DISCLAIMER: This FANFIC uses characters from X:WP and H:TLJ, which are, of course, the sole property of MCA Universal and Renaissance Pictures. But the story, such as it is, is all mine.


This includes a spoiler for "Sacrifice, Part II."


Oh, and it's rated the same as the television show: PG14 for suggestive



~ Autolycus






THE SCENE: Xena and Gabrielle are walking through the same woods they always walk through. It is a pleasant day, blue sky, white clouds, black microphone, the usual.



XENA [Smiling discreetly]: How was I supposed to know his head would come off like that, Gabrielle?


GABRIELLE [Still trying to wipe blood and brains from her clothing and hair]: How many fights have you been in, Xena?


XENA: Counting the last one?


GABRIELLE: It was a rhetorical question.


XENA: Oh. [mumbles] 1,358.




XENA: Nothing. What's the number of fights I've been in got to do with anything?


GABRIELLE: After all the times you've used that sword of yours, you ought  to know by now what the result of swinging it through a man's neck will be.


XENA: Well, sure I knew his head would come off. I just didn't expect it  to land on you. You were moving around so much, taking out the others with your staff--Nice job, by the way. You're beautiful when you're angry--that I lost track of you. I said I was sorry.


GABRIELLE [Pulling her hair in front of her eyes]: Sorry? Is sorry going to get this gore out of my hair?


XENA [Grinning]: No, but I know what will. There's a stream just around the bend we can wash up in.


GABRIELLE: How do you know that?


XENA [Whispering]: Just keep in mind that I didn't write this drivel! [Regular voice] Being an expert woodsperson, I just know.


GABRIELLE [Whispering]: Ugh. Is this an Armus and Foster script? [Regular voice] You'll have to teach me some of those woodsy skills one of these days.


XENA [Whispering and grimacing]: "Woodsy skills??!"


GABRIELLE [Shrugging]: Oh, look! There's the stream! I can't wait to get naked!


DIRECTOR [Rushing in]: CUT! "Clean." The line is "I can't wait to get clean." Now, let's try it again from the "woodsy skills" line. And, remember, Xena, that you are to stay on the bank and not look at her.


XENA [Sighing resignedly]: I remember. What should I look at?


DIRECTOR: I don't know. Watch for Warlords or Callisto or something. Just don't look at Gabrielle when she's bathing.


GABRIELLE: Callisto's dead.


DIRECTOR [Exasperated]: WHAT-ever! Just don't--


ROB TAPERT [Jumping out of a jeep that has screeched to a halt inches from the girls and the Director]: Never mind the scene for now! I've got a great deal set up for you two. Hop in.


The girls hop into the jeep with RT and it speeds off, leaving the Director choking on a cloud of dust.


XENA: Rob, I think we need to talk about the script we're shooting...


ROB: Don't worry about it. I'll have a talk with the writers and I'm sure we can make it work. Here we are!


GABRIELLE: Make it work??! Have you read this thing? It's got even more continuity errors than most and absolutely no, zero, nada, goose-egg, zip, nothing whatsoever in the subtext department!


Rob ignores her as the jeep screeches to a halt in front of a gigantic hotel with a huge fountain in the courtyard. All around the fountain are various lights and shades, a portable trailer, and about a dozen people milling about, including one flamboyantly dressed man with several cameras around his neck.


PHOTOGRAPHER: At last! Oh, you weren't kidding! They are fabo! Except for the blonde...What is that in your hair, honey?


GABRIELLE [Blushing and trying desperately to comb the gore from her hair with her hands]: Just some special effects. [Whispering angrily to Rob] You could have let me get cleaned up first!


PHOTOGRAPHER: Well, they don't look too special to me, baby. Ann-Marie! [A matchstick wearing a bikini runs up] Take little miss star here and get that crapola out of her golden locks. Thanks, love. [The matchstick and Gabrielle head toward the trailer] Now, then, let's take a look at your friend...Oh my.


XENA [Suspiciously]: What?


PHOTOGRAPHER: Well, the cave-bunny thing has simply got to go. It's so passe.


XENA: I'm a warrior from Ancient Greece. Not some prehistoric bimbo.


PHOTOGRAPHER: Whatever, dear. It still has to go. I do like the eyes, though. Gorgeous, absolutely enthralling.


XENA: Thanks. Does that mean I can keep them?


PHOTOGRAPHER: Oh, Puh-leeze! Spare me from children, animals, and would-be comedians! Now, as for the hair...[Xena begins to growl dangerously]...I guess it can stay the way it is. We'll just wet it down. Mary-Ann! [Another matchstick in a bikini runs up] Take miss bad attitude here and get her changed. Chop-chop, darling! We don't want to lose the sun!


GABRIELLE [Walking up, her hair clean and still wet, but her outfit the same]: Kind of hard to do that. It's the big orange thing in the sky.


PHOTOGRAPHER: Oy vey! Not another one...Anne-Marie! Have you lost your mind, girl? Why is miss moppet here still wearing these disgusting rags?


ANN-MARIE [Whining and pouting]: But, you never told me to change her.




PHOTOGRAPHER: I don't tell you to breathe in and out, either, but you don't fall over dead because you don't! Now, get her into something that doesn't make her look like a medieval whore!


GABRIELLE: Excuse me? [As she's dragged off by Anne-Marie] Who are you calling a medieval whore? And I'm from Ancient Greece. You know, the Golden Age!


PHOTOGRAPHER: Whatever. You still look a floozy. Uh oh. [Sees Xena storming towards him, naked, and dragging Mary-Ann behind her] What's the problem, sweetie?


XENA [Holding up something that looks more like a potato bag than a swimsuit]: You can't seriously want me to wear this??! It practically covers up my entire body!


PHOTOGRAPHER: Didn't Roberino mention the new sponsors? Right Gear: For those folks so conservative they give Ollie North the willies. This is their line of swimwear, guaranteed not to arouse those unhealthy passions which lead to sex and other disgusting things. [Aside] Personally, I hate the stuff, but you should see the money I'm getting for this shoot. When this is done I'll be able to buy all the cheap toy-boys I want!


XENA: This isn't going to happen. Gabrielle and I are out of here. Gabrielle! [Gabrielle emerges wearing a shapeless mass of material which effectively prevents anyone from telling she is a woman, and barely reveals that she's a human being] Ack! Get that thing off, Gabrielle! We're leaving.


ROB [Rushing up]: Xena, sweetheart, not so fast, pussycat. There's a lot of money involved here. [Whispering] Money I've already spent on other things, if you catch my drift. [Regular voice] Come on, for me? It won't be that bad and I promise to make it up to you. Pleeeease?


XENA: You'll fix the script. Add some genuine subtext. A real bathing scene, with both of us in the water at the same time. And a firelight backrubbing scene.


ROB: Sure, Xena. Anything you want. Just get into the suits and do this for me, okay?


XENA [Grabbing Rob by his collar and lifting him off the ground]: If you even think about backing out of our deal, I'll hit you so hard your lawyers' parents will feel it! Do we understand each other?


ROB: A backrubbing scene and a bathing scene both in a subtext-friendly script? What are you trying to do, drive away every het sponsor we've got? This is a business, Xena. It runs on profits, not on your whims. I can't make that kind of--AAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!! [Xena lifts Rob over her head] Okay! Okay! A backrubbing scene and a bathing scene! Now, put me down!


XENA [Gently setting him down on the ground]: I knew we could come to a mutually agreeable compromise. C'mon, Gabrielle. [Begins to get into her swimsuit] Let's get this over with.


PHOTOGRAPHER: Finally! Now, stand in front of the fountain next to each other, but don't touch each other! [Xena and Gab, looking like lumpy sacks of dirt, stand in front of the fountain] Perfect! Okay, when I say "Millions," give me your biggest smiles. Ready? [The girls nod sullenly] Get ready...[Photographer motions to assistants who immediately drench the girls with freezing cold water]...Millions! [Snaps furiously as the girls scream in shock] Great! Pout for me! Show me those lips, blondie! Now, you, warrior babe, flash those baby blues! Hey! [Xena and Gabrielle jump into the relatively warm water of the fountain and begin massaging each other to work the cold from their bodies...but, well, knowing the girls, one thing leads to another and pretty soon they're going at each other like there's no tomorrow] I can't use any of that!


ROB [Sighing enviously]: I sure could.



Xena and Gabrielle lock lips and sink beneath the shallow water of the fountain. A few seconds later both their swimsuits float to the surface as the screen fades to black.