IN SOMEONE ELSE'S SHOES
Aphrodite looked down at the warrior and bard, dismay wrinkling her brow. "Cupie, dude what is the code with these two anyway? Like its' only been a moon and ...", a light came on, "ARES! Get your funky furiousity in here this instant!
Cupid stood astonished at his mother's sudden outburst. "Umm, Mom do you think its like a good idea to ..." Before he could finish the God of War stepped from nothing into the room. Cupid chose that instant to scoop up his son and step into nothing himself.
Ares plopped himself smugly onto a pastel draped divan. "You rang?"
His eyes took in his sister's angry stance, "For a Goddess of Love, you look beautiful when you're angry."
"What did you do to her Ares?"
"Her, which her? The blonde from Cirra, or maybe the redhead from..."
"Oh, that her."
"WHAT...DID...YOU...DO...TO...HER?" Each word was measured and even in tone, sending shivers up Ares' spine. Ares wasn't sure exactly what was going on but he could tell from looking at his sister that it didn't bode well for him and whatever it was, he was going to take the fall for it
"Look at them - I spent two years getting the groove going in those girls - and now it looks like a war zone down there."
Ares snorted, "War zone, what would you know about a war zone?" He looked down into the warrior princess' camp just in time to catch sight of flying trout and what looked to be one very, very angry bard, and he smiled to himself.
"Cat got your tongue, Xena?" Gabrielle had come to a sudden stop when she saw the warrior sitting on the log in front of the fire. The river had cooled her temper as it cooled her overheated body - the fishing had been excellent, and she had been on the verge of apologizing for her angry outburst when she caught sight of the expression on her partner's face. 'Cerebus' teeth, she seems mystified that I haven't fallen over and died without her to set up a camp or hunt down dinner. Does she think I've
Suddenly Gabrielle didn't feel like apologizing, in fact she wanted to reach out and throttle the warrior with her bare hands.
Xena moved purposefully toward the bard, a low growl sounding in her throat. "I thought you might need your bedroll and some rations."
"No, you thought I needed 'rescuing' again," accused Gabrielle.
Gabrielle threw up her hands in disgust. "You have no idea what I'm talking about do you?"
"I can see that you're behaving like a spoiled child."
"That's right Xena, spoiled children walk thirty miles in a day, cook, earn dinars, eat when they're told and never have any opinions."
'This is not good, definitely not good, Think. Fast.'
"Yes", Gabrielle's tone was setting warning bells off for the warrior.
'Faster, I gotta think faster.'
"I'm sorry Gabrielle."
"Whhaaat?", it was the last thing the bard had expected to hear.
"You're right. I should let you help more."
"You picked a good campsite, got a nice fire going, and we won't even talk about the trout." She was secretly pleased that Gabrielle at least had the grace to blush. "It's not easy handing over stuff like that, so much depends on being prepared." Xena began walking over to the suddenly at-a -loss-for-words bard.
"Well sometimes being a side-kick is no new moon in summer either Xena. You should try walking in these boots for a change."
Meanwhile, back at Mount Olympus.
"It seems, Dite dear, that you know as much about Love as you do about War."
"That's a hoot coming from Mister Slash and Side Burns."
Ares and Aphrodite were standing toe to toe, a study in contrasts. Where the Goddess was blonde and fair skinned, the God's hair was dark and his complexion olive; he was well muscled and dressed in hard dark leather, she wore a diaphanous purple dress that revealed more of her ample curves than it disguised. Only their bickering marked them as siblings.
"God got your tongue Ar?"
"Why do I always get the blame? Its not like she doesn't have an extensive collection of enemies."
"That's a tough one, gee let me think about it for a minute, what could you have possibly done to..."
"Oh spare me. Being the God of War isn't easy you know, all that maiming, killing, the plotting..."
"Puh-leese, like the love game is all chocolate and roses. I'd love to see you try to answer some of the prayers I get. People wanting what they can't have, missing what's right under their noses. You wouldn't last a day in this dress."
As nearly as the universe could manage several things happened so close together as to appear simultaneous.
Aphrodite got her legs tangled with the large sword hanging from her waist and fell on a piece of anatomy not nearly as round and comfy as she was used to.
Gabrielle, expecting to find herself wrapped in strong arms was unprepared to find herself falling at her own feet, the victim of Newton's as yet undiscovered second law of gravity.
Ares was so surprised to see himself fall that it took him a minute to realize that for the first time in his life he was taller than his little sister. It took him only slightly longer to discover he was also under dressed.
And Xena, in characteristic understatement, merely shrugged, 'here we go again.'
Gabrielle rose slowly to her feet, noting that the ground seemed further away than usual. Then she realized why.
"Gabrielle." Seeing her eyebrow arched gracefully over one eye and her face wearing the familiar expression that she alternately found exasperating and endearing was just plain weird. 'Not as weird as standing here in Xena's body, but right up there on the old weird meter. Definitely.'
"This isn't fazing you one little bit is it?"
"Nope. Same old, same old."
"Right, so then nothing to get upset about. We just need to approach this logically. Probably not a warlord, they don't tend to go in for enchantments. Circe? Nah, not her style. We'd be pigs, not each other. No other sorcerers in this part of Greece, I mean we'd have heard. Right? That leaves Gods. Which one?" she looked up to find Xena watching her.
"What? Was it something I said?"
"This is way not cool Ares, give it back."
"You mean this...body", disdain coloured his voice. "Do you honestly think I'd be wearing this on purpose? Hel-lo."
If any mortals had been watching, they would have been amused to note that even in borrowed bodies each deity retained the unmistakable stamp of their respective formidable personalities. Unfortunately what was dignified for Ares in his own body just made Aphrodite's look butch, and vice versa.
"If not you. Then who?"
Before he could fabricate an answer, a lie or a reasonably snappy zinger, he was saved by a yell.
He looked over at his sister, a smile breaking over his face, "You or me?"
Feeling her skin crawl, Xena looked across the small clearing expecting to see Ares materialize in his typically annoying fashion. Instead two Gods stepped out of thin air and promptly hit the ground. Hard.
"This thing has got to go." She watched as Aphrodite flicked her fingers and reconstructed the billowing dress her legs were entangled with, into an outfit much like her brother's. "And give me back my sword."
Ares reached to grab his sword and saw his sister looking speculatively at her own clothes. His clothes. "Don't even think about it."
"You are such a wet noodle." Then she grinned, changing her brother's ominous black leathers a nice, bright purple.
"Your sword?" Gabrielle finally squeaked, causing every one to look at her oddly.
"You really need to keep better track of that thing Ares."
"Well, if it isn't the irritating blonde." Ares sneered down at the woman who had spoken, about to discover she wasn't at all who he thought she was.
"I am a fierce warrior trapped in the body of Gabrielle, so BE...NICE." Promptly returning Ares to his seat on the ground.
"Groovy, so like you two got switched too?"
"Too. What do you mean too? Ares if this is one of your stupid little plots to get Xena back it isn't going to work."
The universe was feeling particularly curmudgeonly that day, and so before things could simplify themselves further, they got more complicated.
"I'm fine. Thanks for asking." Came a new, well unloved voice.
Only three things could be heard in the clearing.
Three jaws dropping.
"CALLISTO!!!" By one bass, one tenor, an alto, a surprisingly strong soprano, and a horse.
"My, my don't you all look a fright." She sighed and decided to help them. A little. Her way. "Callisto, Goddess of Truth, at your service." Her bow was, of course, mocking, and a little mischievous.
"Hello Ares, you were right - purple really isn't your colour, but the dress would have been something to see. And Xena's right you really should keep better track of that sword." Swiveling on her heel she turned to the figure on her right.
"Gabrielle precious, didn't your momma ever tell you that it is not polite to stare? I mean you did get to grow up with your momma, didn't you." "Oh, I'm going to have to goad her some more later. Watching fear and pain flicker across that face is just too delicious.'
"Dite, Dite, Dite, what ever will Hephaestus think? I mean isn't it like taking the concept of brotherly love just a bit too far?"
"Now let's not be impatient Xena, I was just saving the best for last. Your body's really logging a lot of soul miles isn't it? I hope blondie takes better care of it than I did."
"Enough of your games, switch us back." And against her better judgement, she added, "All of us."
"I can't, even if I wanted to, which by the way I don't.
"Now Callisto, or by Hades, I'll fry you."
"What are you going do Ares? Zap me with a love bolt?"
Ares and Aphrodite were both attempting to fry the upstart Godling, but it seemed she stood in a protected envelope, leaving Xena and Gabrielle ducking the ricochets.
"What have you done to my powers?"
"Truth is stronger than Love or War. It can cut deeper and heal faster. Besides, you asked for it. Literally. All of you. Even though Xena, and it pains me to admit this, you and the amazingly annoying amazon weren't in Zeus' original game plan. You just had the bad luck to have an argument at the worst possible time." Callisto did her best to look disingenuous, and failed.
There was silence for a brief moment.
"So, it was something I said," Gabrielle blurted. Three dirty looks, a disgusted neigh and a peel of delighted, slightly maniacal laughter were shot in her direction.
Xena returned her attention to the Goddess of Truth. "If you can't switch us back, then how do we get our bodies back?"
"Now where would the fun be for me if I told you? This wasn't my idea, but a girl's gotta get some fun out of things doesn't she?" Taking a page from Ares' Book of Annoying Tricks, she vanished, leaving only laughter behind.
Aphrodite and Ares vanished hard on her heels, leaving only an echo of conversation behind. "See, I told you it wasn't me, but nooo, you wouldn't believe me."
"Where do you think they went?"
"Probably to beg Daddy to switch them back." Xena pulled Gabrielle in for a hug. "We'll figure something out, I promise."
"We'll, you said we'll, as in you and me."
"I love you Xena."
"Definitely." And took advantage of her new body to bear hug Xena.
"Watch it bard."
"Is that a threat?"
"Definitely." She advanced.
Quite sometime later, sides aching from laughter, they lay side by side trying to recover their breath.
"You're so ticklish, how do you hold out when I tickle you?"
"I have...many skills."
"You had me just about convinced that you really weren't ticklish. But now," Gabrielle grinned diabolically, "I have inside information on your tickle zone."
"Gabrielle, I love you too." She leaned over to kiss Gabrielle. Just as their lips were about to meet, however, the bard jumped up, - somewhat awkwardly - still unused to her new body.
"I can't Xena, it's too weird. It would be like kissing myself."
Xena stood up next to her partner, hugged her reassuringly and smiled. "C'mon let's eat. I seem to be hungry."
Curled in the crook of Gabrielle's arm Xena felt the tension change in the body holding her. Bringing her sleepy senses more fully into play she realized that Gabrielle's breathing had shifted its cadence. Gone were the slow, steady measured inhalations of sleep, replaced by a more staccato rhythm. She opened her eyes and what she saw kept her from opening her mouth.
Gabrielle was running her left thumb across her nipple. 'My nipple'. Tracing lazy circles, she shifted her attention to the right breast. It was all Xena could do to stifle the moan lodged in her throat. Gabrielle's fingers were scant inches from her eyes, and she could see the nipple hardening under the thin linen shift.
As Xena watched spell bound, her eyes mesmerized by agile fingertips, she smelled the familiar blossoming, musky air of arousal rising from her lover. 'From me.' A shiver ran through her connecting to her core, igniting her own passion, but she held still, afraid to move, afraid Gabrielle would stop if she knew she was being watched. 'Oh Gods, if she only knew how hot she was making me. Touch me Gabrielle, feel my body respond to your touch, feel how wet you make me, feel how you make me fee
Gabrielle's hands continued their slow seduction of Xena's body, and the warrior felt the muscles under her chin contracting in ripples of pleasure. She knew those contractions intimately, knew soon her body would want to arc upwards, seeking release and relief.
She was finding it increasingly difficult to mask the signs of her own arousal, could feel the aching need for release building up in borrowed loins. It was strangely intoxicating to watch herself succumbing to the caresses of her own fingers and Gabrielle's mind. A jolt of pleasure coursed through her, 'Is this what Gabrielle feels when I touch her?"
The bard had shifted position slightly and the movement against Xena's breasts sent new tingles racing toward her thighs. 'Sensitive, her nipples are so sensitive' Unconsciously she arched into the woman holding her, unable to stave off the impending orgasm any longer. 'So responsive this body, ....' Thinking became impossible as she rode passion fueled by deprivation and voyeurism over the edge, the muscles of the bard's body tensing and quivering with release.
Gabrielle froze when she felt Xena move into her. She moved to disentangle herself from her lover, but a strong hand clasped her arm and a voice thick with desire cut through her panic.
"Don't stop Gabrielle, touch me." A hand guided hers back to the edge of the shift, back toward the dark, damp curls she had begun to explore.
"Xena...", she breathed, the arousal in the voice that was hers and not hers sending fresh shivers through her body.
"Feel what I feel when you touch me, feel what I feel when you take me."
As she ran her index finger through folds made wetter by the voice in her ear, she stole a glance at her companion. Saw herself, touching damp folds, mirroring her actions. An unexpected jolt shot through her body. 'She's making love to my body.' A low throaty growl escaped her lips.
And was answered by a shudder from the body next to her. She was vaguely aware that they now lay side by side, Xena's head still cradled against her shoulder. Turning her head she caught her partner's gaze, faces so close that they were breathing the same air.
"Come for me Xena, ...make me come." Gabrielle was close, she could feel the tightening in the body she wore. She plunged two fingers deep inside, pounding out an insistent rhythm, listening for the change in her lover's breathing that signaled that she too was close. The sensations rolling over her threatened to engulf her, she had made love to this body repeatedly over the last couple of moons, and only imagined the effects of her touches, her kisses. The last vestiges of self-control left her as sh
'Hades be damned, I have to know.'
Swiftly, still quivering, she rolled over, pinned the smaller body beneath her and brought her mouth down to claim the warrior. Waves of pleasure assaulted her senses as she allowed herself in turn to be claimed by a kiss that was erotically foreign and familiar.
Raw passion oozed from Gabrielle, the need to take Xena because she wanted to, because she could, inflamed her, swallowed her in its fire.
Xena was unaccustomed to the role she now found herself in. While the bard often made love to her with a hunger that surprised them both, Xena had always been in control. Afraid the bard would break. If Gabrielle took her it was because she allowed it. Now it was different.
It excited her.
And something more too. Gone was the feeling of needing to hold back, to submerge her passions, to hide the equal measure of darkness bound up in the light that was her love for the bard. In this body she was free.
Free to surrender.
Free to conquer.
A savage moan tore itself from her throat as she raked her fingernails across her lover's back. She returned the searing kiss, feeding her arousal and need back through the link created by their dancing tongues.
And she was taken.
Gabrielle entered Xena with deliberate pressure, slowly easing past the tight muscle at the opening, knowing her body could handle it, knowing that she needed to show Xena that she wasn't too fragile, knowing that Xena loved to feel her hand slide into her depths. She was so absorbed in the sensations washing over her body through her arm, that she didn't notice Xena shift around. And so was completely unprepared when with one smooth stroke Xena completely entered her.
Each played the other, alternating rhythmic strokes with complete stillness, always backing off just in time. Neither wanted the exquisite sensations to stop. Reveling in the feel of each other, of themselves. Learning more about each other and in turn about themselves. Until finally, they came together, wringing every spasm and tremour that they could from each other, indistinguishable at the moment of climax.
Neither was aware of falling asleep.
Xena lay on her side, watching her lover sleep, enjoying how the sun's first ray's were transforming the bard's hair into burnished gold. 'I owe Callisto for this one, I learned so much about you, about me, last night, my love. And I promise no more holding back. Although I can't promise to stop protecting you. You are my heart and soul, without you I am nothing. I need you. I love you. Forever.'
"Mmm, what are you thinking about?"
"Your eyes looked sort of thoughtful, far away."
"Well actually," Xena arched one fine eyebrow over one very blue eye, "I was sort of thinking that last night was a whole lot more fun than trying to spend a day walking in those boots."
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