The following story depicts two women in love. If itís illegal to read about love where you live or if that concept scares you, please consider whether or not you choose to read this story.
The characters of Xena & Gabrielle are copyrighted to MCA/Universal and Renaissance. They are used here without intent to profit from or infringe upon this copyrighted material. The rest of the story is copyrighted to me (posted July 19, 1997--L.N. James).
by L.N. James
The room was full of hot, stale air and there were no windows to speak of. It may as well have been a prison cell because there was no escaping. On and on, they droned, the speeches becoming long and boring, the declarations more grandiose, and the political doubletalk more circular. It seemed as if everyone had some point they had to make or some contribution to the bureaucracy that was The Elder Council of The Regions of Argos. By the Gods, how had they been coaxed into participating in such insidiously boring and excruciatingly tedious negotiations?
This is what I wondered from the seat that had been my place above the proceedings for the past three candlemarks. I was hungry, hot, tired, and bored. I never thought it would be possible for a bard to be bored by anything (being that we generally like to learn from every experience) but sure as Heraís curse, I was bored out of my mind. To make matters worse and insulting, I had been relegated to the box seats while Xena was down where all the action was on the floor below me (if you could call it Ďactioní). They had some arcane ordinance about Ďinterested parties, significant others, and sidekicksí sitting upstairs apparently.
After hearing the same thing said in slightly different ways by different people, I was growing restless. I knew Xena couldnít just up and leave the proceedings, they needed her to offer her insight into negotiating border treaties and alliances between friends and foes alike. I donít know when, but my lover had somehow become the Warrior Politician in everyoneís eyes. So as much as Xena hated having to deal with these political battles, she knew that her word carried great weight and felt responsible for helping any way she could. On numerous occasions that day, I was convinced that she had briefly considered using her sword to cut short the proceedings, but she was bound by duty and honor. Sigh.
I, however, was bound by nothing more than waiting for my warriorís work to be done and right now, that waiting was starting to feel like an eternity on Cecropsí ship. I could have left, I suppose, but being in the presence of my love was much more interesting than sitting in the woods waiting alone. Besides, recent skirmishes between factions and less than hospitable taverns made the choice a bit easier. And since I was in for a dinar now, I might as well stay for the whole kingdom.
I had already listened to enough of the meeting to realize I couldnít care less about the goings-on if I tried, I had written three stories out on parchment, and I had scanned the crowd for anyone interesting enough to make up stories about. Of course, that pretty much came down to one person as far as I was concerned. So, at the moment, I occupied myself by counting the number of times Xena raised her eyebrow. Sheís really beautiful, you know. Strikingly so, actually. In fact, I know Iíve never seen anyone as magnificent as she is. She can look good anytime, whether sheís talking, walking, riding, fighting, eating, drinking, smirking, smiling, sleeping, kissing...mmm. Which reminds me, we were rudely interrupted this morning by a messenger from The Council requesting Xenaís presence. Hades hath no fury like an interrupted Amazon Bard when a certain Warrior Princess is about to become intimately acquainted with said bardís body. I was livid.
Great. I just reminded myself that along with being hungry, hot, tired, and bored, I now had to add Ďfrustratedí to the list.
"As so, my fellow delegates, let us not forget that the beneficiaries of such defense policies would be..."
Gods, the end of this session was nowhere in sight. It was hard enough simply watching Xena sit and talk or occasionally stand. Ever since we became lovers (and before, really), the mere sight of her pretty much started any number of fantasies playing in my head and luckily, most of those we had thoroughly explored. I still had one or two (well, ok, more than that) that I hadnít yet shared with her but in time, I was sure I would. Right now, the only thing on my mind was getting out of this hot meeting and having the Warrior Politician negotiate a new treaty with me.
Luckily, at that moment, Xena looked up at me as the last speaker finished and the next one was preparing to speak. Catching her eye, I raised my eyebrows in a question and silently asked if we could leave. We had worked out a couple of nonverbal signs over the years that we could covertly use when we were in situations neither one of us wanted to be in. You should see her sign for "If we donít get away from this annoying person right now, I will accept no responsibility for the path my chakram will take". We devised this sign shortly after Joxer started showing up.
Sadly, Xena shook her head at me and held up a parchment and indicated with her hands that they were only half-way through the proceedings. Hades. So I sighed and nodded down at her. Stretching my legs, I sank down in my chair and waited.
I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew I was naked with Xena, laying on top of the table, parchments under us while the speakers kept droning on all around us. The reason I say I must have been dreaming is not that we wouldnít have sex in public (we have), but that my hair was in that awful bun-do I was forced to wear when I almost got charbroiled. Startled, I sat up in my chair and blinked at the people sitting next to me. They gave me rather funny looks and I looked down at myself. Naked again. Shaking my head and rolling my eyes, I pinched myself in my dream and I woke up for real this time, my neighbors in the seats next to me seemingly enraptured by the politics going on below.
"And so, in accordance with Corollary Seven outlined in Policy Statement Three, there would be enough funding for defense if we...."
Sighing, I sat back up and realized that I had slept through at least one speaker (Thank the Gods) and a new one had begun. I could see that if something wasnít done, we could be here all night. And as much as I wanted these policies to be hammered out, I knew that surely Xena didnít have to be here for every darn speaker. Opening up my satchel, I dug through and pulled out a scrap of parchment and my quill. Seeing a biscuit left over from breakfast, I grabbed that too. While I ate, I scribbled out a note to send down to Xena. The various pages and runners would deliver such things to the Council members and negotiators down below.
Hi. Itís me. Do you think we could slip out of here for a bite to eat? Iím really hungry if you know what I mean.
Signalling for a page, I folded the note carefully and tied it with a bit of string. After I instructed the page on who to deliver it to, I leaned over the railing and watched Xena leaning back in her chair with her arms folded and a scowl on her face. They were discussing defense appropriations and I could see that she didnít agree that they should commission more archers than swordsmen.
The page made his way over to Xena and quietly handed her the note before moving off. I watched as Xena looked up at me and then untied and read my note. I smiled as she turned it over and took her quill and scratched out a note, nodding for the page to come back and retrieve it. Once he made his way back upstairs and over to me, I sat back in my chair and opened up the note, my smile fading as I read the words.
Thereís a biscuit from breakfast in your satchel. Iíll be fine. A few more candlemarks. Can you believe they think archers are more important than swordsmen?
Obviously Xena hadnít known what I meant and obviously she was taking these proceedings far too seriously. Taking out another piece of parchment, I had the page remain while I wrote out another note.
Dear, you missed my point. Iíd like to continue our Ďconversationí from this morning and I donít think I can wait a few candlemarks.
Folding it up, I tied it and gave it to him and sent him back downstairs. Leaning over the rail again, I watched as Xena untied it, read it, and looked up at me with a curious look on her face. I smiled down at her and she smiled back and shrugged her shoulders. Turning back to the note, Xena scribbled and sent it back up to me. A new speaker was starting to talk as the page made his way up to me.
"While Delegate Cristos makes an interesting point concerning defense appropriations, should not our time be spent more on debating how we might feed our people? You see, if we simply...."
I glanced at the speaker and smiled. She was an impassioned young woman who clearly had her priorities straight in my book. Feeling the pageís tap on my shoulder, I turned and took the note. Closing my eyes, I simply shook my head and sighed after I read it.
Gabrielle, yes I think Argo still likes you after what happened the other night; no, I donít think your story about Cecrops was overdone and melodramatic; and I really donít have the slightest idea whether the Fates can know their own future.
P.S. Swordsmen have always been more versatile than archers.
Drastic times called for drastic measures. Nodding at the page, I wrote again and sent it down with him.
My love, as much as Iíd like to discuss defense with you, what I have in mind is much more exciting, if you catch my drift. Maybe we could see how versatile a certain swordswoman really is.
Surely, she would get the point of this note but sadly when the page returned with her note, I became convinced that despite Xenaís many skills, catching on to innuendo was simply not one of them.
We can spar with your staff after this meeting is over if you want. That new speaker might have the right idea. Bread before swords just might work. We can talk later.
Determined and a bit perturbed, I scribbled out a note and handed it to the page. As he made his way down, I gathered my staff and satchel and followed after him.
Please meet me at the side door ASAP.
I waited over by the side door of the council hall, twirling my staff, stretching my body as it had become quite sore from sitting in that Hades of a chair for so long. Before long, the page opened the door and came over to me. Narrowing my eyes at the note he handed me, he almost slipped back into the room. I grabbed his shoulder and told him to wait a moment. As I read the note Xena had sent, I cursed Hera and the chariot she rode in on at what I read.
Gabrielle, I canít leave right now; weíre working on a plan to employ the archers and swordsmen as part-time farmers. Canít this wait until we are through?
P.S. And if I remember correctly, it was your idea for us to come through Argos. I wanted to go to Melapania after we left Gralius.
Angry and immensely frustrated, I pulled out one more piece of parchment and devised a plan to get Xena and I the Hades out of here and into a bed, or bedroll, or hayloft, or field of grass, or lake, or any Tartarus of a place where we could be alone and naked. By this point, I had worked myself up into a bit of a dander and I was not about to let it go. Funny thing is, the angrier I get, the more worked up I get in other more.. intimate ways. Donít ask. I donít know why. I sent the page off with one final note. I was not above an ultimatum, peace treaty for Argos or not.
Xena, honey, if you donít meet me now, I may be forced to find the nearest Inn and make friends with the barmaid. You know how Ďfriendlyí I get when Iím frustrated and angry and at the moment I am very much of all three things.
Signed your lover of almost two years and the person with
whom you share your bedroll,
Folding the note and handing it over to the now-scared pageboy, I turned my back to the door and looked out the window in the hall. I swore under my breath that if my Warrior Princess was not the next person through that door, I would quite possibly go into that room and make a scene in front of everyone and their mother. I had tried subtlety. I had tried what I thought was pretty direct innuendo. And I had tried an all out request. Now I was sending out angry demands. This is what five candlemarks of sitting through politics will do to a bard.
Hearing the door open and steps coming behind me, I knew it was not the pageboy. Not yet willing to turn around, I waited. Feeling familiar hands on my shoulders, I let out the breath I was holding and tried not to let my tongue voice the frustrations I felt. Xenaís words were in my ear where they felt accustomed to falling.
"Gabrielle, there was no need for you to send me an ultimatum. You could have just asked."
Her voice held a hint of reproach and I turned around, my eyes flashing.
"Xena, I did ask, repeatedly! Whatever happened to the signs and secret words we worked out?! How many times have I used the phrase Ďletís continue our conversationí to mean letís..you know...ícontinue our conversationí?? For the love of Zeus, this morning we left right in the middle of our Ďconversationí and I didnít even have a chance to get the last Ďwordí in. You know how I get!"
I continued talking all the while a surprised Xena was backing up as I pushed her forward. Her eyebrows were raised at me while I went on. I knew I was being unfair and unreasonable but my frustration of the day simply fueled me on.
"And while it was my idea that we go through Argos, you were the one who agreed to help the Council even after we got here and they said that it wasnít really all that necessary. And another thing..."
I pushed her against the hallway wall as one hand went to her leathered waist. My voice lowered as my other hand realized it was resting on her breastplate.
"And another thing.."
When I felt my leg come in contact with hers as I leaned up against her, I almost forgot what that other things was. Her blue eyes danced down at me as a slight smile crossed her lips. She had placed her hands on my bare midriff.
"And another thing..."
I swallowed as the scent of leather filled my senses, I could feel her breathing under my hands. In my loverís arms, I forgot.
She asked me in that low voice of hers. Remembering my misplaced anger, my eyes softened in regret and apology.
"Oh Xena...Iím sorry. I have no right to be angry with you and I had no right to give you an ultimatum. Itís just that.."
My eyes dropped to my boots. She smiled as one of her hands came to my face and drew it back up to look at her. I looked at her and only saw the love she had for me. Gods, how did I get so lucky?
"Itís just what, Gabrielle?"
"Itís just that...I am so in love with you, Xena and sometimes I want so much of you and I need so much of you that I just...I just donít think, I guess."
Leaning down, she placed a soft kiss against my lips, reminding me of how gentle she really could be.
"Iím very much in love with you too, Gabrielle, and itís ok if you want me.."
Her lips found my ear and I shivered just a bit in her embrace.
"And itís ok if you need me..."
My neck was warm where she left a trail of wetness from her lips along my jawline. I closed my eyes.
"Because the feelings are very, very mutual.."
I smiled as I leaned in and buried my face against the skin of her neck and breasts. Her arms pulled me in close and strong. Iíd spend all of eternity in a room full of politicians for a moment here in her arms.
Pulling back slightly, Xenaís eyes sparkled as she smiled down at me.
"Well, Gabrielle, Iíd better go back inside and hammer out those defense plans.."
Narrowing my eyes, I realized she was teasing me because I can read those eyes of hers like no one else can. Thatís one of my many skills, believe me.
"Oh..is that so?"
I looked up at her and let one of my hands trail down the side of her leather, feelings itís smoothness and then feeling the strips of leather and the heat of her thigh. Taking my hand away from her leg, I leaned up and placed my lips against hers, my tongue telling a tale or two against her lips. When I pulled back, I smiled at the slight flush on her face. Her voice was a little unsteady and hardly convincing.
"Mmm...yes. I have to go back in.."
It was clear to me that I needed to remind my warrior princess of exactly what the situation was here. She would be returning to that room in Tartarus over my dead body. Smiling, I brought my finger to her lips and lightly ran it across both.
"Are you sure I canít convince you to leave with me?"
Her eyes closed and I smiled as I felt her breathing increase and her hands tighten around my waist. Her tongue brushed against my finger and I knew she was mine. Xenaís eyes opened and burned a sea of blue as she tasted the liquid of my wetness placed upon her lips. Growling, she looked down at me as she licked her lips, my taste finally sending the right message. Her words were clear and to the point.
"Letís go. Now."
With that, she pulled me down the hallway and out the door, all thoughts of defense appropriations and policy negotiations left to those who could debate for moons. I, for one, never knew politics could be so exciting.
Colophon: The writing of this story was greatly aided by some major life avoidance, a few glasses of good, old Midwestern tap water on an especially hot day, and the challenge of writing something without any graphic sex in it. ;)