Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle and all other character who have appeared in the syndicated series are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Saras is the property of B L Miller, who kindly loaned her to me for this story. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers and copyright notices.
LOVE/SEX WARNING DISCLAIMER:
This story graphically depicts a love/sexual relationship between two consenting adult women. If you are under 18 years of age or if this type of story is illegal where you live, please do not read it. If depictions of this nature disturb you, stop now, save yourself the time and aggravation. There are many stories out there to choose from.
As far as Xena goes, the violence is minimal.
Fits rather snugly into the Lust/Comfort category.
SEQUEL ALERT: This story is a shameless (trust me on this) sequel to "The Enchantment?". Although I never intended a follow up, here it is. Never say never. Many parts of this story will make more sense if you read the first one.
You can find it at - http://xenite.simplenet.com/fanfic/enchantment.html
NOTE: Thanks to B L Miller for her valuable input. I would also like to thank my partner, Pam for her infinite patience and support. After ten years, she still smiles when our eyes meet. I welcome comments or constructive criticism at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gabrielle was practically euphoric. She wanted to pull Xena from her horse and kiss her passionately. It was all she could do to restrain herself. The memories of their incredible love making enveloped her. Teeming with energy, she twirled, gazing at the vivid blue that filled the sky. It paled in comparison to her companions eyes. She felt as if she could conquer the world. Her dream had come true: the warrior was hers. She marveled at the very thought. Her appreciation for life had increased tenfold. Her world had new intensity; it was bathed in a sensual glow that was Xena.
The warrior rode a few yards ahead on Argo, lost in her thoughts. She was stunned by the recent turn of events. The young woman who had come to represent the one constant in her world had thrown her completely off balance. Xenas world had tilted. The scene, though familiar, had changed. She longed for the stability she had come to associate with the bard. It was something she had never known until the young woman came into her life. It kept her grounded. In fact, it was the young womans friendship that saw her through the difficult times, giving her direction, keeping her on course. It was a delicate balance that now seemed askew. Suddenly, the mere act of traveling down the rode together felt eerily different.
As they made their way to the Amazon village, Xena could not help but wonder what affect their romantic involvement would have on their friendship. The past haunted her. Each time she had taken a lover to her bed, she had experienced the sting of betrayal. In her heart, she knew Gabrielle was different. Still, this new, unknown element worried her. Their relationship had left the safe confines of friendship and was now in uncharted territory. Not since their earliest days together had she questioned the bards love and respect; she had no reason to. Gabrielle proved herself with countless gestures every day. But, they had taken it one step further. Things had changed. Gabrielle had made it more than clear that she not only loved the warrior but truly desired her.
Her heart quickened as she remembered Gabrielles unrestrained display of passion. She was an incredibly giving lover, taking the warrior to heights she hadnt thought possible. No matter how her practical side balked at the problems ahead, she knew in her heart there was no turning back. Her love for Gabrielle outweighed her concerns. Coupled with the bards own declaration of love, the rational part of her mind didnt stand a chance. For the first time since she had left her violent past behind, she allowed herself to be ruled by the physical and the emotional. It was wonderfully liberating to set her reservations aside and listen to her heart and her body, a body that now carried the imprint of the young womans affections in every cell. Her skin burned with the memory of the bards touch. The knowledge that she had experienced only a taste of the pleasures that lay before them heightened her excitement. She wanted more. Her body screamed for it, so loudly that it drowned out any arguments she presented to the contrary.
Xena was caught up in her thoughts and hadnt noticed that Gabrielle was uncharacteristically quiet. Suddenly aware of the silence, she brought Argo to a stop and looked back at the young woman. Gabrielle beamed up at her. The purity of emotions that played across the bards face pierced the warriors heart. Xena found herself so affected by the genuine display that she did not attempt to conceal her own feelings. She smiled lovingly at her companion.
Gabrielle came forward, stopping alongside Argo. She placed her hand on the bare skin of Xenas leg and looked deep into the warriors eyes, questioningly. "Do you want to stop?"
The question was innocent enough, but Xena found herself wondering if there was a hidden meaning in her tone, her touch. She found herself hoping there was. She experienced a dizzying excitement at the realization that the friend she thought she knew so well, had another side, a side that was a complete mystery to her. There was much more to her companion than she had ever imagined. This aroused her, threw her further off balance.
Gabrielles eyes locked intimately with Xenas. Something unexplored in their depths called to the warrior. The tingling of her skin caused her attention to shift to the bards hand, resting lightly on her thigh. She was captivated by the strength and tenderness of the young womans hands, flooded by the memories of what they could do. The feel of Gabrielles warm fingers on her upper thigh made her heart hammer. It was impossible to ignore the sensations she was experiencing.
"Xena, is everything all right?" Gabrielle feigned confusion, but it was obvious that the warrior was plagued with desire and her struggle to control it. Gabrielle recognized that look, even though she had seen it for the first time only recently. The knowledge that she could have such an effect on the warrior thrilled her. She felt the muscles in her belly tighten and curl as a warm glow radiated through her.
"Yeah, I..." She stopped speaking when she felt the bards fingers caressed her sensitive skin, causing a ripple of pleasure to course through her body. She wanted this woman... desperately. The warrior scanned the area for a secluded spot. Unfortunately, the terrain was wide open and could not offer any protection.
The bards fingers continued to move along her thigh, slowly exploring. The warrior quickly placed her hand over the smaller one impeding its progress. Xena cleared her throat. "We should keep going if we want to find a good place to camp before nightfall." The heat of the bards skin trapped between her hand and thigh was dizzying.
Gabrielle slowly removed her hand, a bit disappointed by the warriors gentle rebuff. "Okay, if you think its best."
Xena noticed the change in the bards tone. Her fingers traced Gabrielles jaw line, prolonging contact in an effort to temper her words. "I want to find a safe place for us."
Gabrielles face brightened. The warriors gentle caress spoke volumes. "Maybe we would make better time if I rode," she suggested.
The warrior was taken by surprise at the unusual request. "I thought you didnt like heights."
"Well, Ive been wanting to talk to you about that. Its... not entirely true." The bard looked a little chagrined by her confession.
"But , I thought..."
Gabrielle interrupted her. "It was uncomfortable for me being so close to you... your heat... the scent of your body.... the motion of .... well you know. I... I thought it would... reveal my feelings." Her cheeks flushed a lovely shade of pink.
"I see." The corners of Xenas mouth turned up playfully. "And you think you can handle it now, huh."
"Im willing to try, if you are." Gabrielles eyes sparkled as a sensual smile spread across her face. Xenas heart pounded as she scooted forward in the saddle and reached down to pull the bard up behind her.
Gabrielle settled close into Xenas back relishing the intimate contact. She wrapped her arms tightly around her lovers waist. "Mmmm, I think I could get used to this." Xena spurred Argo on, trying to focus on anything but the increase in the heat of her skin where the bards hands had drifted.
"I think Im going to like this... a lot," Gabrielle said happily. "I dont feel at all uncomfortable."
Xena swallowed hard, wishing she could say the same. She struggled to hold her rising libido at bay. "Maybe we should think of getting you your own horse."
The bard nuzzled her face into the warriors hair and inhaled deeply. "Mmm, but what fun would there be in that, kind of defeats the whole purpose."
"I thought the purpose was getting us from place to place."
"Maybe that used to be the purpose, but if we used our imaginations, Ill bet we could come up with something much more interesting." Xena felt the bards breasts rub seductively against her back and wondered if the bard was purposely trying to drive her wild.
She attempted to force the bards suggestive remarks from her mind, but failed. Her nearly uncontrollable passion for the bard concerned her. She feared a complete capitulation to her raw desire and how Gabrielle would react to it. She had not surrendered to her nature since she had given in to her lust for blood many years ago. The similarities frightened and excited her. The lustful heat that pumped through her now resembled what she experienced when the heat of battle coursed through her veins. The power had been like an aphrodisiac. She hoped that giving in to her desire would not cause her to spiral out of control, that her companions gentle nature would guide her, keep her in check.
She felt Gabrielles hand slide along her hip, then over her thigh. All lucid thought left her. The bards fingers rested casually between the warriors legs against her damp breeches. Xenas entire body went taut. She was completely focused on the soft pressure of the bards hand against her, of the mares gentle rolling gait and gradually her tension gave way to need. She was lost in the moment, and felt herself surrendering to her arousal. Her eyelids felt heavy. She teetered on the brink, between rational thought and desire, close to giving in to the sensations radiating through her.
Suddenly, Argo snorted, pulling her back. Immediately she was aware something was wrong. There was a subtle change in the air. She spoke in a warning tone. Her voice barely a whisper. "Gabrielle, down." She eased the bard off the horse and quickly dismounted beside her, drawing her sword. Gabrielle reached for her staff. It was quiet. Too quiet.
The warrior quickly spun around to face the voice that broke the eerie silence. "Ares dont you ever give up?"
He stood before her, smiling with his sword drawn. "Only if I see theres nothing to be gained. And with you, I know better." Xena cautiously watched the god of war and prepared to react. "Pity we were so rudely interrupted in the cave. The narcis berries were just beginning to work their magic on you." He smiled at the memory. "We were just getting to the good part."
"Speak for yourself," Xena responded angrily.
"Ahhh, if I had been the *first* to bring you to climax, you would be bonded to me for life. You would desire only me. It was a great plan. Such a shame to waste all that pent-up passion on this little girl. She could not begin to know what to do with it."
"Obviously you havent been paying attention." Xena replied bitingly.
"I must admit, I have been a little preoccupied with my memories of you." He grinned lewdly. "What a vision you were: writhing naked, consumed with lust. You were the picture of utter anguish: your face so beautifully tormented, so full of suffering. It was such fun torturing you that I could have gone on...."
Gabrielle felt her anger surge, red hot and insuppressible. It rose so quickly, she didnt think. She acted without hesitation. In one fluid motion she swung her staff and came up powerfully between the gods legs. Taken off guard, he buckled, surprised by the blow. Immediately, Gabrielle brought her staff down hard on his sword hand, causing the weapon to fly from his grasp, landing at her feet. She stepped over it placing herself between the god and his sword.
When Gabrielle spoke, her tone was firm, forthright. "I dont want trouble, but you should know that I will no longer stand by passively." Ares straightened, amazed that this small woman had separated him from his weapon. Yet, the look on his face was unreadable. Xena, stunned by the turn of events, prepared herself for the worst kind of trouble.
The bard was completely focused on her opponent. Xena could see the muscles in the young womans arms flexing with pent-up power. She was ready to back up her words. Gabrielle reiterated her sentiments so that there could be no misunderstanding. "Make no mistake, I wont stand by and let you take what is mine... ever again."
It was a challenge; Gabrielle had taken her stand. Ares had never so thoroughly underrated an opponent before. He studied her intently, sizing her up. He made no move to attack her, instead he inhaled deeply and stroked his beard.
He broke eye contact with the bard and looked to the warrior. "It seems I may have underestimated your companion." Xena allowed a smirk to tug at the corner of her mouth.
Ares laughed. "You always did have good taste, Xena. I never should have doubted that. It seems I may have enchanted the wrong woman. " He winked, baiting the warrior.
Xenas eyes narrowed menacingly. Ares raised his hands in supplication. "Just kidding, although now I must say, my interest is piqued."
He turned to face the bard. "Gabrielle, I do apologize and you have my word that I will not try to take Xena against her will again."
Gabrielle knew this was no great concession. She was sure Zeus had put Ares in his place for interfering in their lives. What mattered was that she had made her point, she would no longer stand by silently while he taunted her lover.
In an act of good faith, Gabrielle stepped behind the sword. A silent understanding passed between them. Ares bent to retrieve it. "As for my interference, all bets are off on that count." He smiled sinisterly at the bard. But his attempt at menace was ineffective. Gabrielle sensed the change in her relationship with the god-- the playing field had shifted. Their love had tipped the balance of power. He would not sever the thin thread holding Xena to him by harming Gabrielle. The consequences of such a break-- losing the warrior forever-- were unacceptable. At least for now, Ares had lost and he knew it.
He shook his head and arched a brow acknowledging the young womans nerve. "Xena, heed my warning: you have more at risk with this one, than you ever did from me." His image shimmered and slowly faded away.
Gabrielle turned to Xena, and the adrenaline drained from her leaving her weak. Xena took the bard tenderly in her arms, amazed at the young womans ability to continually surprise her. Gabrielle felt sure Xena would admonish her for putting them at such risk. She pulled back to search the warriors eyes for disapproval, but found only love.
"For what its worth, you earned Ares respect today." The bard looked down shyly, but the warrior continued. "No one in my life has ever stood up for me the way you did." Xena fought to keep the deeply felt emotion from her voice. "Gabrielle, Im proud that you have chosen to be with me." Holding her emotions in check, she turned and mounted Argo.
For once, it was Gabrielle who was speechless. She was keenly aware of a new dynamic in their relationship and she liked it. Her thoughts returned to Ares parting words. She walked to the warriors side. "Xena, what did Ares mean about you having more at risk with me than with him?"
Xena looked into the bards eyes and prepared to irrevocably surrender her heart. "Ares knows my love for you is absolute. He understands how vulnerable that leaves me... how you could..." She paused unable to voice her fear. "Its something he always wanted from me. Something I could never give to anyone... but you."
Gabrielle swallowed hard, not knowing what to say. Suddenly, she fully comprehended the power Xena had yielded to her. Her mind searched for words that would express what this meant to her, words that would instill trust and faith in the warrior. She could find none. The young woman struggled to find a way to tell the warrior that she would never abuse the gift she had been given, but the depth of her feelings rendered her mute. When she looked up, she found Xenas hand poised in the air before her, reaching for her. Their eyes met.
"I trust you Gabrielle... completely." The bard took her hand, the intensity of the moment threatened to unleash a torrent of emotion in the young woman. Sensing the bards struggle, Xena let a playful look cross her face and lifted an eyebrow.
"But... from now on... *you* ride in front." The warriors mischievous smile could not mask the moisture in her eyes.
Gabrielle laughed. "One slip of the hand and my seat gets changed?"
"You learn quickly... too quickly for me to think it was just a slip." Gabrielle could only smile in response.
Xena slid from the mare and gracefully lifted her partner into the saddle. She mounted behind, settling into a space too perfect to be described and gently urged Argo forward, the small woman firmly in her embrace. A peace settled over her with the realization that she would do whatever it took to keep their relationship intact. Xena was determined to make this work. Gabrielle reclined into the comfort of her lovers arms. They rode in silence for some time. Nothing more needed to be said.
Gabrielle had been lost in her thoughts for several candlemarks. Overnight, the world had become a new and infinitely more beautiful place for her. It was love and it was glorious. The romantic stories and ballads all had new meaning for her. The bard contemplated how this new perspective would enrich her writing. She was anxious to record her musings .
"I cant remember a more beautiful day, can you?" The bard said dreamily.
Xena smiled and inhaled deeply taking her companions scent into her. "Its a great day."
Gabrielle enjoyed seeing the warrior in such high spirits. "This riding thing is really working out well, dont you think?"
Xena had to admit she could not think of a time when she had a more pleasant ride. The gentle swaying of the bards body against her was wonderfully erotic, yet soothing. "Yes, Gabrielle, it is." The warrior was in fact, truly reveling in the closeness. It was difficult for her to focus on anything else. She tried to divert her attention from the sweet scent of young woman in front of her. "Youve been pretty quiet. Are you working on a new story?"
"Yeah, I should finish it by the time we reach the Amazon village."
"Mmm, the Amazons will like that. I know how much they enjoy sitting around the fire listening to your tales."
"Well, this piece isnt meant to be performed in front of a group. Its for a more... private audience."
"Oh." Xenas voice registered her surprise. It had never occurred to her that the bard would write about *that* part of their life together. But as she considered the idea, it seemed like the natural progression of things.
Curiosity got the better of her. "Whats it about?" she asked, trying to sound more disinterested than she was.
"Youll know soon enough. Id rather not tell you until Im finished. I want you to get the full effect."
Ever since she was a little girl, Xena hated secrets. She had become more patient with these things as an adult, but not much. As they rode on, the warrior could not help but speculate about the nature of the story.
"So, is this story based on your experience or is it fiction?"
Gabrielle was amused by the warriors obvious interest. "Like most of my stories, based on fact, but pumped up just a bit to make it more exciting."
Xena thought for a moment and pulled Argo to a stop. "If this story is not for a group, does it involve some of our more... ah... intimate moments?"
"Yeah,... kind of." The bard spoke cautiously.
"And you need to pump it up to make it more exciting?" Xenas voice was a little unsettled. She was beginning to take this personally.
Gabrielle smiled as she realized where the conversation was headed. "Well no, those parts are plenty exciting. I have to elaborate on the plot, thats all."
"Oh." Xena mulled this over as she spurred Argo on. "And just who... will your audience be?"
"If, I dont stop talking, Ill never finish and no one will hear it." Xena was not accustomed to being told to be quiet, albeit in a nice way. She felt shut out and a little wounded. It caused her to consider the many times she had asked her companion rather bluntly to be silent.
Gabrielle picked up on the warriors mood change and lightly caressed her thigh. "I didnt mean to be short with you. Im just anxious to organize my thoughts. Thats all." As was her way, Gabrielle handled her partner with a gentleness the warrior often took for granted.
Xenas mind drifted. She thought of the many nights they had spent together by the campfire and the pleasure she got from watching the bard scribe her stories. Gabrielles face went through a myriad of changes when she wrote. Each idea she had elicited a subtle alteration in her expression. Xena never tired of observing the bard at work, or any other time, for that matter. She wondered what small changes played across her lovers face now, as Gabrielle pondered their passionate interlude.
The warrior was becoming obsessed with this story. It was different from her others, probably the most private tale the bard had written. She wondered how Gabrielle would describe their love making. The young woman had a way of bringing her words to life. The notion intrigued and excited her.
Although Xena was anxious for the safety the Amazon village could provide, her desire to share her vast experience was becoming more and more difficult to ignore. The warriors hunger gnawed at her, weakening her resolve to put in a full day of traveling. She looked around desperately for an appropriate place where at last she could get her hands on the bard. There were so many things she could show her.
Xena wasnt the only one becoming aroused. At first, writing about her passion, had been a great outlet for Gabrielle. But, it also succeeded in heightening her desire. She longed to explore her lover more completely, to experience Xena with this new awareness using all of her senses. Gabrielle wasnt quite sure how to express this to the warrior. Her one attempt to get something started hadnt worked out that well. She decided that Xena probably preferred to do the initiating. There was so much she didnt know, so much she was anxious to learn. The thought of the many lessons yet to come thrilled her.
"This looks like a good place to make camp," the warrior declared. Gabrielle was surprised, but extremely grateful that Xena decided to stop so early in the day.
Xena dismounted and reached up to help Gabrielle down. As her hands gripped the bards bare midriff, she could feel the taut muscles flex beneath her fingers. Time stopped. The warriors awareness was limited to the young womans warm flesh, her sweet scent. Her senses were on overload. As Gabrielle slid down from Argo, Xena became painfully conscious of their close proximity, the softness of young womans skin. She fought her desire to tear the clothes from Gabrielles body and take her that instant. In a display of the utmost restraint, the warrior set her down and stepped back, suddenly frightened where her passion for the bard would lead.
Gabrielle released her breath in a heavy sigh. The air was thick with tension. She wanted Xena. It had taken every bit of effort she possessed not to seize the opportunity and pull the warrior to her. But, this was new to the bard. Having less experience, she hesitated, believing she should follow Xenas lead. Then, the moment had passed, replaced by a newfound awkwardness. She suspected that her partner was holding back, hesitant to let herself go. Gabrielle decided at that instant, her new mission would be to crumble the walls of her partners unwelcomed control. Thats where the story came in.
They easy fell into the routine of their chores. Xena went hunting while Gabrielle set up camp. In no time, two rabbits were being added to the contents of a thick stew. As the meal to cooked, they went about their individual tasks. Gabrielle wrote and Xena sharpened her weapons.
As she watched the bard working on her story, she couldnt help wondering what the evening would bring. Would Gabrielle want to be together, intimately? Maybe she was too tired or worse, not interested. She glanced at the bedrolls stacked near their saddlebags and wondered if Gabrielle would place them together. The thought of laying next to the bard, holding her through the night, every night, caused a wave of happiness to wash over her.
Xena was brimming with sexual tension. She wanted to make love to Gabrielle in the worst way. It was awkward to ask. She wasnt at all sure how to approach the subject. It had to be gentle, mutually desired. She feared she might intimidate her young lover. Xena knew a talk was in order and dreaded it. She waited for the right moment. It never seemed to come. She resolved to bring it up after dinner.
Gabrielle was totally involved in her writing. The warrior was restless, frustrated. She couldnt help but wonder why the bard chose not to share this story with her. She had always bounced her ideas off the warrior in the past. Xena hoped that hadnt changed. She was only now realizing how much she enjoyed being included in this part of the bards life. It was something she had taken for granted. A confirmation and reminder that their lives were intricately bound together.
Gabrielles fingers moved quickly, nimbly. Her hand slid silently across the parchment as she recorded her thoughts. She stopped momentarily touching the end of the quill to her lips. The wooden shaft rested lightly against the soft pink flesh. She lifted the quill and resumed writing, but Xenas eyes remained on the bards lips. A shiver ran through her as she watched the tip of the young womans tongue caress the silky surface, leaving it glistening with moisture.
Suddenly, the warrior could not wait until after they ate. "You know... its kind of an anniversary for us."
Gabrielle looked up from her work. "Have I forgotten something?"
"No, not exactly, its just... well... its our first day together as... a... couple."
Gabrielle looked up at the woman standing across from her. Xena was antsy as a cat. Her face was flush and Gabrielle could see that the warriors hands were trembling. The bard was delighted by Xenas unexpected sentimentality. It was a rare display that the young woman was determined to reward. The bard set her parchment and quill down and stood. "So what did you have in mind? Did you want to celebrate?" She asked coyly, feeling only a little guilty for teasing the warrior. Xena was so nervous that she hadnt even noticed the bards sly smile.
"Gods Gabrielle, Im no good at this." Xena took a deep breath and continued. "I only know that I havent been able to think of anything but you all day. I... want..." The warriors voice was deep, sensual. "I need..."
The bard took a step toward the warrior. "What is it that you need... exactly?"
Xena swallowed, this was not going to be easy. "Well.... I...." She summoned the courage to meet Gabrielles gaze and saw the playfulness there. She smiled in relief.
"Do you need *me* to touch you..." Gabrielle eyes twinkled . "or do *you* need to touch me?" The bard pressed her index finger to her lips, pondering the idea. Her lips parted slightly as her tongue grazed the tip of her finger. She let her finger glide to the hollow of her throat, slowly tracing the curve of her breast before coming to rest on her thigh, agonizingly close to the apex of her legs. The warriors eyes never left the bards hand.
"Both," she replied, huskily. Xena knew with certainty that this woman owned her, body and soul. The bard exuded an innocent sensually that eroded whatever control Xena hoped to maintain. She took a step closer, sure that Gabrielle could hear her heart pounding even from this distance.
"Mmmm... convince me." She breathed, taking another step, narrowing the gap between them.
Xenas genuine smile spread to her eyes. "You need convincing... huh?" She closed the space between them and placed her lips against the bards ear. The heat of the warriors breath made her pulse race. "And do you prefer to be convinced verbally," Xenas tongue caressed her lovers ear, "or... otherwise?" She gently caught the lobe in her teeth.
Gabrielle nearly swooned. She placed her hands on Xenas hips to steady herself. The voice she could always depend on deserted her. Her mouth opened but she was not able to reply. Luckily, no words were needed.
Xena tangled her fingers in the bards hair as she pulled her close. Their lips touched, softly at first. But as the need to deepen the contact became overpowering, the pressure became more insistent. Gabrielle parted her lips in eager supplication, giving Xena the access she craved. The warrior moaned, her tongue tasting the sweetness of the young woman. She continued to explore, probing more deeply at the bards urging. It was sheer bliss. The kiss went on and on leaving them both utterly charged with desire.
Xena gently lowered the bard to the ground. Her body was aching for intimate contact. Her fingers nimbly loosened the laces of her lovers top and slipped underneath. She thrilled at the softness of the young womans breasts. She massaged them lovingly, playing with her hardened nipples.
The other hand sought out the bards hot center, working its way up the young womans thigh where her experienced fingers slipped past the bards very wet breeches. Gabrielle gasped as the cool fingers made contact. The sensation was extraordinary. Xena had intended only to dip into her, sample her wetness. But her lover was so warm, so slick that her fingers slid back and forth of their own accord.
"Oh... Gods, Ohh!" Gabrielle cried out loudly, gasping between words "OH! OH!..." Xena was about to extend her efforts when her sensitive hearing picked up rushing footfalls coming from behind her. She reached for her sword and jumped to her feet.
She stood ready, the rushing figure nearly upon her.
"WAIT! DONT KILL HIM!"
Xena heard the desperate plea and deflected her sword just in time. She twisted quickly to the side. Unable to slow his momentum, the attacker crashed into a nearby tree. The impact forced the air from his lungs. He dropped immediately to his knees, a large stick raised before him. Still trying to recapture his breath, he made an awkward attempt to stand, lunging toward her.
The older man ran to place himself between them. He faced Xena. "Im sorry, he thought you were... uh... hurting the girl." His face flushed with embarrassment.
Gabrielle was on her feet now, hurrying to Xenas side. Only when she was up close, could she see that the attacker was young, only a boy. "Its okay. She didnt hurt me. Look Im fine." Gabrielle cleared her throat, trying to shake the traces of the passion from her voice. She noted the disarray of her clothing and quickly tried to smooth it out.
The young man looked at her, his expression bewildered. He was very large for his age, probably only ten or eleven summers. Gabrielle stumbled over her words. "She was just..." Her mind searched furiously for a workable explanation. "It was a game. We were playing a game." Gabrielle blushed from head to toe, aware that the older man knew exactly what the game had been.
"A game?" The boy smiled.
"Yes, just a game. Im not hurt. What about you? Are you okay?"
"Yes," he nodded sitting back on his heels. " I like games."
"Yeah," Gabrielle replied, "me too." Her face colored again.
He looked at Xena, and noted her serious expression. "She doesnt look like she likes to play."
Gabrielle, couldnt resist a sly smile in Xenas direction. "Well you know, looks can be deceiving."
Xena walked over to the boy and helped him to his feet. "Are you sure youre not hurt?"
The older man interjected. "Hes fine. Strong as an ox." He quickly checked the boy over. "I apologize. Its always been his nature to step in and try to help people. Unfortunately, he hasnt developed the wisdom to match his size yet.
The older man held out this hand in greeting. "Im Galen and this is my son, Caleb.
"Im Xena and this is Gabrielle" She took his hand.
Caleb, suddenly bored, turned from the conversation. "Something smells good. Im hungry." He turned to Gabrielle and smiled. The genuineness of his expression was contagious.
"Well, youre welcome to join us, if you like." Gabrielle said, returning the smile. Xena remained silent, not at all happy with the turn of events.
"Thats very kind of you, but we have intruded enough already." The older man apologized awkwardly. The unspoken message in his words hung heavy in the air and none of the adults were able to make eye contact.
"But, Im hungry!" Caleb complained.
"Caleb, we have food of our own."
"Really, your quite welcome to stay." Gabrielle interjected. She turned to Caleb and winked, "After all, you tried to save my life, that should be good for a meal, right Xena?" The warrior nodded and went to tend to Argo. It was going to be a long evening.
Gabrielle quickly gathered up her story and quill and put them in the saddlebags.
"Whats that stuff?" Caleb questioned.
"Im a bard, I tell stories."
"Wow! Can we hear one?"
"Sure, Id be happy to tell one after dinner."
The four sat down to their meal. Xenas mood became progressively worse as she watched the remaining daylight fade. She knew what was coming.
Gabrielle told the story of enlisting Callistos aide to defeat Velasca and imprisoning them both in a lava flow. Caleb was enthralled. He obviously appreciated the bards skill. "I have heard this story before in my town. But, he didnt tell it nearly as well as you."
Gabrielle smiled shyly. "I have had a lot of experience telling that story. Its based on our experiences."
"You were there?" The boy looked at the bard in amazement.
"Yes, it was Xena who tricked them and cut the bridge, dumping them into the lava."
Wow, can you tell the one about how Velasca escaped?" Xena turned her full attention to the conversation.
"Velasca never escaped." Gabrielle said weakly. She felt a cold chill pass through her.
Galen could see the bard was visibly shaken and tried to smooth things over. "Our bard told a tale of Velascas escape. It was probably just something he made up."
Xena was beside Galen instantly, questioning him. "How long ago did you hear this story?"
"It must be nearly a moon ago now." He scratched his head. "Im really not sure."
Xena pressed him. "I need to know everything that you can remember."
He told the story to the best of his recollection. His memory was hazy and he could not recall the details. "I remember that she escaped by some magical means." He noticed the bard looked very pale. "Im sure it wasnt true. It was too outlandish to be anything but fiction."
"Gabrielle, tell us another story," Caleb pleaded.
His father sensed a change in both the warrior and bard. He knew they had worn out their welcome. "No, Caleb. Its getting dark. We should be moving on."
Gabrielle was edgy. The story of Velascas escape had thrown her. The mans words hadnt fully registered.
The warrior spoke up reluctantly, "You cant travel in the dark. You might as well camp here, with us."
Her voice brought Gabrielle back from her thoughts and the bard smiled warmly at the generosity her lover displayed. She knew how much the warrior valued her privacy and after the earlier interruption, she imagined it was especially difficult.
"Thats very kind of you." Galen smiled, obviously relieved. "It would probably be safer for us to stay here. Im not very familiar with this area." Xena nodded. Her attention was fixed on the bards loving expression. She would have endured almost anything to see that smile.
As the two guests went to unpack their bed rolls, Gabrielle took the opportunity to speak privately with the warrior. "Xena, thanks, I know you were hoping for some time alone. It was the right thing to do. We couldnt just send them off. Caleb did try to help me, after all."
Xena took a heavy breath. "Yes, his timing was fortunate. I had planned to do things that would have made you cry out even louder. His father might have attacked me too."
Gabrielle smiled and tried another tack. "Look at it this way. Maybe I can use this in a story some time."
"Hmmm," Xena replied, whispering in the bards ear. "I was hoping we would be doing research for your current story."
The bard laughed. "Me too. Tomorrow, I promise. Well have our own hut then." The seductive look she cast in the warriors direction made Xenas temperature rise. She turned quickly to gather their gear.
Gabrielle laid their bed rolls out a few feet apart on the opposite side of the fire from the two guests. Xena groaned silently. This wasnt exactly how she had hoped the evening would go. She curled up under her blanket , pillowing her cheek with her right hand. Gabrielles scent lingered on her fingers. The musky aroma was comforting. She closed her eyes and let her thoughts drift.
Gabrielle inched closer to the fire. She felt a chill, but knew it was the kind of discomfort that only the warmth of Xenas arms could resolve. She closed her eyes and tired to sleep, but her mind kept returning to Velasca. If she were free, it wouldnt be long before she found them. She tried to think of something more pleasant. Her mind drifted to thoughts of Xena and their rather abrupt interruption that afternoon.
A candlemark later her body was tense from her efforts to sleep and she was wide awake. She lay on her side staring into the fire. Suddenly, she felt her covers lift as Xena curled up behind her. She nuzzled into the bards neck. The warrior spoke softly. "Im sure its just a story. We would have heard something before now if there had been any truth to it."
Xena had a good sense of these things. Gabrielle exhaled deeply in relief. She felt her body slowly begin to relax. Encircled in Xenas arms, she knew she was safe. "What about..." She looked shyly at the men sleeping across the fire.
"Ill be up before they awaken. Get some sleep, I want you rested for tomorrow." Xena kissed her lightly and pulled the bard close. Gabrielle sighed contentedly and melted into her lovers embrace. Moments later she was sound asleep. The warrior soon followed.
True to her word, Xena was the first one up. She had caught and cleaned fish for their breakfast. After a quick meal and one last story for Caleb, the father and son said their good-byes and were on their way.
Gabrielle retrieved her scroll and began writing. Xena puzzled about this change in their routine. She started to break camp, packing up their things. She was anxious to arrive at the Amazon village and the privacy of their own hut. It became clear that it was not nearly as urgent for the bard. Gabrielle sat leaning against a tree totally absorbed in her scroll. She was oblivious to Xenas efforts. Rather than disturb the bard, she picked up their dishes and walked to the stream to wash them, a chore Gabrielle normally took care of.
When she returned her companion was still engrossed in her work. Xena began drilling with her sword. She practice several tricky maneuvers, designed to get the young womans attention. Unfortunately Gabrielle never looked up from her scroll.
"Gabrielle, are you almost ready to go?" Xena asked, trying to keep her impatience from her voice. The bard seemed to ignore her. Xena raised her voice. "Gabrielle?"
"Hmmm," the bard never looked up, she merely continued writing.
"I said, Im ready to go."
"Hmmm..." The bard never even paused. She continued to write.
Xena tried again. "I thought you wanted to get to the village. Remember?... Our own hut."
Xena was sure the young woman hadnt heard a word she said. She shook her head and decided to give up. Laying back on the grass, she watched her lover intently. Occasionally the corners of the bards mouth would turn up in a smile. Once she broke out into a outright grin. Then just as quickly, her expression became very intense as if she were deep in concentration.
Xena closed her eyes and relaxed. The penetrating warmth of the morning sun felt wonderful. She thought of the bard and smiled. It wasnt often the young woman lingered on a story when they were ready to leave. There was really no rush to get to the village. They werent expected. The warrior decided to indulge her friend. Her thoughts drifted back to the bards scroll. She wondered if Gabrielle would pay as close attention to detail in this story as she did in her other tales. How much would she reveal? Xena found herself slipping beyond the confines of curiosity and into the realm of obsession. She had to read this story. Gabrielles voice interrupted her thoughts.
"Xena. Hey, if your done napping, we should get going. Its getting late." The bard was busy putting her scrolls away and missed the look Xena threw her.
All things considered, they made good time traveling. They moved much more quickly with Gabrielle riding. The bard was uncharacteristically quiet. Xena wondered if she was thinking about her story.
It was mid afternoon when they were greeted by the scouting party and escorted into the village. Xena had dismounted long before they reached the borders of Amazon territory. The warrior seemed distant. Gabrielle guessed that Xena was uncomfortable with others knowing about the change in their relationship. She laid her hand lightly on the warriors shoulder and was dismayed when Xena stiffened at her touch. Gabrielle took the none to subtle hint and pulled back. She hoped that her story would communicate what she could not.
Xena was just about to leave their hut to care for Argo when she spotted the bards story lying on the table beside the bed. Gabrielle was outside speaking with some of the villagers. Xena could hear them conversing. She looked down at the bards story, mysteriously drawn to it. Her curiosity was piqued by the bards secrecy, her reluctance to share the details with the her. She knew she should not breech Gabrielles privacy, but her eyes began to wander over the text. A sudden noise made her glance up from the parchment. It was Gabrielle.
"Xena, if its okay with you, Ill wait to unpack our things. I want to talk with Ephiny to invite her by when she has some free time."
Xena felt guilty. The bard almost caught her in the act. She shifted her weight nervously. "Sure, go ahead. Theres no hurry. Were going to be here awhile."
Gabrielle couldnt help notice that Xena seemed a little edgy, but she let it pass. "Great, Ill catch up with you later then." Gabrielle turned to go, as she passed through the door she smiled.
Xena watched the bard leave. She could hear Gabrielle talking with someone outside. Gradually their voices faded into the distance. Xena looked down at the scroll. The temptation to read it was strong. This was the first time the bard had left the parchment out, easily accessible. Maybe she had meant for her to see it. She knew Gabrielle would be gone for quite awhile. If she started now, she could finish reading before the bard returned. She sat on the bed and picked up the parchment. Guilt washed over her and she reprimanded herself for her lack of control. There were other things she should be attending to. She didnt want to miss dinner, and Argo was in need of some attention. It was the ideal opportunity to wash and brush her down. She moved to return the parchment to the table, allowing herself to admire the bards elegant handwriting. Before she could avert her eyes, she had read the first lines.
Gabrielle tossed the saddlebags onto the bed and began to remove their dirty clothing. She was trying to hurry. Ephiny was on her way over and she was eager to fill her in on everything that had happened since they had seen each other last, especially the most welcome change: her relationship with Xena. She suspected that Xena would have lunch and go to the stables to brush down Argo. This would give her time to chat privately with Ephiny. She was anxious to share her exciting news.
She quickly unpacked their belongings. Their stay here would give her the opportunity to get caught up on their washing and mending. As she reached deep into the sack, her fingers brushed against a rough, hard surface, something foreign. She pulled it out for examination. It was a small clay pot. The pot that contained the juice of the narcis berries. Gabrielle had forgotten all about it. She had hastily packed it in case the witch needed to have a sample of the magic that had enchanted the warrior.
She held it up examining the intricate design on the outside. The pot felt curiously warm in her hand. It was a pleasant feeling, a penetrating warmth. Wondering if she could feel the heat through the lid of the pot, she spread the fingers of her other hand over the top. It too, was soothingly warm. The sensation was intoxicating. She could feel an energy running though her as if she had completed a circuit. Her body was suffused with a glowing heat.
Gabrielle was so engulfed in these sensations that she did not realize that she was stroking the lid until she felt it jiggle. Her actions had caused it to loosen. Suddenly, she was aware of a tantalizing aroma coming from the pot. She knew this smell. It was familiar and alluring. The memory was close to the surface, but illusive.
She felt an urgent need to reclaim the memory, to retrieve it from the recesses of her mind and raised the jar closer to her face, inhaling deeply. A pleasant lightheaded feeling came over her. She took another breath and struggled to identify the captivating scent. The smell was distant, just out of her grasp. She gently agitated the lid in an attempt to release more of the aroma into the air. There was a sucking sound as a seal was broken. A full bodied, musky fragrance filled the air. Gabrielle reeled at the scent and jerked her right hand back, sending the lid crashing to the floor. The noise startled her out of her daze.
She gasped as she looked into the container. The red liquid seemed to pulse with life. Something deep inside her issued a warning, she knew she should run, get as far away as she could. But, the red nectar swirled in a beautifully hypnotic pattern and she found she could not tear her eyes away; she didnt want to. She peered deep into the liquid and her memory returned, instantly she knew the smell, it was Xena. It was the enticing scent of her lover.
Her mind flashed back to the last time she had experienced that scent, the clear fluid that signaled her partners desire. Her tongue caressed her lips, her mouth watered at the memory of the taste of her warrior. The recollection was vivid, like reliving the moment. She could hear Xenas moans of pleasure. Smell her excitement. In fact, the scent of the warriors arousal was so enticing that her hand reached out, in search of her lover. The need to run her fingers through Xenas essence was overpowering. She was driven by hunger, a yearning to taste the warrior. Her arm extended, allowing her fingers to make contact with the intoxicating wetness.
Suddenly, the vision disappeared. What she saw made her freeze in fear. One trembling hand held the small pot. But it was the other hand, that seized her attention. Sometime during her delirium, she had dipped her fingers into the blood red liquid. Her first two fingers were coated with the magical liquid. A jolt of desire rushed though her as she felt the glittering substance penetrate her skin. Her body began to awaken, surge with energy. It felt so delicious that she could not resist the temptation to bring her fingers to her lips. She wanted to lick them, to take them inside.
She raised the throbbing digits to her lips, lightly caressing the surface, painting them with the alluring nectar. An aching need shot through her at the contact. Her skin began to tingle as she felt a searing heat roll over her. It radiated down her neck and spread to her limbs. Her lips came alive with an enhanced awareness. Her senses were so keen that she could feel the tiny ridges of her fingers against her lips. The very air seemed to caress her.
Gabrielle was lost in the rapture. She could have traced her lips forever, her entire body quivered. The liquid had transformed her fingers into the ultimate instruments for pleasuring her body. She wanted more. She was compelled by a force greater than she had ever known to experience these sensations everywhere she could touch. She wanted to paint her most intimate parts with this sensual substance. It became an overpowering need that she did not have the will to deny. She tore desperately at the laces of her top. She could not bring herself to release the jar from her left hand. She had to have it near. The warmth of the liquid pulsed through the clay pot to the rhythm of her own heart. The connection could not be broken.
At last her breasts were free, the nipples already painfully hard. She struggled with her belt and ripped her skirt off. The now damp breeches were hastily flung across the room. Her pulse was racing. She took a deep breath, anxious to experience everything the magic could offer. She dunked her fingers into the pot again, swirling them through the syrupy liquid. When she removed them she watched the deep red liquid sparkle in the dim light. It trickled down her fingers onto her palm and she gasped, sure it would engulf her entirely.
It called to her, bringing her out of her haze. Her eyes moved from the substance coating her fingers to her erect nipples, now begging for attention. Without hesitation, she lovingly coated each nipple. A moan wrenched from her depths. Her breast felt swollen, hot. She felt the ecstasy would overwhelm her. Lovingly she caressed each nipple, slowly alternating her attention from one to the other. Soon it wasnt enough, not nearly enough. She could feel the wetness between her legs building. Her dripping center demanded contact, too. She plunged her fingers into the pot gathering more of the liquid, hoping it could quell her need. Her fingers parted her outer lips, exposing her aching center. They swirled purposefully though the river of moisture her body sent forth. Her yearning for consummation was so intense she groaned. Instinctively, she knew her own hands would never be enough, that she could not end this raging desire on her own. Thats when she heard a knock on the door. Gabrielles heart quickened. Yes, she thrilled... release... bonding. It didnt matter who. Her heart hammered in her chest as she awaited them.
Xena made her way back from the dining hall, carrying a tray of food. She had no doubt Gabrielle would be famished and wanted to surprise her.
"Hi, Xena." The warrior looked up to see Solari smiling warmly at her. Xena returned the greeting. "Its good to have you back with us. I didnt think we would see you two again so soon."
"We had a change in plans. We both needed a break, a little relaxation. Gabrielle was anxious to spend some time with Ephiny."
"I know Ephiny is glad to have her back. As soon as she found out you had arrived, she ended the council meeting and left to talk with her. Shes probably with Gabrielle now."
"Looks like well all have a chance to catch up over lunch then." Xena glanced down at the tray she was carrying. "Im headed there now."
"Well, I hope I get to see more of you this visit than last time. Stop by the training field tomorrow morning. Maybe we can get some sparring in."
The warrior nodded and headed towards their hut.
Xena balanced the tray of food as she used her foot to knock on the door. "Gabrielle, open up Ive got lunch." Getting no reply she held the tray precariously in one hand and swung the door open. The sight before made her stop dead in her tracks. Gabrielle lay prone on bed writhing erotically, her red stained fingers were poised at her entrance. Xena dropped the tray and lunged for the bards wrist.
"Gabrielle?" She looked quickly around the room searching for the responsible party. Her eyes fell to the small pot in her partners left hand.
"What have you done?"
The words seemed to awaken the bard, spur her to action. She was desperate for their bodies to make contact. She longed to kiss her lover, to feel Xenas lips against her. She wanted to cover her partner with the wondrous liquid, melt into her. With her free hand trapped in the warriors grasp she lunged forward in an attempt to capture her companions lips, intent on devouring her. Xena pulled back from the amorous young woman, barely avoiding the brush of her tainted lips. She wrestled the pot from the bard and twisted to placed it on the table beside the bed.
Gabrielle groped wildly with her free hand, frantically trying to get hold of her companion. She was driven by her hunger. She had to have release. "Ohhhh... Xena," the bard groaned, her voice low, guttural. "Please... I need you ."
Xena grabbed the flailing hand. In desperation, Gabrielle arched to make contact with her lovers body. The warrior fought to keep her at arms length. The bard was wild with need. At last, Xena was able to pin both of the bards wrists in one hand.
She tore the blanket on the bed and used the cloth to wipe the bards fingers and lips. Gabrielle moaned at the delicious sensation and struggled wildly to free her hands. One broke loose. The fingers immediately sought out the heat under the warriors leathers. Xena pulled away from the urgent groping and tried to recapture her lover. The determined bard had already circumvented Xenas breeches, grazing what she so desperately desired.
Gabrielle twisted in her lovers grasp. She arched her throbbing breasts toward the warrior-- conscious only of her need for contact, her need to be fulfilled. Xena recaptured the bards wrists in one hand and wiped urgently at the bards nipples with the torn cover. As she made contact, the bard stopped struggling immediately and melted into her touch. She moaned loudly, thrusting against the cloth that tortured her nipples. Xena knelt on the bards thighs and held the womans hands above her head, effectively pinning her to the bed.
"Gabrielle, listen to me! Try to get a hold of yourself!" The bards entire body stiffened. She looked at Xena, her eyes comprehending for a moment. Xena relaxed her grip on the young womans hands and tried to calm her by stroking her hair. This gentle contact momentarily pacified her. But when her body began a slow rocking, Xena knew she had lost her again.
"Dont you want me?" the bard purred in a wickedly seductive tone. It sent a shiver down the warriors spine. Gabrielles body was flushed, hot and ready. Her eyes reflected her desire. They glowed with a feral lust. She slowly licked her lips. "I want you."
"Gabrielle you have to fight this. Ill get help for you."
The bard groaned and licked her lips seductively. "You can help me right now." Her tone was imploring. "Let go of my hands and Ill show you how." She smiled innocently and gently pulled a hand from the warriors light hold. "Please.... Ill be yours... Forever." Gabrielle ran her fingers down the warriors arm, leaving a trail of goose bumps the whole way. Her hand tightened around Xenas wrist and gently coaxed the warriors hand between her legs.
Xena was lost in the bards eyes, awed by her beauty. She did not sense the movement of her own hand as the bard guided it slowly downward until she felt her fingers stroke Gabrielles silky wetness. The bard was hot, swollen with need. The warrior gasped, she was losing control, being pulled in, she longed to possess the bard completely. "Gods... I"
"I want you... only you." Gabrielle whispered. The feel of the sensual womans moist breath in her ear nearly obliterated Xenas resolve. The bard slowly gyrated against the warriors hand. The sensation against her finger tips was incredible. She looked into the bards eyes. They sparkled, reflecting the candle light with an eerie sensuality. The bard began moving erotically to the rhythm of her partners strokes. Soon her pace quickened, becoming more urgent. She hissed in the warriors ear.
Her voice was foreign, unfamiliar. "Yeess... Yeess." Xena snapped out of her lust filled haze and pulled her hand away, unsure of what to do.
Gabrielle moaned in obvious pain. Her need for release was overpowering, she had only one goal and she would do anything to get there. "If you dont want me ... maybe someone else..." She trailed off letting the meaning of her words sink in.
The thought made the warriors blood run cold. Xena remembered they way the enchantment had seized control of her will when she had been under its spell. She knew it would force the bard to bond with the first person to bring her to climax, just as it had done with her. There would be risk, leaving the bard in current state with so many Amazons around. Could she get the word out about Gabrielles condition before someone succumbed to her insistent advances? Gabrielle pulled on the warriors wrist again, reminding her what she needed. Xena searched the bards face for signs of the young woman she knew and loved.
"Please... I want it to be you." Xenas resolve broke as she watched the bards lip tremble. "Okay Gabrielle, you win." The warrior succumbed willingly to the needs of the woman she loved.
It was a marathon session of orgasms for the bard. Xena was amazed at her energy level. Gabrielle could not get enough. She did not tire. After each climax she would catch her breath and beg the warrior for more. They were a tangle of limbs, twisting in and erotic dance.
Xena was exhausted and still had not alleviated her lovers hunger. The warrior realized that this could go on indefinitely if she allowed it. Her options were limited. Her body needed rest and so did Gabrielles. She slid her hand along the bards spine, feeling for a pressure point and quickly jabbed it. The bard went limp in her arms, unconscious. "Forgive me Gabrielle. I need time to figure out a way to help you." She grabbed the bards shift from the pile of clothing on the chair and slipped it over her head. She laid her young lover gently on the bed and tenderly pulled the covers over her. The bards expression was relaxed, peaceful. Xena gently brushed her lips to Gabrielles. "Ill find a way out of this."
Not sure how long the pressure point would hold against the effects of the powerful magic, she wrapped the clay pot in the torn bed cover and went to find Ephiny.
Ephiny listened to Xenas tale intently. Interrupting only a couple of times to ask questions. "So we need to find this witch, Ariel. You think she can help?"
"Im sure she can. She was able to release me from the enchantment, using a powerful elixir. I was hoping you would send one of the Amazons to find her. I... I would go myself, but I think its best if Im not far from her now." Ephiny wasnt sure, but for an instant Xena seemed to blush.
"Ill send two of our fastest scouts, immediately." She held the warriors eyes. "I care a great deal for Gabrielle and Im prepared to do whatever I can to help."
"Thanks." Xena replied awkwardly and broke eye contact. She couldnt help wondering how much the regent knew.
"Xena, you look exhausted. Try to get some rest and something to eat."
The warriors thoughts turned to the food scattered on the floor of their hut, to the vision of her tormented lover, completely vulnerable to the pull of the magic within her. Suddenly, she had to be with the young woman, know she was all right.
"No, I need check on Gabrielle." She stood to leave. "Thanks for your help."
"Well do everything we can." Ephiny clasped Xenas arm, trying to reassure her. "Please, stop by the dining hall and get some food, surely Gabrielle is hungry too."
"Yeah, maybe your right."
Xena made up a tray with all of the bards favorites. She was ready to leave when an Amazon approached her rather hesitantly.
"Xena, my name is Serena."
Xena recognized her from their last visit. She was the woman who had made a few casual physical advances towards Gabrielle the last night of their visit. The warrior felt embarrassed by the way she had warned off the poor woman when she had tried to follow Gabrielle. "Ah,... I remember. I owe you an apology. I..."
Serena interrupted her. "No please... *I* wanted to apologize to *you*. I never would have... shown an interest, if I had known she was involved. Im terribly sorry."
Xena felt the heat rise in her cheeks. It seemed that there were many uncomfortable aspects to this new relationship that she would have to get used to. "No harm done. Lets forget it."
Serena smiled gratefully and extended her hand in friendship. Xena balanced the tray and graciously accepted. Suddenly, the Amazons expression changed. A look of fear darkened her features as she pulled her hand from Xenas and slowly backed up as if she was trying to avoid something very unpleasant.
Before Xena could turn around to see what had caught the womans attention, Gabrielle flew past her and lunged at Serena. They both tumbled to the ground, Gabrielle winning the top position. She sat astride the startled woman, struggling with her. "Shes mine!" Gabrielle growled. Xena dropped the tray for the second time that day and quickly wrestled the angry bard off the gasping Amazon.
"Shes not herself. Im sorry."
The bard squirmed with great determination; she wasnt about to share Xena. She was eager to eliminate any competition. The warrior pulled her near, strengthening her hold. As soon as Gabrielle sensed the heat of her lovers body... Xenas nearness, her attitude shifted. The young woman relaxed and buried her head in Xenas leathers. "I missed you." She hissed, nipping the warriors breast.
Xena was keenly aware that all the eyes in the dining hall were on them and grabbed Gabrielle by the arm to lead her outside. "Lets go back to the hut."
"But... I cant wait that long... Pleeease." The bard put both arms around the Xenas neck and pulled herself up, locking her legs around the warriors waist. She tangled her fingers in the dark silky hair and pulled her in for a moist kiss. Xena attempted to pull back but the young woman had a death grip that the warrior could not break without hurting her. She tried to speak, to reason with the amorous woman, but Gabrielle used Xenas open mouth to her own advantage plunging her tongue in.
The warrior felt her knees go weak. Gabrielles amorous attentions were wearing her down. The bard tightened her legs around her lovers waist and pressed into Xenas abdomen. She could feel Gabrielles pulsing center against her, echoing the beat of her own heart. The rhythm was hypnotic and she found herself wanting to give in. She moaned into Gabrielles mouth. Yes, she could take her right here, again and again and...
A vision of the bard, standing up for her, facing off against the god of war, jolted the warrior out of her trace. She broke the kiss and immediately her head cleared. Xena reached behind her young lover and hit the spinal pressure point again. The bard collapsed into her arms. Xenas heart hammered as she considered the implications of what had happened. The strength of the magic controlling Gabrielle was greater than she had ever imagined. It had nearly claimed them both. A shiver shot down her spine as she carried the unconscious woman to their hut.
"Ephiny, I dont know what to do. How can I keep her distracted until the scouts return with help? The use of pressure points is becoming less effective and her metabolism is so out of whack that I dont think it is safe to drug her."
"Well," Ephiny shrugged, "have you tried giving in to her? Maybe it would exhaust her, bring her some relief."
Xena sat down wearily. "I have ...many times. It just seems to make the situation worse. I think it has an even stronger hold on her now." Xena rubbed her eyes. She looked very tired.
"I see. Guess we need to think of another way to wear her out." Ephinys brows furrowed as she thought. "What about a sparring match? The winner gets ... you."
"This is pretty serious to her, I afraid she might injure someone in her zeal to win. Besides, I would never consider being with anyone else and I dont want Gabrielle to be led to believe I would."
Ephiny was a little surprised by the conviction evident in Xenas tone. "I see." She sat beside her. The warrior hands were trembling. "Its serious between you two then?"
Xena nodded, looking away. "She is the other half of my soul."
Ephiny was quiet, she hadnt expected such a heart felt admission.
"Im afraid this magic has found a way to get to Gabrielle through me, its using my passion as a link to the darkness in me."
"What do you mean? Why would you think that?"
"We kissed and I felt it reach into me, searching me for what it could use, tempting me. It used my desire to strengthen its control on Gabrielle."
"But you didnt give in; youre here. What stopped you?"
"I... I thought of her love for me, my love for her and I regained control." Xena looked directly at Ephiny. "Im afraid it will win the next time, that I will give in to it."
"Xena, when it comes down to it, you will always do whats best for Gabrielle. I would stake my life on it."
The warrior stood shifting nervously as she remembered how consumed with desire she had been. Ephiny could feel a sexual energy radiating off the warriors skin; she paced the room, putting some distance between them. "Maybe we should think up competition that will wear you both out." Xena smiled softly. Ephiny slapped her lightly on the shoulder. "The contest could be for a days training with you. Its not likely Gabrielle would want to be without your company for an entire day."
"What type of contest?" Xena asked.
"It has to be something without weapons or contact that is still physically exhausting. Something..."
"The obstacle course," Xena interrupted.
"Good idea. Amazons are always up for competitions. It shouldnt be difficult to round up enough competitors to wear her down. How many times do you think she can run it?"
"Normally she could probably run it about five times. But, this enchantment has her pumped with an unnatural energy. We need to be prepared for anything.
Ephiny agreed. "To be safe, we should have more challengers on hand, just in case."