This story contains a bit of violence and might have some frolicking between two consenting (without knowing) women. If you're weak of heart or under 18, go watch TV. Other than that, enjoy. Oh, by the way, Xena and Gabrielle are owned by MCA Universal and Renaissance Productions. Any slimy things are owned by moi. Thenx.
by Anne O'Donnell
"This is disgusting!" Gabrielle spit the meat out of her mouth and grabbed the water- filled calfskin for relief. Xena sat back and glared at her friend, hurt that her dinner was less than enticing.
"Fine!" You see if you can do better under these circumstances." The small flame of the fire was threatening to go out and she leaned forward to fan it. "How was I to know that it was still raw? I can hardly see as it is!" Xena coughed as a live branch caught fire and began to smoke. The wind, outside the cave they found, was gaining in strength and the rain pelted the two travelers as the gusts changed directions.
Gabrielle got up and moved further into the cave to keep from getting soaked. She was tired and hungry and could already tell that the storm would last all night. She glanced back over at Xena and sighed. "Sorry. I know you did the best you could and I didn't mean to snap. I was never fond of snake, anyway." The thought made her shiver and she sat back against the cave wall. Their blankets were wet and the ground was cold, but she was too tired to care.
Xena stared at the small flames as they danced, herself feeling the hint of exhaustion. She glanced over at her weary friend and smiled. "Don't worry about it, Gabrielle. I know you're hungry. Give me a minute and I'll go grab something edible."
"Forget that idea. It's horrible out there, Xena. I'll make do until morning." Gabrielle scooted down the wall and laid her head on her arm. She was glad for the darkness so Xena couldn't see the shivers she was no longer able to control. She pulled the damp blanket around her and closed her eyes. She had not felt this miserable in a long while, but was not going to tell Xena. "It definitely would only add to her increasing feeling of guilt" Gabrielle thought silently. In the two years that they had been together, she had been privy to the warrior's delicate emotional state. The stoic appearance that Xena showed was her defense. She yawned and fatigue sent the girl to sleep.
Xena rose and grabbed the remaining blanket from the ground. After shaking the dirt away, she wrapped it around herself. Taking one last look at the slumped figure, she turned and left the cave in search of food.
High above them, nestled between the stalag tights, a dark form laughed silently as the tall warrior departed. He waited a moment, then descended toward the sleeping girl.
The wind was fierce and the rain pelted Xena as she ran from tree to tree for cover. "Gabrielle was right" she said aloud. "This was kinda stupid." Spotting a rabbit hiding under a rotten tree trunk, she dropped the blanket and dove. She caught the struggling creature by the legs and, drawing her dagger from her breastplate, ended its life quickly. Suddenly, the sky lit up brightly and Xena heard a loud CRACK. Before she could turn, the top from a large tree came crashing down upon her connecting with her right temple. Its trunk smoldered from the lightning bolt and Xena crumbled, unconscious to the ground. The rain fell in torrents, but the end of the branch caught fire. Beneath it, Xena was oblivious to the arising danger.
Gabrielle was cold. As she awoke, she was shocked that the cave was dark. The fire had gone out and the wind was blowing harder, once again causing the young bard to shiver.
"Xena?" Waiting for the lightning to cast a hurried glow into the cave, Gabrielle searched the ground for her friend. She once again called, but got no response. Instantly worried, she crawled toward the opening of the cave, but was violently jerked back by her feet. A foul stench caused her to cover her nose and when she looked up, she saw two huge glowing eyes staring back at her. Gasping in fright, Gabrielle tried to kick the being. It jumped out of her way and landed on the other side of her. With a hideous laugh, the creature backhanded Gabrielle across the face and she was thrown back into the cave wall with the force. Trying to recover, Gabrielle wasn't quick enough to miss the blow that landed on her right shoulder. It sent her flying to the ground, only to have the wind knocked out of her with a kick to her stomach. Unable to stand, Gabrielle feebly rolled in a fetal position toward her staff. The creature followed her and, once again, took to the air. As Gabrielle regained her breath, she screamed. It echoed loudly throughout the cave and into the stormy night."XENA!" She reached for her staff, but an unseen force pushed her roughly back to the ground. The creature landed on Gabrielle's back and jabbed a flourescent object into her neck. Its substance oozed into her body causing it to spasm violently. She writhed in pain and finally lay still. The creature removed himself from her and lifted her head. Her eyes, still open, turned from green to black. He replaced her head and scaled the wall to the ceiling of the cave. With surprising speed and skill, he wrapped and secured a silky threaded material to the stalag tight and swung back down to his victim, the material following. He completely wrapped the figure exposing only the head. Reaching up, the creature hauled the form back to the stalag tight and left it to hang. Satisfied with his work, he sank back into the darkness to wait for the other to return.
"Xena!" A voice from far away slowly brought Xena back from darkness. Coughing, she groggily looked up to see flames licking through branches. The smoke was getting thicker and as she became fully aware, realized that she was trapped beneath the inferno. With agonizing movements, Xena pushed up on the burning wood above and shrieked as the fire burned her arms. Without hesitating, she brought herself up with force, causing the tree to give way. Sparks flew as the warrior shot out of the burning tree and landed harshly on the wet ground. She rolled to douse the flames on her leathers and hair. The mud caked her body and helped in soothing the burnt flesh. The storm still raged and Xena raced back toward the comfort of the cave, the meal, forgotten. Her legs ached badly and, as she ran, Xena concluded that her arm would have to be set.
The creature caught the scent of the returning woman and sat up on his haunches. His glowing eyes blinked slowly and saliva dripped from his grotesquely formed mouth. "Not much longer" he mused and waited.
Xena limped toward the opening of the cave supporting her badly broken arm. "Gabrielle is going to kill me" she thought, miserably, and then stopped. Supressing a small chuckle, she thought of all the times she had told Gabrielle to be careful. "That usually ended in some catastrophe" she muttered and stepped into the cave. Her smile left and was replaced by a grimace when she saw that their fire had gone out. She felt the cold air and assumed that Gabrielle must be freezing. Not being able to see, Xena knelt and picked up one of the branches from the fire. She felt around for the saddlebags and extracted Gabrielle's flint. As she crept over to where she had left the sleeping girl, she tripped over a familiar object. It was Gabrielle's staff. "What's this doing here?" Now full of concern, she hastily made her way to the corner. Kneeling, she went to shake her friend, but was shocked when her hand met ground, instead. Feeling frantically over the blanket, Xena realized Gabrielle was gone and concern turned to fear.
"Gabrielle!" Xena listened for a response. Silence. She called again, but only heard the echo of her own voice. She knocked the flint together and winced with pain as her arm moved. The branch caught fire and as Xena turned to view her surroundings, she was suddenly shoved forward by a blow to her back. She cried out as she landed on her shoulder and the branch glanced off the wall. It fell amid sparks and Xena scrambled to retrieve it. The creature leaped from the opposite wall and landed between Xena and her torch. A putrid smell filled the air and Xena gagged. The creature grabbed the warrior by the hair, intending on smashing her skull against the rock, but was astonished when Xena somersaulted over her assailant. The momentum of her leap sent the creature head first into the wall. He slid to the ground and shook his ugly head. Xena picked up the torch and shoved it into the creature's face. He shrieked with pain and broke Xena's hold on the wood. With quickening speed, he flew up the wall to the ceiling for protection. As Xena followed him with her eyes, they froze on a new object. There, hanging some feet above her, was a figure wrapped tightly in silky thread. A new look of horror came to her face as she noticed the strawberry blond hair resting on the shoulders. Gabrielle!
The creature was hurt. He wasn't expecting such strength from the tall one. His face burned from the torch and his vision was blurred. Blinking several times for a clear view, he noticed the woman advancing toward his prize. With agile grace, he leaped from the ceiling and landed on the shoulders of his earlier catch. A faint moan erupted from below.
"Gabrielle!" Xena's eyes were wide with terror as she watched the creature land on her friend. They were too far above her to reach, but she knew that she had to get Gabrielle away from that hideous thing. She removed her chakurum from its hook and released it with intensity. The metalic disc bounced off two walls before severing the thread that held Gabrielle to the stalag tight. As the wrapped form dropped, the creature grabbed the hanging rock for support.
Xena tried to catch her friend, but was only able to break her fall. The dim light from the torch had caused her to misjudge the girl's descent. Gabrielle landed heavily on the ground, motionless. The tall warrior wasted no time in lifting her to her shoulder and running back out into the stormy night. As she ran, the screams of rage from within sent chills down her spine. Xena couldn't carry her friend for long, but wouldn't stop til they were far away from danger. She whistled for Argo, wincing as the pain from movement traveled up her injured arm. Argo galloped toward them, leaving the protection of trees behind. He stopped and Xena draped the unconscious figure over his back. She climbed up after and they took off.
Riding without her saddle made it difficult for Xena to hold on to Gabrielle. Spotting an abandoned campsite off to the right, Xena urged the horse in that direction. She dismounted and slid her friend down from Argo's back. She left Gabrielle under Argo for shelter while she frantically made a makeshift lean-to. The pain from her arm intensified and, twice, she had to stop and push the dizziness from invading her mind. Once done, she dragged her friend out of the rain. The fire finally caught and at long last she was able to inspect Gabrielle. The silken bonds were strong and it took awhile for Xena's chakurum to slice through. Once done, she checked every space to find injury. Gabrielle wore many bruises and her face was swollen. She had been beaten, but Xena found no broken bones. She concluded the cause of Gabrielle's unconsciousness was due to the head injury and feared she may have slipped into a coma. A concussion could lead to death so Xena gently shook her friend.
"Gabrielle. Wake up. Gabrielle!" Xena leaned down to look at her friend and reeled back in shock and fear. Gabrielle's eyes were open, but she stared at nothing.
The rain diminished sometime before dawn, but Xena didn't notice. Her full attention had been spent on Gabrielle. The young woman had not moved and her eyes remained unblinking and open. Every once in a while Xena heard a faint moan coming from her friend, but when she would try to revive the fair-haired beauty, nothing would happen.
"I've got to get back to that cave!" Xena was frustrated. All of her supplies were in the saddlebags, along with the blankets. She knew if she didn't help Gabrielle soon, she would lose her.
As she rose to her feet, the pain in her arm made her stumble. In the light, Xena could see that the fall from the night before had done great damage to her arm. It was swollen and her fingers were turning a visible shade of blue.
"This is just wonderful. I not only get to go back and tangle with Mr. Slimy, but I get to tangle injured." She shook off the pain momentarily and strode to her horse. "Watch over her, girl. I want to find you both safe when I return." With one last glance at her friend, Xena made her way back to the cave.
The creature did not sleep. It licked its lips and tended to its wounds. The tall one would pay dearly for the mess it made and for taking its prize. As the green eyes increased their glow in the darkness of the cave, a faint chuckle echoed through the walls. It dropped to the ground and glided toward the back wall of the cave.
Xena was tired. As she made her way up the path, her mind wandered back to Gabrielle. The young bard was so much a part of the warrior at this point, that the thought of losing her would certainly end Xena's life, too. Her eyes brimmed with tears, and she paused.
"I am such a fool. I never told her how I feel and, now, it might be too late. By the Gods, I love that woman! Please let her get well, I need her." Realizing that she was speaking out loud, the raven-haired beauty blushed. And she pushed on. The creature held the key to her bard's recovery and Xena was determined to retrieve it.
Gabrielle couldn't breathe. As she broke the surface of the water, she gasped loudly as her lungs filled with air. Her head hurt and she felt exhausted.
"Xena?" Gabrielle whirled around and realized that she was in complete darkness. The water lapping against her body made no sound and her words were muffled as though she were speaking through a pillow.
"Is there anyone out there?" The young woman struggled to keep her head above as her muscles began to fatigue. There was no answer to her call and the faint amount of hope the bard still cradled, faltered. 'Would anyone find her before it was too late?' Gabrielle closed her eyes and prayed that Xena would come.
The cave entrance was before her. Xena paused against a tree to calm her breathing. Sweat poured form her temples and the ache in her arm was intensifying. Her only hope lay in subduing the creature. That way she could get it back to camp. Nothing in her medicinal training had prepared her for something like this. As she calmed herself, she recognized the feeling from deep within her. It was the rage, and it was building. She swallowed hard and concentrated. This had to be controlled or she could easily kill this beast. If that happened, Gabrielle might be lost forever. The warrior shivered slightly at the thought. She raised to her full height and laid her hand on the chakurum attached at her waist. With a sharp intake of breath, Xena entered.
The creature receded to the darkest area of the cave. It sensed, rather than saw, the tall warrior enter. Its body tingled with anticipation of the tall one's death. It wouldn't waste time draining this being. Although its life-force was indeed low, the creature realized the fight might be too great. Better to just finish this one off and go in search of it's prize. The tall one had interrupted its feeding. The fair-haired being had been delicious. The creature could feel her life-force coursing through it's veins, pure and strong. The creature temporarily closed its eyes and summoned some more energy from the girl. It was harder to do with the body so far away, but the tingle grew stronger.
Gabrielle was struggling. Her arms and legs felt like lead and it was getting more and more difficult to keep her body afloat. Images of Xena flashed in her head and she tried to focus. 'What was that?" The warrior was hurt. She could see the arm dangling uselessly at the woman's side. Where was Xena? Gabrielle screamed as pain shot through her brain. Her breathing became ragged and the images disappeared. The pain stopped again, but the young bard was weaker. These episodes of pain were becoming frequent and her ability to hang on was diminishing. She concentrated on another image and focused on it. Those icy blues sent shivers down her spine. It was as if the warrior was looking right at her. Those lips, full and inviting, those muscles, mmm, Gabrielle almost smiled as she imagined those arms enclosing about her and those lips covering hers in exploration, while those long legs intertwined with hers. "I want you, Xena." Gabrielle's eyes shot open. Even in the muffled surroundings, the bard had heard the words. "That's it, that's what I've been feeling. I love her. By the gods, I'm IN love with Xena." She choked as a wave slammed into her. This realization rocked the young woman, but her energy waned. She panicked as she went under. The weight of her body was too much to hold up now as the rest of her strength left her arms. Gabrielle struggled to break the surface and yell for the woman she loved.
Xena inched her way along the wall of the cave. She slowly bent down and retrieved the flint. Groping around, her hand felt the abandoned torch and, with effort, she lit the piece of wood. A shadow moved to her left and Xena swung the torch in that direction. Nothing. A familiar stench filled her senses and the warrior dropped the torch.
The creature attacked from above and landed on her shoulders. It shrieked with delight as the tall one went down. Rolling to the side, the creature lunged headfirst into the rising woman. She flew into the wall and screamed as her injured arm cushioned her body from the rock. The creature continued its attack by clawing at her body with its talons. It was too focused on the tall one's head to see the piece of steel.
Xena saw red. The blow to her arm had momentarily incapacitated her. As the beast reeked havoc on her exhausted body, she ripped the chakurum from her hip. With an upward slice, she laid its left arm open. Thick flourescent goo oozed from the wound. The creature retreated, giving the warrior an open door. She advanced, landing a kick to its hideous body. It landed with a thud and slid across the floor of the cave.
Somewhere in the distance, a woman screamed.
The creature lifted itself slowly. As it took a deep breath, it tried desperately to pull in some more life from the distant figure. Before it had a chance to connect, the tall one landed another blow to its head. The creature turned and looked at its attacker. Licking its lips, it lunged and grabbed a hold of the woman's neck. Chuckling, it tightened its grip and hung on. Suddenly, thoughts and images invaded its mind. As it gazed into the warrior's eyes, its grip began to lighten.
Xena was dying. She dropped to the floor of the cave as the neglect of air took her strength. She closed her eyes and saw Gabrielle. A single tear dropped to her cheek as her body began to shake. The grip around her neck made it impossible to speak and her good arm was too weak to move. She looked into the eyes of the creature and thought she saw something familiar. Suddenly, the grip lightened and she screamed. This startled the creature and it let go. Xena slumped to the floor gasping for air. Rage took the control from her and she reached for her sword. In a blinding sweep, she caught the creature with her blade. It just stood there. It was staring.
Xena stood and looked at the creature. It was covered in it's ooze, but continued to stand. She moved closer and realized it was staring-at her. It bent its head to one side and fell to both knees. Xena remained where she stood and began to panic.
"No you don't. Don't you dare die on me!" Her voice rose as she limped to the slimy figure on the ground. She knelt and observed the gash in the creature's abdomen. It was large and gaping. Massive amounts of ooze fell to the floor, but the creature would not take its eyes off of her. Tears began to fall from its glowing eyes and Xena gasped. She reached out and pulled an old shirt from the saddlebag. Pushing down, the warrior tried in vain to stop the flow. The creature grabbed her hand with its talon and Xena froze. It slumped to the floor and Xena went with it. In a very familiar voice, the creature uttered something in her ear and closed it's eyes. Xena recoiled in terror and backed away from the creature. She felt her body shaking and wrapped her arm around her waist. The creature was dead, but that was not what scared the tall warrior.
"I love you, Xena." echoed in her brain. The voice was Gabrielle's.
Unseen by the naked eye, a thin vapor arose from the creature and slowly filtered out of the cave.
Xena slumped to the floor. Blood dripped from the gashes in her head and down her back. Her left arm had become numb with swelling and her right was beyond fatigue. She let go and sobbed. She cried for the woman she had failed and for the creature she had promised not to kill. The pain from her heart was so intense she thought it would burst, and would have let it, willingly. Gabrielle. Xena winced as she thought of her. Visions ran rampant in her mind and she screamed for them to stop. That smile, her laughter, that body. Too weak to move, Xena cried herself to sleep.
Gabrielle sputtered and broke the surface of the water. Something had changed. Her arms no longer felt as tired and she brought them up to tread. The pain in her head was almost completely gone, but the images of Xena were returning. She saw the raven-haired beauty, but something was wrong. Gabrielle gasped as she noticed Xena's left arm. It was dangling and blood dripped into her eyes. She was coming toward Gabrielle! The young bard tried to yell, but nothing came out. She watched as the warrior knelt by her, but there was no smile. "What happening?" Gabrielle bent her head to look at her friend, but something underneath the water grabbed her legs. She struggled to stay above the water, but the pull was too great. With one last attempt, she cried out at the top of her lungs, "I love you, Xena!" She then went under and a stillness settled over the surface.
It was night when Xena awoke. For a moment, she thought it had been a dream, but the dead creature on the ground brought everything back. She slowly rose, wincing as her muscles cried out in pain, and began the walk back to her friend. She tried not to think about what she had to do as she entered the forest. Potedia was so far away. She would build the funeral pyre and take the remains to the bard's family. Tears spilled again and Xena faltered. Thoughts of self destruction entered fleetingly, but the beaten warrior shoved them aside for the moment. First things first.
Gabrielle felt herself being lifted from the water. She saw a light ahead and as she neared it, it burned brighter. She squinted and raised her hand to shield her eyes. A blinding beam hit and encased her in it. There, a warmth she had never felt before caressed her and showered her with a strong feeling of love. The young bard smiled and surrendered to it.
Xena noticed Argo and went to her mare. The horse whinnied and nudged her mistress. The warrior patted the animal and buried her head in the massive neck. She did not want to look at Gabrielle. After moments, the ragged warrior turned and knelt beside the woman she loved so much. Gabrielle's body was cold. The lips were pale and almost blue. Xena lay down and pulled the lifeless form tightly to her. She rocked slowly and kissed the head below her. Not being able to contain it any longer, Xena yelled. It came from deep within her and reverberated through the trees. Her cry of anguish sent birds flying and animals scurrying. It echoed throughout the forest and lingered. Spent, Xena succumbed to the darkness, arms still tight around her friend, her love.
Gabrielle was suffocating. She couldn't move and something hard was pressed to her cheek. She blinked several times before opening her eyes fully. The sun sliced through the trees and one beam was directly on her. She looked up, and the amount of joy she felt, caused a small cry to escape her lips. She was nestled against the warrior's chest and, rather tightly. She reached up and touched the dirty cheek of the beauty above her. Xena opened her eyes and gazed right into a sea of green. Startled, she dropped her arms and scooted back. Shaking her head a few times, the warrior looked upon the most beautiful sight in the world. Gabrielle.
"You're alive." Xena choked down a sob and grabbed the bard again. Without thinking, she leaned down and firmly planted a kiss on the surprised woman's mouth. Gabrielle giggled and returned the kiss. Xena pulled back and stuttered.
"I.. I..I'm ssorry. I di.di...didn't mean tto do tthat." Gabrielle smiled and pulled Xena back to her. "Well, if it's all the same to you, I DID!" She brought her hand up behind Xena's head and brought her lips back down on the warrior's. Her tongue pried the elder's lips apart and danced playfully. Xena groaned and closed her eyes. She lay back and gave in to the feelings she had suppressed for so long. She reached up and ripped the bodice from Gabrielle, revealing two beautiful swollen breasts. She captured one in her mouth and cupped the other in her hand. The young bard gasped and bucked, slightly.
"By the Gods, you are so beautiful, Gabrielle." She switched positions and lowered the bard gently to the ground. Her passion heightened, Xena couldn't help herself as she ravaged the woman's body with kisses and caresses. Gabrielle soared to heights of her own as she had never felt this way before. Her cries of ecstasy were returned when she timidly showed the warrior how she felt. Xena was dizzy with joy. She looked at her lover and smiled. Gabrielle lay spent on the warrior's chest and sighed.
"You know, I guess its a little late to tell you that I love you, isn't it? Well, I do, Xena I don't know what happened, but I felt you near. I don't want to ever lose you, again. Am I clear?" She looked up and glanced at the woman's icy blues.
Tears flowed from her eyes as Xena listened to Gabrielle. "I love you, too, Gabrielle. You will never lose me, again, I promise." I only have one thing to ask, alright?"
"Anything, lover. What can I do for you?" Gabrielle raised herself up on her elbows and gazed back down to the raven-haired beauty below her.
"I need you to help patch me up and get me to the stream. I know its not you that I'm smelling." Gabrielle laughed and stood. With effort, she was able to get Xena off the ground.
As the women slowly made their way to the stream, a figure watched from above the trees. "Until next time," it breathed. With that , it vanished, leaving behind the slightest hint of flourescent ooze on the branch.
Disclaimer: Gabrielle and Xena were hurt, but both healed beautifully. The slimy creature? I can't find it to tell you. Hmm......
PS I hope you weren't disappointed by the actions of the two women. I've found that imaginations are more powerful than words. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- firstname.lastname@example.org
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