Disclaimers: The characters of Xena: Warrior Princess and all other associated with the television series of the same name are owned by MCA/ Universal Pictures. This is a work of fan fiction and no copyright infringement is intended.
Subtext: I guess with my writing so far we'll just quit calling it subtext and call it maintext. Yes they are in love with each other.
Spoilers: Not really. Just Gabrielle getting back something she thought sheíd lost.
Other: This takes place somewhere after "Back in the Bottle". Comments may be made to TNOVAN@aol.com
I can see by looking at her, that sheís tired. Will she admit that? No. Still stubborn to the very end, even though weíve been there and back. I laugh a little as I consider that, and stare down at the little fire I had fixed lunch over.
"Gabrielle whatís wrong?"
I turn to her and raise my brows in question. "Wrong? Nothingís wrong."
"Un huh. Thatís why youíre not doing that little rubbing between the eyes Ďthingí you do when youíre upset." She settles back next to me, leaning against the log that Iím sitting on. Her hand comes to rest on my calf and I feel her run it up and down, in a soothing gesture.
I stop and consider the fact that my hand is perched right between my eyebrows before I even attempt to deny it. "Okay, Iím not upset." I drop my hand. "Iím just thinking."
"No. If you were thinking, youíd be rubbing the back of your neck instead."
"Well you would. Now tell me whatís wrong."
"I want to get us a room tonight. I think you need to sleep in a real bed. Where itís warm and safe." I lean over and place my hand on her belly. "You both do."
"We, umm, canítÖ."
"Donít say we canít afford it. I know we canít afford it." I sigh as I poke at the fire a little. "Iím not doing a very good job ofÖ."
"Oh donít even say it Gabrielle." She twists around and growls at me just a little. "Donít go blaming yourself because weíre low on money at the moment."
"We didnít have this problem when I was telling stories."
"Gabrielle things change. Weíll manage. We always do."
"Yeah," I slide down next to her and rest my hand on her arm. "But itís not just the two of us anymore. We have someone else to consider now."
She looks down and nods as she runs her hand over her stomach. "Some truth to that I suppose."
"Undeniable evidence I think." I smile as I lean against her. "Let me get this fire put out so we can head for town. Tonight, my friend, you sleep in a real bed."
As I get up and douse the fire I hear her groan just a little. I look down and offer her my hand to help her to her feet.
"Thanks." She grins at me as she stands and stretches. Then she looks down. "Gabrielle?"
"Will I ever see my feet again?"
I laugh as I pour more water on the fire and nod. "You know you will."
"I have my doubts." She teeters back and forth just a bit. "I think theyíre gone for good."
"Come on," I wrap my arm around her waist and lead her to the horses. "You definitely need a bed tonight. Youíre getting punchy."
"No, just fat."
"Iíve said it before and Iíll say it again, youíre beautiful."
"Maybe just a little." I offer with a grin as I hold my thumb and finger apart just a bit.
"Just a little?" She mimics the grin and the action.
"Okay maybe a lot."
"Un-huh." She takes Argoís reins as I take up the reins of my own horse. " Letís walk for a bit. I can use the exercise and I think Argoís getting tired of packing me around." Argo snorts and nods. The mare gives her a little nudge on the shoulder as we start down the road. "Gee thanks a lot pal. Itís a good thing Gabrielle loves me."
"Yeah, but Iím not carrying you around either." I laugh as I duck her hand.
"Watch it amazon. Iím not going to be this way forever."
"Ah now youíre catching on." I turn around and grin again.
Itís nice to play a little. It finally feels like weíre getting past everything that has happened. Weíre closer than ever and I love every moment of it.
We arrive in the next village early in the evening. As we stable the horses and remove their tack, she gives me a nudge. "You know sleeping in here tonight wouldnít be too bad. At least itís warm and dry."
"Nope. Your morning nausea is bad enough without you having to deal with the smell of manure too."
"Oh that could be ugly."
"Iím not willing to risk it. I promised you a bed tonight and by Zeus you will have one."
"Oh yes maíam." She laughs a little as she begins brushing Argo.
"Can you do him too?" I gesture to mine as he wanders into his stall.
"Okay Iíll be back soon." I leave Xena to tend to the horses and make my way over the local inn.
I stop outside the door and take a deep breath before going in. By the Gods itís been a long time. Inside I find it to be a busy place. This is good. Making my way to the counter an older man looks me over then steps forward.
"What can I do for you?" He crosses his arms against his chest.
"Do you have any rooms?"
"Yeah I got rooms. Six dinars a night."
"Donít suppose youíd be willing to make a trade?"
He quirks a brow and then leers. "Trade? What kind of trade?"
Oh please save me from idiots. "Not what youíre thinking thatís for sure. Iím a bard."
"Really. You donít look like a bard."
I glance at my clothes and nod. "Yeah I know I probably donít, but trust me on this one, I am. Iíd be willing to trade an evening of stories for a room."
"You any good?"
"I used to be. I tell some pretty good stories about Xena."
He laughs at me. "Yeah right. The only one who tells good stories about Xena is her traveling companion. A little bard named Gabrielle I think was her name."
"Hate to break this to you, but Iím the little bard."
"Then whereís Xena?"
"Stabling our horses."
"The bard walks."
"The bard learned better. Look, quit jerking my chain here and just tell me if itís a deal." I growl as I consider going over the counter and pummeling him senseless. Satisfying, but not very bard like.
"Okay. Itís a deal." He turns around and retrieves a key. "Even of youíre lying a little entertainment around here wouldnít be a bad thing."
I snatch the key from his hand before he has a chance to change his mind. "Thanks so much."
With our gear stowed and a small meal eaten, I take a deep breath as I prepare to go take the stage for the first time in a very long time.
I feel her hands on my shoulders and let my head drop back. "Yes?"
"Youíre gonna be great."
She turns me around to face her and smiles as she places my hands on her stomach. "We have faith in you."
"Ooooo I knew there was a reason I loved you."
She wraps an arm around my shoulders and opens the door to our room. "Come on, letís go down and let you entertain the masses."
"Hey you need the practice anyhow."
"Who do you think is gonna tell this child stories?" She lifts a brow. "I stink like Joxerís radish stew when it comes to telling stories."
I take a deep breath and resign myself to my fate. "Letís go."
We make our way downstairs. The placed is really crowded. Great, just great.
"Youíll be fine." She whispers as she pats my back and gives me a little shove, before taking a seat in a corner. I smile as I watch her settle in with her back against the wall. Some things never change.
I order two mugs of juice, one for myself and one for Xena. Fingering mine, I make my way to the small stage. A long sip of the juice and I take a deep breath.
"My name is Gabrielle and I travel with Xena, the Warrior PrincessÖ." The room goes quiet and I know Iíve got them already.
Maybe weíll spend a few days here.
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