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By Bat Morda
(c) Bat Morda 1997
Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle, Argo and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers and copyright notices.
This story may be best classified as a Hurt/Comfort Story involving the charactes Xena: Warrior Princess and Gabrielle- well make that Melinda Pappas and Janice Covington. Readers who are disturbed by or sensitive to this type of issue may wish to read something other than this story. Auctually it isn't that big of a deal. Quick little owie- a few stitches and we move right along- still I don't want to be accused of not giving enough warning...
This story 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 in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it. If depictions of this nature disturb you, you may wish to read something other than this story.
JUST IN CASE I MISSED ANYTHING DISCLAIMER:
Do NOT open back panel; no user serviceable parts inside. Use in a well ventilated area. Pencils, scrap paper, and batteries not included. Can not be read by magnetic strip readers. If surface dulls, dust with a damp cloth and allow to dry; do NOT use abrasive cleaners. If nausea persists blame it on Pestilence and consult your doctor or contact your local poison control center. Some assembly required. No dolphins were injured in the creation of this document and the contents are 100% biodegradable. Reader of this document assumes all property/personal damage inflicted upon themselves and/or other individuals/objects in the past/present/future. Please move completely across each row, filling in each and every available seat to make room for everyone. Do not look directly at the sun, as this may cause permanent retinal damage. FCC compliance is required before operating this unit, please consult the User's Manual for further instructions. Complies with TM-071074, and 18D-PMTRE-DR. The moving platform is traveling at the same speed as your vehicle. No smoking please...please stand clear of the doors...Por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas... The Audience Is Listening...THX. Life shouldn't be taken too seriously- you're not getting out alive.
This story takes place three weeks after THE XENA SCROLLS.
They reached the double french doors just as a small group was admitted. Their invitation was checked against the guest list by a valet and they were admitted without further comment. The doors opened into a large formal ballroom lined with elegantly set tables. On one wall, framed photos were displayed with notes describing the artifacts to be auctioned. Mel and Janice casually walked over in a group of several other guests.
Janice was relieved that the sheer opulence of Leesto's ballroom and interest in the artifacts kept everyone's attention riveted elsewhere. No one paid them a second glance. She blinked, startled when she felt a possessive arm snake around her shoulders. She glanced up at Mel who with her eyes pointed in the direction of other couples. She was mimicking them. "Trust me, I'm not complaining," she muttered.
When they got close enough to the photo's to read the descriptions, Janice's eyes narrowed in anger. "These are my goddamned notes!" she hissed.
Mel leaned close to the shorter woman's ear. "Watch your temper, dearheart, someone may have heard that." She finished her statement with a soft kiss on Janice's cheek, eyes quickly scanning the closest aristocrats. No one appeared to notice the exchange or the outburst preceeding it. While there were several heads turned in her direction, it was clear that she and her wife held no special interest.
"You're enjoying this, aren't you?" Janice asked when Mel withdrew.
"About as much as you are." Mel replied with a small smile. "Nice penmanship, by the way," she added, studying the doctor's notes. The first object pictured was the wire-frame breast plate over the tattered remains of a leather dress.
"Xena's armor." Janice whispered.
"Her warlord armor." Mel added. "You were right about that. She stopped wearing it when she broke alliances with Ares." Mel glanced around. No one was within earshot. "Quite uncomfortable, I might add."
Janice looked up and was about to reply when they were joined by another guest, so they moved on. The next item was a bullwhip in excellent condition. Glancing up, Janice noticed a slight tug at the corners of Mel's mouth. Almost as if she recalled the item, and it held fond memories. Her suspicions were confirmed when they reached the next photo. Instantly Mel's expression shifted from amusement to sorrow, and anger. Janice looked at the photograph even as she felt the tensing of the hand that rested so comfortably on her shoulder.
The artifact titled Lot 3 was a pair of necklaces, each made from half of an intricate medallion. The two haves fit together, creating a pattern of celtic design. "What is it Mel?" Janice asked. "Was this Xena's? I didn't think"
Still staring at the black and white photo Mel answered. "We were buried in those. From the day I put it on I never took it off. Neither did she."
Janice stared at Mel in wonder. "Come with me," she urged pulling Mel away from the pictures to a more secluded spot in the huge ballroom near large draperies. "Are you?" Janice asked. "I mean your accentwhere did it go?"
"What are you talking about?" Mel asked, her regular voice back once more.
Janice shook her head and lifted a champagne glass from the tray of a passing waiter. When he was out of sight, she downed the contents in one gulp. "Just now, when you saw those necklaces, you sounded like well you know."
"Oh Janice," Mel whispered, "don't be silly. I'm fine."
Janice was about to argue the point when a hush settled in the ball room as an elegantly dressed woman stepped up to the mike at the front of a stage next to the wall of photos. Now it was Mel's turn to watch the archeologist's eyes harden at the sight of her nemesis.
"Greetings, and welcome." the woman addressed her guests in a smooth, clear voice. "I am doctor Calissandra Leesto, and I'd like to thank you all for accepting my invitation. I had hoped an old friend might decide to pay me a visit but it appears that she couldn't make it. So be it," she sighed, "we'll just have to start the auction without her.
"As you can see," she continued, turning to include the photos in a sweeping gesture, "I've documented and photographed my entire Xena collection. Each lot will be auctioned off separately. To make a bid, write it on a card provided and put it in the box with the corresponding lot number. Each half hour the lots will be checked and the highest bid for that item posted above it's photo. You will then have the opportunity to re-bid. Winning bids and bid-holders will be announced at midnight, unless annominity is requested."
"Will we be able to see the artifacts?" One guest called out in a clear baritone voice.
Leesto smiled sweetly in his direction. "Because of the value of the artifacts, they won't be brought down until eleven. You will have a chance to look at them before the last round of bidding."
"That tells me what I need to know." Janice said quietly from behind Mel's back. She'd moved there to stay out of sight when Leesto took the stage. "The stuff's upstairs, most likely in the study. Let's go."
As soon as Leesto stepped off the stage to mingle with her guests, Mel and Janice quickly passed by the remaining photographs they hadn't seen to note which items the doctor still had in her possession. That finished, the two headed up the grand staircase to the second floor of Leesto's palatial home.
"She bought all of this stuff off of money she made from your research?" Mel asked, noting the elegant house furnishings.
"I suppose that, and blackmail." Janice replied, fighting for balance as she ascended the stairs in ill-fitting high heels.
They reached the second floor landing and Janice headed for the study. "I'm glad one of us knows our way around here." Mel muttered as she followed her friend.
"The study was where Argo got shot last time." Janice shook her head sadly. "We ran from her bedroom and hid"
Mel laughed quietly in spite of herself. "I'm sorry doctor Covington, but the thought of you running from any beautiful woman's bedroom is a little hard for me to believe."
Janice frowned. "I'm glad you find my sexual preference amusing Melinda, but I do have standards. Besides, Cal is definitely not my type."
"You don't go for blonds?"
Janice stopped and looked at Mel a second. "I don't go for twisted bitches. But since you're so curious." She added, gazing unflinchingly into Mel's bright eyes, "I think I'm developing a passion for black hair and blue eyes." Mel glanced away, embarrassed. Janice only smiled. "Careful Mel Pappas, I'm beginning to think you're flirting with me." She dropped her voice an octave lower, "and I love to be flirted with."
She turned away from Mel, whose cheeks were flaming red, and looked down the hall. "There's the study, with the two guards out front. Give me the gun."
"You're going to shoot them?" Mel hissed.
"Not unless I have to. Stay here." With that, Janice took the revolver, and holding it behind her back, casually approached the two men.
"Scuse me, ya'll know where the ladies room is?" The guards looked at Janice, or rather at her cleavage, and nodded down the hall. "Thank you ever so much. I seem to have a had a bit too much hard liquor." She stumbled a couple of steps, one of the guards instantly at her side. The gun handle came up and hit him in the back of the head before he knew he was in any danger. Instantly Janice spun the gun in her hand and had it cocked and pointed at the other guard. "Don't be stupid," she growled. The guards brought his hands up and took a slow step away from the door. "Night-night," Janice said before rendering him unconscious as well.
"Come on Mel, help me with these bodies." Janice whispered as she tried the handle of the study door. The handle wouldn't budge, it was locked. "Great, just what we need."
"Let me try." Mel said joining the archeologist.
"Mel, this isn't a chakrum or"
With strength she didn't know she possessed, Mel forced the door handle, breaking the locking mechanism. "Close enough," she muttered dragging the first body through the open door.
"You know Mel, I feel a lot more comfortable around you when you have that blasted accent." Janice quipped following Mel inside.
Inside the study, with the guards safely locked in a small closet, Janice turned to Mel and asked in an uncertain voice, "It's you're? I mean, are you?"
The tall woman diverted her attention from the artifacts strewn around the room to the archeologist looking at her. "Yeah. We meet again Janice. But don't worry, Mel's here too."
"What is it with you?" Janice asked confused. "I mean that whole bit with Ares, okay. There was your chakram and that possession made sense, but this? Do you just pop into Mel's head from time to time?"
Xena took a deep breath and forced herself to be patient with Gabrielle's progeny. In a way, Janice was her descendent as well. "I can't explain it any better than you can. But look around you, we're surrounded by my things by our things. We've got enough to worry about getting this stuff and us out of here safely than how I came to be here. It's going to take all four of us to pull this off. Janice, I need you to trust me."
Janice shook her head slowly, "Four of us. You're talking about you and Mel, me and Argo right?"
"Oh yeah, Argo. Make that five of us." Xena nodded and continued her survey of the room.
"Oh no. You're not telling me I'm about to be possessed by that by the" after a warning look from Xena, Janice chose her words carefully, "by a certain bard, am I?"
Xena shrugged her shoulders. "Look around. Don't you feel a connection to this stuff?" The warrior's eye caught something, and picked up a battered staff. Two of its three pieces were attached, the third handing loosely, broken. "Here, do you recognize this?"
"Recognize it? Hell Xena, I dug that up. It's a staff." Janice replied taking the artifact that the other woman so reverently held.
"It's your staff." Xena replied evenly.
Janice felt light headed for a moment but shook it off. "Okay, Gabrielle's staff. I get your point." She looked around the room. Many of the artifacts she recognized from her digs, many of them having nothing to do with Xena. Finally, she located the scrolls and began to separate them from the other trinkets. "Look, let's just gather up the stuff and go. We don't have much time. I'm surprised Leesto is trying to pass some of this stuff off as Xena's oops sorry, yours. I mean, take this saddle for example"
Xena glanced at the saddle indicated. "It was mine, well Argo's, or Ego as she was called in her retirement." Xena laughed at the memory. "Little Lyceus couldn't pronounce her name." She stopped laughing when she noticed Janice's opened mouth stare.
"You had children?" She asked eyes wide. "With Gabrielle?"
"Well, we raised two. Obviously she had to give birth at some point, how do you think you got here?" Janice was about to respond when Xena shook her head. "You were right, we don't have much time. Get the scrolls, that's really what you came here for. There are a couple of things I want to take. Lets make it quick."
Janice quickly bundled the scrolls together, watching as she did the warrior princess dressed in a tuxedo, rummage through the artifacts, her belongings. Xena put a couple of things into her pockets and pulled a heavy bronze breastplate from a display stand. She also picked up her bullwhip, then put it down in favor of Gabrielle's staff. They were about to head for the door when it opened suddenly, revealing the blond scientist and several of her henchmen.
"Jan," Leesto said with a sinister sneer, "so glad you could make it." Her soft brown eyes darted to Xena. "And who is the pretty man in the wig?" She asked, her voice taunting.
"Don't Mel." Janice warned as Xena's eyes narrowed. "Cal, this is Melinda Pappas," Xena reached up and took off the wig, shaking her long tresses loose. Leesto's eyes widened in appreciation at the imposing woman.
"It's a pleasure, Melinda Pappas." Leesto purred. "I'm sorry you keep such dreadful company." Janice shrugged, not disputing the jibe. Finally Leesto looked around the room. "What, no dog? Whatever will I do for target practice?"
It was reflexes forged in the heat of battle that launched Xena's body to intercept the archeologist before she could attack Leesto, preventing her from getting shot in the process. "You're not helping." Xena murmured to Janice as she relaxed her hold slightly.
"So Jan, is your friend an authority on Xena as well?" Leesto asked, waving her thugs into the room to subdue the doctor.
Janice smiled and winked at Xena before looking around the warrior's body to her nemesis. "She knows a lot more about Xena than I do. Sometimes I have to remind myself that she isn't the warrior princess. I'm sure the two of you will have lots to talk about. You are going to lock me up somewhere, aren't you?"
Leesto smiled briefly and nodded to the guards to haul Janice from the room. "Do be a good girl Jan and rot, won't you?" Her voice hard she addressed her guards, "take her to the kitchen and lock her in the walkin refrigerator. I want three guards posted, and keep an eye out for her mutt. If it's here, I want it killed."
"But Cal, it was a love bite, honest." Janice laughed as she was dragged down the hall. One guard remained with his gun trained on Leesto's lone visitor. "Wait outside Theoradore, if I need you, I'll call." He bowed briefly then retreated from the study closing the door behind him.
"Brave woman." Xena said as she studied Leesto.
"Not really." The blond woman countered, "the slightest scream from me will result in the death of your friend. My men are funny that way. Like Jan's flea-ridden cur, they can be trained. So Melinda, what can you tell me about Xena? That I don't already know that is."
"Well," Xena began thoughtfully as she gazed at Argo's saddle, "she had quite a temper and was fierce in battle. But you know, nothing brought about her hostile nature like a threat to her family."
Leesto cocked her head. "Why don't you prescribe to the theory that Xena was a twisted loner like most of those fools downstairs? Most of them don't think there ever was a Gabrielle."
Xena rested her hand on the ancient saddlehorn, "Because I know better," she said remembering the feel of the leather, the warmth of the animal she rode, and the love of the woman she rode with. "Gabrielle wrote the scrolls. All but one. But those bits of paper aren't the real treasure. It's how they lived and the family they raised. Still their possessions do deserve better than to be sold to the highest bidder. They belong to her family, my family."
"So you're a descendant of Xena?" Leesto asked, false disbelief evident in her features.
Xena leaned close, azure eyes burning into soft brown. "You tell me." She whispered.
"And I suppose you're going to tell me that Jan is related to Gabrielle"
Xena shrugged, her hand grasping the familiar handle of her bullwhip. Suddenly a familiar fire burned in the eyes of the blond archeologist. "Well isn't this old home week." She said, her voice brimming with the timbre of Callisto's as she drew her gun. With a snap of her wrist the gun was out of her hand, but it discharged as it hit the study floor. Leesto would have dived for it had her face not contacted solidly with Xena's elbow. "Not this time Callisto." She muttered as the unconscious woman slid to the floor.
Janice didn't bother to struggle against the guards that roughly escorted her to the kitchen. She could feel the gun barrel just below her ribs and knew that Leesto's men would have no qualms about killing her. Once inside the kitchen, however, she did struggle enough to knock some food on the floor and shouted as she was thrown into the large refrigerator. The door closed with a click, the latching leaver having been removed from the inside of ten foot by ten foot frosty cell. She was trapped. It didn't take long for the chill to settle in and in moments she was shivering. She paced the tiny room glancing out of the reinforced glass window, noting the position of the two guards beyond. "That leaves one more out in the kitchen", she thought. "Shit this sucks." Annoyed, she took off her gloves. The black satin was useless against the cold anyway. Not having a better plan for the moment, she began to look among the food stored with her for something to eat.
Xena walked past Callisto's inert body towards the door. She reached for the handle, then froze at the unmistakable sound of a cocked gun. "Not so fast Xena." Callisto said with a pistol leveled at the warrior. "And get away from that door." Xena complied, her eyes never leaving the gun pointed in her direction. She was fast, but not that fast. "Theoradore!" She called to the closed door. The beefy guard entered and waited patiently for his instructions. "Catch up to the others. If I'm not there in ten minutes with 'ol blue eyes," she said, indicating Xena, "have Covington shot." He nodded and withdrew from the room.
"So what do you think of my progeny's collection?" Callisto asked as she stood up.
Xena looked around the room once more. "Impressive, I suppose. Janice's research is thorough and scholarly." Xena cocked an eyebrow at the blond woman. "Alright Callisto, when did you find the time to procreate?"
"Oh, wouldn't you like to know Xena." Callisto replied dryly. "I was a god for awhile you know. Surely you don't think I was fighting with Valaska in a river of lava that whole time?" She continued in a light sing-song voice. "Nice thing about being a god, you can assume any form, make people think you're any one, even make them think they're dreaming. That's how little Arleia was born. Named after my murdered mother, by the way. Our mighty Hercules was reliving old times with you. Poor boy thought he was dreaming."
"You're sick." Xena said flatly.
"You ought to know." Callisto replied happily. "But really Xena, you should thank me." Xena only cocked an eyebrow, unwilling to play the age old game. "Were it not for me your precious little Lyceus would never have been born."
"You!" Xena's eyes flared in fury, "Erasmus raped Gabrielle"
Callisto laughed. "Where do you think the dear boy got the idea?" Xena advanced menacingly toward her nemesis. "Not so fast, we've got a date to keep with the 'fridge. We don't show up and Janice takes a nap. A long nap.
"You know," she continued conversationally as she followed Xena down the back stairs to the kitchen, "I really owe Janice a lot. Her scholarly work is going to make me a fortune. Nothing like a war to make the rich salivate over priceless artifacts. I assure you the fact that I get to scatter your memory to the four winds is only a bonus."
"Why bother?" Xena asked, "burn the scrolls and I'll vanish from history."
"Oh no Xena, I could never do that." Callisto beamed as the refrigerator door was opened. "Why I'd vanish too, and that thought is simply too painful to bear."
Xena was roughly shoved inside as Janice finished off the last of her sandwich and washed it down with milk from a fresh carton. Callisto smiled at Janice from beyond the small window in the door. "I'm glad you're making yourself at home Jan. You're going to be here awhile. If you're still alive when the auction is over, I'll be sure to let you know how it turned out." With that she was gone.
"Who is it?" Janice asked, putting the milk carton back on the shelf. "Mel or Xena?"
"Oh, we're both here." Xena replied with the traces of an accent tugging at her voice. She looked around the small chamber.
"I've already checked." Janice commented. "The only way out of here is that door, the one with the two guards outside and a third somewhere in the kitchen."
Xena leaned against the cold wall troubled by Callisto's recent revelation. Something tugged at the corners of her vision and with a start she noticed the frost coming from Janice's mouth as she breathed. The archeologist looked quite cold. "What am I thinking?" the tall woman said, southern accent firmly in place. "Janice you must be freezing. Here, take my jacket."
Janice laughed but accepted the jacket. "We're trapped, our mission taking a terrible turn for the worse, my dog is going to be hunted and you're worried about me being cold?" She shook her head, grateful for what little warmth it provided. "Nice to have you back, Mel."
"How is the arm?" Mel asked examining the bandaged wound with more proficiency then she knew the southern bell possessed.
"It's okay." Janice said, "the long gloves covered the bandage fine, but they were of little use in here so I took them off."
Mel nodded. "We've got to get out of here. Janice please, get in touch with whatever part of Gabrielle you're carrying around with you and think of something."
Janice sighed. The southerner made it sound so easy. Still she didn't have the heart to tell her that was what she had been doing. Instead she just nodded and said, "I'll try."
Argo waited patiently, the fragrant scent of the rosemary filling her canine senses. She was used to the routine. They would go somewhere, she would wait or accompany her mistress waiting for the signals and commands that would complete the task. She jumped at the sound of a gunshot. She well knew that blast signaled painful injury, but it did not match the sound of her mistress' gun. Momentarily torn between the order to stay and knowing the shot signaled danger, Argo sniffed the air and quietly stole from the cover of rosemary.
Her finely tuned nose told her that her mistress had moved. She crept around the building, sticking to shadows and staying out of sight until she stopped at the back of the mansion. She sat down behind a row of trash cans, momentarily distracted by the myriad of scents coming from the refuse. She sat still as a gun toting guard entered through the back door. Her mistress was near by, beyond the door. The increase in the familiar scent when the door opened told her so. The dog sat and watched, waiting.
"Think of anything?" Mel asked, for the fourth time.
Janice turned to glare up at her friend. "Do you really think asking me that every five minutes helps?" Sitting on the floor of the 'fridge with her knees pulled up to her chin, she turned her attention back to the door. "Think about something else." She muttered as she rested her chin on her knees.
Mel continued to pace back and forth in the small room. "But we need a plan!" She pleaded, her arms waving in expressive gestures.
"I'll say this just once Mel." Janice said evenly, trying to control her rising anger. "I don't think up plans. They just happen to come to me when I'm thinking about something else. If you don't stop talking about getting out of here, I won't stop thinking about getting out of here and trust me- we won't get out of here. If you want to help, for gods sake change the subject!"
"Well." Mel said in a huff, "I can see why Xena tired of your company." The doctor continued to look dejected and Mel regretted her reproach. She moved to the wall where Janice sat and sliding down, joined her on the floor. "I was just teasing." She offered quietly.
Janice tried to smile and failed. "No you weren't, but that's okay. I know I'm not very nice."
"Oh, you have your moments." Mel continued, "you just have a lot of rough edges to go with them." Mel gazed at Janice for a moment, a new topic of conversation forming in her mind. "In the boat house, why did you kiss me?" She asked quietly.
"What kind of a question is that?" Janice asked, surprised.
"An honest one."
"Look Mel, I said I was sorry. It won't happen again, if that's what you're worried about." Janice glanced sidelong at her companion, hoping she wasn't blushing as much as she thought she was.
"You mean you regret you did it?" Mel asked, sounding hurt.
Janice shrugged, there was not getting out of this conversation. "Yes and no. I'm sorry I made you uncomfortable or scared you. But no, I don't regret the experience. I'm only human after all." Inwardly the archeologist groaned. "What a lame thing to say," she thought furiously.
"Why are you so certain I find the thought of being kissed by you repulsive?" Mel asked gently, watching the other woman carefully.
"Call it woman's intuition," she shrugged, "I don't think I'm your type. Are you saying otherwise?" Janice asked. "Besides, you didn't act as if you enjoyed it."
Now it was Mel's turn to blush. She quickly tore her eyes from her companion and stared at the door opposite them. Through the window she saw the face of one guard, watching, and the back of the other's head as he faced the kitchen.
"Maybe I was surprised?" Mel offered. "Maybe no one has ever kissed me like that before?"
"You're kidding." Janice said as her jaw dropped.
"I'm glad you find my lack of experience amusing Doctor Covington." Mel said primly, as she turned away from the doctor.
Janice grimaced as her own words were thrown back at her. She glanced up, also noticing the guard watching them intently. "But on the boat, when I was hauled out of the water you"
"That was just to keep someone from seeing your arm. You were almost unconscious, and I just winged it." Mel's voice was tight, hurt, and Janice felt like a fool.
"Mel, you're incredibly beautiful, and smart. I just assumed that you'd have a list of suitors a mile long." Janice murmured, laying a gentle hand on the other woman's shoulder.
"You didn't mention rich." Mel added.
"Okay, so your list of suitors is two miles long. Surely someone has tried to um well kiss you." Janice finished lamely, not knowing exactly what she was trying to say.
Mel turned around, indignant. "As a matter of fact the answer is no. I haven't met anyone I found interesting enough to pursue a meaningful relationship with, physical or otherwise, so I spent my time helping daddy with his work."
Janice's eyes continued to widen in surprise. "Look, Mel I'm really sorry then. Shit, I must have really scared you."
Mel shook her head. "What would you say if I told you I wanted you to kiss me again?"
Janice opened and closed her mouth several times, searching for words that would not come. "Ah I guess I'd ask you if you were er sure about it." She finally stammered.
"I think so." Mel whispered, not knowing what to expect from the archeologist.
Janice's eyes softened, and a gentle smile eased across her features. She brought her hand to the side of Mel's face, cold fingers resting against warm skin. Slowly she drew their faces together, bringing her mouth to rest against Mel's once more.
Mel closed her eyes, savoring the touch that sent a charge through her nervous system. Without thinking, she brought her hands to Janice's shoulders, drawing the smaller woman even closer. As their mouths shifted, Mel delighted in the movement of soft lips against her own. Janice moved again, deepening the kiss as she felt Mel's body relax against hers. The kiss lasted for long moments, Janice encouraging Mel with her lips, letting the other explore at will. When it ended, with both women hungry for air, Mel looked at Janice in wonder. "That was really nice." She whispered.
Janice smiled. "You won't believe this, but I've got an idea."
"Yeah, so do I." Mel replied.
"I mean for getting us out of here." Janice corrected her.
"Oh." Mel sounded a little disappointed, which only made Janice's smile broader.
"Don't worry, it involves more kissing." She chuckled as Mel began to blush. "Tell me, is that guard in the window watching us?" Mel glanced over the archeologist's shoulder at the small window. Two faces were pressed against the thick glass.
Nodding, Mel whispered. "Both."
"Good," Janice murmured, leaning in close to Mel's ear. "If you don't mind, I'd like to try and distract them."
Mel closed her eyes as one hundred and one pleasurable sensations rippled through her. She felt warm lips at the base of her ear lightly trail down the line of her jaw before coming to rest on her lips once more. With growing confidence she responded to the gentle mouth moving against her own. She wanted more, more of everything Janice had to offer. She started at the sensation of a tender tongue moving against her lower lip, taking delight at a new rush of sensation. Responding in kind, she searched out the velvety depths of Janice's mouth. She caressed the archeologist's lips and teeth, taking special delight as Janice's tongue wrestled with hers. Reveling in the sensations of warmth and softness, Mel felt a growing hunger beginning to burn deep within. Moaning in delight, she felt Janice's tongue enter her mouth, caressing her in ways she never knew possible. She continued to return the ardent kisses with growing passion, as she felt the archeologist's hands at her neck, undoing the bowtie. That done, Janice shifted her mouth to Mel's neck, kissing her way down the elegant line of her throat.
"Gods you're beautiful." Janice murmured against the soft skin of Mel's throat, her tongue dancing in counterpoint to the rapid beating of the other woman's heart. Mel threw her head back, her breathing ragged, every nerve ending alive and hungry. Janice nuzzled lower, her lips resting on the top button of the tuxedo shirt. With a quick nip, she quickly removed the button. "Get ready for the guards," Janice whispered, just before her tongue dipped into the indent at the base of Mel's throat, just above the clavicle. Mel whimpered with need, trying desperately to keep some small part of her mind clear. Finally, Janice moved down to the next button, biting it off in the same fashion as the first. This time however, Janice pulled back with a surprised look on her face, both hands going to her own throat. Silently she tried to gasp for air.
"My god, she's choking!" Mel exclaimed, easing Janice to the floor. She turned to shout at the guards. "Get in here and help her, unless you want to explain to Leesto why her precious prisoner is dead!"
Argo moved closer to the kitchen door. The dog noted that as people entered or left the door was slow to close. When another guard left to make a security sweep of the grounds, Argo slipped in, unnoticed as the door eased shut. She padded silently down the hallway, stopping in an unused supply area at the sound of foot falls. She could smell food as well as her mistress and headed in that direction. The big dog's ears perked at the sound of the other female voice. It was muffled, coming from behind the silver door a short distance in front of her. Two guards stood transfixed at the door, peering in the small window. A third approached from the kitchen, his gun drawn. When the silver door opened and Argo detected the comforting scent of her mistress, she acted. With a sinister snarl she launched herself at the third guard with the drawn gun. She'd learned her lesson and knew that the arms holding the dangerous weapons must be rendered useless.
With theatrics she didn't know she possessed, Janice flailed on the floor like a woman scared to death of death. After a moments indecision the door opened, both guards entering. In a heartbeat she was attacking one, Mel going after the other. Both women heard the angry snarl of Argo, then the brief but terrified scream of the third guard. In seconds all three guards were rendered unconscious. Two in the 'fridge from blows to the head, the third from fear as well as loss of blood; both arms sporting severe dog bites. Argo sat patiently outside the silver door, hoping she would not be reprimanded for leaving her post. She wagged her tail happily as she was greeted with affectionate rubs and whispers of "Good dog." Finally, looking around the empty kitchen, Janice pondered what to do next.
"Was that all a ploy to get the door opened?" Mel asked tentatively.
Janice turned and smiled at her companion. "Mel I'm soaked from being turned on. Did that feel like a ploy to you?" The archeologist glanced down the hall, back to the stairs that lead to the upper floor. "When we get back to the ship, I have every intention of proving my sincerity." Then, with a shy glance at Mel added, "That is, if you'll let me."
"Let you?" Mel asked her eyes burning with desire, "I'll make you."
Janice grinned as she headed past a supply room. Not knowing why, she paused and grabbed the large utility broom. It took a couple of moments to unscrew the broom head, and with only the sturdy handle, she headed for the stairs.
"I was wondering when you'd get here." Xena commented from behind as Gabrielle headed up the stairs, as fast as her tight dress would allow.
Gabrielle glanced at her lover with a smile. "You try breaking through the conscious mind of someone not entirely convinced you aren't useless. She's got your stubborn streak."
"Hey, don't blame me, she's your offspring." Xena replied, reaching the second floor and leading the way to Leesto's study. "But I thought I recognized your theatrics. Was the kissing thing your idea too?"
The bard giggled. "No, and what she's thinking makes even me blush."
Xena rolled her eyes, "now I know she takes after you."
"Xena, I think our kids were so much like both of us, it's really a moot point as to who belonged to whom." Gabrielle replied with an affectionate smile.
Xena nodded as Gabrielle spun the broom handle in her hands, getting a feel for it's balance. Argo looked at the two women, confusion evident in her canine features. Pointing to a bend in the hallway, the bard looked at the dog and commanded, "Stay." Argo appeared to ignore her at first, then watching the big stick for a moment, obeyed.
"I believe we've got a little score to settle with Callisto," Xena quipped, reaching for the handle.
"Just like old times." Gabrielle muttered from behind the warrior as she removed the satchel from Argo's pack.
"I hate to break up this reunion," Janice said sincerely, "But do you know what time it is?"
Xena shrugged her shoulders, and the archeologist shook her head, smiling. "Here, let me" Janice said as she extracted the battered pocket watch from the tuxedo's vest pocket and smiled. "Perfect. Leesto or Callisto, or who ever the hell she is probably downstairs. She'll find us missing soon enough. Xena, or Mel" she shook her head, it was starting to hurt, "or both, slip inside the study and put the scrolls in this. Dump the stuff out her window if you have to, it'll land on the plants outside." She handed Xena her satchel. "I'll slow the bitch down. Argo and I will meet you outside under the window."
Xena shook her head, "I think I should go after"
Janice cut her off. "Not this time. Gabrielle, Argo and I all have scores to settle with that irritating blond. It's payback time." She leaned up and kissed her passionately but quickly. "I'll see you soon."
"Be careful." Xena called out quietly as the other woman left. She absently touched her lips. They tingled with the memory of Gabrielle and something more. Shaking it off with a smile she opened the door to the study and slipped inside.
Gabrielle descended the stairs quietly, dispatching the two guards she encountered with several quick blows of her staff. Janice had to admit that the bard was an expert with the weapon. Still, that knowledge did not stop her from taking the gun each guard carried. "My weapon," she muttered to herself as she tucked them into the pocket of the tuxedo jacket she still wore.
She and Argo reached the opulent ballroom and peered around the corner of a grand Doric column. As expected Leesto was mingling with guests, answering questions and discussing the artifacts as the bidding continued. Ducking back into the shadows, she headed back to the kitchen, noting that all three guards had left. "Probably running for their lives," Janice muttered. Pointing to the bloody floor and inside the walk-in, she asked the dog, "Where are they?"
Argo sniffed around and in moments she was heading for the door. The guards had fled outside. Janice smiled, "Good work." Inwardly she sensed Gabrielle's grin. "All Argo's should be that size." Alone in the kitchen, Janice looked around. It was payback time indeed.
Xena looked around the now familiar study and quickly headed for the scrolls. She put them in the satchel then added Gabrielle's staff, after taking it apart, and her bullwhip. Not ideal treatment for priceless antiquities, but the rugged artifacts would survive. Next she grabbed her breastplate, it's familiar weight bringing a smile to the warrior's lips. She'd already put the necklaces in the jacket pocket of the tuxedo, when she was in the study previously so the only item remaining that she had any attachment to was Argo's saddle. With a shrug she grabbed it. She didn't want strangers to have that either. She carried her booty to the window and peered out. The only question remaining was how to get it to the garden below. Dropping the stuff out the window was out of the question. The artifacts were fragile and being treated roughly as it was.
"Curtain!" Xena plainly heard Mel's voice in her head.
"This is no time for interior decorating." Xena muttered looking around the room.
"No, you oaf, the curtain pull, the rope, use it to" Mel shot back.
"Alright, alright, I get it, why didn't you say rope in the first place?" Xena's eyes landed on a battered dagger. She recognized it as Callisto's. "That should do the trick," she said as she drew the dagger and cut the ropes that operated the curtain pull. Securing the saddle in a crude rope harness, she lowered it to the ground below. With a second rope she lowered her breastplate. When that touched the grass below the window she positioned herself on the edge of the window sill. She put Callisto's dagger into the satchel around her neck and smiled. "Hang on Mel." She whispered as she pushed off. With a tight tuck and an aerial spin she landed lightly on her feet. Picking up the other two items, she headed toward the kitchen.
Leesto smiled at her guests as she made her way toward the kitchen. Theoradore rushed up to meet her. "Dr. Leesto," he said in his thick accent, "several of the guards are missing."
"Shit, Jan must have gotten out somehow. Give me your gun. I'll check to make sure she isn't still here. Have some men check my study, make sure the artifacts are there. After that, round up as many as you can find and meet me at the dock. She'll try to get out by boat." The burly man nodded and disappeared into the crowd.
Leesto cautiously entered the kitchen. It was dimly lit, the only sounds coming from the ballroom behind her. For a moment she regretted her decision to not serve dinner for her guests. She shrugged, deciding they didn't come to eat, they came to buy stolen artifacts. Besides the extra staff required for dinner would have only put those artifacts in greater danger. Drinks were enough, and that requirement was being handled from the service area at the other end of the ballroom.
Cocking the gun she headed toward the walk-in refrigerator. Just outside, she glanced down noticing a patch of blood on the white tile. She didn't bother to look in the 'fridge window. Janice and Mel were not there. "Looking for me?" A pleasant voice called from behind.
Leesto spun at the sound to face Janice, leaning casually on a broom handle, a service revolver pointed at her head. "A staff and a gun?" Leesto teased. "Make up your mind Jan, are you a useless bard or a hopeless failure?"
Janice smiled warmly. "Just because you have fewer options: bitch or bitch, don't blame me."
"Oh, you're good." The blond woman purred, a soft sinister quality threading her voice. "But you won't be able to beat me. You've never been able to beat me."
"You don't keep score real well, do you?" Janice replied smoothly, enjoying the confrontation. "Put the gun down on the counter and slide it toward me. And if you're going to get cute, remember I still owe you for Argo."
Callisto complied, slowly stepping toward the counter. "So what's it like Gabrielle?" she asked, "sharing your psyche with an abject failure. Oh, but I'd guess you'd know about that, wouldn't you?" Gabrielle kept her gaze steady. She would not be taunted by the madwoman, not again. "As long as I've got the chance I should thank you Gabrielle." Callisto added in a sincere voice as she slid the gun across the counter.
"For what?" Gabrielle asked sarcastically, as she pocketed the weapon.
"For being such an exquisite fuck." Callisto smiled, and laughed lightly.
"What are you saying?" Gabrielle growled, furious at the other woman's ability to bait her.
"Erasmus dear Gabrielle, I'm talking about Erasmus. You know, your brother-in-law? Funny though, I would have you expected to put up some sort of fight. I've always wondered about that. You see, I was in his body at the time. I raped you Gabrielle, and you didn't even struggle. Perhaps you enjoyed it?" Callisto's eyes narrowed with hate. "Maybe there are things our precious Xena couldn't do for you after all?" Callisto crossed her arms, confident that she wouldn't be shot in cold blood.
Gabrielle's pulse raced with rage. Of course the madwoman had somehow been behind it. It made so much sense. "Look," Janice's voice cut into her thoughts, "if this is all past history to you, why not let me handle it? She's trying to make you mad and careless. It's what I would do if I were her."
"What are you going to do?" Gabrielle thought to Janice.
"Turn the tables on her." Janice replied. "Trust me."
The bard shifted her stance and laughed. "So that explains it!" She said, her eyes bright.
"Explains what?" Callisto asked.
"Why he was so inept." Janice shrugged. "I mean, I'd done it with him once or twice before, I didn't understand why he was so clumsy. If I'd known I was with a virgin, I could have been more instructive."
Callisto's eyes narrowed in fury as she quickly drew a carving knife from the drawer. Ducking behind the metal counter she threw the knife at the archeologist's head then ran. Gabrielle knocked the weapon from it's trajectory with her staff, pocketing the gun as she calmly followed the fleeing woman down the hall.
The kitchen hallway that lead to the back door was wide. Designed to accommodate shipments of food and other supplies, Janice could hold her broom handle in a horizontal position and not touch either wall. As Callisto fled, she skidded to a halt twenty feet from the back door. Argo stood, hackles raised, teeth bared and snarling. She spun back the way she'd come. On reflexes alone she caught the mop handle that was thrown to her by the bard. Gabrielle intended to fight her. Callisto smiled. Things didn't seem so bad after all.
"Oh isn't this quaint," the madwoman purred as she struck out at the bard. Gabrielle deflected the blow easily, and parried twice more fending off the other woman's assaults. She chose her targets carefully, hampered in her movements by her tight dress. With efficient mastery she tested Callisto's defenses, making it clear by her blows that she was playing with the other woman. All of her blows were parried, but the concentration required was evident on the other woman's face. It made sense, she admitted to herself. She'd gotten better with the staff than Xena.
"Don't get cocky." Janice warned in her mind's voice. The archeologist's words were prophetic. Callisto changed the direction of her strike and slammed the mop handle into the archeologist's injured arm. Gabrielle yelped in pain and let go of the staff. Now relying on only one hand for control, her defenses slipped and many of the other woman's blows found their mark. Gabrielle ducked from a blow aimed at her head and hit Callisto solidly in the gut with the end of her staff.
"That's for Janice." She said as Callisto slumped from the impact. She reversed her grip bringing the stick across her jaw, "and that's for me." Callisto screeched and landed another blow to the injured arm. This time Gabrielle had no choice but to drop her weapon. Before another blow could land, however, her hand had come up holding a cocked gun drawn from her jacket pocket. "But we still haven't settled Argo's score." Janice said quietly.
Callisto froze. It was over, she'd lost, she left. Leesto stood for a moment, dazed at the feeling of emptiness that overcame her. "Drop it." Janice commanded, nodding at the staff. Still dazed, she acted as if she didn't hear. In quick succession, the archeologist fired off two shots, each finding it's mark in the mop handle, eliminating a foot of wood from each side. "I said," Janice warned as Leesto dropped the stick. "Open the 'fridge," she commanded, and utterly defeated, the scientist complied. Before she could enter however, Janice took a step forward and struck a solid blow across the other woman's jaw. Leesto fell to her knees from the impact, drops of her blood now joining that of her guard on the white tile floor. "That's for Argo." Janice said simply as she slammed the 'fridge door shut.
"We've got to get out of here." Janice said, heading for the door.
"You mean you've got to." Gabrielle replied, inside her mind.
"You're I mean" Janice muttered, feeling self-conscious and realizing for the first time who it was she was talking to.
"Leaving. Yes Janice, I'm going." Gabrielle's voice was kind and gentle.
"But I mean, you just got here." Janice shook her head. It was now or never. "What I mean is, there is something I'd like to say to you."
"Yes?" The voice asked patiently.
"I I owe you an apology. You're not at all what I thought you're well, all the things Xena said you are." Janice was hating herself. Since finding out who in the Xena scrolls was her ancestor, she'd considered giving up archeology all together. She felt like a first class idiot realizing just how wrong she'd been.
"You don't have to apologize to me." Gabrielle said, her voice soft. I lived the life I wanted. How I'm remembered couldn't interest me less. But there is something I think you should know." Janice stopped walking and cocked her head, listening. "I am very proud of you. You have the qualities that made Xena and I proud of our own children. I'm happy to see the important things were passed down. You're strong, you know what to fight for and when to fight for it. You also stayed by your father when no one else would." Gabrielle sighed. The time had finally come when mere words failed.
"Thanks." Janice said quietly feeling inadequate. "But um Xena, she's outside, I think. Don't you want to stick around and see her?"
Gabrielle laughed, Janice smiling in spite of herself at the sound. "Xena and I are never apart. These bodies are for the living, not the centuries dead. I love you Janice, Xena and I love you both. Be happy, and remember when you think of the dead"
"The dead can hear your thoughts." Janice finished as Gabrielle's presence faded.
Exiting the back door and stepping into the cool night air, Janice allowed her eyes to adjust to the dark. Listening intently, she made certain no one was around before moving. She could hear the voices of guards still in the mansion and knew that time was running out. She signaled Argo, and quickly moved towards the other side of the building towards the study. She'd gotten about half way there when Argo nudged her.
"What is it girl?" She whispered.
The dog headed over to a large rosemary shrub, poking her head inside. "Argo, is that you?" came a voice from the bush.
"Mel?" Janice called softly. She suppressed a grin as Melinda Pappas wriggled her way out of the confines of the shrubbery. "What the hell were you doing there?"
Doing her best to look indignant, Mel put her hands on her hips. "Once we jumped out the window and got about here, Xena left. She just took off, just like last time. I'm sorry Janice, but the saddle and everything was just too much to carry and I could hear guards coming and"
Janice nodded, "I get the point. Why on earth did you bring the saddle?"
"It wasn't my idea. But she want's us to take it." Mel whispered, dragging the relic from the bushes.
"Okay, I'll get it." Janice said, hoisting it over her shoulder with her good arm. "Can you get the rest?" When Mel nodded she headed back the way she'd come. "We've got to get to the boat. They'll find Leesto soon enough. I want a head start on them when they do."
They made their way to the dock avoiding the various guards that came within visual range. Just as they began to load their cargo a commotion erupted from the mansion, with shouts and booted footfalls coming their way.
"Shit!" Janice muttered as she frantically reconnected the wires she'd pulled loose from the boat engine. "We're going to have to leave the stuff near the boat house, there's no time to get it."
"Doesn't matter." Mel said, trying to stay out of what little light the moon overhead provided, "it was just clothes."
"Easy for you to say." Janice quipped finishing her work as the shouts grew louder, "my hat and my favorite shirt were back there."
"Why was that shirt your favorite?" Mel asked as Janice pulled the starter on the motor boat.
Janice winked. "It still smelled like you."
The boat pulled away from the dock just as Leesto and a group of guards reached the other boats. "Do you want to drive or shoot?" Janice asked, needing to yell to be heard above the roar of the motor.
"Are you crazy?" Mel yelled back. "I can't drive or shoot."
"Well, pick one." Janice shouted. "They'll be on our tails in no time. We've got to get clear around the other side of the island"
Her words were cut off as a distant gun shot rang out. Argo barked in response, the fir on her neck raised in anger. Mel looked out the small wind shield on the power boat. The direction they were headed was marked by rough water. Already sea spray was splashing over the sides of the boat, drenching both women and dog. "You drive." Mel shouted as Janice handed her a gun. "What do I do?"
"Just point and shoot. There's extra bullets in Argo's pack. Try to make 'em think twice about following us." Janice shouted as she navigated the rough water.
Mel did as she was told and found that after the first couple of shots she could even fire the gun without closing her eyes. Three boats were following them, all firing as well. One bullet struck dangerously close, biting into the wood on the side of the boat. Janice changed course several times, trying to shake those in pursuit. It also succeeded in nearly shaking her companion from the deck of the boat. "Careful!" Mel screamed.
"Duck!" Janice shouted, drawing one of the guard's weapons from the tuxedo jacket pocket. She fired over Mel's head and a dark figure fell overboard from the boat closest to them.
"I thought you said you were driving!" Mel shouted. She steadied her hand trying to aim carefully at the boat moving ever closer. An instant after she pulled the trigger, flames and smoke erupted from the pursuing boat's engine.
"Good shot!" Janice screamed as she was drenched by yet another breaking wave. The southern aristocrat's smile quickly faded from her face however as two more bullets struck dangerously close. Janice tried several more maneuvers, but the other two boats were gaining. "Get all the guns fully loaded!" She yelled, as she swung the boat in a wide arc. With the guns laid out, she picked up one after the other, firing in quick succession at the closest of the two remaining boats. The gun fire from the other craft ceased as it's occupants dodged the fury of raining bullets. With her good arm Janice held tight to the wheel of their boat, navigating the rough water as best she could and shooting with the other. Finally, the driver of the gaining boat slumped over, the boat turning away from them, speeding toward shore.
They neared the far side of the island with only one boat left in pursuit. The shots kept getting closer; someone on that boat had exceptional aim. "It's Leesto!" Janice screamed above the boat noise and the splashing of water, "She was a champion marksman in college. Duck!" Janice turned the wheel hard to the left as the small boat sped back toward the island.
"What are you doing?" Mel shouted watching the island grow larger.
"Trust me," Janice shouted back, "and keep shooting."
Leesto's boat altered course, using the change in direction to add more to the ground they gained on the fleeing boat. Janice grabbed a gun and carefully took aim on the ever nearing boat. As soon as she fired she spun the wheel hard to right, heading back out to sea. As she'd hoped, her shot either hit the driver of the other boat or dangerously close enough. The boat did not alter course in time and ran aground into the soft white sand.
Mel and Janice laughed, overjoyed and relieved as their craft sped away from the island, no one left in pursuit. Moving just beyond the island's point they saw a large ship in the distance. "It's The Gauntlet." Janice yelled. "We made it Mel!"
In Aires' cabin on board the smuggling ship Janice combed her wet hair, a huge smile on her face. In the corner of the small cabin Xena's treasures were neatly stacked; the satchel full of scrolls resting on Argo's saddle. Her Argo lay nearby, chewing contentedly on a large beef bone. She lifted her eyes at the sound of the cabin door creaking open. Seeing it was only Mel, the dog returned to her snack.
"Toby kept guard outside while I bathed." Mel said, removing the towel that wrapped her hair. She was dressed once again in the tuxedo, her other clothes still on Leesto's island. Janice was dressed in her customary attire, having traded the expensive dress for something more suitable as soon as she came on board. "How did you arrange hot baths for us?" Mel asked. "Although I don't think that was really a tub- tea cup maybe, but tub? Not quite."
Janice laughed, "I traded the speed boat for it." Mel looked at her stunned. "Well, I really wanted a bath, and I don't really need a boat. Besides, I got a couple more favors thrown in for good measure." Janice looked at Mel. She was simply stunning. The way she wore the tuxedo was bad enough, but her eyes framed by tresses of long wet hair made the archeologist's heart skip frequent beats.
"I'll bet." Mel replied, beginning to feel self conscious and shy.
"Are you hungry?" Janice asked, "Can I get you something to eat?"
Mel shook her head. She felt ravenous, but it wasn't for food. Still, she didn't know how to articulate her feelings; as embarrassed as she was by them. She moved further into the room, stopping when she stood at the foot of the bed. "Did Gabrielle say anything to you before she left?" She asked, not looking at her companion.
Janice shrugged, noting the distance in the other woman's body language. "We talked a little. I apologized for well for being an asshole. She's a class act, like you. So, did Xena have any parting words of wisdom?"
Mel smiled and began to blush. Janice wasn't sure if it was the compliment or something more. "We talked a little. She's kind of intimidating though. Wouldn't answer any questions, said I'd find out for myself."
"What did you ask?" Janice asked as she got up from the bed where she'd been sitting. She led Mel to the bed then nudged her to sit down. Climbing on the bed behind the heiress, she began to comb out the wet raven tresses, delighting in the silky texture as it slid through the comb.
Shaking her head slightly, Mel's cheeks glowed crimson. "Oh, nothing. Just advice." Mel hoped her growing nervousness wasn't as obvious as she feared it was.
"Advice about?" Janice asked quietly from near her right ear.
Mel stood up and took two steps away from the bed before turning around. "I don't know what to do Janice." She said, her voice tight with emotion. "I'm nervous, embarrassed and plenty of other things I can't name. I I don't know how to"
Janice got up from the bed and slowly moved to where the other woman stood trembling. "Do you trust me Mel?" She asked softly.
The other woman responded with a nod. "It isn't a matter of trust. I feel so"
"Shhhh." Janice whispered. "I'm as nervous as you are. It's to be expected when you're with anyone for the first time. It passes. I want you to listen to me Melinda Pappas. I don't want to do anything you're not up for. If something makes you feel uncomfortable; if you change your mind and want to stop, just say so. I promise I will."
Mel nodded again, lost in green eyes that regarded her so kindly. Janice gently put her hands on the other woman's forearms, slowly sliding them up the black jacket. "Did you really think Xena was going to tell you what to do?" She asked, smiling as her hands moved across the taller woman's shoulders.
"Well, I thought she might tell me what to expect." Mel said, watching Janice move closer.
"What's the matter, you don't like surprises?" Janice teased, drawing her head down. Her tension dissipated as the archeologist covered her mouth with soft lips once again. Bringing her hands to the sides of Janice's face, she held her close, losing herself in the velvety softness.
"I love the way you kiss." Mel whispered when they finally broke for air.
"That goes double for me." Janice whispered back, slipping her hands under the black jacket, her lips drawn to the taller woman's throat. In a graceful movement, she eased the jacket from Mel's shoulders, letting it fall to the floor. With skillful fingers, she released the cufflinks and unbuttoned Mel's vest, all the while nipping and kissing at the tender skin of the taller woman's neck. When the vest fell to the floor, Mel started in surprise.
Janice drew back slowly. "Are you okay?" she asked, concern evident in her features.
"Oh I'm fine Janice." Mel teased. "It's just that you seem awfully good at this. Do all of your women dress like men?" She ran her fingers through Janice's still-damp hair, delighting in the soft texture of the strawberry blond tresses. The doctor's eyes smoldered with desire and she smiled. If Mel hadn't jumped she would not have really taken a good look at the woman standing before her. White shirt buttoned, save for the top two which were missing, tucked into black pants with black suspenders. Mel's black hair hanging past her shoulders created a dizzying vision of black and white. The only points of color, intense arctic blue, were her eyes. She was gorgeous.
"If you must know," Janice purred then turned her head to brush warm lips against the palm of Mel's hand. "I'm usually the one in the suit. That's how I know things like cufflinks and shoes need to come off first. Have you ever tried to get your arm out of a sleeve with the fastened cufflinks? It's embarrassing." She leisurely began to trace her fingers over the white fabric of Mel's shirt. She slowly brushed her fingertips along the line of the suspenders, lightly touching the sides of Mel's breasts. Her smile broadened as she felt the other woman tremble, followed by a sharp intake of air. "Still, I don't think I've ever seen a more gorgeous vision in a tuxedo." Mel's eyes widened, riveted on the hunger clear in Janice's expression.
"Do you have any idea how incredibly sexy you look in that?" The archeologist asked, softly easing one suspender over a graceful shoulder. "What it's doing to me?" she continued, slowly reaching for the other suspender. "How much I want you?"
Janice's words were having a profound effect on the other woman, and she knew it. Her movements became more deliberate as Mel's breathing became more ragged. "You are so beautiful." She whispered as she lightly caressed Mel's breasts through the thin fabric of her shirt. Green eyes burned with passion as she felt nipples harden under her teasing palms.
Mel leaned in to claim Janice's mouth once more. Her body was on fire, nerve endings burning where ever the archeologist's hands touched her. Janice's soft tongue exploring the recesses of her mouth brought some degree of satisfaction to her need, but not enough. Not nearly enough. Mel couldn't imagine anything being enough. Before she realized what she was doing, her hands were at Janice's neck and she was unbuttoning the sturdy khaki shirt. "Uh, is this okay?" She asked, wondering if she was being too forward.
"Absolutely." Janice smiled, her own fingers at work slowly undoing the buttons of the white shirt. "Mel, I can't think of anything that wouldn't be okay." Janice said as she eased her hands under the white fabric, "as long as makeup isn't involved."
Mel laughed at that. "How do you do that Janice?" She asked.
"Do what?" She replied as her fingers lightly trailed across Mel's torso causing the muscles to tremble in their wake.
"Know just what to say to put me at ease." Mel shuddered again as light fingers moved across the bare skin of her back.
"At ease?" Janice arched an eyebrow as she slowly drew her hands up to cup ample breasts. Mel gasped, her knees feeling like water as skilled fingers caressed her nipples, teasing them to taunt points. "You mean like not nervous?" She asked innocently as she maneuvered Mel in the direction of the bed.
"Yeah, not nervous." Mel agreed as Janice eased her onto the bed. She opened the shirt slightly, but left it on.
"So that means you're feeling something else?" Janice asked as she lowered her lips to Mel's chest.
Is There A Doctor At The Dig Part 5
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