Convert this page to Pilot DOC Format
The characters portrayed in this story, Xena, Gabrielle and Aphrodite, belong to Renaissance Pictures/MCA. If they belonged to me, we would be watching very different Xena:Warrior Princess episodes!
There is explicit sex between two consenting adults who happen to be women. And a bit of violence, if a spanking is to be considered violent. If either of these offend you, or you are underage, leave now, run from the screen...and let those who enjoy this type of fiction hopefully enjoy this story!
The story takes place a short while after the very first episode, Sins of the Past, and has been drawn from my imagination, which can be a pretty scary place!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Portia Richardson, author of the excellent story A Half Moon Before and Two Summers After, for her absolutely invaluable encouragement, suggestions and editing! And also KB, who has continued to encourage me, and kept me moving toward the completion of my story.
The words to two pieces of music are at the end of this story, taken from the Sarah Brightman CD..TIME TO SAY GOODBYE. Xena’s Song is actually titled ‘THERE FOR ME’. Gabrielle’s song is titled ‘NO ONE LIKE YOU’. I have used them here because much of this story was written while listening to this music, and I felt that, at least for me, these two pieces spoke directly to each of these wonderful characters who fill our hearts and minds with such joy, love and adventure. If at all possible, I would suggest that the reader listen to the above mentioned CD if for no other reason than to enjoy some beautiful music.
This work is copyrighted by the author, and consists of 49 pages.
Xena looked down from Argo's back for the umpteenth time at Gabrielle walking, skipping, and tripping along side of the tall warrior’s horse. It amazed the warrior that this young woman could be so oblivious to so much that was going on around her, including the fact that the Warrior Princess was seething inside! Xena was really pissed, they had once again come in contact with stupid highwaymen who thought they had found some easy pickings...and they almost did. Gabrielle had managed to get herself between Xena and the robbers, and as usual Xena had to fight around her while trying to get Gabrielle to safety. In the course of the fight, Xena had sustained a small nick on her right shoulder. This injury was only part of the reason she was infuriated. At least if she was going to sustain an injury, she wanted it to be from a formidable foe, not some creep who thought he was a mighty fighter, and not because she was stumbling over Gabrielle.
This is the fifth time in as many days that we’ve met up with these road pests, and each time Gabrielle hasn’t done what I have told her..get back and stay back...if this keeps up, she’s going to get us both killed..probably by some half wit who manages to bean me with a stupid rock, while I am trying to get untangled from her. Why can’t she do what I tell her? I commanded my armies with fewer problems than this little blond is giving me. I told her to get out of the way, to back off, to stay back, and she didn’t. We need some Ground Rules. I can’t have someone traveling with me who can’t or won’t take orders.
"Did you hear anything I’ve been saying?" Gabrielle ran up to Xena, reaching Argo’s left flank as Xena slowed Argo to a halt.
Xena sat atop Argo, looked down at Gabrielle and considered the danger she was putting herself and Gabrielle in by allowing the young woman to continue to travel with her.
"Did you hear me?"
"You’re not listening to me, are you?"
"No. And we could use a lot less chatter around here." Xena tried to keep the anger she was feeling from erupting.
"What else is there to do except walk and stare at trees and rub my feet every three hours? It gets boring!"
"Then maybe you should go back home."
Below her, Gabrielle stared dejectedly at the warrior. "You don’t want me around? I won’t go home. I’ve told you that. I followed you out of Poteidaia because I wanted to be with you, I wanted adventure, excitement. If I can’t travel with you, I’ll travel on my own. I want to be a story teller, a Bard, and I need to experience life in all its forms so that I can tell my stories with honesty!" Gabrielle’s enthusiasm bubbled over as she spoke of her plans.
Xena knew she really didn’t want Gabrielle to leave, if for no other reason than the fact that she would be dead, or worse, in a half moon, with the total disregard the young woman had for the dangers in her surroundings.
"No," she responded perhaps a bit too quickly. "No, I want you around, but for the love of Zeus, Gabrielle, you have to pay attention. There’s more to do than walk and stare at trees. How many battles have we been in just in the last few days! Five! And not once did you hear anyone coming, and twice I almost didn’t, because you were yammering on and on about something or other. I can’t protect us if I’m distracted and not prepared."
"Oh, all right."
Xena pushed her heels gently signaling Argo to continue. Gabrielle managed somehow to remain silent, and Xena thought that maybe the girl had gotten the message. As they traveled north, Xena considered the territory they were presently covering. She and her army had laid waste to this area and the village that had stood right where they walked. That village was only a memory now, nothing remained. She lowered her head despondently. The things I’ve done, the pain I’ve caused. I don’t know that I can ever atone for it all.
"Xena, are you okay?"
"I was just thinking..."
The young woman launched into another story. It was a story that Xena had heard many times as a child, and she found herself getting caught up in the way Gabrielle was telling it. Suddenly, Xena heard a twig snap and she was instantly alert to her surroundings. She motioned to Gabrielle to be quiet, but it took the chatty woman a full minute to realize that Xena had drawn her dagger and was listening intently for other sounds. Gabrielle glanced around nervously, holding her breath in anticipation. Suddenly two rabbits ran across their path. Xena returned her dagger to her cleavage and stared down at Gabrielle.
"I want you quiet. Now!"
Gabrielle looked up into very angry; blue eyes, and nodded.
I need to sit down and have a long talk with this girl. She’s a danger to herself and to me. I don’t need this...
Xena tried to form the discussion in her mind, but her thoughts were quickly interrupted when she realized that Gabrielle had started another story, this time about a giant fish or some such thing. She decided it was time to try to teach Gabrielle some of the necessary rules concerning their travels. She knew that their safety was very much her responsibility, but Gabrielle had to understand her own role in helping Xena maintain their safety, or at least not hinder the warrior’s efforts with her lack of experience. The big question is not really whether or not the time is right for some discussion of Ground Rules and expectations, but whether or not I can get her to keep still long enough to hear me.
Xena thought about the incessant talking for a few minutes, and then made the decision that this was as good a time as any for lessons on traveling with the Warrior Princess.
"Gabrielle".....Nothing, Gabrielle just kept on talking...
With some degree of irritation, Gabrielle answered. "WHAT?"
"We need to talk". The beautiful, tall warrior said.
"About what? Are you going to tell me again that I have to go back to Poteidaia? Forget about it, Xena, I won't go. I want to be with you. I want adventures and excitement. I want to learn from you and from the people we meet and the places we see and."
"GABRIELLE!"..The warrior shouted with more than a hint of threat in her voice..." I’m trying to talk to you, but you have to shut up long enough to hear me."
The young woman clamped her mouth shut, stopped in the middle of the trail, and looked up at Xena. She stared for a moment, and then said, "OK. Let's talk," and immediately started on another monologue.
Xena slid down from Argo's back, grabbed the reins in one hand and Gabrielle’s arm in the other and walked off the trail into the woods.
They quickly reached a small clearing, created by old fallen trees. Xena walked Argo over to a spot lush with grass, draping the reins over the mare's back so the beautiful animal could graze and relax while Xena tried to deal with Gabrielle.
Gabrielle meanwhile, had just been standing in the middle of the small clearing, watching Xena and the mare, and, for once, was not talking. Xena walked back toward her and taking her hand led her to one of the fallen trees, motioning to Gabrielle to sit.
Gabrielle broke the silence by starting up about everything and anything, including whether or not they were going to camp there for the night. Did Xena think that she could catch something for dinner? What about taking a blanket out so they could put it across the fallen tree trunk and sit on it instead of the rough tree bark?
Xena's head was beginning to spin, and she could feel a nagging little headache starting.
"GABRIELLE! We’re not going to camp here, I’m not thinking about dinner, and nobody ever died from sitting on tree bark..Now sit down and be still!"
Gabrielle realized that this was probably the longest string of words Xena had put together since they had met. In an instant her mind flashed back to that day, the day the slavers had tried to take her and so many of the villagers. This gorgeous, tall, dark haired woman with the most penetrating blue eyes she had ever seen had literally wiped up the trail with the evil slavers. Gabrielle had known at that very moment that she wanted to be with this woman, to share in her life and adventures, and that she was not ever going to be happy anywhere but at this woman's side.
Xena looked down at the Gabrielle, who still had not sat down. With an exasperated sigh, she gave her a little backward push, resulting in Gabrielle catching her boot heel in her long skirt and starting to fall. Xena quickly grabbed her, kept her upright, and then sat her down with a bit more force than expected by either of them.
Gabrielle immediately tried to stand, and her mouth opened to protest, but Xena looked down at her with what Gabrielle had very early in their travels together defined as "The Look". She sat down and remained silent. Looking up at Xena expectantly, she was somewhat relieved to see "The Look" fade slightly.
"Gabrielle," Xena started, looking at Gabrielle with very serious eyes..."I’ve got some Ground Rules you need to learn. It’s time we started some lessons, you need to learn how we can help one another and keep ourselves safe..."
"Xena, I am so glad you brought up this subject, because I have a lot of ideas and..."
This time Gabrielle stopped dead in her verbal tracks. She was almost certain that besides "The Look" being very much back, she thought she saw smoke coming out of Xena's ears.
Xena stepped back a moment, as though to regroup, or to keep from strangling her traveling companion..and then, when she felt as though her murderous thoughts were in check, she sat down next to Gabrielle and started to talk..
"This really isn’t easy for me, you know I don’t usually have too much to say.."
"Xena, that is an understatement! You hardly ever string two words together. You know, communication is..." Gabrielle clamped her mouth shut, when she saw the dark clouds forming in those beautiful blue eyes.
Xena was well aware that she had a stubborn streak a mile wide, but was beginning to feel that this conversation just wasn’t going to happen...then that stubborn streak kicked in, and she tried again.
"I’m happy to have you with me. I never realized how alone I was, and you have changed all that. Just having you around has given my life much joy...but there are things that have to change. There are Ground Rules you must obey." Xena's voice suddenly dropped off, and she found herself looking in amazement at Gabrielle, who was sitting very still and did not even look like she was going to open her mouth.
Maybe this is going to work, she’s going to listen; I’ll get to say what needs to be said, and....
Gabrielle took a breath and though they had been traveling together only a short time Xena knew this girl and she knew that expression when Gabrielle was about to start another mindboggling dissertation.
."DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT OPENING YOUR MOUTH!" the warrior bellowed, almost knocking Gabrielle off the tree trunk with the force and intent of her words.
"If we’re going to continue to travel together, you need to learn my Ground Rules...our lives depend on our being able to travel as one, hearing and seeing everything in our surroundings and making instant decisions on what dangers may be in our way. And you absolutely must learn to obey me instantly, without question. Without argument!"
Gabrielle was watching Xena with absolute attention, and the tall warrior congratulated herself on finally getting through to her in this very important discussion!
"First off, Gabrielle, you must learn to be quiet. You can't possibly hear sounds that might alert us to possible ambush if you’re constantly talking...and it’s sometimes hard for me to hear the important signals of an attack if my ears are being constantly bombarded by your voice. You need to learn to focus, and you can’t focus if your mouth is going."
Xena waited for the intrusion, but none came. Gabrielle was apparently hanging on every word..
"Second, when I tell you to do something, or to get behind me, or up onto Argo, or whatever, you will do it immediately. Those commands are not open for discussion. . You must obey me without question."
Xena waited again, and still Gabrielle sat there, watching the warrior with her green eyes never leaving Xena's face...encouraged, Xena continued with the important information she felt had to be said.
" I know you don't want to carry weapons of any kind, and I can live with that, but you have to have something to protect yourself, so I want you to think about what you would feel comfortable with. We don’t have to make any decisions now, but please give it some thought."
Still Gabrielle sat there and never took her eyes from Xena’s face. Xena felt encouraged, Oh, I am on a roll here!
"I’ve watched you when we’ve met up with some of the scum that travel these same roads. I can tell you’re itching to get into the action, but until I can teach you some moves, you’re going to have to stay behind me, and do what I say when I say it. Again, no discussion, no arguments, you do what I say when I say it. I must have your complete obedience!"
Still, Gabrielle sat there as though mesmerized by the warrior’s words, her eyes never leaving Xena's face.
Xena continued, feeling really good about how all this was going. She looked down at Gabrielle, sitting there in her peasant skirt and top, looking for all the world like a little girl from a farming village. Not like a young woman traveling with a Warrior Princess....
"This peasant skirt has got to go." With that Xena reached out her hand, stood Gabrielle up in front of her, and with one hand on the young woman’s arm, grabbed her Chakram with the other hand and cut Gabrielle’s long, peasant skirt off at a point about half way up her thighs. Gabrielle looked down, and then looked back at the warrior with her mouth hanging open. Before she could get a word out, Xena sat her back down and put a finger to the blonde’s lips... "The Look" was definitely back in full force.
"Gabrielle, your skirt was too long, it’s caused you to stumble more than once. It gets dirty dragging the ground. This makes a lot more sense. When we get to the next town you can get something else. But for now, this is what you’ll be wearing, this is what I have decided you will be wearing, and I don’t want to hear anything more about it."
Still nothing from Gabrielle.. Xena was now beginning to think that maybe she was actually in some sort of a trance...but she continued..
"When we camp, we don't need to have discussions every single night about who will do what. We always end up doing the same thing, I catch something, you cook it, we eat it, I sharpen and polish my sword, you clean up, I bank our fire, we sleep..."
Something was definitely going on here. This was the longest period of time since being with Gabrielle that she had been quiet...even when Gabrielle slept, she wasn't really quiet, she was either softly snoring, or mumbling in her sleep, or on cold nights, snuggling next to the warrior for warmth and almost purring when she found that warmth. Xena thought back to the many nights she had awakened to find Gabrielle literally laying on top of her, using her as an alternative to the hard ground. Such thoughts were not unpleasant..but Xena knew that she had to continue laying out the Ground Rules, now that she finally had an attentive audience..She had maintained "The Look"..since it appeared that it helped in keeping Gabrielle quiet and focused on what Xena was saying..
"I also want you to ..
At this point, Gabrielle broke the silence that Xena had so horribly misinterpreted.
"Do you have any idea how incredibly beautiful you are? Your eyes are the most gorgeous blue, those cheek bones, those lips, and when you are being serious..Which by the way, is most of the time, you really should try to lighten up a bit, you know people who lighten up usually live longer, they are much more likely to not have."
Xena exploded...it was ever so obvious that Gabrielle had not been listening to anything the Warrior Princess had said.
"THAT DOES IT, I HAVE HAD IT".
With that, she grabbed Gabrielle around the waist and in one smooth, swift movement turned the young woman down across her thighs. She flipped up what was left of the skirt to expose Gabrielle’s bottom. Only to discover that she wasn’t wearing any britches...She hesitated, looking down at Gabrielle's bare bottom, and for a fleeting moment considered what she was going to do.... This is one beautiful little behind. I shouldn’t treat her like a child, she’s a grown woman. She certainly has the behind of a grown woman-shapely, firm, all the curves. Xena shook her head to clear these thoughts. But I have to do something to make an impression on her, something to make her understand how important this is, for both of us. THIS she might understand. She WILL understand! She lifted her right arm and brought her hand down across those cheeks with enough force to startle Argo with the sound of the crack of her palm against Gabrielle's backside. Gabrielle screeched, not as much in pain as in surprise, and tried to squirm off Xena's legs.
"No you don't, Gabrielle. You haven’t listened to a word I've said, and this is only going to get worse, so deal with it." Xena’s teeth were clenched, and she bit each word out as a definite threat!
And her hand connected again with Gabrielles' backside.
"You are going to start listening" ...Smack,
"And OBEYING" ...Smack,
"Do you understand?" ...Smack.
"You will do what I say when I say it"...Smack,
"You will obey me without arguments or discussions"... Smack,
Xena continued to spank Gabrielle one hard smack after another, until the young woman stopped struggling and lay across Xena's thighs, sobbing and crying real tears of pain and humiliation. She had never experienced this kind of punishment before. Her parents had given her a few swats across the behind when she was a child, but she usually just scampered away and hid somewhere in the barn or fields until they were busy with something else and had forgotten about whatever she had done to incur their wrath. Her bottom felt like it was on fire, as Xena smacked her again and again. This was different though, as Gabrielle felt her inner thighs becoming damp, and realized that as painful as this spanking was, it was also having another effect on her. She was becoming totally aroused by Xena’s touch and her command. She blinked through her tears and hoped that this torture would end soon. She was afraid of what her body would do if the attention her bottom was receiving continued much longer...Then she realized that Xena had stopped spanking her, although she was still across the warrior's thighs. She heard Xena's voice, and twisted her head around to see whom the warrior was talking to.
"By the gods, Xena, is someone here? Don't let them see me like this, please Xena, I'm sorry, I'll listen, I'll do whatever you say"..She attempted to get up, but Xena held her firm across her thighs..then she heard Xena's voice again..she was definitely talking to someone...Gabrielle felt like she was going to die of embarrassment right then and there...
Xena had been spanking Gabrielle with a vengeance when she had suddenly became aware of a flash of light to her right, heralding the appearance of Aphrodite. She stopped spanking Gabrielle as she said.. "Aphrodite..What are you doing here..I don't need your help."
"Oh yes you do, Warrior Babe...you definitely need my help...wow, you have really been whaling away at that irritating little blonde’s behind. Aphrodite stole a peak at the young woman. "Look at that color, sort of a flaming pink red sort of shade, wouldn't you say? Hmmm, I think I might like to try that shade for myself, not for my gorgeous behind, but maybe a nice new gown, sort of flowing, and see through, of course..."
"What do you want, Aphrodite, leave us be..."
"NoooNooooNooo, you do need a few pointers from me, my luscious Warrior Babe, Oh you of the magnificent legs that go on forever. Those thighs, your gorgeous breasts that just cry out for attention, the muscles, the flawless skin, that beautiful face, those lips, and those eyes, oh those eyes... where was I..Oh yes, this little irritating blond you have been spanking is definitely very much in love with you, and you are going to have to deal with it..."
"Aphrodite, you are absolutely insane, you have no idea what you are talking about, and I want you to leave, NOW!"
Gabrielle twisted her head up once again, and looked around.."Xena, please, let me up, this is so embarrassing and not fair..is Aphrodite here? I want to see her, but please, at least cover my backside, this is very not fair at all."
Xena looked down at the squirming bundle across her lap. She flipped Gabrielle’s' skirt down, although it didn't cover her bottom completely...she kept her left hand firmly on Gabrielle’s back, holding her down and making it clear that she was not going anywhere soon.
Xena gave another smack to Gabrielle’s bottom.
"Stop squirming and keep still. I’m not done with you!"
Gabrielle sighed, wiped the tears from her face and looked down at the ground, then she looked at the underside of Xena's thighs. With a little smile, she reached her fingers up and lightly stroked the back of the warrior's knee...wrong move. Xena's palm connected once again with her behind. Gabrielle decided to study the insect life that appeared to be rather abundant on the floor of the forest, especially when your face was so close to the ground...
Xena growled at Gabrielle.."Don't do that again, keep still."
Gabrielle marveled at the fact that she felt very certain that she would do it again, but not just right now...she wasn't stupid, she knew that timing was everything....
"Xena, I want you to look at what your punishment of this young woman has resulted in...Look at the sweet love juices that are collecting on your thighs. She is so into you, it’s not even funny. She is, like, so in love with you. She’s got it bad, Xena. But who wouldn't? By the gods, that body, that hair, those lips, those eyes.."
"Don't start with that again, Aphrodite, I am not buying it, and besides, this has nothing to do with love."
With that said, Xena became aware of the dampness she felt on her thighs. She lifted Gabrielle’s skirt and saw for herself that there was wetness across her thighs...she just stared at it, trying to comprehend the proof of Aphrodite’s words. She stared until Gabrielle squirmed again, and Xena realized that Gabrielle had twisted and turned her upper body and head so that she was looking at Xena, looking at her. Then Xena also realized that not all of the dampness was Gabrielle’s, but that she could feel her own arousal, her own source between her legs overflowing and her own juices finding passage down her thighs.
Xena looked at Gabrielle's face, and quickly turned away, flipping Gabrielle’s skirt back down over her bottom. She then looked back at Aphrodite, who was standing there with the most irritating, aggravating know-it-all smile plastered across her face...Xena wanted to jump up and wipe that smirk right off Aphrodite’s face..but she resigned herself.
"OK, Aphrodite, something does seem to be going on here, so why don’t you leave and let me handle it.."
"Oh right, like you are going to have a clue, oh great Warrior Slash and Burn...oops, sorry, I forgot there for a minute that you weren't like that anymore..You need my help, my vast experience, my expertise..."
"Aphrodite, leave, I really would appreciate it if we could maybe have this conversation some other day. Please, I’m asking nice, you know I don't do that very often.." Xena had her teeth clamped tight, and her voice sounded menacing. Even the word ‘please’ sounded more like a threat than an entreaty.
Gabrielle was taking all of this in from her precarious vantage point...however she had quickly realized that she was only hearing part of the conversation, just Xena's words. She wanted so much to hear the other side of what was being said, but it appeared that wasn't going to happen...maybe it was a warrior thing...some day....when I learn all the things Xena wants to teach me...hey, I did hear what Xena was saying to me before all this got started! But wait! What was that comment Xena just made.. Something else Xena just said...this isn’t about love??? By the gods, this was so embarrassing! Nothing like lying across a warrior’s knee with your bare behind sticking up in the air while that warrior carries on a conversation with someone only she can see!
Xena was watching Aphrodite's face, and was relieved to see that the Love Goddess seemed to be running out of steam. At least she appeared to be thinking about leaving..
"OK, Warrior Princess with the body to die for, the voice that causes swooning across the land, oh woman of few words, but when those words come out...oh boy! Oh yes, OK, I will leave for now, but I want you to know that I’m watching you, and that I have my lovely little hands firmly attached to your heart, and to that little blonde’s heart too, so don't be too surprised when I show up again..Toodles"..and with that, she was gone.
Xena just sat for a minute, almost totally unaware of the bundle lying across her legs, until the bundle started to squirm again.
She looked down at Gabrielle, her mind racing over Aphrodite's words. Then she lifted Gabrielle's skirt once more, saw her bottom tense up, and brought her palm down one last time, eliciting a real honest yelp out of the helpless woman across her lap.
She lifted Gabrielle to her feet, turning her around and sitting her on her lap.. She knew Gabrielle’s bottom would not appreciate the rough tree bark, but she was amazed at the heat generated from Gabrielle's naked behind against her thighs...Time enough later to think about all the stuff that Aphrodite had said, right now I have to try to get back to where I was when this all started...trying to get Gabrielle to understand the importance of my Ground Rules.....
"Gabrielle, I’m sorry I had to get so tough with you, but you must learn to do as I say. You must obey me. When I talk to you, I absolutely must have your complete attention. We’ll camp here tonight...there’s a small stream just at the edge of this clearing, go sit in the stream for a while, you’ll feel better."
Gabrielle didn't say a word, she just sat on Xena's lap, with her hands clasped in her own lap, and her head down, sniffling occasionally. Xena lifted her chin with her left hand; her right arm around Gabrielle's waist, and looked into her tear stained face. Instantly, Xena's heart lurched, and she began to think about what she had done to this young woman...
."Gabrielle, talk to me, please..say something.."
"You said I talk to much, now I'm being quiet and you still aren't happy.." Gabrielle felt she had Xena right where she wanted her, feeling guilty...oh, this was going to be so sweet. . Xena, however, saw through this little subterfuge, picked her up and plunked her down on the log, bare butt and rough bark be damned. Gabrielle immediately regrouped her thinking on the guilt thing and on the fact that it wasn't going to work. Not wanting to go through another spanking, she immediately looked up at the Warrior Princess.
"I know I was yammering, but I did hear what you were saying, and yes, I want to learn what to do, and yes, I will not talk so much, and I can't wait until we get to the next town so I can go shopping...I would love a new outfit...and if I am going to wear a skirt this short, I definitely will need some britches. I can't be walking around flashing everyone now can I, ...except if that is what you want, after all, you want me to obey you, so I’ll do whatever you want, including walking around half naked...whatever you want.. And when do you think I will be able to see Aphrodite? I figured that is probably a warrior thing, so when I learn all this stuff will she appear to me, too?"
Xena just stood there and looked down at Gabrielle...she knew when to admit defeat, even on a temporary basis...when she needed to regroup. She had fought her way through every sort of enemy. She had fought against most of the nastier gods, against ugly and not so ugly warlords, pond scum road thugs and bottom feeding lowlifes of all kinds, but never ever had she run into such a formidable challenge as this chatterbox. She thought of how she might be remembered through the ages. Warrior Princess, Destroyer of Nations. Her name brought fear to the hearts of any who incurred her wrath, even to the hearts of many who didn't incur her wrath...and yet here she was, standing in the middle of a forest, her ears ringing and her head swimming, all because she had agreed to let this little yapper into her life, and, if she really thought about it, into her heart.
"I give up, Gabrielle, we'll save the lessons for later. Let's get you down to that stream so you can cool off your behind."
She offered her hand; Gabrielle stood up and immediately put both hands on her stinging backside.
"Hurts, huh? Keep that in mind when I tell you to do something!"
Xena set her on her way toward the water. As she walked behind Gabrielle she realized that she had cut the skirt way too short. This would not do for when they were around other people, although she found she was enjoying it immensely. I’ll save the part I cut off; I can sew it back before we get to the next village. She watched her hips move, caught herself doing so, and looked elsewhere...however her eyes kept coming back to the almost hypnotizing movement going on in front of her. They reached the waters’ edge, and before Xena could say anything, Gabrielle had shucked her skirt, boots and top and was walking into the water. Just then, Gabrielle turned back and looked at Xena, and at the expression she saw on that beautiful face. She didn't say a word, but she smiled to herself, and took heart in what she had just witnessed.. Oh yes, this was going to be sweet, maybe not easy, but definitely sweet!
"Gabrielle, I'm gonna go scare up something for dinner. Stay as long as you want, but don’t go anywhere and try to stay out of trouble. I don't feel like spending half the night looking for you."
Not a chance, Warrior Princess! Not a chance! I’m not going anywhere. She looked back at Xena with a sweet, simple,demure little smile playing across her face.
As Xena turned and walked back to the clearing, Gabrielle settled herself into the stream, relieved to feel the cool water across her behind..the spot still stung in humiliation and tingled with desire from Xena’s touch. My bottom really does sting, that woman doesn’t realize her own strength...actually, I think there are a few other things she might not realize, too...like how much I love her, how much I want her to love me... As she leaned back to wet her hair and wash away the road grime, she thought about the day and how it had taken a very interesting turn. She was still confused about hearing only one side of the conversation Xena seemed to be having with Aphrodite. Now that was strange. How come Xena could see her and hear her, but I couldn't? And what was that comment Xena made about this not having anything to do with love?
Gabrielle sat and pondered these questions, sitting on the stream bottom and swishing the cool water around. A sudden flash of light startled her. Just as she was about to scream for Xena, Aphrodite appeared, dressed, or at least sort of dressed, in skimpy underwear and a pink frothy thing...the woman gave new meaning to the word luscious.
"Well, little irritating blond person with a very sore bottom, how are you feeling? Is that nice cool water helping?"
"Are you Aphrodite??" Gabrielle sputtered, completely oblivious that she was sitting in a stream, totally naked, and talking to someone who had just appeared out of nowhere...
"Do you really have to ask? Look at me. I mean, who else would dress like this, and have a body like this, and, oh never mind. Yes, twit, I am Aphrodite, Goddess of Love".
"I am so glad to meet you, your Goddesship!" Gabrielle was clearly at a loss for words, one of the very few times in her life that had happened.
"Yahyahyah, let's not get all hung up on the titles, just listen to me. Follow my instructions, and you just might get to where you want to be...with the Warrior Princess, right? I mean WITH the Warrior Princess...am I right?"
Gabrielle was still at a loss for words, but Aphrodite's meaning hit her right square in her heart. That is exactly where I want to be.
"OK kid, it's a good thing that I am good at hearing thoughts, because you are obviously not going to be able to say much. Which is certainly out of character for you, you talk more than I do! So here's what you do...and don’t forget, when I’m good, I’m very, very good, but when I’m bad, I’m even better!" Aphrodite threw her head back and laughed at her own wit. She then began to describe a preliminary plan for Gabrielle to follow.
A few minutes later, an outwardly much subdued Gabrielle climbed out of the stream, picked up her clothes and walked, still naked, back to the clearing. When she arrived in the open Xena had her back to her, brushing Argo and talking to the mare.
"Xena, thanks for stopping here. The cold water really did help. Do you think you could brew up some of those special herbs we use for sore muscles and maybe put some on my behind? I think it would make me feel so much better."
Xena turned around, pulling up short when she saw that Gabrielle was still naked. Oh my, that’s one beautiful body. Why is she walking around like that? What’s going on here?
"Sure, Gabrielle. Put on your sleeping shift." Please put on your sleeping shift, she heard herself pleading. I'll get some herbs brewing.. I already have dinner on the fire..a couple of rabbits...you might wanna check them. My cooking skills aren’t exactly in the same league as yours"...or probably anyone else’s either. Xena went to the saddlebags and rummaged around for the herbs she would need, trying desperately to not think about the naked blond standing nearby... Why hasn’t she gone to put on her shift, why is she standing there...is this some of Aphrodite’s work, having Gabrielle tempt me like this...that crazy blonde bimbo said she had her hands around both of our hearts...I wish she would just leave us alone. I can’t stand the interference these gods think is so entertaining. Oh good grief, now she is checking the rabbits stark naked. She’s bending over, checking those damn rabbits. Oh, gods.
After checking on the rabbits roasting over the fire, Gabrielle walked over to the bedrolls, and slowly bent over at the waist to pick up her sleep shift. She casually looked over her shoulder and saw that the Warrior Princess was watching her. Gabrielle stood up, stretched, and then slipped into her shift. She slid her hands down her sides, as though to make sure her body was covered, all the while watching Xena watch her. She had the most terrible urge to giggle, but she suppressed it. She couldn’t help smiling to herself...this is really kind of fun...just wish my behind would stop stinging...
What has happened to Gabrielle, she looks like she is deliberately trying to tempt me. She doesn’t usually act like this, so seductive...oh, I think I will definitely have to go for a long walk in the woods tonight! Aphrodite, if this is your idea of fun...
Gabrielle walked back over to where the rabbits were roasting and said, "These rabbits are ready, are you?" The young woman paused just long enough For Xena to interpret several possible meanings, then added, "ready to eat, I mean?"
Xena swallowed, shook her head, and joined Gabrielle at the side of the fire. They each ate their meal in silence...Xena was lost in her thoughts; Gabrielle could barely keep from smiling.
After they had eaten and cleaned up the campsite, Xena checked on the herbs she had brewed and found them to be ready for use.
"Gabrielle, here’s a clean cloth, the herbs are ready, just dip this cloth in and pat it onto your behind, it should help a lot."
Gabrielle looked at the Warrior Princess and then at the bowl and cloth she was holding out for her, then back at Xena. The expression on the young woman’s face was pure innocence.
"Xena, I can’t do this myself, can’t you please put it on my bottom for me?" Her voice nearly cracked into a giggle as she said these words, seeing the almost tortured expression on Xena’s face. "I mean, it’s not like we haven’t helped each other out in the past, and after all, this is sort of your fault…"
"Gabrielle, you aren’t gonna to trap me into some sort of guilt trip about this, I’m not sorry I spanked you. You deserved it, you don’t listen, and you have to learn to obey me without question. I can promise you that it will happen again if you don’t start changing your attitude! My Ground Rules are important, and I won’t put up with any more disobedience from you. Just be thankful that I only spanked you, I’ve had soldiers in my army flogged for disobeying me. Maybe if I stay angry, I can get through this. Maybe I’ll be able to breathe while smoothing this stuff on her behind. Lay down on your stomach on your bedroll. I’ll put the stuff on you, then go to sleep and tomorrow morning you’ll be fine"
Gabrielle settled onto her blanket, with her bottom just barely covered with her sleeping shift. Xena carefully moved the shift up her back, and started slathering the medicinal herb concoction onto Gabrielle’s still very rosy behind. Gabrielle let out a long sigh, and settled her head into her arms so that Xena couldn’t see the smile playing across her face. Gods, I hope I don’t give myself away. It feels so good. Thank you for the advice, Aphrodite. Walking back here naked sure did get a notice out of this beautiful woman. Though we’ve been naked together before, this was different, oh yes...this is going to work real well. Now if I can just carry out whatever the rest of the plan Aphrodite might have without ending up over Xena’s knee again, I’ll be okay!
I made it. Very professional. Just helping her out, just putting on some stuff to take out the sting. When she’d finished, Xena set the bowl aside and covered Gabrielle’s bottom with her shift and the top blanket. She then settled into her own blanket, being careful to not brush up against the young woman, who appeared to be already asleep.
"Good Night, Gabrielle, sleep tight." Xena whispered as she lay on her back, looking up at the beautiful night sky. She was just about ready to close her eyes when she heard Gabrielle’s muffled voice…
"Good Night, Xena, I love you." That should keep her awake tonight. Aphrodite really is good at this love stuff; it might have taken me forever to get around to knowing how and when to tell Xena how I feel. I wonder what the Goddess of Love has planned for me to use on Xena next?
Xena knew in an instant that sleep of any kind would be hard come by tonight…. Even as she heard Gabrielle’s gentle snores coming from the bedroll next to her.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
Xena laid on her bedroll listening to the softly snoring, snorfling woman, obviously sound asleep. She rolled onto her side, and pulled Gabrielle up against her, aware of how well Gabrielle’s body fit against her own. Gabrielle sighed softly and snuggled even closer to Xena, but she didn’t wake up. Xena was actually somewhat relieved that Gabrielle was sleeping so soundly, it allowed her to do some serious thinking before the morning light came and she would have to deal with the events of the day just drawing to a close.
Xena knew that she felt great affection for Gabrielle; she knew she had felt a connection the day she had found the people of Poteidaia being rounded up by the slavers. The first time she laid eyes on the person now sleeping in her arms, she realized that Gabrielle was someone special. In the time they’d been traveling together, she had come to know the person Gabrielle was now…but realized she really knew nothing about the person Gabrielle had been before that fateful day the slavers had attacked Gabrielle’s village. Her concerns for Gabrielle’s safety would have to be addressed. She cared about this young woman, wanted her with her, and some how or other, she was going to make sure it happened. Without getting us both killed. I still have to make sure that Gabrielle learns the Ground Rules without exception. If I have to spank her again, I will, but I don’t know how I’ll handle that, it did strange things to us both. I wonder how much of that was Aphrodite’s interference. I want Gabrielle to care about me as I care about her, but I don’t want that pink floozy god getting into the act, it should happen because it’s right, not because some goofy god decided to play around with us...why can’t those gods just mind their own damned business?
She thought back again to the day’s events. The way she’d tried to teach Gabrielle the importance of their working as a team to insure their safety in their travels. The way the entire effort had ended up, with Xena losing her temper and treating Gabrielle like a child, actually spanking her until she felt she had worn out the young woman’s behind. And then there was that strange visit from Aphrodite…ah yes, Aphrodite…the Goddess of Love…more like the Goddess of Goofiness….just where did that hypersexed blond candidate for a visit from the fashion police get off telling her that Gabrielle was in love with her, and that she, the "stick your nose in everyone’s business" goddess, was going to make sure that the Warrior Princess didn’t screw everything up…
Xena looked up at the sky, and realized that it would be morning soon. She also knew that her lack of sleep was probably going to have an effect on her less than easy going personality… this coming morning is going to be a real interesting challenge…
Gabrielle stirred slightly in her sleep, gradually becoming aware of the fact that she was snuggled up against Xena, and that Xena’s arm was around her middle, holding her close.
This is really nice, thought Gabrielle. I could get used to this real fast! Then she started thinking back to the previous day. I guess I could have handled that whole thing a little different…suppose I should start listening more and talking less…she’s right, I really do talk too much, I don’t blame her for spanking me, I was being rather childish, I guess. I do think she could have taken it a little easy on my behind...it did hurt...I was being very childish, actually, I mean she was just trying to help me to learn, and I just kept blathering on and on…. Oh well, she’ll just have to get used to it. I talk a lot, I’m a talker, not a fighter. I want to be a Bard, I tell stories, and to tell stories you have to ask a lot of questions to get the pieces all together to write the story and then to tell it…good grief, I do talk too much…. And what about the visit from Aphrodite while I was sitting in the stream…I guess I should tell Xena that I saw her and talked to her…But Aphrodite sort of told me that our conversation was just between us...I wonder when she is going to show up and tell me some more stuff to do to get my Warrior Princess to really be MY Warrior Princess"… Gabrielle slipped back into a dreamy sleep, content and happy with Xena’s arm around her and the warrior’s warm breath caressing the back of her neck.
The sun was just coming over the horizon when Xena and Gabrielle began to stir, both experiencing the comfort/discomfort of a warm bed and a full bladder. Xena woke first, and carefully moving her arm, started to get up. Gabrielle grabbed Xena’s arm before she could completely retrieve it. She rolled onto her back and with the sweetest smile Xena had ever seen, said, "Good Morning, did you sleep well?"
Xena stared down at the beautiful little blond, almost losing herself in those green eyes, and said "Good Morning to you, and the answer to your question is no. I hardly slept at all, I’ll probably be grumpy this morning, so I’d suggest that you work at not irritating me…" As soon as the words were out, she regretted them, especially after seeing the hurt look that flashed through Gabrielle’s eyes.
They each headed for the bushes to take care of their immediate needs, then returned to the campsite to eat a quick breakfast of bread and tea. Xena began saddling up Argo, while Gabrielle rolled up their blankets…a few hand fulls of dirt put out their small fire, and they were ready to leave…
Xena mounted Argo, and then looked down at Gabrielle who stood to the side as though she wasn’t sure of what to do next. Xena softened her look and said, "Gabrielle, give me your hand, I want you to ride with me today, we’ve a lot to talk about, and I want to be sure I have your undivided attention."
Gabrielle quickly extended her hand up to the Warrior Princess. Xena reached down and with virtually no effort at all swung her up onto the saddle. Gabrielle found herself in front of the Warrior instead of behind her, where she usually rode. She started to ask why, and then thought better of it since she already felt Xena’s strong arms around her.
Xena gave Argo a gentle nudge and they started out of the clearing and back to the trail
they’d been on yesterday. Gabrielle leaned back and smiled to her self…Things are definitely looking up… She felt a strong sense of security riding this way, with the gentle walking gait of Argo rocking her in Xena’s arms…then she felt something else. Her skirt was way to short to provide any coverage between her bare bottom and the thick fur that Xena used as a saddle. Oh no, this is not going to work, I can feel myself getting itchy… I don’t want to have to get down... Oh.....… She started twitching and wriggling, trying to relieve the irritating itchy feeling she was experiencing.
"Gabrielle, what are you doing? Why are you squirming around like that? Don’t tell me that your behind still hurts from yesterday…between the cold water in the stream and the herbs I put on you, you should be fine. Here, lift up a bit and let me see what’s wrong."
"No..no, Xena, it isn’t from the spanking, it’s just that my skirt is so short my bare skin is getting itchy from this fur saddle piece…"
"Oh good grief, get down, I think I can fix that."
She swung Gabrielle down onto the trail, then slid from Argo’s back and started looking through the saddlebag.
"I saved the piece I cut from your skirt, I want to sew it back on before we get to the next village. I don’t want you walking around strangers with your behind showing! We’ll put this between you and the fur and you should be fine." When she had the leftover material placed on the fur, she put Gabrielle back up onto Argo, and then swung herself back up behind her. When her arms were around Gabrielle’s middle, they started up once again.
"Oh yes, it’s much better, thanks. You are really a very nice person, has anyone ever told you that, Xena?"..She asked in a somewhat teasing tone of voice.
"No, I don’t think I’ve heard that comment related to me…but you’re welcome. I think we need to talk, Gabrielle, yesterday was a strange day, in more ways than one…"
Before Xena could finish her train of thought, Gabrielle started out with one of her long winded discussions that had all the earmarks of covering every subject in the known world. Xena took her right hand from the young woman’s middle and clapped it over Gabrielle’s mouth…she put her lips right next to Gabrielle’s ear and growled …
"Don’t even think about yammering about nothing and everything at me today. Remember, I want you to obey me! I have a very specific subject that I want you to talk about…and that subject is you…I want to know everything about you, from the earliest that you can remember as a little child, until the present…and I want to hear it all..The good, the bad, even the ugly. When you’re finished I want to know everything there possibly is to know about you. Now I give you permission. Start talking, and I’m not joking around here…"
"Why do you want me to talk about myself? I thought we were going to talk about all the stuff I have to learn.."
"Gabrielle, please, just do as I’ve asked, this is how you got into trouble yesterday...when I tell you to do something, do it. I have to know that you will obey me without question! I have my reasons, and that should be good enough for you. Talk!
And she did…..
Xena listened intently as Gabrielle literally started at the beginning. Her very first early childhood memories, and then continuing through the various months and years of her life. How she felt about growing up in her family, with her younger sister Lila, her mother and father. How she felt close to her mother, but always felt somewhat uneasy around her father, as though she could never be what he expected, or do as well as he thought she should. How she often was punished for various childhood ‘crimes’. She made a point of telling Xena that as a child she was never actually spanked, an occasional slap on the behind, but never anything like what she experienced yesterday. She turned and looked back at Xena as she related this, trying to see what, if any effect her words were having on the Warrior Princess.
Xena just looked down at Gabrielle, with no readable, open to interpretation expression whatsoever on her beautiful face…
Gabrielle turned back to face forward and continued with her historical narrative, totally unaware that Xena’s mind was spinning. Each time this young woman looked at her with those innocent green eyes, she felt herself sinking further and further. But she wasn’t exactly sure just where she was sinking. She had already admitted to herself and accepted the fact that she had cared about this woman almost from the first day she laid eyes on her, but she still couldn’t be sure of where this was going. How much of what I am feeling is Aphrodite’s interference, how much of it is real? But I was feeling this before Aphrodite’s visit. But that doesn’t mean she wasn’t already doing her hocus pocus on us. But this feels real, it feels right. It doesn’t feel like a god’s interference, and I can usually tell when they are messing with our lives. But they’re clever...maybe I can’t tell... Xena was experienced in all the arts of lovemaking, she had known passion, she had experienced raw sex, all the various carnal pleasures, but she was certain that this was different, this made a difference, this was real. The problem was a fairly simple one, with a very illusive, difficult answer. Do I want to just physically enjoy this woman, or do I want something different, something much more beautiful, more permanent, and more binding. And if it is to be permanent and binding, how would I ever be able to keep Gabrielle safe…I need to teach her how to be safe, she needs to know that I must be obeyed, without question, without discussion. She was unaware of softly running her long fingers across the bare skin of Gabrielle’s’ middle, one finger occasionally playing along the band of her skirt, then moving back to make circles against the smooth skin.
Gabrielle had noticed the way Xena’s fingers were playing along her skin, long before Xena was aware of doing it. The talkative young woman began to stumble along in her words, almost stuttering, forgetting where she was in her narrative, saying things more than once. She started to feel a strange warmth, even though the day was pleasant, even if slightly cool. She looked down at Xena’s hands. Her hands were large for a woman, but probably not a woman of Xena’s stature. Her fingers were much longer than Gabrielle’s, as were the warrior’s thumbs. She began to imagine how they would feel against her skin, her thighs, her face, her breasts, everywhere on her body, and in her body, too. She began to have difficulty breathing, or at least remembering to breathe…. Was this part of Aphrodite’s plan? Was the Love Goddess making this happen? No, I’ve felt this way before, haven’t I? Her touch and her eyes have always done this to me. She allowed the touch to flow over her as her mind got lost in the fantasy.
Xena suddenly became aware of the fact that Gabrielle had stopped talking, and that her breathing was irregular. She reached up and turned the young woman’s head toward her, to see if she was not feeling well. Only to see the dreamlike haze that had come over those green eyes.
They sat that way for what seemed an eternity, even Argo had stopped walking. Gabrielle’s eyes slowly closed as Xena leaned forward to kiss that beautiful mouth…
Xena pulled back as though she had been struck. Gabrielle’s eyes flew open, and they both stared at one another.
"What happened, why did you stop?" Gabrielle cried, as her eyes began to brim with tears. "I want you to kiss me. Please, I want you to kiss me"…her voice trailed off as she watched Xena, watched as whatever demons were at play within the Warrior’s mind tore the beautiful woman’s soul…
"Gabrielle, we can’t do this, we can’t. Not yet. We don’t really know where this is going, I think there is something very beautiful here, and we can’t ruin it with hormones running wild…" And I need to know that this is real, and not one of Aphrodite’s stupid little games.
"I told you last night that I love you, isn’t that enough? I do love you, Xena, I think I loved you the first moment I saw you, and that love has grown stronger every day we’ve been together." Gabrielle was very close to tears now, and Xena felt her own insides churn…I could take her right now, and enjoy it immensly…and I think that Gabrielle would probably enjoy it, too…but it isn’t how I want this to happen, at least not like this. Wait..she loved me from the first moment she saw me?
Xena tightened her arms around Gabrielle, and with her heels, gently nudged Argo into a brisk walk. She put her face down into Gabrielle’s hair and breathed deeply. She kissed the top of Gabrielle’s head, and then drew back slightly and asked the young woman in her arms if she would honestly answer some very personal questions.
Gabrielle listened to the Warrior’s words, but her mind was on the tightness of those gorgeous arms around her. The feel of that beautiful face buried in her hair. The awareness of a kiss to the top of her head. She heard Xena ask her again and she immediately said yes, without even thinking what those questions might be.
"OK, Gabrielle, this is the first question…how much do you really know about me? And I don’t mean what the so-called legends say, or what you or any other imaginative story teller might say, but what you really know about me."
Gabrielle started to answer, but Xena tightened her grip and told her to wait until she had laid out all of the questions..
"Second question…how old are you? And I want a truthful answer, not how old you think you are, or how old you think I think you are.." By the gods, this idea of having to talk so much is hard, how does this woman blabber on and on all day and half the night?
"This is the last question ...and this one has more than one part…Have you ever been in love, really loved someone, and I don’t mean like your family.. If you’ve been in love, how did you express that love, how intimate did you become with that person or those persons, and why aren’t you still with them..…Have you ever actually made love, do you have any idea of what it is like, what it can do to you and for you…what you can do to and for the other person?"
Xena found herself almost holding her breath as she waited for Gabrielle to answer her.
"Xena, I know that you are, or were, no, you still are, a mighty warrior. I know that you led a very different life before I met you. I know that you led armies of men, and they followed you without question. I know that you and your armies laid waste to villages, killed and burned across most of Greece and Rome. I know that your name was feared like no other, and still is in most of the land. And I know that you live with the demons of your past every day of your life, but that even as you battle those demons, you prove over and over again that you are a good and noble person.
" I’m younger than you, but not in that many years, I’ve seen 20 winters. I think you’ve seen 30...but in life years, I realize that you think of me as a child, compared to what you’ve done in your 30 years. I’m not a child, I know what I want, and I know that I will not stop until I have it…I’m very stubborn. I was always considered different back in Poteidaia, I never did the things the other girls did, I didn’t find that my one goal in life was to marry some smelly farmer and become a broody hen so that he could have sons to work in the fields. There was always something else that I wanted, something else I dreamed of, but I wasn’t aware of it until that day that we met.
"No, Xena, I have never been in love before now. I’ve never known anyone in my village that I considered worth loving, but I don’t think that means I don’t know what love is. I’ve thought about loving someone, I just never found the person that someone represented, until I met you. As far as being intimate, I have been sort of intimate only with myself, and that is as much as I want to say about that! I guess that kind of answers the last question, too, unless you count the hundreds of times I’ve dreamt about you making love to me, and of all the times I’ve dreamt about loving you until you scream my name to the heavens. Does that answer all of your questions?" Oh, I may have gotten a little too detailed in that last answer. She might not feel quite the same way I do; maybe she doesn’t love me like I love her. If she turns away from me, I don’t know what I’ll do. Nah, she loves me, I know she does, she might not know it, but I do!
Xena didn’t say a word, she sat very still, moving only slightly with the pitch and sway of Argo’s gait, her arms still wrapped around Gabrielle’s middle. Her fingers had stopped their unconscious movement against Gabrielle’s skin. She dreamt about me making love to her...of making love to me? Oh, how much of that is Aphrodite...how much is real? Why did that bimbo have to show up?
"Xena, are you going to say anything? Did I answer your questions or is there more? Will you please answer me..Xena!"
Xena snapped back to the present, and looked at Gabrielle’s sweet, innocent face turned back and watching for her reaction...she looked again into those green eyes. That beautiful, sweet face. The mind boggling innocence of that face. She felt herself sliding down a slippery slope, one that had no handholds, no way out, once on that slide, there was no backing out...she again leaned forward and started to move toward those sweet lips that were hers for the taking...and stopped.
Gabrielle cocked a fist and almost slugged her. "WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM? Do I have bad breath? Do you know what you are doing to me? I don’t like this, I don’t like this at all...First you get all in a lather because I talk to much and I don’t listen. Then you put me over your knee and spank me and IN FRONT OF APHRODITE, I MIGHT ADD! Then you ask me all sorts of personal questions and I answer each and every one of them as honestly and fully as I possibly can. We are moving along a very wonderful road, and I am not talking about this trail we are on, and twice now, you back off from what I want most from you, the feel of your lips against mine, your tongue in my mouth....yahyahyah, I know about the tongue thing...I might not have done it, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t discussed it with my sister and some of my friends back in Podunkdea...I want to feel your skin against mine, I want it all, you big dumb beautiful warrior woman, and I am tired of this little game you’re playing....."At that point, Gabrielle had the distinct sinking feeling that once again she had gone a few feet past where she should have gone...That ‘big, dumb, beautiful warrior woman’ remark definitely was over the line, waaaayyyy over the line! Oh well, whatever is going to happen will happen. I don’t think she will spank me again, there’s no room up on Argo’s back for her to turn me over, and if she does stop the mare I could just make a run for it. Or not..I probably wouldn’t get far...damn all her many skills!
Still nothing came from behind her, she knew Xena was there, her arms were still around her, she could feel her breathing, it all felt fairly normal..Just what was going on? She would have to turn around and look.
When Gabrielle turned and looked at Xena, her breath stopped short. Xena had tears in those beautiful blue eyes; she was staring at Gabrielle and smiling, a sweet smile, a beautiful smile, a smile full of absolute love and devotion.
"Xena, are you going to say something?"
"Gabrielle, I honestly don’t know what to say, you never fail to amaze me, you are so very honest, and really very brave...especially that ‘big dumb beautiful warrior woman’ part...not too many people would have tried that."
"Xena, I want you to say something about what I’ve told you. Are you just going to let all those words just lay there?."
"No, Gabrielle, I’m not gonna just let the words lay there," Xena said, her voice low and weak with emotion, "They’re all in my heart."
She tightened her arms around her, hugging her until Gabrielle felt like she would explode.
"I can’t breathe," she squawked...and Xena, realizing what she was doing, let up slightly. Gabrielle took a deep breath and turned her head back toward Xena.
"I want you to kiss me, and I want you to kiss me now."
"Is that an order, little one?"
"Well, yes, I guess it is, yes, that’s an order"
Xena leaned down and brushed her lips across Gabrielle’s...then she sat back and looked down at this young woman who had become the center of her universe. It took about one heartbeat for Gabrielle to reach back, grab Xena’s head on either side and pull it down to meet her mouth.
"Gharrbrehhl, thhish ishhnnnn’t woohhrkingng"..Xena said, as she tried to extricate herself from the twisted position they found themselves in. She broke free, and in one fluid motion flipped her right leg back and slid off the saddle. As soon as her feet touched the ground, she pulled Gabrielle from the saddle. As she came off Argo’s back Gabrielle found herself wrapped in Xena’s arms. Xena held her close and then slowly lowered her tall frame to kiss those waiting lips.
Gabrielle had never experienced the feeling that was flooding her very being. She could feel her soul reaching out and melding with this beautiful woman. She really had very little experience in kissing, but she knew instantly that this was what it was all about. She felt her lips being opened, and Xena’s tongue penetrating her mouth, touching her tongue, moving back and forth, as though she wanted to swallow her, take her into herself. Gabrielle moaned softly, and Xena backed away slightly and looked at her.
"Are you all right?..."
The concern in Xena’s voice did nothing to sway Gabrielle from reaching up and grabbing Xena’s head, pulling it back down to her lips.
"Stop again and I am going to have to hurt you," she growled at her warrior.
Xena smiled as she once again met Gabrielle’s sweet lips...this time the blond forced her tongue deep into Xena’s mouth, and showed that she had been paying attention to the discussions she’d had with her sister and others back in Poteidaia. Gabrielle’s aggressiveness pleased Xena; she had always enjoyed partners who could give as well as they took.
Finally, Gabrielle stepped back, and said with a serious face, "We need a place to camp for the night, come on, let’s get back up on Argo and get moving."
Xena laughed, and then immediately resented the fact that she had done so when she saw the look on Gabrielle’s face...hurt and angry...a wicked combination.
"Did I say something funny?" She looked up at the Warrior Princess, with her green eyes flashing out a challenge...
"No, absolutely not, but I already have a place in mind, and it really isn’t all that far from here...it’s a cave, and it is really very nice, very private, and very safe. In fact, it is so close, and so safe, that we can even forget about your lessons in my Ground Rules for a while."
"What cave? Have I been there before? When did you decide that we were going to go stay in this cave, and why didn’t you tell me that you had already decided on where we were going? I think it would be nice if you would open up a bit and let me in on some of these plans. You know, it is possible that I might have some place in mind, too."
Xena smiled down at this young woman who had moved into her heart and soul, and asked, "Do you have some other place in mind, chatterbox?"
"Good, then we’ll go to the cave." She swung herself up onto Argo’s back, and reached down for Gabrielle’s hand, effortlessly swinging her up onto the saddle in front of her. She once again nudged Argo into a brisk walk, and wrapping her arms around her precious bundle of a thousand words a minute, continued on down the trail.
Gabrielle was quiet for a few minutes, leaning back into Xena’s arms, and enjoying the wonderful secure feeling she was experiencing. Suddenly, she sat straight up and turned to look at Xena full in the face..Her expression showed that she had just figured out that Xena had been heading for this cave since they had left their campsite that morning. Before she could start on a tirade of why Xena didn’t tell her sooner, and on and on and on, Xena leaned down and kissed that sweet nose, those sweet cheeks, and finally those sweet lips...Gabrielle didn’t say a word.