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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 (c) copyright of the original author. These may not be republished without the author's consent.
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.
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Xena: Warrior Princess
"What Tatika Wrought"
an alternate ending for Devi
Xena opened her eyes.
Something was wrong. Very wrong.
She turned over to shake Gabrielle awake, but the bedroll to her left was empty. It didn't even look slept in at all. Xena jumped to her feet and pulled her breastplate on over her shift.
"Gabrielle?" Her shaky voice reverberated through the stagnant air of Eli's quarters, but she didn't expect an answer. If Gabrielle were here, her bedroll wouldn't be so neat. Gabrielle had not slept here tonight.
Maybe, Xena thought hopefully, she just went out to the balcony for a breath of fresh air, and fell asleep out there.
Xena stepped out onto the balcony and surveyed the still Indian night. The sky was a deep purple at the rims that faded into a heavy black in the center, a deep and liquid black, like the ink at the tip of Gabrielle's quill. It was dotted by a thousand stars. She remembered wanting to own them all.
A few hours until dawn.
She toyed with the idea of waking Eli up, but decided against it as she pulled on her boots.
No need to drag him any further into this. Unless ...
Nahh, Gabrielle wouldn't do that.
No. Gabrielle certainly wouldn't, but ... Tatika might. She decided to check, just in case. If Gabrielle really was possessed by that demoness, winning Eli over to her cause would be a good strategy. Without Eli's help, there would be no way to cast Tatika out of Gabrielle's body. This was too weird. She was starting to dislike where it was going.
Gods, she couldn't stand to see Gabrielle in bed with Eli, possessed or not.
That would be unbearable.
Somewhere over the course of their travels, she'd fallen in love with Gabrielle. She was beautiful and pure, even still. At first she'd been sweet and innocent, and now she was strong and lovely. It was phenomenal, the way she was always searching for love ... for spiritual fulfillment. Xena loved that in Gabrielle, even though it often got them into trouble. Gabrielle was good.
That was part of the reason Xena had never approached her that way. Xena had had many women; Alti, Lao Ma ... nearly as many as she'd had men. But none of them had been like Gabrielle. She'd already corrupted Gabrielle enough. And so she hadn't said anything, all these years, for the simple preservation of Gabrielle's innocence. How could it be beautiful and good to merge Gabrielle's light with her inner darkness?
And now Gabrielle's light contained someone else's darkness. Tatika's.
Xena silently glided to the end of the hall. A red cloth throw decorated with gold trim and deep green paisley hung in the doorway. Eli had gone in there earlier that night as she and Gabrielle had retired to the other room. The cloth was somewhat translucent and she could make out two figures on the bed. On a normal night, she was sure its fabric would ripple in the breeze that would indubitably blow through the window. Tonight it hung perfectly still. Hanging from a nail just above the door frame was a pendant on a dark metal chain.
Xena was starting to sweat.
She leaned toward the pendant, eyeing it carefully. That necklace had not been there before. It was a flat circle of mother of pearl, set in the darkest metal she'd ever seen. A slight breeze began to blow. The pendant swayed with the cloth in the wind, strangely light, and as it moved the immaculate white of the thing set inside it changed with the angle, supernaturally glowing a dull gray-black.
Xena's breath hitched in.
"Xena," a voice came from within.
Xena let out her breath, nearly hypnotized by the effect of the stone.
"Yes, Xena. I'm in here with Eli." Gabrielle's voice sounded strangely sanguine and sensual. "Don't be afraid, you may come in."
That was definitely not Gabrielle talking. Why should she be afraid of ...
Xena unsheathed her sword and stepped through the tapestry, past the metal chain. The chain fell, loosed from the nail, and the pendant chimed as it hit the floor.
Xena didn't look back.
Gabrielle was laying on her side on the bed, facing the door. Eli was behind her, hands on her shoulders.
She was wearing that unsettling pearl crown, and the golden blouse she'd been wearing was on the floor. A yellow scarf was draped over her breasts, and her body was covered from the hips down by the linen of Eli's bed. She was still wearing that eye makeup.
"Xena, I ..." Eli began.
"Shut up, Eli," Xena commanded, advancing on Gabrielle.
"What are you doing?" Eli cried, voice cracking, as he clambered out of the bed, self-consciously wrapping a sheet about his waist. "She just wanted a massage. We were just talking, and ... Xena, I don't think the spirit in her is Tatika."
"I said to shut up, Eli," Xena spat, not looking up, but fingering her blade. "Gabrielle's life is at stake here. Shut up or I'll kill you."
Eli did as told.
"Xena," Gabrielle purred, "why end the fun here?"
Xena's face hardened as she advanced again, and Gabrielle laughed with demonic glee.
"We've only just gotten started," she said, looking up at Xena and licking her lips. Catlike, Gabrielle moved from her side to her knees, and with a roll of her shoulders, the scarf at her breast fell to the sheets. Gabrielle squeezed the side of her thighs, and then ran her hands up her legs, over her tight, muscled abdomen, up to her breasts. She covered her nipples with her palms and squeezed from the sides. "Isn't this what you've always wanted, Xena?" she cooed. "Isn't it?"
Xena stared coolly at Gabrielle and tried to ignore the sensation welling up inside her. Somehow, this demon knew her well. She looked meaningfully at Eli. He was staring on in disbelief.
"It is Tatika, Eli," Xena told him.
Gabrielle's hands rolled off her breasts and onto the bed. She began to crawl slowly toward the corner of the bed where Xena stood.
Xena knew what she had to do.
Gabrielle, on all fours at the corner of the bed, rose lithely to her knees and reached out with one arm for Xena. She flexed the muscles in her hand as she touched Xena's leg at the knee, and then squeezed. Gabrielle's hand traveled lightly up Xena's thigh, and Xena shivered and looked at the ceiling. The hand was teasing her now, at the top of her leg under her skirt, in the shallow where hip meets thigh, and it was traveling down the edge of her leg.
Xena looked again to Eli.
Gabrielle's other hand was caressing her behind, pulling her pelvis towards her, drawing her in. Xena shook and almost melted into her touch, her body falling into Gabrielle, as she ran her hands down the back of Gabrielle's neck.
"Now!" she screamed, her hands already applying pressure to Gabrielle's neck, who slumped forward as Xena kept talking, "Get over here, Eli. You're going to perform an exorcism. Now!"
"I can't!" Eli answered.
"You can," Xena stated, menacingly. "And you will."
"We need that icon," Eli barely breathed, staring at Gabrielle writhing on the bed.
"Yes, yes," Xena answered, thinking of the night sky. "The quill is at the foot of my bedroll, hidden underneath. I didn't think I'd need it so soon. Go get it! Hurry! She only has so long."
It seemed like an eternity that Xena waited, staring into Gabrielle's wild eyes, before Eli returned with the quill. She watched him return, her own eyes moist and wide open.
The demon in Gabrielle thrashed and shook as Eli performed the ceremony, but it was quick. Xena was at her neck as soon as they saw the white of the ghost leave her chest, and then Gabrielle could breathe again. It flew from her chest, a chaos of wispy ectoplasm, under the tapestry that hung in the doorway, and out through the hall to the balcony.
Gabrielle gasped for air, and then again with pain.
Xena pulled her up from the bed, and held her close. Xena cradled Gabrielle's head on her shoulder, her arms around the young bard's back.
"Gabrielle," she breathed. "You're all right."
Gabrielle let Xena hold her for a long while, and then pulled the sheet around her.
She turned to Eli. "Thank you."
"So I was the devi," Eli spoke, ashen-faced. "You were right after all, Xena."
Xena smiled, and took a long look at Gabrielle.
"Of course I was," she smirked. "I always am."
"Let's get what sleep we still can, Xena," Gabrielle whispered. "I'm exhausted."
Xena began to gather Gabrielle's clothes, but Gabrielle left the room, wrapped in the sheet.
"I'm gonna borrow this for now, Eli," she laughed, indicating the sheet, and went out.
Gabrielle was bent over something in the hallway. The sheet wasn't covering all that much anymore, Xena noticed. Gods, her legs are so firm. The way they curved up into her ...
At that point, Gabrielle looked up, and Xena jerked her attention to the tapestry on the doorway, pretending to be fascinated with the pattern..
"My amulet!" Gabrielle was saying. "It wasn't on the door where I left it, but here it is."
Xena looked back.
Gabrielle was upright now, holding out the pendant for her inspection.
A yin-yang was set in the stone where the strange whitish circle had been before.
"I bought it from an old traveler in the market yesterday," she said, hanging it back around her neck. "Like at Aidan's. But it means balance, he said, between dark and light. It reminded me of us. Kind of a souvenir."
"Let's go to bed."
Xena couldn't sleep. It was light outside, plus Gabrielle was still only wearing that sheet. Why hadn't she put on some clothes? It was making her feel so awkward. Gabrielle had to know that there had been no tactical advantage to keep letting her touch her earlier. She could've put the old pinch on Gab as soon as she'd started touching her leg. The neck was there, within reach. But she just hadn't been able to bring herself to make her stop. It had felt so good .... And now Gabrielle was probably wondering why she'd let it go on. She should've stopped her, it wasn't fair. She had taken advantage of her, of the fact that she hadn't been herself.
She wasn't quite sure, but she thought Gabrielle was still awake, too. She turned over, sighing as if in a restless slumber, eyes closed, and then very slowly, after a moment, peeled open one eye just a little. Gabrielle was staring straight back at her, blushing.
"Hi," Xena said. "Nervous energy keeping you up?"
"Yeah," Gabrielle replied.
Gabrielle stared at her, stared for a long time, just looking her in the eyes in a persistent, poignant kind of way. Guilt racked Xena, and she felt she had better say something.
She didn't know what to say, so she said the first thing that came to mind.
"That was an interesting show you put on, eh?"
Gods. She could've kicked herself. Why had she brought that up, of all things?
"Ya think so?" Gabrielle kind of smirked and looked thoughtful.
"Well, I guess it was Tatika, really," Xena corrected quickly.
"Yeah. Technically," Gabrielle relaxed.
Gabrielle was acting really weird. She was making this too easy. Xena looked her in the eyes. She couldn't let this go on anymore. They'd already let so much come between them. There was no need to let her sexuality come between them, too. Before Solan's death, and before all this pain of Borias and Alti and her guilt had resurfaced, it had been easy to hide her feelings. She'd had years and years to practice being hard and having dignity, and she hadn't wanted to surrender that to Gabrielle. But things had been coming to an emotional head lately, and it wasn't so easy anymore. Gabrielle was linked to everything in her life these days, and the more vulnerable she got, the more of herself Gabrielle shared, the more Xena wanted to share of herself. Gabrielle was teaching her how to love.
She might as well apologize. Xena didn't want to scare her off. At least then she would have been honest about the whole thing. Besides, there was the small chance - however small it might be - that Gabrielle felt the same way. She put that out of her mind. She didn't think she should let herself hope for the impossible. The let-down would probably kill her.
"I'm going to tell you something."
Gabrielle stared at her again, a long stare that could have meant anything at all, and then raised her eyebrows in a query.
"When you were rubbing on my thighs earlier, I shouldn't have ..."
Gabrielle interrupted. "Xena." She placed her hand on Xena's shoulder.
Xena kept talking: "Well, the reason I didn't put the pinch on you right away is ..."
Gabrielle cut in again: "Xena. I was there the whole time, under the spirit, and I could see and feel everything that was going on, okay? I just had no control over it towards the end. My uh, point is, well," Gabrielle looked flustered, and shrugged with her hands. "I was kinda disappointed when you put the pinch on me."
"I, uh," Gabrielle started. "What I mean is, I ... I didn't want Tatika to, uh, to - " she trailed off..
Xena's face changed as she understood. It couldn't be true! "You wanted the demon to keep doing what she was doing, because you could feel it, too?" Xena paused. "And you liked it?"
Gabrielle looked up at Xena. "Yes," she breathed. "I liked it. There. I said it."
Xena let out all the breath she'd been holding for years, and closed her eyes.
Gabrielle continued: "I liked it. All this time I've been traveling with you, I've wanted to do something like that and I never let myself because I didn't want to invade your space. I was scared you'd reject me. But why else would I leave my family, my whole life to be with you?
It took Tatika for it to finally happen! And then, you didn't put the pinch on me right away. Tatika hadn't thought you would. But I didn't believe her. I thought for sure you'd get us right away, knew for sure you'd be controlled and calculating, like usual. I had no idea you'd actually enjoy it, and then so much that you couldn't even act against it.
I love you."
The warrioress brushed a strand of honey blonde hair away from Gabrielle's face, and stroked the side of her head. Xena kissed the sides of her eyes where tears were beginning to form.
"So you don't have to feel guilty for enjoying it, Xena ..." Gabrielle was saying, her voice shaking with tears and relief. "Because I was enjoying it, too."
"Gabrielle," Xena breathed, laughing and pulling the girl towards her. "This is the second time I've had to say this tonight ... Shut up or I'll kill you."
And she kissed her.
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