My thanks to Archaeobard for her aid and advice.
Disclaimers: Xena, Gabrielle, and Ephiny are registered to RenPic, only the story belongs to me. The Amazons belong to all of us.
Warning/Danger: Two women in love with each other. If this is a problem for you because of age or location, move or move on.
I always love feedback: Kamouraskan@yahoo.com
Ephiny was trying to ignore the usual babble in the Amazon's dining hall. Seated alone, the curly haired Regent was eating distractedly from a bowl while concentrating on her official papers. For that reason she was immediately aware when a sudden hush fell over the room, and she instinctively looked to the doorway.
Xena stood there, and it was clear to Ephiny's eyes that she was holding herself up by sheer force of will. Trying, but failing to mask her pain, the Warrior made the slow, laborious journey to her table. It was clearly an emotionally and physically exhausted woman the Regent saw, and as she limped over in what were obviously torturous movements, Ephiny was shocked to see how pasty the normally bronzed skin was. The exhaustion in her eyes was almost distressing to see. Almost.
"Warrior..." Ephiny greeted, trying hard to keep a composed expression.
"Been a while..."
Several of the Amazons raised their eyes to stare at the Warrior Princess, but were cowed immediately by the laser blues. Xena slowly ran her eyes over the entire room, until all were occupied with other concerns. She carefully eased herself down onto the bench. Ephiny winced as she heard the joints creak.
A bowl of cereals was placed in front of the warrior. Xena waited for a moment before digging in.
"Eph?" There was a some sort of internal struggle going on, as the normally taciturn warrior tried to work out where to begin.
"Yeah?" The Regent knew that it was a effort for the warrior to talk, so she put down her parchment and focused her attention on the woman beside her. "What is it, Xena....If there's a problem, and I can help...?"
"Ephiny...Would you call me a prude?"
The Regent tried to control the coughing spell that seized her.
"yeah, yeah. A prude? Um, no, I don't think that's a word I've ever associated with you. Why?"
"Well, it's Gabrielle." Xena cleared her throat.
"What about Gabrielle?"
"Well ..., I think,.... I guess you knew that we hadn't... well, until now that is...."
"Yes, I knew." Ephiny grinned. Everyone in the village knew. Several smirking Amazons had asked if they could have the pick of the litter of whatever they were breeding in the Queen's hut for the past few days. Xena shot a glare towards her.
Ephiny took a calming breath and composed herself. "Go on."
"Well, she's been very,...extremely,...enthusiastic."
Ephiny fought to keep her mouth rigid. "Well Xena, it's not too unusual for a young woman to be, um, like a kid with new toy."
"You've never been the toy, Ephiny."
Ephiny's lips twitched slightly. "It's a normal response."
"Eph. Four days. And nights. It passed normal two days ago." The warrior closed her eyes briefly.
"Continuously, for four days?" The Regent was skeptical. The warrior shuddered slightly before nodding.
"You must be exaggerating. You take breaks, right?"
"We do, but... then we start touching and cuddling, and one thing leads to another..."
The Regent had to look anywhere but at Xena. She began to scan the yard outside the window. "I don't know what to say. This is really not a conversation I ever expected to have, at least with YOU...Where's the Queen now?"
"She went for a run."
"Oh?" The lips twitched again.
"She said she wanted to get some exercise for her legs."
"Eph, she can crack walnuts with her thighs already!" the warrior had raised her voice, and this comment was overheard. There was some snickering which a quick glare squelched.
"Really? You mean she actually can..."
Ephiny began to get worried. "As tiring as this has been, you haven't given Gabrielle any reason to feel...rejected, or unwanted in the past few days?"
Xena only snorted.
Ephiny tried again. "Not even unintentionally? I mean she's in a very delicate balance here."
"What I mean is, new love, all these new feelings; you haven't been tempted to give her the pinch so you could sleep or anything?"
"Dammit Eph, I can't keep my hands off of her!" The growl inspired another round of giggles in the dining hall. This time the warrior stood up with one hand on her sword until there were just eating sounds again.
Ephiny pulled Xena back to her seat.
"Well that's good, right?"
"That's not what's worrying me."
"Um, Xena. I did think that you had a bit more, well, endurance..."
"I did. But everybody has limits."
"Apparently not." A snort broke out of the Regent's mouth. Xena glowered and rested her hands on her thighs.
"I'm sorry Xena, but you have to see that there is some humour in this. I mean..." Another chortle worked it's way out. "...there's you." Indicating her tall dark companion. "And then there's this little bit of a blonde..."
Xena was sucking on her teeth pensively. "You mean the little bit of a blonde that keeps throwing you on your rear in wresting...?"
"That's not the same thing...or is it?"
"Thrown on your ass, is thrown on your ass, Eph..."
At that, the tension dissolved between them , and they both began to laugh, though Xena had a trace of blush in her face.
"I have done things, I have shown her climaxes," Xena's voice went down to her lowest register, and Ephiny felt a quiet shiver, "that would have blown off the top of the heads of any of my previous lovers. She says they just invigorate her..."
"Just wants to 'learn' more..."
Ephiny took a fist and tapped Xena's shoulder with it in a comradely way. "I will remind you, you've survived worse."
"Yeah, but maybe... you could talk to her..."
"What? Ha! No way."
"Eph, there's more to this, I know. She's almost frenzied... I've asked, but she just says I inspire her. If you could talk to her..."
"No. Way. Gabrielle hates talking about that sort of stuff."
"You'd be surprised at what Gabrielle likes talking about, lately...and...I'm going to EXpire soon. Eph...something's wrong." the Warrior pleaded.
Ephiny sighed. "No promises. But I will see what is going on. That's all."
It was then that another kind of hush occurred and Ephiny looked up to see Gabrielle enter. Almost wafted in on a cloud of joy, her slightly blurry happiness seemed to light the room. She stopped to greet several of her Amazons and then continued towards them. She seated herself demurely beside her warrior and smiled as the servers spread her usual order across the rest of the large table.
The Warrior muttered something about Argo and stumbled to the exit.
"Ah, Xena?" Gabrielle called to the retreating back. Xena froze. "You will be back soon, so that we can go over...those matters we discussed again....?"
There was a short nod, and the warrior escaped.
Ephiny waited until Gabrielle had finished her first plate of eggs. She cleared her throat nervously. " Xena seems to be, sort of... tired." She began.
Gabrielle face was aglow with satisfaction, but there were traces of malicious enjoyment as well.. "Yes, she does, doesn't she?"
Ephiny tried to start again. "Gabrielle, I really don't want to intrude where I'm not welcome, but..."
The Queen's eyes were entirely guileless once more. "Ephiny, you're one of my, if not my very best, friends. You can ask me anything."
"Well, Gabrielle. You do know what you're doing to her, don't you?"
The Bard grinned. "Not entirely at first, but I think I've gotten the hang of it now. And I do mean hang. You know those roof supports..."
Ephiny dropped her eyes.
"Well, I have a whole new appreciation for how well built the huts in this village are now."
Ephiny covered her eyes with one hand. Her shoulders began to shake. She took a breath and examined the glowing face of her friend
"Are you doing this to her deliberately? Is this some sort of revenge for all the forced marches she put you through the first year you were together?"
"Was she comparing this to a forced march?"
"No No no! I was."
"Better be," The Bard reached over to grab another muffin and began to munch grimly. "Ephiny. In a few days, we are going to be back on the road. With all the dangers that keep her in full warlord mode. And that's if we're lucky. Can you honestly give me a guarantee that we'll have a long life to enjoy this...this spectacular thing ? I've already lost her twice..."
The Regents eyes grew softer. "No, I can't guarantee that. But you can't have a lifetime worth of sex in one week."
Gabrielle raised her eyes to the Regents and held them. "No, but you can damn well give it your best shot."
"She's just a little...overwhelmed right now."
"No. I meant, have you told this to Xena?"
"You will tell her?"
Gabrielle didn't answer.
It was with a great deal of trepidation that Xena finally approached the Queen's Hut. Squaring her shoulders, remembering what Ephiny had told her, reminding herself of the terrors she had faced in her past, she finally went to open the door.
It was barred.
A low voice from inside spoke. "What do you want?"
Xena waited a beat before answering. "I want, I need, to get into that bed, our bed, and hold you. And I need to sleep."
"I can't believe you talked to Ephiny. She compared the last few days to a forced march!"
"Gabrielle, Why didn't you tell me that you were still scared? That us, being together, only made it worse."
"I want to come in, and just sleep. With you. And then I want to wake up with you. Every morning. That's what I want. Whatever it takes to be able to do that, I'll do."
"For how long?"
The warrior stopped. Her shoulders dropped. How could she make her believe?
"I've already told you, Gabrielle. Beyond life, beyond death," The warrior spoke clearly, tenderly, reminding Gabrielle of the promise made so long, and yet not so long ago. "I. Will. Never. Leave you."
The warrior waited, and she heard the bar being removed. She entered the hut.
Gabrielle sat on the bed. Her eyes were not red, but her face was expressionless. Arms folded across her lap, dressed in her delicate sleeping gown. Xena was transfixed for a moment.
"Stop." She was commanded. "Now you can come to bed, just to sleep, but there are certain...conditions." The Bard's expression was firm.
"Yes. There is an imaginary line around the bed. No clothing is allowed past that line." Xena smiled. This was more like her Gabrielle.
" But you're still dressed." The warrior pointed out reasonably.
"Yes, but it's my line. I drew it."
"I just need...to look at you, Xena. Please."
"Whatever it takes, but, not too long?"
"Xena, on the road, you're in charge of our lives and our security. This is the Queen's hut, and it's my line."
The warrior began to unclasp her armor. Gabrielle sat on the bed facing her, very carefully munching on a biscuit, her face somewhat impassive, but her full attention riveted to each movement Xena made, memorizing each detail. Xena felt a certain familiar flush.
She removed her bracers as the Queen's eyes ran up and down her body.
"Is there a problem, Xena?" It was a gentle inquiry, but it still caused a tremor in the Warrior.
The bard's gaze was surveying her arms and shoulders as each was exposed, and Xena could feel the stare as a physical thing. A very warming, physical thing.
"No...not really a problem..."
"You've never been shy about your body before this."
Xena felt the urge to turn away as she slowly lifted her shift. The gaze pursued the seam of the shift as it traveled upward, as more of the taut tanned skin was revealed. Xena licked her suddenly dry lips.
The warrior leaned forward to pull the cloth over her head, and caught the almost feral glint in the Bard's eyes. Gabrielle seemed very intent, committing to memory each aspect, each muscle, silently chewing on the biscuit. Xena dropped the shift, standing nude in front of her silent lover. Xena forgot to exhale for a moment when the small pink tongue extruded for a flash and lightly touched the tip of the cookie. The air in the hut seemed hard to breathe suddenly.
Gabrielle began her appraisal with the feet, remembering how they had stroked her... She followed the natural curve thinking 'those legs, ...and those thighs...' and her breath caught, and she moved her eyes to the dark curls for a moment, her tongue venturing out again for a instant.
The warrior saw the movement, and quivered slightly but otherwise remained motionless as the dark statue she appeared to be..
Gabrielle continued upwards, appreciating the breasts, her tongue still able to feel the sensation of those nubs, and the ridges surrounding them. Then the callused but so gentle hands, and up along the strong shoulders, thinking of the spot just on the downward slope. How Xena would buck and moan when she laved and suckled on it. 'What was the most erotic part of her lover's body?' she wondered. But it was no contest. She reached the warriors' face, and was riveted by those eyes. As always.
"Mine." She stated with determination.
"Forever." Xena whispered.
Gabrielle let out a sigh, releasing the repressed tension. She remained silent for a moment, wondering if this small seed of permanence should be nurtured.
Yes, I want this, I will believe in it.
The decision made, she lay back, sliding the covers over her, keeping the blankets raised to receive her lover.
Xena moved to join her. "You know Gabrielle...."
"We don't have to ....not..."
"Well, I've been just noticing..."
"That it's not all that painful right now..."
Gabrielle laughed softly. "We have tomorrow, right?"
"More than just tomorrow, I promise."
There was s quiet moment of pleasurable adjustment, a sliding that stirred desire in both of them, and then a calm.
"This is love, too, isn't it?"
"Yeah. It is." Xena kissed the head lying on her chest, and closed her eyes .
Gabrielle reached up to gently caress her face before settling down, reveling in the warmth and moved her head to kiss a nearby shoulder. "But Xena...?"
"You know how hard it is to wake me?"
"When you wake me up tomorrow...?"
Pause."Could it be with your tongue?"