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In April 18, 1999, Man of Void This story takes place somewhere in the beginning of the second season of Xena: Warrior Princess TV-series. It contains very mild violence but I can't see how anyone who likes Xena could be offended because of it.
Did you know that Xena and Gabrielle were attacked a while ago (Now that's original, huh)? I strongly suggest that you read Kullervo's Nightmare before continuing.

Xena and Gabrielle have some fun in the woods in the middle of the night.

by Man of Void


My name is Gabrielle. I'm a warrior. Well, in fact I'm a bard, but sometimes I call myself a warrior-bard, yet Xena isn't too keen on that either. Xena is my best friend in the whole world, and she is a real, tough warrior. Right now we're going to a little tavern nearby, to have a breakfast and maybe a little time off. We had a rather, hmm, restless night last night. Tag along, maybe I'll tell you about it.


Xena and Gabrielle enter a tavern. At one of the tables there are two familiar looking men, one of whom is about to choke in his drink.

- Gabrielle? Xena!

- Hercules! How nice to see you. Iolaus, hi.

Everybody shake hands or hugs.

Xena: What are you guys doing here?

Hercules: I could ask you the same question. We just happened to be in the neighbourhood. You know how it is; always on the move. So many villages to save, monsters to slay... What about you?

Xena: About the same. But you forget menacing gods on loose.

Gabrielle: We had to come and get something to eat here. I'm starving. Xena said there's nothing to hunt for food in that forest any more. We must have scared all the animals off last night with all that noise we were making.

Iolaus: Really? Well, join us as long as you're here. Sooo, did anything special happen last night or....

X: Nothing really...

G: Oh yes, and it was SO much fun!

X: Gabrielle! They aren't interested.

I: No, no, no, of course we are, tell us, please.

Xena takes a quick look at the eagerly waiting party, then sighs and turns away.
X: I see I'm losing this battle...

G: O.K. So we had just settled down and had the fire burning and rabbit cooking and eaten the last piece of bread for dinner. I started to tell a story about -err- something I -ahem- can't remember right now...
She blushes slightly.

X (to Hercules): The story she was telling was about you and me unchaining Prometheus. A bit more colourfully than I remember it happening.
Grins teasingly to Gabrielle

G (pretending to be angry): Just checking the facts, for the record. And besides, how would you know, you weren't paying attention, you remember?

X: Oh, I paid attention.

G: No, you didn't. All you paid attention to were those two men in the forest lurking for us. How did you notice them, anyway?

X: I have many -

G: - skills, yeah, we know. Anyway, as I was saying, I was telling a story, when I saw Xena had something else in her mind. I asked what was wrong and she explained that there were two men in the bushes. I, of course, freaked, but she calmed me down by saying that they didn't seem to be too dangerous. And that, in fact, we might as well have some fun with them. "How?" I asked and she answered, "Lets just wait until they show themselves and - improvise." Then she told me to continue my tale so that they wouldn't suspect anything.

Gabrielle takes a sip from Iolaus' mug.
G: You don't mind?

I: Oh no, go ahead. So, who were these men?

G: I'm right getting to that. It didn't take long until those creeps came into the open. And I must say, it was not too frightening sight. One of them was about the size of Iolaus and he had black hair and eyes black as coal. The other was bigger - blond hair, blue eyes, dirty and smelly. In fact they both smelled as if they hadn't seen soap and water for years. Hey! That's how you spotted them! You SMELLED them.
Gabrielle slaps Xena on her arm but she merely smirks mysteriously.

G (continues): They had knives as weapons, though, but they didn't seem to have a clue on how to handle them.

X: When that taller one said something about sharing a meal, I just had to look away to avoid bursting into a laugh. It was so obvious.

G: Can you believe? Did they really think we would buy that? I do remember how Xena looked at me trying desperately to hold herself together. Then she winked and I thought we might as well swallow the hook, so to speak, and I asked them to join us. After that they suddenly got ugly and wanted to take all our money and belongings. Don't you think I was really good at acting scared little girl.

X: Well, you're a natural talent.

G: At least they bought it. Anyway, since Xena is a warrior she wanted to get to the action and rip those men's lungs out through their throats. I guess she was afraid they would run away, if they knew who she was, so she insisted that I must call her 'Zima' instead.

Xena turns furiously to Gabrielle.
X: I did not! It was solely your idea. Sheesh, I hate that name and you knew it. Why couldn't you call me like - I don't know - Athenea or - something nice.

G (still teasing): Oh, I'm so sorry, Zima, I would have picked another name, if I just had had more time to think.

X (raising her eyebrow): DON'T push your luck...

Gabrielle seems to ignore her friend's warning, but is sure not to miss a chance to bait her more.
G: Where was I? Oh yes. I called her Zima and started complaining about why she always gets all the fun of beating enemies. I guess that they nearly dropped their jaws in surprise.

H: I think that if I had been in those men's shoes, I would have run off and fast by then.

G: Well these thugs were not that smart. It took a lot longer for them to figure it out. And now begins the funny part. Xena and I were having an argument on which of us gets the honour of slaying the bandits. Since they had so little patience that they couldn't wait until we were ready and started approaching, I had to disarm them using my staff. Poor Zima, she looked so upset that I just had to apologize her for losing my temper.

X: You know, I was so glad you disarmed them, because if I had done it, it might have scared them away. They surely weren't expecting it from you.

G: We kept on arguing and I insulted Xena and she insulted me back. I saw that the dark-haired bandit was trying to reach for his dagger, which was lying behind her, so I had to come up to something and fast. Before I had time to do that Xena said something like: "I'm sick of your face. It's just like a back of a DUCK!" and obviously tried to punch me. So - duh-uh - I ducked and she punched the guy behind me. Just in time I guess.

X: Yeah, and then Gabrielle was getting pretty mad and told me to BACK OFF and pushed me with her staff to make sure I understood and I stepped back like trying to gain my balance, just to crunch the other bandit's fingers between his dagger and -

The others just stare at Xena. They have not seen her talking that excited for a long time, probably never.

X (blushing): - and I'm getting a little carried away.

I: Yeah, you just ruined your reputation of a harsh warrior woman.
Xena throws a chicken wing at Iolaus. He tries to take cover, but it hits him in the forehead, leaving a large, greasy smudge.

G (smiling gently): And I was the one supposed to be the storyteller. Hmm, that's about the end of it, anyway. The bandits obviously thought they were going to get nothing but hurt and left in a rather great hurry. We just couldn't hold it anymore and bursted into laughter. It took us at least an hour to calm down. It was so amusing.

X: After we had gone to sleep I woke up every once in a while, when a certain irritating little warrior-wanna-be was chuckling so much, that I almost had to cut the flow of blood to her brain to get her quiet.

G: Is that right Zima... I remember you couldn't keep still last night either, no more than me.

X: All right, well, lets just say that your giggles are dangerously infectious sometimes. And you're going to be sorry for that Zima thing, by the way. You just wait.

H: After hearing your description I think we had the pleasure of meeting those same men at noon yesterday.

G: Really? Tell us what happened?

H: Well, nothing really. They weren't that funny at all.

I (grinning): Yes indeed, they did seem to be somewhat tired all the time.

Xena's reputation was not severely hurt by writing this story.

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