Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle and others resembling those from the TV show, belong to Studio USA and Renaissance Pictures. No infringement on their rights is intended. All other characters are of my own creation and belong to me.

Subtext Disclaimer: This story contains graphic scenes of a loving relationship between two consenting adults, who happen to be of the same sex. If this offends you, or you are under 18 years of age, or you reside in an area where this type of material is illegal, read no more. There is plenty of general fanfic out there for you. Go find it.

Shock Factor: 3. Plan D #25.

Note: Neither T nor her home suffered any permanent damage during the writing of this story, however she is looking into sound proofing her bathroom.

Please send any comments to asdease1@gte.net

Enjoy, I hope.

One Too Many Blondes

Written by FlyBigD

"We’re back!" Sticking her head out their bedroom door, Xena yelled down the hall, looking into the living room.

"Good. I’ve got work for you to do." Coming up from behind her, T walked down the hallway, grabbing the warrior out of the doorway as she passed. "I’ve got ten thousand saplings on the way to begin with, two thousand Ungara standing around with their hands in their pockets and getting testy, and seven bulldozers just arrived. I need you to find out who can drive them, get them fueled up, organize the Ungara into shifts, and start clearing the burned forest before the saplings arrive. There are shovels and picks out at the bridge already and if you need anything else, just make up a list and I’ll get it for you." Having walked Xena all the way to the front door, she opened it and smiled. "Your army awaits. Go get ‘em Xena." Giving her friend a healthy shove.

"I just got here and I’m on vacation! It’s cold out here!" Complaining, she had the door closed in her face as a response. "Can I have a coat?"

Opening the door, the god handed her a heavy leather jacket then closed the door again.

"This sucks." Pulling on her jacket, the warrior turned around and saw a lot of curious faces staring up at her from the throne room. "Any of you know how to run a bulldozer?" Slowly one hand went up and she breathed a sigh of relief. "One is better than having to break out the owner’s manual."

"Hey!" Being shoved out the door, Gabrielle ran into her wife and had a coat thrown in her face.

"Make sure she gets to the Palace of the Ancients. Ungara and Chris are waiting for her with stone workers and architects." Smiling happily, T closed the door.

"I thought I was supposed to be babysitting! Nobody said anything about a working vacation! I’m a history teacher, I don’t know anything about construction!" Getting no reaction, she went for a last resort. "I’m pregnant!"

Tapping the bard on the shoulder, Xena pointed to the crowd of people below.

"What?" Spinning around, the bard looked over the balcony. "I’m pregnant and I’m in charge. Any volunteers?"

The bulldozer operator put his arm down quickly and looked for someplace to hide.

"Guess not." Seeing the crowd break up in record time, the warrior nodded in appreciation.

Gabrielle jerked on her jacket and huffed. "What the hell does she expect me to do with a bunch of construction workers?"

Suddenly Xena frowned and she began banging on the door. "T!"

Opening the door, the god had her son in her arms and didn’t look happy to be interrupted. "Nobody is going to touch her without having to deal with me personally and I’ve got the main console to run. I’ve got to organize the rotation of volunteers, order a bazillion tons of marble from a quarry that doesn’t exist anymore, get Aphrodite to stop playing tour guide and get the Ungara something they could use, like food. I’ve got people still in crisis mode over Dahok’s visit and I’ve got to organize rescue operations before the animal kingdom loses three more bird species. I’ve got the year-end budget to work out with all these new expenses and do a projection for next year, and still have money left over to run the empire. Now. Which one of you wants to swap with me?"

Cringing, the warrior turned around. "I hate budget reports."

Doing the same, the bard took her wife’s hand. "Can you give me a lift to the Palace?"

"There’s a truck downstairs with two radios in it. You can use the radios to communicate with each other. If you need anything, call me." Having no faces to smile at, T closed the door.

"I hope it’s not one of those itty bitty trucks. My legs cramp in those things." Leading the bard toward the stairs, Xena held her hand tightly. "Maybe it’s a Hummer."

Finding neither prospect very exciting, Gabrielle nearly fell over with laughter when the truck in question came into view. "That’s cute."

Chuckling herself, the warrior stared down the stairs at a Palomino mare and a huge black stallion, who had a yellow Tonka dump truck tied behind them with two hand held radio’s in the back. "I think motherhood has gotten to her."

"I guess we won’t be fighting for who get’s to drive." Shaking her head, the bard bounced down the steps from the promenade. "Artaq! Did you miss me?"

"Excuse me, Miss?" Shoving his hands in his pocket, the young man smiled when the brunette turned around.

"Yes?" Still smiling about the truck, Xena lifted her eyebrows.

"I found a couple more heavy machine operators. If you’re interested?" Speaking in Ungaran, with a heavy southern American accent, he shrugged.

"I am and I’m Xena. What’s your name?" Offering her hand, she had it shaken by a strong grip with hard callouses.

"Cole. Cole Patterson." Showing off his pearly whites, he took his hand back.

"Okay, Cole." Putting her hands on her hips, she switched to English and nodded. "How many operators did you find?"

"Three more." Relaxing a little, Cole switched to English also and tossed a thumb over his shoulder. "They’re hiding in the library."

"That’s four and we’ve got seven dozers. Hmmm? Can you teach somebody to run one of those things, without anybody getting killed in the process?" Thinking, she cocked her head to the side.

"If I’ve got enough space, sure. Shouldn’t take more than about an hour, I guess. If all you want is the basics?" Scratching his blonde stubbled cheek.

"Space we got." Chuckling, she straightened her head. "Is clearing land considered the basics?"

Nodding, Cole smiled. "As long as they’re goin’ in a straight line."

"Sounds like a plan then. I’ll meet you at the bridge in a little while." Patting him on the shoulder, Xena turned to follow the bard down the steps, then stopped and turned around. "Cole."

"Yes, Miss Xena?" Readjusting the ball cap on his head, he walked a few steps back to her.

"You wouldn’t by any chance know anything about planting pine trees, would you?" Looking up at him she saw a smile grow slowly and her’s did the same.

"I work for the Forestry Department. I plant trees for a living." Laughing softly, he tried to hide his eyes under the brim of his hat.

"If I wasn’t married, I kiss you. You’re my second in command, Cole. Now go up and ask T where the gas is." Pointing up at the balcony, she saw his face drop. "Oh, Cole. She’s not going to bite you." Urging him with her hands, she could tell that he’d rather be burned at the stake than face T. "Come on." Coming back up the steps, she took his arm and literally had to drag him up the stairs to the balcony. "That woman has got to get out more."

Knocking on the door, Xena hung on to her new commander to keep him from escaping and waited.

T opened the door empty handed and put her hands on her hips. "You haven’t left yet?"

"Snot nosed brat." Sticking out her tongue, the warrior forcibly presented the young man to his King. "T, this is Cole Patterson. Cole, this is T and she’s actually pretty nice as long as you don’t try to take her ice cream away from her."

"That only counts when I’m pregnant." Smiling, T stuck out her hand. "How ya doin, Cole. Pleasure to meet ya. What’s Xena gotten you into?"

"Ma’am." Struggling to get the word out, Cole shook her hand.

"He’s my second in command and he needs to know where the gas is for the dozers. He’s gonna teach me how to drive one." Turning her head, she flicked her eyebrows and smiled. "Cool, huh?"

Still having hold of the young man’s hand, T pulled him away from the warrior and swept her arm around, putting Cole behind her. "No way, Xena. I’ve seen you drive. Anything with more than two wheels, or four hooves and you go nuts. You stay off those bulldozers."

Straightening to her full height, Xena looked down at T and put her hands on her hips. "I’m in charge of the forest. I can drive one if I want."

Stepping out of the doorway, the god raised one hand to poke a finger in her friend’s chest. "You touch one of those machines and you’ll be pulling kitchen duty with Aphrodite, you got me?"

"If I have to freeze my ass off planting trees, I wanna learn to drive a bulldozer." Slapping T’s hand away, her retreat was stopped by the railing.

Growling low, T turned around to stare at Cole, whose eyes went unnaturally wide under the gaze. "There’s a tanker truck full of diesel fuel parked by the bridge. Keep her away from it and don’t let her play. She can drive one to clear the forest, but no doing doughnuts in the middle of the field at lunch. Otherwise you get the short blonde pregnant woman to work with. Understand?"

"Yes, ma’am. I won’t let her fool around." Nodding, he smiled.

"Good, man." Smiling, she turned back to the warrior. "Happy?"

Slumping her shoulder, Xena nodded and sighed. "Spoil sport."

"Comes with the Crown." Putting her hands on her hips, T smirked at how dejected Xena looked.

"Come on, Cole. Let’s go get your buddies and not have any fun." Rolling her eyes, she reached past the god and took hold of Cole’s sleeve. "Crummy vacation."

"Yes, Miss Xena. Nice to meet you, ma’am." Waving, he chuckled all the way down the stairs.

"The pleasure’s all mine, Cole." Waving back, she walked back inside her chambers and closed the door. "Another blonde sidekick. Gabrielle’s gonna have a fit."


Gabrielle rode through the forest on Artaq alone. After spending all morning with Ungara and Chris, they’d come up with a plan to organize the reconstruction of the Palace of the Ancients and she was now looking forward to some quiet time with her wife, away from the sound of hammering chisels. She was also enjoying the ride itself and felt like she was riding a live rocking horse, because she could barely feel the stallion sway beneath her and knew that he’d altered his prancing gait for her present condition. Smiling, she leaned down and patted his muscled neck. "You’re a good old man, aren’t ya. You take such good care of me."

Nickering, Artaq tossed his head.

"How about we make this a short trip, huh? Wanna go for a run, big man?" Leaning to the side, she saw him turn his head to look at her. "Let’s go find Xena." Smiling at him, she took hold of the saddle horn then gave him a gentle nudge with her heel.

Throwing his head from side to side, the stallion eased out of his walk into a lope and picked up speed slowly. Taking his time and care, he got another nudge and ignored it. Nickering his protest, he continued to increase his speed at his own discretion until he worked his way up to an all out breeze.

"Yes!" Feeling the wind on her face, Gabrielle bent low over his neck and shifted the reins left and right to avoid the trees whizzing by. "That’s it boy. Git it!" Smiling, her eyes twinkled with the exhilaration and the blood in her veins seemed to catch fire. Cutting a hard right in a clearing, she leaned with the turn, brushing her jacket up against a tree and never felt a thing as she headed for the river. The icy wind whipping her hair, she counted mentally seeing the land beyond open up, then at the last second she cut the stallion left, sending a spray of pine needles into the muddied river. With nothing but a winding waterway on one side and a line of trees on the other, they charged over the narrow gap between the two, racing along the bank toward the bridge which still lay out of sight. "Come on, Daddy’s boy. Show me what ya got!" Shouting over the rush of wind in her ears, she was catapulted into a speed that only Pegasus himself and his son could attain and the bard clung to the saddle while the trees became a blur.


"I’ve never seen the river muddy before." Crouching on the burned side of the bridge, the warrior stared at her reflection in the grayish water.

"That’s from the ash." Squatting beside her, Cole pointed along the bank. "See those small gullies? Every time it rains, more ash gets washed into the river and we’re losing a lot of top soil too."

"It’s not the top soil I’m worried about, Cole." Glancing over her shoulder, Xena looked out over the remains of the charred forest. "We’ll have to scrape all that away anyway, because nothing’s gonna grow where Dahok touched. I’m more worried about getting the river back to normal. We’re gonna need clean water for the new trees. If we put this water on them, it’ll kill ‘em." Turning back to him, she could see the concern on his face. "If we can stop the run off from this side of the river, how long will it take to get clean again?"

"That’s hard to say." Lifting the cap off his head, he scratched his short blonde hair. "It depends on how much of the run off has settled to the bottom. We may have to dredge it to get it completely clean, but I can do some flow measurements and give ya an estimate." Leaning forward, he scanned the bank on his side and the far side.

"What ya looking for?" Following his gaze, the warrior didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.

"How does this river run normally? Is this a normal level?" Putting his cap back on, he picked up some of the ash with his hand, letting it trickle out to be caught by the breeze.

Checking some reference points, Xena nodded. "Pretty much. It’s about an inch low, but that may be because it’s clogged somewhere. It runs pretty consistently."

Getting to his feet, Cole put his hands on his hips and looked as far down stream as he could. "Where does it go?"

"Back underground." Wiping her hands off on her jeans, she stood and pointed to where he was looking. "About twenty miles down river, there’s a small pool where it disappears into the mountain. After that, I’d have to ask T."

"Hmmm." Turning his head, he looked up river. "How far the other way?"

"Same. The bridge is the half way point." Putting her hands in her pockets, she cracked her neck. "So what do we need to get this fixed as quickly as possible?"

"More dozers, for one thing. Forty miles of river bank is a lot to cover, but I think we can stop the run off if we just make a small barrier using the debris. We’ll still get some ash, but once the river starts to clear, I can see how much is on the bottom." Lifting his wrist, he checked his watch closely and smiled. "When are those saplings supposed to get here?"

"How many more bulldozers?" Rolling her eyes, Xena pulled the radio out of her pocket and held it to her mouth.

Glancing up shyly, he shrugged. "Ten?"

"T, this is Xena." Moving the black box to her ear, she listened.

"Yessssss?" T answered with a hiss.

"We need ten more bulldozers here by tomorrow, preferably with people who know how to run them and where does the river go once it disappears into the mountain?" Squeezing in as much as possible, she turned up the volume and waved Cole over to listen.

"Would you like fries with that, or just one of my kidneys?" Came a flat reply.

"I’ve seen your kidneys. I’ll take the fries. Spicy ones, if you’ve got ‘em." Chuckling, Xena got a growl from the radio and turned down the volume. "She’s really a pussy cat." Passing the response off as normal to Cole, she jumped when the radio came alive again.

"I heard that and the river enters a labyrinth of underground chambers and eventually runs to the Aegean. The bulldozers will be here by noon tomorrow, with experienced, qualified drivers for all seventeen. Thank you for calling. Have a nice day." T’s unseen smile came through in her tone.

"Oh, no you don’t! I get to learn to drive one. You said so!" Yelling into the radio, the warrior didn’t hear anything and shook the box. "T!"

Hanging his head, Cole tried to pretend that he wasn’t there and began backing slowly away from the angry woman.

"Where do you think you’re going?" Spying the retreat, Xena reached out, catching his sleeve and pulled him back. "You’re gonna show me how to run one of those things and we’re gonna get started on that barrier." Turning around, she towed her instructor behind her, going up the bank and heading for the nearest yellow behemoth.

"Yes, Miss Xena." Agreeing, the young man wondered of he’d been better off learning how to sculpt marble for a living.


Taking a couple of detours, the bard lengthened the ride, enjoying every second of the rush and eventually crossed the path that led to the bridge. Passing it without knowing it, she continued on through the forest and came out on the opposite side of the bridge a few miles down, then simply reined the stallion into a spinning pivot and headed back toward the wooden structure. Staying on course this time, the pair raced along the bank once again and Gabrielle began trying to spot the tall brunette on her approach. Seeing no sign of the warrior, she slowed Artaq down to a lope, turning onto the bridge and stopped on the far side to ask one of the workers for her wife’s location. Following an outstretched arm, she spotted a bulldozer way way way out in the middle of the dead forest and shook her head. "Oh, what now?" Sighing, the blonde sent her mount into a slow gallop, heading for the yellow dot and hoped that there had been a serious mistake on the part of her informant.

Riding through the ash and over remains of trees, Gabrielle sent up a breeze swept trail behind her and had to take the reins in both hands when the noise from the bulldozer started to bother Artaq. "It’s okay, boy." Patting his neck, she soothed his nerves and hoped she wasn’t lying to him. Finally the stallion had too much and his prancing became so unruly that the bard had to bring him to a halt. The horse still pawed the ground, tossing his head in agitation at the noise, but he didn’t move other than that and she kept a safe distance watching what was going on inside the bulldozer with a fixed fascination.

Bending beside his eager student, Cole leaned close to her ear, shouting over the roar of the big diesel engine and pointed out what each of the levers did. Holding on tightly to the back of the seat, he had to wrap his arm almost around her shoulder to keep from being thrown off when the dozer jerked forward. "Easy, Miss Xena. This thing will take off."

"Sorry!" Yelling back, the warrior was enthralled with her new toy and listened closely, trying to work the pedal and levers with the instructions she was getting. Turning the massive machine this way and that, she watched the blade go high, then brought it back down. Smiling, she laughed and tried something else.

Grabbing her hand, the young man kept it off the lever she was reaching for and shook his head. "That tilts the bucket. You use that to dump your load into a truck. If you use it on the ground, you’ll dig yourself into a hole. "

Turning to face him, the warrior stuck out her tongue, but relented and brought the bucket up, then tried the tilt function again.

"Let me show you." Smiling shyly, he placed his hands over hers, working the levers back and forth, demonstrating how to use the two functions together with out tipping the big machine over. "See. You can use it to scoop something up and then dump it in the back of a truck."

Nodding in concentration, Xena watched a load of dirt and ash fall out of the bucket. "Let me try?"

Cole gave her a thumbs up and took up his position next to her, watching the bucket come down.

After twenty minutes of personal instruction, the warrior was running the machine like someone who knew what they were doing and moved a mound of debris around in a circle. Bringing the bucket down, she spotted the horse and rider and waved, then cut off the engine. Letting Cole go first, she climbed down off the bulldozer and wrapped her arm around his shoulders, smiling happily as she approached her wife. "Did you see me up there? That was great. You’ve got to learn how to run one of those and boy, do I have the instructor for you. Ha!" Hugging him tightly with her arm, she turned to give him her most winning smile and patted his chest. "You’re the best, Cole."

One golden eyebrow arched above a stony expression and Gabrielle was far less jubilant than her partner. Having watched the goings on from a green-eyed perspective, the bard narrowed those eyes to slits as the pair approached, aiming the beams to intercept sparkling blue when they turned her way. Finally.

When she did look Gabrielle’s way, Xena recognized the expression and the fire blazing in her wife’s eyes immediately. "Uh oh." Swallowing hard, she pulled the young man back, then slowly removed her arm from around his shoulder.

Confused, Cole glanced between the two women and scratched his head. "Is something wrong, Miss Xena?"

"I’ll let you know. Just stay here." Patting his shoulder, the warrior gave him a smile as she stepped away from him and took care to give the prancing stallion a wide berth. Getting closer to the bard, she smiled up at her while she tried to think of a really good opening line that wouldn’t get her kicked in the face, or worse. "Would this be a really bad time to tell you how much I love you and would love for you to come down from there so I could wrap my arms around you, and tell you how much I’ve missed you all day, because if it is, I’ll just wait right here until a good time rolls around."

Clenching and unclenching her jaw, the bard moved her eyes off the man fidgeting under her gaze to the smiling face of her wife. "Who is he?"

Xena tapped her chin and glanced at Cole. "Um, that would be the very nice young gentleman who was kind enough to take time out of his very busy day to show me how to run a bulldozer because we have seven of them and only four drivers, and who had to bring me all the way out here so I wouldn’t blow up the fuel truck while I was learning a new skill." Smiling, she looked back up at the bard. "You know how I like to learn new skills and who showed himself to be the perfect gentleman while we were way to close for my liking inside the cab, and who got stuck being my second in command against his will because he works for the Forestry Department and plants trees for a living. His name is Cole. Wanna meet him?" Hoping she’d covered all the bases, the warrior put her face on the line by stepping forward and held her arms up to entice her wife out of the saddle. Adding some finger wiggling, she smiled when it looked like her face would survive the day and she helped Gabrielle down out of the saddle.

Bringing her right leg over the stallion’s neck, Gabrielle took her left foot out of the stirrup and turned to the side. Tossing the reins over Artaq’s head, she slid out of the saddle into Xena’s waiting arms and was immediately wrapped up in a tight embrace.

"I missed you all day." Keeping to her word, the warrior passed her heartfelt sentiment along right off the bat and held her wife close to her, staring down into stormy green. "Did you come down here to kiss me, or to kill him?"

"The jury’s still out . . . ummmm." The bard was interrupted by a pair of smiling lips and the intensity of the kiss was making it hard to remember what she had intended to say, or that she’d actually been speaking at all. Pulled into an even tighter embrace she snaked one hand up over Xena’s leather jacket to the back of her neck, tangling her fingers in dark dusty wind swept hair and held those lips to her’s until the need for oxygen was replaced by a desire for less clothing. "Ummmm Xena that’s enough. He’ll live. He’ll live." Patting the warrior’s chest, she laid her head back trying to get enough air to her brain to keep her from passing out.

"He who?" Finding some tempting softness offered up, she found resisting it futile and began kissing her way up the side of Gabrielle’s neck.

"Clay . . . Carl . . . ," pointing in the general direction with one hand, Gabrielle closed her eyes to concentrate and tried to get a safe distance from her wife with the other hand, "Clyde . . . Ken . . . Kevin . . . gods . . . Cole. Cole! Xena, Cole. Cole."

"Never heard of him." Whispering in a tasty ear, she strained her neck to get a nibble as the tidbit got further and further away. "Damn."

Forced to use both hands, the bard held her ear out of reach and the warrior at arm’s length until the arms around her waist loosened their hold and she was able to step back. Still winded from the kiss, she leaned heavily against Artaq, who turned his head and gave her a nicker that had an undisguised amused quality to it. "Who asked you?" Swatting his shoulder, she pushed off his body and casually straightened her jacket in an attempt to play down the fact that she’d been so easily seduced out of a perfectly good jealous fit.

Xena looked down at her empty hands, lamenting their loss greatly and sighed. Then she sighed again and looked up to the woman she’d had in her grasp, and let slip away. "Do you really want to meet Cole, or am I going to get lucky and have my lunch include me as a thigh sandwich?" Asking the question quite innocently, she saw her partner’s eyes bug out as Gabrielle turned beet red and figured the answer was no on the last part. "Damn." Sighing again, she shook her head and held out her hand. "Come on. Let’s get this over with then."

Eyes still in stretch mode, Gabrielle peeked around the huge stallion before she took Xena’s hand and saw that Cole had found the bulldozer quite interesting to look at. Thank the gods, she thought and took the hand offered her, hoping that she could explain the blush as some kind of pregnancy induced rash. Grabbing the reins as she started forward, she tugged Artaq along behind her for moral support.

Walking with less pep in her step, the warrior paced herself to her wife’s shorter stride and felt the bard’s fingers thread themselves with her’s, which put a little pep back in her step, and made her smile. "Cole!" Hailing the young man, she watched him glance over his shoulder before he ventured to turn around and chuckled at how similar his current complexion was to Gabrielle’s.

Cole didn’t know what had happened once his manners had forced him to turn around, but by the expression on the blonde’s face he figured that he’d done so just in the nick of time. Still a little flustered at what he had seen, he pulled off his cap when they got close and smiled to hide his lingering embarrassment. "Ma’am."

"Gabrielle, this is Cole Patterson. My second in command and a whiz with a bulldozer, but don’t tell him I said that." Giving him a smile, she saw a new blush start and chuckled.

"Ma’am." Grinning from ear to ear, Cole bowed.

"And Cole, this is . . . " Presenting her wife, the warrior’s words were cut off in mid sentence.

" . . . Faith Riley. Yes, ma’am." Bowing again, he held out his hand to Gabrielle.

Confused, the bard took the hand in her’s and shook it with a frown on her face. "You know me? I mean the other me?"

"Yes, ma’am. I was in one of your classes at the university." Squeezing her hand gently, he shook it then let it go.

"Cole Patterson?" Arching an eyebrow in thought, Gabrielle studied his face for a long moment then released Xena’s hand to snap her fingers. "I remember you." Pointing at him, she smiled and nodded. "You’re the one that wrote the paper on the mis-translation of polis. That was a really good paper. You remember that one Xena?" Looking up at the warrior, she tugged on a leather sleeve. "I showed it to you and you said whoever wrote it knew more about Greek than half the bone heads I worked with."

Xena took a minute to think herself, then she nodded and smiled. "I remember that one. That was good." Turning to stare at Cole, she put her hands on her hips. "You sneaky little devil. Here I thought you were just some nice guy trying to help me out and you were trying to win brownie points with my wife all along. You’re a sly one, Cole Patterson and I’m going to be keeping a very close eye on you from now on. Sneaky." Waggling her finger at him.

Hiding behind his cap, Cole shook his head. "I’m sorry, Miss Xena, but I didn’t know you. I only knew Miss Gabrielle and I didn’t know who she was till a minute ago. I was very sorry to hear about your accident, Miss Xena and I’m glad you’re all better now."

"If you didn’t know me, how did you know I crashed my bike? Hmmmm?" Enjoying his shyness, she poked him in the ribs to make him move his hat.

Jerking away from the prod, he lowered his cover and raised his hazel eyes. "They told us what happened when Miss Gabrielle wasn’t there for the rest of her classes." Dropping the hat even lower, his smile showed up.

"I thought all the Ungara knew who we were, so to speak." Lifting her brow, Gabrielle jumped on the ‘torture Cole’ wagon.

"Yea. I thought you were supposed to know who the heirs were?" Tapping her booted foot, Xena turned her head to give him a suspicious stare. "What about that?"

"Oh, we do, Miss Xena and it’s fine reading." Nodding, he put his cap on. "There just aren’t any pictures and nobody sent word that you were back in those bodies, else wise I would’ve recognized you right off." Shrugging, he smiled innocently. "I guess I never expected to run into you face to face like that. My apologies for not recognizing you."

The bard folded her arms across her chest and gave him a speculative look, then she smiled and chuckled. "Well, I guess we’ll let you off the hook this time. It wasn’t like I was looking for any Ungara to be in my class either, so fair’s fair."

"Rats. I guess this means we have to keep ya." Snapping her finger in mock dismay, the warrior laughed, which got another blush from Cole.

"Xena?" Breaking the mood somewhat, Gabrielle turned to look at her wife with a concerned expression.

"What?" Still pumped, Xena smiled at the bard.

"Does our insurance cover death by Caterpillar?" Fighting off a smirk, she folded both hands behind her back and glanced between the tall brunette with a machine fetish and the large yellow bulldozer.

Switching her gaze between the short blonde woman and the big yellow bulldozer, the warrior caught on after a second and shook her head, holding up both hands. "Oh, no you don’t, Gabrielle. It’s too late. I already know how to drive one and T said I could, so don’t give me that look. This isn’t your turf, missy. I’m in charge out here, so you can shuffle your cute little attitude back where it came from. I’m driving that bulldozer." Pointing to the machine, she put her other hand on her hip. "So, there."

"Did I say anything about you not driving the bulldozer, Xena?" Gabrielle asked and let some of the smirk through. "I’m just wondering because I think it’s my turn for a lesson, right Cole?"

Cole opened his mouth to answer, but the hand on his chest suggested that it wouldn’t be a good idea, so he didn’t.

"Don’t you move a muscle, Cole." Holding him at arm’s length, the warrior continued to shake her head, but for completely different reasons. "Gabrielle, you are not getting on that machine. It’s too dangerous, you’re pregnant and the seat doesn’t go that far up." She said very seriously and frowned to accentuate her emotion.

The bard baited the hook slowly and played her hidden hand with a look of true confusion. "But you just said that he was a great teacher and you even suggested that I try it."

"I’ve changed my mind and you wouldn’t like it anyway. It’s dirty, smelly and loud. The three things you hate most in a machine and I won’t have it. You’re not endangering our baby for some joy ride." Putting her foot down, literally, Xena didn’t see the warning signs flashing behind green twinkling eyes.

"Oh, I see." Gabrielle nodded in comprehension. "It’s okay for you to do it because you’re not pregnant and it doesn’t matter that if you kill yourself on that thing doesn’t play into this anywhere, because it’s perfectly alright for me to be left alone to raise our child without both it’s parents. Okay, Xena. You go up there and have a good time. I’ll just go back to help Ungara and wait for the explosion." Smiling sadly, she nodded again and patted the warrior’s cheek. "It was nice to meet you Cole and I’ll see you at the funeral." Turning away, she shrugged and started to walk off.

Suddenly finding that she’d swallowed a large hook, Xena’s eyes narrowed to slits. "Oh, no you don’t. You come back here. You’re not playing me like that. I see what you’re doing and it’s not going to work. You save that reverse mind game for our baby, Gabrielle." Following behind her wife, she waggled a finger at the back of a blonde head. "It won’t work, you hear me? I’m in charge out here and T said I could drive one, so there." Ranting while she walked, the warrior got further and further away from the bulldozer.

"Go do what you want, Xena." Waving her hand behind her head, the bard continued to walk away towing Artaq behind her. "We’ll be fine. Don’t worry about us. I’m sure our baby will be happy with pictures of you, instead of the real thing. Dad can show his home movies."

"Come back here! I’m telling you this isn’t going to work, Gabrielle. I’m on to you." Throwing her hands in the air, the warrior pushed the stallion out of the way. "Move, you. I’m talking here and don’t you bite me. Stop that. Gabrielle, he’s trying to bite me again. Where’s Argo when I need her? I mean it. I’ll hit you, you overgrown flying flea bag. I’m not afraid of you. Get away from me."

Cole watched the couple walk away and wondered if it was okay to move a muscle until they were almost out of sight. Then he took his chances and climbed aboard the big yellow bulldozer, and cranked it up. Scratching his head, he refused to wonder about the mysteries of women and decided it was safer just to go back to work.


T glanced up from her paperwork, looking toward the front door when it opened and saw a tall brunette stalk in with a scowl on her face, which brought up the thought that her day had gone by too quietly and was about to change. Watching the warrior closely, she laid her paperwork aside, expecting to hear what had put her into such a mood, but was left without a clue when Xena merely took off her jacket and threw it at the most handy hanger, which was apparently the floor. Rolling her head back, the god continued to watch her friend as she passed behind the couch and disappeared into the bathroom with a hearty door slam to quell any doubt that she was not a happy camper. Then T’s head rolled back from whence it came and her eyes were greeted with a smiling blonde bard coming through the front door. Aha, she thought, clue one and why am I not surprised? Expecting more clues to be forthcoming, she placed the paperwork aside and prepared herself to hear either Gabrielle explain her victory, or Xena to come out of the bathroom and rant about her defeat. Torn between the two options, she flipped a mental coin, slapping it on her mental wrist. Heads, she thought and sighed when the bathroom door opened. Well, I was close.

Xena opened her mouth to shout something, but nothing came out, so she slammed the door again.

Closing her eyes, T shook her head and thought that she needed to stop using two headed coins, then opened her eyes when she felt the cushion beside her move. "Okay, I know about the bulldozer episode, but what did you do to her this time?" Shifting her eyes sideways with the question, she noted the smile that hadn’t left Gabrielle’s face and the attempt at an innocent look, which turned out to be rather smug instead. Turning her head to get the full effect of the expression, she waited for an explanation.

"Nothing." Shrugging, the bard leaned forward and pulled off her jacket.

So much for a nice quiet evening. Pulling her feet off the coffee table, the god sighed and tucked her legs underneath her as she turned to give her friend her full undivided attention. "Gabrielle?"

"What?" Folding her jacket on her lap, Gabrielle was still feigning innocence and still couldn’t stop smiling.

A muscled arm went up on the back of the couch and a tired head propped up on a clawed hand. Drumming the other set of claws on her jeans, she stared at the side of Gabrielle’s head.

Finding everything else in the room to look at beside T, the bard scratched the ear being stared at, feeling it heat up under the gaze, then rubbed the back of her neck, but refused to crack under the pressure.

"If I have to suck the information out of your brain, I’m going to implant an unquenchable desire to watch reruns of Sigmund the Sea Monster and lime jell-o." Knowing this was the ultimate threat, T smiled and reached for the blonde head, but had her hand stopped before it got to the intended destination.

Gabrielle cringed under the double threat, snatching T’s hand down before it got to her head and she had to live with a need for bad television and giggly food. "No, no. That won’t be necessary. I’ll tell." Smiling less smugly and more on the order of apologetically, she wrapped both her hands around the god’s. "She’s mad at me because when I came to meet her for the ride back in, we made a bet on who could get Cole to blush first and I won, and now she thinks I have the hots for him."

"Hold on." Pulling her hand out of the bard’s grasp, the god frowned. "Are you telling me that Xena picked up another blonde side kick and she’s the one that’s jealous? Isn’t that supposed to be the other way around?" Surprised and stunned, she stared at her friend in complete disbelief. "What in the world did you do to make him blush?" Almost afraid to ask.

"I winked at him." Her smile back in place, she shrugged. "Simple, yet effective."

"And what did Xena do?" Arching an eyebrow in anticipation.

"Told him a dirty joke." Shrugging again, Gabrielle chuckled. "I guess he’d heard it before."

T closed her eyes and sighed. "So now Xena thinks that because he blushed that either you’ve got the hots for Cole, or vice versa, or both. Wonderful." Sounding underjoyed, she began shaking her head slowly. Letting out another sigh, she opened her eyes. "Tell me you tried to correct the assumption."

"Well, I might have been able to if I hadn’t offered to give Cole a ride back on Artaq before I figured out that she was mad." The apology smile came back and she watched T’s head fall forward.

Groaning, the god hung her head. "Lemme guess. You two raced back and she lost."

"It didn’t really start out as a race, but she kept making Argo go faster and Artaq just kind of kept staying a little bit ahead. I didn’t make him do it. You know how he is." Looking for some redemption, or less guilt, she played up the last part.

Covering her face with both hands, she rubbed it a few times before she looked up. "Who’s idea was it to make the bet in the first place?" Asking the question point blank, T folded her arms across her chest and waited with very little humor in her expression.

Staring into dark penetrating eyes, Gabrielle suddenly found herself wanting to be anyplace but where she was and what had seemed so funny a couple of minutes ago didn’t hold up against the realization that the piper had come to collect. Taking her bottom lip between her teeth, she physically slumped into the cushions.

Needing no further evidence of guilt, the god started drumming her fingers slowly against her arm. "You used Cole to bait her so she’d get jealous, didn’t you?" Another slump and she stopped drumming her fingers. "Gabrielle, how could you? After coming so close to losing everything to Dahok, how could you waste a single minute of your life on something so stupid as making Xena jealous? She loves you more than the air she breathes and you turn around and want to make her prove it? What kind of way is that to treat somebody you love? She’s never intentionally made you jealous and you, above all people, should know how wasteful an emotion jealousy is. You should be cherishing every moment you have together, not pissing it away for five minutes of fun at your wife’s expense. She doesn’t deserve that kind of torment from you."

"You made her jealous over what I said about Ares." Grasping at a defense, she was already half way to being completely crushed by what she’d done.

T rolled her eyes. "Gabrielle, do you honestly believe for one second that Xena ever thought you might have feelings for Ares, despite what she said?"

Lowering her eyes, the bard shook her head, her voice barely a whisper. "No."

"No and for good reason. Xena and I are friends and we enjoy yanking each other’s chain, so for me to suggest that you had the hots for Ares was so way off base, there was no way she would ever even consider it as a possibility, but for you to make her think that she has reason to doubt your love is a whole lot different. I’m not her wife, Gabrielle. You are. I’m not her reason for living and I’ve never stooped so low to make her think she ever had to prove anything to me. That goes beyond the realm of friendly rivalry and I thought you would’ve known that, but maybe I was wrong." Ending with a tone of disappointment, T picked up her paperwork then stood. "I think it would be best if Ares and I found someplace else to sleep tonight. I’ll see you tomorrow, Gabrielle." Giving the blonde one last look, she turned and left the room.

Gabrielle didn’t see the look, because she was still staring at her hands, but she couldn’t see those either for the tears blurring her vision. Everything T said was true and knowing she’d betrayed Xena’s love and trust for a little fun tore her soul to pieces. The one thing she never wanted her wife to doubt was her love and even though she suffered from her own jealousy at times, she’d never questioned Xena’s love for her. That was a given and it was only her being so possessive of that love that made her see green.

As her tears threatened to fall, the bard got off the couch and made her way over to the bathroom door. Putting her hand on the knob, she turned it slowly and went in without knocking. "Xena?"

Half expecting to be interrupted, Xena sat in the tub with her back to the door. Hearing it open, she’d anticipated T to come in and start to tell her how stupid she was acting, and she had a plan all ready for that, but when she heard Gabrielle’s voice instead, she was caught off guard with no back up plan.

Closing the door quietly, Gabrielle leaned against it and saw the warrior’s shoulders tense up. Thinking she’d made a mistake by coming in and wasn’t welcome, her eyes finally brimmed over with tears. Letting them fall at will, she stood there silently trying to think of something to say that would take away the pain she’d caused.

On the spur of the moment, plan beta became to ignore the bard’s presence until she could think of a better plan, so the warrior went about the business of removing the ash and grime she’d accumulated during the day without acknowledging she had an audience.

Finding nothing but her own guilt as company, the bard bowed her head under it’s weight and watched her tears puddle between her feet. Wave after wave fell as the silence took it’s toll and she was forced to realize that the words she sought didn’t exist. There was no way to explain why she’d done what she did because she’d never considered the consequences of her actions beyond the thought of the pleasure they would bring.

At first, Xena had thought that Gabrielle had come in to egg her on some more, which is why plan beta had become her main plan, because she didn’t intend to give the bard any ammo to shoot her down with. But after a few minutes of nothing, she started to get the idea that there was something else going on that she didn’t know anything about. Then she spent another couple of minutes trying to figure out what that something was and as she did, she started to become more and more agitated because she felt as though she was being tested to see if she could be out ignored. And after having lost too many times today, she was in no mood to go another round with her wife. So, by the time she did turn around to find out what was going on, she had built up a head of steam that rivaled the mist billowing up out of the tub. "That’s it, Gabrielle. I’ve had . . . it . . . with . . . ." Suddenly the steam of anger fizzled into confusion when she saw that Gabrielle was crying. "Why are you crying?"

Covering her face, the bard sank to the floor shaking her head. "I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, Xena."

Climbing out of the tub, the warrior splashed over to the bard and knelt down. "Gabrielle? Are you okay? What’s wrong? Did somebody hurt you? Gabrielle? What is it? Why are you crying?" Getting nothing but sobs in answer to her questions, she had no idea where the tears were coming from, but at that moment it didn’t matter and she wrapped her soapy arms around her wife, pulling her close and cradling her in her arms. "It’s okay, Gabrielle. It’s okay. I gotcha now. It’s okay." Whispering soothing words, she brushed blonde hair off a tear stained cheek to kiss it, then laid her head against the wet warmth. "It’s okay. I’m right here."


Once the flow of tears had subsided to a trickle, the warrior found out what had caused them in a stirring confession from her wife and as the words spilled out from her lips, the anger Xena knew she should be feeling for being set up wouldn’t come. The hurt wasn’t there to fuel it and the doubt that had threatened to take hold slipped away. Instead of building up to another rampage, she simply continued to cradle the bard in her arms until all the tears were dry. Then Xena placed the tenderest of kisses on the lips that had brought her pain, tasting the tears, the sorrow and the regret. Letting the kiss linger, she both forgave and forgot the hurt, replacing the sorrow and regret with love and compassion, then slowly lowered her wife to the floor, as a new fire began to burn. Brighter and brighter it grew from within, igniting a spark that needed little incentive and found a willing cohort in hands roaming freely across her naked body.

Stretching out beside Gabrielle, the warrior worked her hands blindly. Feeling for buttons, she slipped each through it’s hole with a precision brought on by the growing passion and years of practice. One by one, they let loose their hold and the material was thrown aside to move on to the next obstacle.

Gabrielle tried to help, but her hands were pushed out of the way, while the warrior held her captured by the kiss. Slowly the warmth of her clothing was replaced against her back by the cool stone floor, then the lips were removed to find their way down her body. Lifting her hips, she felt two hands slide underneath and the heavy denim give way.

Her lips followed the waist band of the jeans as they slid down the bard’s legs, taking pleasure where they would, until the offending material was tossed aside to join the pile. Once they were gone, Xena slid her body up Gabrielle’s, spreading the bard’s legs as she went and took hold of her waist. Wrapping her arms around the narrow softness, she pulled it to her while she rocked back onto her knees.

Being lifted off the floor, Gabrielle wrapped her arms and her legs around the warrior and found a pair of hungry lips to occupy her on her journey. Consumed by the passion of the kiss, she barely noticed when the cool stone of the floor was replaced by the warm stone ledge of the tub against her back and she continued to be entranced until the smoldering lips moved away once more.

Taking only samples of the treasure along the way, Xena knelt down as she got closer to the blonde valley and wrapped her arms around the underside of two powerfully supple thighs. Lifting them into the air, she brought them to rest on her shoulders and shifted her hold to Gabrielle’s hips before she buried her face in blonde curls.

"Xena!" Bucking her hips at the first contact, the bard’s back came off the marble as her hands searched frantically for something to hold onto. One went in the water and the other found dark tresses to get tangled in while lightning shot up from her core. Feeling Xena’s tongue move in and out of her, she began spiraling upward as her hips jerked with each penetration. "Oh gods. Gods!"

The warrior maintained her precarious hold while she continued to devour the riches of the golden valley. Sucking on the nub, she felt the body in her grasp shudder and drove her tongue in again. Flicking it as it retreated, she quickened the pace and pressed her mouth hard against the wetness to keep it in place while the hips she held with her arms went wild.

Her breath coming in ragged gasps, Gabrielle was on the edge of the marble and the edge of sanity as her body began to jerk in uncontrolled spasms. Letting go of the warrior’s head, she tried to push away from the heightening madness, only to be held in place. "Xena . . . Xena . . . XENA!" Straining into an arch, she relaxed, then arched again as wave after wave of fire ripped through her body.

Molten wetness flowed as Xena rolled her tongue inside the pulsating muscles. Tasting the juices, she savored the unique flavor and refused to relent her cravings until the thighs on her shoulders quivered. Then slowly she slipped from the blonde curls, while the bard continued to shake and replaced her tongue with three fingers as she began to kiss her way up the quaking body. Beginning a slow thrusting motion with her hand, she spread the honey over lightly sheened skin until she found a sumptuous breast to fulfill her hunger.

Given no time to recover, the bard groaned when she felt the finger slip inside her and held her breath until she was forced to let it out as a gasp when ravenous lips found her breast. "Oh, gods." Panting hard, she tangled her fingers in dark hair again and spread her legs to accommodate the warrior’s body. Propping feet on the edge of the stone, she rocked her hips to the rhythm moving inside her core. Holding the lips to her breast with one hand, she sent the other to caress Xena’s back. Digging her fingers into the tanned skin, she raked them upward as she arched her back.

Slipping her hand in the open space, the warrior wrapped her arm behind Gabrielle’s back, pulling their bodies together. Taking a mouthful of softness, she sucked hard, feeling the erect nipple slide against her tongue and brought her head up until she held the taut flesh between her lips, then she shifted her head to the side and went down again. Moving her head from side to side, she sampled the lushness, while her fingers continued their own pattern, pushing them deep with each slow thrust.

Drifting into a state of physical intoxication brought on by Xena’s touch, Gabrielle reveled in the slow building fire between her legs. Licking her lips, she ran her hand over the warrior’s back, mixing soft moans with breathless gasps as each thrust made her want the next one even more. "That feels so good. Gods that feels so good. Yes. Yes." Absorbed in her addiction, the bard’s bottom lip slipped between her teeth and her head came up when a set of pearly whites nibbled a sensitive nipple. Squeezing her eyes shut, she cradled the warrior’s dark head with both hands and laid her head back down to arch into the fresh wave of pleasure passing through her body. "Gods."

Nibbling some more, Xena was taking her time in pursuit of her own pleasures and ravished the succulent breast while her fingers began a gradual increase in rhythm. Working the pace up slowly, she felt her wife’s motion change in response and basked in the feeling of their bodies moving against one another. Feeding on the contact, the warrior gave up her first conquest to lay claim to it’s rival. Running her lips between the luxurious curves, she trailed them upward to circle the tender skin around an already erect nipple. Flicking the tip of her tongue, she danced it around the pert hardness then took it between her teeth, tugging gently. Releasing the pink nipple, she nibbled it with her lips before she tilted her head and took a ripe mouthful to gorge herself on.

Ten toes curled over the marble ledge as a low guttural moan echoed off the walls. Using the traction to push against the warrior’s hand, the bard rocked her entire body, sliding over the stone surface on a layer of moisture generated by her own sweat and steam from the forgotten bath. Running her hands over her wife’s strong shoulders and back, she caressed the tanned skin with her fingers, kneading the muscles underneath. Her fire being fueled from every place they touched, she felt it spread through her body like a restless fever, giving her short pants a harsh edge and her moans a desperate pitch. Rolling her head back, she groaned as Xena began driving inside her with more determination and the smooth strokes edged toward hard thrusts. "Gods . . . Xena . . . Xena . . . Xena." Moaning out her partner’s name, she jerked her hips with each call, forcing the warrior’s fingers to go deeper. "Oh . . . gods . . . yes . . . yes . . . gods."

The warrior tightened her hold around Gabrielle’s back, eliminating any space between their bodies and kissed her way up the bard’s shoulder to claim the exposed softness of her neck. Tasting the salt on her tongue, she roamed over the pale damp skin with a growing intensity. A fire burning inside her as well, she got a surreal satisfaction from the pleasure she was inflicting, as if she could feel it pass from her wife’s body to her own. With each thrust of her hand, each caress of her lips she both gave and received, feeling the passion pushed higher and her need for release riding it upward. Consuming every inch of flesh she came in contact with, her mouth ravaged the bard’s throat and shoulder while her long fingers drove deep with increasingly harder thrusts.

Gabrielle could feel her control slipping away as her body strained within the warrior’s embrace. Her groans sounding above the din of her own heartbeat, they came out through clenched teeth with every buck of her hips and she fought to breathe under the weight pressing her into the marble. As her body slipped further into the inferno, she left long red streaks on Xena’s back, digging her fingers into the tanned flesh while she grappled to hang on to the last thread of reality. "Xena . . . I can’t . . . oh gods . . . oh gods . . . Xena!" Slowly the thread began to fray and her body convulsed with a frantic tempo set by searing thrusts to her core. On and on they penetrated in rapid pounding succession leaving her unable to do more than cry out in unadulterated ecstasy. "Xena!"

Reaching the pinnacle of her climax, the bard’s cry went unanswered as the assault on her senses continued unabated and with renewed vigor. "Oh my god! Oh my god! Xena!" Being driven past the limits of endurance, she felt every muscle in her body ache, but their motion was no longer under her control and as she was taken higher and higher, the pain only seemed to feed the pleasure making the combination unbearable. "XENA! GODS!" Thrashing her head from side to side, her hips came off the stone, going into frenzied spasms and still the warrior wouldn’t quit. "OH GOOOOOOODS!"

As her wife’s cum coated her hand, Xena felt her own running down her legs and the muscles inside her core pulsate with every grind of the bard’s hips against her. Growling low, she sunk her teeth into the muscle at the base of Gabrielle’s neck and held onto her body tightly as her own began lurching forward with the force of her orgasm. Rocking forward and back, she continued to thrust her hand until the shocks began to subside and only then did she slow the pace. Coming down from the peak as gradually as she’d gone up, she felt the bard jerk and shudder beneath her and eased her wife to the marble, pressing their bodies together while she slipped her arm from around Gabrielle’s back. Running her fingers over damp skin, her hand wandered upward until it wrapped around the back of the bard’s neck and she stroked a flushed cheek with her thumb. Slowing her thrusts even more, she continued to slide her fingers in and out of her wife’s core as she began kissing her way up the side of the bard’s neck, in search of her final conquest.

The bard was still panting out moans when Xena’s lips found her’s and her hips thrust in random surges as her wife continued to move inside her. Groaning into the kiss, she glided her finger tips over the warrior’s back and traced them along the groove of her spine, bringing one hand up to get lost in raven hair. While she was brought down from her lingering orgasm, her tongue took up the cause, dancing with it’s playmate within the confines of an all consuming kiss and her fingers dug into the warrior’s scalp, to crush full hungry lips to her own. Gabrielle breathed hard through her nose to keep her lungs from burning as her hips ebbed into a slow rocking motion that duplicated the rhythm of Xena’s hand while an eternity passed before she was finally released with a tender kiss and she groaned as her wife’s hand pulled out of her core.

Relaxing into utter exhaustion, drops of sweat trickled down her face as her chest heaved and her feet slid off the ledge so her legs could dangle lifelessly on either side of her wife. Opening her eyes, she stared up into deep blue sapphires that were smiling at her and she pooled the last of her strength to smile back. "Is it my turn now?"

"Maybe later." Flicking her eyebrows, Xena smiled wickedly and stepped around the bard’s leg to scoop her wife up in her arms.

"Oh damn." Whimpering out a sigh, she covered her eyes with her hand as she was lifted off the marble and realized that though she’d confessed, her crime of inciting her wife into jealousy was not going to go unpunished. Sentenced to death by passion, she didn’t have the strength to resist and laid her head on her executioner’s shoulder while she was carried to the gallows of their bedroom, praying all the while that the end would not come too soon.


T stood on the bridge watching seventeen bulldozers move in a line in the distance. After spending the night as far away from her home as possible, the god had spent a good portion of the day explaining to Cole that he wasn’t going to be sent home and that he’d likely live to his next birthday, and had put him in charge of the forest project in Xena’s absence, which at the moment was about to be remedied. Turning around, she watched the brunette in question ride up on her palomino mare with an unmistakable shit-eating grin. "Oh, gods. Either she and Gabrielle made up, or she’s run her over with a bulldozer." Knowing which answer was correct, she still chuckled while she watched her friend bounce her way across the bridge. "Finally decided to come up for air, or have you killed Gabrielle?"

Flicking her eyebrows, Xena smiled smugly as she closed the distance between them. "She’s resting."

Shaking her head slowly, T rolled her eyes. "You are a very very bad woman, Xena."

"Me?" Placing a hand on her chest, the warrior tried to look insulted, but failed. "I’m the victim here."

"You may have been the victim yesterday, but somehow I think when Gabrielle wakes up, she may beg to differ. Because, as I was wishing I was deaf last night, I didn’t hear her name shouted to the roof tops." Putting her hands on her hips, the god gave her friend a knowing smile.

Sending her eyes for a spin, Xena turned her head and scratched her cheek to hide her grin.

"Hmmmm. I thought so." The god shook her head again and sighed. "Well I hope you’ve got more energy to burn, oh bouncy one, because you’ve got work to do. Unless, of course, you’d prefer to take your wife back to America so you can spend the rest of your vacation rattling your own walls?" Sounding a tad sarcastic, she tapped her foot.

"No, no. We’ll stay here." Holding up a hand, the warrior shook it. "We’re heirs and we need to do our part."

"Which if I’m not mistaken, really means that as long as you stay here, Gabrielle will be less inclined to pay you back? Is that about right?" Closing one eye, T used the other one to give Xena a suspicious stare.

"Oh, look. There’s Cole! Duty calls. See ya." Taking off at a sprint, Xena didn’t look back as the sound of laughter followed her out into the field.

"Poor Cole. Just when he thought it was safe to get off his bulldozer."


The End.

Epilogue: Cole survived the time that Xena and Gabrielle vacationed at the Palace, because instead of spending their waking hours working on the projects they’d been assigned, the girls spent it plotting consecutive ambushes on one another and T was forced to send them home early in self defense. And in their absence, Ares gave up his beloved budget reports for working with Ungara, while T gave up her console for pine saplings and a shy young man that turned out to be worth his weight in gold and the King sent her friends a thank you note for their little fits, because she thought she may have just found her next Captain of the Royal Guard, although he didn’t know it yet.

Thanks for reading.


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