DISCLAIMER: All characters and their backgrounds mentioned in this story which are also present in the television show Xena: Warrior Princess are the sole property of MCA/Renaissance Pictures and the author intended no copyright infringement. All other characters not already owned belong to the author and copyright laws apply. This story cannot be archived without permission from the author. If permission has been granted, this complete disclaimer must be attached along with any other general notes and warnings.

NOTE: This one just popped into my head. I guess I'm still trying to find my feet on all the different views people have of Xena and Ganrielle's relationship. Just adding my two Dinar worth. Please let me know what you thought.

Name One Person



"Ready?" she asked me, a small smile pulling at the corners of her mouth. She always seems to enjoy our little sparing sessions. Maybe it's because she always wins.

"As always," I replied, mirroring her action as I lifted my staff into a defensive position. We stood for a few seconds, both waiting for the other to attack. Like always, Xena chose to take up the offensive. She only does that in sparring, mind you. If this were real, she would definitely be waiting for me to attack. That's always been her way ... well ... for as long as I've known her.

I blocked her stinging blows, unable to stop myself from taking a few steps back. I didn't feel too bad about doing that, though. This was the Warrior Princess I was sparring with ... and not Joxer. I can't help but feel privileged when we spar. I'm really the only person in the world who can feel safe on the receiving end of her attack. Of course, that doesn't mean I always do.

Whenever Xena gets that look in her eye ... the one that says, "I'm enjoying this more than I should be," I can't help but worry a bit. Silly little thoughts just pop into my head at those times: what if she accidentally loses control for a split second? She'd most likely take my head off. It's not like I'm fighting Hercules here. This is a woman with a dark, bloody past. She's killed more people than I've had hot meals.

But then I look deeper into those amazing blue eyes and I can see the love in there. The love only I can see. I feel safe once again after that.

"Hey," she said softly as we locked staffs. "Are you all right? You haven't attacked once."

She's right! I was so busy thinking that I didn't even bother to attack. Well, if she insists. I stopped thinking and let fly. I even managed to make her take a couple of steps back. Now how's that for improvement! Naturally, she recovered in the blink of an eye and surprised me by flipping over my head and slapping me on the bottom gently with her staff. I spun around and narrowed my eyes as she chuckled.

"You'll pay for that, Xena. Nobody, but nobody, slaps a bard on her toosh." She laughed and I pressed the advantage by attempting to catch her off guard. I failed of course, but succeeded in wiping the grin from her face as she concentrated. I didn't hold back on my attack. I never do. I know there is no way I can hurt her, so I let myself go. She never does though. Oh, sure, she gives the impression that she's not holding back, but I've seen her when she's going full force. And this is no where near. I'm thankful in a way. At the pace she's going now, if I lose concentration for just a slip second, she'll knock me flat on my ... Umph!

Xena raised an eyebrow as her staff connected with my legs and swept them out from under me. She proffered a forearm and I sighed, allowing her to lift me to my feet.

"What happened? You always catch that move." Slight concern seeped into her eyes and she glanced over my body for injuries.

"I was too busy thinking, I guess. I'm fine," I panted, leaning heavily on my staff.

"Well," she drawled. "We may as well take a break then. You look puffed." She grinned crookedly and walked over to Argo's saddle, pulling out a waterskin and tossing it to me. I drank eagerly and tossed it back to her, still unwilling to trust my legs to carry me over there. Sparring with her always left me exhausted. But I have been improving.

"Need a hand?" She raised her eyebrows when I didn't move.

"No, I'm right. I just need a few seconds to catch my breath back. I'm not Hercules, you know." I grinned and she chuckled, walking over and placing a hand on my shoulder.

"You didn't seem quite with it today. You sure you're okay?" She raised her eyebrows and inclined her head slightly.

"I'm fine!" I laughed and her eyes softened. "I was just thinking too much."

"About what?" She helped me to sit on a log so I could rest for a while.

"Oh, just how lucky I am to be still alive after sparring with you." I grinned and she laughed, her blue eyes dancing. "Well, it's true," I protested. "Name one person who fights with you as often as me and still gets out alive. Go on, name one."

"We are only sparring, you know. It's not like it's a real fight."

"Well," I drawled, just as Xena had done before. "Sometimes it feels darn real to me. Especially when you get that look in your eye."

"What? This one?" A feral grin worked its way onto her face and I nodded, unable to speak. "That's nothing!" she said, her eyes softening. "I use that to provoke you. You should see how you concentrate when I do that."

"Oh," I said softly. "Well, you got me there."

"You have a few pretty mean looks yourself, my bard."

"Yeah right!" I snorted.

"No, it's true. Sometimes you get this really cheeky look on your face. Like you know something I don't. It's quite off putting when I'm just about to attack."

"Huh." Well, what do you know. I can put the Warrior Princess off! Name one person who can do *that* while sparring. I guess I've underestimated myself. Next, I'll be telling stories and making myself out to be the hero! Well ... then again.


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