was just finishing casting the last of the rose petals into the steaming water in the bath. All around the tub, thick candles had been lit, and in between the candles stood different colored bottles of oil and jars of salts, a pile of thick, fresh sponges at the foot of the tub. One of the slaves curtsied to Xena and asked if she needed any help undressing. Before Gabrielle could protest, Xena acceded to the help, and the girl deftly removed the scabbard and breastplate while Xena pulled off her gauntlets and bracers. The other slave followed Gabrielle into the bedroom.
The girl helped her off with her boots and then Gabrielle stepped out of her skirt, halter, and underwear. She pulled out the rest of their clothing from their bags, and threw in their towels and blankets, too. Those hadnt seen a good washing in weeks. The girl bundled everything up in one of the blankets and curtsied to Gabrielle before leaving the room. She was about to head for the bath, but was stopped by a knock at the door and a voice announcing refreshments. Gabrielle draped herself in a silk sheet from the bed and went to open the door.
It was Sappho, herself, carrying the tray. "I trust youre making yourselves at home," she said, smiling and eyeing Gabrielles covering.
"Thank you so much for your invitation, Sappho. Its much more than--"
"My pleasure, I assure you." Sappho didnt let her finish. She swept into the room and set the tray down on the sideboard. "It isnt every day one gets the opportunity to house the Goddess of Love, the Nine Muses, the Warrior Princess, and the famous Bard of Potidea in one evening. Actually, if I hadnt given you your little assignment, Id ask you to entertain us later with one of your stories."
"Id be happy to oblige," said Gabrielle.
"Well see," said Sappho. "These Councils sometimes last all night. May I pour you some wine?"
"Oh, no, really, thats too much. I can pour it. Youve done enough, really." Gabrielles mouth was watering at the scent of roasted meat and fowl rising from the tray.
"Very well," said Sappho, "Ill leave you to your bath." She let her gaze linger a little longer than necessary on the soft swell of Gabrielles breasts under the silk wrap. "That fabric suits you," she added.
Gabrielle blushed and thanked her again, and found herself wishing that Sappho would kiss her goodnight, which she didnt. Just the slightest graze of her fingers on Gabrielles shoulder that gave the bard goose bumps. After Sappho had gone, Gabrielle touched her hand to her chest and was surprised at the quick beating of her heart. Shed never felt such instant attraction to any woman other than Xena, a woman as feminine as herself and yet with Xenas same, almost feral, sensuality.
"Gabri-elle?" Xena called out. "Whats taking you so long?"
Gabrielle lifted the clay jug--in the shape of a womans torso, she couldnt help but notice--and poured their cups full to the brim. The wine smelled of cinnamon and blackberries. She carried the cups into the bath and found Xena already neck-deep in the rose petals, her face flushed from the steam, and the slave girl pouring water over her hair with a conch shell.
"I can do that," Gabrielle said, feeling her usual twinge of jealousy at the sight of any woman getting familiar with Xena. The girl bowed, collected Xenas shift and knickers from the floor, and left them alone.
"Ah, wine," sighed Xena, holding out her hand to take her cup. "Please, Im so thirsty."
"You should see the food," said Gabrielle, unwrapping the silk around her and letting it slip to the floor.
"Im looking at it," said Xena, tongue inching out between her lips.
"First we wash, Xena," said Gabrielle, "you know the rules." She stepped seductively into the tub, pointed toe first, followed by sleek calf, tanned thigh, blond pubis, tight torso, full white breasts, nipples like pink rosebuds. Xena almost came just looking at her. Gods, she loved looking at her sweet young bard.
Gabrielle moaned as the hot water penetrated her tired muscles. Xena gulped down her wine. After soaking for a bit, they took turns rubbing each other down, first with the salts, then the oils. They lathered each others hair with the lavender-scented soap, scrubbing hard at the scalp, shaping the lather into tall bouffants and Medusa-like coils, laughing like girls at their silly creations. For a final touch, they layered rose petals on their cheeks and eyelids and let their heads float back in the water.
"Sweet Artemis," Gabrielle breathed through her mask of petals, "thank you for this gift."
Xena slipped down into the water for a last rinse. "Are we clean enough, now?" she said when she came back up, her eyes gleaming silver with desire.
Gabrielle reached out with her foot and parted Xenas thighs, letting her toes wriggle into the dense patch of hair there. Xena shivered as Gabrielles big toe hit the spot.
"Oooh," said Gabrielle, "someones juicy."
Xena lifted Gabrielles foot out of the water, and brought it up to her lips, kissing each toe, first, before suckling it. Gabrielle crooned with pleasure, her hands already beginning to fondle herself.
"So what story are you gonna tell me," Gabrielle murmured. "Remember, we have homework."
"Thought youd never ask," said Xena, pulling that irresistible little body towards her in the water. "Ive got just the thing." Gabrielles legs wrapped around Xenas waist and Xena held onto the round, sleek globes of the bards buttocks. Unbeknownst to Gabrielle, shed tucked a favorite toy between her legs which she could squeeze without needing any other manipulation.
"Remember that night with the Bacchae?"
"Are you kidding? How could I forget?"
"Do you remember when Joxer rescued you from that bar?"
"Joxer rescued me?"
"See what I mean? You dont remember. Least not the early stuff. You were under the spell of those two women you were dancing, with. Really nice moves, too, by the way. Too bad you couldnt see yourself, and the way those Bacchae were lusting after you. If I hadnt been afraid they were gonna take a bite outa you any minute, I wouldnt have let Joxer interfere. Quite a show. Even straight-laced Orpheus was impressed."
"I remember walking into the bar, the music was awesome, Id never heard music like that before, all that syncopation that seemed to be shaking the house. And there were all these women dancing together. But I dont remember dancing. With two women, huh? Were we dancing close?"
"Like a sandwich, and you were the meat." Xena slid a hand over Gabrielles silky breast.
"Hmm?" said Gabrielle, nuzzling Xenas wet neck. "Sounds like a picnic."
"You know what else you dont remember? Didnt you ever wonder how you became a Bacchae in the first place?"
Gabrielle pursed her lips. "I was always confused about that, but since we never talked about it, I let it go." She shrugged, and nibbled on Xenas earlobe. "I chalked it up to just another one of those weird experiences in my travels with Xena."
She tilted her head sideways and Xena kissed her, sliding her tongue in and out of the bards mouth.
"You taste so good," said Gabrielle.
"Maybe thats why that woman took a bite out of me," Xena joked.
"Why didnt you tell me right away that youd gotten bitten? I remember Joxer thinking you were going to become a Bacchae because he saw the wound on your neck."
"One of the Bacchae managed to get a fang into me before I wasted her, but I wasnt really worried that Id become one, since it wasnt a real bite, just a taste."
Gabrielle ran her teeth along the vein in Xenas neck. "Good thing I didnt see that," she growled, "or the bitch wouldve felt my staff in her face."
"You were too busy flirting with those two women to care what I was up to," said Xena, squeezing the firm flesh of Gabrielles ass cheeks into a two-fisted pinch.
"Mmmm," said Gabrielle. "I like it when you get jealous. Then what happened?"
"Well, that night, after we set up camp and ate that strange turnip stew you prepared for us--I knew something was wrong with me when you cut yourself and I felt this instant urge to suck the blood from your finger. Anyway, after Orpheus totally pissed me off blaming me for Eurydices death for the hundredth time, remember I left?"
"I remember you almost sliced Joxers head off with your knife. I told Joxer you only throw knives when youre really upset, so hed better leave you alone and not follow you if he knew what was good for him."
"Yeah, he woulda lost a body part that night if hed followed me. I went for a walk to calm myself down, make sure there werent any Bacchae following us, and when I came back, the fire was banked and youd already spread out our blankets on the other side of the tree. I thought you were asleep so I crept into bed as quietly as I could, and then I realized you were still awake, sort of. You wanted me to tell you what it had felt like, to be bitten by a Bacchae. There was a quality to your voice that made me doubt you were really awake, more like talking in your sleep, as you tend to do, and then I realized you were doing more than talking. Your hand was humping away under the blanket."
"Xena!" Gabrielle pinched Xenas nipples. "Youre making that up!"
"Am not. You said you didnt know what was wrong with you, but that you just couldnt get that image out of your mind, the image of being bitten, so you wanted me to tell you how it was, and I understood that, somehow, you were still under the influence of the Bacchae spell, and that you wanted me to help you, you know, get there, so I said, if ya want, I can show ya. That sure got a rise out of you. But you have to keep your voice down, I whispered, we dont want Joxer to wake up."
Gabrielle had started sucking on Xenas neck, pulling at the flesh delicately through her teeth. Xena felt a streak of heat run through her loins at the memory of Gabrielle masturbating, and her thighs got to work.
"And then what happened?" Gabrielle murmured.
"I kissed you and your mouth was all over me like you hadnt eaten in weeks. I massaged your breasts hard, keeping one hand clamped over your mouth because you had started to make noise. You had your legs spread wide under the blanket and who knows what was going on down there, but from the juicy sound of it, I could tell you were working it, big time. Each time I released your mouth, you said Bite me, Xena. Bite me, hard."
By now, Gabrielles hips had started to grind against her, and Xenas fingers were exploring the soft crack between the oil-sleek cheeks.
"And then, what?" Gabrielles voice was thick as honey.
"Of course you hadnt bitten me, yet, so there was no way for me to know how good that really felt, to have those teeth buried in your vein like that, to have your blood slurped out of you, but I guess I mustve been convincing, because you sure liked it when I started sucking on your neck. I did it gently, at first, cuz I didnt know how much pain you could really take, but your breath was all quivery and your hand was going wild under the blanket, sound of a juicy cunt --"
Her right hand had found the wet entrance between Gabrielles wide-open legs, and she jammed her thumb into the squirming bard, slipping the tip of her middle finger into Gabrielles anus at the same time. The double-impale move that shed perfected in the bath.
"Oh yes, Xena, yessss!" Gabrielle clenched her thighs tight around Xenas hand.
"--and youre whispering, harder, do it harder, let me feel your teeth. So I pressed my mouth down as hard as I could until I felt your skin break--"
At that, she felt Gabrielles teeth break the skin of her own neck as she rode Xenas wrist like a saddle.
"--and at that point, I just let myself go. I dont know if I turned into a Bacchae, or what, but I latched on to you and sucked your blood till you shuddered--"
Gabrielle was shuddering now. "Oh, Xena, oh Xena, oh Xena," she kept saying.
"--so hard and loud I had to cover your mouth with mine to keep you from yelling out." Xena doubled over with her own climax, remembering how shed kept time with Gabrielle that night.
Gabrielles legs untwisted from around Xenas back and she slipped a hand down between her lovers thighs. "Hey!" she said, pinching Xenas nipples again. "The old sponge trick again, huh?"
"Im starving," said Xena, grinning with a tad of mischief at having tricked Gabrielle. "Water sports make me ravenous."
"Food must be cold by now." Gabrielle looked disappointed that Xena had come without her help.
"Sos this water," said Xena.
Gabrielle stepped out of the tub, but Xena pulled her back in and gave her another long, deep kiss. "Youre not getting off that easy," she said, winking. "Theres more where that came from. I promise."
"First, we dry, then we eat," said Gabrielle. "Then well see if you can still keep a promise."
Xena couldnt resist smacking Gabrielles wet butt when she stepped out of the tub.
Continued in Part 4
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