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A Tangled Web

by Sheilea Conway

Disclaimer: These characters belong to MCA/Universal and Renaissnce
Pictures; the story is mine.

NOTE: This is my first attempt at any kind of Fan Fiction. Be gentle; I had a grand time putting this on paper. Hope you all like it. If I've offended anyone, sorry. Have fun! I did.

Gabrielle backed away from the warrior, her hands open in front of her, a
flimsy little smile on her face.

"Now, Xena," the little blonde chided. "Let me explain."

The warrior advanced toward her, a deadly gleam in the blue eyes. Her
expression was sober and unforgiving.

"It's not what you think," the bard pleaded, laughing nervously . "Just listen, OK? Wait!"

The playfulness was lost on the infuriated warrior. She arrived in front of the bard in one smooth stride, swiftly spun the little form around and wrapped a strong arm around the girl's slender waist. An instant later, Gabrielle felt herself being hoisted off the ground and planted atop the woman's firm hip.

"NO!" the girl whined, snared helplessly in the powerful hold.

Xena marched across the campsite with her cargo, turning a deaf ear to the bard's plaintive squeals. In one fluid motion, the tall woman sat down on a large fallen tree limb and smoothly swept the little blonde facedown over her lap. She clamped one strong forearm across the wriggling body, easily trapping the small figure in place across her knees.

"Xena! Don't!" Gabrielle screamed, thrusting one small hand behind herself to try to protect the area she knew was about to suffer most. The warrior easily pried away the open palm, pinning the bard's frantic hand against her side and out of the way. Then Xena raised her hand an arm's length above her shoulder.

An instant later, the hard palm slapped sharply down onto the center of the bard's upturned behind. "Ouch!" the girl shrieked as a fierce sting spread quickly across the area. She had only a moment to react to the painful swat as another followed it almost immediately. A third scalding strike only intensified the searing pain as the little blonde kicked her feet in a frantic effort to end the punishment.

"Xena! Stop it!!" the bard pleaded. She pushed hard against the warrior's muscled thighs as yet another scorching spank landed across the firm muscles of her backside. The warrior suspended the torturous cadence only long enough to regain her control over the squirming form, then administered a particularly painful swat to the lower region of the bard's already suffering bottom.

"OW!" Gabrielle shrieked, tears now covering her mortified face. She twisted around to appeal to her enraged tormentor. "I didn't mean what I said, " the girl wailed. "Ouch! Please!" The bard's little body stiffened as she tried to arch her anguished backside away from the warrior's punishing palm.

"I made it up!" she shouted, confessing her own guilt.

The warrior's hand stopped in mid-air and the cold blue eyes slowly moved up the lithe body toward the face of her victim. She brought the palm down one more time and the sting across her fingers corresponded exactly to the distressed jerk executed by the suffering bard.

"You what?!" she snapped toward the blonde head as the form across her lap slumped limply.

The warrior released the grip on the slender wrist and took a firm, unsympathetic hold on the heaving shoulders. She roughly pulled the girl upright on her lap. The bard yelped painfully as her punished backside came down sharply on the warrior's solid thighs. She reached behind herself with both hands to try and soothe the heat raging across her behind.

Xena gripped the slim forearms and turned the girl to face her. She grasped the bard's quivering chin and raised the tear-streaked face until the weeping green eyes met her gaze.

"You what?" the warrior repeated in a low, threatening tone.

The little bard tried to focus on the warrior's breastplate, but the angry hand forced her face up again. She gulped and looked contritely into the steel gray eyes searching hers. Slowly she lowered her eyes again.

"I made it up," the girl whispered, her tears flowing over her crimson face. "I just talked to that ... boy," the bard said between sobs. "I ... I made the rest of it up." She squirmed painfully against the warrior's legs, trying vainly to shift her weight off her tormented lower region.

The warrior's fierce glower softened a minute degree as she watched the bard's tears travel slowly down the wet tracks already established over the soft, blushing cheeks. For a few moments, she let the girl cry as she felt her own wrath subside even more.

"Why?" she asked the tearful face, again waiting while the girl slowly tried to regain some control. "Why would you way such a thing, if indeed it isn't true?"

The green eyes quickly lifted to meet hers. "I swear it," the bard said in a quivering voice. "That boy was just ... handy, so I started talking ...."

"You mean 'flirting'," the warrior said sharply.

"I mean 'talking' to him," the bard said again, "but that's all we did. I swear ," she said again, her voice nearing to its normal tone.

Xena studied the chastised face, the thoroughly wet lashes and the quivering lower lip. She released the lean arms and eased the trembling girl off her lap. The bard stood up stiffly, her hands moving quickly to rub her throbbing seat. For a long moment, she stared at the ground near the warrior's boots, stole a quick glance at the irked blue gaze, and finally lowered the green gaze back to the ground again.

"Why must you always treat me like a child?" the little blonde said bravely, a glint of defiance returning to the moist eyes, her hands continuing to soothe her bottom.

"I'll stop doing that when you stop behaving like one," Xena said crossly.

The warrior sat very still on the tree limb, more confused now than angry. She flexed her aching right palm, clearly aware that the soreness she noticed there only slightly compared to the discomfort she'd inflicted on the bard's painful behind. She took a deep, calming breath, training a concerned eye on the mortified girl.

After a long, silent moment, Xena felt the rest of her anger fade away as a sense of remorse and regret took its place in her conscience. She stood and crossed the campsite to retrieve the waterskin where it hung from a low-hanging tree limb. She walked back and offered it to the girl. Gabrielle took the waterskin in one hand, sniffled and wiped the tears from her face with the other. She backed away from the warrior and slowly moved to her bedroll beside the fire.

"Surely you must have known the kind of reaction a 'fib' like that would bring," the warrior said finally, a parental tone to her words. "What happened? You just get bored waiting for me in town today."

"At least I got your attention," the bard replied softly, kneeling carefully on the blankets then lowering her pulsing backside cautiously onto the hard ground.

The warrior turned sharply toward the little blonde, her anger rising again. "What's that supposed to mean?" she snapped, advancing toward the girl.

The bard raised the waterskin to her lips and took a number of swallows.

"What do you mean?" the warrior demanded, stepping closer to the silent form.

The bard's sad, tearful eyes rose slowly to meet the piercing blue gaze. Finally the girl's wavering voice came across the campsite, her tone quiet and hurt.

"I mean, I was desperate. I figured any reaction was better than the silence I've been hearing." The girl's gaze remained locked with the warrior's and the tall woman was taken aback by the hostility she saw.

"Ever since we left the Amazons," Gabrielle continued. "It's like I'm not even here anymore. You won't talk to me. You won't come near me. I'm invisible, or rather you'd like me to be" The girl swallowed heavily and took another breath. Fighting hard to keep her voice from breaking further, she searched the warrior's face for a moment and then gathered her courage again.

"Xena, I love you! More than I've ever loved anyone in my whole life, " the bard said, her eyes filling with new tears. "All I've ever wanted was for you to love me back. But, lately, you have more time for Argo than you ever have for me." The girl sat back exhausted, her emotional speech draining her reserves.

Xena's mouth dropped open as she reacted, stunned, to the little blonde's words. The hurt and despair she saw in her lover's expression swept over the warrior like a cold, icy wind. She stared at the bard's flushed face and the stream of tears cascading over the same wet tracks as before. Finally Gabrielle covered her face with her hands and the little form dissolved into wracking sobs.

The warrior moved to the girl at once. She knelt next to the little bard and wrapped her arms around the shaking form, pulling the slender woman close against her chest. She held the girl tightly and lovingly stroked the long, blonde hair.

"Oh, Gabrielle, I'm so sorry," the warrior crooned, pulling the girl closer. The bard's sobs increased and she clung tightly to the warrior's waist. "I'm so very sorry," Xena said again, rocking the little form gently, her own heart aching as she realized the pain she had caused the cherished love in her arms.

Slowly the bard's sobs lessened and the warrior leaned back to take the anguished face in her hands. She gently wiped the girl's cheeks, then covered the trembling lips with a warm, loving kiss. The blue eyes were glistening as the bard's tearful gaze met and held hers. She gathered the girl against her again, holding the little blonde close until her sobs diminished further.

"How could I have been so stupid?" the warrior said softly, her voice coming from above the blonde head tucked under her chin. She pulled back to look into the treasured face again. "How can I love you so much and still be so blind whenever I hurt you?" The warrior's shame and remorse brought a tremble to her voice. She stroked the girl's face gently, lifting the chin to kiss the bard deeply, warmly and the girl's soft mouth responded passionately to hers.


"I do love you so," she whispered to the tearful expression. "Even though I don't always know how to tell you that." A tiny smile began to emerge across the bard's wet face. "Please believe me, my darling." The blue eyes searching the girl's were soft and gentle. "I do. It's just that this thick head of mine is sometimes ... thicker than usual."

A small laugh escaped from the bard as she raised her lips to the warrior's again and the two lovers shared another deeply moving caress. Xena pulled the girl to her and Gabrielle snuggled in closely, her arms wrapped tightly around the warrior's waist. The girl looked up at her lover and the warrior saw the desire in the luminous green eyes. She began to lower the small body onto the blankets, her mouth seeking the soft, sweet lips she adored.

As Gabrielle moved to let the warrior to lay her down on the blankets, she winced sharply when her still-tender bottom came into abrupt contact with the hard ground under her. She glanced nervously at the warrior leaning over her and held her breath. Xena quickly reacted to the bard's pain, her blue eyes contrite and concerned. She pulled her weight off the small figure and took the girl's hand in hers.

"Oh, gods forgive me," the warrior pleaded, as the bard reached to soothe the distressed area with her other hand. "Gabrielle, I'm so s ..." she began, but the girl placed a gentle finger to the woman's lips to silence the apology.

"I know," the girl said into the remorseful blue gaze. "Let's just put it behind us."

For an instant, both women were silent, then two soft laughs mingled as the two lovers enjoyed the unintentional joke. The warrior placed a gentle kiss on the bard's smile, then kissed the small palm she held in her hand. She gazed into the deep green pools and stroked the soft, smooth face.

"You can make it 'all better', if you'd like," the bard purred, her eyes bright with desire. The warrior took a deep breath and lowered her lips to the girl's again. Her mouth pulled hungrily at the bard's, sucking and releasing the soft tissue. Her tongue requested entrance and Gabrielle opened her lips to allow the tantalizing touch. The girl's soft moans excited the warrior even more and when the kiss ended, both women were breathless.

"Now get out of those leathers and show me what you do best," the little blonde said softly, loosening the ties on her short, green top. Xena sat up and easily removed her leather suit, boots, arm bracelets and gauntlets. Then she crawled quickly to the fire to add another log to the flames. When she turned back to the bard, she found her propped up on one elbow, smiling warmly, her supple, young body radiant in the warm light of the fire. Xena laid down next to the little bard, pulling the small form urgently into her arms. Their kiss was deep and lingering. The warrior's hand began a magical journey, softly caressing the slender form until Gabrielle was trembling with pleasure. Long fingers traveled lightly over the warm, throbbing flesh of the girl's bottom, gently closing over one firm side and the little bard quivered at the erotic touch. She gasped in a combination of pain and pleasure as her lover's palm began kneading the tender area, the remaining sting in her behind surrendering to the warrior's loving massage. She felt the wetness between her thighs flowing free and her body arched upward toward the woman kissing her breasts.

Xena moved her knees to straddle the young body, then slowly lowered herself onto the firm, muscled form. Gabrielle moved her hands to her lover's hips as the warrior began the rhythmic pressure against her and the lithe body responded, matching the cadence of the rising desire pounding in her loins.

Gabrielle reached to pull Xena's mouth to hers and the little bard's ardor heightened the warrior's senses . As usual, she tried to proceed slowly and carefully with her young lover, always concerned that the depth of her own desire might result in the girl being frightened or, in the worst case, hurt or made uncomfortable by the warrior's intense lovemaking.

Tonight, the bard surprised her slightly older lover; she began by firmly closing her hands over the warrior's breasts and raising her hips to brush the tall woman's sensitive center. Xena gasped at the bard's touch and stiffened above her, the dark hair streaming back and her arms supporting her weight. After a moment, she looked down at the small, trim body and a heavy urging vibrated within her.

Xena captured the young lips in a probing, passionate kiss, her tongue duplicating the tempo of her hips as she felt the girl shudder against her. The bard groaned into her lover's mouth, her own hips answering the urgency of the warrior, stroke for stroke. Xena ended the kiss to let her tongue travel down the slender neck and soft valley between the bard's full breasts, then trailed slow, tender kisses over the firm skin of her stomach, lingering at last on the moist pulsing opening under the pubic hair.

The bard buried her hands in the warrior's dark mass of hair as her breathing became more ragged and heavy. A low, guttural moan muffled her words. Finally Gabrielle forced herself to focus on the woman fondling her swollen center with her tongue. She moaned again and raised her head to meet her lover's eyes. Xena saw the passionate expression and paused in her attention to the bard's center to listen to the feeble request.

"Please!" the girl pleaded, her voice raspy with desire. "It's been so long. Now! Now!"

The warrior took a firm hold on the girl's hips and, as she shifted position, returned attention to the soft, warm tissue between the quivering legs. Gabrielle's gasps came faster as Xena used her tongue and lips to favor the area with a deep, arousing manipulation, darting and caressing, drawing and teasing until the bard was beyond the realm of time and place. The warrior lifted the slender hips and pulled the firm legs over her shoulders, then inserted one long finger into the bard's moist opening, withdrew it slowly, then drove it inward with a slightly stronger touch.

Gabrielle's body went rigid, arching high on the blanket, her eyes glazed and unaware, her face radiant in complete captivation. The warrior's tongue resumed it's pattern while one finger was joined by another and the cadence of their journey into the bard grew faster and more intense. The young body bucked and convulsed under her lover's ministrations, so profoundly, in fact, that the warrior was forced to pause in the penetration for a moment to reclaim her own focus to resume the satisfying activity with her fingers.

Finally the small form tensed violently. "XENA!" the little bard screamed as the stream of her orgasm covered her lover's fingers and the musky, erotic smell shattered the warrior's awareness. Her mouth filled with the taste of Gabrielle as she reveled in the girl's wild satisfaction. She halted the strokes delivered by her fingers, but left the digits in place as the bard's opening pulsed and throbbed around them.

Great, shaking gasps shook the small form as the bard slowly, reluctantly returned to the land of the here and now. She gulped and swallowed, the green eyes searching the darkness for some signs of reality. The warrior waited and watched, her fingers idle for the moment, her focus on the face of her lover, sated and fulfilled. Slowly the green gaze floated down to meet the blue eyes studying her flushed and perspiring face. The girl pulled the bronze face toward hers to capture the warrior's lips, then fell back onto the blanket, exhausted and breathless.

After a few moments, the warrior's free hand began slow, feathery patterns on the firm flesh of the bard's inner thigh. The girl's eyes closed slowly and she grabbed handfuls of the blanket beneath her. The blonde head rocked from side to side as the long, slender fingers inside her resumed their splendid rhythm, bringing new waves of pleasure to the writhing form.

Once again, the young body arched as the green eyes snapped open, the brilliance of the moment flashing white points of light across her vision. The warrior increased the meter of her fingers and Gabrielle's moans matched the beat of the strokes. Xena's free hand glided under the bard's trembling body to grasp the tender flesh of the girl's quivering bottom. As the warrior's palm closed on the fleshy bundle, the girl shrieked in feverish gratification, her lover's hands bringing her to another raging climax, a zenith that overtook her senses and enveloped her very being.

Xena slowed the tantalizing strokes and the little bard's breathing gradually approached a normal rate. The warrior withdrew her fingers and moved up to lay beside the exhausted girl. She gathered the small form into her arms and held the warm body close. Gabrielle's trembling subsided as the little body relaxed against the warrior's muscled frame while Xena gently stroked the blonde head and pulled the other blanket up to cover them both.

For several minutes, the quiet sounds of the night filled the campsite, the fire low now, the embers glowing warm and red. Slowly the bard began to stir in the warrior's embrace. Xena started to open her arms to allow her young lover to shift position, but Gabrielle's soft green gaze rose upward to meet the shining blue crystals. A small hand lightly traced the warrior's sensual lips, while a loving smile lit the lustrous features.

The warrior pressed the hand to her lips and kissed the open palm. The bard's eyes traveled over the chiseled features, glistening brightly with her unbridled love for the woman who held her so tenderly. Xena's fingers closed over the little hand as she leaned down and kissed the bard's soft mouth. When their lips parted, the warrior pulled the girl close again. Gabrielle's snuggled tightly against the warrior, her head tucked comfortably in the nook of the tall woman's shoulder.

After a moment, the girl's voice broke the stillness. "Please don't shut me out again," she said quietly. "I'd want to die, too, if I lost you this time."

The warrior's blue eyes filled with tears and she gulped around the lump in her throat. She tightened her arms around the little form and gently kissed the soft, blonde head.

"I swear it, my beautiful love," the warrior answered softly. "My heart is yours forever."

Soon afterward the bard fell asleep, feeling safe and content in her lover's arms. The warrior held the girl tenderly, a silent oath forming in her mind. She vowed to keep her promise to the delicate treasure in her arms. And she would spend the rest of her life proving herself worthy of the beautiful girl she called, 'my love'.


Gabrielle with Scroll

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