DISCLAIMER: The characters taken from the TV show Xena:Warrior Princess are subject to copyright. No infringement intended. This story alludes to homosexual sex. (Both Gay and Lesbian)
If you are liable to be offended, please read something else. Anyone who does read on may make their comments known, if they so wish at Rab@xgrd.freeserve.co.uk
Losing Touch, Gaining Touches
by Rab Donald
As ever, Gabrielle found little difficulty in attaining sound sleep.
The warrior watched her, with no need to conceal the admiration, the desire from her face. It amazed her how a woman who was simply stunning when awake, somehow appeared even more beautiful when she slept.
Xena had chosen to eschew Morpheus this night. They were camped in the forest, at not the most secure of locations. She would remain alert, sleep was not a necessity for her. They would travel on in the morning, find a tavern, or a safer place to make camp, and only then would the warrior surrender to slumber. Ideally with Gabrielle's arms wrapped around her.
She had attended to Argo, cleaning the mud from her hooves, grooming her, ensuring that the horse had some shelter and food for the night. And now her weapons had been cleaned, honed, readied for any battle to come.
Leaning casually against a sturdy tree, the warrior quietly stepped to her right and forcefully thrust back an elbow. As she knew it would, it caught the man fully in his stomach. He gasped, bent double, then fell to his knees, breathing heavily.
The warrior covered his mouth, to prevent his oaths from wakening her friend. She grabbed the man by the hair and pulled him to his feet.
Standing, he was several inches taller than her, his face all stubble and scarred. His expression, defiant.
"Dominic! what do you think you are doing?" smiled Xena
The man was still catching his breath.
"You're losing your touch, Xena. I've been watching you for over ten minutes, and at any time I could have murdered your little friend"
The warrior smiled again, it was not her menacing grin, she seemed genuinely amused.
"You always were slow on the uptake, Dominic. Tell me, how many of your rag-tag gang are out there with you? Your little troupe of boyfriends"
Dominic looked hurt. "You can talk, Xena. You could have any man you wanted, yet you choose to travel everywhere with your little girlfriend"
"Any man? Surely not. I mean you don't lust after me do you?" she raised her eyebrows.
"You know what I mean, Xena. If I prefer the company of men, well I thought you at least might have understood" he said.
"Absolutely" replied the woman "I have no problem with that. I guess I just can't see what any of your boys see in you. I mean, if I was a young tearaway, looking for a warlord to cosy up with, I sure could think of a few others who were brighter, more handsome, better fighters...."
"Always with the insults, warrior princess" sulked Dominic.
"So anyway, how many?" Xena repeated the original question.
"There are five others, camped not far from here" he answered.
Xena smiled at him, there was a hint of menace this time.
"You just said you could have killed Gabrielle. Not a clever thing to say to me, however, I am making allowances as I already know you are not the cleverest of people"
Dominic searched in vain for a retort.
"Go fetch your five men. Tell them they have a mission to kill Gabrielle.
They can try separately, or as a group" the warrior paused.
The tall man looked blank.
"Then after I have killed all five, you can go fetch one hundred men, to attempt the same task. Then after I have dealt with all one hundred, you can go, scour the countryside, gather up a thousand men......"
Xena looked to his eyes for any sign of comprehension.
"But I don't want to kill Gabrielle, I just said I could have" he muttered.
"Sheeesh!" sighed Xena in total exasperation. "Dominic! Just tell me what in Hades name you are doing here"
"Oh!" something dropped into place "We saw you make camp earlier. My friend Morius wants to speak with you" said the slow-witted man.
Xena shook her head, in disbelief.
"Dominic, rejoin your gang, tell Morius I will speak with him tomorrow"
She saw him about to speak, Xena held up a hand.
"I will find you, don't worry. Tomorrow, Dominic, after sun-up"
With the man now departed, Xena walked over to the still sound asleep bard. The warrior decided that though she would not sleep, there was no harm in slipping under the blanket.
The touch, the smell, the very essence of Gabrielle was as bliss to Xena. She snuggled close. Wrapping her arms around the bard, she softly kissed the red-blonde hair, her cheek, her neck.
"I love you, Gabrielle" the warrior whispered.
The bard stirred momentarily " I love... love.." she mumbled before being reclaimed by sleep.
The early morning sunlight was filtering through the trees, Gabrielle had been awake a few minutes, but she feigned continued slumber.
She had never been so happy. When she first awoke, she glimpsed through scarcely open eyelids, the warrior watching her.
It had been the same, last thing at night. It was one thing to have a 'protector' who was the most capable warrior alive, it was quite another that she also happened to be the most gorgeous woman who had ever lived.
It seemed barely possible, but there was more. Recently, Gabrielle had become aware of the way the warrior looked at her.
'You're losing your touch, Xena' the bard thought, happily.
The normally stoic warrior had been revealing her thoughts by her loving stares, lustful looks. The bard had noticed this several times, but somehow dared not believe it was true. This morning, she was convinced. Xena, the legendary Warrior Princess was in love with her.
Her! Gabrielle, a simple girl from Potidaea, had captured the heart of the mighty Xena. It was too good to be true. Yet, the bard now accepted it as fact. And she could not be happier.
For her part, Gabrielle had fallen in love with Xena from the very first day they had met. It had been love at first sight.
"Big problem, Gabrielle" smiled the statuesque beauty.
"What?" the bard opened her eyes wide, looked concerned.
"I didn't sleep last night, so I spent some time making breakfast"
Xena broke into a radiant grin. Gabrielle did likewise.
"Listen, I promised to meet someone called Morius, he is camped nearby with a warrior called Dominic and a few others. With a bit of luck, we can let them cook the breakfast"
"Sounds good to me" grinned Gabrielle.
As they walked slowly through the woods, Xena turned to her friend.
"Dominic is a warrior, I use the term loosely, who I know from the past.
He is actually not a bad sort, but a little slow-witted. He sleeps with his men. I mean he has sex with them. I thought that you should know, in case you see something that may shock you"
The bard did look a little surprised. "I have heard of men who favour other men, it doesn't shock me, I just don't think I've ever met any" she said.
"I think you probably have" smiled Xena "though most men like that don't advertise the fact. Dominic has always been open about it"
"And Morius, the man you are meeting?" asked Gabrielle
"I don't know him" said the taller woman.
They found the camp easily. Gabrielle joined the others at breakfast, while Morius took Xena to one side.
"Listen Xena, I have heard about you, Hades! Who hasn't?" began the man who was quite short, but stockily built. His hair thinning on top to reveal a small bald patch, he had an ugly looking scar across his throat.
"When I saw you yesterday, I just had to meet you, ask for your help"
Xena was aware that he was keeping his voice low, even though they were surely out of ear-shot of the others.
"It's Dominic, I am really worried about him" the man continued.
"I know he was never the brightest, but he seems to be getting worse.
Too many blows to the head. I have got to get him away from this ridiculous way of life" Morius sounded worried.
"I agree. But what can I do?" said the warrior. Morius sighed.
"I don't know Xena. But you got out, you were a warlord and you changed" he said.
"Warlord!" Xena laughed, though she hadn't meant to.
"You cannot call Dominic a warlord! Look at you! Six men, one of them over there looks little more than sixteen! I'm sorry for laughing, but you aren't the most fearsome bunch I've ever met"
The laughter seemed to enrage Morius.
"We are tougher than we look!" he growled "and we get work, guarding temples, collecting debts......" he was defiant.
"No offence, Morius, but my friend Gabrielle could take on the lot of you, so spare me the tough talk" Xena said, sincerely.
The man shook his balding head. "See this? He pointed to his throat, someone did this, just because I am who I am, or rather what I am.
We do more fighting than most, Xena. I know what people say about men like us. We can fight, believe me, so don't give me this tired old nonsense about 'fairy fighters' We've heard that too many times. Without you, your little friend would be nothing, a scrawny little girl"
It was the warrior's turn to shake her head, and control her temper.
"Morius" she hissed, struggling to keep her voice even "I don't want to fall out with you, but you are not helping. I never called you 'fairy fighters'. My assessment comes from long experience. I have encountered more warlords, soldiers, and just plain thugs than you could ever realise. Instinct and judgement to a great extent have helped me stay alive. And don't you make superficial judgements about Gabrielle. She does not kill, it is a code she has. But as a fighter, she has become quite formidable. I stand by my assertion. That 'scrawny little girl' as you call her could kick your butts all the way to Athens and back. If she chose to"
Morius still looked unconvinced, but he let the argument rest.
"All I care about is Dom, protecting his head from further beatings, I fear just one more heavy hit will make him forever....."
"You love him, don't you?" Xena interrupted "I can tell, from the way you speak of him"
Morius smiled a gentle smile. "I love him very much. That is why I am so keen for us to get away, go somewhere, do something that is not so dangerous. Please talk to him Xena"
"I spoke to him last night. I'm not sure he understood me too well"
Morius smiled. "Yes, he came back and told me that one hundred men had tried to murder your friend, but you had killed them all. So we had to go find a thousand men"
Xena sighed. "That was not quite what I said to him"
"I know, but I think I got the meaning. I had heard that you travelled with another woman. She is special to you?"
Xena looked over to see the green eyed bard still devouring breakfast. She was also telling stories, making Dominic and the others laugh, she seemed so relaxed in the company of strangers .
"More special than I can express in words." Xena looked wistful.
"Then you understand how I feel about Dominic. It isn't something I can explain, it is just so. Please help me" Morius begged.
"What about the others?" asked Xena "Dominic had a reputation for enjoying all his little gang" she said candidly.
"I cannot speak about his past. But for the last two years, it has been only him and I. The other four know, and yes, they too, are as we are.
But bedroll hopping is in the past for Dom and I"
The warrior called across, asked Gabrielle to join them.
"You carry maps inside your brain, how far are we from Corinth?"
Xena and Gabrielle walked together, with Dominic and his group wandering several yards further back.
"Why Corinth? It is so far away" asked Gabrielle
"Because they are more accepting there. You know, of people like Dominic and his men" said the warrior.
'People like us?' thought the bard, but she dare not say it aloud.
"I think you are very kind to try to help them" said Gabrielle, then her eyes lit up.
"Megara! Why didn't I think before. It is quite close by, and it is a very tolerant little town"
The warrior looked puzzled "Never heard of the place"
"Aaah! That is because you don't read endless scrolls like I do" grinned the bard. "They have festivals, carnivals, banquets devoted to only the hedonistic gods"
"I thought all the gods were hedonistic" quipped the warrior.
But Gabrielle was lost in memories of reading.
"Some of the scrolls I have read! Zeus himself would blush! Drinking and gambling and the orgies!" she was grinning broadly.
Xena almost looked shocked "you are supposed to be innocent"
"You should be pleased that such writings exist" smiled Gabrielle
"Why so?" asked the warrior. The bard took a deep breath.
"Because it was by reading such scrolls that I first learned that woman can love other woman. Not simply like sisters, but in a carnal way too.
So when I had similar feelings and ideas, I knew I was not alone.
It is the way I love you, Xena. And the way I know you love me"
The tall beauty stopped in her tracks, her mind reeling.
"You sound very sure of yourself" said the warrior with a crooked grin
She then nodded her head.
"You heard me last night, telling Dominic that I would kill a thousand men before they got close enough to harm you" she said.
"Actually, no I didn't. But I heard it now" the bard grinned, her green eyes sparkling with love and adoration.
Xena blushed slightly. She had been caught off guard by a harmless looking bard. 'You're losing your touch Xena' she chided herself.
They reached Megara well before nightfall.
"So now we are here, what do you plan to do?" asked the bard, with Morius standing close by. They had chosen not to mention anything to Dominic until some sort of plan had been devised.
"Tell me Morius" said the warrior, "with all your work, have you managed to save any money?"
"A little" was all the man would divulge.
Xena turned to her friend. "You say Megara is quite accepting of same sex relationships?"
"According to what I have read. I believe men and woman travel many miles to get here, for that very reason" the bard confirmed.
"Even in such a place, with liberal attitudes, wouldn't it be great if there was an inn or a tavern that catered especially for men like Dominic, women such as....." she still couldn't quite accept that Gabrielle felt as she did, the word 'ourselves' remained unspoken.
Morius' face lit up. "I've always wanted to run a bar!" he grinned.
"Yes!" Gabrielle caught the spirit of the occasion "and as you said before, Xena, some men just won't admit their true feelings. In a tavern such as that, they would feel more comfortable, knowing they were amongst like minded people"
"It sounds like it may work" said Xena turning to Morius.
He was gone. Running up to Dominic with excitement showing in his every movement.
The two women found themselves alone, in a tavern full of people.
"So my little bard, you reckon I love you, do you" smiled Xena.
"Perhaps we should get a room, preferably with a hot-tub and a comfortable bed" Gabrielle responded.
Xena grinned from ear to ear. "For what purpose?"
"This love, this love and lust thing between us. It is only a theory of mine" smiled Gabrielle "and any good theory wants putting to the test"
Xena stood up, took Gabrielle by the hand. She led her swiftly to the bar.
"Innkeeper, Innkeeper!" shouted the warrior.
"We need a room. NOW!"
THE END (of the beginning)