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by The Lurkers, Rastro and Maddog
We don’t own these characters and no infringements are intended. As usual, it’s not our fault. It just seemed that Xena and Gabrielle were missing that certain special something in life. So we borrowed them for a while and will return them happier than when they left. (So they spend the rest of their lives attempting to discover South America... oh well.)
Gabrielle sighed as she washed her face in the freshwater stream that was feeding into the ocean. It was only early in the morning but she had a sense, an overwhelming premonition, that today was not going to be a good day. This thought had struck her when Xena had thrown a pot had her head. The pot had missed its target but the sense of gloom, doom and horrible pissiness still hung in the air like a rancid yogurt fart.
Gabrielle’s thoughts prevented her from noticing that several people had walked up beside her. One of them politely coughed and startled, she looked up at them. They were a brown skinned race, with straight black hair and high cheekbones. Their clothing was brightly decorated with feathers and was of a style that she had never seen. Slowly rising to her feet, she carefully brought her fighting stick to a neutral but ready position.
"WugaX," said the male that was closest to her. He made a gesture that Gabrielle assumed to be one of greeting.
"Hi there," she smiled at him and tried to back a bit away from the group.
"Wu-ga-XX," the man repeated a little more slowly and loudly. He knew, just like everyone else, that if you kept repeating what you said eventually the other person would understand it.
"Uh, wugaxx, to you too," Xena said loudly enough to attract the groups attention, much to Gabrielle’s relief.
The men in the band looked the warrior up and down and decided that she was one hot mama and not to be messed with. The women of the band looked the warrior princess up and down and respected her for her obvious strength and competence but still secretly disliked her a little for her thin thighs and flat stomach.
"WugaX," said the man again, eyeing the warrior princess a little warily. He hoped the tall rather fearsome-looking woman in front of him would interpret his smile as a friendly greeting and not a leer. He had a feeling that men who leered at this woman had a good chance of losing important parts.
"Well this should prove to be an interesting conversation," muttered Xena as she glared back at him. /That isn’t a LEER on his face, is it?/ she wondered. She wasn’t in the mood to have strange men leering at her. She started to lift her sword.
There was a sudden commotion at the back of the group, and a young woman was pushed to the front. She glanced at Xena but obviously didn’t want to get too close. "Hel - lo," she enunciated clearly, "my name Chipatahuac. I talk to you."
Xena rolled her eyes. She didn’t have the patience to handle this today. Her PMS headache was getting worse by the minute. "Gabrielle, get over here. You’re supposed to be the one with the communications skills." She fingered her sword.
Gabrielle decided that these people probably weren’t a threat, and lowered her staff. She smiled at the young woman, "Hello, I’m Gabrielle, and this is Xena. Xena, this is Chipatahuac. Xena, say hello."
"Hello, Chipa," growled Xena. She turned back to Gabrielle. "Can I go now? I don’t think these people are a threat, and I want to practice with my chakram."
Gabrielle was watching with great interest as Chipatahuac pulled some vellum out of her pouch and started scribbling on it. She recognized some Greek letters, but most of it was incomprehensible symbols. (It was Aztec, but nobody would know that for centuries.)
"Gay-bree-el" sounded out Chipa. "Zee-na."
"Look Xena," exclaimed Gabrielle, "that’s what our names look like in their language." She pointed at the scrawl. Chipa obligingly held out the vellum.
"Hmmmph," said Xena, tossing her chakram into the air. "See if you can find out where they’re from."
"Long way away," replied Chipa. She pulled out another parchment. "Map." She showed it to Gabrielle, pointing out the interesting bits. Most of it was quite unknown to the bard. "You are here. We are from here." She pointed right off the edge of the map. "Long way, over sea."
Xena was peering over Gabrielle’s shoulder. "Ha!" she snorted. "Look, this is Greece, which means that’s Gaul, and everyone knows that if you go west from Gaul you sail off the edge of the world."
"World is round," said Chipa. "We’re from the other side."
"Oh yeah?" sneered Xena.
"The latest theories are that the world is round," Gabrielle put in. "After all, if it wasn’t, wouldn’t all the water run off the edge?"
"Um.." Faced with this piece of immutable logic, Xena couldn’t think of a smart answer. So she settled for "Who cares anyway! I’m going to practice with my chakram. DON’T follow me!" She marched off into the field, tugging at her leather skirt. If she wasn’t being watched by a whole band of strange men she would’ve loosened the thongs a bit. She hated that confined feeling.
Chipa looked after the warrior princess as she strode away. "Gabrielle friendly.
Xena...." she stopped, searching for a word.
"Pissy?" suggested Gabrielle.
"Yes, pissy." Chipa wrote that one down.
"Well, it’s that time of the month. You know," Gabrielle doubled over, imitating cramps, putting a pained expression on her face.
"Ahhhh," Chipa nodded in understanding. "Why doesn’t she have some cocoa then?"
"What?" Gabrielle said.
"Magic bean. Cures pissiness," Chipa smiled. "I will talk to our healer, keeper of the sacred beverage." She gestured one of the warriors over and started talking to him. After a bit of negotiation, he handed over a small pouch. "Now - honey, and a cow."
A little while later Gabrielle sat watching as Chipatahuac mixed up some cream and honey in a small bowl. Xena was over the other side of the clearing, whacking bushes to pieces with her sword. Most of the wandering Aztecs were watching her in awe. Earlier they’d stared in amazement as she lopped small branches off trees with her chakram, and taken out the occasional feathered headdress of any man she’d caught ‘leering’ at her.
Chipa and Gabrielle had managed to corner a cow in the neighboring field, and Gabrielle had been lucky enough to discover some honey in a small jar in one of Argo’s saddlebags. Xena had obviously been saving it for later. Chipa assured Gabrielle that they really did need the honey, and that once the warrior princess had tasted the ‘magic beans’, she’d be ready to forgive Gabrielle anything.
As the Aztec woman poured the brown powdery substance into the mixture, Gabrielle wasn’t so sure. The concoction reminded her of mud, and didn’t look very appetizing. She took the spoon Chipa held out to her with great trepidation.
The wonderful molecules of the magic substance melted in her mouth and through into her brain. She licked the spoon slowly. "Mmmmm." It was the best thing she’d ever experienced. Better than anything. Better than sex. She wanted more (chocolate, not sex), and no-one had better try and stop her. Grabbing the bowl from Chipa, she started digging in with the spoon. In a few short minutes the bowl was empty and Gabrielle was sitting on the ground with a silly grin on her face. Her headache had disappeared completely, and although she still had cramps, she didn’t care. "More!" she demanded, wondering how much of the brown powder these people had and if Xena would kill them all for her to get it.
"We haven’t much left," said the Aztec woman, wondering if had been a good idea to let this apparently harmless Greek woman try the magic PMS potion of her people. The small blonde had a maniacal gleam in her eye and was eyeing her staff. She looked a lot more like a fearsome warrior princess than a mild-mannered bard as she leapt to her feet and headed purposefully towards the Aztec band.
"Give!" she said, marching up to the warrior who’d had the stores of cocoa and holding out her hand.
Chipatahuac spoke hurriedly to the surprised warrior. He shook his head, and they started arguing. Gabrielle stood by impatiently, tapping her foot. "Tell him I’m gonna tell Xena he has the hots for her if I don’t get the goods," she threatened. "And she’s pissy today."
The wandering Aztec band discussed the problem. They were a long way from home, and had no way of getting any more cocoa beans. Could they last without them? On the other hand, if the fearsome warrior princess thought she’d been leered at, they might never get home. And they’d come on this mission to explore strange new worlds and experience new civilizations and get lots of cool stuff to show off to their friends when they got back. Maybe they could do a trade.
After some rapid discussion, Chipatahuac turned back to Gabrielle. "Everyone agreed. We give you the powder." One of the warriors held up a large sack. "You give us the shiny thing Xena throws."
"What?!" exclaimed Gabrielle. They couldn’t mean..
"The round thing with the hole in it. We give you the powder for that." The band nodded in unison.
"Uh oh." Gabrielle couldn’t believe it. They wanted the chakram! No way would Xena give that up. Then again, if she didn’t get it, she’d never experience that wonderful taste sensation again. She licked her lips. She HAD to get the chakram. Surely Xena would understand...
"You traded my chakram for this!" Xena yelled, her body shaking with rage. The brown powder in the bag Gabrielle had given her sifting through her fingers.
"Well, yes," hedged Gabrielle, suddenly afraid that Xena was going to kill her this time. It was even worse than when she had traded Xena’s favorite whip for a frying pan.
"How COULD you, Gabrielle, you had no right!" Xena cast about for the right words to describe how she felt, unfortunately the only words that kept coming up were "kill, kill her now!".
"Xena, if you’d just calm down and listen..."
"I don’t want to listen. That chakram was priceless!"
"Oh, forget it," Gabrielle scooped a large lump of the brown powder, cocoa or something they’d called it, honey and cream mixture out of the bowl she was holding and shoved it into her friend’s mouth.
The shoving action stopped Xena from yelling and the wonder molecules of the substance stopped her from doing anything else. It was good, her mouth informed her, really good. So good, Xena’s brain chimed in, that it easily surpassed anything else she’d ever experienced in her life. Part of her brain protested that the chakram had been really, really cool and that how could she be an effective warrior princess without it but the taste-sensing portion of the brain reached over and killed that other part of her brain. "Mmmmmm..."
"Good isn’t it," Gabrielle took another big glob of it with her fingers and shoved it into her mouth.
"I’m so, so happy," Xena sighed. She sat down beneath a nearby tree, grabbing Gabrielle by the ear to force her to bring the wonderful stuff. The two women consumed the entire bowl very quickly and then spent another five minutes licking it.
"That," declared Gabrielle as she finished licking her fingers, "was better than sex."
"How would you know?" teased Xena, her bad mood gone, replaced now by a warm sense of well being and happiness.
"Hmmph, don’t you like it?"
"Let’s just say it’s better than most sex and definitely better than most everything else in the world."
The two women sat there for a time looking at the bag full of brown powder that they still possessed and wondering how they would get some more. "We should really share it," Gabrielle suggested, "maybe Hercules and Iolaus would like some." She turned to look at Xena.
"Nah," the two women decided simultaneously, deciding that this was something they really didn’t want to share. Besides, men probably wouldn’t appreciate it the way they did.
Xena hefted the bag up. "All for us." She grinned at Gabrielle.
"None for them." Gabrielle replied, smiling. "Don’t you think it would go nicely with strawberries?"