© 2002 Dark Angel.

Disclaimer and warning: This story utilizes characterizations from the Universal owned Hercules episode; Armageddon II. I have no intention of keeping them and I certainly won't be making any profit while they're in my care. All that aside, the interpretation of those characters here within the context of this alt. universe is original and I as their creator maintain rights over their reuse.

"Deliverance" is a companion piece to "Emergence" and the second journal entry from The Conqueror's Property Series. The first instalment "Emergence" was Gabrielle's version of the following events. 

Be warned the two women described here are lovers. If you don't think reading about them within a setting where the power dynamics of their relationship involve S/m concepts, the occasional use of force and four letters words, stop and go no further. Needless to say, you also must be of legal age as determined in your state or country to consider proceeding.

Otherwise, Enjoy!

You're probably wondering why I didn't just do it myself. Get pregnant I mean. 

It's not as if it would have taken a lot of effort, considerably less on my part then for her - at least the getting pregnant part.  And it's not like I can't abide men in that department either, the ones I've had. But to be honest, I’ve always thought they lacked the raw fire of a woman sexually.  That inherent willingness to fight me for the sake of their virtue, or at least give a good show in the pretence.

Men succumb to their own base needs too easily, and in doing so reveal themselves as the single venture driven lowly creature they are.  There is little joy in always knowing where your journey will end. Even less in only getting to take a fraction of the time you want to get there.

But getting pregnant wasn’t really the issue.  Accepting that Gabrielle would need to lay with another was. 

Officially that shouldn’t have mattered either.  She didn’t have an authorized title in or outside of the walls of my palace. Nor was it likely that she ever would. At best, she was a body servant, a government whore I had claimed on impulse and kept around because I liked the look of her.

And unofficially, she remained just that, at least in the beginning. No more to me than the flesh I drove myself into at night, a convenience to be had and then pushed aside when not in use.  I was convinced to think or behave differently towards her would mean the end. Yes, the end of me and in some convoluted fashion, the end of my empire.

Looking back, it was ridiculous really.  None of it was real except in my head.  I mean how could it have been? She had no weapons to stand against me, no power to prevent what I did to her or any to call in her aid.  I went on pretending I had no choice for years, even after she had begun to mean much more and I had slackened my use of the whip. 

But even without the strange attachment that developed between us, sharing her had never been on my agenda.  I knew there was no other way for the child to be conceived but it didn’t stop me being disgusted with the basic necessity of the situation. 

I owned everything far beyond the horizon, including her. Sorcerers and scholars alike, yet I couldn't control the one thing I desperately needed to. So I just went on pretending, pretending that my treatment of her was justified and necessary, pretending that some miraculous shift in fate would change our options.  I let more and more time drift by, refusing to face what had to be. I buried my head and allowed our lives to go on as if we had all the time in the world.

She, true to form, questioned nothing.  Neither my initial request from her nor ultimate reasons for delay.   If she had her doubts, they were kept inside like everything else she felt for me.

As time went on, we fell into a patent of not discussing it at all; of allowing me the fantasy it would some how resolve itself.

It didn’t, of course, and in the end my advisors became increasingly nervous about my willingness to do it myself and arranged a selection for me to pick from.  All from good stock, I was told, and conveniently stationed at least a month’s hard ride away.   Still I found it unbearable to look at most of them, let alone decide one to be a cut above the others.  I settled for a lad about my height and weight with similar colouring and custom, taking a grain of comfort in knowing at least my reign would continue past me.

I kept it brief with him, explaining what was necessary and no more.  Making it equally as clear he’d die a slow death if word of any of what he was becoming party to were ever to get out.  There really wasn’t much of a decision for him, I realized, being offered what he was.  An agreement was struck quickly leaving me trapped by my own rules and no room to falter another day. 

I can still remember how oddly she looked at me the night I had arranged it all.  As if for a moment she had no idea why the boy would be there with us.  Or why we were down in some scarcely used storeroom rather than my chambers.  Then that dawning on her face, horror of a sort, barely veiled under a brave front she had learned to draw upon for moments such as those.  Still she got a hold of herself and nodded easily after I had my say.

That too was kept brief and as straight up as my inebriated state would permit.

Then I was out of there leaving him and her to their business, halfway down the corridor before I would take another breath.

Spirits flooded my senses to be sure but not so much that I could stand to stay and watch.   Freeing myself from the cell and the impending suffocation that loomed also lasted but a moment.  I kept walking and walking, not wishing to think or feel anything.  It was my feelings after all that had created the whole damn mess in the first place.

The more I fought it the stronger it latched on; sucking every last shred of dignity I thought I owned.   Taking me back to days when my madness for her occupied every action and un-waking thought and nothing could tear me away.  Only this time it was another’s face I saw when I shut my eyes and a fevered scenario of Gabrielle relishing his every move.

I hid away for most of the following week, surfacing only to eat and mostly forcing my advisors and generals to take turns being ushered in when I bothered to respond to their requests at all.  

 ‘She is a slave,’ I bellowed at my reflection.

‘A nothing - a nobody.  Why do you taunt yourself so? Why do you care?  Sport she had been for you, just sport.  A place to burn your fire out’.

Mostly I just stormed about my rooms half crazed with ill-ordered thoughts - half dead from lack of rest. Flaming white anger engulfed me like years before when I would plot her death and mine on a daily accord.   But even in my maddened state, I knew it was nothing like this, nothing compared to what I felt now. 

My delusions were gone.  I had no more props, no way of denying what had happened despite all my years of trying.  There was nothing left but to go.  To get as far away from her as I possibly could until my mask was firmly back in place.

I didn’t bother to tell her I was leaving or when I’d be back.  I just rode for days, indifferent to what direction I steered my troop, hiding my identity and giving orders to be addressed by another name.  

I rode near the back of my caravan in lieutenants garb with a borrowed sword and pack, finding sleep at last nearing the end of the first week in a makeshift bed of skins and dirt.  Finding a measure of strange comfort too without my riches and the effortlessness of what I’d become.

As we kept on moving, I drank flagons worth and started brawls in towns where people lacked the means to rally against so many.  I let my soldiers finish most of the scuffles. Knowing down deep it was a different kind of sport my body craved. 

It hadn’t been my habit of taking others since she’d come to me.  I’d argued because there wasn’t the need.  The truth because I couldn’t bring myself to.  I hadn’t planed it that way and certainly never bragged its what had become of me.  But as I stood there now, amongst my soldier’s spoils, I hated that about her too.  That she alone could make me forget my pride. 

I let it eat away at me until I could take no more. Then, in a tavern in a town that had not seen me since my youth, I paid to have my bidding done.  Paid for what was right and true.

And you know, it was all right for the money and time it took - clean and quick like visiting another time, another me.  The one full of fury and gust with no care for who I did or what I had to take.   The inn girl didn't object and when it was over she just up and left. No word from her, not even a glance back to see if I’d had my fill. 

I just lay there amongst the rumpled sheets afterwards, body heated and heart frozen like I had known they would be.  It was punishment, I decided.  Not for me but for my demon whore at home.  The one I’d made of her. 

I revelled in the feeling of being wounded and angry, fancying I would just pay more and have another or two or go all night if it suited me.  At least I tried. 

In the end, I pulled a blanket around myself and called down for hot water and soap to be brought to my room.  

Can you imagine a darker lord than I, a more powerful and unbending ruler, sitting in a tub scrubbing herself red?  The thought sends shivers through me even now.  To think my resolve slipped so fast.  That an act I had repeated countless times with much more cruelty and absence of care left me feeling weak and frail and without a scratch of peace.  I stayed there stone-faced and repentant like a child long after the sounds from below had ceased and the candle had lost its glow.

When the sun did rise, I knew it was time to turn back.  Time to face my prison again.

I returned home immersing myself in the affairs of state managing to avoid contact with her for another week.  And then when I did see her it was more from fate rather than a conscious decision on my part.

It was the night the fire. A furious blaze that tore sheets of timber and enforcement beams away as if they were sticks and destroyed stock and staff that had no chance.  No one really knew the start of it, only that the winds snared a spark and engulfed the left wall in a flash. And though many tried to halt the spread, we had no more than our bare hands to fight the flames. 

I hadn't realized she was even there until a separate blaze brought the stable roof down where she and others had been working.  For a moment I thought of sending her inside or at least away from the new danger, but stopped myself.  There wasn’t any time to ponder that part of us. 

So we worked, side by side without a word til the militia finally came.

I forced myself to stay on even after that to decide what could be rebuilt and what would need to be scrapped.  She stayed to watch me and follow when I gave it in. I let her knowing I had no excuse and sensing I couldn’t go on with the pretence any longer.

She made no mention that it had actually been two moons since she’d set foot inside my chambers or of what had taken place in the interim.   Instead she arranged a meal and bath for us both, and when we were finished set about combing my hair out like she’d always done.

It was her way, I knew, of feeling like she had a purpose in my life beyond my bed.  And that what had happened was gone and now was only what the Fates had in store.  No word either that it wasn’t what she knew was coming as later I guided her to her front, moving only slightly to better her angle to what was my liking. 

Moments later I had retrieved what I wanted and was mounting her, letting fingers trail along the coolness of her flesh and thinking it would be easy if I just let the last few weeks go.   I took my time, building on what whispered from within. Not wishing for her to think, I wanted it quick.

I thought I could just act like I had a thousand times before.  I thought what I always thought, that a life of charades was actually some kind of life at all.

I don’t know exactly what happened.  Only that as I touched her, my hands couldn’t set a rhythm.  A sense I was pulling back years of anguish layer by layer rose up in its place.

Then the harlot in the tavern flashed before me, her face contrite her manner all business-like.  Nothing like the one who lay so quiet and without fault at all.  The boy I had sent to service her too, hovering in my vision tall and pink cheeked with that appalling smirk that said he had something over me. Then the strikes I had lashed upon her countless times – my own release I had smeared from one end to the other.  All surfaced and converged.  My hands froze, startled from the vision.

In a fit of desperation, of utter remorse, I did the only thing I could.  I rose up and rolled away.  Drawing an arm to shield my eyes, knowing from custom she wouldn’t bring herself to look at me. 

I was wrong about that too because she did look in time. Not directly to start, only pulling herself up enough to rest on her elbows, eyes struggling wordlessly to make sense of the sight before her.  Eventually, braver she moved to her knees letting a hand graze my skin, tentative but clear in its purpose.

 For a moment I didn’t understand what she was doing.  Perhaps it was the shock of her actions or that I was still shaken by my own failure but I found myself stretching back as she straddled my waist.  Watching as she rose up, not as a frightened slave anymore but as a goddess defiant to her lot.

She looked right at me then  – into me, green eyes turned dark with longing and need, absorbing me through her flesh.   Slender hands settled either side of me to support her weight as she leaned forward pressing her lips to mine.

A new battle rose up inside of me tearing this way and that.  On one hand there was the years of charade I had built around us ordering me to push her away or at the very least, strike her for the insolence of her game.  On the other, the faint calling for just once, surrender and let her be the one to guide the way. 

"My Lord," she offered softly.

I said nothing – did nothing. So she slid back, readjusting herself before taking the length I had intended to use on her and eased down on it.  A breath of want tore free from her, a shudder of dawning from me.

Words like "I’ve missed you," and “God’s Yes,” hammered under my gulp for air.   

Instead, in their place I said, “I can’t. I can’t come this way.”

A lie perhaps, I don’t really know.  The fact was I’d never bothered to see if I could.

Thankfully the years of reading between my words, of guessing my true intentions had taught her well and that night she would have no part of my games.  She told me as much too as she held my gaze, moving her hands between our bodies to pull both sides of my robe apart, bearing me naked to her in body and heart.

Such audacity I had never seen from her, nor I think she believed she was capable of.  She got a hold of herself better then I could though, and began to wriggle around, urging my body to stay with her even though my mind had given up.  Showing hands how to talk where my tongue would not.  In the midst of it I found myself reaching up to stroke her cheek. Gently, softly, no need for force.

She moaned quietly pleased with what she had done and moved a little more to inflame both our plights.  Titling her head so my fingers would brush against her lips - over her chin and jaw, down the long line of throat, until they found their own way.  Then waiting breathlessly as they travelled back in turn to be licked and sucked.

"Your neck, my lord," she whispered shivering. “Your breasts.”

"Oh, yes, " I heard myself cry softly back.

The depth of the sensation caught me completely off guard.  The way she felt, how she looked. I wasn’t trying to merely have her like I always did. It was more than that, much deeper than a simple unbidden need. 

A hand over mine now, drawing me over each inch of her. Breast, belly, cunt.

"Yours Lord, yours."

And in that moment I believed, believed like I never had before.  But more, it was still more than that.  My hands finally found their own pace and I moved free, moulding and stroking.   Both palms full of ample breasts, squeezing and pulling like I sensed she liked.

Instinctively, she thrust her hips forward, burying herself as deeply as she could on me, holding herself against temptation and the pain.  

"So good, so good." She managed. "Touch me, my lord touch me more.”

I squeezed harder, hips undulating upward to drive her more.

"Beg Me," I teased, tempting my own power to deny.

"Please," she murmured, her voice husky and laced with a brand new want.

"Hard. Yes there."

"More," I found myself asking in turn.

"Harder," In ragged tones of desperateness. “Dear Lord, Yesss!”

She reciprocated, rocking and grinding with a renewed urgency, dragging me along with her as if it had always been our way. Language I didn't realize she knew spilled forth, language I had used on her often enough.  It shocked and soaked me - bore into my darkest part.  She stayed with it, words and body shuddering with each stroke.  Fighting in the end to ward off what she feared the most.  

And for a moment there, I thought her fears would come true.  That she would leave me in my misery of years of needing to be in charge.  She showed no pity though and just kept on. Dragging me with her as if she’d picked my body up and was throwing it about. 

She pinned my arms and bit my chest, my neck – the folds under my arms.  More words tumbled out.  Not begging any more but clear demands, orders I was made to follow.

“Keep your hands up.”

“Fuck, look at me. Look at your want.”

“Who the hell do you think is gonna make you come.  Not you you know, ME.”

I know I cried.  Not deep wrenching sobs, but soft, almost soundless tears that seemed to come from deep within me, caring not that they had been ordered back time and time again. Uncontrollable nonetheless, exposing me to her like an infant child.

“I can’t, I just…”

“You can! Damn you, Xena.  Don’t you dare look away!”

Of all the nights I’d forced her, all the ways I had trespassed, punished and betrayed her life, nothing prepared me for this.  Nothing left me deserving to be taken so utterly to my core.

Every part of me trembled with the force of it, every muscle stretching in its might. The more she stripped away the more I knew I had to shed.

The need just ripped through me in the end, pouring over me like a storm filling a dry creek.  Leaving me exhausted and without harbour to anchor on.  My body shook and shook and I could do nothing but weep.

In contrast her ride was almost mute, barely noticeable except for that familiar quiver to her lips, the gentle twisting of her spine.  Sweat pooled between her breasts and on her brow but she stayed still, hands much stronger than I’d ever realized remained wrapped about my own. 

I couldn’t speak and she didn’t press me to, so we stayed there in the stillness.  Both listening to the gentle pounding as breathing slowed - feeling body’s start to cool. 

"I want you again." One of us admitted later on and made the other chuckle. 

So we did and did again, until I didn’t know where I left off and she began. Everything and in every way.  Things from all those years that had been left untried.  Teacher and student I became that night, and in turn treated to the full arrangement of her own. 

Even later still I managed, "Thank you."

And she without a trace of fear or regret replied, "You're welcome, love."     

It was the night I found our freedom, you see, hers and mine.  In the stillest dark, in a place that had always been so unforgiving, fraught with misery I had created out of fear she and I had found a way. But to be honest, it was she who’d done it. Not the one who supposedly had the power, the key, but a slave girl known to waiting, finally, fearlessly reaching out.

I made a pack in my heart and set the foundations down as she slept, swearing to live by it as best I could.  Whatever the world would make of us, whatever face we had to show.  Alone in the sanctuary of those walls, in those chambers and bed, we would be equals.  And as equals we had no choice but pronounce the other the only one.  Equal lord and master.  Equal slave and whore.  

She deserved nothing less.   I deserved finally to accept I had met my match.

End of Scroll.

The End

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