Disclaimers: Im illegally ripping off RenPic, people. Dont tell them, okay?
And as usual, there are women in love. With each other. Oh my!
This is not really a sequel, but if anyones interested, the original Sensitive Chats is at: http://www.btinternet.com/~a.e.c/chat.htm
My grateful thanks to Cath, Claudia, and the Bardic CircleSensitive Chats II, ( or Fanfic Writing 101) by Kamouraskan
Scene One:An Example of A Spare, Descriptive Narrative
The Queens hut in this Amazon Village is very distinctive. Though hidden in the shade, the addition of the private bathing room makes it easy to pick out from the rest of the thatched structures. It also makes a perfect access point for an unseen entry.
A figure stood off to the shadowed side of the bed, amazed that the famed Warrior Princess had not reacted to her presence so far. The intruders eyes looked to a spot above the sleeping figure and quietly lifted the weighted objects. Could she take the risk? Had what the warrior drunk made it safe enough to take the gamble? There was one way to find out...
The warrior was caught in a whirling cloud of nausea. Pounding headache. Parched mouth. Then one fact pierced her shrouded senses
Someone was moving furtively about the room.
Somehow the person had managed to get above her, carrying some sort of chain Despite the terrible hangover, Xena snapped into motion. Twisting out from under the covers, she swung one rigid arm around to chop the intruder down. As they fell like a tree to the ground, she had already anticipated the descent, and had the heel of her foot deliver a stunning blow to the skull. Pulling out a short knife, she leapt out to stand over her unconscious foe, trying to ignore the drums pounding in her head.
The slight figure lay unconscious on the ground. Strawberry blonde hair in disarray.
Clutched in her right hand was the remains of a chain banner reading "HAPPY CUPIDS DAY, MY LOVE!" that she had been suspending above their bed as a surprise.
Xena closed her eyes.
Scene Two: Two Examples of Dialogue between Primary Characters.
"Is she mad?" Eponin looked across the table at the sullen warrior toying with her breakfast.
"Oh yeah." Xena grunted.
The warriors glare across the table was eloquent. <No, Pony. The concussion and the limp have cheered her up big time. All she does is thank me, again and again. > Xena threw her spoon down on the table in disgust, and glowered at the weapons master, meaning: <I cant believe I didnt know it was her. And why did it have to be then?>
Eponin shrugged, silently expressing: <Not even you can out-drink a whole tribe of Amazons and wake up spring time fresh.> She waved a curled hand as if to ask: <Why, in Artemis name, did you have to get plastered the night before your first Cupids Day, anyway?>
Xenas shoulders sagged, clearly admitting :<Because...it was the night before our first Cupids Day, alright?>
"Oh." A word finally managed to escape Eponins lips. There was a long silence with each willing the other to break it. Finally, the Amazon spoke. "Xena.. I know you two...havent been ..." she continued with her eyes again.<... screwing your brains out for very long...>, "but...?" <you dont regret that youre together...?>
The warrior continued to stare at her bowl, her silence speaking more volumes.
The Amazons eyes widened. "Oh... She continued silently.< ...crap, really? WHY? Does Gabrielle know?>
The warrior spoke slowly. "For a long time..." In pain, she looked away.< I just...took...whatever I wanted. > She returned her eyes to the Weapon Masters "Gabrielle and I not, well, that we werent, you know...Maybe it became something I could, sort of... point at and say Ive changed. That I could be...trusted."
Without thinking, Eponin blurted, "You didnt..." <force her?>
The blue eyes came into play and Xena stood over the now frozen in place Amazon. "No. I never thought, I..." The Amazon mumbled.
The warrior muttered, "Thats what people think. Its okay."
"No." The Weapons Master said firmly. <I know better.>
"But ..." <Im changing her...and now I hurt her...>
Eponin shook her head with certainty. <I know our Queen, she doesnt regret anything.>
A shrug. < She forgives me. Shes always forgiven me.> "Were so different... and its whats going to get her..."
Eponin was amazed at how easily Xena and she were talking. It looked as if Ephiny was right. She did have talent for this sensitive stuff. "Maybe if you did something..." she gave a waggle of the eyebrow <...romantic?>
That only earned another cold stare. <Eponin. I kill people. I dont send them chocolates.>
Eponin gave a skeptical glance. <Youve changed...>
The warrior paced around for a moment, her left arm and hand twitching slightly in unaccustomed nervousness. Then she looked up. "What do they call those pastries? Thats traditional, isnt it? Thats what women give on Cupids Day, right?"
The Amazon was shaken from her self congratulations. "Un huh. But..." and here she swallowed before continuing. "They have to be cooked. In an oven?"
The warrior crossed her arms. "Look, I survived on my own cooking for a long time before Gabrielle ever came in to my life. Im getting a little tired of this big joke that Im just as deadly in a kitchen."
Eponin tried to look supportive even as she tried to change where she saw this was headed. "Its just that its filo, its very... delicate...and it takes..."
The warrior leaned forward. "You coming with me or not?."
"Look, Ephiny. I dont want to talk about it because whenever I talk about it I just get depressed and then I cant eat...DONT give me that look, it happens. Its just that we keep doing this one step forward, one step back dance, and its getting to me. So dont make me talk about it, okay?"
The Regent watched, amused, as Gabrielle seemed to be pacing even as the Queen of the Amazons stayed in the chair. "Gabrielle?" Ephiny asked quietly. "If youre not mad at her, why wont you see her?"
Head bandaged and leg strapped the Queen bristled with frustration. "Because the minute she looks at these bruises, Im going to see that same guilt in her eyes, and no matter how much I try to tell her its my fault, shell only feel worse. I cant do that."
"Carries the world on her shoulders already, right?"
"Yes. She does. She so different from me. But its what makes us work."
Ephiny tried another tack. "Gabrielle, theres another consideration. If people see you two separated, and the Queen is going around with a black eye, it may confirm for a lot of people..."
"Well, that Xena is,... that she likes it rough..."
"What kind of ROUGH?" The Queen ignored the pain in her ankle to stand, suddenly seeming surprisingly imposing to the seated Regent.
She swallowed. "You know I never thought..."
Gabrielle reached for her staff. "But thats what everyone thinks, right? Then I guess I better straighten everyone out."
Ephiny sat stunned at the sudden change, then smacked one fist on her forehead. She jumped up to race after the woman who was stomping her crutch/staff towards the cook tent. "Gabrielle! You cant just go into the mess like this...Gabrielle?"
Scene Three: Example of an Unnecessary Scene, or: There is No Scene Three;
Scene Four: No Narrative Description; A Dialogue Exercise
"I cant BELIEVE they BURNED DOWN the COOK TENT!!!"
"Eph..., ummm, they didnt, really. I think Gabrielle was in the middle of this speech and was surprised to see Xena, and Xena tried to hide what she was doing, and then the fires well, started.... and I know Gabrielle was actually trying to put it out, when the horses stampeded..."
"The old stove dated back to when the village was founded. MY MOTHER was a cook in that same tent, I was RAISED in that Gods be damned COOK TENT, Pony!"
"Alright.<pause> Where are they now?"
"We had them put at opposite ends of the healers hut."
"Go tell Saras to push their beds side by side"
"Why? I thought they were too dangerous together."
"Thats together. The Gods only know what they would do to this place if they were separated."
Scene Five: Mixing Comedic and Romantic Dialogue with Spare Narrative
The blue eyes floated about inside of the sockets for a moment, before settling dreamily upon the worried figure propped up beside her. "Hiiiiiiii!" smiled the Destroyer of Nations.
Gabrielle turned around to face the head healer. "Saras. What. Is. THIS?" she demanded, pointing at her partner.
Unflustered, the healer replied: "Your majesty, she received several burns while holding up the beams in the doorway. For some reason, after everyone had gotten out, she went back in to retrieve that rock shes holding. There are several burns on that hand, and she refuses to release it. I thought if she was more ..."
"Did it work?" Gabrielle interrupted.
"No." Saras admitted.
"How did you get her to take this amount of the drug?"
The healer glanced to the floor. "I told her... I told her you had ordered it."
Though the Queen was bandaged and bruised, Saras took a step back as the green eyes hardened and something behind them went almost audibly click, before she returned her attention to the patient.
Ephiny pulled the healer aside. She spoke as though to a small child. "I believe you suddenly wish to visit the far northern outposts to see how the expanded healers training program is doing."
Saras nodded and looked down to the blissful ex-warlord "I have until Xena is up and around, right?"
"No," Ephiny smiled thinly. "You have until the Queen is up and around and upside your head."
Saras smiled back until she realized who the joke was on, and stared at the back of the young woman whose attention was fortunately focused elsewhere.
"Xena? Can you give me your hand?" Gabrielle asked softly.
"Suurrre, sweety." The Happy Warrior raised them both, and offered them. " I have two," she confided.
"Honey?" Gabrielle was managing to control her anxiety, and to ask sweetly, "Could you let me have the rock?"
The full lips pursed into a pout. "Not a rock."
Gabrielle carefully unfurled the fingers and pried the object from the clenched hand, grimacing as the some of the scorched skin clung to it. "What is it, then?" she asked, at the same time directing Ephiny by nodding, towards the salve on a shelf.
Xena just continued to smile. "Its my present, for you."
Gabrielle looked at the shapeless, heavy black rock. "How... lovely."
The warriors smile dimmed a little. "Its a little burnt." She raised her head and whispered into Gabrielles ear conspiratorially. "I dont think the oven was working quite right."
Despite her worry, Gabrielles lips twisted near the ends. "Umm, Xena?"
The blue eyes rolled about for a while, before the dazed mind behind them caught the question. Disappointed, the warrior said, "Its a pastry. For Cupids Day. Its in the shape of a heart. My heart. Im giving it to you."
Gabrielle closed her eyes, as a wave of contentment passed over her, releasing her from much of the tension shed endured since awakening in the infirmary that morning. "You baked this for me?"
"Never had anyone I wanted to do things for like that. Me." A strange noise slipped from the warriors lips, and it took a moment before Gabrielle identified it as the unfamiliar sound of Xena giggling. The warrior sighed happily. "Cupids Day. Huh. But you know, now I really feel wonnnnnnderfullll!"
Gabrielle looked at the solid stone in her hands and could now see that what she had thought were strata of sedimentation were actually layers of once delicate pastry. But she said earnestly "Thank you, Xena."
The warrior smiled her thanks and blinked as a thought careening about in her head hit a synapse. "Now you have to eat it."
"Itll go bad. Dont you like it?"
"Its lovely." Surreptitiously Gabrielle rapped it on the bed, producing a ringing noise.
"Pony helped. It was her idea!" Xena enthused, "Thank you, Pony..."
The Regent and Queen both turned to glower at the Weapons Master. "Really?" They said simultaneously. "Thank you, Pony. "
Eponins eyes widened in fear, and she pointed to her best friend and lover. "Hey. Dont look at me like that! I never wanted to get involved. It was ALL Ephinys idea. She started it. It was all her idea. She said that you two needed a sensitive chat, and that I had to take Xena, and shed take...."
Ephiny nearly fell backwards when struck by the malevolent power radiating from the verdant orbs, and only started breathing once they returned to the relaxed figure on the cot, who was asking plaintively "So. Arent you going to tell me how it tastes?"
Stroking the crown of her lovers head, Gabrielle said quietly. "No, its sooo special that you did this, and because this is our first Cupids Day, Im think Ill find some way to preserve it..." There was a snort from both of the Amazons, which she ignored, "...and itll be a special keepsake. Okay?"
The warrior enjoyed the light caress for a moment, and then grumpily replied "Okay. Just dont keep it with all your rocks"
Gabrielle opened the palm again and began to delicately work the warmed salve into the wound. "Now this could hurt a bit, Its just a bit of oil..."
"Hmmmm." Xena said fervently. "You know, I love getting all oily with you..."
Gabrielle looked to the suddenly stone-faced pair of Amazons and frowned. "Could we have a little privacy...?"
Closing Scene: Tying up Loose Ends, Showing Love for the Characters
A short while later, still in the infirmary....
"Considering the shape youre in, I dont think we should be doing this sort of thing"
"You mean, this sort of thing?" Xena grinned as her hands encouraged Gabrielles to explore stealthily under the covers. "I think whatever it was she gave me is wearing off now, because I ... "She paused and reached up to touch Gabrielles cheek, turning her head to examine the bruising. There was moisture in those shadowed eyes. "I hurt you. Im so sorry..."
Gabrielle took the hand in hers. "Apology accepted on one condition. That you forgive me."
"Xena, who knows better than me not to play silly games around you? I knew that you were drunk. I thought that it would make it possible to sneak up on you. Instead it just slowed you down so that you didnt have time to recognize me. I put us here, I made you feel this way."
"It doesnt matter if I was reaching for the soap or doing something romantic. It was a dumb move at the wrong time. If Id have jumped off a cliff, you wouldnt blame the rocks at the bottom? Youre a force of nature, you dumb warrior, and I love you for that."
Xena allowed a moment to think. She shook her head. "You shouldnt have to..."
"I knew the risks. I take them willingly every day."
"The Amazons thought..."
"They dont anymore."
"I guess standing on a table waving your staff helped?"
"And the threatening them with knocking them on their asses if they ever even thought that again?"
Xena looked away from her partner. "Gabrielle, there are people who do...",
"Not us. Hurting me hurts you too much."
"I cant be trusted."
"Yes. You can, by me. Some day, maybe by you, too."
There was a clearing of the warriors throat. "This being in love thing...Im not..."
"You never have to do anything for me."
"I want to do things for you."
"You do things for me everytime I see you, or touch you, or even think about..."
"Shhh. I want to. I just dont know how..."
Gabrielle smiled. "It wasnt in the Warlords Handbook?" She tilted her head and thought outloud. "I have to stop hoping that there will be a time when everything will be settled and stable, and realize that I like exploring with you. Its my life now..."
"Gabrielle...theres exploring, and theres...Oh, okay, there... yeah, I like exploring with you, too...ooo..."
Gabrielle called out to the lurking Amazons.
"Is there any reason this patient couldnt be in her own tent? NOW?"