Disclaimer:  Graphic dance o' love  towards the end b/w two women.  That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

Remember...all comments go to seizeher@bellatlantic.net.  I also have a Onelist forum, called FriendsOfHeather (all the good names are taken) where I post periodic updates.  Go to http://www.onelist.com/group/FriendsOfHeather if you want to join.

Darkening of the Light

by Heather

Part 3: Shadows

Gabrielle woke groggily, tentatively feeling the back of her head and finding a huge knot with her fingers. She probed it and winced, but was relieved that the skin was unbroken.

She looked towards the door that Xena had been dragged through; she had felt the darkness take Xena, it had hurt her soul, and she had rushed to the barred door, screaming for the guards to let her out. Rewarded by a stunning blow to the head, they had dragged her back into the corner she had shared with Xena.

Gabrielle sighed and slumped back against the wall, her head spinning. What now? If the darkness overtook her, she…I don’t know. I just can’t imagine her that way.

It may have been hours later when the door opened and the same guards who had taken Xena came for her.

They carried her almost gently to an upstairs chamber and laid her on a straw mattress; they left a plate of food and watered wine for her to break her fast upon.

The door was shut and locked, and she was left alone.

A prisoner. Xena, where are you? She felt overwhelming despair, agonizing at the thought of losing her best friend all over again.

She surveyed her room, and found washing water and her bag. Gabrielle cleaned herself up and changed into her favorite tunic, one that was a gift from Xena. Knowing she had to keep her strength up, she ate the food and drank the wine, then settled on her bed and tried to rest.


"Destroyer, we brought the girl up from the dungeon and put her in the room next to Del…your chambers." The guard stared at the floor as he spoke, afraid to look at the devastating beauty of his new leige. Dancers had been brought in to entertain the new ruler; Xena sprawled languidly on her throne, idly watching the franitc gyrations of the nubile females with an almost bored expression.

Xena glanced away from the provocative dancers and considered the guard’s words. Girl? I don’t remember a girl. Maybe I got hit in the head. A brief image came to her of a fiery haired woman speaking to a group of people. Her eyes narrowed as she fought to bring the memory into sharper focus. She’s a bard. I know her. Don’t I? "Did she have a bag with her?"

The guard nodded and departed for a moment. When he came back, her tossed a worn traveling bag at the Destroyer’s feet. With interest, Xena began going through the contents.


Xena opened the door slightly and peered in at the girl, knowing that she was asleep by the regular sound of her breathing. She couldn’t remember why she had been traveling with the bard, really, but she had found her beloved chakram in the girl’s bag, carefully wrapped in cloth. She had seen the chobos, beautiful weapons, and surmised that they belonged to her traveling companion; Xena had also discovered the scrolls and read them, amused by the fictitious stories that called her a ‘hero’. Propaganda.

Obviously, the girl was someone she trusted. Caution, however, was the best part of valor; Xena would wait until she awakened.

She saw the bard stir and decided there was no time like the present. Xena knelt by Gabrielle and was greeted by two mossy green eyes and a gentle smile.

"Xena, I was so afraid something had happened to you…are you okay?" Gabrielle rose up on her elbows and regarded her love.

Xena caught her breath, confused by the obvious adoration on the girl’s face. Gabrielle saw the confusion and her smile faded.


This is a game. It has to be. Xena’s eyes turned to ice and she quickly jabbed at Gabrielle’s throat. The bard’s eyes widened in utter surprise, and she fell onto her back helplessly. Xena leaned over and stared into the tear filled eyes of the woman she once loved.

"Who are you?" She hissed angrily. "What happened after the gauntlet, and how did I get here?" She remembered fighting her men over an infant; she didn’t regret that in the least. The Destroyer didn’t murder children. No power came from that.

"Xena…take off…tell you everything…" A thin stream of blood ran down Gabrielle’s cheek like a bloody tear.

After waiting a long moment, Xena released the pressure points and Gabrielle fell back, gasping. Tears streamed down the bard’s face. "Why did you do that?" A soft sob escaped her, despite every effort to hold it back. "I’m your best friend, Xena."

Xena looked at her, mystified. "My…friend?" She snorted. "I don’t have friends."

Gabrielle sat up shakily, as much stunned by the violence of the action as by the look in her friend’s eyes. "Yes, you do." She took a deep breath. The truth, this is not the Xena I know, but I won’t lie to her. "We’ve been together for about four years, Xena." Rising to her feet, she saw Xena reach for her sword and held up her hand. "I’m only getting something to drink."

She staggered to the table, her leg throbbing with renewed gusto, and poured herself a mug of the watered wine. After taking a small swallow to soothe her throat, she continued. "The last thing you remember is the gauntlet?"

Xena’s hand relaxed and she gave Gabrielle a wary look. "Yes." She pulled up a chair and sat, her hand still hovering near the hilt of her sword. "Tell me everything," she commanded.

Gabrielle gave a wry grin. "That would take too long." She sat across from Xena and recounted everything she felt was relevant, including the fact that they had fallen in love with one another. When she finished, Xena stared at her disbelievingly.

"You’re telling I gave everything up for the greater good? Right. And that I’m in love with you? Hardly my type," Xena said sarcastically. She stood to leave.

Gabrielle ignored the hurt that remark caused, trying to remember that this was not her Xena talking. She thought of one last thing to jog the warrior’s memory. "Xena…do you remember what happened to Solon?"

Xena whirled, and for a moment, Gabrielle saw the old Xena surface. "He’s with the centaurs," she said, uncertainly.

Gabrielle looked at Xena for a long moment. "Yes. He’s with the centaurs, Xena." She heard her voice catch a little. "He’s a young man now." A lie.

Xena’s eyes softened. "Better off without me."

Gabrielle shook her head, but held her silence.

Xena gazed at Gabrielle for a long moment. "I don’t love you, Gabrielle. I feel as if I should, but I don’t."

Gabrielle’s pain was obvious, but she didn’t respond. Xena respected her a little for that, because she had seen the love in the bard’s face. For me?

"However," Xena continued, not unkindly, "I do find you attractive, so you will be my consort. I believe I can trust you, so you may stay in my chambers. If you ever give me a reason not to trust you, I will slit your throat myself. Do you understand?"

Gabrielle nodded mutely, grateful for the opportunity to stay close to Xena. Maybe my love for her will overcome the evil of that stone. Eventually. She felt despair that all the progress that had been made was lost in an instant. It was so unfair.

"You will come to me tonight." Xena turned and was gone.

Gabrielle stared at the closed door for a long moment, trying to accept that she was now Xena’s consort, and was expected to perform as such. Gabrielle’s lips twisted into a bitter smile. Consort? Body slave, more like. I doubt I’ll be afforded as much respect as a consort.

She was surprised when the guards brought her a fine silk dress to wear and orders to stay within the palace. She was also commanded to dinner in a candlemark. Xena had meant it when she said that she would trust her.

Gabrielle remembered that Xena had always rewarded her faithful warriors, but killed the ones that were not trustworthy. Apparently, Xena’s transformation had not destroyed her warlord sense of justice, skewed as it was. However, Xena had taken the name Destroyer again, and that did not bode well for the whole of Greece and its enemies.

As long as Gabrielle could keep her on the island, the rest of the world would be safe. She had to make this Xena trust her, depend on her. She had to prove herself indispensible.

Gabrielle washed up again and donned the pretty ivory dress; as an afterthought, she strapped her chobos on her back. She was a warrior, and it would be best if everyone realized that from the start. She pulled her hair up into a knot—as well as she could with no mirror, in any case—and let a few strands to curl about her face. She knew this would make her look more grown up and a little taller; she felt she needed every advantage she could get.

When the time came, she squared her shoulders and opened the door. A guard waited impatiently outside, and she gifted him with a radiant smile that made him blink. He smiled back, and Gabrielle thought he couldn’t have seen more than seventeen summers.

"I’m Aleric, ma’am. The Destroyer sent me to escort you to the hall." He ran a hand through his already tousled auburn hair in a nervous gesture.

"Of course," she replied smoothly, and motioned for him to proceed. A few minutes later, they came out into a dimly lit hall filled with guardsmen and courtesans; Xena looked on, bored by her new army’s antics. A long leg was thrown over the arm of the throne, and Xena was casually polishing her chakram.

That gave Gabrielle a start. She went through my bag.

At that moment, Xena looked up and focused on Gabrielle appreciatively. She’s quite lovely, and she glitters in the midst of this rabble. With Gabrielle’s appearance, Xena motioned to her new captain-at-arms.

"Silence!!" He thundered, and the room became deathly still. Xena motioned Gabrielle up beside her. Xena had only won Derrik’s loyalty after soundly trouncing him in a hand to hand fight. She could respect that in a man, and she saw his integrity ran deep.

There were two hundred men in the room, and Derrik called the names of half of them. Xena stood looking down at them, impressive in her midnight black tunic and chain mail. The one hundred men that were called forward knelt and swore allegiance.

Gabrielle felt a growing horror, anticipating the next command to issue forth as some of Xena’s hand picked guardsmen sealed the doors of the hall. Gabrielle turned to Xena, green eyes pleading.

Xena looked at Gabrielle curiously, and her lips quirked. Lesson one. Learn your place with me, girl. Just like these men will.

"The one hundred men I have picked will be my elite fighters. Most of you are unblooded, but that will change. I will teach you how to win…how to conquer," Xena said, her voice echoing powerfully in the cavernous hall. "The other half of you…well…." She grinned, and Gabrielle shuddered at the pure evil in her expression. "You will be the enemy."

Startled glances were exchanged as Xena paced across the floor like a jungle cat. Metal jangled as the men shifted nervously, but not one voice could be heard. "You have a week to train. Those that survive the ‘war’ will remain in my service and will be given 50 denarii as a bonus. Those that do not will be hoisted on crosses around the island as a mark of my dominance. Any questions?"

Aleric stepped forward, and Gabrielle turned cautionary eyes toward the youngster. Please. Don’t be insubordiate. You are too young to die.

Xena looked at the youth critically, noting his lean, muscular body and fair face. Her eyes lighted on his hands, and noticed they were well callused, the right moreso than the left. He was a warrior, not some untried child.

"Aleric." Xena allowed a small smile as the boy stood straighter, honored that the destroyer remembered his name. "You have something to say?"

"Yes, Destroyer. If I might, I would like to have a private conference with you, my liege. I have important information." He bowed his head and waited for her response.

Ah. Xena noticed the nervous glances of some of the men assembled, and she thought she knew what he wanted to speak with her about. Aleric had already proven his worth earlier. She intended to make Aleric Gabrielle’s guard, but she needed to insure that his fair looks would not tempt her new consort.

"Very well." She inclined her head slightly. "After dinner."

The silence was almost deafening as they sat down for the evening’s repast; few dared even a whisper. She positioned those she considered the best at the table with her, and kept a wary eye on the rest. Derrik and Aleric sat across from Gabrielle and the Destroyer.

Gabrielle focused on her meal, which was actually pretty good, and tried not to think of the night ahead. She kept her head down, and kept silent as conversation swirled around her.

Xena was acutely aware of the young bard beside her, of the smell of lilacs that stirred some long forgotten memory. She had removed the jewel from the scepter and wrapped it with wire, hanging it like a pendant from a cord around her neck; as she tried recall the details of a warm summer’s evening in the bard’s arms, the gem let out a pulse of dark energy that almost made her sway on her feet. The memory was shattered.

She looked across the table and noticed Derrik’s eyes roaming covertly over her consort’s low bodice as he slurped his soup. Xena slid a dagger from her boot and tossed it with negligent ease, imbedding the sharp weapon several inches into Derrik’s throat. The man fell over dead, hitting the floor with a satisfying thud.

Aleric didn’t even looked surprised, but he removed the weapon from the dead man’s throat and wiped it upon his breeches before handing it hilt first to the Destroyer. She accepted it with a nod.

Gabrielle stared at the dead man for a long moment, and then at Xena with abject horror. "Why?" she whispered.

Xena took the same knife she had used to kill the man and speared a piece of succulent pork. Chewing thoughtfully, she answered, "I don’t like anyone staring at my property."

Property? What…? It hit her suddenly. Me. He was staring at me. She looked down at her plate and supressed a shudder as she felt the icy blue eyes caress her, taking in her reaction. For the first time since Illusia, she was truly scared of Xena.

Xena felt an inexplicable tenderness take hold for a second, only to be smothered by another wave of evil from the gem around her neck. It pulsed like a living thing against her skin, and the feeling was almost sexual.

She grabbed Gabrielle and forced her forward into a savage kiss, tangling her hand in the soft hair at the nape of the bard’s neck. It was meant to punish.

Gabrielle quelled the urge to recoil from the embrace and instead gave into it, leaning against Xena submissively and returning the kiss. The lips were the same, but the woman was different; Gabrielle tried to conjure a vision of the Xena she knew even as she tasted her own blood on her tongue.

Xena was startled as Gabrielle’s tongue stroked hers in response; she had thought to hurt her, not…this. She reacted to the gentle gesture by pulling away, and looking at the bard with confused eyes. Gabrielle’s lip was bleeding from the pressure of the kiss, and Xena watched, facinated, as a small pink tongue darted out and licked the blood away.

Gabrielle saw her response had the intended effect, and she leaned forward to whisper in Xena’s ear. "I think it would be more…satisfying…if we tried to pleasure each other, not punish."

Xena gave a minute shiver as Gabrielle’s warm breath blew across her ear, unmindful of the eyes upon them. She looked into the bottomless green orbs and took a deep breath. "Only in private, consort," she said sharply, shaken by the gut-level response to the woman’s reaction, and fighting for control. "Tonight, you will move into my room."

Gabrielle gave a slight nod and dropped her eyes in acceptance, secretly rejoicing. Maybe I can win her with tenderness. If I can hold my tongue. She tuned out most of the rest of the conversation, her legendary appetite returning as she mulled over the evening’s plans.

Xena was amazed at the quantity of food her consort ate; she ordered another platter and watched as Gabrielle speared four or five pieces of roasted boar at once and moved them to her plate. When dessert came, Xena merely passed the entire plate to the delighted bard, earning a huge smile from Gabrielle that made her feel warm.

The jewel was weighing heavily around her neck; she decided to put the damn thing in the trunk upstairs for safe keeping. I’m not much for baubles and such. I just wanted to wear it because Delios treasured it so much. With that in mind, she untied the cord and tucked it into her belt pouch. She motioned to a serving girl and gave her terse commands before waving her away.

Gabrielle saw the stone and her stomach knotted. That’s it. The scary thing is that she doesn’t remember that part, and I didn’t tell her about it. She has no idea the power that thing holds. And I’m going to do my best to make sure she never does. If I can get her to put it away, it won’t have as much influence over her…I hope.

The Destroyer’s eyes rested on the bard, and she muttered, "Go get ready for me, consort. You have an hour." Her eyes darted to Aleric briefly, then back to Gabrielle as she assessed her new bed partner. "You will be escorted."

Gabrielle shivered as the cool blue gaze moved over her body appreciatively, but she stood to leave. Aleric lead her down the corridor to the last room and opened the door. "Your things are already in there."

Gabrielle gave a greatful nod, and sighed in relief as the door swung shut behind her. Off of the main room was the bathing room, the large marble bathing basin already filled with hot water. She rummaged through her bag and found her lilac oil, adding her own personal scent to the water. She sunk down into the steaming water, pathetically grateful for the small concession. Closing her eyes in ecstacy, she slid down so that only her head was above the water.

She felt Artemis’ presence before she saw her, much like Xena always did with Ares. "I don’t suppose you’re here to help me," she said, not opening her eyes.

Artemis sighed regretfully. "Not as much as I’d like."

Gabrielle cracked an eye to peer at the goddess, who was situated on the rim of the basin. "Anything would be a big help right now."

The goddess smiled. "Poor Gabrielle. The gods love to meddle with you, don’t they?"

Gabrielle sighed in agreement. "I can tell you how to fix this mess, but I can’t help you do it. Understand?"

Gabrielle was at full attention, and nodded.

"Xena was planning on putting the gem away tonight anyway, so that reduces some of its power. It’s at its strongest when being worn by the victim. However, she will still have ownership of the thing, and that’s the problem. It won’t let her go without a fight." Artemis reached around and handed Gabrielle a cloth as she climbed out of the water. "She will keep it close to her, and won’t want to part with it. As long as she possesses it, she will be this way."

Gabrielle dried herself off and wrapped a silk robe around her naked body. "So what do I do?"

"You have to destroy it, eliminate it completely. And the only thing that will shatter it is Hephaestean metal, like your chobo blades, and Xena’s chakram." She shrugged. "If you can destroy it, I will take the pieces and scatter them all over the world. The spell over Xena, and all the other unfortunates, will be broken, and they will remember nothing of their deeds while under the influence of the stone."

Gabrielle walked into the bedroom and sat on the soft mattress of the bed, curling her legs up beneath her. "So how in Hades can I get her to part with it?"

Artemis gave a sardonic smile. "That’s the part I can’t help you with. Sorry." With a silvery flash, she was gone.

Gabrielle flopped back onto the bed. "Great." She looked up and found Xena standing over her, sword drawn. She vibrated with anger.

The blade pressed lightly against Gabrielle’s throat, its sharp edge pricking against the delicate skin. "Who were you talking to, consort?"


Gabrielle thought fast. "Myself…I was composing a story in my head, and saying it aloud to see how it sounded."

Xena looked as if she didn’t quite believe that, but sheathed her sword. "What story?"

Gabrielle gave her a steady look. "This one." She gestured broadly, encompassing the room. "Of how this came to be, and how I lost my best friend."

Xena swallowed reflexively, feeling an odd pang at the words. To cover her confusion, she walked over to her trunk and slipped the necklace off, almost relieved as the heavy darkness fell away and was replaced by something a little closer to normal. She buried it at the bottom, covered by furs.

Gabrielle was apprehensive, but when Xena turned around, she looked a little more like the Xena she had known before. The coolness had disappeared from the Destroyer’s eyes, and was replaced by curiosity. "Tell me…what do you feel for me…exactly?"

Gabrielle met her eyes, unafraid. "I love you."

An eyebrow raised. "Even after I humiliated you in front of those men?"

Gabrielle sighed and crossed her arms over her silk-covered chest. "I know that it wasn’t you that was doing that…it was a darker force."

Xena walked over to the bed and Gabrielle reached up to loosen her chainmail. The warrior tensed in reaction.

"Relax." Gabrielle soothed quietly. "I’ve done this a million times."

Xena forcibly calmed her reaction, and realized the motion of Gabrielle’s hands on her body was achingly familiar. The love between them surged, and Xena achieved a moment of intense clarity.

Gabrielle removed the mail and laid it over the trunk. As she turned back around, Xena grabbed her shoulders. The look in the warrior’s eyes was panic stricken, but endearingly familiar.

"Gabrielle…what’s happening to me?"


"Yeah…I don’t remember any of this…what am I doing here?"

Gabrielle framed Xena’s face with her hands. "The stone, Xena. You became the Destroyer, remember?"

"I…no…I…have I hurt you?" The blue eyes filled with remorse as she touched the small cut on Gabrielle’s lower lip with her thumb.

"No." Gabrielle said simply. "I love you."

Xena pulled her forward into a crushing embrace. "I love you, too." She buried her face into the bard’s hair. "No matter what happens." A bolt of pain shot through her head, and she clutched it in reflex. "Listen…if it looks like I’m going to hurt you…leave. Please. There is a tunnel that goes from beneath the bed to the outside…."

Xena fell to her knees, carrying Gabrielle with her. "Fight it," Gabrielle whispered fiercely, holding tightly to her lover.

The pain was incredible, and she could feel the darkness forcing its way into her mind. The truth was horrifying; she couldn’t control this power at all.

Xena’s eyes met hers for a moment. "I can’t," she whispered brokenly, and slumped forward, unconcious.

Gabrielle’s heart stopped, and she felt frantically for a pulse. Finding one, she realized that Xena’s mind had fought the invasion the only way it could…it had momentarily shut down.

With a sigh, she grabbed Xena beneath the arms and dragged her into the bed. I never realized how heavy she is…but then, she is solid muscle.

Not knowing what else to do, she wrapped her arms around the prone form and waited, painfully unsure if Xena’s awakening would bring her lover or her more sinister sister.


Xena achieved conciousness slowly, aware of a sweet-smelling form wrapped around her like an octopus. What in the name of Hades happened?

She looked down at the golden head pillowed on her shoulder, and found that she liked that. Maybe there was truth to the little bard’s story after all, although she had a hard time picturing herself the hero.

With an unusually gentle hand, she stroked the cheek of the woman beside her, and Gabrielle opened her eyes slowly. Green eyes met blue, and then lowered.

I was hoping…for a miracle. The eyes were too cool to be Xena’s…when Xena looked at her in moments like these, the eyes were always unguarded. The Destroyer’s thoughts were hidden.

Gabrielle knew which question would be forthcoming. "I was worried," she said softly, as the Destroyer continued her exploration of her skin, moving down to her collarbone. "You passed out."

The wandering hand hesitated for a moment, then resumed. "Must have been the beating I took."

Gabrielle studied the face of her beloved. "You still have a lot of bruises. You had a knot on the back of your head earlier. Have you had it looked at?"

A small smile appeared briefly. "I’m fine. I’d know if it was something serious." Xena was oddly touched by the bard’s concern, and found that she was able to relax in her company. "Tell me about the first time we met."

A wistful smile appeared on Gabrielle’s face. She related the story in its entirety, and then looked at Xena, who had rolled to her back and was staring up at the ceiling.

After a few moments, Xena murmured, "I don't know if I can believe in the greater good, Gabrielle."   She rolled over and faced the bard, a serious expression on her face.  "In this world, if you don't take control of your destiny, you end up a pig farmer in a back water town.  It isn't about the greater good.  It's about who has the power."  She touched Gabrielle's face hesitantly.  "I can make the world a better place for everyone."

Gabrielle grabbed the hand that was stroking her cheek.  "There's something I've learned about you.  Would you like to hear it?"  she questioned quietly.

Xena raised an eyebrow.  "I'm not going to like it, am I?"

"Probably not," Gabrielle murmured with a rueful smile.

Xena sighed and flopped over onto her back, stretching her sore muscles a bit.  "Go ahead.  I won't have you killed for speaking your mind when we're alone."

Gabrielle sat up and ran her fingers through her hair nervously.  "Sometimes...you get caught up in the fight and forget what it is you were fighting for in the first place."

Xena seemed to consider that for a few moments.  "I've done that, huh?"

A small smile.  "On occasion, yes."

Xena sat up next to her consort and began kissing the soft skin of her neck.  Gabrielle recognized her body responding and didn't try to fight it; instead she reached around and tangled her fingers in the dark silky hair that was tickling her shoulder.  She turned her lips toward Xena's kiss, backing off when the Destroyer started to become more aggressive.

"Slow down.  I want this to last."  Gabrielle murmured, taking the initiative and pushing the taller woman onto her back.

That's a first.  Xena fought with herself for a moment, used to having control at all times, but then gave into pleasure as the younger woman undid the laces of her tunic, revealing the soft skin that lay beneath.  Xena loosed Gabrielle's hair so that it fell over them both like liquid sunlight, gasping as she buried her fingers in the soft tresses and drew Gabrielle on top of her.  Gabrielle lowered her head to capture a pert nipple, biting lightly as Xena arched against her questing lips.  The bard's other hand pressed against Xena's covered mound, the texture of the soft leather of her breeches adding a tantalizing friction as Xena moved against it.

Then Xena suddenly resumed control, flipping Gabrielle onto her back and straddling her hips.  The bard felt a moment of fear, and it excited her a little. The warrior pinned both hands above her head, and used her free hand to rip the bodice of the silk dress, exposing Gabrielle's breasts for her perusal.  Her eyes moved appreciatively over the mounds of lightly tanned flesh, and a small grin came to her lips as the nipples hardened in response to her gaze.  She laid her hand flat between the heaving breasts of her captive, and felt the rapid heartbeat.  "You're mine, consort," she breathed huskily, and began tracing a slow circle around a nipple.  The bard arched against her hand.  "Say it."

Gabrielle gazed up at the woman in rapture.  "I belong to you," she whispered, and was rewarded when Xena pinched her nipple hard, bringing a half-pleasured, half-pained moan from her lips.  Xena wet her finger and soothed the injured spot, rubbing the nipple until Gabrielle cried out.

"Say it again."  Xena's hand travelled to the other mound and caressed it lightly, intentionally avoiding the sensitive nub.  Gabrielle met her eyes and moaned, "Xena...I belong to you."  This time, her breast received a gentle, but stinging, slap. Xena's mouth decended on the nipple, sucking sharply and drawing a small gasp of pain from her consort.  Xena took the bard's hands and placed them on her breasts.  "Pleasure me."

The dusky nipples were as hard as pebbles, and Gabrielle ran her palms over them, eliciting a sigh from Xena.  Her hands slid down the flat stomach and moved beneath the waist of her breeches, pulling them down around Xena's hips.  Gabrielle's fingers grazed the dark hair of Xena's mound, and felt the dampness of her curls.  Then she moved them away, and saw the frustration in Xena's eyes.

With a feral growl, Xena moved backwards, ripping the rest of Gabrielle's dress off and forcing her legs apart.  Her ran her hands over the flat stomach and the insides of her thighs, stroking the bard ever-so-lightly until she fairly panted with desire.  She tugged the soft hair around her opening sharply, making Gabrielle arch in that strange pleasure-pain that Xena was so good at delivering.

Then Xena was on top of her, Gabrielle's knee pressing against the center of her desire, and Xena began a slow rhythm against the soft flesh.  They had never made love this way before, and Gabrielle was unsure what to do with her hands; she settled for teasing Xena's breasts with gentle pinches, the way the warrior had aroused her earlier.  After a few moments, Xena rolled off of Gabrielle, and pulled her on top.  She gave the bard a kiss, biting the injured lower lip tenderly, and whispered, "Eat me," into Gabrielle's mouth.

Gabrielle was never one to refuse such a command.  She slid down between the moisture slicked thighs of the Destroyer and began to love her with her mouth, her tongue moving in slow circles around the center of Xena's passion.  She grazed her teeth over the sensitive nub, dragging a strangled cry out of the warrior, then sucked hard against the sensitive flesh, nearly sending her off the bed.  She grabbed the firm cheeks of Xena's rear and used the leverage to delve deeper with her tongue, until Xena cried out in release and surged against her lips.

In another moment, Gabrielle had been pulled upward until her wet mound was over Xena's face; she grabbed the rough rail of the bed to keep from falling into a puddle as Xena's tongue teased her clit with light strokes.

Xena drove three fingers into Gabrielle's slick passage, glorying in the little shriek the rough movement produced from the bard's lips.  Her tongue became a weapon, licking and sucking hard as she moved her fingers inside of Gabrielle, then removing that hand and using it to smack the bard's bottom repeatedly, until it was blood red and stinging.

Gods, that hurts...but...ohhh.  Gabrielle's thoughts were whirling, the slight pain she felt bringing about an intense version of pleasure she had never felt before.  She came with a violent convulsion, and it was only Xena's strong arms that kept her from collapsing into a heap.

Gabrielle lay in the Destroyer's arms, feeling drained and a little guilty.

Xena patted her on the bottom.  "You did well, consort," she murmured into Gabrielle's ear, sending a shiver up the bard's spine.  "I pleased you."  It was a statement of fact.

"Yes," Gabrielle answered with a sigh.  "You did."

Xena gave a grunt of satisfaction.  "Maybe next time, we'll invite Aleric and he can participate."  It was a test.

Gabrielle rose up shakily on her elbow.  "I don't want to share this with anybody.  This is ours."

Xena gazed at her.  "You'll do it if I command," she said harshly, and her hand tightened painfully on Gabrielle's arm.

"I won't like it, though."  I already feel like I've betrayed the Xena I love.

Xena tangled her hand in the bard's hair and kissed her again, feeling her desire surge once more.  There will be enough time for talk.


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