Ye Olde Disclaimer

The Xena and Gabby characters are property of Universal MCA. It is not meant to infringe on any copyrights whatsoever.

The story, however, is mine.

The story below contains adult scenes, not to mention some immature adult scenes between two women,

and more than two women...but not like what you’re thinking! Take your tartarus mind out of the bedroom! Anyway, if you are under 18 years of age stop reading now.

Of Note:

This story takes place immediately after my last, Heart and Soul. I would strongly recommend you read it first, as things might not make as much sense as they should if you just chomp into dessert before dinner.

But if you plan on being difficult just note that Xena has a huge hangover and they have the voodoo xena doll aboard. Of course it made the trip! It's a keeper! After that, you're on your own.

And now for the HUGE disclaimer. This story is odd, it's crazy, it's a furkin vacation. There are no

demons, no blood, no tartarus witches, blow up werewolves or any such thing. I mean honestly,

how evil can a vacation get? I will warn you that there is an enormous amount of sweating, bitching,

whining and irritating moments. What vacation would be without?

The characters in this story are fictitious. Any resemblance to real names or real issues is purely

coincidental. Right.

Enter at your own risk. And whatever you do...DON'T DRINK THE WATER.


Vacation in Tartarus

By Trish Kerr (Phopas)

Pronunciation Nit. It would appear some people have trouble with my name. I only know this now from

having traveled to xenite gatherings in other parts of the world.
So to stop any further confusion the name Phopas is pronounced "fo-pa" as in faux pas or Sappho

inverted seeing as we’re into it now. And if you feel the need you can make it sound plural but usually

the last s is silent. fo-paz sounds kinda spazzy or something.




Love Exciting and New
come aboard, we're expecting you
The Love Boat
soon will be making another run
The Love Boat
promises something for everyone

The Love Boat

"When are we going to get there???" Gabrielle whined, looking over at her companion, her hands gripping the rail of the ship almost as tightly as her own.

Xena's voice was barely above a seething whisper. "Gabrielle, if you ask me that ONE more time I'm going to have to kill you." Her hands clutched the railing even tighter as she fought the urge to do just that while battling with the greater urge to throw up yet again. "We'll get there, when we get there."

Gabrielle sighed and looked back out over the horizon as the ship lurched forward, her body a prisoner to its silent rhythm. Gods, gods, gods. She wished she could enjoy this beautiful sunny day, crystal clear sky, incredibly rich blue sea that appeared to go on forever and ever, but she was too busy dying. She gazed back over at her lover, a strong, determined gaze emanated from ice blue eyes as the wind swept Xena's raven hair across her face, still as gorgeous as ever despite the circumstances. "Am I as green as you look?"

Xena's eyes narrowed as she looked the petite strawberry blonde up and down. "Greener!" she snapped back, but couldn't help but catch herself admiring her lover's well toned and inviting body, her green eyes sparkling mischievously through the pain. She felt herself warm from the thought of standing next to her, and had the urge to reach over and bury her head into her shoulder in the hopes of escaping this torture. But that would require removing her hands from this railing and that was just not a possibility at the moment. Tartarus Trojan Game! She'd always been seaworthy ; never a problem. Had, in fact, quite enjoyed ribbing the less fortunate in the crowd. Well, it seemed it was payback time. These things always came back to haunt somehow, and she was pretty sure this one was coming back big time at the moment. She closed her eyes, leaned over the rail, and threw up.

"Gods, Xena..." Gabrielle looked away, "You're not helping my situation." She swallowed and leaned over joining her lover. It would appear they shared everything now. How romantic, Gabrielle thought, as she gazed down at the frothy waves lapping up against the sides of the boat. She finally caught her breath and looked over at Xena. "Isn't there anything we can do??"

"Well, there is a pressure point on the wrist, but that's only good for sea sickness," Xena gasped.

"Yes!" Gabrielle cried. "And???"

"Well, I've got a hangover."

"Well, I don't!"

"True," Xena nodded. "But then we wouldn't be able to share in this moment together. And misery loves company..remember?"

"Xena! I can't believe..." Gabrielle began, but then the ship lurched forward again and she had to concentrate on remaining upright. She turned back to Xena, and was about to lay into her good when someone interrupted her intended tirade.

"Morning girls!!" The woman's voice boomed loudly as she came up behind them, slapping them both hard on the back in an enthusiastic welcome.

Gabrielle nearly went overboard, catching herself just in time. She looked over at Xena, who appeared to be ready to kill the perpetrator, her eyes now slitted daggers as she turned to see who dared approach her in such a manor. Oh boy.

"Who-" Xena started.

"What's the trouble? Not got your sea legs yet, eh??" The large woman bellowed out a hearty laugh, her strong arms slapping their backs yet again for good measure.

Xena stiffened.

Gabrielle panicked as she saw intent to severely injure in those baby blues. "Xena!" Gabrielle lunged over catching the warrior just before she began her fisted swing towards the woman's midsection. She landed in Xena's arms, in a tight embrace, and as the ship lurched backwards both women went down. Gabrielle heard the woman break into yet another hearty laugh. Perhaps she should have let her lover swing round after all. She was lying on top of Xena, staring right into those familiar baby blues, now dancing with bridled fury. "Calm Xena, calm. This is our vacation, remember? Rest, relaxation.." Gabrielle closed her eyes as another nauseating wave swept over her. "Weight loss..."

"So, are you going to lie around all day or join in the festivities?" the woman bellowed as she gazed down at the couple rolling on the ship's deck. It would appear she'd have to work on these two. Time was a ticking and they had much to do in the week ahead. Not a moment could be wasted, as a moment wasted was a wasted moment. She sighed, shaking her head and knelt down beside the two. She extended her large square thick hand, callused from many years of lifting weights and slapping people into shape. "Name's Buttress. But you can call me Tess for short." She held her hand out for a few more seconds 'til she realized no shake was forthcoming. Hmmm, poor sports as well. She eyed the warrior woman that appeared to be in a terrible mood. She frowned inwardly, as she knew this type of guest always posed the most difficult challenge. But Tess was never shy of a new challenge, no siree and bobbin. Challenge was her middle name and this could be her greatest victory yet. She'd heard of the warrior woman named Xena and secretly reveled at the prospect of breaking her. Oh yes, and what a Nike trophy it would be.

"Who are you?" Xena finally managed to spit out, as she instinctively clutched Gabrielle tighter to her breast. The leering Buttress had the eyes of a madwoman and she wasn't taking any chances. She swallowed hard to fight another wave of nausea, as there was no way in Tartarus she was going to lose her breakfast in front of this. She eyed her up and down. She was enormous, yet you couldn't call her truly overweight. It was a general largeness that extended from her wide, bulky shoulders, down her trunk like arms, across her gigantuous square framed body, and down her solid oak legs. Xena couldn't tell if there was any muscle definition as she wore an outfit she'd never seen before. It was made of an odd loose fabric, in two pieces, one piece covering her from the waist down in the form of pants, the other in the form of a buttonless top. Both were a matching dull gray; the top having what appeared to be a hood of sorts with a string coming out from either side, more than likely to tighten the hood. She wasn't sure, she didn't care, and she was getting a really bad feeling about this vacation, and they were only an hour into it. Hades!

Tess chuckled, her large frame shaking slowly as she smoothed back her short brown hair, cropped tight to her square face, her brown eyes gleaming with excitement. "Why I'm your camp coordinator of course!"

"Camp? Coordinator?" Xena mouthed back.

"Yes indeed!" Tess grinned as she stood back up, placing her hands on her ample hips. "I'll be your guide and events coordinator on your stay. And we have much to cover in very little time. And seeing as you've only signed on for a week we'll have to squeeze in some of the activities, but I'm here to ensure you don't miss out on a thing. Waste not, want not, my mother always said."

"Waste...not.." Xena mouthed as she tried to lift her head from the ship deck unsuccessfully. The bard groaned and nuzzled into her shoulder. She gave up attempting to make eye contact with the woman and instead gazed over at her feet. What in Hades was she wearing? She'd never seen anything in foot apparel like this before. It was a short shoe, ankle height, with a thick sole of some sort of man made material. And the top of the footwear also had lacing, similar to her own boots, but white in colour. How odd. Perhaps Lynchia had killed them after all, and this was Tartarus. Xena pondered this briefly and then shook away such ridiculous thoughts. Gods, she was tired.

"I'll be back in a moment with the itinerary." Tess frowned as she went to retrieve her clipboard from the ship's information area.

"Itinerary...?" Xena mouthed, her voice barely a whisper as she watched the woman's shoes leave.

"Xena..." Gabrielle moaned.

"What?" Xena stiffened and then realized, too late, her reflexes being severely hampered this morning.. Gabrielle threw up all over her. Terrific! Just terrific!

Chapter 1


Hey - Land Ho!

If I get back home and I feel all right

You know, girl, Im gonna love you tonight

Land Ho!, Doors

"Land!" Xena cried as she jumped up from her fetal position on the ship's deck, where she had been tucked in behind some barrels, successfully hidden for the last few hours. She pulled the bard up after her. Gabrielle swayed slightly and collapsed into her arms, groaning.

"Land?" Gabrielle moaned. "Land?"

"Yes! Yes! Yes!" Xena cried, trying to suppress the urge to somersault through the air with the bard in tow. Never had she felt so relieved, so renewed, so...

"THERE YOU ARE!" Tess came stomping over, clipboard in hand. "I have been looking for you two for over an hour. We have yet to get to your pre-briefing. Now, you won't know what's going on at the briefing! I don't know what I'm going to do with you two! But I guess that's what they pay me for eh?" She chuckled.

"Yeah," Xena said evenly as she reached for her chakrum.

Gabrielle came to just in time to salvage this delicate matter. "Xena!" She grabbed her arms, wrapping her in a bear hug while turning to the woman. "We'd love to hear the pre-brief, debrief, whatever, as soon as we settle in. Okay?"

"That's what I like to see. Enthusiasm!" Tess cried, slapping the bard hard on the back. "I'll be right over as soon as I've finished with the other guests. I'll make an exception for you, seeing as you seem like a cute enough couple."

"Yeah!" Gabrielle laughed nervously. "Thanks...great...yah...," She gripped Xena's arms harder as she felt the muscles quiver under her fingers. The woman headed off in search of more lively prey and Gabrielle felt Xena relax. She looked up at the weary warrior, faint traces of dark circles forming under her tired eyes. She reached up and brushed back a strand of loose hair that had fallen over her love's cheek. "Hey you.," Gabrielle whispered. "Want to take a nap?"

Xena sighed and melted from the tenderness of Gabrielle's touch, as the rage slowly evaporated from her limbs. "Yes, very much so." She smiled down at her young love, resting her forehead on the bard's. "With you."


"Funny. I pictured the rooms bigger," Gabrielle commented, as she gazed out the window of their hut.

"Who cares?" Xena groaned from the bed. "As long as it fits a bed, who cares?"

"I care. It's atmosphere, it's's..." Gabrielle frowned looking back over at her, lying on the bed, one arm over her eyes, still fully clothed. Gabrielle was completely recovered and charged, having been removed from the evil rocking of the boat. Xena, however, hadn't seemed to bounce back as quickly. She walked over and peered down at the warrior. "Hey, you ok?"

"I'm fine," Xena replied flatly.

"Here." Gabrielle leaned down, taking her lover's boot in her hands and began to unlace it.

Xena sighed, letting her arm fall down onto the bed as Gabrielle removed her boots. Gods, she was so tired. She really needed this vacation but she was already wary of it. When they'd arrived it seemed different from her last visit, though that had been many years ago. There were booths with trinkets lined along the roadway that led to the main gathering area. And where there had once been flowing grasslands, buildings had been erected that appeared to house some sort of competitive games. There was a general bustling feel that had replaced the relaxing, peaceful air that she had remembered and had loved so much, the quietness now a faded memory. She'd have to investigate later; she was just too tired for that now....too…

"Lift up," Gabrielle instructed as she worked the clasps of Xena's breastplate. The warrior complied and lifted onto her elbows long enough for her to remove the armor and then she collapsed back down. "I think you need sleep sweetie." Gabrielle smiled down at her as she began to unlace her leathers.

"Sweetie?" Xena repeated through a tired haze.

"What? Don't like that word?" Gabrielle asked.

"No, I mean, it's just ..." Xena's voice trailed off.

"Just what?" Gabrielle paused from her leather removal.

"It's's all..different.."

"Gods Xena, you're too you know that? Too tight. Lift," Gabrielle said as she worked the leathers over the warrior's head.

"Sweetie," Xena repeated.

"Alright, alright! I'm just trying to expand the vocabulary here!" Gabrielle cried in exasperation. "How about hon?" she asked, as she began to work the shift off.

"Hon," Xena said flatly.

"Gods! You're driving me crazy already. We've only been here ten minutes."



"No sorry..I was just repeating it," Xena replied defensively.



"No don't be," Gabrielle sighed as she removed the last of Xena's clothing. Once again Gabrielle was taken back by the sheer beauty of the woman before her. Every line, every luscious curve was pure perfection. Lying there with her eyes closed, her lips slightly parted, her chest rising softly, well, it was enough to weaken the knees. It was then that Gabrielle realized she'd stopped breathing and in her haste to recover she inadvertently swallowed spit the wrong way and nearly choked. She stepped away, banging on her chest.

"Gabrielle!" Xena cried as she shot up into a seated position.

"Fine…," Gabrielle wheezed., "Fine, just some spit…fine…"

Xena propped herself on her elbows grinning at her lover. "Spit eh?"

"Yeah." Gabrielle smiled through tears.

"I see." Xena paused as she gazed at her young love. "You coming over here or are you going to stare at my naked body all day?"

"You need to sleep," Gabrielle warned.

"I need you." Xena replied. "Now."

"No," Gabrielle came back to the bed, waving instructions with her arms. "Turn over. You're getting that massage I promised you three days ago and never delivered on."

Xena's eyebrow arched. "Oh yeah...I forgot about that..."

"I didn't," Gabrielle replied, "And I'm always good for my word."

Xena smiled and turned over allowing herself to sink into the soft sheets of the bed. She felt Gabrielle straddle her legs and settle on top of her. "Yes you are," Xena sighed, closing her eyes as she felt her love's gentle hands on her tight shoulder muscles, working them slowly and expertly. "Gods, Gabrielle...where did you learn..."

"Shh." Gabrielle leaned down, blowing a kiss into her lover's ear. She smiled as she felt Xena shudder under her touch. "I have many talents."

"Hmm," Xena mumbled. "Many talents....sounds more impressive than my line...that's too many new phrases all at once...too hard to…"

"Quiet," Gabrielle whispered as she squeezed hard on a particularly difficult knot between Xena's right shoulder blade, working it slowly and methodically until she could finally feel it begin it's reluctant release.

"Gods...," Xena moaned. "That's..."

"Shh..." Gabrielle examined the healing wounds on Xena's back as she worked, careful not to disturb them. "I'll need to remove these stitches soon. Healing nicely."


Gabrielle grinned as she leaned down and kissed the warrior's back. "Well I'm earning my dinars today."

Xena gasped as a shiver swept down her spine from Gabrielle's lips on her skin. "Take ..em all..."

"Don't worry." Gabrielle smiled as she leaned back and began working the difficult shoulder knots again. "I've already spent them with my eyes, I just have to go back and get the goods."

"Terrific," Xena groaned. "More useless trinkets to add to that purse."

"Hey!" Gabrielle stopped. "How do you know what's in my purse?"

"I had to go in there to get the dress," Xena replied in defense. "By the way, was that sticky bun for me?"

"I forgot, and yes, it was." Gabrielle smiled as she began to work her hands over a larger surface, and moving in towards her love's spine, slowly running her hands down it's length in tiny purposeful circles. Xena was practically melting under her hands. "It's about time."

"Hmm?" Xena asked through a growing haze.

"You're loosening, I can't believe it," Gabrielle whispered and she leaned down again, kissing her between the shoulders, eliciting another quiet moan.

"Nice…", Xena sighed, as she caught herself drooling on the sheets. Then the bard's hands lifted from her back and she cried inwardly at the loss of touch she’d been basking in. "?"

"I'm here," Gabrielle whispered.

Xena smiled and closed her eyes as the bard's hands once again began working their way down towards the small of her back and working her well muscled, shapely rear. Gods, it was incredible! Every fiber was singing under Gabrielle's ministrations. Small shivers were spreading up her spine and tingling through her head as each stroke pressed deeper into the muscle belly, urging all the tension that had been building over the last few weeks up and away from its prison. The bard began slowly working her way up the warrior's back again, and Xena felt Gabrielle's body lean down to caress hers, hardened nipples brushing against her skin. She inhaled sharply.

"Nice," Gabrielle sighed as she allowed her breasts to teasingly work themselves across the tender skin of her love's back.

"Hey...,"Xena gasped. "You're..."

"Partially naked, yes." Gabrielle smiled as she trailed kisses up Xena's spine, running her hands up the sides of her lover 'til they reached her raven hair, where she began to gently massage her scalp.

"Umm, I'm no longer tired," Xena said tentatively.

"No?" She began to run her tongue across the sensitive flesh, tasting the salty sweet of her neck, where she gently bit down.

"No," Xena gasped.

Gabrielle felt herself warm as she allowed her body to lay on top of Xena. She continued to kiss her neck, and then her shoulders. She moved her hands out to gently massage the warrior's arms until she reached her hands, which she took gently in her own, squeezing them.

"Nope...not tired…" Xena smiled into the sheets.

"Beautiful," Gabrielle sighed, as she nuzzled into the warrior's hair, drinking in the scent of her and enjoying the silky softness against her face. She gave a final squeeze and brought her hands back to the warrior's sides, running them down the hard muscles and locking onto her hips. She pulled her own hips tight to the warrior, rocking seductively against her.

"Is the massage over?"

"Hmm?" Gabrielle whispered as she gently nipped on the warrior's ear.

"Yes...," Xena gasped. "I guess it is." She drank in the feel of the bard's taut abdomen against her back, as she felt her young love warm from a building passion. It would seem this woman was insatiable, which was a good thing as she was equal to the task. She was feeling absolutely marvelous, the knots having been loosened and her mind having been cleared. Now all that mattered was the heat coming off her love's body and directly on to her own. Ripples of desire were already spreading through her, a dull ache already building within. She shifted around so she could face her lover, as she needed to kiss her right now. A deep groan came from her throat as she reached up and grasped the bard's head in her hands, pulling her in for a long, deep kiss.

Gabrielle finally came up for air, pulling back gently and gazing into her love's electric blue eyes. "Better?"

"Yes," Xena shivered, as another wave of desire spread through her from the penetrating gaze of Gabrielle's eyes. "So much better…"

"I know ..." Gabrielle smiled and leaned down, kissing her passionately once again.

Xena groaned as Gabrielle's tongue danced across her own. That, and a building heat between her thighs was drowning out all rational thought. She ran her hands down her lover's back, lifting up her skirt and pulling her tight to her body. Gods, she felt absolutely incredible under her hands. A wet warmth was already pooling at her center and she was not sure how much longer she could stand it before she needed to be touched there.

Gabrielle knew the warrior's needs almost as intimately as the warrior herself. She quietly pulled away to place gentle kisses down the warrior's neck, smiling with each gasp from her love's lips. "Beautiful..." was all she could manage, as her own passion was clouding her ability to make coherent conversation. She moved further down and took one of the warrior's nipples in her mouth, sucking gently at first, then more insistently. Xena's hands reached up and pulled her closer, urging her on as the warrior's back arched with each flick of her love’s tongue.

"Gabrielle...," Xena moaned loudly, letting the sensations work their way towards her center, an invisible connection she could almost picture. She felt the bard's lips smile at her words, knowing that this also drove her lover wild, and decided that today she wasn't going to hold back. Today she didn't care, she was on vacation and dammit, she was going to enjoy herself! "More!" she gasped. She felt the bard tense slightly in surprise but she was quick to recover and moved over to the other breast, taking it hard in her mouth and pulling it expertly, sending another wave of desire through her. "Gods, Gabrielle, I need you now!" Xena demanded, then smiled inwardly as the bard's eyes widen against her skin. But once again, Gabrielle was not phased, and without skipping a beat she began to work her way down the warrior's taut, rippling abdomen towards where she needed her most.

Well, this was what she was like after a massage! Gabrielle made a mental note to start off every day with one of these. Wow. She worked her way down towards her love's thighs, stopping only briefly as she gently parted the warrior's legs. She kissed her inner thighs, first her left and then her right, teasingly avoiding where Xena was desperate for contact. The warrior groaned loudly and placed her hands in Gabrielle's hair in the hopes of convincing her that teasing was indeed not always necessary. Gabrielle smiled and relented, pausing for one more torturous second before plunging her tongue deeply into her lover.

Xena cried out, her back arching off the bed as her fingers gripped the bard's hair so tight she was afraid she was hurting her She quickly relaxed her grip as she fought to take in air that had seemingly left her lungs. "Sorry…" she finally managed.

"Don't be," Gabrielle whispered., "Please don't be…" She smiled as she settled in against her lover, reaching under and gripping her thighs as she pulled her closer to her mouth. She worked her tongue slowly in circles, savoring each deep groan from Xena's lips. She looked up and gazed at her lover, her eyes closed, her head thrown back, a thin sheen of sweat glistening across her rising chest. Xena had removed her hands from her hair and now gripped the sheets, white knuckled. Gods, she looked so vulnerable to Gabrielle, so young, as she gave in to her caresses and allowed her to control the speed of her rising passion. It was this that excited Gabrielle the most; that Xena would trust her so completely to let go and allow her to lead, as she knew this was never easy for the warrior.

Finally, Xena opened her eyes, feeling the gaze of her lover watching her, and her heart quickened. The complete trust and understanding she saw in those eyes tore away any reserves she had been clinging to, and she allowed her lover to step inside her heart and hold it as her own. She lay back letting the bard drink in her building passion, now shared. She released her grip on the sheets and returned to tangle her fingers in soft hair, now completely at one with her lover’s beating heart.

Gabrielle savored this delicious moment as she knew it wouldn't last. She could already feel her love's thighs beginning to shake, her hips rocking more insistently against her mouth. She wanted to slow down time but knew it wasn't possible. Instead, she matched her warrior's building passion with an eager enthusiasm of her own, burying herself further into her love, urged on by desperate cries from Xena's lips. Then she felt the warrior stiffen, as if to hold on for another exquisite second and then an intense orgasm rocked her, as her hips bucked uncontrollably. Gabrielle smiled as Xena cried out her name over and over until her voice became a quiet whisper. Her fingers flexed, squeezing the bard's hair, as Gabrielle felt aftershocks pulsing softly against her lips. She gazed up at Xena, whose eyes looked intently down at her. She immediately climbed up at Xena's silent request, wrapping her arms around her.

A deep sigh escaped the warrior's lips, as she closed her eyes and enjoyed the feel of tender arms holding her, Gabrielle's welcoming body pressed against her own. The orgasm had been nearly blinding and she fought the urge to immediately sink into a deep sleep. Gabrielle needed her now more than ever, and she tried hard to remain coherent.

"Sleep," Gabrielle whispered into her ear, kissing it softly. A quiet moan escaped the warrior's lips. "It's part of the massage package deal, didn't I tell you?"

"No." Xena smiled, as she fought to open her eyes, "No, you didn't say..."

Gabrielle smiled down at her love, who was desperately trying to stay awake. She kissed her softly on the lips. "Sleep. I'll wake you..."

"But…" Xena started, but the bard covered her lips with another gentle kiss.

"I love you, now rest…," Gabrielle whispered. "You're going to need it, I have plans…" She kissed her cheek. "Big plans..." Her eyelids. "Huge…" Her forehead . "Gigantic…" And finally the warrior let go and slipped into a gentle dreamscape as Gabrielle continued to kiss her softly. At last she was out. Gods, she needed to sleep. The bard pulled back and looked at her lover's features, so soft and innocent without the worry. She couldn't believe how much in love she had become with this woman at her side. Nothing else mattered anymore except being in her gentle arms. She kissed her softly once more and lay her head on Xena's chest, listening to the slow heartbeat of her sleep. She was drifting off to its comforting rhythm when the knock came. Her eyes narrowed and she got up from the bed, carefully pulling a cover over the warrior and tucking her in. She headed over to the door and opened it. Hades, it was the coordinator.

"Well hello!" Tess smiled, her eyes widening as she looked the bard up and down.

Now what was her furkin problem, Gabrielle seethed internally, and then she felt the gentle breeze on her chest. By the gods! She slammed the door in the woman's expectant face. "Just a minute!" Hades, hades, hades. She hurried over to her discarded green top, pulled it on and scrambled back to the door, mentally scolding herself… check clothing, then open door, check clothing, then open door, check... She paused to adjust her skirt back into place and reopened the door. "Hello."

"Hello right back at ya!" Tess grinned a toothy grin as she eyeballed the bard up and down once again.

Great. Just great. "So." Gabrielle smiled innocently.

The woman continued to gaze for a brief second, then caught herself. "Yes, well, the briefing starts in ten minutes. All guests *must* attend," she said stiffly, peering around the half closed door to see if she could catch a glimpse of the warrior, but was denied as the bard moved in front of her line of vision.

"Well I'll be representing both of us," Gabrielle replied with growing irritation. It had taken her two weeks to get the warrior to sleep peacefully and there was no way in Tartarus she was going to wake her.

Tess bristled. "I'm afraid that's against policy and we have a strictly enforced-"

"Whom must I speak to about this matter then?" Gabrielle challenged.

"Well!" The burly woman took a mental step back. "That would be Martina. And she will not be pleased."

"Well my best…," Gabrielle hesitated. "Er, my wife here is not well and there must be certain clauses in this policy of yours."

"I'm afraid not. As you can see." Tess shoved the clipboard in the bard's face. It was a document that had to be at least two inches thick. "It clearly states that all members of the Vacation Plan A, which you signed for, BTW-"

"Wait!" Gabrielle interrupted. "What's BTW?"

"By the gods woman! It's short for By The Way, of course! What, did you grow up on a farm or something?"

"Maybe," Gabrielle said evenly. What in Tartarus kind of place was this? Xena had spoken nothing but praise for the island, yet this was hardly what she'd pictured, shy the sex of course.

"Anyway, play tough little girl, and you'll regret it!" Tess retorted.

"Take me to your leader then." Gabrielle stiffened. "Whatever her name is."

"Martina." Tess stiffened. "And I'll have to book an appointment. She's a busy woman."

"I'll bet," Gabrielle retorted.

"Well then." Tess pulled back the clipboard and unhooked a piece of scrolls and handed it to the bard. "Read these over and be at the central meeting area in ten. Failure to comply will not be tolerated."

Where in Hades was the chakrum? Perhaps it was time to start learning how to throw it around. "Fine, I'll be there." Gabrielle smiled curtly and closed the door in her face. She breathed deep the air, as she tried to calm herself. She rested her head against the wooden door. Finally, she regained her composure and turned back to gaze at her sleeping lover. Her anger immediately disappeared. Gabrielle walked over and sat at the edge of the bed, reaching down to brush a few stray locks of her love's hair away from her face. Xena stirred slightly under her caress, a quiet moan escaping her lips, but did not wake. She must really need sleep if she didn't hear the knock.

Gabrielle sighed, thinking back over the last few weeks. Everything had become almost a blur, the events having been both emotionally exhilarating and draining all in the same breath. It had only been a few weeks now since they had become lovers and they had not stopped running since. Well, Gabrielle thought, let me see. She’d been nearly eaten by a werewolf, almost drowned, close to raped, kidnapped by a demon, nearly tossed from a tower by a toasted madwoman, and yet all that really stuck in her mind was the tender intimate moments she had shared with Xena. Gods, she'd never been happier, never dreamed she could feel this wonderful, this vulnerable and love it, this....

A knock sounded at the door.

…this pissed off, this irritated...this… check clothes, check clothes then open door. Gabrielle opened the door to peer out at a somewhat stout woman, shoulder length poofy brown hair, matching brown eyes and odd clothing, yet again. She was holding towels in one arm, the other hand rested on her hip in a casual manner. A huge smile spanned her face.

"Well hello thare!" The woman smiled and enthusiastically shoved the towels into her gut.

"Thanks…", Gabrielle wheezed as she extracted them from her abdomen. She noticed the woman give her the once over.

"Nice abs," the woman quipped.

"Umm, ya......" She caught herself gazing at the woman's outfit again. It was made of an odd stretchy material and she had to stop herself from reaching over and pulling on its fabric to test that theory. It was two pieces, pants and a jacket with odd outer pockets which were basically useless for carrying anything. Ridiculous, really. Gabrielle's eyes traveled down to her shoes which were flat, leather, and cushioned. Very comfortable looking but leaving much to be desired in the visual department.

"Sooooo, is she here or whut?" the woman asked.

How odd, the accent. "Who?"

"Xena! Warrior Princess!" the woman exclaimed.

"Well, she's...umm... sleeping"

"Ya know, I just luv her."

Gabrielle nodded. "Yeah, me to."

"Isn't she the greatest? Ya gotta luv the leatha, those gorgeous eyes, who could forget those impossibly long legs, butt kicking sword, and the round thing....veeerrryy cool."

"Cool? Well actually it's-"

"I mean, the jumpin, kickin, acrobatics" The woman jabbed her in the gut. "I mean, it's a good thing she's got underwear, cause it could get interustin'. Course that skirt you're wearing, guess you don't jump, eh?"

"Actually, I don't then..I guess-"

"Yeah, there, ya see, I knew it. I knew it!"

"Umm, yes well-"

"So you're the tight little number that rides with the leather queen, right?"

"Actually I-"

"Figured as much. So, what's it like doing it with a leather princess?" She winked and nudged her in the abs again, nearly taking her wind with it.

"Excuse me, I don't think-"

"Dominatrix figure. Ya gotta luv her, who couldn't?"

"Hey, she's-"

"S & M, girl wonder." Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

"She is not-"

"Sure, whatever you say, but we know betta, don't we folks."


"Oops, forgot I wasn't talkin to an audience."

"Who are you?" Gabrielle cried in exasperation.

"Name's Rosie. Rosie of York."

"How nice. Nice name. Very floral. So you're a bard then to?"

Rosie chuckled. "Bard, funny. No I'm a talka, askher, questiona. Inuendoer."

"Oh. So why then are you-"

"They've takin ova. Ya wouldn't believe." Rosie leaned into her suddenly whispering, her eyes darting back and forth.

"Who? Has taken-"

"Shhh! Not so loud! If they heearre!" Rosie screamed under her breath. "Jocks. Ya know..jocks."

"Jox?" Gabrielle repeated. Joxers? joxses?

"No, jocks!"

"Oh, jocks. Jocks?"

"Yeah, takin ova," she whispered, leaning further into the bard nervously.

"Takin ova?"

"Yeah, artsies are getting ousted, that evil bitch Martina has us all sucking wind big time. I mean who knew? Tell me this..did I see it coming?"

"Martina," the bard repeated, working this over in her mind.

"Yeah, tennis bitch, muscular, in shape, calorie counter, the worse, let me tell ya."

"Tennis? Calorie?"

"What is with you honey? Grow up in some barn?"

"Well, actually-"

"Listen, can't talk, don't know if they're watchin..." Rosie's eyes got big.

"Watchin?" Gabrielle's eyes widened as well, as she began to nervously look out the door.

"Yeah, my mouth's got me dooin towel time, anotha slip up and.. well, we won't even go there."

Gabrielle swallowed. What could be worse, really? Was there worse? Yes, she supposed there was, but then those weren't even invented yet, thank the gods! "Won't go there," the bard agreed.

"Listen, meet me after the briefing...we'll talk then, but rememba...ya know nothin, and ya didn't hear it from me! Ya got that?"

"Rememba it."

"Bub-bye!" The woman gave her a large smile.

"Yeah.." Bub-bye? The bard closed the door and leaned her head against it. Why did everything have to be so complicated? Why couldn't they just hang out? Gods, she was getting tight already and she had yet to be briefed, what ever in Hades that meant.

Chapter 2


It's a world unlike anything I've ever seen

And as hard as I try

I can't seem to describe

Like a most improbable dream

Town Meeting Song

"Excuse *you* mind?" A woman growled at Gabrielle as she shoved passed her to get a better view of the podium.

Bitch. "Sorry," Gabrielle mumbled as she righted herself, having nearly dropped the large scrolled document she had been studying. It went on and on, and as obligated as she felt to peruse the entire scrolls she was starting to fade. She was a bard, never mind, and she was sure it would still take all her waking hours on this vacation to study it, and then some. A tension headache was already forming between her temples as it snaked down through her eyes and back again. And the heat from the crowd was leaving her breathless. She silently envied Xena sleeping peacefully back in the hut.

There was a general buzzing of nervous chatter while the group of what had to be over five hundred women anxiously milled around waiting for the coordinator to begin. Gabrielle looked up from her scrolls and scanned the crowd. There were women of all shapes and sizes, some with very short hair, almost nonexistent actually. It would appear she was one of the only women sporting a skirt and long hair. She pondered this.

"Hey, look!" a woman whispered from behind. "Lipstick lesbian."

Gabrielle's brow furrowed and she glanced back towards the crowd. A small band of warrior-looking women immediately looked elsewhere. Were they talking about her? Lipstick? Lesbian, lesbos? Isle of lesbos? Was this connected somehow, was this-

"Nice butt. Heard she travels with the leather queen," another whispered.

Gabrielle's eyes widened.

"Quads look workable though...perhaps she's not a true lip-"

A loud tapping on the podium stopped everyone's musings. "Attention!" Tess bellowed, tap, tap. "Attention!"

Gabrielle watched Tess pull out a loud talking thing. Nice butt? Well, Xena had said...

"This debriefing is now in session," Tess cried, her low booming voice echoing through the large meeting room. "All rise."

"We're already standing," someone called out.

"Right. Cutbacks. Forgot." Tess puffed up and readied herself. "Now, listen up grrls, cause I will not be repeating myself. Failure to adhere to soon aforementioned rules will be an immediate revokal of island privileges, and the remainder of your stay will be spent in waste disposal, " she warned with a toothy grin.

A quiet hush descended on the crowded room.

"Now, as most of you know, the island is in transformation," Tess explained. "As you may have noticed on your way in from the boat, new sporting complexes are well under way, *and* I might add, near completion. There will be a naming ceremony on the tennis complex immediately after this session and you are welcome to participate, though your suggestions will not factor into the actual naming. While this is still a democratic island, all important decisions will still be decided upon by a small powerful few that would include myself, of course." Tess puffed proudly. "But remember, though your suggestions are not considered, we are still considerate of your suggestions and will file them accordingly as stated in section 246, paragraph 3, item 12 of our document. If you could just turn to this now."

There was a shuffling of paper as everyone attempted to turn to said page.

"Anybody know what *tennis* is?" Gabrielle whispered to the women closest to her as she fumbled with her impossible document. She was starting to sweat. It was as hot as Tartarus in here. A grumbling of hushes and quiets were uttered from the closest women. Gabrielle frowned, wiping the perspiration from her brow and continued to search, in vain, for the page. Gods, she should have taken Xena up on that offer for an orgasm, as she really was beginning to tighten here. Perhaps they could swim to shore, set up a campfire and make wild and passionate love under the stars just as they had when they-

"You!" Tess bellowed, pointing towards the crowd. "Red!"

Gabrielle swallowed.

"No fantasizing during the briefing!" Tess warned.

"Umm..sorry…," Gabrielle replied weakly as she averted the many eyes that were suddenly upon her.

"Now, as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted," Tess glared, "if you could all now turn to page 349 of the second section, these are the rules that must be strictly adhered to. Rule number one: All food eaten on the island must contain no animal or animal byproducts. Only politically correct food will be tolerated. The body is a vessel that must be cleansed, and cleansed it will be when we've finished with you. BTW, we're having a blowout sale on colon therapy this week. Highly recommended. Anyway, all meals will be eaten in the communal tent, no nibbling in the huts, no crackers in bed. Is this clear?"

A hushed, mumbled agreement came from the crowd, and a few gasps from the meat eaters.

"Good. Rule number two: No S&M activities will be tolerated outside of the S&M section of huts. Unsure of where this is located, Red here can show you." Tess pointed at Gabrielle, who immediately turned a deep shade of crimson. "Rule number three: All artsies must report to the main area to sign in as we need to monitor their whereabouts at all times so as to limit the amount of overt and covert artistic expression as this goes against the prime directive of this island-"

"Wait!" Gabrielle piped up. Everyone turned to look at her and she immediately wilted. "Umm, I thought this was the home of the poet Sappho. I was kinda hoping I would get to..."

The crowd burst into a gale of laughter and Gabrielle nearly shrunk a foot in height.

Tess turned to an assistant near the podium. "Put Red here down for a warning ticky boo for mentioning the name. Now, as I was saying, all artsies will be monitored by trackers to ensure NO unnecessary singing, storytelling, drawing, painting, doodling, *fantasizing*, " Tess looked over at Gabrielle. " As this could be considered prebardial mental prep, no sculpting, finger painting and so on will occur outside of a structured and controlled environment. You will be allotted no more than ten minutes a day weekdays, fifteen on weekends, and for each minute spent in such activities a disproportionate factor of ten will be required in volunteer assignments in the gaming tents."

Sweat was beginning to pour off the bard now, and she kept attempting to wipe it away. Her document was beginning to get soggy in her hands. She listened as the woman went on and on, careful not to think about sex again in case another *ticky boo?* went against her. Gods, if this didn't end soon she was going to pass out for sure. By the gods, she was going to be tracked! Artsie?? Artsie?? She could barely breathe...she really needed to lie down...just how hot was this place??..she really needed to crawl away from this Tartarus gathering...she really

The bard went down in a heap and the crowd parted in collective shock.


All the counselors hate the waiters,

And the lake has alligators.

And the head coach wants no sissies,

So she reads to us from something called Ulysses.

Take me home..oh mudda fadda, take me home...

Hello Mudda, Hello Father (A letter from Camp)

Xena's eyes opened. She was staring at an unfamiliar ceiling and for a split second she panicked Then her memory flooded back and she smiled, stretching her long legs, her arms reaching back over her head as she replayed her last waking moments with Gabrielle. She propped herself up on her elbows and surveyed the room, a tad disappointed that the bard was not there. A warmth spread across her heart at the thought of her love as she was feeling refreshed and anxious to see her. She got up, lifted the sheet from her naked form and wandered over to the table near the window that held a basin. She threw water on her face, enjoying the refreshing cool against her skin. Now where would Gabrielle have gone? Something about a brief-

A knock came at the door.

Xena walked over and opened it. Her eyes widened and her heart lurched. A big woman was holding an unconscious Gabrielle in her arms! "What happened?!"

"Passed out," the woman replied. "Here." She shoved her into Xena's outstretched arms. "Tell her when she wakes she's down for two ticky boos will you?...Furkin artsies…," she grumbled under breath and turned to leave.

Xena's mouth hung open in the doorway for a few more seconds before she shook herself out of shock. She looked down at her lover who was drenched in sweat. What in Hades? She closed the door with her foot and carried her over to the bed where she lay her down gently. She quickly got up and went over to the basin, picked it up and carried it back with her. She seated herself beside the fallen bard, grabbed a cloth, soaked it in the water and began wiping her face, which was still hot to the touch. Gabrielle stirred under her touch, moaning softly. "Gabrielle?" Xena called. The bard seemed to respond to her voice and her eyelids fluttered. Xena took a relieved breath. "Hey you.." Xena spoke softly to her as Gabrielle opened her eyes, locking onto the warrior's concerned look.

"Gods, Xena…," Gabrielle mumbled as she slowly regained consciousness. "I had this nightmare..."

"You did? You alright," Xena paused, bracing herself, "sweetie?"

"I'm a little tired..." Gabrielle smiled up at her. "It was really weird, there were these women and they were gathered around me and taunting me about these rules, and ticky boos and quads and artsie tracking and.."

"Oh, apparently you have two ticky boos now. Does that mean anything to you?" Xena asked worriedly.

Gabrielle shot up into a seated position, clutching the warrior's arms. "It wasn't a dream???"

"What wasn't?"

"We're on an island?" Gabrielle asked weakly.

"Yes... we... are. The...Isle...of...Lesbos..." Xena spoke slowly. Perhaps the heat had affected her more deeply.

"By the gods!" Gabrielle collapsed back down on the bed.

Xena put her hand on the bard's forehead. She didn't appear feverish but she wasn't taking any chances. "Lie still," Gods, "Hon."

Gabrielle shot into a seated position again, grabbing the warrior's arms harder this time. "Xena, we have to get off this island. *NOW*"

"Calm down Gabrielle." Xena tired to soothe her. "You passed out, and you're just a little confused-"

"NO! No confusion!" the bard cried. "You gotta get me out of here. NOW! I'm an artsie and they're gonna get me! I'm an artsie, Xena! An artsie!!!"

The warrior gently pushed the bard back down on the bed, holding her there. "Gabrielle, relax. This is a vacation. You are going to be fine. You are with me, and I have no idea what you're talking about, but nothing bad will happen to you." Xena's brow furrowed. Artzees? Perhaps this was a delayed reaction to the stress of the last few weeks. After all, they had been to Tartarus and back and the bard had held up remarkably well, perhaps too well. She picked up the cloth and began to dampen her lover's forehead. "Just rest. You're going to be fine."

Gabrielle swallowed and closed her eyes, letting the gentle touch of her lover's hand calm her. "We really got to get..."

"Shh," Xena whispered. "Breathe deeply and calm, Gabrielle. You overheated and you're not thinking straight."

Gabrielle complied and breathed deeply, letting Xena's voice work it's way through her muscles, as they slowly relaxed. She opened her eyes and looked up pleadingly at the warrior. "Can we leave in the morning then?"

Xena shook her head. "The boat is gone and won't be back for a week. It would take us twice that long to paddle back." She chuckled. "Gabrielle, it's okay to have a vacation. It's okay, really."

"What if we paddled through the night as well...would it be faster?"

Xena was truly starting to worry now. "Gabrielle, you're overreacting."

"You weren't at the briefing Xena!" Gabrielle cried. "It was horrible. , There were the jocks and the artsies and there was this huge document..." The bard looked around the room wildly. "Where is it? Where's the document!!!??? If I don't memorize-"

"Calm." Xena gently pushed the bard back down. Joxs? "We'll talk later. Rest."

"Rest?" Gabrielle replied weakly.

Xena nodded. "Lie still, (pause) hon."

Gabrielle smiled. "You know, you don't have to use it."

"No, really, it's fine. I'll get used to it, really I will.."

Finally the bard relaxed somewhat and allowed the warrior to sponge her face with the cool compress. "Did you know you're adorable?"

Xena relaxed as the bard did, running the cloth down her neck and shoulders. "No, I didn't." She smiled and lay the cloth down and untied the bard's top, releasing her breasts. The warrior picked up the cloth and swept it down her front, running her thumbs across her nipples. "Better?"

"Yes," Gabrielle gasped, as a shiver swept down her body and into her groin. Then she looked worriedly at Xena. "Do you think it's okay to think about sex all the time?"

"Very okay." Xena grinned down at her. "As long as it's with me."

The bard nodded seriously. "Just checking." Then she gasped again as the warrior squeezed both nipples hard with her strong hands. "Gods…Xena…that's…"

"Very okay." The warrior smiled and dipped the cloth back in the basin, her eyes never leaving her lover who was watching her intently now. She placed the cold compress on the bard's stomach, who flinched slightly from the coolness and then savored it as the warrior moved the cloth in a circular motion around her hard abdomen. The bard's breath quickened with each stroke.

Despite the cool compress Gabrielle was beginning to warm, and it was spreading outward from her loins. She gazed at her love as she gently stroked her, mesmerized by her beauty. Just looking at her sent shivers down her spine at the thought of making passionate love with her, anywhere, anytime - like right now. "Xena?"


"Do you think we could…?"

"Yes." Xena smiled down at her enthusiastic lover. "That's what vacation is all about…didn't I tell you?"

"No, you never said, and I was beginning to think the whole vacation thing was too stressful, I mean...if I…"

"Hush." The warrior put her finger on the bard's lips and leaned down to cover them with a sensual kiss that immediately quieted the bard's further panicked thoughts.


"Who let her on the boat?" the woman asked, irritation evident in her brow as she reached over with her hand and swung hard at the ball, making a loud smacking sound.

"Well she had the dinars and…" Tess replied defensively, standing further back and out of harm's way.

"We're too close to finalization on this deal and I can't afford any slip ups," the woman spat with growing irritation as she ran past Tess and swung hard again, sending the ball back over the net. It made a loud whomp on contact.

"What threat could she possibly pose to us?" Tess ducked a returning ball, nearly going down on her knees.

"She's a meddler, do-gooder, sympathizer." Smack went the ball, back again. A thin sheen of sweat covered the woman’s hardened muscular features.

"She's a warrior Martina!" Tess retorted. "Not an artsie!"

"But she travels with one." Whomp!

"Well she's got abs and quads...I think she's convertible…"

"Never!" Martina cried, as she smacked the ball harder than necessary, sending it sailing far over the net and nearly out of bounds. "There's no such thing as a half-breed! If she's got artsie tendencies..." Whomp! "…she's an artsie!"

Tess frowned . "I'll put her on waste duty then. She's already got two ticks as it is. One more and she's slinging-"

"DOWN!" Martina cried as the racquet sailed by Tess's head, making hard contact with the ball.

"Shit!" Tess cried, as she nearly lost the top of her head.

"Well I'm holding you personally responsible." Whomp! "Anything happens and you'll be slinging-" Martina swung hard, but the ball grazed the racquet and veered to the right and out of bounds. "SHIT!"

Tess's eyes widened.

Chapter 3


You can't always get what you want.

But if you try sometime, yeah,

You just might find you get what you need!

Rolling Stones

Quiet moans filled the afternoon air as Gabrielle drank in the sensations of Xena's lips on her body. The warrior was kissing her everywhere and she was floating in the feel of it. "Wow .. that's"

"Mmm…" Xena nodded as she let her mouth work it's way back and forth across her lover's tender shoulders, enjoying the taste of her skin on her tongue as she gently nipped at the most sensitive parts. She was feeling the most relaxed she had in months. She could hardly believe it; the extreme tension that had covered her for the longest while was finally dissipating. She continued to work her way down towards her lover's chest, who was eagerly awaiting her soft lips. The feel of Gabrielle's delicate skin against her tongue was washing away everything. This quiet act of giving was cleansing her very soul as she lost herself in the warm heat of her love's rising passion.



"I've changed my mind about..." Gabrielle gasped as the warrior took her nipple in her mouth, pulling teasingly on it. "…'s...kinda..." gasp, "ok…once…gods…you…"

"Um hmm." Xena nodded into her lover's skin.


Two pairs of eyes widened, then narrowed.

"Don't answer it!" Gabrielle whispered pleadingly at her lover.

Knock, KNOCK.


The warrior looked at Gabrielle for further instructions. The bard finally sighed in exasperation and gave the nod towards the door.

Xena reluctantly rose naked, and walked towards the door.

"Xena!" Gabrielle cried. "Your clothes!!"

The warrior just shrugged, too irritated to bother, and opened the door. She nearly jumped back a foot.

"XENA!!! WARRIOR PRINCESS!!!!" the crowd cheered!

Xena's eyes widened and she recovered just in time to catch her jaw before it dropped. She scanned the group of women. There must have been at least two hundred, maybe more. A tough looking warrior crowd, and they had her surrounded. She suddenly felt very exposed. "Yes?"

"OH GREAT WARRIOR, YOU ARE OUR IDOL!!" they cried in unison.

Hades. "That's, um, very nice. Listen, I was just-"


"Well, unfortunately, you see, I'm-"


"That's nice…really…great, but you see-"

"IT'S IN YOUR HONOR! WE'VE ORGANIZED IT JUST FOR YOU!!!!" they cried enthusiastically.

"Terrific." Pause. "Just a moment." She closed the door and turned towards Gabrielle. "Umm, sweetie?"

"Go." Gabrielle cried in exasperation and flopped back down on the bed.

"I couldn't, really-"

"Just put some clothes on first." Gabrielle sighed, staring up at the ceiling.

"Are you sure?"


"I won't be long...I promise."



The chakrum whizzed by the spectators and they instinctively leaned back, though they needn't have. It continued on, caroming off the five barrels erected in the ring, making a sharp right turn and slicing through seven sword tips as if they were butter, spiraling round an iron pole, making three rotations and then springing back high into the air where a certain expert hand grabbed it triumphantly. The crowd immediately broke into loud, boisterous cheering.

Xena blushed every slightly, a tiny grin forming at the corner of her mouth.

"That was MAGNIFICENT!" a short stocky built woman exclaimed, coming up behind the warrior.

"Well, it was nothing… Really," Xena said quietly.

"Nothing! Well, that was *some* nothing!" she cried, turning to the crowd. "Wasn't that great!"

The crowd roared again and began to chant. "Xena. Xena. XENA! XENA!!!"

By the gods. The warrior silently cringed. How long had it been exactly since she was gone now? How long before she was in some serious...


Gabrielle tapped her fingers on the night stand while she tried to control a burning irrational rage that had begun only moments after Xena had headed off with the crowd. However, it was well past the burning point now and was working its way into a full blown inferno. She breathed deeply and got out of the bed, walking towards the window in the hopes of calming herself. She had absolutely no real reason to be angry, yet there it was, a white hot flame with no direction to vent its excruciating heat. Gods, she really needed to do something here, as this situation was not getting any better. She walked over to where her purse lay and grabbed it, bringing it with her to the bed. She rummaged around in search of her amazon clothes. She would don them and walk right into that Tartarus arena and show a certain warrior princess just where her attention should truly be focused. Hades, there was too much stuff in here. Where was that Tartarus... Gabrielle paused as her hand wrapped around something familiar. She got a far away look on her face, as if deep in thought, and then a wicked grin began at the corners of her mouth and spread itself across her very being.


"Get the blindfold GET THE BLINDFOLD!!! Do it Xena. Do it XENA!!!" the crowd chanted.

Xena sighed. Just this one more and that would be it. Gods, what time was it? She braced herself and faced the crowd. "Do it." And they came over with the cloth to cover her eyes.


Of course, it wasn't truly evil if it was for the right reasons, was it? Gabrielle worked this over in her mind. I mean, if you thought about it deeply enough, you could really say that, in fact, it was a good thing under the right circumstances. If you used it more as a communication device, really, as opposed to an instrument of torture, then it could actually be quite a handy tool to add to their collection. Satisfied that she had rationalized it enough, she readied herself. Now let me see, if I start with the arms...


"We’ll need a volunteer from the audience!" the assistant cried.

"ME!! ME!! PICK ME!! PICK ME!!" the crowd roared. The burly assistant headed into the stands and grabbed a medium-sized, stocky warrior who eagerly came running down to take her place.

Xena frowned. Why did she get the feeling she was already in deep trouble. It hadn't been fair, really, the way she'd left her young love so pent up back in the hut. And Gabrielle did not function well when denied. She was learning this quickly, though she'd already suspected as much, given the bard’s energetic personality that always managed to find trouble when she was bored. Xena pondered this.

"We're ready, oh Great Warrioress!" the assistant called out to her as she finished positioning the volunteer beside Xena. "Ok, she's just a tad taller than your girlfriend if you need to know where her head is located."

"I don't."

"Wouldn't want to lop it off if you miss...heh…heh…" The crowd burst into laughter.

"I never miss." Xena smiled, then readied herself. She judged the distance of the woman to be two feet to her right from the pattern and intensity of her breathing, that and the beating of her heart. She chuckled inwardly as both the heart and lungs had quickened in the last few seconds in anticipation of the toss. She instinctively clutched her chakrum tighter and readied her throw. She was slightly taken back by a tingling in her arms as they began to warm. Perhaps the arena was heating up from the crowd? She turned to the volunteer with a wicked grin. "Any last words?"

The crowd went completely silent. Only the gasp from the volunteer was heard.


Rationalization is a funny thing, Gabrielle thought as she fondled the little arms. In fact, if you got right down to it, it was an art form in itself really. For a panicked split second, Gabrielle froze. Could it be considered covert artistic expression? And if so, how many minutes had passed? Then she broke from her paranoia, shaking her head and chuckling to herself. Gabrielle, you are over the edge today, simply over the edge girl. She looked down at the xena doll. Hmmm, it was time to attempt something a tad more daring.


The chakrum flew with lightning speed towards the barrels, caroming off each one, making a distinct pinging sound that Xena could count and calculate. It flew off the last barrel and headed for the new set of swords that had been erected only moments ago. Xena listened to the tiny slicing sounds as it cut its way through ten swords and headed for the pole. It came in hard contact and began its spin around and Xena smiled inwardly as she had thrown it a tad harder to ensure a quadruple spin for added effect. She was rewarded as a collective 'awww' came from the crowd. The chakrum made its last rotation and catapulted towards the volunteer. Xena was about to raise her hand to grab it when an incredible surge of intense heat spread from her core. By the gods, she felt as if... Her mouth hung open and she instinctively dropped her hand as her knees began to give way.

The crowd gasped as it appeared the warrior was going down!

Hades! Xena heard the sound of the chakrum as it neared, and in a last ditch effort she dove forward, extending her hand out to catch it a minuscule second before it lopped off the unfortunate's head. She landed down in a heap as a sharp pain spread up from her hand. That joined with a greater heat that was nearly unbearable, coming from her center. She rolled and jumped to her feet as she lifted off her blindfold and looked around.

The crowd burst into a huge cheer! The warrior had made it appear as if she were to fail and then in an incredible display of showmanship, had beat the odds. They were exhilarated, and once again began to chant her name.

Xena swallowed while giving her hand a quick nonchalant glance. Her eyes widened only slightly as she saw the thin trail of blood oozing its way out of her closed fist that still clutched the chakrum She quickly hid it. The assistant came up and slapped her hard on the back. She smiled weakly, but her mind was racing. What the?... It was taking all of her warrior wall to remain stoic-looking at the moment, while she worked over the possibilities in her brain. Poison arrow? Fever? Dementia? Gods, it felt as if she were about to... But that was insane. Gabrielle wasn't even in the arena. Never mind... Never...never... Then Xena's eyes narrowed.


Vacation in Tartarus - Part 2

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