Guilt --Xena's Scroll

I figured that I deserved every bad thing that has ever happened to me. In fact, as strange as it might sound, I actually welcomed a lot of the bad. Living with a guilty conscience was something I could just never get used to. Never. And feeling like I was being punished seemed to help a little.

However, it wasn’t nearly as easy for me to understand why bad things had to happen to Gabrielle. She had certainly not done anything to deserve them. If she was guilty of anything, it was being too trusting…too willing to listen to those who were different from her.

In the three years we had been together, we had been through an incredible amount of stress together. Gabrielle had been there to see me at some of my very weakest moments including suffering from the delusions of the Furies; being tormented by Ares; losing Marcus not once, but twice; and even letting my dark side take over in our battle with the Horde.

She had been though several hard times of her own. The first few months we were together, she seemed to fall for any handsome young man we crossed paths with. I dismissed most of them as youthful infatuations, but the death of young Tallus had been a striking blow to her.

Besides that, there had been rough times with Meleager, her own family, and handling Joxer who had fallen head over heels in love with her. Then there was her near death in the Mitoan war….

And, of course, there was Perdicus. Her husband for one night. We had some very rough times after Callisto killed him, as Gabrielle seemed to be facing some guilt of her own regarding the situation. But even the pain from that, in time, had faded somewhat, leaving bittersweet memories and a wounded, but still intact spirit.

I still don’t know how she could feel any guilt over Perdicus’ death. I was the one who had caused Callisto to become the vicious killing machine that she was, and she was bent on revenge against ME when she killed the young man.

And despite all that, especially that, Gabrielle stuck with me. She didn’t blame her misfortunes on me, even though she had every right to.

And no matter how difficult our past had been, nothing could have prepared us for the events of the past month. It had all started with yet another of my past debts…

Later on, down the road, we’d be arguing over whether or not is was my fault that Gabrielle ever went to Britannia to begin with. It was true that I certainly didn’t force her to go, but at the same time, Gabrielle was my partner and I knew she’d be coming I didn’t encourage her and at the same time, I didn’t do anything to try and stop her.

I went to Britannia to meet up with the warrior, Bodecia, who was gearing up to take on Caesar. Gabrielle knew a good number of the reasons I was so bent on destroying Caesar, and even without knowing the whole story, she didn’t make judgments about my intentions. And when it came time to go to Britannia, she went along with me, no questions asked.

I had been training Gabrielle for self-defense for some time now, and she was becoming quite adept at handling herself in a fight. But the attack that came on her in Britannia was more than physical…It was more mental…emotional…spiritual and more than any human would have been able to handle.

Gabrielle had become interested in a man named Krafstarr, who claimed to worship a benevolent “One God”. I hate to admit it, but as wrapped up as I was in my revenge against Caesar, I was most grateful for Gabrielle being distracted by Krafstarr. But soon, I became aware that Gabrielle was battling a far greater power than even Casesar possessed.

When I saw the black clouds gathering over the temple, I sensed Gabrielle was in deep trouble. I’m not sure how I knew, but I did.

At first, it wasn’t clear what had happened. I know Gabrielle had been suspended over an altar, held by tongues of flame, as I fought Dahak’s lieutenant. The One God Krafstarr had preached turned out to be an evil presence that would destroy the world if he were released into it. It was a long and ferocious battle, and the whole time I was aware of Gabrielle caught up in Dahak’s spell, screaming for my help.

Finally it was over, and Dahak was contained, at least for the time being. I pulled Gabrielle into my arms, and dashed out of the collapsing temple as quickly as I could. I thought it was all over with, but in truth, it was just the beginning.

Two very significant things had happened inside that temple. One event I knew about immediately. It would be a while before Gabrielle and I had learned about the second thing.

Gabrielle was absolutely distraught over her killing of Meridia, a young maiden in the temple. That was very understandable, especially for someone like my little bard. Some time later, I would find that although Gabrielle’s hand DID hold the knife, the killing was really an accident, more out of reflex than anything. She hadn’t for a moment intended to kill Meridia.

But that was little consolation for the Amazon Queen who did all she could to promote peace in the world. I could easily remember my first kill, and even though I had been at least partially prepared for it, I still had a lot of difficulty dealing with all the emotions that came along with it. I could not even begin to comprehend what Gabrielle must be going through.

I know that the guilt and stress of your first kill can bring on a lot of physical symptoms. I had seen men suffer from everything to night sweats to sexual dysfunction to stomach problems. I’ve seen hair fall out, extensive weight loss, hives, even bladder and bowel problems as a result of the reaction to making your first kill.

Gabrielle’s response seems to be mainly emotional at first. She became extremely quiet and withdrawn, deep in thought almost all of the time. I did my best to try to get her to talk to me about what she was feeling, and she tried several times, but had a very difficult time with it. She usually ended up in tears, curling up in my arms as she wept out her sorrow.

In took just a few days for other symptoms to become manifest. Gabrielle had a great deal of trouble sleeping, which was very unusual for her. She’d toss and turn, her face covered in sweat, as she murmured words and phrases that didn’t make a whole lot of sense. At first, I was able to rub her back and whisper in her ear, luring her into a more peaceful sleep, but soon, those tactics wouldn’t work anymore. She would just continue to thrash, whimpering and pleading, and eventually wear herself out until the next nightmare started.

Then came the nausea.

She began to throw up several times a day, often violently, and I felt horrible because she was so miserable. She seemed to be eating just fine, but since it wouldn’t stay down, she was becoming weaker and weaker as the days passed. I wanted desperately to get her out of Britannia, but without Agro there and with her feeling so sick, it was hard to make haste.

The second event that had happened in the temple was even more disturbing, particularly because we didn’t know about it at first. While traveling through Britannia, we ran across a group of super-mortal women whom I later found out were called Banshees. These Banshees seemed rather taken by Gabrielle, and made some enigmatic comment about Gabrielle bearing the Child of Darkness.

The minute I heard about the Child of Darkness, I had an idea what the Banshees might be referring to. However, it was too chilling a thought to even bring up to Gabrielle. If there was an outside chance it wasn’t true, I certainly didn’t want to upset her with my guess.

Unfortunately, the worst turned out to be true. While on Dahak’s altar, the evil god had somehow impregnated Gabrielle. Gabrielle had tried to describe what it had felt like on the altar, and she certainly hadn’t described it as feeling like that! She had likened it to more of the probing of the mind, intimate yes, but not at all sexual.

But as more symptoms fell into place, Gabrielle being tired all the time, horrible cramps, and most of all, a swollen stomach and breasts, it was very apparent that she was indeed pregnant.

Everything happened way too quickly. Within a span of about six hours, she went from barely showing to being in intense labor. My mind was spinning at all the developments, but I gathered myself and served as midwife during the birth. The baby was coming regardless of how confused we were.

Gabrielle had been unbelievably accepting of the growing child within her, which alarmed me greatly. I could tell just by the way that she was acting that she was receiving the entire nine months of pregnancy hormones in the single afternoon of her own pregnancy. I tried to explain to her that the baby she had just brought into this world could not be normal. In fact, its father was the most evil being that ever threatened to appear on this earth. That meant the child, no matter how beautiful it was (and it was beautiful), was still an evil being that had to be destroyed.

Not surprisingly, Gabrielle didn’t take well to that. And she became so upset with me that she snatched up the child, whom she had named Hope, and took off into the night with her, afraid I would carry out my threat to kill the child.

The child was already appearing close to a year old by then, but once again, Gabrielle didn’t seem aware there was anything amiss. She led me on quite a chase well into the next day, and finally, I caught up with her on a mountain top.

It was one of the most emotionally devastating moments we ever went through together. I felt truly horrible as I stood there arguing with Gabrielle, convincing her she needed to kill her own child. I couldn’t help but find myself thinking back to my own son Solan’s birth. I was far from being maternal with him, but if someone had suggested killing him, I would have killed the aggressor without a thought. Now here I was, being the aggressor with Gabrielle.

Gabrielle dropped out of sight for a minute, behind some boulders, and then I heard the blood-curdling sound of her screaming my name. Hope had tried to kill her, she told me, and she had thrown the toddler off the cliff she was on.

The look of horror on Gabrielle’s face was so stark, so penetrating, that I believed her, or at least I really wanted to. There was a very uncomfortable period of time when I heard a sound from the cave behind us, and I suddenly doubted what Gabrielle had said was the truth.

The doubting was one of the worst things I could ever do. Up till now, my actions had hinged on trying to convince Gabrielle of something that I believed to be the truth. Now I was calling her a liar in a round about way, and I immediately knew I had done some serious damage that would be hard to undo.

The noise had turned out to be a rodent in the cave, and although we both seemed somewhat relieved, there was understandably still a huge amount of tension palpitating between the two of us.

The situation gradually got better over the next couple of weeks as we traveled back to Greece. I suppose the hormones were leaving Gabrielle’s body, letting her cooler head prevail. We both spent a lot of time thinking about what had happened.

But still, she ached for her child, and I tried to be as sensitive to Gabrielle as I could be. She would wake up crying almost every night, and I would pull her into my arms, stroking her head and whispering comforting words in her ear. And she would eventually fall back asleep, sometimes waking up again, but usually not.

Neither of us brought up the issue much, but when we did, we discussed it with calmness and respect for one another. I wasn’t trying to force Gabrielle to admit that Hope wasn’t human, and she never once said it, but I was under the impression that she finally felt that way. It was a brutal fact, and it wasn’t right that it had happened to Gabrielle, but I couldn’t change what had already happened to her.

It had been a full month since the birth of Hope. I constantly found myself going back in time to the birth of Solan. I remembered how much I had bled when he was born, and despite the fact that I had been given some numbing herbs, it had still hurt like Tartarus. I was glad that Gabrielle’s labor had seen much easier. She hadn’t bled hardly at all. And she had demonstrated how quickly her body had bounced back after the birth by taking off on horseback across country mere hours later.

I suppose it was because the conception had been immaculate and the pregnancy so quick that she didn’t have time to get all stiff and stretched out of shape from carrying a child. Just a couple of days after the delivery, we had been involved in a fight, and she had jumped in like she wasn’t hampered at all.

The moon had been up for a couple of hours tonight, and Gabrielle had been asleep for most of that time. She was lying on her back, one hand resting on her stomach and the other curled up beside her face. Her lips were parted slightly and even though my own bedroll was a few feet from hers, I could easily hear her breathing rhythmically and deeply.

I turned over on my side, facing away from Gabrielle intentionally. Every night, it seemed it got a little bit harder to lie here next to her,, and not think about her sexually. I think it would have been easier for me if she had been physically damaged from the birth, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, it was her psyche that was damaged.

Since her time in the temple, Gabrielle hadn’t approached me in an intimate manner even once. She still told me she loved me, just about every day, and it wasn’t unusual for her to give me a brief, affectionate kiss, but the kisses never lingered or grew deep. I know that although she hadn’t felt physically violated, mentally she did, and I understood why she didn’t desire me.

I, on the other hand, was beginning to feel like a brute for the way I was constantly feeling about her. I knew she was hurting, yet every day, I found my arousal escalating at an alarming rate. I harkened back to the delays before we had declared our love for each other. Times when night after night, I would lay in my bedroll, my clit pounding and my body tingling, hoping against hope that she’d read my signals and roll over and take care of my needs.

I sighed heavily, knowing that just like it didn’t happen then, it wouldn’t happen now.

Up till this point, I had avoided the obvious solution I would take before we were ever lovers. I don’t think there was ever a three day period before when I didn’t masturbate, touching myself to orgasm as I dreamed of Gabrielle and I making love. It had served to help keep the edge off my desires and prevented me from doing something stupid.

I shifted my legs slightly, and bit back a groan as my swollen labia rubbed together. I cursed myself for being so weak, but it didn’t allay the situation. If anything, it made it worse. I equated my weakness for sex with the Xena of the past, determined to seduce others, which made me desire my little bard even more.

Gabrielle was shifting in her sleep, and glancing over my shoulder, I could she was now lying on her side, facing me. She pillowed her head on her outstretched left arm, the firelight flickering off her bangs and highlighting the perfection of her features. I flung back another sigh as I rolled to my back, my head turned to face her way. I could not resist looking at her.

Unbidden, my thoughts went back to the conversations we had shared earlier in our relationship. It had embarrassed Gabrielle greatly to admit that she too, had touched herself many times before we were together. I had tried to convince her it was perfectly normal, but I’m not sure how successful I had been.

She made a little sound in her throat, a recognizable half-moan and a half-whimper, and it went straight to my clit. My whole pussy was on fire, and I felt I had to quench the flames before they consumed me. Not willing to push her, I took matters into my own hands.

Normally, I’d begin the routine by taking the time to stroke and stimulate my breasts, but that was out of the question right now. I was too far gone.

I gave in and reached underneath the bedroll, my knees automatically parting and bending to give my fingers access. I slid my bend left arm underneath my head, propping myself up a bit so I cold see my fantasy a little better. My right arm was underneath the fur, and pulling up my battleskirt and shift so it bunched around my waist. Then I lifted my hips so I could pull my breeches down and around my lower thighs.

I let the hand brush its way up my inner thigh, feeling the heat my cunt was pouring out long before my fingers reached the source.

“Oh gods…” I bit back the involuntary groan. My clit was so full of blood it had hardened to rival the dicks Gabrielle loved to compare it to. My guilty conscience at seeking an orgasm with her laying right there beside me somehow caused my arousal to soar even higher.

My hips began to roll convulsively as I continued the movements. I was in the midst of my most common fantasy, and I found it working well even now. I couldn’t help but picture Gabrielle’s eyes slowly blinking open, and taking a second to focus on me. She would do a slow sweep of her eyes on my body, starting at my face and then slowly moving down until she recognized the telltale movements under the blanket. And then she would smile sweetly at me, only her eyes revealing her burgeoning lust. She would throw back her own sleeping fur, and seductively crawl to my own, her eyes boring into mine again.

“What are you doing, Xena?” she would ask, her tongue coming out to lick over her lips lasciviously. “Are you thinking about me?”

“No one else,” I would answer in return, my hand moving even faster, still out of sight.

“What are you thinking about doing to me?” she would ask.

I don’t know if I’d be able to voice it or not, but somehow, I’d convey that I was thinking of her bringing me the pleasure my fingers sought. It was always so much better when she brought about my climax. I would hold my breath when she gently pulled the covers down uncovering me until my enflamed center was kissed by the cool night air. She’d smile again, and reach down, gently moving my own fingers aside.

“Allow me…”

Broken out of my reverie, I shivered in the night air, not exactly cold, but cooled by the perspiration drying on my body. I plunged three fingers inside my cunt, my thumb rubbing hard against my clit, feeling the pleasure level grow even more.

Oh yeah, I was gonna come and come big. My body, long denied its sexual satisfaction, was tensing for a strong release, my breath coming in ragged pants. I added another finger, and got ready for the maelstrom.

I was concentrating so hard on my impending orgasm, that it took me a few seconds to realize that Gabrielle was indeed awake, and was sitting up in her bedroll. I had been caught in the act, and I felt the heat rush to my face as I realized it. I felt the need to apologize, and had just opened my mouth to do so, when I heard her speak.

“I’m sorry, Xena.”

She was sorry? As my fevered brain tried to process that thought, she was moving just as I had envisioned, sliding her body to lay next to mine. Then she was lifting my sleeping fur down and off my body, revealing my still buried fingers. They were no longer moving, as I tried to gauge her reaction to the sight.

“I’m sorry, Xena,” she said again, quietly…sadly. It took only a simple twisting of her body, and she was hovering over my core, her hands stroking over my mound in a soothing manner. “I’ve been neglecting you, haven’t I?”

“’Issall right,” I muttered back, fighting a very strong urge to roll us both over and reach my satisfaction the way my body was screaming. I wasn’t even sure what she was apologizing for, but I had a pretty good idea.

“Ah…Xena…you want it so bad, don’t you? Let me take care of you, Baby.”

Just as in my fantasy, I watched her slowly lower her head until it hovered just above my glistening flesh. She kept her eyes on mine as she stuck her tongue out and slowly licked up the length of me, starting at the bottom. Despite my passion, I watched her carefully to make sure she was comfortable with this.

She made me feel infinitely better, just by talking to me.

“You taste so good, Xena,” I heard her whisper, before licking me again. “I don’t think I could ever get my fill of your juices. Mmm…and your scent makes it taste even better…”

I managed to keep from bucking my hips toward her face when I felt three of her fingers slide inside my vagina. She began a twisting, thrusting motion that was soon driving me out of my mind with rapture.

“You need this so bad, don’t you?” From somewhere far away, I could make out her words. “You’ve been so hot for my touch, but were afraid to ask…”

Gods, she knew how I had been feeling all along, and for a brief second, I thought she might have actually been tormenting me by not coming to me sooner! I didn’t think that was right though, and I reached down and took hold of her head gently in mine.

“Please, Gabrielle…please suck on my clit…I need you to so badly…”

I don’t even think I managed to get the whole thing out, and she was doing as I bid, pursing her lips and sucking hard on my erection, her fingers never ceasing their plundering of my cunt hole.

“Yesss…” I hissed out, before my body stole my power to speak and I was spasming hard, against her fingers and tongue. The orgasm was so exquisite it was almost painful in its intensity, and I felt my pussy gushing fluids into her mouth. She sucked them all up, the fingers of her left hand stroking the exposed part of my belly as she worked her blessed magic on me again at last.

I found my arousal wasn’t abated at all, as she licked me clean, and when she finally stopped her ministrations, and propped her head on her hands folded over my stomach, I felt my pussy muscles immediately tighten at the loss of her touch.

“You feel better?” she asked me, already knowing the answer.

“Mmm hm,” I answered with a nod. I stroked her angelic face. “Are you all right?”

She hesitated a second, and I saw an almost pained look threaten to overcome her features. Then she smiled softly. “Yes,” she answered finally. “I’m just fine. I really needed to do that.”

I felt my heart sink. “Just fine?” I repeated.

She seemed to be assessing her condition, and then answered, “I feel pretty good, in fact.”

Greatly relieved, I reached down and grasped her gently by the shoulders. She allowed me to pull her up over my body, and her mouth was warm and tasted of my secretions when her lips met mine. I sighed with pleasure as I felt her mouth eagerly working against mine, encouraging me to act further. Finally!

I continued to make love to her with my mouth, gently stroking my tongue over her lips and teeth, while my hands stroked through the hair at the nape of her neck and over her shoulders. Gradually, I became aware that she had straddled one of my thighs, and was wriggling her cunt against me. I could feel the heat of her excitement seeping through to coat my leg

Still, I had to be sure…”I want to taste you,” I whispered, after pulling my head away from hers. “Will you allow me the pleasure?”

She sharply inhaled, as though the question frightened her, and then she relaxed again, nodding her head.

“Yes, please, as long as I can taste you at the same time.”

I nodded gleefully, and then was reaching for the ties on her shirt, wanting her completely naked so I could do this right. She surprised me by pressing her hands to mine though.

“Please, Xena…I don’t think I’m ready for that yet.”

I’m sure my eyes registered my confusion at what “that” was, and she nodded as if she understood. “I want to make love with you, but I don’t think I’m ready for the full experience yet. Can we please keep our clothes on?”

The desperate tone in her voice alarmed me, but I could smell her arousal rivaling my own, and realized she was doing her best to work her way through this situation. I wanted to help her all I could, and was going to try to be as patient with her as possible, no matter what.

“Of course, we can, My Love,” I answered. She gave me a quick grateful kiss, and then was turning her body so her head was facing my feet and she was laying on her side. All I had to do was turn my head, and I was looking directly at the crotch of her panties. The material was clinging to her pussy lips, letting me make out the outline of them easily. At least some of the signals her body was sending were encouraging.

I reached over and gently stroked over the sodden material, simultaneously feeling Gabrielle’s warm breath on my still pounding clit. By the time I was sliding her underwear down, she was nursing on my clitoris again.

My taste buds tingled as I slipped my hands between her thighs, and lifted slightly so they were parted, revealing her pink flesh to me. She was awash in juices, much as I knew I was.

I felt her body jerk slightly when I finally pulled her center toward my mouth, and then she calmed again, and I felt a strong tug at my erection as she drew me between her lips. My lower half was twisted, one of my legs bent and lifted so she could rest her head on my thigh as she worked. It was only a matter of seconds before I felt her dive in face first.

My first climax had served to take the edge off, but had nowhere nearly met my desires, and I found her nibbling lips and teeth and prodding fingers to be quickly driving me to my peak again. I concentrated on Gabrielle’s body, circling her slippery little bud repeatedly, in the pattern I know she loved. I wanted to draw her to the abyss just as quickly as she was driving me. Reaching up, I began to tickle up and down the valley between her labia, dipping lightly into her entrance, the whole time nuzzling and teasing her clit.

I felt extremely rewarded when I felt her give a big shiver, and a fresh flood of juices filled my mouth. The humming noises she emitted vibrated deep into my own core, and told me she was nearing her peak. It’s a good thing, because I was rapidly doing the same thing.

Her hips began to roll into my touch, and I felt her sharp little teeth nipping harder at my clitoris. Then, without warning, her mouth released me, only to move lower. I felt her tongue plunge deep inside my opening at the same time two or three of her fingers pinched my clit.

I tore my mouth away from her for a second…”Please slow down,” I begged her, not wanting this to be over before she came.

Regardless of whether or not she heard me, she continued to knead my clit, her tongue foraging inside me. I felt my climax looming ahead of me, and redoubled my efforts to have her join me.

But she was too skilled, and my entire cunt was suddenly galvanizing in another climax, my thighs clenching and my breath catching in my throat. I had to freeze my movements against her while I rode out the pleasure, but instead of relishing the climax, I had barely caught my breath when I began to kiss her lower lips again.

I wasn’t prepared for her to pull way, and I was reluctant to relinquish my hold on her ass as I felt her trying to do so. I moaned a protest, and sucked on her clit a little harder, in an effort to change her mind.

“Stop, Xena, please stop…”

I was shocked and ashamed to hear a sob in her voice, and I released her abruptly, afraid that my actions had opened wounds that had only recently begun to heal. Almost immediately, Gabrielle had pulled up her panties, and then was sitting up beside me, a miserable expression on her face.

“I thought I could do it…” she said in a soft voice. “I thought I was ready…”

Tears were rapidly forming in her eyes, and I felt all the ecstasy of my climax a moment of go drained from my body. In its place, I was left with a horribly guilty feeling that I had just urged, maybe even forced, Gabrielle into something she hadn’t wanted to do. Feeling more like a monster than ever, I pulled up my own breeches, and then reached for her.

She was still muttering she was sorry over and over again, but I hushed her, just holding her on my lap and rocking her back and forth. “It’s my fault,” I tried to tell her. “I’m the one who’s sorry.”

“No…that’s not right,” she whimpered over and over again, shuddering against me. She let me hold her for a long time, and finally, fell back asleep. I gently laid her down on her bedroll, and stretched out besides her, knowing we had a long way to go.

I laid there for quite some time, wondering what else Gabrielle and I were going to have to go through. Despite any disagreements or troubles we had ever had in our relationship, sex had never been one of them. In fact, I think sometimes we squabbled just so we could make up between the sheets.

Gabrielle’s beseeching voice asking me to stop replayed over and over in my head. It was full of misery and sorrow, and I wondered how long she had been feeling that way before she asked me to stop. I know she hadn’t been opposed to making love with me the whole time. Her signs of arousal couldn’t be faked. But at some point, her desire had changed to fear, and no doubt, memories of what had happened in the temple of Dahak.

I had a very hard time thinking of Gabrielle not wanting my intimate touch. I prided myself on being skilled in that area, and to think that I made her uncomfortable was making me uncomfortable. I again felt a pang of guilt for my lack of control…if I could have just kept my fingers out of my cunt for a few more days, she might have been more prepared.

Desiring to feel her in my arms, I rolled over to lay an arm across her sleeping form. Somehow, while I was deep in thought, she must have gotten up and left the campsite, because her bedroll was empty.

I suppose she could have awakened with the need to relieve herself, but I didn’t want to take any chances with the vulnerable condition she was in. I rolled to my feet, and began to search for her.

It didn’t take long to spot her. She was sitting on a flat boulder, her head resting against her staff, staring up at the moonlight. She gave me a small smile as I approached her.

“Everything all right?” I asked her.

She gave me a slight nod. “Fine,” she said, her voice soft. “I was just thinking.”

A million thoughts flew threw my head at that statement, but I wasn’t prepared for her to say, “Thank you.”

“For what?” I asked.

“You stuck by me through everything,” came the amazing answer.

That statement was rather enigmatic and it took me a minute to try to figure out what she was trying to say. It almost sounded like she was thanking me for making love with her, but I knew that couldn’t be the case.

“Likewise, I’m sure,” I finally responded, not sure how else to respond.

For some reason, Gabrielle found that statement amusing and giggled at me. Then she grew very serious again, “I hope I never disappoint you, Xena,” she said, and I KNEW she was referring to the love making this time.

“Impossible,” I retorted, and I meant it. I wasn’t disappointed about what had happened, just concerned.

“”I’ve learned that anything is possible,” she answered. She paused a second, then said, “There’s somebody in the shadows by the poplar tree.”

I had been aware of the presence ever since I had started looking for Gabrielle, but it pleased me greatly that she had sensed them. “I know…” I answered.

I thought the situation had gotten about as bad as it could, but soon found out I was very wrong. Suddenly, out of the shadows, a man staggered forward, gasping my name. I immediately recognized his costume and features as a man from Chin, probably a servant. He collapsed in my arms, saying he was sent by the Weak One. I know Gabrielle was already confused, but I knew exactly who he was referring to.

Before he had a chance to deliver his whole message however, we were under attack by several skilled assassins, also of Chin. I immediately realized that they had followed the servant of the weak one.

There was quite a battle, as the assassins were trained in the secret acrobatic ways of Chin, but eventually, I defeated them. It cost valuable moments in the injured messenger’s life though. By the time I turned my attention to him again, he was nearly dead.

He acknowledged that he was beyond saving, and then managed to deliver his message. “The Green Dragon has become too large, and must become small.”

The message made perfect sense to me, but not surprisingly, didn’t mean anything to Gabrielle. I just wish she wasn’t so curious by nature, because I knew she would never just let this message go.

In light of all that had been going on lately, I was having a hard time trying to decide how to tell Gabrielle what was going on. “I’m going on a long journey,” I said,

She picked up on that right away. “You’re going on a long journey? What happened to we?”

Gods, this was so hard! “This time’s different,” I finally said.

The message was of an urgent nature, so I began getting Argo ready right away, so we’d be ready to move at first light. Gabrielle was watching, of course.

I told her I was going to the Land of the Rising Sun, which was in the Far East, and tried to tell her how different the culture was from ours. Of course, I should have known that would intrigue Gabrielle even more.

I was in a precarious position. One part of me very much wanted Gabrielle to go with me. I hated being separated from her for any length of time, and I loved watching her enthusiasm as she uncovered new ways of life.

Another part of me, however, and the more logical part of me, was telling me it was best if I tried to talk Gabrielle out of going. The recent trip to Gaul was uppermost in my mind, and although I didn’t expect a repeat experience, it still made me nervous about what could happen to Gabrielle in a land like Chin. Their language, both written and spoken was so different from ours, that communication was always a big issue. And then there was Lao Ma…and I honestly didn’t know how Gabrielle would accept her. Lao Ma meant so much to me, and I still loved her, in a way, and I had the feeling that Gabrielle would have difficulty coming to terms with that.

Finally, I blurted out, “If you came, you couldn't get in my way."

Oh…wrong thing to say, Xena! I don’t blame her for getting her feelings hurt by that. “Are you saying I’m a nuisance?”

"No, you just wouldn't like what I'm going there to do." And that was true. She wouldn’t like it for more than one reason.

Gabrielle tried to figure out exactly what I was going there for, and began questioning me about the Green Dragon. I finally admitted that he was the person I was going to Chin to kill, and as expected, that didn’t go over well at all.

Finally, we settled back into bed, to get a couple more hours of sleep.

The next morning, I told her we needed to go to the next village to get some heavy coats…we would be traveling through some very cold climates.

We were still discussing the trip when we entered a merchant’s shop. Gabrielle was proving to me that she DID try to understand what was going on. "Maybe there's something that I don't understand; some subtlety I'm not getting? Xena, I'll tell you what it looks like on the surface. You plan on traveling this long, grueling trip for the sole purpose of killing someone."

I tried to sound indifferent when I responded, "That pretty much sums it up."

And, of course, she immediately tried to talk me out of it. I tried again to suggest that maybe she not make this trip with me.

"Try and stop me. At least, tell me why?"

I told her I didn’t think she could understand, and once again, I managed to hurt her feelings. I was getting really good at that, it seemed.

"After all we've been through, you can say that?"

I had picked out a long fur coat for myself and Gabrielle, and she helped me get a good deal from the merchant. But still she continued to give me a hard time about my upcoming mission.

“Who do you have to kill? Why?"

I knew it wasn’t fair to keep her in the dark, so I decided to fill her in on at least part of the story. "To understand what I have to do, you need to understand what was left undone.”

I told her about some of my time with Borias, when we entered Chin with the intention of eventually ruling it. Our goal was to get the current royalties, the “houses”, to agree to pay us what would basically be protection money.

However, Borias and I had already begun to reach that point in our relationship where we didn’t exactly see things eye to eye. I wanted to make a move on the Houses of Ming and Lao before they had a chance to form an alliance, but Borias wanted to try to talk to them individually.

I let Gabrielle get a glimpse of the real me from my wicked days. It wasn’t something I was proud of, but I thought that if she had a distasteful opinion of me, it might be easier for her to let me go to Chin alone. And despite that, I couldn’t let her think that all I cared about in those days was war, greed, and hate.

It was time to introduce Lao Ma to the story. I told Gabrielle about the first time we met, how the diminutive woman basically told us she was taking the place for her husband and Borias and I would be dealing with her. She intrigued me immediately.

Later, I was relaxing with some smoke watching Borias and Lao Ma share a meal. Borias and I had been together a long time by now, and we had pretty well been faithful to one another at this stage. Therefore, seeing him flirt with Lao Ma incensed me, and I suddenly felt the need to break up the little party. I reached in my boot for my dagger, and threw it at them, imbedding it in that table by Lao Ma.

"That's my piece of meat you're reaching for."

Lao Ma just looked at me calmly, and then reached out for a piece of bread. "You're wrong. I don't eat meat."

It took a while for her comment to seep into my cloudy brain. It could be taken in a varieties of ways. I wonder.

I told Gabrielle about my attack on Lao Ma’s life, and how she turned that around to be an attack on my own. And this lead to Lao Ma saying she was leaving our camp with no hope for alliance.

With no hope for Lao Ma joining us, I decided to switch back to Ming T’su. I was deeply ashamed by my course of action, but I kidnapped young Ming T’ien and held him for ransom in my effort to get Ming T’su to join us.

But just as I couldn’t be trusted, it turned out that Borias couldn’t either. Of course, he was shocked that I had resorting to abducting the child, and he went to Ming T’su, forming a deal with him and Lao Ma. Upon the return of a healthy Ming T’ien to his father, Borias had me knocked out, and given over to Ming T’su for punishment. Punishment, of course, would mean my death.

We had just reached the small village of Nab when I reached that part of my tale. I asked Gabrielle if she was hungry, and since she was, we decided to eat in the town, and then go ahead and spend the night at an inn. It had been weeks since my bard had slept in a warm bed, and although she seemed to be sleeping better, I knew she was tired most of the time.

I didn’t feel like talking anymore at supper, and Gabrielle didn’t push me. She seemed to be lost in her own thoughts, and we were pretty quiet as we quickly ate. I went to groom Argo after I ate, leaving Gabrielle to get settled in our room, and perhaps, go ahead and get some sleep.

Brushing down Argo is one of the most relaxing activities in the world for me, and I soon let the lulling motions I was using let my brain wander. It was moving back to a period of time long before I had known Gabrielle, a time when I was a wild, untamed warrior about to be knocked for a loop.

I had mentioned Lao Ma to Gabrielle before, and she knew that the Chin woman had been my first female lover. She also knew that Lao Ma was a very special person in my life. But I didn’t ever elaborate much more on her, not wanting to make Gabrielle uncomfortable or threatened by Lao Ma’s presence. Lao Ma had a lot of influence on the person I later became; she claimed to see the good in me long before anyone else could.

I finished brushing Argo, and gave her a pat, telling her I’d see her in the morning. I stepped back out into the cold night air, hoping it would cool my ardor somewhat. Thinking of some of my more basal lessons with Lao Ma had caused certain areas of my anatomy to heat up, and since the fiasco in the bedroll a few nights ago, I didn’t want my desires to come anywhere near Gabrielle. No, she and I would have to wait until I had returned from Chin. When my desire reared up, as it often did, I would think about the sadness in Gabrielle’s demeanor that night in the bedroll, and it would calm me down considerably.

It had been dark for a while, when I finally made my way back to the inn and up the stairs to my bard. I quietly opened the door, hoping she was getting some much needed sleep. As I crept to her bedside, I could see she was lying in bed, but her eyes were wide awake. She smiled up at me.

I returned the smile and grunted a greeting, before slipping off my coat, armor, and weapons. There was a fire merrily crackling away, and I sat down on the floor before it, warming up my cold bones. I didn’t want to get into bed and inundate Gabrielle with cold feet.

I heard her shifting positions in the bed behind me, but didn’t think anything about it as I put my upper body weight on my outstretched arms and arched my back in a long stretch. The warmth of the fire felt lovely.

“Do you have any idea what you do to me when you move your body like that?” The lust in Gabrielle’s voice surprised me.

I glanced back over my shoulder, and saw she had more than changed positions. She was now sitting on the foot of the bed, brazenly looking me over.

“I’m glad you’re feeling better,” I said, before turning back to stare into the flames.

“Mmm…I’m feeling much better.”

I heard the distinctive sounds of one of our saddlebags being opened, and then an object landed in front of me. It was our phallus. I swallowed, as I realized what was happening.

Gabrielle moved to stand between me and the fireplace. “I’m ready for you, Xena,” she said, her hand moving upward to her own blouse. “I’m more than ready for you…my cunt is crying out for your touch.”

I watched her pull off her shirt, and run her hands over her breasts, pausing to pinch her own nipples for a second. Then she was seductively sliding her hands down over her hips and under the waistband of her skirt. It and her underwear came off with a single movement.

She planted her feet a couple of hand spans apart, and I could smell her fragrance. It made my mouth water. When I saw her juices glistening on the inside of her thighs, I knew I wasn’t dreaming this.

I reached for the fastening of my leathers.

“That’s so nice,” Gabrielle sighed, when I was naked and suddenly on my knees, throwing my arms around her thighs so I could press heated kisses to her mound. I don’t know what made her decide tonight was the night, but I wasn’t about to let her go back on her word.

“Lie down, my beautiful bard,” I crooned to her, and helped her to do just that. She was reaching for my breasts as I bent over to kiss her, and gave both of my nipples a firm tweak as I met her lips in a searing kiss. When I pulled back my head, I studied her reaction again, and saw only arousal in her face.

“Put it on, now, please Xena,” I heard her ask, holding out the phallus to me. “I have to have you inside me.”

I couldn’t help but wonder what had caused her to grow so aggressive when just a couple of days she was begging for me not to touch her. I wasn’t complaining, mind you, but still, it was perplexing.

Kneeling between her spread legs, I strapped the phallus into place, thrilled at the pressure it put on my swollen clitoris.

Gabrielle surprised me yet again, by reaching between her legs with her left hand, and my own with her right hand, gathering up both of our abundant wellsprings of juices. She then proceeded to rub both hands over the wooden cock, lubricating it fully.

“I was laying there in bed, thinking of you,” she purred, reaching up and pulling me down to blanket her with my body. “And all I could think about was having you buried inside me, your body covering me with your own, your arms wrapped around me, making love to me.”

I bent and kissed her again, before taking the phallus in my right fist, and easily inserting into her vagina. “Yesss…” she hissed, as we settled in for a good long fuck.

“Yes, Xena, yes,” she murmured, her fingers stroking over my shoulders most encouragingly. I set up a long slow stroke, , enjoying the closeness we hadn’t felt in so long. It felt good…right…to be making love to her again.

Gabrielle wrapped her legs around my waist, , her lips parted to allow her increasing breathing. She was moaning lightly with every thrust I made, her every sound and action telling me that she was indeed very into this.

“I love you, Xena,” I heard her whisper, “I’ll love you now and always, no matter what. Don’t ever forget that.”

Her words, sweetly spoken, broke through my reverie of pure physical pleaser, and I was thinking back to my earlier thoughts in the barn. One of the most important lessons Lao Ma had taught me was that the most satisfying part of lovemaking was the emotional effect it had. Indeed, she had reached such levels of serenity that she was able to climax just by touching me without my reciprocating, something that amazed and confounded me. She had spent so much time trying to teach me the same ability, but I was too impatient, too aggressive. But thankfully, Lao Ma seemed to like touching me, and always left my body singing with exhaustion and rapture.

Oh, how I would have loved to have a phallus for my lovemaking with Lao Ma! Just the thought of her donning such an instrument and plunging it in and out of my heated tunnel caused my body to shudder with joy. I know she would never allow me to wear the phallus with her, for she dominated every aspect of our intimacy, but it was such a learning experience with her that at the time it rarely bothered me.

I opened my eyes to see Gabrielle’s rolling closed as her pleasure increased. I couldn’t believe how far my mind had traveled away from me just then, and was ashamed of having imagined it was Lao Ma I was making love with, rather than my precious Gabrielle.

“Oh gods!” she cried out, and I felt her thigh muscles tighten even more around my waist. Her climax, long denied, was powerful, and goosebumps immediately broke out all over her body.

“Thank you, Xena,” she told me, her hands coming up to stroke my face. “Thank you so much.”

I smiled down into her, not faking the emotions. “It was my pleasure, My Love,” I replied, before giving her a short tender kiss, and then starting to push myself off her body.

“Wait!” she exclaimed, her legs still encircling me. “You aren’t done, are you?”

It wouldn’t be the first time, she’d only have one climax in our lovemaking, although it would be the first time I hadn’t come at least once. “I uh…really need to get some sleep, Gabrielle,” I struggled. The guilt that had overridden my body at the last had served to quelch any desirous feelings I had.

Reluctantly, she let me go, and continued to lay there on the rug watching as I put my shift back on. I could see the disappointment in her expression, but tried not to dwell on it.

I climbed between the covers, and rolled over on my side, facing away from her. The truth was, I still felt great passion for her, but was dealing with too many outside thoughts to keep my thoughts pure, the way they needed to be with her right now. Rather than indulging in fantasy, I wanted my mind to be on the real thing, and right now, I couldn’t concentrate on her.

I heard her sigh more than once as she stood and redressed. She crawled into bed, and I felt her warmth press against my back. “Good night, Xena,” she whispered, her voice sounding scratchy.

“Good night, Gabrielle,” I answered. “I’m sorry.” I heard her sigh again.

The next morning, I woke her as soon as the sun began to appear on the horizon, and we traveled a couple of hours until we reached the port where I would be taking my boat to Chin. Gabrielle had made me repeat the story of how I had kidnapped Ming T’ien, no doubt because she couldn’t quite believe me the first time.

Finally she said the words I had been expecting since my failed lovemaking last night.

"I can't go there with you, Xena, and I don't mean the kingdom of Chin."

Oh gods, this was it. Shocked, I could only retort, “I know what you mean.”

She reiterated that she couldn’t go to Chin to help me commit murder. I vaguely wondered if she knows the whole story, if she’d still consider it murder, but it was too late now. I was going to have to board the ship soon.

I’m sure I heard the sound of two hearts breaking when I whispered, “I understand.” She had tears in her eyes, as I drew her to me for a quick embrace, and gave her a kiss on the top of her head.

She tried one last time. "You owe someone so much, that you would just throw away these last few years."

How would I ever be able to explain to her that if it weren’t for Lao Ma, I would never be able to love her the way I did? I owed Lao Ma for the only happiness I had truly known. "Yes, " I finally answered, not hiding the regret in my voice.

I handed the reins of Argo to Gabrielle, and gave her another kiss, this time on the lips. “I’ll see you soon,” I told her, and then was off to board the ship.

The ship carried mainly cargo, and therefore, the deck was uncrowded as it set sail. I stood at the railing, and looked at my bard, standing there at the dock, still holding the reins of my horse. Slowly, I raised my hand, and she did the same.

And then pointedly, she turned her back on me, and walked away from the dock, just as I was sailing away from her.

COMING NEXT WEEK: In the conclusion of The Debt, Xena and Gabrielle continue to fight with their feelings in Ming T’ien’s palace, and later attempt to work things out as only they can.

Gabrielle's Scroll
The Xena and Gabrielle XXX Scrolls Page 3