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If It Had Been A Snake ...

By: Candace Chellew

 

Disclaimer: 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.

NOTE: All works remain the © copyright of the original author. These may not be republished without the author's consent.

LOVE/SEX WARNING/DISCLAIMER:

Though not explicit, 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.

Feedback welcome, flamers waste their time and mine. Send mail to cchellew@hotmail.com


"XENA!" Gabrielle screamed. Her hips were thrusting in the air. "NO! STOP! YOU'RE HURTING ME!"

Writhing uncontrollably on the bedroll, Gabrielle looked down her body in horror. All she could see was the top of the warrior's head. Long black hair flowing between the bard's legs. Xena was clamped there, sucking furiously.

"Gods, what is happening!" Gabrielle thought in panic. "What is Xena doing to me?"

"I knew I should have tied her down first," Xena thought angrily, "but there was no time. She's making this impossible."

Gabrielle could not take the assault anymore. She raised up from the bedroll, and smacked Xena across the head -- hard. The blow sent the warrior reeling.

Xena recovered her balance, raised to her knees and towered over her small, crying friend. She spat violently across the bard's body. "Do that one more time," she growled, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, "and I'll kill you before the poison does. Now be still!"

Gabrielle could only sob in response.

They had been sound asleep when the snake made its way into their bedroll, and up Gabrielle's leg. Before she could react, it had bitten her on the inner thigh, only inches from her crotch. Xena was tending to the wound but her friend's violent protests were making the job hard.

Xena returned to the wound to suck the last bit of poison out. Gabrielle decided being still might save her life in more ways than one. Biting her lip, she let Xena finish.

Lying exhausted by the campfire, Gabrielle waited for Xena to finish dressing the wound. She watched and reflected on the past few minutes as the warrior gently salved the bite, and wrapped the cloth around her leg. Xena knew she had been bitten even before the bard realized it. Gods, she was quick! Xena was on Gabrielle in a flash when she screamed from the pain and shock of the bite. Neither the snake, nor Gabrielle, had stood a chance.

"Did you get all the poison out?" Gabrielle asked weakly.

"I don't know," answered Xena softly. "I could have done more if you had been still."

"I'm sorry, Xena," Gabrielle replied. "I wasn't sure what you were doing to me ...."

She trailed off, dropping her eyes from the piercing blue ones staring across at her.

"What do you think I was doing!" Xena cried, eyes widening. "What other reason would I have to be ... down there?" Her last two words were nearly a whisper.

"Nothing, it's just ..." Again, Gabrielle lost the words.

Thinking fast she recovered, "I didn't even realize I was bitten until I saw you kill the snake. By that time you were already sucking the wound. It just happened too fast."

Xena felt the tension release from her shoulders. "Hey, it's okay Gabrielle. Nothing you wouldn't do for me if it happened the other way around."

"True," smiled the bard.

"Now, let's get you back under the blankets. It's a few more hours until sunrise." Xena said, gently wrapping Gabrielle in a blanket. "There's a town just a day's ride ahead. We'll head there and find a healer to make sure you're all right."

"Thanks, Xena," Gabrielle said as she curled up next to the warrior.

*******************

With Gabrielle safely atop Argo, they headed toward the town. Images of the night before danced in Xena's mind. She heard the scream, felt her friend jump in pain and terror. She had seen the snake, latched tightly to Gabrielle.

Xena felt herself in slow motion, pulling the snake away and crushing its head with her bare hands. She assessed the wound in an instant. Pulling her dagger from between her breasts she had cut from bite mark to bite mark and began to suck violently. Gods, her leg is so soft. What an odd thing to think of at a time like this.

A sharp blow to the head interrupted that thought. She hit the ground on the other side of Gabrielle. Zeus, that woman is strong. Only two years and she can already put me on my butt. She had heard Gabrielle's screams, but never expected such a blow.

What was that other part? What was that stray thought that made Xena return to this scene? Certainly, she was concerned for her friend's safety. She'd do anything for Gabrielle. But she had saved Gabrielle's life before, and never felt the need to mentally go over the details afterward.

"Xena?" She heard Gabrielle's voice, and smiled.

"XENA!"

Xena snapped from her reverie. "Huh, wha?"

Argo had stopped. She had stopped. She hadn't even realized it.

"Are we going or not?" Gabrielle asked. "Why did you stop?"

"Um." Think faster, Warrior Princess. "Nature calls," Xena muttered. She handed the reins to the bard without looking at her and stomped off the road into the woods.

Xena paced back and forth in the woods.

What in Tartarus has gotten into me? Why am I thinking about this? What exactly am I thinking about? Gods, Xena, you know what you're thinking about. You've thought about it so long it's become a part of you.

Xena looked closely at her tanned, muscled forearm. It's like my arm, she thought. I'm not conscious of it all the time, but there it is, with me every moment. Just like my thoughts about Gabrielle ...

Her mind snapped shut. She forced the past night's events from her mind. Snap out of it, Xena, and get your friend to that town. NOW.

After she took a few minutes to compose herself, Xena returned. She looked at Gabrielle for the first time since they had left camp, and her heart raced.

"Gods, Gabrielle, are you okay?"

"I don't think so, Xena," Gabrielle answered weakly. She was pale and leaned over Argo's neck to keep herself from falling to the ground.

"There must have been too much poison for me to get it all," Xena said. "I don't have time to make you a litter, I'll have to join you up there."

She pulled herself onto Argo behind Gabrielle. "You hold on," Xena told her friend. "We're going to hurry this trip along."

*************************

By the time they reached town, Gabrielle was unconscious. Xena supported her full weight, and kept her from slipping off Argo.

She came into town at full speed, and frantically called out for directions to the healer's hut.

"I'm the healer's son," a red clad man cried out from the side of the road. "I'll take you there."

He led Argo a short distance down the road to the healer's home. Xena gently lifted Gabrielle down from Argo into the arms of the healer's son, who rushed her into the hut.

Xena dismounted and followed.

"What happened?" the healer asked as the son laid Gabrielle on a table.

"She was bitten by a snake last night in the woods," Xena answered breathlessly, terror rising in her chest.

"How long has she been unconscious?"

"A couple of hours, I think," Xena answered, never taking her eyes off her friend. "Can you save her?"

"It may not be too late," the healer gave her his best bedside manner look of calm assurance, but worried about his patient. "You must wait outside and let me treat her."

"NO!" Xena cried. "I can't leave her side."

"Please," the healer implored. "She'll be okay, but I must treat her alone."

"Look, all you have to do is give her an antidote," the warrior advanced on the healer. "Now!"

"I will, after you leave," the healer stood his ground.

The ire in the ice blue eyes of the warrior grew, and the healer knew he had to act quickly.

"Look, the longer we stand here and argue, the sicker your friend gets," he reasoned calmly, gesturing toward the prone Gabrielle. "For her sake, please, go. My son can get you some port or tea to help you while you wait. Please, time is of the essence now."

Xena's rage halted. The healer was right. If she was going to get help for Gabrielle, she had to obey the healer. With a sneer and a growl, Xena let the healer's son lead her out of the hut.

**************

At a tavern, just down the street, Xena stared into her mug of port. It's warm effects streamed through her veins. She felt better, but found it impossible to relax.

"So, what's you're name?" A voice interrupted her calmness.

"Xena," she growled at the man next to her.

"The Xena?" his eyes widened.

Gods, when will my reputation stop preceding me, Xena sighed. "No, A Xena, we come in six-packs now."

The man chuckled softly and smiled at the warrior. "The stories never mentioned you had a sense of humor."

"That's because I don't," Xena snapped, growing impatient. "How long does your father take to treat a snake bite, anyway?"

"He'll be along to update us on your friend's condition soon," the son replied. "My name is Theoclys."

"Good for you," Xena snarled. "Now, be a good boy and fetch me some more port."

She watched the tall, muscular young man head for the bar.

It hadn't struck her before now exactly who he favored.

He could be Gabrielle's brother, she marveled as the blonde hair approached the bar. Gods, I must see her everywhere. She took a long slow drink of the port. I've gotta snap out of this and concentrate on keeping Gabrielle alive.

Xena stood before she realized it, spilling her remaining port, when she saw the healer enter the tavern. "How is she?" she demanded, roughly grabbing his collar.

"She's not well," he stammered shaking his head, wishing now he had not offended the warrior woman earlier.

"But sheíll be fine, right?" Xena was calmly hysterical, lifting the helpless man off the floor.

The healer sputtered incoherently, not sure whether he'd live long enough to tell Xena the rest.

"Xena," a gentle voice called from behind her. The sound brought a small shard of reality back to the warrior, but still she kept the healer suspended in the air.

Theoclys stepped in front of Xena. "Please, he's doing his best to help your friend," he spoke in a calm and measured voice. "Let him go so he can help you."

Xena's eyes flickered with understanding, a moment of fear, then remorse. "I'm sorry," she stated simply, putting the trembling healer's feet back on the tavern floor.

"Father, how is the patient?" Theoclys turned to his father, keeping a wary eye on the now deflated warrior.

"I've given her an antidote," he began nervously, not making eye contact with Xena, "but the next 24 hours are critical. I brought some medicine. Give this to her every four hours. I've arranged for you both to stay at the inn. Your friend is already there. I'll want to see her again tomorrow. If she takes a turn for the worse during the night, send a messenger and I'll be there as soon as possible."

"Thank you." Xena took the medicine, straightened her back and headed for the inn.

********************************

Xena gently arranged the blankets around Gabrielle. She had not yet regained consciousness, but her color was better. That made Xena feel less nervous, but she knew she wouldn't get any sleep tonight.

She lay down beside her friend and cradled her head to her chest, to begin her all-night vigil.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" A scream escaped from Gabrielle that shook Xena to the core. A snake -- on Gabrielle. Xena moved in a flash, positioning herself between Gabrielle's legs. The snake was dead, but there was not a mark on Gabrielle. Relieved, Xena smiled and caught sight of Gabrielle's inner thigh, the intended target of the snake. She could not stop herself. She bent over and bit Gabrielle, gently at first, then harder. She felt Gabrielle's hand on her head. It was not a blow this time, but a caress. A moan came from above. "Yes, Xena," came the voice of her bard. "Mmm, right there."

Xena woke with a start, sweating from head to toe. She had fallen asleep next to Gabrielle. Gods, Xena, her life depends on you staying awake! Snap out of it.

She quickly checked Gabrielle. She put her hand on Gabrielle's neck. Pulse is still strong. She sighed, and let her fingers linger on the soft nape of the bard's neck. Stop it, Xena! Gods, you are incorrigible.

She untangled herself from Gabrielle and paced the room. You know you are just her friend, Xena, and nothing more. She left you to marry a man, for Zeus' sake! You're just friends and that's how it will remain. You've given her clues a plenty. A touch, a look, that kiss when you were in Autolycus' body, you even put your hand on her butt! If she wanted what you wanted she'd have taken the hints, caught a pass, and made a move. She hadn't. She had clearly been disgusted at the thought of you between her legs, even if you were trying to save her life. Get it clear, Xena, she's your friend. Sheíll never be your lover.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a soft murmur from Gabrielle.

Xena rushed to the bed. "Gabrielle?"

"Xena," she replied weakly. "Where are we?"

"Some inn, some town, somewhere," she replied.

"So you don't know either?" Gabrielle smiled weakly.

Xena smiled back, "Didn't seem all that important at the time."

"How am I?"

"The healer says you'll be fine," Xena assured her.

Not able to hide her distress well enough, Gabrielle caught the fear in Xena's eyes. "Tell me the truth, Xena. Am I dying?"

Tears formed in Xena's eyes. "I don't know, Gabrielle. The healer says this is the most critical time. He seems to think we got here in time for the medicine to work."

Gabrielle turned her head to keep Xena from seeing her tears. Xena crawled back in bed next to Gabrielle and took her in her arms, as the bard gently sobbed.

They had lain silently together for an hour before Gabrielle spoke.

"Xena?"

"Hmm?"

"If I'm dying..."

"Which you're not."

"If I'm dying," Gabrielle continued, "there's something I want to know."

"Like what?"

Gabrielle hesitated, unsure how to continue. "Remember when you were dead."

"How could I forget? That cross was a bitch."

"Not that part," Gabrielle went on. "When you were in Autolycus' body, but I saw and felt you with me, not him."

"Yes." Xena didn't like this line of questioning.

Gabrielle felt the warrior tense, but she continued. If she was going to die she wanted to die knowing the truth.

"Um, the kiss ..." she trailed off. "Was that a kiss between friends or was that ... a KISS."

"What do you think?" Xena asked, trying to avoid telling her friend the truth.

"What I think isn't the point here," Gabrielle said. She slowly raising herself to look in Xena's eyes. "I want to know what it meant to you."

Xena stared into her bard's green eyes, unsure how to answer. She wanted to tell the truth, but the truth might do worse than kill her friend, it might make her leave forever. She could not handle either outcome. If it meant keeping Gabrielle as a friend, she would deliver the best lie ever.

Xena mustered all her strength. "I kissed you as a friend."

Gabrielle searched those blue eyes for what seemed an eternity. She didn't quite believe her friend, yet she had no choice but to take Xena at her word.

"Okay," she nodded. "So it was Autolycus who took advantage of the situation and put his hand on my butt."

Xena averted her eyes. "I suppose so."

Gabrielle put her head back on Xena's shoulder and fell silent again.

"Was that it?" Xena asked.

"Yes," sighed Gabrielle, drifting back to sleep.

Xena's stomach was in knots. Gods, I hate lying to her, but the truth is so horrible ... it would kill our friendship. You did the right thing, Xena. No matter what happens, you did the right thing.

********************************

The next morning, Gabrielle was awake, but still weak.

Xena was dabbing her head with a cool wet cloth when there was a knock at the door.

Xena opened the door to find Theoclys there.

"My father sent me to look in on the patient," he said, smiling at Xena, who stood in the door in her shift.

"I guess after yesterday, he doesn't want to hang out around me, huh?" Xena gave Theoclys a lopsided smile.

The smile, and the shift separately would have made Theoclys smile, but together, they made his heart leap into his throat. God's what a beautiful woman.

"Well, he's never had anyone show him that much, um, gratitude, in awhile," Theoclys chuckled, unable to force his eyes from the beauty before him.

"Tell him again, I'm sorry. I lost my mind for a moment," Xena said earnestly, holding Theoclys' green eyes for what seemed an eternity for both of them.

"Sure, I'll pass that on."

"Uh, hello?" came a voice from the bed. "Remember me?" Gabrielle managed a few forced, sickly coughs, to catch the full attention of the pair locked in a simmering stare with one another.

"Um, oh, yes," Theoclys stammered, heading toward the bed. "How are you feeling this morning?" he said taking Gabrielle's wrist.

"Better," Gabrielle replied, shooting a stare at Xena, who only shrugged, and turned to busy herself with a very interesting spot on the wall. "Who are you?"

"Theoclys," he smiled. "I'm the healer's son, and an apprentice to the family trade."

"Am I going to make it?" Gabrielle questioned.

"The fact that you're awake and talking is a good sign," said Theoclys. "Another day of rest and you should be back on your feet in no time."

"Good," Gabrielle smiled.

"Are you hungry?" Theoclys asked.

"As a matter of fact, yes," said Gabrielle, thoughtfully.

"An even better sign," he smiled. "Xena, let's go down and get some food for the patient."

Xena smiled and reached for her leathers, completely ignoring both sets of green eyes taking in her every move.

****************************************

After breakfast, Xena left Gabrielle to sleep and headed for the stable to see to Argo.

On the way she met up with Theoclys, who tagged along with her to the barn. The two chatted idly while Xena brushed Argo. They got along well. Theoclys was riveted by Xena's beauty and enjoyed hearing stories of the adventures she and Gabrielle had been on.

"You should hear Gabrielle tell the stories," Xena told him. "She's much better with words than I am."

"But she can't hold a candle to your beauty," Theoclys gushed, unable to catch himself.

Xena blushed momentarily. "Thanks," she murmured.

"Let me tell you some stories," Theoclys offered.

"Youíre a bard?" Xena laughed. "Iíve never met a healer bard before."

"Iíve been told Iím quite good at weaving a tale or two," Theoclys defended himself in mock shock.

"Then fire away," Xena said as she continued her brushing of Argo.

Minutes later all thought of Argo escaped the warriorís mind. She was completely captivated by the tale being told by the blond healer. His every word anticipated and digested by the usually stoic warrior. She marveled at his beauty as he paused for dramatic effect at one part of the story, and nearly burst into tears at the saddest part of the story.

This is nearly as good as one of Gabrielleís scrolls, she thought. I could listen to this man the rest of my life.

"Hey, it's late. Would you have dinner with me?" Theoclys asked, snapping the warrior back to earth.

"Sure," agreed Xena, dusting the cobwebs out of her mind. "Let's check on Gabrielle first."

**********************

Gabrielle stirred as she heard a light knock on the door. The latch slowly rose, and the door gently creaked open.

With all the strength she could muster, Gabrielle grabbed her staff and assumed the defensive position in front of the bed, ready for any oncoming attack.

"Who's there!" she demanded, in a weak but determined voice.

"Whoa, now, young lady," came a voice from the door, "if I wanted to attack you do you think I would have knocked first?"

Gabrielle collapsed on the bed at the sight of the old, fat, gray-haired woman standing at the door.

"Sorry," she sighed wearily, dropping her staff by the bed.

The innkeeper wrinkled her nose and laughed, "No need to apologize. It's the first time anyone's been afraid of me. I take it as a compliment, dearie."

Gabrielle gave her a weak grin, and asked, "Why are you here?"

"Well, dearie, your friend asked me to check up on you, and that's what I'm doing," she stated, fluffing Gabrielle's pillow. "I don't know why. Seems to me you can fend for yourself."

"Where is Xena?"

"Oh, last I saw her she was in the barn with the healer's son. If you ask me, they make a cute couple," the innkeeper said with a wink. "They seemed to be enjoying one another's company, laughing and carrying on like a couple of school children."

Gabrielle found that image hard to fathom. She didn't think she'd ever seen Xena in a schoolgirl haze. The old woman must have Xena confused with someone else.

"No, that can't be," Gabrielle grinned in disbelief. "Xena would never act that way."

"Ah," the old woman sighed, "when one's in love they do."

"Hmmph," was all Gabrielle could manage.

"Well, you seem to be getting on fine," the woman said, heading for the door. "If you need anything, just holler."

I need my head examined ... can you help with that? Gabrielle thought. "Thanks," was all she said.

The wheels were spinning in Gabrielle's head before the door closed behind the old woman.

In love!?! I saw how they looked at one another this morning, and that was not love, that was ... oh, by the Gods .. I know what that was ... pure, unadulterated, warrior lust. But with this guy? I donít understand. He's not ugly by any stretch of the imagination, but he's not Xena's usual type. She likes that bad boy warrior type. This guy may be smart, but he's a simple small town guy.

I'll never figure this woman out, Gabrielle thought wearily.

She rolled over and tried to quiet her chattering mind. Her snoring signaled success.

************************

Xena and Theoclys brought Gabrielle some dinner. The aroma brought her our of her nap.

"Gabrielle, Theoclys tells some of the most amazing stories!" Xena practically gushed.

Xena, excited? Gabrielle shook her head as if her ears werenít working right. About a story? Gabrielle's stomach growled and knotted.

Xena prompted Theoclys into a story, and spent much of the tale eyeing him with a mixture of wonderment and hunger.

The sight made Gabrielle's stomach do some interesting twists and turns. Food was the last thing she wanted with this show. She'd seen this lust dance between the warrior and her prey before, but somehow this was different. She had watched nonchalantly many times before. She didn't say a word when Xena kissed Rafe ... she knew it was for show. She gave Xena her blessing on Ulysses, but in her heart she knew Xena would choose her over Mr. Milquetoast. Xena always came back to her in the end ... no matter what. Theoclys was different. There was something about him ... something very familiar. Gabrielle couldn't quite put her finger on it.

At the end of the story, Gabrielle gave a patronizing half smile, and a grudging, "Very nice," to Theoclys.

He nodded his thanks, never once taking his eyes off the warrior before him.

"So, what are you two up to tonight?" Gabrielle asked idly, hoping to ease the erotic tension in the room.

"We're just going out for dinner," Xena answered absently, never taking her eyes off Theoclys.

"Hmm," replied Gabrielle. "Theoclys, could you give us a minute?"

"Sure," he smiled, taking the hint. "I'll wait outside for you, Xena."

After he had gone, Xena turned to Gabrielle. "Yes?"

"So you like him?"

"Is there a problem?"

"No, it's just ... " again the bard lost words. Why do I lose so many words around this woman?

"Just what, Gabrielle?" Xena grew impatient. Tartarus, woman, if you won't take me I've got to do something! Don't get jealous on me now.

"Nothing, Xena," Gabrielle forced herself to smile. "Have a good night."

"I will," Xena said, softening her gaze at her friend. "I won't be out late. I'll have the innkeeper check on you every so often."

"Thanks," Gabrielle said as Xena shut the door.

*********************************

Stupid, stupid bard.

Gabrielle mentally whipped herself for not finding the words she needed to say to Xena.

But, what are those words? I can't come right out and say what I'm thinking. "Say, Xena, we've been together for a couple of years now, and well, I think we ought to become lovers." Right, Gabrielle, that's gonna go over well. So long and thanks for all the stories -- that's the response you'll get.

I can't take this "man of the week" thing anymore! From the moment I laid eyes on her I knew in my heart Xena and I belonged together, why doesn't she see it? We don't need men. We have each other. We can be everything to each other, friends and lovers. She must know it on some level or else she'd get serious about one of these guys.

Oh, gods, what if Theoclys is the one she gets serious about? I've seen that warrior lust, but the innkeeper is right, this does look a little different! What if Xena falls for this guy? What if this is the one time she doesn't come back? Worse yet, what if we have to take the boy healer along on our travels?

Gabrielle's head spun.

This cannot be happening. I haven't taken all these outside distractions seriously enough! One day, Xena will find someone other than me, and she'll be gone! Gods, this most have been how Xena felt when I went of to marry Perdicus. Oh, how could I have been so callous!

What is it about this guy that makes him so special? The answer hit her over the head like an unseen brigand. Heís me! I mean, heís a substitute for me. And a poor substitute at that, she snorted to herself. Gods, Gabrielle, do you know what that means? She does love me! She just canít tell me. Iíve got to stop her before she makes a terrible mistake.

Gabrielle tried to move, but her body refused, reminding her just how tired the snakebite had made her. Fine, Iíll tell her later, she thought as sleep took her.

She awoke with a start several hours later. Her hand felt the bed next to her --no warrior princess.

Where in Tartarus could she be? Gabrielle thought in a panic. She said she wouldnít be out late.

Oh, no. This is it, isnít it? This guy must be something special if sheís not back yet. That does it, Iíve got to tell her. Iíve got to tell Xena that I love her and we belong together.

She pushed herself out of bed, gathered her resolve and headed for the door.

Halfway to the door, her resolve chickened out, and scurried back to the bed, hiding its cowardly head under the covers.

Just what in Tartarus are you going to say? Youíve blown it nine ways to Sunday with her within the past few days. The snakebite episode should have been enough to convince Xena that you donít think about her that way.

How many times have I wished to look down my body and see the black hair of my warrior between my legs? It must have been dozens, hundreds, thousands of times in the past year or so! Yet, there she was, right where youíve wanted her for so long, and what do you do, smack her to the other side of the campsite. Just brilliant!

Sure, the circumstances were not what I would have liked, but, Hades, I didnít have to make such a big deal out of it. I could have turned it into a way to finally tell her how I feel about her.

Where in Tartarus is she, anyway?

A cold fear gripped Gabrielle. Maybe sheís already decided she likes this guy. Maybe Iíve already lost her!

She wrestled her resolve out from under the covers, and ignoring its loud protests, headed out the door.

**********************************

"And then the man said, 'is that a dagger or are you just glad to see me?'"

Xena laughed despite herself, and felt the port land in her sinuses. Coughing and sputtering she fell into Theoclys' arms. She'd definitely had too much to drink. Port after port appeared in front of her. If she didn't know better she'd think Theoclys was trying to get her drunk. Oh well, he had succeeded.

The stress of the past few days melted away into a river of port and good food. Good company too, thought Xena. Theoclys wasn't like other guys she had been attracted to. He was not a warrior, not a king, not an emperor or the son of Zeus. He was kind, gentle and one heck of a storyteller. The only other person to keep her this entertained was Gabri ... oh, Tartarus, Xena, stop thinking about this and just have some fun.

Fine, Xena thought, I could live with this. I could make this work. Gabrielle can be my source of emotional strength. I'll just have to get sex somewhere else. Theoclys will do in a pinch.

Warm and soft met wet and rough. She was kissing Theoclys, hard and fast. The tavern was so crowded, no one noticed or minded. Their passion grew, as hands met flesh and tongue met tongue.

"XENA!"

Damn! There was that voice again. Only this time it was right behind her.

She jerked from her embrace with Theoclys, and landed squarely on the floor.

Slowly pulling herself up she asked, "Gabrielle, what are you doing out of bed?"

"Do you know what time it is?" Gabrielle demanded. "You said you wouldn't be out late. I got worried that something happened to you."

"Um, sorry," Xena sheepishly straightened her leathers, here eyes not quite meeting Gabrielle's. "Theoclys and I got ... involved."

"I can see that," Gabrielle snapped. "I can also see that you're drunk."

"The poison didn't affect your eyes, I guess," Xena teased with a smirk.

"This is not funny, Xena. I'm upstairs recuperating after nearly dying and you're down here getting drunk and making out with Hippocrates here."

"It's Theoclys .." the healer's son began to say.

"Shut up," Gabrielle growled, with a menacing sidelong glance at the shocked apprentice.

"Gabrielle, I'm sorry, but since you were on the mend I didn't think you'd mind if I had a night out," Xena told her, trying to calm a scene that was beginning to attract attention.

Gabrielle could feel her temper rising. How do I make her understand?

"Xena," she started and stopped. Oh well, here goes. "Xena, we belong together."

Xena's blank stare almost broke Gabrielle's heart. "You don't get it do you? I want to be with you, Xena."

Blue eyes blinked, but the stare remained vacant.

The stress took its toll on resolve, which passed out completely, leaving a weary and deflated Gabrielle slumped before the warrior.

"You donít have anything to say to me, Xena?" Gabrielle implored wide-eyed.

Xena's ability to speak joined Gabrielle's resolve in blissful oblivion. Her mouth moved, but her silent sputtering was made to Gabrielle's retreating form.

Xena sank back down on the bench, feeling the air knocked out of her.

"Xena, I ..." Theoclys began.

"Theoclys," Xena raised a hand to stop him. "It's been real nice, but I've got to go take care of this."

************************************

Xena could hear the sound of sobbing before she got to the room. Still wobbly from the port, she stopped to steel herself before going in.

She opened the door just in time to catch the iron pot flying toward her head. Even drunk I still got it, she thought proudly.

Gabrielle was looking for something else to throw when she was caught up in the strong arms of Xena.

"I'm not sure what's going on here, Gabrielle, but braining me with a pot wonít solve it."

Gabrielle struggled to loosen Xena's grasp. "Let me go!" She was hysterical now.

"Gabrielle, calm down and tell me why youíre so upset."

"I saw you," Gabrielle stammered, still struggling against Xena. "I saw you ... kissing him, like you loved him, like you wanted him!"

"Oh, is that what this is about," sighed Xena, letting Gabrielle go.

"Well?" Gabrielle demanded.

"Well, what?" replied Xena, exasperated.

"Did you want him? Do you love him?" Gabrielle demanded, her temper on the rise.

"Yes, and no," answered Xena.

Gabrielle was confused. She screamed in frustration and thrust another pot across the room.

Watching the pot break several of the inn's other pots and knick-knacks, Xena knew she had to make sense of the situation quickly, before all their dinars were spent repairing the room.

"Gabrielle, listen to me. Yes, I wanted Theoclys. I have been a little sexually frustrated lately and he seemed good enough for a roll in the hay. I do find him attractive. He's fun, witty, tells great stories, but no, I don't love him," Xena explained.

Gabrielle collapsed on the bed. Her head spun. She was still weak from the snakebite, and the exertion had taken its toll.

"Gabrielle," Xena implored, sitting on the bed next to her. "What is this really about?"

"You wouldn't understand."

"Try me."

With resolve out cold, Gabrielle only had her courage to rely on now.

"Xena," Gabrielle sat up, took a deep breath, and searched the blue eyes of the warrior, "I want you to know that I love you."

"Gabrielle, I love you, too. Don't you know that by now?"

"No, Xena. I love you, not like a sister, not just like a friend," Gabrielle thought for sure she'd join her resolve in unconsciousness before she got it all out. "I love you completely, totally, without reservation."

Xena couldn't believe what she was hearing. She had to be sure.

"What are you saying, Gabrielle?"

Gods, sometimes she can be so thick, Gabrielle thought in frustration.

"This is what I mean."

Gabrielle leaned into Xena, catching her in a passionate kiss.

Xena fell back on the bed, breaking the kiss. "Gabrielle, I ... I had no idea you felt this way!"

"Gods, Xena, didn't you ever see it? The looks, the touches, the jealousy every time you kiss a man! For Zeus' sake, Warrior Princess, open your eyes! I've been here the whole time!"

Gabrielle was practically on top of the warrior, pinning her to the bed. She looked deeply into Xena's eyes, "Tell me you don't feel the same!"

Xena's head swam from a combination of port and the bard's sweet breath on her face. "Gabrielle, of course I feel the same. I've thrown a thousand passes that you've missed too, my little bard. Not to bring up bad memories, but if any of those passes had been a snake it would have bit you! I .. I couldn't come right out and tell you because I thought you'd find it horrible and leave me."

"Leave you!?! Xena, you'd have to cut my head off with your chakram to get rid of me. I'd never leave you, I love you."

Xena's heart sank.

"Oh, Gabrielle, I feel terrible," Xena reached up to touch her bard's face.

"Terrible? Why?"

"I lied to you last night."

"About what?"

"About the kiss," Xena averted her eyes from her friend's loving gaze. "When I came to you through Autolycus. It was more than a friendly kiss. I knew if I didn't get my body back it would be my last chance to show you how much I love you. It wasn't just a friendly kiss, it was a lover's kiss."

"And the hand on my butt?"

"Mine," admitted the warrior with a lopsided grin.

"Oh, Xena, that makes me so happy."

"It does?" Xena was surprised and pleased. She enjoyed making the bard happy.

"Yes," Gabrielle smiled, "Put your hand there now."

Xena did as she was told, drinking in the sensation of Gabrielle's curves and soft skin beneath her callused hands.

Gabrielle lowered herself on top of the warrior, locking her in a gentle kiss. Xena surrendered to her bard, returning the kiss.

Gabrielleís resolve finally regained consciousness, just in time to send Xenaís speech ability into an ecstatic state of incoherence.

 

The end!

Disclaimer: Gabrielleís resolve was not harmed during the production of this fanfic, but Xenaís speech ability will need some serious recovery time.


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