The characters of Xena, Gabrielle, Argo, etc belong to Renaissance Pictures and Universal Studios. I borrow them only for this not-for profit fan fiction story. This story contains scenes of love between two women. If you are under 18, read something else. If this is illegal where you are, change the laws. Feel free to send any comments or feedback to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Impolite or homophobic e-mail will be ignored.
Rebecca Hall, copyright July 1997
The events in this story take place after The Price
By: Rebecca Hall
She was at Gabrielle's side the instant she stumbled. A pang of guilt washed through the warrior as she accepted the fact that she had pushed the little bard too hard.
"Sorry, Xena-- "
"No! I'm sorry. This is too much. We need to rest."
Gabrielle merely nodded, too tired to argue.
Xena sighed. It was almost dark anyway. She looked around for a likely place to set up camp. They needed water and the river was just a little ways off to their right, but neither of them wanted to ever see that river again. So instead, Xena led the bard off the path and down the slope to their left, hoping that there would be creek or something at the land's lowest point. If not, Xena would go to the river and fill their water skins, and just not tell Gabrielle where the water had come from.
The warrior and the bard had set out from the Athenian army post two days ago. Xena had wanted to leave earlier, but Gabrielle insisted that they stay a few more days and care for the wounded. She was right, of course, so Xena didn't argue, but she was on edge the whole time, desperately wanting to put some distance between themselves and recent events.
Xena was sickened by how quickly she had slipped back into being the Warlord. The men at the outpost insisted on constantly praising her for saving them, but they just didn't seem to get it. True she had restored their hope, got them to fight back in an impossible situation, but ultimately they all would have still died were it not for Gabrielle. She had found the key. If Xena had just listened to the bard in the first place there would be fewer deaths on her hands now.
So Xena had stayed awake, helping the wounded, and when the last of them either died or started to recover she insisted that they leave immediately and would not argue with Gabrielle about it. The truth was, Gabrielle was almost as anxious to go, and her spirits almost lifted until they left the fort and realized what they would have to travel through.
There were still bodies floating in the river. Men, both Athenians and now members of the Horde were strung up in trees, their rotting bodies having been flayed alive. Gabrielle had almost passed out from the smell-- in a particularly bad spot, Xena had covered the girl's mouth and nose with a cloth and actually carried her so she could keep her eyes closed. They had tried resting last night. It had been over three days since Xena had slept, and she could've slept right there amidst the carnage-- she had done so many times before. But Gabrielle could barely stand it. After a couple of hours, Xena packed up and pushed them on.
"Xena, there's a creek down here," Gabrielle yelled up to the warrior. The bard sounded relieved. When Xena caught up with her, she found her leaning over the stream, washing the dirt off her face. Xena laid down and joined her, but when she was done, it took more effort than she had to sit up again.
"Xena, you need rest. Stay here and I'll set up."
"Gabrielle, you're tired too. I can help-- "
"No, Xena. You took care of me last night when I couldn't..." she stopped, her voice faltering at the memory. "Look, I'm just not going to argue with you about this, so stay put!"
Gabrielle stomped off. Xena managed to sit up. She stared blankly at the slow moving water as the sun set.
Gabrielle washed down the dry trail rations with a long drink from her water bag. Neither of them had the energy to deal with getting a hot meal together. They both needed a good night's sleep. But as Gabrielle laid out their bedroll and got under the covers, she wasn't feeling too hopeful about it. Xena was making no move to join her. She was sitting on the same log she had been on all night, staring into the fire. Gabrielle didn't even want to think about what the warrior was seeing in the flames. She herself had finally got to the point where she could close her eyes and not see images from their fight with the Horde. She hated that word-- Gabrielle was sure that it wasn't what they called themselves, but no one bothered to find out what their real name was. Anyway, she was worried about Xena-- worried about what all the killing would stir up from her past. The events of her life as a warlord were always just near the surface-- not much digging was needed to bring it all back.
Gabrielle sat up and looked over at the warrior. Xena was no longer staring at the fire-- now she was staring at her hands. She hadn't been this quiet and this morose since their first months together. As their friendship evolved and Xena opened up more, Gabrielle finally got to see the woman under the mask. She was loving, playful and deeply compassionate. Then, after two years of traveling together, they had finally become lovers. There were ups and downs, of course, but nothing this bad. Xena had really shut down this time, and the bard was terrified that she wasn't coming back. It was like the warrior barely knew Gabrielle was here...
"Xena, are you coming to bed?"
"What? Oh, I'm sorry. No, not yet. I'll be there in a while."
Gabrielle lay down on her back and let go of an aggravated sigh. Xena was being stubborn, but Gabrielle was just too tired to push her.
The bard woke up to the sound of Xena yelling. She bolted upright, trying to quickly clear her thoughts as her heart pounded, certain that they were being attacked. It took her only a minute to realize that Xena was having a nightmare, and was yelling in her sleep.
"Xena," Gabrielle said, quietly at first. Xena was laying on her back and had managed to throw the covers off herself. Her yells had quieted to anguished whimpers. Gabrielle lightly brushed her cheek, trying to wake her without startling her. This method usually worked. It had been months since this had happened-- Gabrielle almost forgot what to do. "Xena, wake up," she said again, voice a little louder this time.
"Gabrielle !" Xena cried out.
"I'm here, Xena. Right here."
Xena's eyes fluttered open, and it took a minute for her to focus on the bard's face. "Gabrielle?"
"You were having a bad dream, sweetheart. Its alright now." Gabrielle leaned down and kissed the warrior's forehead and the worry lines melted under her soft lips. Reaching up, Xena stroked the bard's hair.
"Thanks for waking me," she said after a moment.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
"No," The warrior answered, a little too forcefully. She sat up and then pulled the covers over the bard. "Go back to sleep. I'm fine now."
Gabrielle tried to meet Xena's gaze, but she looked away. Gabrielle took the top cover and wrapped it around the warrior's shoulders, and then pillowed her head in Xena's lap. She was completely exhausted and within minutes she fell back asleep. Xena absently stroked the bard's hair while staring into the embers of the fire.
"Gabrielle! Gabrielle, where are you?"
Xena was completely twisted around on her horse, craning her neck and squinting at the dusty path behind her. They had been out of the war zone for several days now, had collected Argo, and were now headed inland. It was taking far too long-- Gabrielle was being stubborn and refused to ride the horse. What was worse, she kept wandering off. Xena was starting to get angry.
"What? I'm right here," The bard told her as she emerged from a thicket just off the trail. "Nature calling-- "
"Gabrielle, how many times do I have to tell you to stay where I can see you!" Xena had turned Argo around to better glare at the bard. Her lips were pressed together in a thin line and her hands clasped the reigns tightly.
"Xena, calm down, will you? I was just-- "
"I know what you were just doing. But you just don't get it, do you. Its dangerous here. How was I supposed to know you had stopped? What if something happened to you, and I just kept on riding? You have to tell me where your going so I can keep an eye on you, understand?"
Gabrielle was just standing in the path, staring at her. Xena took a deep breath, trying to calm herself. She knew she was being harsh, was over-reacting, but she couldn't seem to stop it.
"Xena, what's gotten into you? Are you OK?"
"I'm fine! Its just...you keep... Look do me a favor, will you? If you refuse to ride, just walk in front of me."
Gabrielle glared at Xena while striding past her and Argo. Xena was treating her like a wayward child and she hated that. She turned and faced the angry warrior.
"You know, after all we've been through together, you'd think you could trust me to go take a leak by myself!"
Xena didn't respond, so Gabrielle picked up her pace to put some distance between them.
They were both still angry when they set up camp that night. Gabrielle had taken their supplies off Argo and threw them on the ground. Now she set up camp and purposely made a lot of noise while doing it because she knew Xena hated that. For her part, Xena only brushed Argo with more vigor than usual, but otherwise refused to rise to the bait. She looked just like the stoic, unruffled warrior and Gabrielle wanted to strangle her.
"What is it Gabrielle?" Xena responded with her most calm and condescending tone.
Gabrielle reminded herself to keep breathing. It wouldn't help matters if she got hysterical. Xena would just get even more remote, which would make Gabrielle even more angry and then everything would get out of hand. She tried again.
"Xena, we have to talk."
"Is there a problem?"
Breathe, Gabrielle..."Yes, Xena there is a problem. Its been a week since we left the Athenian outpost, and we haven't been...close. And you are either distant, or bossing me around, or both. It's like we're not even friends anymore, much less...Xena, please, this is driving me crazy. Will you please tell me what's going on. Will you let me in?"
Xena turned and looked at the bard. Her words, her tone, all showed that she was hurting, and once again, Xena knew she was the cause. Sighing, she sat down on a log and looked down at the ground.
"Xena, would you tell me if it's something I've done?"
Xena looked up to see the bard's eyes wet with unshed tears.
"Something you've done? No! Its...Gabrielle I'm sorry, I know I'm hard to get along with sometimes. I'm not sure why you bother."
Gabrielle closed the distance between them and sat on the ground in front of Xena. "I love you , Xena--"
"Why? How could you after...after...." Xena was looking everywhere but down. She couldn't seem to face Gabrielle.
"After how I was at the fort, what I became...."
Gabrielle settled in to get more comfortable. It was going to be a long night.
"Xena, we've already been through this. We'd all be dead if it weren't for you. I'm not sorry about what you did because what you did kept us alive-- "
"I didn't have to turn back into a blood thirsty warlord to keep us alive, Gabrielle. You saw how I was...it felt good!"
"Yeah, I could tell." Gabrielle shuddered as her mind brought up the image of Xena slitting that man's throat with an axe. " But maybe it needs to feel good in order to do it. There is no way I could have done what you did."
"And because you couldn't, you were the one who figured out how to end it. Without you, we would be still fighting a hopeless battle to the death."
"No Xena, you ended it. And if it wasn't for you, we'd all have been dead before I had a chance to figure anything out." Gabrielle paused a moment before continuing. "You know Xena, I did a lot of thinking while we were at the fort, and I realized something about war and warriors. When we got there, those soldiers had already given up. It was all too much. Then you came and pushed their fear into anger and hatred so they could fight back again. I guess getting in touch with the anger and the hatred keeps warriors sane in the face of the atrocities all around them. I think that part of you had to come out."
Xena was silent for a moment, turning over what Gabrielle was saying in her head. It wasn't really new information, she knew this, but it didn't explain, much less justify how badly she treated Gabrielle. Xena grimaced. She could still hear herself yelling at Gabrielle on the battlefield, chastising her like she was a poorly behaved child. "All my hatred just spun out of control. When you tried to get me to see beyond it I treated you badly."
"Well, its true that you won't win any points for charm...." Gabrielle started, trying to add a little levity to the situation. It didn't seem to have any effect on the warrior. "Look Xena, I love you so much. I don't expect you to be perfect. I'm certainly not. It was a very stressful situation...."
"You love me still?" Xena's voice seemed suddenly very small.
Xena finally met the bard's gaze and her heart hurt at the love she saw there. Hearing Gabrielle's words she felt a weight lifting from her shoulders. Reaching out, she cupped the bard's cheek in her hand, smiling a little as she leaned into the soft touch. Gabrielle opened her eyes, her face radiating warmth and caring. Once again Xena was amazed at how expressive the bard's soft features were. But then an image flashed in her mind-- Gabrielle staring at her with a look of complete loathing on her face as she watched Xena respond to the cheers of "her" troops. Dropping her hand she clasped both over her knees and looked down at the ground.
"What is it Xena?" Gabrielle reached out to the warrior, to touch her, only to have Xena pull away from her. It stung, like she had just been slapped in the face. She rose quickly and went back to setting up camp, fighting back sobs and the flood of tears threatening to drown her face. As she stomped around Gabrielle felt the pain in her heart turn to anger. She whirled around to face the warrior.
"Why won't you let me touch you?!" she yelled. "Every time I try to touch you, you pull away from me. I can't stand it! Can you at least tell me why?"
"Xena," Gabrielle began, her voice softer this time, "I need you to tell me if you don't... if you don't want me anymore."
Xena's head shot up and she met Gabrielle's gaze. "Oh Gabrielle, I want you. I want you more than anything! It just... It's just...."
Gabrielle waited, but it seemed that Xena was not planning to finish that thought.
"Its just what?"
Sighing, Xena pulled her knees close to her chest and wrapped them in a tight grasp. "I got so out of control. I could tell how you hated who I had become and I lashed out at you. I think...I'm so afraid you'll hate me, Gabrielle. You'll finally see who I really am and you'll hate me."
"So you pull away from me?"
"Then I don't know what to do. I've tried to tell you, to explain to you how I feel about what happened at the fort. I know I'm not comfortable with the parts of you that enjoys the violence, but you're a warrior, Xena. The best there is, and that's part of being a warrior. The important thing is to keep that part balanced and you did. You do. And I love you. I'm in love with a warrior. I've accepted that. The question is, can you? Accept that I love a warrior?"
Xena put her hands on her knees and pushed herself up to a standing position. The movement struck Gabrielle as unusual for Xena, lacking her usual grace and energy.
"I'm trying. I just...I think I need a little more time. Its been a long time since I let myself feel the way I did at the fort. Now its like a monster has been unleashed and its haunting my dreams...." Xena shivered a little before walking over to Gabrielle, and then took both her hands in her own. She looked down, meeting the bard's eyes and continued. "I love you, Gabrielle. More than I could ever tell you. And I know this will get better. Can you be patient with me, for just a little while longer?"
The fading light cast half Xena's face in shadow, but Gabrielle could still see the fear and the pain there. Gabrielle wondered how she had missed this: Xena was being harsh and distant because she was afraid, not because she didn't love her anymore. Feeling secure once more in Xena's love and desire for her, Gabrielle felt as though she had all the patience in the world. She knew it wouldn't last, though. There was only so long she could be next to the beautiful warrior without touching her. Nonetheless Gabrielle assured Xena she would be patient, told her what she needed to hear to relax about this whole thing. She had a few ideas, though, about how she would break through the warrior's shell this time. As she finished setting up the camp, Gabrielle smiled to herself, the wheels turning in her brain, planning the steps she would take to lay Xena's trap.
"I'm gonna roll you over gonna peel you back
expose your tender center watch the juices flow from the cracks...." ani difranco
The hot spring warmed the air inside the cave, and the fire Xena built added to the warmth and light. The cave was small, but offered enough room for them to spread out comfortably. Xena was laying back, her upper body propped against a smooth rock padded with blankets. Her feet still hung over the pool carved from the rock by hot water. She was naked, allowing herself to air dry after her long blissful soak. She felt completely relaxed for the first time in days, and she had a magnificent view.
Gabrielle was in the pool bathing herself. Xena watched as the bard took the soap between her hands and worked up a thick lather. When Gabrielle slowly smoothed it over her body, Xena could feel her pulse begin to race.
Gabrielle smiled to herself while slowly rinsing the soap from her body , surreptitiously aware of her warrior's admiring gaze. It was wonderful to feel Xena's attention again-- she had been so shut down since leaving the Athenian outpost. If Xena thought she could get away with continuing to ignore the bard, she had another thing coming. Gabrielle had waited long enough. It was time to take action. Desperate times called for desperate measures.
This hot spring idea was a stroke of genius, Gabrielle realized, as she cupped her hands in the water and let it pour slowly over her breasts. She caught Xena shifting uncomfortably out of the corner of her eye. Now its was time for phase two: Gabrielle was going to use Xena's tendency towards insatiable passion against her, and she knew just how to do it. Satisfied that Xena was still watching under those heavy lidded eyes, Gabrielle began.
After covering her breasts with lather, Gabrielle wet her washcloth to remove the soap. Turning her body until it was in profile to Xena, she brought the soaked cloth to her breast. When she touched herself she could hear Xena swallow, could hear the breath catch in her throat. With a soft, sensual smile Gabrielle turned so that she faced the warrior and began to slowly caress her nipples through the wet cloth.
Xena tried to look away, to feign indifference, but with the bard touching her delicious breasts like that, she just couldn't. She licked her lips, her mouth watering, and swallowed again, hard.
"Mmmm...Do you like this? Do you like what you see?" Gabrielle asked, voice low and sensual, as she continued to stroke now erect nipples with the tips of her fingers. Xena could see their shape and outline, taut against the wet cloth. Her eyes narrowed. She didn't know the bard could be so cruel. Well, just because her insides were turning to jelly, there was no reason Gabrielle had to know about it. She just wouldn't answer.
"Hmm, I guess not..." Gabrielle started, turning her back towards Xena. Xena could tell that the bard was still touching herself, could hear the soft sighs of pleasure. Then Xena saw Gabrielle drop her hand and watched carefully as it began to travel up the inside of her thigh. Looking away, she quickly bit her lip, but not before a groan escaped.
"What was that? Did you say something?" Gabrielle turned to face Xena once more. Both hands now cupping her breasts, thumbs caressing the tips. Gabrielle's breasts were very responsive and Xena could see the bard's throat pulsing. It had been too long since they had--
"Talk, warrior. I asked you a question."
"Yes", Xena answered, voice tight. Startled by the commanding tone of Gabrielle's voice. Startled and turned on.
Xena sighed. The battle was over quickly-- the surrender complete.
"Yes, I like what I see."
"Good answer," Gabrielle told her. She slid gracefully from the pool and straddled the warrior, her weight resting on Xena's strong thighs, sending a jolt up her legs. Gabrielle's skin glistened and steamed from the hot water of the pool.
"Would you like to see more?"
"Yes. I... I would like that." Xena's throat was so dry, the words came out cracked.
Gabrielle ran her hands down her body in long, sensuous strokes. She had all of Xena's attention. Gabrielle's hands left her breasts to trace a circular path across her belly. The feel of those intense blue eyes burning into her caused her muscles to twitch under her own hands. She was getting very wet. She slid forward just a little, making sure to leave a wet trail up Xena's thigh. Xena shuddered visibly, trailing a finger lightly along the wet path and sucking it into her mouth, eyes closing in pleasure.
"No." Xena heard and forced herself to stop savoring the taste on her finger and open her eyes. "No," Gabrielle continued. "Let me..." Gabrielle sat up on her knees and pushed her finger into her own center, moaning slightly from the contact. Xena's lips formed a silent "Oh," and her eyes widened. Then Gabrielle slowly released her finger with a little shudder, and reached out her hand. Xena took it in a forceful grip and brought it to her face. First to pull Gabrielle's scent into her lungs. Mouth watering, she took Gabrielle's finger into her mouth and began to suck, causing both women to moan.
Gabrielle's hips began to rock slowly against the warrior beneath her. While Xena continued to suck her finger the bard positioned herself so that their vulvas touched, and she ground down on the warrior a little harder. With her free hand she began again to caress the aching tips of her own breasts.
"Yes..." Xena moaned. The sight of the bards hands on her own body inflamed her. She pushed her hips upwards in an attempt to fuse their lips together and then reached up to touch Gabrielle. The bard captured Xena's questing hand and pushed it down at her side. Leaning over she whispered into the warrior's ear, "Don't touch. Just...watch."
Squeezing her thighs together, Gabrielle rose up just enough to slip her fingers inside herself, a soft moan passing her lips. Xena clasped large hands around the bard's hips, not guiding-- just feeling Gabrielle's movements as she stroked herself leisurely, fingers thick in her own liquids. The sight of the young woman straddling her, touching herself brought Xena's need to a fevered pitch. Gabrielle was moaning now, every downward push of her body sending a jolt right through Xena from the pressure on her own sex. The warrior fought back her own need for release, wanting to focus entirely on the enthralling view above her.
She couldn't stop herself from reaching up to cup Gabrielle's breast. Running a callused thumb over the taut nipple, she pinched it between her thumb and forefinger, squeezing and twisting in just the motions that always made Gabrielle delirious. Eyes closing, the bard started to pitch forward, but Xena braced her upright by placing her free hand on her shoulder.
"Look at me," Xena ordered, and Gabrielle's eyes flew open in response to the intensity of Xena's voice. The passion filling Xena's eyes was just as penetrating, and when their eyes met, Gabrielle's heart dropped into her stomach.
"Come for me Gabrielle," Xena told the bard, her voice roughened by desire. "Make yourself come-- "
A shiver shot down Gabrielle's spine and landed squarely between her legs. Before her fingers inside herself had traveled aimlessly, now the bard pushed into herself faster, harder, hips pumping hard. She groaned, her breath coming in sobs.
As sharp jolts of pleasure seared down the back of Xena's thighs, she knew she wouldn't last much longer. But she didn't want that-- not now. It was too quick. The only chance she had at stopping her own climax was to shift the bard off her sex. Pulling Gabrielle forward Xena slid the bard up her body, stopping at her breast. She pulled the bard's hips down, watched as she cried out, feeling the taut nipple pushing against the tight whorl of sensitive flesh. Gabrielle wrapped her hands around the large breast to push it more forcefully into herself, moaning now each time the warrior lifted her and pushed her down again. "Oh...Mmm...oh....Xena...yes...oh..oh..oh oh oh-- "
Gabrielle was about to go over. Forcing her eyes open, she looked down at Xena and a shudder went through her at the sight of the dark passion shining in the warrior's eyes. This shudder didn't stop-- it was building. Gabrielle's eyes drifted shut as the first wave hit her. The next ones followed immediately, shaking her violently from the inside out as the pleasure peaked. Before the wave had a chance to recede, Xena curled her hands around the bard's hips and pulled her down onto her face, pressing her tongue into the drenched swollen folds of an orgasming Gabrielle. The bard screamed as Xena's mouth pushed her to a second peak before she had finished with the first. Finally Xena let her go and she collapsed her heaving body into Xena's waiting arms.
"Tease me, will ya?" Xena whispered in Gabrielle's ear, and felt a weak smile against her shoulder from her vanquished bard. The warrior felt ignited-- all of her nerve endings were on fire.
"I don't tease. I follow through," the bard told her firmly and then reached a hand down and pressed two fingers into Xena's drenched sex. Her actions were met with a sharp cry, as the warrior's inner muscles spasmed and clenched against Gabrielle's fingers.
"Ohhh, Xena! You're so-- "
"Yes! Gods-- harder!" Xena's hips were bucking up forcefully, so Gabrielle lifted herself, moving down the warrior's body to get a better angle. With her free hand she spread Xena's legs apart and pushed in forcefully. Xena was already fully aroused from the passion they had just shared, so Gabrielle's fingers immediately pushed her over. The orgasm was deep and wrenched Xena to her core, her cries echoing all along the walls of the cave.
"No more," Xena gasped, pulling Gabrielle's hand from her. The bard lay her full weight on Xena, feeling the warrior's pounding heart against her own chest. Xena had her hands clasped together on the curve of Gabrielle's lower back while she worked on regaining her breath.
"So was that your revenge?" Xena asked weakly after a few moments had past.
"Part of it," Gabrielle responded, looking down into Xena's eyes with a wicked glint in her own. Suddenly she began moving down the warrior's body."But as they say, revenge is a dish best eaten."
"Oh, no!" Xena groaned.
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