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The characters of Xena and Gabrielle are the sole property of MCA/Universal. No copyright infringement is intended by their usage here.
Violence Alert: There is no violence here.
Sex Alert: Lots of innuendo and talk about sex. But nothing really ‘happens’, if you know what I mean. If you don’t know what I mean, are under 18, or don’t even want to think about two consenting adults of the same sex having a better-than-friendly relationship, then you really should go to the mall instead of reading this story.
Miscellaneous Alert: If you aren't familiar with the various terms used to categorize Xena fan-fiction, you probably don't want to read this story.
A STORY BY ANY OTHER NAME
"Hey! Don’t do that-" Xena hisses and quickly removes Gabrielle’s arms from around her neck, quickly looking to her left, then her right. Satisfied that no one had seen them, she gently pushes Gabrielle back, a few feet away from her.
The blond was having none of it.
"What?! EXCUSE ME?! I just wanted to give you a kiss..."
"Gabrielle, this is a first-time story. You’re not supposed to touch me." With a leer, she adds, "Yet."
"First-time story? First time for what?"
Xena gives her the look.
"Oh –" Comprehension dawns on the bards’ face. "So you mean, we’ve never..." she makes some vague motions with her hands.
"What about..." Gabrielle rubs her hands suggestively down towards her thighs.
"Ah... no. Not that either." A sheen of sweat breaks out on the warrior’s forehead.
"How about..." Gabrielle’s tongue flickers out to lick at her lips, veeery slowly.
"Cut it out, will you?!" Xena stalks off, putting a few yards between her and temptation. "I told you, we’re not like that in this story. Well, not at the beginning anyway. We’re still on page one, for Gaia’s sake.."
"So in a first-time story, you don’t want me?"
"Oh no, I want you, boy do I want you, I’m just afraid to tell you that I want you. So it takes a while, sometimes the whole story, before we ... you know."
"Hah! And they expect people to believe that? You can’t keep your hands off me as it is."
Under her breath Xena mutters, "Hmph. If this were a warlord-slave story you wouldn’t be talking to me like that -"
"Excuse me?" Gabrielle shakes her head. "You’ve got to be kidding. Warlord-slave? They actually depict you as a warlord? Oh ... well, hmm, I guess that’s not so hard to do. But I’m a slave? Serving somebody all day long? Isn’t that a little degrading..." Gabrielle suddenly stops as she realizes the implications. "Wait, you mean ... I’m your slave?"
"Yep." The wicked smile worn by the dark woman melts a bit as she thinks, her brow furrowing. "Usually."
"Well, sometimes ..." Xena suddenly stops, her cheeks reddening.
"Well, it’s just that ... sometimes you’re the warlord, and I’m your slave."
They turn and look at each other, completely serious. Then, as if on cue, they both crack up. Giggling hysterically, they look at each other and shake their heads, in unison chiming, "No!"
"Oh, gods," Gabrielle wipes the tears from her eyes. "So, I’m usually the slave, huh? What exactly happens in this type of story?"
"Heh, heh, heh ..." Xena starts advancing on the bard.
"eek..." Gabrielle slowly starts backing away.
"Let me just put it this way," Xena pulls up, standing with her hands on her hips. "There’s lots of leather, well, more than normal anyway, lots of whips, and, oh yeah, at some point or another we are forced, in front of someone, or even a room full of someones, to perform."
"Yeah, perform." Xena draws the last word out seductively. At the astonished look on Gabrielle’s face, she puts her hands up and carefully adds, "Wait, don’t get upset - not that kind of performing. Lots of kissing, some fondling, maybe even some heavy petting and light whipping, but we usually wait till we’re alone to ... you know."
"You said ‘usually’. We’re ‘usually’ alone before we ... you know. Do you mean that we’ve actually ... you know... in front of people?" The bard whispers out this last part, as if ashamed to think it, much less say it.
"Jeez, Gabrielle, it’s only a story!"
"Oh, excuuuse me, warrior exhibitionist! I’m sorry, but I’d like to think these people could write something with a bit more decorum-"
The warrior exhibitionist smirks. "You’d think after having your way with me underneath a table in a tavern full of people, or after letting me take your top off and fondle you during a girlie show, you wouldn’t be quite so modest."
"Excuse me?" Gabrielle looks at Xena, dazed. "Naked? During a ... girlie show?"
"Not completely. You still had you’re skirt on."
"THAT’S NOT THE POINT!" she roars, causing Xena to pause meekly till she calms down a bit.
"Are you alright?" The warrior carefully asks after a few minutes.
"I'm ok. I'm just having a hard time adjusting to all this. People making up stories about us, having us do gods-knows-what ... how do they know what I'm thinking? How I would react? Who do they think they are? ZUESS??"
"Look, it could be worse. At least I'm still me, you're still you, and we're still in ancient Greece."
"And why, pray tell, would we not be?"
"Look, you're just gonna have to take my word on this one. We're better off right where we are."
"Xena, why do I get the feeling you're not telling me something?"
"Ok, ok ... just be glad this isn't an uber-story."
"Where the hades do you get this stuff? Uber?"
"You’re the bard. Aren’t you supposed to know all this? Or did you skip that day at the Academy too?"
"Very funny, ha-ha. I was never very good at the terminology, 'epics, thematic formulas, dialects', yadda, yadda, yadda, I just wanted to tell stories. Who’s an uber?"
"It’s not a ‘who’, it’s a ‘what’. A specific type of story where out future descendants are the heroines instead of us. The characters bear a remarkable resemblance to ourselves, and the story often focuses on my descendant's search for redemption."
"People actually read this type of thing?"
"Well, it's not one of the more popular categories, but it's beginning to catch on. Especially the Mel-Janice ones. Those are almost a class unto themselves, a sub-genre of a sub-genre. Sort of a ... specialized uber story utilizing our descendants Melinda Pappas and Janice Covington. Sometimes they even intermingle with other uber characters, and me and you as well, which can get pretty complicated because either we have to travel forwards in time or they have to go backwards-"
"Stop!" Gabrielle grimaces and rubs her temples. "You’re giving me a headache. Aren’t there any just plain stories about us?
"Oh! You mean general fiction. Yeah, there are plenty of those. As a matter of fact, any of the specific sub-genres can, and often are, categorized more broadly as either general fiction or alternative fiction."
"Yes. It’s either that or general."
"Ok, Ok..." Gabrielle looks to the heavens. "I know I’m going to be very, very sorry that I asked, but what is the difference?"
"It’s simple. General means we’re not getting any. Alternative means we are."
"Never mind." Xena reaches for the waterskin and takes a drink. "General means that we’re friends. Alternative means that we’re ... intimate."
"But we are intimate. I tell you everything. You tell me almost everything, ‘cept for what’s gonna happen next season -"
Xena cuts her off, shaking her head. "No. Intimate. Real intimate." She looks at the bard meaningfully.
"Oh..." Gabrielle nods her head knowingly. "You mean sex."
Xena spits out the water she’d been drinking. "You can’t just blurt it out like that!"
"There has to be romance, lots of candles, we have to longingly gaze into each other’s eyes and make declarations of love. And even then we can’t just.... There has to be lots of soft kisses, tender caresses along each others’ bodies as if memorizing every curve, before our eyes glaze over and the smoldering passion sweeps us away..."
"Don’t we ever just go at it like two crazed monkeys in heat?"
"Of course not!" Xena states indignantly. Then, after a moment's thought, she sheepishly adds, "Oh, well, actually, yeah, sometimes..."
"Sometimes we rip each others’ clothes off and go at it fast and furious, leaving scratch marks down each others’ sweaty backs?"
"Yep. Lots of screaming and yelling in those ones."
"So, what you’re saying is that these people pretty much have us do whatever their sick and twisted minds can think of!"
"Aww, my love, you happen to like some of the things their sick minds can come up with-"
"What did you just call me?"
"My name is GABRIELLE."
"Yeah, but in the stories I have all these cute little pet-names for you, ‘my love’ or ‘my bard’ is very common. They try to work against type by having the gruff, stoic warrior use a sweet, gentle name for her lover, which in most cases would be you."
"Most cases?! Do you mean you sleep around in these other stories?" Gabrielle pokes Xena in the chest. Hard.
"Ouch! Hey, what do you want me to do about it? It’s not like I’m writing this stuff!"
"Do you enjoy it?"
"Uh... can we change the subject?"
"No. Do you enjoy sleeping with the other women in these stories? Or men? You didn’t say which."
"Actually, both. And there was this one centaur ..." She stops when Gabrielle claps her hands up over her ears.
"Stop! I think we can change the subject now, you piece of hydra-dung!"
"Well, that’s certainly not one of the names you’ve ever used for me before-" Xena uses the big-ole grin on the bard, to good effect. The petite blond can’t help herself and smiles back, until a quizzical expression crosses her face.
"What names do I call you? In the stories?"
"Uh... usually I’m just your ‘warrior princess’."
"Not very original, is it?"
"I’m a bard. Surely I can do better than that. How bout sweet-cheeks?"
"YOU ARE GOING TO DIE!"
Xena tackles the giggly woman, dropping them both to the ground. Gabrielle gulps when Xena leans into her threateningly with a devilish grin, her hands poised above the bards very ticklish ribcage.
"Surrender, or pay the consequences, my queen."
"That’s my name for you in the amazon stories. Didn’t I tell you about those yet?"
"No, you most certainly did not."
"Yeah, well, they’re really not that different from the other ones, ‘cept they’re set in the amazon village. It’s really just a pathetic excuse to get you back into that queen outfit again. Everybody loves the queen outfit. And you should see what we do together in the royal hut..." Xena forgets that the queen herself is trapped below her and gazes out into the forest, her eyes glazing over, recalling one of her favorite fan-fiction scenes.
"Sheesh!" Gabrielle pushes Xena off and gets up. "I'm beginning to think maybe you like the fictitious Gabrielle better than the real one!"
As Gabrielle stalks away muttering to herself, Xena gets off the ground, brushes off her leathers, and rushes to catch up.
"Wait! I haven’t even told you about the poems yet..."
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