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The old familiar fire scene, with Xena sitting on a stump, sharpening her sword; and Gabrielle scribbling madly with her back against a tree.
. . . Cold, the steel kissed her neck/ and hovered there, caressing.
Against her flesh, the silver death/ ever gently pressing . . .
Once again, the stolen pawn/ the knight must win, redeeming,
The flashing knife, a threat to life/ and yet seductive seeming. . .
GABRIELLE: Grrrrrrrrrr. Hmmph. (The sound of quill and paper hurtling across the fire to land at Xena's feet.)
XENA: What's wrong?
GABRIELLE: It's just not coming out right. I mean, I keep trying to write it properly. But somehow, it ends up sounding like I ENJOY being held at knife point!
GABRIELLE: (exasperated) What?
GABRIELLE: Look, I've got no control over the script. Can I help it if they keep putting me in this situation? I ask you, what could I possibly do about it??
XENA: Nothing. I never said you could.
GABRIELLE: Well that look you gave me . . . it's pretty obvious what you were thinking.
XENA: Was it?
GABRIELLE: You know damn well it was!
XENA: What was I thinking?
GABRIELLE: I don't have to tell you what you were thinking! You know that already!
Gabrielle stalks over and picks up the papers, scowling at Xena all the time. Xena merely lifts an eyebrow, amused. Gabrielle goes back to scribbling, and the silence stretches out.
GABRIELLE: How would you describe the thing, where the person who's holding me at knife point kinda sneers at you, and then forces you to drop your sword by threatening me?
GABRIELLE: No! I mean, poetically. . .
XENA: Extremely annoying, and predictable?
XENA: Well, it does happen fairly often.
GABRIELLE: Hey, we've already been over that! It's not my fault if the writers think it's a convenient way to get you all helpless.
XENA: (dangerously) Helpless?
GABRIELLE: Well, you know, I mean . . . you DO tend to get kind of upset when people try to hurt me. But that's beside the point. Really, it doesn't make any difference how you say that at all. What I meant to ask was, is there a technical term for the little motion they make, you know, when they . . . wait, here, let me show you what I'm talking about.
XENA: All right. Show me.
GABRIELLE: Well, come stand behind me. Yeah, like that. Oops, I think we'll need your breast dagger, for demonstration purposes.
XENA: Gabrielle, I think I can get it out on my own.
GABRIELLE: Um, ok. So anyway, wrap your arm around me and hold the dagger at my throat. That's good, but don't you think that they usually hold me a little tighter than that?
XENA: If I hold you any tighter, I'll cut off the flow of blood to your brain.
GABRIELLE: Mmmm. Now, usually they do something like . . . this . . . and then they . . . yeah, like that . . . and . . .
XENA: Are you sure that's what they did?
GABRIELLE: Positive. Along with . . . that . . .
XENA: I'm glad I killed them. Actually, I think I have a little unfinished business with . . . who did you say did . . . that . . . ?
GABRIELLE: Never mind. It doesn't matter, really. So, now you've got me, with the dagger to my throat. If you were a villain, what would you do?
XENA: Mmmmmm, I don't know if . . .
GABRIELLE: Come on, this is purely for research purposes. I need it for the poem.
XENA: Exactly what kind of poem are you writing?
GABRIELLE: You're avoiding the subject here. If you were a villain, what would your next move be?
XENA: Well, if I put you up against a tree, like this... then I'd have a hand free for something like. . .
GABRIELLE: Oh. . . Really? I never would have thought to. . . Um . . . Mmm hmm. Interesting.
XENA: Are you sure you don't enjoy being held at knife point, at all?
GABRIELLE: Well, it IS a little undignified you know.
XENA: Undignified? Ah. So why did you ask for a demonstration then?
XENA: Gabrielle? Earth to Gabrielle . . .
GABRIELLE: Uuuhh mmm uh, well, it's research. You know, for the poem.
XENA: Are you telling me you haven't been held at knife point enough times to take it from memory?
GABRIELLE: Well, I just wanted to get your take on it. Before I immortalized it in rhyme, you know? Besides . . . um. . .none of the others ever did . . . that . . .
XENA: I should hope not! Or . . . this . . . either, I should think. (suspiciously) Did they?
GABRIELLE: Not that I can recall, no.
GABRIELLE: And actually, if they'd done . . . that . . . I'm pretty sure I'd have remembered it . . .
XENA: I know you would have.
XENA: So, now that you know my take on it, did you want me to stop holding you at knife point?
GABRIELLE: Well, I think maybe I need a bit more of your . . . input . . . But, um, perhaps over there by the fire? For some reason it's gotten a bit drafty, all of a sudden . . . ok, a lot drafty . . .
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