Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle belong exclusively to MCA/Universal and Ren Pics, no copyright infringement was intended.
Subtext Warning: Well, that all depends on what you think Gabrielle has lost, so Ill leave it open. If you are too young, it is illegal or, for some warped reason, you are offended, either let your mind wander to something innocent, or dont read.
Authors Notes: This story springs from some very lovely experiences I have had excavating cess pits on archaeological sites in Sydney. My record is five from one site. It truly is amazing what you find down there. Once I recovered a Roman coin dated to the 4th century BC, that really stuffed up the chronology, go figure.
Acknowledgments: Now, Kamouraskan thinks I have a foul mind, I choose to dispute this fact. However, this latest offering does little to dispel the many rumours that surround me. So, as always, thanks to Kam for her encouragement, and also to Laura for putting up with me sending her bits of this throughout my night, her early morning.
The Cess Pit
"Gabrielle? Have you seen my..." The warrior stopped in mid sentence, "What are you doing?"
The bard jumped, and sprang to her feet, throwing a large stick off to her left. She tried to lean casually against a nearby wall, but was finding it very difficult. After all, it was nigh on impossible to lean casually when you had just been caught fishing around in a cess pit.
"Nothing." she blurted out, trying a grin on for size.
Xena raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms over her chest, "Nothing." she echoed.
"Uh-huh, you know I had to...and then I..." the bard trailed off, unable to explain any further. She made a gesture with her hand that made Xena wince.
Taking a deep breath and holding it, the warrior leaned over the hole in the scrubbed wooden seat above the pit.
"Gab-rielle." It was a low rumble in the warriors chest.
"I know," the bard sounded constipated, "I didnt mean to, it just kind of happened. I dont know how. One minute I was, well...and then I lost it. I dont remember it happening, but when I was leaving I realised I didnt have it any more and..."
The glare from the warrior slaughtered any thought of Gabrielle continuing her tirade of excuses.
"What were you doing with it in the first place?"
"I was going to have it...cleaned." the bard replied meekly.
"Cleaned? Well, youd better have the thing cleaned now, hadnt you?"
"Uh-huh, but now its...down there." She pointed to the cess pit and chewed on a nail before realising where her hands had been.
"This I know. This I can see. This, you have to fix, and fix right now!" The warriors tone would have constricted most mens testicles.
"Ive been trying."
"Yeah, very trying."
"Xena!" the bard pleaded, "It was an accident. You dont think I would have lost it down there on purpose do you?"
The warrior gave Gabrielle a slanted glance.
"Oh come on," the bard sighed, "You cant seriously believe I would have done something like that."
Xena blinked once, "I dont know what to believe, Gabrielle. Youve done some pretty bizarre things in the past."
"And you havent? Youre the one with many skills, I should leave you to fish it out."
"I dont think so." The warrior shifted menacingly, "Not my problem, Gabrielle." She flicked casually at a fly buzzing past her shoulder.
"Great," the bard nodded, "just great. The only thing being, how do I get it out?"
The warrior shrugged.
"Ive tried a branch, a rope with a hook, I even tried bribing some loitering idiot to stick their hand down there and get it back. The only thing I havent done is stick my own..."
The warrior raised an eyebrow.
"No, oh no, there is no way I am going to rummage about in that filth for you. Youll just have to buy another one." Gabrielle declared firmly.
"Gabrielle, its irreplaceable, I had it specially made...remember?"
The bards shoulders slumped, "There must be some other way." She looked desperately at the warrior. However, Xenas expression did not invite any recompense.
"Maybe I could use gloves or something..." the bard offered.
Xena shook her head, "You wont be able to feel what you are doing and might lose it, or push it further down without realising." she said flatly.
"Thanks for the advise." Gabrielle groaned, holding her right had out and inspecting it critically. She took a deep breath and glared at the warrior before moving back over to the hole in scrubbed wooden bench.
Xena couldnt help but smirk as the bard hunkered down on her knees beside the cess pit. Taking a deep breath, Gabrielle grimaced and plunged her arm through the hole. She struggled a moment and adjusted her position. A couple of grunts escaped her as more of her arm disappeared into the putrefying pit. After a moment, she sat back, pulling her arm free. It was clean.
Xena raised an eyebrow in question.
"I cant reach." was all the bard said.
"I believe the seat is removable." the warrior said blankly, swatting at yet another fly.
Gabrielle cast her a horrid look.
"Yeah. See," Xena couldnt help but point it out, "there are hinges, all you have to do, is lift it up, and the entire pit is exposed to you."
Gabrielle swallowed and hooked her fingers under the thick wooden bench. With a straining of muscles, the bench slowly lifted. The underside was not a pretty sight. She pushed it back all the way, revealing the entirety of the pit, a long, deep, stone lined trough of...well, it was unmentionable.
"You want me to lean over into that?" the bard asked.
"A moment ago you were willing to shove your hand in it. Besides, I want it back" The warrior grinned evilly, "Go fish."
Gabrielle turned dejectedly back to the fray. She steeled herself and shifted closer to the front of the cess pit. Straightening her back, she leaned over, her ribs against the edge of the stone. Her right arm flailed downwards while she clung to the lip of the pit with her other hand. Still, she could not reach the maggoty mass of excrement below her. Cursing her stature, the bard pushed herself further into the pit. The stench was unbelievable. Finally her fingers brushed something slimy. She had reached her goal. Fumbling blindly amid the matter, she probed and prodded, desperately seeking what she had lost. Just when she was about to give up, she felt it, small and hard against her finger. With a triumphant snort that nearly turned into a gag, the bard clasped hold of her prize. She pushed herself out from the pit and sat back to stare at the warrior, holding the object before her with thumb and forefinger.
The warriors face dropped, gone was the evil grin. There was nothing more putrid than an excrement covered bard.
"Found it." Gabrielle said, standing and sauntering over to the warrior.
"Yeah," Xena grunted, raising the back of her hand to her nose, "you sure did." She backed away a couple of paces.
The bard followed her, "Now, how about we get it cleaned, head back to the tavern, and put it back where it belongs?" she asked with a lurid twitch to her lips.
"Gabrielle?" the warrior queried, swallowing convulsively.
"You can have it."
So what do you think it is? Anyone want to hazard a guess? Anyone? Anyone?
Until next time,
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