Disclaimers: Xena and Gabrielle belong to Renaissance Pictures and Studios USA.
This is a little piece of fan fiction that I wrote when I couldn't sleep. It popped into my head and wouldn't go away.
Subtext: There be subtext here but nothing that you can't read to a child. It's just a love between two people who happen to be the same gender, but nothing goes on. No hanky panky, no kissing, nada. Sorry.
I would like to thank my grammar teacher Sword 'n' Quill for going over this. I fell asleep during English class when grammar was discussed...at least SnQ paid attention :-)
No Strings Attached
"He's doing it again!" an exasperated Gabrielle said as she ran her hand through her hair. "Xena, I can't stand this!"
Xena looked at her companion and scowled. "Well I did say no strings..."
Gabrielle stopped in mid swing and glared at the warrior. "YOU told him that?"
Xena looked down at her boots and wondered how she had gotten into this mess. She did know, that if her memory had been intact, she would never have told him to let Gabrielle know that he loved her. Thank the Gods he hadnt heard her say that he could just kiss the girl to make his feelings known.
"He caught me at a bad time," Xena admitted.
"Bad time? When?"
"I didn't have my memory Gabrielle...it was a bad time," Xena said, trying to excuse her actions.
"You didn't remember my love for you? Is that it?" Gabrielle asked accusingly.
Xena was caught. "I...um...yes, I did, but..."
Gabrielle looked at her partner and sighed loudly. Shed known that Joxer had a crush on her but shed never realised how deep his feelings were. At least that explained why he was always following them around and why he was currently giving her that puppy dog look which she absolutely despised.
She sighed again and turned her attention back to her partner. "You are going to have to tell him to back off or else."
"I can't do that, Gabrielle..."
"You can fight dozens of men at the same time and fight gods into submission, but you can't tell ONE man that I'm taken....Did I get that right? Where are the many skills?"
"Coddling a love sick warrior wannabe isn't one of them," Xena muttered.
"Xena, it's your fault!"
"No it's not!"
"Yes it is," Gabrielle replied, practically yelling at the sulking warrior. "You could have told him that I was taken, that I'm in love with you and no one else, and that I don't like threesomes! Now you go over there and get him to back off."
Xena turned around and found Joxer still giving Gabrielle a starry eyed look. She sighed. "It's going to break his heart," she muttered as she began walking towards him.
Joxers gaze ripped away from Gabrielle as he realised that Xena was approaching him.
"Hey," she called out.
"Hi Xena," Joxer said, ripping his gaze away from Gabrielle, knowing hed been caught gazing at Gabrielle. His face began to redden, before an idea struck him. "I was just watching you two to get some tips..yeah that's it. I really enjoy watching you two, Xena. You know, you and Gabrielle are..." He stopped when he noticed the scowl that had appeared on Xena's face.
"Joxer, do you remember back when we came back ... after ..."
"Yeah of course! The worst time of my life!" he admitted.
"It wasn't pleasant for me either..." Xena said, looking over at Gabrielle, who had begun grooming Argo. She turned back to the hapless warrior wannabe. "You remember when you asked for my advice about Gabrielle..."
"Yeah, and I don't think I thanked you for that..."
Xena attempted a smile but it came out a grimace. "Yeah, well about that..."
"I'm going to give her some flowers and I've been working myself up to ask her ..."
"Maybe not ask her out, because I guess we are already out..."
"Listen Joxer...I don't do sensitive chats, so I'm going to say this once..."
"Don't tell me!" Joxer sat down triumphant. Finally! he thought, Xena is going to tell me Gabby loves me but doesn't know how to tell me herself. Finally!
"Okay I'm listening," Joxer said as he took off his hat, looking expectantly at Xena.
Xena sighed. She had no idea how shed gotten herself into this. It would be easier to kill him than have to explain. She entertained the thought for a moment before acknowledging that Gabrielle wouldnt approve at all. Returning to reality, she looked at the expectant and overeager puppy dog face that stared up at her in anticipation.
"She loves me doesn't she...that's why she sent you over!" Joxer suddenly exclaimed.
"Oh Gods," the warrior muttered. "Listen Joxer, when I told you to go and tell her you loved her, did you hear the last bit about I said, about no strings?"
"I meant that, Joxer," she cut in.
"You also said to go and kiss the girl, but I didnt think that would work!" Joxer shot back.
Xena groaned. She had been sure that Joxer hadnt hear that part. She was suddenly very glad that he hadnt taken that piece of advice to heart, otherwise shed the serious trouble she was already in would be much worse.
"Listen Joxer, Gabrielle loves me..." Xena stated simply.
"Of course she does Xena. Youre best buddies. Warrior chums!"
Xena scowled, before turning and striding over to where Gabrielle was absent-mindedly brushing Argo. Joxer watched her go, a confused look on his face.
"You go and tell him,"she spat at the bard, taking Argo's reins and mounting the horse. "Either tell him or kill him," she shot over her shoulder as she rode away from her partner and the clueless warrior wannabe.
"Wimp," Gabrielle called back, before turning and walking back to where Joxer still sat with his hat in his hands.
"Joxer..." she blurted out.
"I know, Gabby...I know what you are going to tell me," he said, and she realised he was attempting to look shy and demure.
"You do?" Gabrielle exclaimed, hopeful that Xena had actually gotten through to him.
"Yes, and even though I've waited a long time for this, its been worth it" he said excitedly, jumping up to pull her into a hug.
Gabrielle wriggled free of his embrace, trying not to physically hurt him in the process. "Joxer, what exactly did Xena say?"
"Xena didn't really have to say anything - I knew what she was trying to tell me," he replied.
"Yep, I did. And you know, we can go off to Athens and you can study there at the Academy and I can do my warrior thing. Itll be perfect."
Gabrielle groaned. "Joxer, listen to me," she said firmly.
"Sure, Gabby". He smiled and sat down again. The grin never leaving his face.
Gabrielle looked at him. "Joxer, I don't want to hurt you, but I don't feel THAT way about you."
"You don't love me?"
"I love you..."
"You DO love me?!"
"As a friend, Joxer," Gabrielle said quietly, watching his face go from joyous to crestfallen.
"Joxer, you are a dear friend but I love someone else."
"Who?" Joxer muttered, not even bothering to look up at her.
Gabrielle sighed. She couldn't understand how Joxer could miss the love she had for Xena. She thought it was blatantly obvious. "Joxer, I love Xena."
Joxer looked up. He knew they were best friends and wasnt sure how that prevented her from loving him. "You do?"
"Yes, I do. So you see..."
"As buddies right?
"No, as soulmates, Joxer."
"Then why did she give me that advice?" he asked, confused.
"Because she wasn't herself," Gabrielle muttered.
"So you don't love me?" he asked plaintively.
"Like I told you, not in THAT way."
"Right," Joxer made a face like he had just eaten something bad. He put his hat back on his head as he stood up, before a look of resolve crossed his face. "You know, given time I think you can learn to love me," he said.
"Joxer..." Gabrielle replied, exasperated.
He held up his hand to silence her protests. "Look Gabby, like I said, no strings. You take your time. I'll be around, and Ill wait until then."
"It's alright, Gabrielle," he cut in. He leaned down and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek, then turned and walked away from the camp.
Gabrielle rolled her eyes and sighed as she watched his retreating back. Somedays she wished for a less-complicated life.
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