Convert this page to Pilot DOC FormatAct As If
by Joe Murphy
Disclaimer stuff. Xena: Warrior Princess, and the characters Xena, Gabrielle, Hercules, Iolaus, Argo, Joxer, Meg, King Lias, and Princess Diana all belong to MCA/Universal. This story is not for profit, and belongs to me.
This story depicts consenting women engaged in loving acts. If this offends you, you offend far too easily.
Gabrielle stumbled a little, again, as she reached the top of the crest. Argo grunted her displeasure as the young woman jerked against her bridle to right herself.
"Try not to break my horse."
Xena looked down at her from atop Argo and smiled softly. She hasn't complained even once. Argo's not that bad off. I could give her legs a rest. Besides, if she is up here with me, I'd enjoy the feeling of her body against mine. Xena stopped herself. It wasn't right to use her friend that way. Besides, they were only a few miles from the city, and Xena thought it might be good for her to tough it out. She knew Gabrielle would be proud of herself for sticking with it and not letting her know how tired she was. Xena kept quiet.
They trudged their way along in unusual silence. Xena kept her eyes and ears searching the trees that lined the trail, a habit she wished, now and then, would no longer be necessary some day. It was very dark. Everybody except the guards and maybe some servants would be asleep by the time they got there. Gabrielle's giggle startled her.
"What's so funny?"
"I still can't get over it. Just the idea of Meg and Joxer getting married..." Gabrielle trailed off and smiled up at Xena, and broke into laughter.
"Don't worry, I will. This is just going to be an interesting time, to say the least."
"We're just lucky Lias is giving Meg a customary royal wedding. If we didn't have this full moon, we would have gotten lost several times over by now."
"He must really like her cooking."
Finally Gabrielle could see the gate to the city. I made it! she thought as she tried to ignore the dull ache that had been creeping up the backs of her calves for the last two hours. Several times along the journey, she almost gave in and asked Xena if she could ride with her, despite her hatred of being on Argo. She knew, though, that Xena would be proud of her if she pushed herself, so she kept quiet, even though she would have welcomed having Xena's arms reach around from behind her and hold her in place.
At the gate they showed their invitations and were told they had quarters waiting for them at the palace. A boy greeted them at the front entrance.
"Take Gabrielle up to our room while I stable my horse, then wait for me here, OK?"
The boy began to protest, but was cut off by Xena's stare. "I'm not in the mood to argue. I'm tired. No one touches my horse but me, so just wait till I get back."
The boy relented and gave her directions to the stables. Xena pretended that she didn't know already and thanked the boy. "Take her up now."
The boy nodded and waited for Gabrielle to follow. Instead of moving, she just looked up at Xena in a daze.
"What's going on?"
"Gabrielle, follow him up and I'll be there after I take care of Argo."
"Ok." Gabrielle swayed, then followed the boy through the door and into the main hall.
Xena lowered herself and walked beside Argo, brushing her mane with one hand and holding her bridle with the other.
"Thank you so much for your love today. You worked so well. You didn't complain and you behaved for Gabrielle. You are very good to me. Thank you for you friendship. Thank you for your courage when I need you. Tomorrow I will give you a good rest during the morning and a good run in the afternoon. I'm sorry I won't groom you tonight, but I need to see to Gabrielle. I'll pamper you tomorrow, though, I promise."
The boy was waiting when Xena made it back to the main entrance. She had her saddle and bridle over one shoulder and the saddlebags over the other. Without a word, the boy took hold of the saddle. As Xena tried to shrug him off, his grip became iron. He slid it off her shoulder and put it on his own. He took the bridle out of her hand and grinned from ear to ear at her shocked expression.
"She did, did she? Well then, little man, lead the way."
The boy lead her through a labrynth of halls. Though dimly lit, Xena could see decorations already in place for tomorrow's ceremony. Mercifully, their assigned quarters were on the first floor, in the back towards the kitchen, and near an exit that Xena remembered lead to the stables.
"You could have told me."
The boy lowered his head. "I tried, I'm sorry for..."
"Don't worry, you're right. It was my fault."
With head still lowered, the boy opened the door and lead her in, sitting her saddle on the floor against the wall. He turned to see Xena staring at the bed. A smile spread her hard face, softening it. Suddenly the boy realized that Xena was actually attractive. He followed her gaze to the bed, to Gabrielle's sprawled body. He couldn't tell if she was smiling at the woman herself, or the snoring emanating from her.
"Do you need anything else from me?"
"No, thank you. I'll see you in the morning."
Gabrielle woke to loud knocking on her chamber door. Why on earth would anybody be waking me up!?! I'm tired!! The wedding isn't until tonight, and I'm not going to sleep that late!
The pounding came even louder. "Come in, Xena!"
The door opened hesitantly. She saw a young boy enter timidly with a platter. He hurried over to the nightstand and set it down. The aroma melted away all traces of Gabrielle's anger. She smiled warmly at the boy, who was notably relieved, and grinned back.
"You look very familiar. Do I know you?"
The boy's lips spread to show all his teeth. He held his hand up to his face to try to stifle the laughter. "I brought you to this room last night." He then nodded towards the platter across the room. "She insisted."
"Oh, she did, did she?"
The boy left and Gabrielle lay quietly on the bed, smelling the platter of food she was feeling too lazy to get up and eat. She noticed for the first time the horrible ache in her legs that she hoped would have left her during her sleep. Perhaps a light stroll would work it out, she thought. She desperately wanted to be able to dance tonight. She knew she wasn't all that good at it, but she still enjoyed it, and it had been so long.
After enjoying the aroma another thirty seconds or so, she finally "forced" herself to get up and eat some of the food. She found a note on the platter:
Gabrielle finally made her way slowly into the market place. The bath helped some, but she realized that her legs would be sore for the next day or two. Xena was right, the whole town was busy. Auctions, vendors, games, and contests, were all being enjoyed by people from what had to be several neighboring villages.
She finally found a vendor who had what she wanted, bracelets. I need something that is simple, elegant, and goes with a leather and metal breastplate. She finally found a small chain holding a blue crystal. Well, it may not go with the leather, but it will match her eyes beautifully, she thought as she started looking around for the vendor.
"May I help you, little girl?"
Gabrielle turned furiously and looked straight into the eyes of the most beautiful woman she had ever seen.
"Do you want to purchase that chain?"
Gabrielle stood staring at her. She was in her early thirties maybe. She had short, redish-brown hair that just stopped at her shoulders. She wore a long green dress that hugged her generous breasts snugly. Gabrielle snapped her eyes from the woman's chest back to her face, feeling her own face beginning to flush.
"Yes, I do. How much does it cost?"
Gabrielle didn't really hear the amount, she just handed the woman all the money she was carrying. The woman made the change for her and held out the bracelet. Gabrielle just stared at her hand. The woman suppressed a grin and took Gabrielle's wrist, putting the bracelet on it. She kept a light hold of Gabrielle's hand.
"Is there anything else I can do for you?"
Gabrielle took her hand back, and smiled broadly despite herself. "No, thank you," she said as she turned to look for Xena. She didn't even hear the chuckles of some of the witnessing villagers.
"Looks like someone's got a crush on you, eh Anna?" the vendor across the pathway laughed.
"Looks like it. Looks like it," the woman grinned.
Just as Gabrielle was giving up hopes of finding Xena and started to consider returning to the palace, she finally found her at the stable, preparing Argo.
"No, just taking her for a ride. Did you go shopping?"
"Uh huh. I got something for you."
Xena walked over to her and held out her hand to take the gift. "What is it?"
Gabrielle wrapped the chain around Xena's wrist and fastened it. Xena looked at it quizzically, only her eyes showing any gratitude. "Why this?"
"Well, it's for tonight. At the reception you, Meg, and Diana will all be there. This is so I can tell you from them, without you having to throw your chakrum."
"I will be wearing different clothes than them tonight, you realize."
Gabrielle took hold of Xena's wrist and admired the look of the crystal contrasted to her skin. "Just go with me on this one."
Gabrielle's legs didn't feel too bad anymore, but she wasn't going to miss the opportunity to feel Xena's body against hers like she did last night. She wanted to lean back into her, to take the hand pressing into her stomach in hers push the hand deep into her body. Having Xena's presence so close to her own almost made the ride enjoyable. But she didn't. She never did. So, like all the other times, she enjoyed whatever contact, whatever support, whatever show of emotion from Xena that she could.
As they came over the top of a small hill, the sun sent a wave of heat that felt like a hug to the young bard. It will be midday soon. The wedding was still several hours away. Thank the gods.
They entered an open field and saw an old man shooting a bow at a very old target. Xena changed direction to come up to him from behind, just incase his aim isn't what it used to be.
"Hello, there," she called.
The man turned, obviously taken by surprise. He eyed the rather odd couple suspiciously, noting the way the tall woman held the smaller one a little too closely.
"Hello, can I help you ladies?"
"Is this your land?"
"I work it."
"We didn't mean to trespass. I noticed your target there is a little run down."
"Yes, I really should repair it, but I'm the only one who uses it. I don't really want to bother with tearing this one down and building a new one."
Xena reached into her saddlebag and produced several coins. "I have a business proposition for you. I want to buy it from you. Here is enough money for materials for a new target and a small profit for yourself. If you let me have it, I'll even have it cleared away for you in a couple of hours. What do you say?"
"Are you serious?"
"Yes, the only thing I ask is that you let the two of us practice in private."
"But, you have no bow."
"Do we have a deal or not?"
The thoroughly confused man accepted the money and collected his things. He hurried away from the women, thinking that time was short. He had to get help. He ran as quickly as his feeble legs would take him, and nearly ran over two people as he entered the bar in the center of the town. "Hercules! I need to speak to Hercules!" He scanned the bar, looking over the heads of the crowd, looking for the giant man.
"I'm Hercules," said a man sitting at the bar. The old man paused as he evaluated the stranger. He was taller than most, but no giant. His yellow shirt showed bare, muscular arms and looked good against the long brown hair. No scars? No weapons? This man couldn't be Hercules. This man is too... too... pretty.
"He sure is." The old man turned to see a little blonde man seated at a nearby table. In one hand he was holding the leg of some animal, the other held a huge mug. Several empty bowls littered the area surrounding him. He also had to be wearing the ugliest purple shirt the old man had ever seen. The old man turned to walk away.
The bartender came over to the end of the counter and intervened before the man got through the door. "Linus, hold on, he really is Hercules."
Slowly, the man approached Hercules. "I think I need your help."
"Hey, that's what we do," the blonde man said around a mouthful of meat.
The one claiming to be Hercules offered the old man the chair next to him. "What can I do for you, Linus, is it?"
"Yes, I think a woman has been kidnapped by the warlord Xena!"
Iolaus started choking on his food. Hercules managed to keep a serious face. "Really?"
"Yes, she is on my land right now. She bought my archery target for some reason and is out there with her prisoner. Come with me, please."
"This woman who was kidnapped, was she about so high, blonde, with a green top on?"
The man stopped short, looking puzzled. "She was wearing a green top for sure. But she wasn't blonde, she was a redhead."
Through another mouthful of food and a sip of ale, Iolaus taunted, "See, I told you it's red."
Hercules suddenly became indignant. "It is not! Strawberry, sometimes, maybe. But she is definitely a blonde."
"Sorry, Herc, it's two against one, you lose," Iolaus beamed as he swallowed the last of his lunch.
Hercules regained his composure. "There is nothing to worry about old timer. No one has been kidnapped. Xena isn't a warlord anymore, and those two are friends."
The old man left, only half convinced. Iolaus was still grinning at the small victory over his friend. "You know, if you ask me, they're actually mo..."
"Let's not start that argument again."
Gabrielle took the silver ring out of the target and walked back to Xena. An hour's practice had all but destroyed it. Gabrielle held the chakrum at her side, curled her arm up and in, and sent the disk flying softly into the straw chest. She smiled.
"I'm getting better at this."
Xena looked plainly annoyed as she went to retrieve the weapon. "Yes, except for the fact that you are doing it wrong."
"I'm doing everything you showed me!"
"You're doing everything except the most important thing. For this weapon to be effective, you have to throw it hard." The chakrum shot from her hand like an arrow and imbedded itself deep into the target. "That is how you do it."
"I'll get there eventually."
"Gabrielle, I want you to do it again, but this time throw it as hard as you can."
"You heard me. I want you do drive it into the target."
"Probably. Do it anyway."
She took the ring out of the target and returned to Xena. She held the chakrum tentatively and looked uncertainly at her teacher.
"Are you sure?"
Gabrielle carefully mimicked her last 50 throws, but this time flinging the ring with every ounce of strength she had. The chakrum missed the target by about two feet to the right and kept sailing until gravity finally brought it down.
"That was closer than I thought it would be."
"Me too. Now, Gabrielle, that's the way you have to throw it every time. You don't learn to control it first and throw it second. You throw it first, control it second."
"I guess if I had your skills, I could be that confident when doing something new. I'm just not."
The two of them walked over to the target and started pulling at the shredded straw and wood.
"Gabrielle, let me tell you a secret. Half the time I make a stand or try something risky, I'm not all that confident either. I fake it."
"I'm serious. A long time ago when I needed courage, I would try to psyche myself up until I felt strong. It didn't usually work. I realized, though, that if I acted confident from the beginning, even though I didn't really feel confident, then real confidence would flow from my actions."
"Are you serious?"
"Gabrielle, you did the same thing when you tried to rescue my body after Callisto shot me with the dart. You made yourself act brave and you did things you didn't think you could do."
"But I still got caught."
"True, but you were still in a better position psychologically than if you had not acted the way you did. Sometimes you just have to act as if you already had the quality you want to develop.
"Like being able to throw the chakrum?"
"You'll learn a lot faster if you made each throw as if you meant it. Now, go get the chakrum while I finish tearing this thing down. We should be back in town by mid-afternoon."
It was mid-afternoon, and Hercules was obviously getting tired. He had beaten forty-two men, five women, and one ferocious three year old since lunch. His last opponent took longer to finish than it should have, but the charity money had definitely compensated for his aches and pains. He had time for one more opponent before he had to get ready for the wedding.
Iolaus was thoroughly into his role of announcer. "Ok, ladies and gentlemen, we need one last contender. Anyone want to see if he can defeat the mighty Hercules?"
"I do," called a voice from the back of the crowd. The people turned to see the Warrior Princess walking toward them. Linus had spread the word that she was in the vicinity and that she had a prisoner trapped on his land. They eyed her suspiciously.
A nearby villager whispered, "Hercules, don't. It's a trap. She's a witch."
Hercules rolled his eyes. He would have to put a stop to this. Assuming his best orator's voice, he boomed, "Xena, my good friend. I came to the festival in hopes of meeting you again. The cost for the fight is ten dinars."
Xena smiled and reached into her pouch. Behind her she could hear Gabrielle arguing with a villager. "Trust me, she did not kidnap me. Where do you people get these things?" Xena handed her entrance fee to Iolaus, along with her sword and chakrum. Iolaus coughed and held out his hand, waiting. Xena reluctantly reached between her breasts and removed her dagger, and tossed it at him. She approached the clearing to meet her challenge. She couldn't help but smile. She was going to enjoy this.
Hercules eyed her nervously. "Remember, Xena, this is just for charity."
They circled each other, stepping nearer every rotation, until they were in finally in reach of each other. Xena threw the first barrage of kicks and punches, Hercules taking the defensive and blocking with his forearms and legs.
Xena backed off and smiled to Iolaus. "Have you been teaching him some things since the last time we fought?"
Iolaus bobbed up and down on the balls of his feet, all his teeth showing through his huge grin. "You'll have to keep fighting and see."
This time Hercules took the initiative and tried a one-two. Xena ducked both punches easily and landed a backhand across his cheek. Trying to take advantage, she swung her leg up to follow her hand, but Hercules caught it. Running backwards with Xena's foot, he stopped short and used her momentum to get her into a spin. He swung her about three times before letting go.
Instead of the woman flailing to the ground, she spread her arms and flew over the crowd. As she came down, she somersaulted to her feet and skidded to a halt. The crowd exploded into applause. Though the fight was far too short for her taste, Xena took her cue and bowed, seceding to their hero.
"Gabrielle and I have to get ready for the wedding now. Will we see you at the feast tonight?"
"Of course, Iolaus and I came here to see the two of you in the first place."
Xena took her weapons from Iolaus and shook Hercules' hand. Iolaus watched Xena and Gabrielle walk towards the palace. "Herc, it's a good thing she quit that fight. If she fought for real, neither of you would be in any condition to enjoy the festivities tonight."
"She knew that. She was just saying hello. Come on, lets get ready for the ceremony."
The ceremony took place outdoors so that anybody who wanted to attend could. Though King Lias' insistence of a traditional wedding gave everybody the fortune of a full moon, it also provided for a very long ceremony. Xena nudged Gabrielle when they were allowed to leave.
"You let me fall asleep?"
"I thought you would want to be well rested for the reception. Besides, except for Joxer forgetting the line 'I do,' you didn't miss much."
"Rubbing her eyes, Gabrielle saw Hercules and Iolaus approaching. They must have been given these clothes to wear. Neither of them have that much style. Hercules was dressed in his normal brown leather pants, but instead of a yellow shirt, he wore a long red and white cloak that stretched almost all the way to the floor, leaving his chest bare. Hercules saw her staring somewhere below his neck.
"Ok, now it's really humiliating."
Gabrielle couldn't help herself. "Trust me, you have nothing to be embarrassed about. I guess Meg picked out your guys' clothes."
Iolaus seemed perfectly comfortable in his matching royal blue cloak. "Are you two going to the reception?"
"Of, course," Gabrielle squealed, "I am ready to dance. Let's get going!"
There were music, food, and drink in abundance in the streets of the town. Gabrielle went from dancer to dancer, working herself into a frenzy. Xena drank, and drank, while telling Hercules what the two of them had been up to. Iolaus was busy impressing three young peasant girls somewhere on the other side of town.
Gabrielle came up to Xena and broke into her story mid-sentence.
"Dance with me."
"Xena looked at Gabrielle and froze. She suddenly felt distracted. Instead of her normal garb, she wore a light blue gown picked out by Diana. She let her hair down and she struggled through her smile to keep it out of her face.
"Come dance with me."
"Not now. Find someone else."
"But I want you."
Gabrielle couldn't keep the hurt off her face as she turned away and spotted Anna dancing with someone not ten feet from her. Without even thinking, she strolled up to them.
"May I cut in?"
"The man turned to receive her hands, but she pushed him gently aside and took Anna and bolted into the new dance. Anna had to force the young bard to slow down and loosen the grip on her hand. Gabrielle, started to calm down and enjoy herself despite Xena. The next song was a slow song, and Gabrielle began to pull away.
"Thank you. I guess you should have this one with your husband."
"He's not my husband. Don't leave just yet."
Gabrielle leaned into the taller woman and put her arms around her neck. Her breasts were almost at Gabrielle's neck, and she couldn't help but feel the little bumps rubbing against her skin. She felt them grow. Almost instinctively, Gabrielle leaned back, caressed the back of Anna's head, and pulled her lips down to her own. She relaxed her hold and let her arms go around Anna's waist.
Just then she started to hear whistling and laughing from the men who had been watching them for several minutes. Gabrielle snapped back, blushing, flustered.
"Don't be, I enjoyed myself. Do you still want to dance?"
"No. Thank you. I have to find somebody. I'm sorry."
Away from the parties, on a small, not often used path, Iolaus and Hercules wrestled in the darkness. They were so preoccupied, they didn't even notice a distraught Gabrielle run by them.
"Iolaus, if you would stop squirming, this would go a lot faster."
"Just hurry up, would ya? If anyone sees us like this we'll have a lot of explaining to do. Ow!"
"Take it easy will you? It feels like I've got a harpoon in me."
"I'm almost there. You know, as often as this happens, you think you would be used to this by now."
"You think you would get used to the feeling of being impaled? Get that thing out, will you?"
"Almost there. YES"
"AAAGGGHHH. Oh, gods, do I feel better."
"Again? Doubt I can do anymore dancing tonight, then."
Hercules stepped back on to the path and held his hand up to the moonlight. "That is the biggest thorn I think I've ever seen. How's your foot?"
"Better. Thanks for your help. I guess I had better go back to the inn and bandage this up properly. You going back to the party?"
"No, I think I'm going to call it a night too. Let's go."
Xena's touch on Gabrielle's shoulder would have felt so much nicer if it wasn't there to help her keep her balance. At one point Xena would have gone down if she hadn't grabbed hold of the bard.
"Try not to break your sidekick."
The palace was a fair distance from the party, so by the end of the walk back to their room, Xena's state improved to only a strong buzz. Gabrielle sat her on the edge of the bed.
"Gabrielle, are your teeth chattering?"
"No, just sit here, I have a surprise for you."
"Oh, goodie, another bracelet."
Gabrielle took several candles from under her gown and set them about the room. She lit them and extinguished the torch. As she moved deliberately around the room, Xena could make out her whispering, "Act as if. Act as if." When the room was dark except for the light from the candles, Gabrielle stood before Xena. Without saying a word, she slowly removed all her clothes. Xena didn't say a word, which surprised Gabrielle. She expected an argument. She expected Xena to try to get up and leave the room. Instead, she was now naked before the woman she loved without having to defend herself against a single complaint.
"What are you doing, Gabrielle?"
Xena wanted this. She always had. But this is wrong, isn't it? She's so young, so impressionable. She's a woman! She wasn't going to do this, she decided. I'm not going to let this happen.
Xena prepared herself as Gabrielle lowered herself to her lips, but she suddenly froze. Was that a kiss? That was too soft, I think. Could a kiss be that soft? Xena pushed in harder to meet Gabrielle's lips, her tongue pushing its way through both their lips. What am I doing!?! Xena snapped back and looked imploringly into Gabrielle's eyes.
"Xena, it's alright. It is. Relax."
They kissed again, and Xena was overcome by emotion. She had been with so many men before. Some she slept with for fun, some for power, some for love. None of them made her feel like this. Then the thought struck her: I have been with the strongest, most compassionate man this world has ever seen, and he doesn't compare to Gabrielle. She started to laugh.
Gabrielle pulled away, stunned. Xena opened her eyes to see the hurt spread over her lover's face. Xena stood up quickly.
"Don't cry Gabrielle. It's just that, if I had known it was this easy to get you to be quiet, I would have done this a long time ago."
A smile spread across Gabrielle's lips, ending in a small chuckle. She took the warrior's head in her hand and pulled her down. As Gabrielle's mouth touched the base of Xena's neck, a wave of pleasure racked Xena's body. She knew right then, right or wrong, this was going to happen. Tonight.
Xena woke up to find herself alone in the room. Xena thought that it must be the first time Gabrielle had beaten her out of bed in months. She had the boy draw her a bath and let herself be lazy this one time.
She arrived in the bar to find Hercules eating some leftovers from the night before. Plates were left on the counter for anyone who wanted to take the food. She sat next to her friend and tore into some nearby meat.
"You're awfully hungry."
"I worked myself hard last night."
"Really? You hardly danced at all."
Xena worked her response over carefully in her mind. She decided to play it safe. "Have you seen Gabrielle?"
"She was in here earlier. She and Iolaus got into an argument over who was hungrier and chose to decide the matter by an eating contest."
"And you let them!?!"
"What was I supposed to do?"
"Something, anything. Don't you have him on a leash yet?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Oh, let's go find them."
"No need, look over there."
Xena turned to the front door to see a smiling Iolaus and Gabrielle. They both had some sort of sauce around their mouths and very content looks on their faces. They supported each other as they made their way toward Hercules and Xena.
Hercules couldn't hide his smile. "So, who won."
Iolaus raised his arms in victory, letting Gabrielle slide to the floor. "I did!"
"Barely." Came a muffled response from somewhere near the group's feet. Xena picked the lump off the floor and got her to stand. "You're green."
"I feel green," Gabrielle said as she slumped into a chair and put her head between her legs.
"That's ok," Iolaus volunteered, "it goes with her red hair."
"It's not red!" Hercules and Xena shouted in unison.
"It is sometimes," mumbled Gabrielle's chair.
Xena finished her lunch enjoying the company of her friends. As she got up to leave, she took the bard and lifted her to a standing position, whereupon the bard pecked her on the lips.
"Thank you, I needed that."
"You're welcome, I guess. Ready to go?"
"Yes, Let's go. Bye guys."
They walked through the door of the tavern with Gabrielle in Xena's supporting arms. Iolaus turned to Hercules just as the two women left their sight.
"They are not."
"Herc, sometimes I think that the only reason you have all that strength is to compensate for severe myopia."
"You have no evidence."
"Can't you see the clues?"
"Well, first of all..."
This story © 4-2-97 by Joe Murphy
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