Reunited --Xena's Scroll
The dream I was having this time was much more pleasant. While the first dream had been a vague retelling of my forgotten past, the next one had been an erotic fantasy of what I’d like to go through in my near future. My eyes gradually opened, my whole body warmed by the thought of acting out my dream.
I was a little concerned when I reached a hand out for Gabrielle and her spot on the bed was empty. It wasn’t the first time…usually if she got up before me, she was making an early morning trip to the bushes. I sat up in bed, stretching sore muscles, many of them in intimate locations, and waited patiently for a few minutes.
The few minutes went by, and I didn’t see her. Irritated, I got out of bed, and quickly dressed, before heading outside to find my second.
She wasn’t in the bushes, she hadn’t eaten breakfast, and the guards hadn’t seen her all morning. My temper was beginning to rise, but I reminded myself over and over again how she had always been honest and faithful with me.
“My Lord?” The groomsman was running up to me, his eyes wild with fear.
“What is it?” I snapped, already expecting the worst.
“My Lord…the bay mare that your liege rode in on…is gone…”
I felt the blood drain from my extremities. “Gone?”
“Yes, My Lord. I was feeding the horses, but when I opened her stall…”
“Gods be damned!” I suddenly roared. “Saddle Warlord immediately. The little cunt’s trying to escape!”
I called myself a hundred names as I rushed back to my tent, to retrieve my body armor and weapons. So the little whore had been deceiving me all along…submitting to me, pretending to care about me, while the whole time she was plotting her getaway.
I didn’t take the time to consider how she managed to escape my bed so easily. The fact was she had done it. Levius rushed up with Warlord in tow. I was hopping on my horse’s back in an instant.
“Anson, take charge till I get back!” I barked, then urged the horse in a brisk pace from the camp.
It took me a while to find her trail…the horse she was using had been trained not to leave much evidence of her path. The path was a couple hours cold, but that wouldn’t be any trouble for me.
Gabrielle was traveling due south, as near as I could tell, and I was fairly well-acquainted with the way, because that’s the path I had been planning on using when I began my campaign. I followed her trail, until the sun disappeared that night, and there was only a very dark sky left in its absence. She had chosen a night when there was no moon.
I tracked her on foot, leading my horse for a while, but knew I had to give Warlord a rest. Finally, around midnight, I made a small campfire and let my horse have his reins.
I was on him again at dawn and once again, easily picked up the trail. But it was now about six hours old…telling me that damned horse of hers had traveled through the night.
For three days I pursued her, stopping only a few hours at a time so my horse wouldn’t collapse. I cut the lead time down every day, but each night, the little conniver would pull further away from me again. But I felt I was making progress…it was just a matter of time...
With each passing day, my rage grew a little more, along with my imagination in regards to how I was going to kill her. As the hours continued to pass, the deaths became more and more elaborate. It helped ease the monotony of travel.
I’m not sure who I was more angry at, the little cunt, or myself. Of course, I was enraged by her actions, but it was my own fault that it had happened. I had let her whispered words and soft expression lure me into a complacent state, one that went against my nature of showing no mercy and trusting no one.
Yes, it was mostly my fault, but I’d still hold her responsible for her betrayal. My own words from last night came back to haunt me. “I would never again let someone betray me and live.” How had she managed to not let her expression belie what she was planning? She had to be among other things, a consummate actress.
The fourth day, I hadn’t been traveling very long when Warhorse suddenly stopped running, and began to stagger. I jumped from his back and checked him out. He was heaving for breath, obviously ready to drop from exhaustion..
I left the horse behind, knowing I had pushed him too hard and eventually, he’d be able to find his way back to camp. I then cursed whoever cared to listen for leaving me on foot. The trail I was following was through thick forests, and showed no signs of slowing up. As well trained and powerful as Warhorse had been, Gabrielle’s horse was obviously much more so.
I traveled a few hours on foot, running most of the time, and was surprised when the horse’s trail abruptly stopped near the doorway of a large stone structure. The building was ornately decorated on the outside, and looked well-kept, but I didn’t see any other structures around. More importantly, there were no people around. I did see the little slut’s footprints leading to the front door, though.
I circled the building quickly, looking for hidden traps or other people, but there were none. With a grin, I pulled the sword I had secured from Gabrielle from its scabbard.
The building consisted of one large room, and it was dimly lit by a few candles. I spotted Gabrielle right away. She was kneeling before a stone slab which came up about to my knee. Her head was resting on her folded arms and she wasn’t moving. It was far too easy.
I raised my sword higher and stealthily closed the distance between us. Her neck was exposed in all its smooth glory, and all the exotic thoughts of killing her I had been planning suddenly vanished. I would decapitate her, here and now, and be done with it. In fact, I’d take her head back to camp with me as a trophy, and yet another reminder that any betrayal would not be tolerated.
She still hadn’t moved, and now I was standing behind and slightly to the side of her. I raised my sword, ready to deliver the blow.
I head a weakened voice speak and jerked my head to see where it was coming from. It was the far corner of the room, where the candlelight didn’t reach.
“Who’s there?” I called.
“I’m…a part of you…” I heard the familiar voice say.
“A part of me?” I glanced back at Gabrielle, but she wasn’t moving. Grabbing a candle from the nearest table, I held it closer to the source of the voice.
What I saw made my eyes widen in amazement. On a makeshift cot, lay a young girl. She couldn’t have been more than seventeen or eighteen. She had long black hair, and when her one good eye finally squinted at me, I could see it was bright blue. She could have been the spitting image of a younger version of myself judging from the dream I had.
And just like in the dream, she had been beaten savagely. Her face was a mass of cuts and bruises and her left eye was swollen completely shut. Her lower lip was three times its normal size, and my hand unconsciously came up to touch my own lip, still swollen from the hit Gabrielle had given to me in the stable.
She was coved in a thin blanked, but I suspected I knew what I’d find if I examined her further.
“Don’t you realize you’re not complete?” she was saying, her words carefully formed around her torn lips.
I gave her a look like she was crazy. “I’m quite complete,” I replied, hardening my heart further. “Except for a little unfinished business I need to tend to.”
I pointedly turned my back on the injured girl, and moved back toward the betrayer. She hadn’t moved.
“No, Xena,” I heard the girl’s voice croak, but I ignored it. Deafened by my own rage, I raised my sword again.
“Now!” I heard an unfamiliar voice call out, and several things happened at once. I swung the sword downward, but a few inches from Gabrielle’s neck, it stopped in midair, and I felt as if I had struck a hard sheet of armor. The vibration on my hands hurt so badly and was such a shock, I dropped the sword. At the same time, there was a flash of bright light from in front of the slab Gabrielle was by that distracted me even further. I blinked, trying not to have to shut my eyes against the blinding light and struggling to regain my bearings.
Before I had any control over the situation, I felt my body being knocked over backwards. Trying desperately to see, I felt the unbelievable sensation of fingers being jammed into my neck. I was instantly on my back, unable to move anything but my facial muscles. The brightness hadn’t abated any, but my eyes seemed to have gotten used to it a bit. My eyes finally focused on Gabrielle’s flushed face leaning in close to me.
“Get it over with,” I gasped, sensing defeat.
To my surprise, she gave me a slight smile, and shook her head. “I love you too much to let you go now,” she replied. She then turned her head and shouted, “Do it now…quickly, Aphrodite!”
The light grew much more intense then, and seemed to pierce through my eyes, even though I had instinctively clenched them shut.
I can’t even begin to explain the level of pain it forced through my brain…It felt like someone was taking a dull dagger, and shoving it slowly through one of my eye sockets, deep into my brain. The pressure points Gabrielle had used kept me from screaming out with my full voice, and all I could do was hope my brain would explode soon and I would die. I’m pretty sure I lost consciousness.
My head was absolutely pounding, but Gabrielle’s voice had such worry in it, that I thought I had better see what was going on. I fought my way through the black mists, and opened my eyes.
There was very little light wherever we were, but I had little trouble making out Gabrielle’s concerned features looking down at me. I reached a hand up to rub briefly over my forehead, and then lifted it to touch the side of her face.
“Where are we?” I croaked, my voice barely more than a whisper.
Could I detect fear in Gabrielle’s eyes as she answered me? “We’re in Aphrodite’s temple near Amphipolis,” she said.
I glanced around the shadowy room. “Amphipolis? What are we doing here?” I asked. “And why do I feel like I’ve been dragged through Tartarus on my face?”
I watched in amazement as Gabrielle’s eyes suddenly filled with tears. She reached a hand out and gently laid it on my shoulder.
“Xena?” she whispered. “Is it really you?”
I know I was looking at her oddly, but I was confused. “Of course, it’s me,” I answered. “Who did you think it was?”
“Is it the real Xena…or the Xena I’ve been with the last few days?”
“I’m the same old Xena I’ve always been,” I replied, trying to be patient. “What’s going on?”
She was still staring at me, tears running down her cheeks now. “Kiss me, Xena,” I heard her whisper.
I raised an eyebrow at her, then reached up with heavy limbs, and grasped her lightly by the shoulders. Gently, I pulled her down so our lips were joined, and I kissed her long and tenderly. My head was hurting too much for me to turn up the heat too much, and instead, I just reveled in the sensation of feeling her lips gently caressing mine, her hands gently massaging my shoulders and upper back.
Finally, she pulled her head back slightly. She wiped at her eyes and sniffed, then said, “How are you feeling?”
“I feel like someone is chipping away at the inside of my head with one of your sai, but other than that, I’m okay.”
I was lying on some sort of stone table, with a soft cloth under my head. It wasn’t very comfortable though, so I tried sitting up.
“Son of a bacchae!” I couldn’t help but exclaim as the pain in my head increased, and my vision swam at the same time with such force that I immediately laid back down.
“Take it easy, Baby,” Gabrielle said gently, rubbing a couple fingers gently over each of my temples. “Aphrodite said your head’s probably going to hurt a while, but it will get better gradually.”
“How did she know my head would be hurting?” I asked. “How did I end up here?”
“You don’t remember anything?” Gabrielle asked me then.
“What should I remember?” I countered back.
She gave me a shuddering sigh then. “Oh gods, Xena…there’s so much…”
“I assume there’s a reason I can’t remember,” I said then.
“What is it?”
She opened her mouth, and shook her head, apparently at a loss. “Gods, where do I begin?” she said softly. After a minutes, she spoke again. “Do you remember our trip to Jap-“
She was cut off by a flash of pink soft light, and suddenly in the room with us was Aphrodite, Goddess of Love. She beamed at Gabrielle for a minute, then looked at me. She wrinkled her brow and stepped closer.
“It worked, didn’t it?” she said, as if half to herself. I drew back just a little from her outstretched fingers. Aphrodite was a friend, but she was a little too flighty for me sometimes.
“Yes,” I heard Gabrielle answer, and again, there was a catch in her throat. “I’m pretty sure it did.”
I couldn’t stand all this non-information anymore, and forced myself to sit up, despite the lancing pain that took my breath away for a minute. Gabrielle put a hand out to steady me, but I waved it off. I swung my legs over the edge of the table, and didn’t move for a few seconds until I could gain control over the agony.
When the sharp hammering had been demoted to a more modest thundering, I looked from Gabrielle to Aphrodite. “Someone tell me…right now…exactly what’s going on.”
The two blondes exchanged looks, and then Gabrielle shrugged. “I’ll try,” she said aloud. She sat down on the stone next to me, and Aphrodite sat on the other side.
“Like I was saying before Aphrodite arrived, do you remember our trip to Jappa?”
Jappa…Jappa…I had been to Jappa a long time ago, when I was obsessed with wickedness and as much power as I could obtain. I had done some horrible things there…things I could never make amends for….
Suddenly, Aphrodite reached out and touched my forehead with two fingers. A bit of the pain went away, and in its stead was a cold rush of…memories.
Akemi…Kenji…The Ghostkiller…the teahouse…Yodoshi… One after the other, the images formed in my mind’s eye, each one a little more horrific and vivid than the next. Gradually, I pieced it all together…Kenji’s appearance in Gabrielle and my camp…meeting up with Akemi once gain and introducing her to Gabrielle…meeting up with Ghostkiller and learning of Yodoshi’s reign…
And then…the rest came to me.
I remembered Ghost killer’s telling me of the Sacred Katana and the only way Yodoshi could be killed. He could only be killed by another ghost.
I would have to become a ghost.
Gods, it had been so painful to think of dying, not because I was afraid of death, but because I had to face an afterlife without Gabrielle! I couldn’t even really say goodbye to her, for I couldn’t tell her of my mission. She would have never allowed me to go if she had known.
“I know, Xena,” as if she were reading my mind, she shook her head, her eyes moist with tears again. “I know you did what you thought was right. You sacrificed yourself because Akemi told you that’s what you had to do for the souls to reach Paradise.” I nodded my head shakily, wondering what had happened to the souls now that I was apparently alive again.
Gabrielle took my hands in hers. “Akemi lied to you, Xena…”
My head shot up, causing the pain to intensity. “She lied?”
“Yes…or at least she didn’t give you the whole truth.”
“You didn’t have to stay dead,” Aphrodite supplied it with a nod from Gabrielle.
I’m sure my mouth dropped open at that. “What?”
“Your sacrifice was all that was needed,” Gabrielle clarified. “Once the souls were released, they are forever at peace. Regardless of what happened to you.”
I was confused. “But I did have to die…” I stammered.
“Yes…” Gabrielle nodded. “You just didn’t have to stay dead.”
“So the souls are at peace…” I whispered, bemused.
“Yes…” Aphrodite replied.
I shook my head, amazed at this. “Okay, that answers part of the mystery,” I said. “But…how did I get back?”
Aphrodite and Gabrielle shared uneasy glances. “That’s where it starts getting complicated,” Aphrodite told me.
I looked at the pair of them, squirming uncomfortably.
Aphrodite finally spoke. “It took a while for the news of what happened in Jappa to reach us. When it came, Ares refused to believe it. The last time I talked to him, he was getting ready to head to Jappa to get to the bottom of it. I haven’t heard from him since.”
“I’ve never had the power to restore life, but with Athena dead, and with the depth of love you and Gabrielle share, I thought I might be able to pull it off on my own I didn’t think it could do any harm to try, and if it made Gabby happy…” she tapered off and gave Gabrielle one of her doe-eyed, goofy looks.
I was growing impatient again. “Why do I have the feeling something went wrong after all?” I said.
Aphrodite gave a little shake. “You’re right,” she replied. “Something did go wrong, and it took some time to figure out what it was.”
The throbbing in my skull had become less physical and more emotional from listening to the long drawn-out story, but I took a deep breath, and continued to let them go at their own pace.
“I did the ritual the way Athena always did, and everything seemed to be going okay. Since Gabby had brought your remains back here to Amphipolis, and the spell need to be done in your birthplace, it was convenient and all. And it was working too…even without Athena’s help. The forces of nature were all converging to recreate your life.
“All was going well, and then suddenly…something went wrong.”
“What?” I asked for the dozenth time.
She sighed. “A body grew from your remains…and gradually began to breath…but it wasn’t you…exactly.”
I was hopelessly lost. I turned to Gabrielle. “Would you please translate before my brain explodes?”
“It was a young girl…” she answered, her voice very soft. “A young girl with your physical features, but no sense of who she was. She had no memory beyond waking up in the temple…and thought her name was…Kira.”
There was something so sad in Gabrielle’s eyes. I wanted to asked her about it, but figured now might not be the time. “So what did this Kira have to do with me?”
“Everything,” Aphrodite responded. “The spell I was using basically recreated a person as a baby, then rapidly ages them until they’re the appropriate age. It’s very easy to control, and very easy to stop the age process at the proper time. But when I was in the middle of the spell…something just…happened, and the aging stopped on its own. The body and mind that was formed was of a that of a sixteen year old.”
“A sixteen year old with no sense of self,” Gabrielle put in.
“What happened to the rest of me?”
When Aphrodite moved to touch me this time, I didn’t pull back. Again, the memories started as a trickle, and soon swelled into a torrent. I saw images of myself, leading an army, setting up a war camp, and images of Gabrielle in the same kind of cage Ming T’su had put me in. Then I saw images of Gabrielle using her mouth on me, my restraining and degrading her sexually, her mouth on Iman’s crotch while I fucked her with the phallus, Raab’s death, on and on. Once again, the images solidified and came rushing back to fill me with completed images of what had happened the last couple weeks. I felt even more uncomfortable remembering this time that I had been horrible to her. I had humiliated and abused her, and when one thing didn’t work, my stubbornness just had me trying something else. Thank the gods Iman and Raab had been the last straw; they were bad enough.
“Do you remember who you were?” Gabrielle broke me out my daze by asking me.
“Gods, yes, I was Xena the Conqueror with all the knowledge and skills of my adult life. When I was a warlord before, I had great physical skill, but wasn’t a very good tactician. That lack of skills saved a lot of peoples’ lives. I was well on my way to creating a much more powerful army this time.”
I looked at My Love. “You took off from the camp knowing I’d follow you here,” I said, as it all began to fit together.
“Right,” she replied with a partial smile. “And Aphrodite had a hand in it to make sure I stayed ahead of you.”
“That explains it,” I exclaimed. “I couldn’t figure out why you or your horse didn’t seem to need to stop at night.”
“Yep, that was me,” Aphrodite piped in. “In your unstable condition, I couldn’t risk just popping you into the temple. The situation was precarious enough as it was.”
“All right,” I said, leaning back on my hands. “Now if Kira showed up here with all my sixteen year old traits, then how did the rest of me end up so far north?”
There was another long pause, then Aphrodite gave me the answer.
I stared at her. “Odin? King of the Norse gods?”
“Yep…well…Odin with Grinhilda’s urging,” Aphrodite replied. “When Grinhilda heard what had happened to you, she went to Odin and convinced him to bring you back.”
“You’re kidding,” I said finally. “After all I did to Grinhilda?”
“Who knew?” Aphrodite said with a little shrug.
“She was grateful for you giving her life back,” Gabrielle said then. “At least, that’s what I gathered from Aphrodite.”
“Yeah, after I had taken it away from her,” I said.
Gabrielle took my hand. “She was grateful to you,” she insisted gently. “And she knew you had changed. She’d want to do all she could to help you in your fight against evil.”
“Okay you two,” Aphrodite said, taking our hands and separating them. “You can get cozy later…”
I had to grin at Gabrielle, then at Aphrodite. “So Odin was trying to bring me back too?” I asked.
“Yup…and apparently at the same time I was doing the same thing. His magic is much more powerful than mine…and he got most of you…except for one thing.”
“My first sixteen years?” I guessed.
“That’s all we thought at first,” the goddess replied. “But Odin thinks I ended up with more than just your childhood innocence. He thinks I got all your goodness at the same time. All your capacity for love.”
I thought back to what I had done to Gabrielle…how I had treated her Toward the end, I had relented a bit with her, but still, I could remember no feelings of love for her. There were feelings of respect, admiration, maybe even affection, but definitely not love.
“I see,” I said finally. “All of those qualities ended up in Kira.”
“Right,” Aphrodite replied, “And she…well…she ended up being in pretty bad shape. I had to get Gabrielle to lead you to Amphipolis as quickly as possible.”
I suddenly got a flash of insight. “You were the blonde my men saw that night,” I said to Aphrodite.
“You got it,” she grinned at me.
I nodded thoughtfully, then started at Gabrielle. “You did lie to me that night,” I declared.
Her grin matched Aphrodite’s. “I didn’t mean to. When Aphrodite left me, she just zapped herself out of the stable. I had no way of knowing that she was going to make a personal appearance outside. And besides, do you blame me? You were angry enough THINKING someone was there. What would you have done if you really believed it?”
“Good point,” I smiled weakly back. I looked at Aphrodite. “You were there to tell Gabrielle to go to Amphipolis?” I asked.
“Yes, for the second time,” she said, her voice slightly accusingly.
“The second time?” I echoed. “What happened the first time?”
Gabrielle shifted uncomfortably. “Can we talk about this later?” she asked, almost pleadingly.
Aphrodite giggled at her. “Let’s just say that Gabby needed a little more convincing to risk the trip to Amphipolis. So just to be on the safe side, I made sure I was seen by your men the second time.”
I was impressed by Aphrodite’s involvement in all this. In the past, she was known to mess up spells, sometimes to immense proportions, and very few times, had she ever gotten one right the first time.
But it certainly didn’t sound like the failure of her re-creation spell had been her fault. It had been bad timing on her and Odin’s part. And remembering how hard it was to keep up with Gabrielle on her way to Amphipolis, I realized she had done very well in keeping her ahead of me. That had been an accomplishment in its own right. And now, knowing she had been in my camp, stirring up intentional trouble…that impressed me even more.
“Look you two,” Aphrodite said. “I know you guys have a lot to talk about. How about if I pop out of here for a while, and makes sure that no one bothers you? Wouldn’t you like some time to get reacquainted?”
Gabrielle and I traded smiles. “That would be fantastic,” she said.
“Okay,” Aphrodite responded. She stood up and said, “Just leave the door unlocked when you go,” she added. She raised her hands to pop out of sight.
”Just a minute, Aphrodite,” I said, forcing myself to my feet. I stood right in front of her.
“You really went out on a limb to bring me back,” I said, and out of the corner of my eye, I could see Gabrielle nodding her agreement. “I just wanted to thank you for going to so much trouble…to save me and all.”
She grinned up at me. “Are you crazy?” she said. “You and Gabrielle are two of my very favorite people in the world, and you’ve helped me out of many jams. The least I can do is repay the favor.”
“Restoring my life is more than just repaying a favor,” I countered, but she put a hand on Gabrielle’s arm then mine.
“You’re welcome, okay?” she said, “I can seem to recall your saving my life from a creep named Caligula not terribly long ago.”
“Okay, point taken,” I said, with a nod. “Now get out of here so my woman and me can get some time alone.”
She winked at me and gave Gabrielle a little wave, and then vanished from our sight in a flurry of hearts.
“I thought she’d never leave,” Gabrielle said, and she held her arms out toward me. I walked straight into them, craving that warm embrace more than a starving man craves food.
“Gods, I’ve missed you,” we said at exactly the same time. That made us laugh, and then the hug moved into a kiss. It was tender and soft, and made my heard ache from missing the true connection we shared.
Our hands moved up and wandered their way into the hair of the other. The kiss wasn’t as deep or passion-filled as they would grow to be later, instead it was a kiss of renewal and gratitude that we were together again.
Neither of us wanted to end it though, and even when we had to separate to breathe, we only drew back a couple of inches. I had so much I wanted to say, and I didn’t even know where to begin.
“Are you hungry, Xena?” she asked me finally.
“Yeah, a little bit,” I answered. Three and a half days of traveling didn’t leave much time to eat.
She led me to a table at the far side of the temple that was overloaded with fruits, vegetables, breads, and meats. “Offerings to Aphrodite,” she said, grabbing a chicken leg. “I’m sure she won’t mind sharing.”
I chuckled, and reached for a slice of bread.
We filled a couple of plates, and sat down with our backs to the stone altar. After a few minutes, I looked over to the side of the room where Kira had laid. The cot was empty.
“So what happened to Kira?” I asked finally.
“She…disappeared,” Gabrielle answered after a beat. “I had to put the pinch on you because you’d never hold still long enough for Aphrodite to do her thing, and then she put you two back together.”
“It’s all right,” I said, rubbing the spot on my neck where she had applied the pinch. My voice was just about back to normal now. “You had no choice.”
She nodded her understanding. “We dragged you over beside Kira’s bed, so Aphrodite could lay her hand on Kira’s heart and your head at the same time.”
“Did it involve a bright light?” I asked, remembering what I had seen.
“Yes,” Gabrielle relied. “A beautiful and golden light. I had to cover my eyes, and when I could finally look again, Kira was gone. Aphrodite said she was absorbed back into your personality.”
I shook my head. “I don’t quite get it. Did you get to know Kira?”
Gabrielle’s face darkened instantly in a blush that was far darker than normal for her. “Yeah,” she finally said. “She uh…traveled with me for quite a few days.”
I stared at her, watching her nervous behavior. It was totally out of character for her. “What was she like?” I asked.
“She was…very earnest…very eager to do good,” she said it so low, I had to strain my ears to hear her.
“What else?” I asked gently.
“She was…very trusting…and I have the feeling she was falling in love with me.”
There it was…on the table. Nearly the exact same words I had used to describe my vision of myself as a young girl traveling with the warrior woman. The foreboding feeling that had been hanging on me became crystal clear.
“Gabrielle,” I said slowly, cautiously. “Who hurt Kira so badly?”
Her motions froze. Her eyes were glued to the floor, and as I continued to watch, her head dipped even lower. I reached out and gently touched her shoulder. “Gabrielle?”
For a long time she just sat there, unmoving. Finally, she set her plate beside her, and I saw her hands raise to cover her face.
“I did it, Xena,” she said softly. “I was the one who hurt her… Oh gods!” Her voice broke off into a heart-wrenching sob.
I studied her bent form for a minute, trying to figure out what she was saying. Surely she wasn’t telling me…
She glanced sideways at me, and I got the impression of the wild eyes of a trapped, wounded animal. “Gabrielle,” I began finally. “You mean you allowed it to happen, right? That you weren’t there to save her?”
She shuddered, and when I tried to touch her shoulder again, she jerked away from me. “No, Xena…that’s not what I’m saying. I hurt her myself…I hit her…and restrained her…and…” My ears strained to hear the last part. “I raped her.”
For a minute, I sat back, stunned by her words. I could have easily understood a lot of admissions from Gabrielle, especially knowing her mental condition in the time following Jappa, but this was one I never thought I’d ever hear from her…ever.
My head HAD been feeling better, but I suddenly found it pounding again from all the blood rushing into it. I finally managed to pull myself together, though, and pulled Gabrielle half onto my lap. She wrapped her arms around my neck and immediately buried her face in my shoulder.
I held her and rocked her for a few minutes, letting her calm down. The crying eventually stopped, with only an occasional sniffle coming from her.
Finally, I spoke quietly. “We really need to talk about this.”
“I know we do,” she said, her eyes red-rimmed and watery. “But it’s so hard.”
“Yes, it is,” I said in what I hoped was a soothing voice. “Come on…” I sat against the stone again, with her still cuddled against me.
I gave her another minute to regroup, then began to speak slowly. “The dream I had…wasn’t about me, was it? It was really what happened to Kira.”
“Yes,” she answered. “But Kira is you…so it WAS about you.”
“I suppose she’s a part of me,” I said. “But none of those memories are a part of me.”
I caught a quiver in Gabrielle’s chin. “But it was part of you…” she replied, her voice low and creaky. “Even if you don’t remember, I’ll always have to live with the memory of what I did.”
My heart hurt for her. I lived with guilt every day, and sometimes, the feelings still threatened to overwhelm me. There was only one factor that helped me survive those times, and I was holding her in my arms right now.
“Can you tell me what happened?” I asked then. I still couldn’t imagine Gabrielle raping anyone, let alone a young girl like Kira.
Gabrielle didn’t answer at first, and then she pulled herself so she was sitting next to me. She blew her nose on the napkin, and then pulled her knees up to her chest, hugging them with her arms. She stared straight ahead as she began to speak.
“Do you remember coming to me in your spirit form, Xena?” she asked.
I nodded. “Yes…up to a point.”
“Do you remember what you said to me the very last time you appeared that way?”
I thought back carefully. “The last time I remember seeing you, you were in the woods alone,” I replied finally. “You were very upset and angry with me.”
“Not until after you told me what you had to say,” she replied.
I knew exactly what she meant. It was breaking my heart to see her so lonely without me, so I had suggested she find someone else to love. That had absolutely infuriated her, and we had exchanged angry words before I decided to leave her by herself for then. I didn’t want to say something I would later regret.
I had the distinct impression I failed. But for now I nodded. “I know I hurt you that night,” I told her. “But I didn’t mean to…I was trying to comfort you.”
“By telling me I should forget all about you and just go on with someone else?” she asked bitterly.
I could feel the resentment still very much present in her,, and I had to reach over and take her hand. “I’m sorry I said what I did,” I replied. “I just want you to be happy…always…and I thought by telling you what I did that you would be able to realize that.”
“Well, I didn’t,” she replied shaking her head angrily. “Not at all. I didn’t see how you could think I could just forget about you after all that we’ve shared. I felt as though the love I felt for you didn’t mean anything to you…that you were trying to get rid of me.”
I stared open-mouthed at her. She was obviously speaking what she thought to be the truth, but nothing could be farther from it. I started to speak again, but she went on.
“I felt lonely and deserted, and certainly didn’t want anyone else to keep me company. After that time, your spirit didn’t appear to me again. Where did you go, Xena?”
I felt the hot sting of tears on my own eyelids this time. “I don’t know,” I whispered. “I know I intended to return to you, after a little time had passed, but I don’t know what kept me from doing it.”
“Aphrodite said it took a few days to figure out what had gone wrong with her recreation,” Gabrielle said. “Maybe that’s what was happening, the spell had already begun.”
I could see the emotions starting to swell in her again, And I slid my arm back around her shoulder, giving her a comforting squeeze. “I thought you had left me for good, Xena, out of anger.
“You had no idea what Aphrodite or Odin were up to,” I surmised.
“No…” came the quiet response. “All I know is that I was really and truly alone, since you stopped appearing. I saw a few old friends, but didn’t want to spend any time with them. I felt like a grape in the sun, ready to burst wide open at any time from the pressure.” She paused, then looked down at the floor again. “It was only a day or two later that Kira appeared.”
“She came out of nowhere it seemed. She just showed up and declared she wanted to travel with me. I turned her down at first, but she was persistent, and finally, I thought I’d let her travel with me as far as Corinth. I had no intention of letting her continue with me, but she had a lot of spunk, and seemed so young, I wanted to make sure she wasn’t harmed.”
She gave a strange laugh. “Huh…what a joke. I wanted to keep her from harm, and I ended up being the one hurting her.”
I nodded soberly, not sure of what I could say.
She gave me a quick glance, then continued. “A couple of days went by, and Kira began to intrigue me. She had such courage and desire to be my partner, I decided to give traveling with her for a while a real shot. I had no intention of letting anything develop beyond that…she seemed to be a bit of a loner herself. I figured my sour mood and general disposition would be enough to put her off before long.
“But once again, I was wrong. Kira was a skilled fighter, but she had a lot of growing up to do in the world. I found myself intrigued by her seeming innocence at the way she looked at the world. It was very appealing.”
I listened to the whole story, waiting patiently for her to get to the heart of the matter. Finally, she shifted away from me, and did just that.
“I was having a lot of trouble sleeping….and I guess at some point, Kira began to comfort me whenever I had a nightmare. At least, it seemed like she had done it before when I woke up one night, realizing she was holding me in her arms, whispering to me.
“I was off-guard…vulnerable…and for a minute…” her voice trailed off with emotion, as I leaned in a little closer.
“What?” I urged gently.
“I found her so beautiful…and she looked so much like you…” Gabrielle’s fingers came up to stroke the side of my face gently.
“And things got out of hand?” I guessed, trying to help her out.
She broke from her daze and shook her head. “I almost kissed her that night…I was so close, but something held me back. Even though I could have pretended it was you…I knew it wasn’t, and I just couldn’t bring myself to take your advice. So I apologized, and left the camp for a while. When I came back, she was asleep, and I thought it was all over with.”
“But it wasn’t?” I asked.
She shook her head. “No…that night I had a very disturbing dream…I dreamed I became a warlord like you had been, angry at the world, unrelenting, and forgive me…but cruel. I was a killer and a conqueror…and when I woke up the next morning, I was frightened by how real it had seemed . And even more by how much I had enjoyed the images.”
“Kira, of course, didn’t have any clue what was going on. And I didn’t want to tell her the darkness of my thoughts…I was ashamed of them, and they were coming to me almost constantly now. I tried to tell her to get away from me, Xena…I really did try to warn her…but she didn’t listen.
“The next night, we made camp again, and I sat opposite a campfire from her, trying desperately to keep my feelings under control. Kira was very smart, and didn’t keep questioning me about what was wrong, but I’m sure she could sense there was a problem. I swear to you Xena, I sat there and continued to think of ways to discourage her from traveling with me without really hurting her…I had no intention of doing what I did…”
Her voice was rising in pitch, and I quickly nodded. “I believe you,” I told her. I could see it was important to her that I did.
She nodded in response, and took a deep breath before continuing. “I thought I was getting my feelings under control, when I heard a sound I thought I’d never hear again. For a brief moment in time, I believed that you were back, and I jerked my head up to look in the direction of the noise. When I saw Kira blithely sharpening YOUR sword, all of the anger and darkness pooled into my body.”
I recognized the sudden look in her eyes. “You snapped,” I supplied gently.
Gabrielle’s head flew up and looked right in my eye. “Yeah…I snapped…in a matter of seconds, I was standing over Kira, having already knocked her half-conscious. I let my negative feelings reign…and…” She couldn’t finish the sentence, bursting out into tears again. “Oh gods, Xena,” she cried out. “How could I do such a horrible thing?”
I gathered her into my embrace again, trying to offer her strength and support. “It happens, My Love,” I whispered. “I know it’s terrible, but it happens. Sometimes…your emotions can get out of control, and you just can’t stop yourself. You have to deal with it, and get beyond it…that’s the only way to continue.”
She shook in my embrace for some time…and then I heard another wail go up from her. “But how can I continue, Xena?” she cried. “It wasn’t bad enough it was Kira that I raped…it was you as well! I took your innocence and twisted it into something horrible and dark. I betrayed your trust, Xena. I helped create what you became.”
My head swirled with that series of remarkable statements. I know she really believed what she was saying, but it was simply not true.
“Listen to me, My Love,” I said, taking her gently by her bicep, and lifting her to her feet. I urged her to sit on the stone table, and then placed a hand on either side of her body, leaning in so I was looking directly at her face. “I know you feel horrible about what happened. I understand that. And I know it will be a long time before you feel ‘healed’. That’s understandable too. But you’ve got to believe something right here and right now…The only memory I have of Kira is of a dream, in which a nameless faceless warrior stole a young girl’s virginity. It didn’t happen to me…it happened to someone else…who yes, was an innocent victim. But don’t think for a minute that what you did to Kira has ANYTHING to do with the kind of person I was. It didn’t…she might have been formed from me…but she wasn’t me…None of her memories are mine…none of her thoughts are mine…and what happened to her has no impact on the way I turned out. Do you understand?”
She was staring into my eyes plaintively. “I’m trying…” she said.
I leaned in and gave her a soft kiss on her slightly parted lips. “Tell me what happened after that night with Kira,” I urged her then.
She sighed, then answered, “It took me a few minutes to come back to my senses, and when I did, I realized I had hurt Kira very severely. She wasn’t regaining consciousness, and her skin was pale and clammy. I didn’t want to face what I had done, but I didn’t want to just leave her there to die either, so I loaded her on Argo, and took her to Aphrodite’s nearest temple.”
I listened as she continued. “Once I figured she was somewhere where she would be discovered, I took off riding as hard as I could. I wanted to get away from Kira and the memories, and the world. I rode for hours, until your men brought me down.”
I pretty well knew what happened to her after that, but I still had some unanswered questions.
“You could have gotten away from the men who were after you,” I said after a beat, trying not to be too accusatory. I stood up and crossed my arms over my chest, watching her reaction.
She nodded soberly. “Probably,” she replied. “I fought them for a while…but after a bit, I started thinking, ‘what’s the point?’”
“And you gave up fighting…” I concluded for her. I remembered a time when I had done a very similar thing.
“Yeah…I guess so…” Gabrielle replied. After a second though, she added, “But only for a while…I needed some time to think through what was happening.”
“Which is what you did in the cage…” I said slowly. My mind immediately skimmed back to the first time I saw her there, crouched in the corner of the structure, her eyes and ears alert. From that very moment, she had intrigued me.
“Yeah,” she answered. “I did a lot of thinking in the cage…”
I watched her expression, waiting to see a trace of anger or sadness or something at the way I had treated her while she was in my clutches at the camp, but I didn’t see it. It disturbed me more than if she had lashed out at me.
I sat down beside her once again. Now it was time for me to share my discomfort over the past few days. I found myself looking down at the floor, as she had done.
“I put you through a lot the last few days, didn’t I?” I asked finally.
She shrugged. “No more than I deserved,” she answered.
That statement puzzled me at first, and then I picked up on what she was saying. “You let yourself be captured and allowed me to treat you so horribly because you thought you deserved it?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” she answered with a long sigh. “I mean…yes…I think I finally gave up to your men because I didn’t want to run anymore. I just wanted to stop fighting. But after I had been in the camp a couple of days, I began to think differently.”
“Your men kept talking about their leader…how powerful and commanding he was…and how he would eat someone like me right up…”
“Ah…”I said with a nod. “And you believed them?”
“Yes, I did,” Gabrielle answered. “I had no idea that there leader was really a woman…and a woman who looked very much like the woman I loved.”
“And you decided you would react how?” I asked.
“I decided I wasn’t going to let some man take me without a fight,” she answered, her voice confident and defiant. “I was going to fight back with everything I had.”
I nodded in approval. This attitude explained at least partially how she had been able to put up with the abuse I had put her through. But it certainly didn’t give me an excuse for my treatment of her.
“Gabrielle,” I began slowly.
“Wait…” she said suddenly. “Say that again…”
“Say what?” I asked confused.
“Say my name…”
I looked at her, and saw that she was giving me a beatific sweet smile. “Gabrielle…” I said again.
She gave a soft little noise like a moan, and then told me, “You have no idea how much I’ve missed hearing you say my name like that,” she purred. “I think that’s one of the things I missed the most.”
I tried my best to smile, but couldn’t quite muster it. “Gabrielle…I don’t know how you could ever forgive me for the things I’ve done to you.” The humiliations I had heaped upon her suddenly began to collect in my stomach like iron weights.
“If you had done them, I would have a hard time forgiving you,” she answered. “But it wasn’t you…at least not the real you.”
“But it was the real me,” I protested. “Or at least the way I used to be. I’ve done just about all those things in my past…but I never would have dreamed I would be doing them to you…the most precious thing to me in the world. There is no way I can ever take back what I’ve done.”
“Xena,” she said slowly, “I know you feel bad for what happened…and I appreciate it…but there is really no reason to…you weren’t yourself.”
I turned and looked directly into her big green eyes. “You weren’t yourself either,” I told her. She was staring back at me with a sincere, comforting face, and it should have made me feel better. It didn’t. The trusting expression she had made me feel even worse.
I stood up, and noticed this time, there wasn’t the infuse of blood to my head. “I just kept trying,” I whispered finally, reaching out to touch her smooth face. “I was bound and determined to make you crack…to get you to break…but you didn’t let anything get to you. You just took what I gave and made the most of it…”
“That’s because I love you, Xena,” she answered sweetly. “And I was willing to settle for part of you, thinking I could never have the whole package back again.”
“That Xena would never have been able to love you, Gabrielle,” I said. “And you were willing to try to live your life with her?”
For a moment we just sat there, looking at each other, apologizing with our eyes, communicating with our own silent language, and reacquainting ourselves with our facial expressions.
“I’ve missed you so much, Xena,” she whispered then, in that soft little girl voice that she knew made my insides do flip-flops. No matter how many battles she proved herself in, no matter how many times she saved my own neck, no matter how many enemies she defeated, I would always feel like there were times when she needed me to protect her. This was one of them.
“I’ve missed you too, Gabrielle,” I replied, and then we were opening our arms to each other. The hugs and kisses we had shared earlier had been a welcome to each other, but now, I could feel a different kind of motive in our activities. I had the urge to connect my body to hers…not in a one-sided contest, but in one of those shared periods of bliss…where the receiving was only surpassed by the taking.
We had a lot more to discuss, but right now, I was just as eager as she was to skip the talking and let our bodies do the conversing. She stood up, and took my hand, leading me toward the most lavishly decorated corner of the temple. Known for her predilection for soft, comfortable beds, I silently thanked Aphrodite for the loan of her temple.
“Lie down, Xena,” Gabrielle was saying, and I did as she said, stretching my body out along the length of the bed. I propped my head up on the fluffy pillows at the head of the bed, and raised my eyebrows at her. That made her giggle at me, and I finally had to smile back, so pleased to see her enthusiasm.
She bent over the bed and took my left foot in her hand, skillfully removing the boot. A moment later, and the right had been removed as well. When she lifted her left leg toward me, I dutifully removed her own boot, then did the same with the right. I made a grab for her, but she danced away from me. “Not yet,” she told me, with a wagging finger.
I tried to relax as she moved back away from me, and stood beside the bed, her body swaying to some silent musical piece that I could hear as well. She wiggled her hips seductively, slowly swiveling her abs in a motion that totally captivated me. I kept my body rigid, and just followed her with my eyes, finding the need to swallow often as the saliva built up quickly in my mouth. Her hands were on her hips, but now, she was slowly brushing them up over her ribs, over the outside curve of her breasts, and then up over her collarbone. Her head threw back and she groaned a little, even as I saw her nipples reaching out toward me. I licked my lips, and continued to watch her, my anticipation growing even more.
“Would you like to see me, Xena?” she asked, her voice low and husky.
“You know I would,” I answered, allowing my legs to part slightly. I was wearing the black leather trousers, and the seam of them was pressed into the best possible place. I wiggled my ass a little on the bed, and stopped immediately at the shower of sensations that shot through my center.
She smiled confidently, and I saw her fingers dance over the lacings that held her shirt on. My eyes were riveted to her digits, and she painstakingly released the lacings,. The moment the shirt popped open, her hands spread and covered her breasts, hiding their nakedness from my view.
I groaned in the back of my throat as she continued to dance for me, her hands still covering her breasts, but at the same time, I could see she was rubbing her palms over her nipples, in a sensuous hypnotic movement. She did it skillfully, letting me see the motion, but not letting me see the flesh she was caressing.
“How bad do you want to see me, Xena?” she asked me. Her eyes became mere slits as they zeroed in on mine.
“More than anything,” I answered, allowing myself to slip deeper under her spell.
“Are you wet, Xena?”
“What do you want to do, Xena?”
She was teasing me intentionally, and I was going to go along with it as long as she desired. The last week, she had not had that freedom with me. There’s a difference between dominating and titillating. I know Gabrielle believed I was all here, but there was still a small part of her that wanted to be one hundred percent sure. Teasing was something the other Xena would have never allowed.
“I want to touch you…” I answered dutifully.
“Touch me where…how? Details…I want details.”
I licked over my dried lips yet again. Gods, this was so difficult with my passion rising quickly!
“I’d really like to touch the flesh your hands are covering,” I finally managed. “I’d love to stroke my fingers over your beautiful breasts…very softly at first…just feeling the flesh pebble beneath my touch. I’d move my fingers in circles around the outer rings of your nipples at first, and then, if you’d let me, I’ll start making the circles smaller until I’m brushing your nipples from all sides. If you’ll allow me, I’ll take them between my fingers and give them a firmer touch…maybe some sharp little pinches to get the blood flowing even more heavily into them…”
THAT got her going…she had been smiling and nodding as I tried to voice what I wanted to do, but when I got to the sharp little pinches part, I saw her stomach suck in abruptly and her hips lost their rhythm for a few seconds.
I grinned, more confident now…”And if you’ll let me, I’d really like to taste them…gently run my tongue over them at first, and then lick repeatedly at them, until they’re making you itchy with the need for a more firm touch.”
I paused in my speech and looked up at her, trying to communicate with my eyes the need that my body and mind were suffering from at that time. It must have worked. She reached down and grabbed both hands.
“For gods’ sake…do it,” she hissed, pressing them to her chest.
I did everything I promised, including escalating the touch to a persistent kneading motion. I tugged on her breasts…one in my mouth, the other between my fingers, but was careful not to be overzealous with my actions. From her punctuated “oh gods” and gasps, I think I was successful in achieving the right level.
I could smell her cunt juices intensifying as I continued to worship at her breasts, and pulled back enough for her to unfasten her belt and wiggle out of her skirt. I glanced down, and saw she was still wearing my borrowed breeches. Her fingers were tangling in the waistband of the garment, when she suddenly shrieked out my name in surprise.
Her legs were giving way beneath her, and my right hand left its hold on her breast to help lower her to the bed. Once she was there, she continued to ride out her impromptu orgasm.
I felt her tugging upward on my hair, and allowed her to pull me away from her breath at once. Her mouth met mine in a searing kiss of further growing hunger and sexual satisfaction. When we parted, I was the one gasping for air.
“You made me come just by making love to my breasts,” she said, sounding incredulous. I had orgasmed from that kind of stimulation a few times, but this was a first for Gabrielle.
“Yeah, how about that?” I responded. “I’d like to use my mouth on something else to make you come again…”
“Gods, yes…” her fingers regained their hold on her underwear, and together we stripped the undergarment from her body. Almost instantly, she was reaching for the buttons on my trousers.
“I want to make you come too,” she whispered, as I moved my body so she could finish pulling my clothes from me.
My own scent filled my nose when my breeches were pulled from me, and I felt an answering tremble in my thighs when she half sat up and took a nipple between her lips. She careened her tongue wildly over the surface of it, leaving me no doubt that she would be just as aggressive with the hardened nub of flesh that was swelling down below.
Her mouth sought out my other nipple, but I had to have more and soon. My taste buds were causing me to salivate again, just from the smell of her cunt juices. I urged her to move so we could taste each other at the same time. I moved to all fours again, this time, my mouth hovering above her sex.
Her inner lips were so swollen, I couldn’t see the treasures they protected without urging them apart with my fingers. The sodden flesh within was reddened from the rush of blood, and I scooped my tongue downward, starting just below her clit and ending just below the entrance to her vagina. It caused her hips to jerk upward, but I pulled my head up, wanting to savor the salty sweet taste of her moisture on my tongue. Once I had swallowed and savored her flavor, I dove back in.
The sensations of drinking at her fountain while she did the same with me was fantastic. I intentionally sucked loudly at her soaked flesh, not just because I loved the sound of it, but also because it caused her to do the same…make those glorious wet slurping noises that were exciting and pressure-building.
She stabbed at least three fingers up inside me, and I did the same with her, concentrating on mirroring everything she did with my own actions. She formed a wedge with her fingers, and she began to fuck me in a wonderful twisting motion, only to immediately have the same thing done to her. Her hips were thrusting upward to meet my strokes each time, and I felt her lips close in on my hyper-extended clit. I wrapped my lips around hers a second after, and we groaned in unison.
Every tug she gave with her mouth, I repeated, but I found myself taking the lead in the movement of our fingers…and I lengthened my strokes, while expanding the width of my fingers at the same time. She was doing the same, and the pleasure started from deep within my womb…I yanked my mouth from her clitoris, feeling the need to cry out, and wasn’t surprised when I felt her doing the same.
“I love you!”
I sank onto my back on the bed next to her, my brain taking a moment to process the fact that she had shouted out the exact same thing I had. When I felt her hand take mine and give it a squeeze, then continued to hold it, I realized that my ears hadn’t deceived me. We had a lot more talking ahead of us, but the fact that our love was still intact, would help us get through the difficult times. It was her divine love for me that had ultimately brought me back to lay here beside her…
I planned on spending the rest of my life showing her my gratitude.
I was almost asleep when a thought occurred to me. “Hey,” I whispered, giving Gabrielle a slight nudge.
She had been asleep, and it took her a second to stir, then she was lifting her head to look into my face, her expression one of worry. I gave her my widest grin then, and held out my hand. “Gimme back my chakram.”
COMING NEXT WEEK: Xena and Gabrielle spend some time in a Roman palace doing what they do best. The title, “X Marks the G Spot” says it all.
The Xena and Gabrielle XXX Scrolls Page 3