~ Cyrene Ex Machina ~
Disclaimers: The characters of Xena, Gabrielle, Cyrene, Toris and Argo belong to MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. I use them for fun and not for profit. If the concept of two women making love is illegal where you live, if you are under age or if it bothers you, you should either move to another place, wait until you grow up or you should not be on this altfic-site altogether.
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Now, all this said, let's get on with
Part 1: Cyrene Ex Machina
The things a mother has to do to get her daughter taken care of?
Gabrielle looked sideways at Cyrene, trying to read her mind. They were busy in the kitchen, Gabrielle kneading tomorrow's bread, Xena's mother stirring the stew. It smelled good. The Bard enjoyed to be in Amphipolis again, and especially in Cyrene's Inn, where Xena had spent her childhood. Every single item around them told a story of a little dark-haired girl that had grown into the beautiful Warrior Princess. Gabrielle loved to hear all those stories and Cyrene proved to be an unlimited source. She looked at Xena's mother again and wondered at the lack of resemblance with her daughter. Except for the eyes, of course, Xena must have favoured her father. Toris, Xena's older brother, who looked a lot like his sister, could also point out the things that had witnessed Xena as a little girl, but he took care only to do so when his sister was not around. Xena had never been a volunteer for information about herself and scolded her brother when she caught Toris telling the Bard about "sentimental old crap". Gabrielle was almost jealous of him, having known Xena all his life. She wanted to know everything there was to know about the woman she had grown to ?love. She sighed.
Yes, there was no more denying it; she was in love with the tall dark Warrior Princess. It had dawned on her, as she was performing at the Inn last night. The audience had hung on her every word while she had told a love story. Any story about the heroic adventures of the Warrior Princess was entirely out of the question in Amphipolis of course, as Xena would have nothing of the kind in her hometown, so Gabrielle had to limit herself to legends about the Olympians or to just plain love stories. At least when the Warrior was around, and she was most of the nights as Gabrielle entertained the patrons at Cyrene's Inn. Xena served them ale and port, pretending not to listen to what the Bard told her breathless audience. During one of those romantic tales, it had suddenly hit Gabrielle. The emotions she was describing in great passionate detail were the exact feelings she herself felt ?. for Xena!
It was only with great effort that she had managed to finish telling the romance and she had retreated with a lame excuse soon afterwards, to Xena's old bedroom that they shared.
She had been wide awake when Xena joined her silently, some time later, but pretended to sleep when Xena had whispered her name. She had not slept much at all that night, however, trying to cope with the enormity of what she had discovered about herself? and sharing the bed with the object of her passion no less! Of course they had shared beds before: they always shared beds, baths and campfires, but now every slight touch, every thoughtless contact seemed to almost burn! During the night, this burning had accumulated in her body and concentrated into a hot ball of desire that was located somewhere low in her belly.
She had worshipped and admired Xena from the moment they met, obviously, but without realising it, the feeling had developed, matured. It was somewhat like a disease that had slowly gotten her into it's grasp, the symptoms ignored, until it was suddenly diagnosed. No, wait, she didn't like that metaphor very much?besides, she was pretty sure there was going to be no cure for this ailment. It was rather as if flowers and trees had stealthily started to blossom one by one, and all of a sudden you noticed spring had come, and had been there for a long time. That symbolised the irreversibility and the wonder, although spring, of course, was to be expected every year? yet Gabrielle had not seen this coming, not by a long shot.
She wondered if anybody else had noticed. She looked at Xena's mother again, while she kneaded the slightly tepid, supple dough and stroked it thoughtlessly. She would have confided in Cyrene, but the realisation was still too fresh in her own mind. Would Cyrene approve? Should she tell Xena?
Suddenly Cyrene looked Gabrielle straight in the eyes.
"The answers are yes, yes, no and yes." She said with a smile, wiping her hands on her apron.
Gabrielle was caught unawares and speechless. "I ?" she stammered.
"Yes, I have noticed that you love my daughter, and yes, I am pretty sure she loves you right back, no, she will never tell you of her own accord and yes, I approve." Cyrene explained herself with a huge smile. "You, my child, are so obvious; I can read you like a book."
Gabrielle still didn't know what to say. Were her feelings written on her face like that?
"Do you think Xena knows too?" she stammered, a deep crimson spreading over her face.
"No, sweetheart, no. My big dumb warrior daughter only sees what threatens her. Or her loved ones," she added with a wink. She took a clean spoon and tasted the stew, before she took some spices and stirred them into the simmering mass.
"Oh, Cyrene, what am I to do?" Gabrielle asked.
Just then someone entered the kitchen. Her back to the door, Gabrielle sensed instantly who it was and felt her heart jump and her colour deepen. Xena wrapped a relaxed arm around each of them. "How are my two favourite women in the known world?" And added, without waiting for an answer "It smells good in here!" She pressed a casual kiss on top of each head and then caught sight of a pile of freshly baked cookies, grabbed a few and mumbled "Mm going mm see mm Argo," her mouth full, on her way out.
"Exhale, Gabrielle!" Cyrene advised dryly, one eyebrow raised just like her daughter often did and a teasing smile playing around her lips, not even looking at the girl. "My, she is in a good mood today!"
"Gods, she is beautiful!" Gabrielle sighed as she did what Xena's mother had told her.
Cyrene shook her head with a smile. "This is quite new to you, isn't it?"
"Uhm?yes? " Gabrielle sighed again.
"Have you ever been in love before?" Cyrene inquired.
"No. Not like this."
Cyrene smiled "Tell me if you need any help."
"Help?" Gabrielle was puzzled.
"Help telling my daughter." Cyrene said patiently. "She can be a little hard-headed at times." Which, both of them knew, was an understatement. Gabrielle grinned wryly.
"I am not so sure I want her to know. Yet. I need to get used to the idea myself first," the girl said. "Would you ? like me to?"
"Yes, very much, honey." Xena's mother said. "You complete my daughter. I could not wish for a better love for her."
Gabrielle's blush, that had lessened somewhat, intensified again.
"Xena has learned so much since she met you," Cyrene continued. "She looks so ? balanced and she has matured so much."
"So have I," Gabrielle admitted softly.
"You see, sweetheart!" Cyrene said, hugging the young girl. "You two are a perfect match. And take an advice from an old woman: don't waist precious time."
"What if she doesn't feel the same way?"
"Trust me, child, she does. A mother knows those things, you know!"
It was with different eyes that Gabrielle looked at the Warrior Princess, that night, as Xena helped her mother run the Inn. And it was also with a different heart that she told the romantic stories she had performed a hundred times before. It felt like she had only said the words before; now she felt the meaning! The audience was even more captured than usual. Even Xena, who always tried to ignore the romantic nonsense, as she preferred to call it, noticed the difference and glanced at the Bard every now and then. Gods, Gabrielle seemed to glow! the Warrior thought.
The crowd was very disappointed when the Bard finally stopped and retreated. Xena helped her mother clean up after everyone was gone and then quickly went up to her old bedroom. One candle was left burning.
"Are you all right, Gabrielle?" Xena whispered to the dainty little figure that was on the bed, her face to the wall, while she took off her clothes.
"Yes, I'm all right, Xena, but ? uhm? we need to talk." Gabrielle didn't turn to look.
Xena's heart was pounding as she spooned in behind her friend. "Tell me," she said, with what she hoped was a reassuring tone.
"I have ? I think ?. I mean?. Oh Gods!" Gabrielle swore under her breath. "Xena, I'm so in love with you!" she blurted out.
The Warrior's old heart jumped. Ah, but this could not be true. Gabrielle was surely under some kind of spell. Cupid or Aphrodite were most probably at it again, and that was a best case scenario. Panic raced through her throat. A thousand things went through her mind all at once and she didn't know what to say or do. So she lay still and held the small woman tight.
When Xena did not respond, Gabrielle started to sob softly. Xena stroked her hair, whispering hushing sounds into her ear and "It is going to be alright, I promise, I will make it right." until her own worst fear subsided and they both fell asleep from sheer emotional exhaustion. The lone candle had died long before.
When Gabrielle woke up the next morning, Xena was not with her. She went to the kitchen to find Cyrene. Xena's mother only took one look at her and knew all she needed to know. She embraced the girl and pulled her close.
"It went that well, huh?"
"I told her and she didn't even respond!" Gabrielle cried. "She only comforted me!"
"I think she has trouble believing it, sweetheart." Cyrene said. "She stormed through my kitchen early this morning and I heard Argo gallop away shortly after. Knowing my daughter, my guess is she is working things out for herself. Give her a few days. I mean, even you needed some time to get used to the idea!"
That was true, of course. Gabrielle calmed down, aided by a trademark hearty breakfast. During the day, she kept herself busy with all the chores that came with an Inn, but every time she heard the sound of hooves, her heart skipped a beat or two. It was not until late that Xena returned. She acted as if nothing had happened. Gabrielle let it rest, and was simply glad that her friend was there again. It felt good just to watch her, her tall figure, her graceful bearing. Especially seeing her here, in the setting where she had grown up. Having admitted it to herself, the warm feeling in her heart just grew bigger and bigger.
"Any progress?" Cyrene asked Gabrielle some days later. Gabrielle shook her head wordlessly.
"Didn't think so," Xena's mother said. "Ever since she was a little girl, Xena has worked things out on her own. Never much of a talker. That's why she fancies you, of course."
"Are you sure she really does?" Gabrielle asked.
"Positive." Cyrene assured her. "I have seen the expression on her face when she looks at you. No doubt in my mind, honey! She may not realize it herself yet, but she will. And she will eventually acknowledge it to you too."
"I so hope you are right."
"Maybe we could speed it up a little? Let me take care of it." Cyrene said. She walked to the door. "Toris, could you come in for a moment, son?" she called.
Xena's tall brother walked in to the kitchen, washed his hands and came to the furnace.
"What can I do for you, Mother?" he asked.
"We need your help," Cyrene said, indicating Gabrielle and herself.
"Well, this is a delicate matter. We seem to have some trouble convincing Xena that Gabrielle loves her." His mother said.
Toris was dumbfounded. "Do you mean to tell me that they are not a couple?" he asked incredulously, looking from one to the other.
"Yet." His mother confirmed.
"Ri-ight," he said thoughtfully. "Xena must be real crazy about a girl to be so careful!" he whistled between his teeth. "And where do I get in?"
"I think that, if you could just be a little uhm ?possessive over Gabrielle, Xena would act on it." Cyrene said.
"Hmm," Toris considered. "I don't want to mess with the Warrior Princess. But then again, I do want Gabrielle in the family, and I want my sister to be happy."
"Then you'll do it?" his mother asked.
"Make her a bit jealous?" he asked to make sure. "How do you feel about that, little sister?" he asked Gabrielle affectionately.
"I uhm? I'd be flattered," she said with a watery smile. "And I hope it will help."
"Don't worry, dear, I told you Xena only has eyes for what threatens her or her loved ones," Cyrene assured. "Thank you, son!"
Toris took his assignment very seriously. He made sure to be around Gabrielle a lot, especially when Xena was there to see it. Sometimes he'd put his arm around her shoulders, but he never made her feel uncomfortable. In the mean time, he shared with her everything he could remember about their youth, about their father and about Lyceus, their younger brother, who had died. The impression was not lost on Xena. She was on edge and short-tempered. She went for long rides on Argo, but never came back in a better mood.
"Mother, I think I will be leaving tomorrow." Xena burst into the kitchen a few days later. "I will leave Gabrielle here."
"Did you ask her opinion on that, dear?" Cyrene asked. Oops, this plan could backfire!
"No, but she seems to be having a good time."
"I am sure she would prefer to come with you," her mother said.
"I'm sure she would rather stay with you and Toris."
"Are you jealous in any way, my daughter?" Cyrene asked carefully.
"Yes. I think I am jealous." came the honest answer. There was no fooling Cyrene.
"Do you love her?" her mother asked.
"More than life itself." Xena sighed.
"That's what I thought," Cyrene said. "Then talk to the girl."
"Mother, I want her to be happy."
"You can make her very happy, sweetheart."
"I will only make her miserable and endanger her, Mother. She would be far better off with Toris. And I don't deserve to be that happy."
"Oh, come here, you!" Cyrene pulled the head of her tall daughter down to wipe a silent tear from her eye. She held her tight for a few moments and then urged: "Of course you do. Give yourself a chance. Go, talk to the girl! Get out of here!" There was only one person in the known world that could tell the Warrior Princess what to do.
Xena found Gabrielle with Toris at the Struma River. They looked at the water. He had his arm around her shoulders, her head leaned on his. Xena felt a pang of jealousy.
"That's my girlfriend you are holding, brother!" she said with a cold voice, stretching to her full intimidating height.
Toris turned around. "I am comforting her because you aren't, my sister," he said. "Come take my place." He stood up, as tall as his sibling. Xena seemed to shrivel a few inches at his kind reply.
"Only if Gabrielle wants me to." They both looked at the young woman.
"Yes, very much," the Bard said shyly. "Thank you, Toris."
Toris grinned. "Treat her nicely, sister!" he mock warned the Warrior and then turned back to the Inn.
Xena sat down and didn't know what to say.
"Do you need comforting?" she asked finally, uneasily looking at the flowing water.
"Well, that depends," the young girl said.
"Do you still feel the same way about me?" Xena asked. She ventured a look at Gabrielle.
"Yes," Gabrielle answered simply.
"I didn't dare believe it." Xena explained. "I was convinced one of the Olympians was playing a trick on me. I thought probably Ares."
"They weren't." Gabrielle said softly.
"No, I know. I checked with Aphrodite and she verified it on mount Olympus for me. It took a couple of days."
"So I noticed," Gabrielle said with a slight smile. So that was what Xena had been doing the past few days!
"That would have been the ultimate way to hurt me." Xena said.
"Why?" Gabrielle's heart was pounding.
"Because it is the one thing I want the most and was sure never to get." Xena looked down at her knees.
"You want the most?" Gabrielle asked carefully, not daring to believe her luck.
"Yes, Gabrielle, somewhere along the line I fell in love with you too. But I knew I couldn't hope for you to return my feelings."
"Why not?" the Bard asked, a smile growing wider and wider on her lovely face.
"I am not right for you."
"Yes, you are!" Gabrielle objected.
"I wish for a better partner for you." Xena said softly.
"I don't want anybody else but you." Gabrielle carefully slid her arm around her friend.
Xena leaned into the embrace. "I don't want to endanger you."
"You'd be there to rescue me, wouldn't you?" Gabrielle asked. "And besides, I can take care of myself, you made sure to teach me that!" She pulled the dark head closer and kissed Xena's cheek softly. The Warrior sighed.
"I don't deserve to be this lucky."
"Oh yes, you do!" Gabrielle objected. "And if you like, you can make me this lucky too!" she offered her lips to the Warrior and waited, holding her breath.
Xena could no longer resist. Her lips nearly touched the Bard's, when she asked; "Oh Gabrielle, are you sure?"
"Yes," Gabrielle answered and pulled those enticing lips on her own for the first of many, many tender kisses.
A little out of breath the two arrived at the Inn just in time for dinner. Gabrielle slipped into the kitchen, while Xena slid behind the bar to take over from Toris.
Cyrene took one look at the young Bard and smiled contentedly. The girl was flushed and avoided eye contact. Cyrene left her to her thoughts, entertaining her own.
When Xena passed through the kitchen in order to replace a barrel of ale, she saw her daughter had an equally flushed appearance.
"Xena, I take it you two are going to stay on a while longer after all?" she asked with a barely concealed conceited smile.
"Uhm.. yes, Mother," Xena threw a quick look at Gabrielle. "We uhm? feel you and Toris need some extra help for some more time."
"Great!" Cyrene said enthusiastically. And you may need a mother's help yet.
The evening was deceivingly like many others, Gabrielle entertaining the patrons and Xena and her brother serving drinks and food. But all four of them wore a special smile. Gabrielle didn't dare look at Xena as she told yet another romantic tale, because when she did once, she blushed violently and started to stammer. Xena was very much distracted by the Bard and listened even more attentively than usual, touching her lips in disbelief as she remembered their kissing. Toris glanced from one to the other and Cyrene, in the kitchen, could not wipe the smug smile off her face if she had wanted to. She decided to close shop relatively early this evening and sent the two girls upstairs, offering to clean up herself.
Gabrielle could hardly wait for them to be alone again; she took the stairs two at a time. Xena was more contemplative. They undressed and washed in silence. The blonde was first in bed and stretched out her arms for the Warrior. Gabrielle had never seen her friend this timid and felt concern fill her.
"Xena, are you sorry?" she asked carefully.
"No, Gabrielle, I am ?uhm I think I am scared." The Warrior admitted.
"Come?!" Gabrielle patted the place next to her and wrapped the tall woman in her arms. "Don't be scared. I love you."
"Thank you, Gabrielle." Xena whispered, barely audible.
"Thank you for what?"
"For loving me."
"Oh, silly!" Gabrielle said and started to kiss the beautiful face. She planted soft and lingering kisses all over Xena's forehead, her beautiful eyebrows, softly kissed each eye, slowly lowered to her cheeks and drew dangerously close to her ears, kissed her chin, gradually making for the delicate neck, all the time taking care to omit touching her mouth as if she didn't want to rush things. And still giving Xena the chance to escape. Finally, she could no longer suppress the urge and she carefully covered Xena's enticing lips with hers. She heard them both exhale. Xena responded eagerly.
Some time later the taller woman managed to say, "Gods, I love you too!"
It felt so rich, so blissful, to hold the beautiful Warrior that Gabrielle's heart nearly burst with happiness.
The following night, Gabrielle was eager to dive into Xena's arms again, but she noticed it was somehow no longer enough for her. She wanted ? more. She yearned for more than just lying in each other's arms and kissing. She longed to touch the entire beautiful length of the gorgeous woman and? she wanted Xena to touch her! Xena however, made not a single effort to do so, she even managed to spoon behind the smaller woman so that the Bard couldn't reach anything but Xena's arms. She lay against Xena's chest and heard the Warrior's heart beat. Fast, like in a battle! And battling she was, the Warrior Princess, against herself, terrified to loose her self-control and to force herself onto this beautiful young woman. The young woman in question, however, would have loved her to?
When Gabrielle turned around to lay her hand on Xena's heart and barely brushed the erect nipple of her left breast, the Warrior quickly grabbed both the Bard's hands and kissed her fingers so tenderly that Gabrielle melted and she felt like the luckiest person in the known world.
Early next morning, Xena was out of bed again when Gabrielle woke up. The Bard went to the kitchen and found Cyrene with a questioning look.
"I don't know, Cyrene."
"I hadn't expected either of you out of bed so early, I must say!"
Gabrielle blushed. "She loves me but I'm afraid she doesn't uhm ? want me."
"Oh, yes, sweety, she does!" Xena's mother was convinced. "Miss mighty Warrior Princess has been chopping firewood ever since she woke up. I think I have enough to last us until Winter Solstice." She grinned. "She is obviously working off some pent-up energy."
"What do you mean?"
"She's scared. Scared to scare you off."
"Cyrene, what can I do?" Gabrielle was desperate.
"You'll have to seduce her, young lady. Tomorrow morning, if you don't succeed tonight, I will send her upstairs with breakfast for you. You will have to take her by surprise. Be ready. Be persuasive, make sure she cannot resist. Convince her you are ready. And ? use your imagination." She stressed.
Gabrielle didn't know what Cyrene meant, but she trusted it would come to her when she needed it. Imagination was something she had lots of!
After another night of long and tender loving kisses, sweet words of love and sleeping in each other's arms, Gabrielle realised she was going to have to take matters into her own hands. She had taken their kissing to the next level by slightly opening her lips and letting her tongue slip out to caress Xena's. A sharp intake of breath told her Xena was shocked, but the Warrior had not retreated and she had teased and provoked her lips until the older woman had practically begged for more. Yet the Warrior had not trusted herself to touch Gabrielle's eager body.
In the morning Xena got out of bed silently, thinking Gabrielle was still asleep. She found her Mother in the kitchen and kissed her on the hair.
"Good morning, Mother!" she said. "I smell fresh nutbread!"
"Good morning, daughter," Cyrene replied with well-concealed surprise. "You are up early again!"
"Hmm, yes, couldn't lie still anymore." Cyrene grinned inwardly. It had to be Tartarus for Xena to lie still next to Gabrielle!
"I will need you to do something for me, after you've freshened up."
"First thing? I was going to do some drills. "
"First thing, please." Cyrene answered unambiguously.
When Xena came back, her mother had prepared a tray with two mugs of tea and warm nutbread, butter and jam.
"Could you take this upstairs to Gabrielle, honey?" she asked.
"Now? Mother, I think this is not the right time for her yet, she is still sleeping."
"Do it anyway, sweetheart. Take it from me, she will love the nutbread still warm." Cyrene urged.
Still unconvinced, Xena did as she was told.
Meanwhile, upstairs, the Bard had set to work. She had relieved and washed herself, brushed her teeth and her hair, aired the room, lit a candle, put some perfume between her breasts and quickly lay on the bed, when she heard Xena's footsteps on the stairs again. The Warrior entered, carrying the tray loaded with breakfast for two. When she saw the blonde draped across the bed, her arms high, her legs slightly apart and her nighty barely covering anything, she inhaled sharply.
She put down the tray quickly, for fear of dropping it, saying "Oh Gods, Gabrielle, you are so beautiful!"
"Come?" Gabrielle said, in a husky voice. "I need you?"
Xena hesitated. Her desire fought her self-control. Lust won. She slowly knelt next to the bed and reached out one hand to touch Gabrielle's skin tentatively. Encouraged by the Bard's reaction, she stroked all the bare skin she could reach, covering the soft skin with kisses and worshipping the beautiful body of the woman she loved. So pure, so new.
Gabrielle was in Elysia. This felt so good, her body was on fire, Xena's hands, and ooh, her lips! lighted a liquid fire within her, which ran through her veins and concentrated in the apex of her legs. Al sorts of sounds emerged from her mouth, voluntary and involuntary and they all encouraged Xena to have more, more and still more of this very willing Bard.
Suddenly she opened her eyes and looked at the Warrior. "Oh, Xena, I want you too. I want all of you! ? Come!"
A cloud abruptly darkened the remarkably blue eyes.
"Oh, Gabrielle, I don't know ?. I feel? I feel so ? dirty. I mean, all the things I have done?. And you ? look at you? so innocent, so pure. I feel like I am ? soiling you." A single tear ran down her cheek. "I wish I were a pure as you. You should be my first too, because? " Xena had difficulty saying it, "You are the first I really love."
Gabrielle smiled, sat up and pulled Xena next to her. She wrapped her arms around the apprehensive Warrior reassuringly and stroked her hair.
"We should meet halfway, you know: I don't want to be so innocent anymore."
Xena smiled a watery smile. Gabrielle planted a kiss near her ear.
"I have heard of a tribe far down south in Africa that believes you become a virgin again when you make love to a virgin." She buried her lips in Xena's neck, which sent shivers down the Warrior's spine.
"If only." Xena sighed.
Gabrielle realised she had to take this problem very seriously. If she didn't handle this right, this new relationship would begin all wrong. And it was crucial, she was convinced, to start off right, because it was going to be ? forever. She was very sure of her own feelings for the Warrior and, somehow, equally sure of Xena's feelings for her.
Although she was very much aroused, she hugged the tall warrior comfortingly.
"You know what?" she said, suddenly understanding why she had to use her imagination, "We will do just that. I will purify you. And then every part of you that I touch will become mine. Forever." She added, as a warning, but with a twinkle in her eyes. "Let me get dressed, we are going to need some privacy."
Xena watched the beautiful Bard dress and pack their saddlebags.
Suddenly Gabrielle caught sight of the tray. "Oh, don't you just love cold tea and nutbread?"
They both laughed as they devoured breakfast.
Cyrene threw them a confused and disbelieving look as they entered the kitchen. For a moment she was speechless.
"Mother, we are going to leave you for some time after all," Xena said, as she grabbed two waterbags and went to fill them outside. "We may be away for quite a while!"
Gabrielle packed a few provisions for their trip too and winked at Cyrene. "It's the imagination thing," she mumbled in her ear, as she kissed her on the cheek. Xena came back in.
"Ah, I see," Cyrene said. "Uhm? you girls take good care of each other."
"We will," they both answered simultaneously, before looking at each other and roaring with laughter.
Cyrene was at least partially reassured and stuffed their saddlebags with a bottle of port and some more nutbread.
Part 2: Gabrielle ex machina
"Okay, where to?" Xena asked as they mounted Argo.
"To the sea," Gabrielle said, without hesitation. "We need a secluded beach."
"Okay, I know just the place," the older woman said. "It is so secluded even Argo can't come."
"Perfect," Gabrielle said as she encircled Xena. They headed south.
Xena felt weird. Here she was, riding in front on Argo like always, but this time, Gabrielle was definitely in charge. Knowing the beautiful Bard was in love with her added to her surrealistic feeling. It had been extremely difficult not to take advantage of her innocence, especially when she was begging for it! But Xena could not have lived with herself if she had.
Gabrielle felt strange too. She had always enjoyed riding behind Xena, being able to dream away on the rhythm of Argo's movement. Now she knew something very important was expected of her: she had to convince the tormented Warrior Princess she was allowed to love and worthy of being loved. Although she was very much distracted by their skins constantly touching, she set her mind to work. By the time they arrived at the rocky shore line, she had her plan almost completely worked out.
"This is where Argo can no longer come with us," Xena said, as she dismounted. They overlooked the sea far below, bathing in the noon sun. Apollo's wagon had almost reached it's highest point. She helped Gabrielle down and held her for just a second longer than necessary. They looked each other in the eyes.
"Are you scared?" Gabrielle asked the Warrior.
"N not really," she answered.
"It is going to be fine," the Bard said, kissing Xena chastely on the lips. They hid saddle and bridle under some brushes and set Argo free, knowing the horse would return at Xena's first whistle. The two women started to descend a fairly dangerous and rocky slope towards an intimate, secluded, sandy beach. It was obvious nobody ever came there. They collected driftwood for fire, but did not light it just yet and set up camp.
"Right," Gabrielle announced finally. "Let's get started."
"Yeah," Xena retorted, "We are certainly going to need some time for this job!" they both grinned.
"Before we start, I want you to close your eyes and listen. Listen to the waves. They come and go." Gabrielle said. Xena closed her eyes as she was told. "During this entire purification, the waves will wash you. Every wave that comes will wash you and you will be cleaner with every wave that goes. Listen to the waves cleaning you, body and soul." She sounded every bit an Amazon Queen.
Xena nodded, her eyes closed, and breathed in deeply through her nose. It was hypnotising. Gabrielle admired the proud figure of her beautiful friend, facing the sea, her long dark hair faintly moving in the slight sea breeze.
"Right, you get it." Gabrielle said. "The sound, the smell, the taste, the sight and the touch of the waves will cleanse you inside and out. They will keep doing that, even when you don't pay attention."
After some time Gabrielle took Xena's hand and said: "Undress now."
Xena did as she was told. Gabrielle was the guide here. She took off her armour and her underwear and piled it neatly next to the firewood. She stood back up and breathed the sea air in deeply again.
"Now lie down here, face down." Gabriele requested. She had retrieved some olive oil from their saddlebags and mixed it in the palm of her hand with some of the fine sand that was all around them. She slowly applied it to Xena's shoulders, her back, her bottom and legs, gently scrubbing all six feet of dark skin in silence. She had some trouble keeping her own thoughts as pure as she wanted Xena's to become and she was sure Xena would feel the same. she expected it was going to be worse however? she asked Xena to turn over.
"I am concentrating very hard on those waves, my love." Xena said, with her deep voice, her eyes still closed, an eyebrow raised and a slight smile on her lips. Gabrielle's heart jumped wildly with happiness. My love!
Xena surrendered to her touch completely as she started to apply and rub in the sandy oil to Xena's front, shoulders, arms, breasts, belly and (swallow!) those legs? and concentrated very hard on the waves too. Finally, she sat down at the Warrior's head and gently scrubbed the beautifully carved face and neck. She looked down on the closed eyes and relished in touching this stunning woman that wanted to be hers!
"Now give me your hands," Gabrielle said softly. The Warrior did as Gabrielle asked. The younger woman gently massaged both in turn.
When she scraped the sand off Xena's entire body, she softly repeated: "With this sand I erase from your skin all the dirt that has ever touched it."
After nearly all the sand was removed, Gabrielle undressed too and invited Xena into the water to wash the remains off her tenderly. It was good to cool off in the waves, for the Virgin as well! They didn't speak much and Xena had her eyes closed most of the time. The Warrior was obviously taking this very seriously, which pleased Gabrielle to no end.
She was not so sure she did the right things: it was true she had heard of the tribe far down south, but she had not heard any specifics. She really had to use her own imagination and make the ritual up as she went along. Suddenly she thought of some clay she had seen higher up.
"Xena, for the next part I will have go and get something. You can lie on the sand and rest."
Gabrielle didn't bother to get dressed, as there was nobody else around for miles. It somehow added to the purity-thing. She got hold of the clay and took it back down to the beach, where Xena had stretched out in the sand.
"Have you ever looked at your skin through a microscope?" she asked.
"No." Xena was puzzled.
"If you look closely, you can see that the top layer consists of loose parts which we have now scrubbed off you. Underneath there is a layer with little hairs and holes, which are called pores. Your sweat comes out of pores like that."
"Hmm, never looked at it that way," Xena said, holding an arm high to protect her eyes from the sun. "How do you know?"
"I learned it at the Academy in Athens."
"Interesting! That explains why one can still feel dirty even after a bath."
"Yes. Now I am going to cover you with clay. Clay pulls everything out of your pores."
"Go right ahead, my Virgin." Xena said with a smile.
"You will have lie completely still, in order to let this Virgin purify you to the pores."
Xena moaned as she complied, The Bard covered Xena's tall body for a second time, smearing the soft, liquid clay all over her, starting with her face this time, but leaving her eyes, nose and lips uncovered. It was a very sensual feeling, both for the Warrior and for the Virgin. Xena's supple body moulded very willingly to Gabrielle's dexterous hands. Both swallowed repeatedly. Xena started to hum a tune in order to distract her from the sensations she was not allowed to feel just yet. The volume of her humming increased as Gabrielle approached the more erogenous spots and lowered as the tension lessened. As the younger woman finished the job, the clay on Xena's face was already dry, becoming a stiff mask in the blazing midday Greek sun. Gabrielle could start all over adding another layer. She carefully applied more clay and told Xena again not to move. Xena took care even to breathe carefully, but the hardest part was not to smile. Now that she didn't feel the direct touch of the delicate hands, she just felt cool, as the moisture in the clay slowly evaporated. To her surprise, she felt somewhat detached, almost as if the clay was indeed cleaning her pores.
"Gawrielle" Xena murmured after some time, trying not to move her lips lest the clay should break.
"Take care you don't get sunwurnt."
"Sunwurnt? Oh! You are right. I forgot all about that. I am going to cool off and then I will come right back, okay?"
It was very unlike Xena to lie still and not scan the surroundings all the time. She decided to let it go for just this once and completely rely on Gabrielle. Even though the Bard took her sweet time before she came back! When she finally did return and had protected her back and shoulders from the afternoon sun, she asked Xena if she was okay.
"I could do with a drink." The Warrior said. Gabrielle suppressed a grin.
"Do you think we could do that without cracking your clay?"
"It will be my pleasure."
The only way, she figured, was to take a mouthful herself and press her lips on Xena's. Some water was spilled, but most of it did reach it's destination. Xena swallowed.
"Thank you, Gawrielle. It is letting go."
"The clay. I think my face is dry." Gabrielle looked carefully and saw the colour had lightened considerably all over Xena's body. There were still some darker places and only a few cracks under her ribs.
"Good! I will take off your mask first. Your body is still busy drying."
She carefully removed the clay from Xena's face, which almost came off in one piece.
"Oh, look, Xena, isn't it beautiful?" she said excitedly. She held it up for her fiend to see and then put it down carefully, like a giant shell, in the sand.
"It is beautiful. And I will have my next drink served the same way as the last, please!"
Gabrielle leaned over and gave her a chaste kiss. "Don't forget what we are here for, my friend!"
Xena quickly regained herself. "Right, sorry. I would like another drink, though."
"Of course," Gabrielle tenderly served her some more. "Now listen to the waves while the rest of your body dries."
"Okay, do you know this weighs more than my armour?"
"It does? No I wouldn't have guessed."
They sat in companiable silence until the colour of the clay had lightened up all over.
"Can you feel it loosen, like your face?" Gabrielle asked.
"No, not really."
"Well, I think you are ready." Gabrielle lifted the breastplate carefully, but it broke in the middle, between the breasts.. "With the clay I remove the dirt from under your skin," she said softly, as she lifted the belly. Xena sighed with relief and sat up as Gabrielle removed arms and legs in more fragments. Gabrielle arranged all the pieces more or less together on the beach and filled it up with sand where necessary, pasting the segments together with some leftover liquid clay. Hands and feet were missing.
Xena stood there, stretching her muscles and contemplating her cracked horizontal statue. With uncharacteristic feeling for drama, she said: "Behold the damaged monument of Xena the Unscrupulous. It has fallen." And then added, more enthusiastically: "Shall we demolish her together?"
"Yes, let's, but ? wait a moment. I want to look at her some more. I rather liked her, you know?" They both smiled.
"Oh well, you get to keep the original." Xena grinned. "Do you know I really do feel much cleaner now?"
"Already? I haven't even finished!" Gabrielle was pleased. "Okay, let's do it."
Xena took a large piece of driftwood and attacked the elongated figure, slaying it to pieces. Gabrielle watched the zeal with which Xena did it, but could not bring herself to join in. But the Warrior didn't need help. In no time, all that was left, was an unrecognizable elevation of clay and sand.
"That was very fulfilling," the Warrior said, panting slightly. "What's next?"
"Next is a swim. We will let the waves wash right through you. Come."
They entered the water hand in hand and they rinsed the remains of the clay off Xena's hands and sides.
"Now give yourself to the waves," Gabrielle said. "I will take care of you."
Xena stretched out and let her body drift, rising and falling with the water.
"Feel the water run through you and cleanse you. I will now hold you under for some time."
Xena nodded and looked at her friend trustingly. She took a large lungful of air before Gabrielle pushed the Warrior completely under water.
"The water cleans you inside and out, my love," she said, only for herself and the sea breeze to hear.
She brought Xena back up before she could have run out of oxygen and hugged her.
They walked out of the water, and as they stood on dry sand again she took both the Warrior's hands as she declared: "The earth of the beach, the air of the breeze, the fire of the sun and the water of the sea have purified you." Xena noticed with surprise the authority in Gabrielle's voice.
"Thank you, Gabrielle." She said humbly.
"So this completes the serious part," the younger woman said smiling bashfully in the slowly setting sun. "Now you still have to make love to a Virgin."
"Uhm? let's see, where could I find one?" Xena teased looking all over the isolated beach, before she took Gabrielle into her arms and kissed her thoroughly.
"You will have to hurry, because I don't think she will be a Virgin for very much longer," the Bard said panting slightly, after she came up for air. This had just been the first kiss that was anything like she had dreamed of.
"Right! Not if I can help it!" Xena agreed eagerly.
"Uhm? Dinner first?" Gabrielle asked shyly. Her stomach rumbled audibly. Xena sighed in mock disappointment.
"You are such a tease! Oh, but I think you may be right. Its sounds like otherwise we are in for some heavy weather later." Xena nodded to where the offending sound came from. She seemed so relaxed that it was obvious the whole ceremony had not been for nothing. "Dinner first it is."
Cyrene's provisions came in very handy. They made a fire, boiled water for tea, but they didn't have to hunt or cook. All the time, they looked at each other's naked bodies, knowing what they were going to do later and building a delicious tension inside.
Sexual energy hung heavily in the air, even more than moisture, smoke and salt. Slowly they ate the nutbread and the fruits they brought, eyeing each other with an audacious smile, prolonging the promise of pleasure.
"Now this was fulfilling!" Gabrielle sighed as she brought the last crumbs of the nutbread slowly to her lips and finished her tea, looking straight at Xena all the time.
"Wait 'till you have had desert." Xena said with a sensual voice and a very meaningful look.
As it was getting dark, she spread a large blanket near the fire, took Gabrielle's hand in invitation and took her in her arms. She kissed her so passionately, that the blonde felt her knees give in. Xena lowered her tenderly onto the blanket.
They said little, but their eyes told the other everything they needed to know.
At long last Xena lowered her naked length onto the beautiful young Bard carefully, sighing with delight and looking her in the eyes almost without blinking, until they were too close to focus. Their lips and tongues met in a searing kiss that lasted indefinitely. Gabrielle felt her body react, but before she surrendered, she took Xena's face into both hands.
Her eyes overflowing with the love she felt, she said earnestly "Don't hold anything back, Xena. I want you. I love you so much. I need you. All of you."
But there simply was no holding back. Xena, who had mastered the art of control to perfection, was sucked into a whirlpool of lust and love that she had no power over. Not that she wanted to, but this was entirely new to her. As a million stars slowly appeared in the darkening sky, completely unnoticed by either of them, she discovered the joy of loving and being loved in return. It gave her tremendous delight to know she was the very first to pleasure Gabrielle and to awaken in her the desire for more. She knew just how and where to touch her virgin flesh, stroke her and suckle her, in order to drive Gabrielle's passion to heights the girl hadn't imagined existed. And this time, Xena didn't do it for strategic reasons, but solely because she wanted to, longed to, needed to touch and please the woman she loved.
"Oh Xena, what are you doing to me?" the Bard panted, her body so on fire that she nearly went out of her mind, and rocking her hips involuntarily towards her lover for more.
"Hmm ?Turning you on?" the deep voice of the Warrior answered from very near the source of her desire. "Gods, you are so wet!" she marvelled, before she carefully and ever so slowly parted the swollen lips and took Gabrielle's clit, that stood out to meet her hungrily, into her eager mouth. Gabrielle nearly fainted with overload. This was Elysia. Almost too soon, Gabrielle broke into a wild, noisy, raging orgasm.
"OH GODS, Xena, Yes YES oh YES, Oh XENAAA!" she screamed, as Xena had to hold on with all her considerable might in order not to loose the centre of Gabrielle's pleasure from her mouth. As the waves of her first orgasm slowly subsided, Xena stretched out beside Gabrielle and took her in her arms tenderly, whispering soft words of love to her and kissing her on the lips, which had just recently yelled her name in supreme pleasure.
"Xena?" those same lips repeated, much softer now, in wonder and shock and with a slight smile. "You smell like ?"
"Passion." Xena completed. "You!" and she continued kissing the lovely Bard. "You taste so good! I will want more of this!" Her tongue entered Gabrielle's welcoming mouth.
"Ah, it's all yours." Gabrielle offered after a moment or two. "Any time at all." She felt the hunger return in her loins, and Xena noticed.
"Hmm, already an addict!" Xena teased against the blonde's lips.
"Very much!" the younger woman confirmed. She lifted herself and reversed roles. It was, finally, her turn to discover the fascinating body of the Warrior Princess. The latter surrendered to the eager touch of her young lover, who made a thorough job of it. As though she were making up for lost time, she explored every inch of soft skin, looking at it, touching, smelling and tasting all the curves she could possibly reach, celebrating her breasts, her belly, her legs. She made the Warrior turn over and revelled in the beauty of her backside, finally allowed to touch it like a lover. She urged Xena to spread her legs and found a very moist place where her fingers dwindled until the Warrior moaned a desperate wish, no, an order to come inside her. Gabrielle's fingers were drawn to the soaked centre of Xena's hunger and she was sucked inside with two fingers. She explored the warm and soft wetness with wonder, noticing how much the Warrior enjoyed her every move.
"More!" Xena demanded, her voice thick with anxiety. Gabrielle hurried to comply and added another finger. "Harder!" Xena groaned, and "Deeper!" and finally "Faster! Oh! Yes!! Oh, Gabrielle, this is soooo good!" Instinctively Gabriele knew what to do. She pumped her whole hand in and out the slippery sex of this Goddess who could not seem to get enough.
"Oh, I want your tongue too!" Xena moaned, so she turned over to allow Gabrielle free access to her very ravenous clit. Without taking her fingers out, Gabrielle sucked Xena's sodden clit and almost instantly the Warrior came with the force of a thunderstorm?
Afterwards, she pulled the smaller woman on top of her and felt the weight of her delicious curves emphasize her pleasure, while she kissed her intensely. Gabrielle reacted instantly.
"Gods, your pleasure turns me on!" she said in surprise.
"Hmm, let me take care of that," Xena urged her on her back again and headed right for the centre of her hunger. "Now is the time to fulfil your wish."
"My wish?" Gabrielle asked. "What else do I have to wish for?"
"I recall a certain Bard that told me she didn't want to be so innocent any longer."
Gabrielle grinned happily. "Somehow I don't really feel that innocent anymore. I want you. And I mean want you."
"Be careful what you wish for?, you might get it!" Xena grinned as she buried her head between Gabrielle's legs and quickly found the aching spot. She suckled it softly until she felt the Bard race to the brim again. She stopped sucking and slowly inserted first one, then two fingers in her dripping virginity, carefully stroking the insides. Gabrielle had fallen silent and lay very still, fully feeling and enjoying every move and every moment.
"Is it good?" Xena asked, afraid to hurt her lover.
"So very, very good!" Gabrielle moaned. "Please go on! And? don't ? ever?. Stop?Ahhh?" she added as Xena started to move her fingers slowly in and out.
Xena was eager to comply. With expertise, she made passionate and insatiable love all night long to she small woman that wanted her as much as she wanted the Bard.
"I really do feel kind of like a virgin, you know?" Xena said in surprise, candlemarks later, just before she pulled Gabrielle's legs on either side of her head, granting her easy access to the centre of her pleasure again.
"What do you mean?" Gabrielle managed to ask with some difficulty.
"Oh, I've had sex before, but I had never made love. This is my first time. Our first time."
Gabrielle nearly fainted with happiness, gratitude, love and lust all combined. It was almost too much for one Bard.
The eastern sky announced the upcoming arrival of Apollo's chariot when they finally fell asleep into each other's arms, dizzy with happiness and fulfilment and utterly exhausted. A half empty bottle of port lay abandoned close to them. After only a few hours of sleep, the sun became so hot that they could not stay at the beach much longer.
"Gods, I want you again!" Xena moaned hoarsely, "But I want you in the shade of something big!"
"Hmm, or in a bath!" Gabrielle added, noticing her face felt tight with dried juices and her lips were much thicker than usual.
"Do you want a bath?" Xena asked in mock surprise. "I don't ever want to wash this off again!" She smelled her hands and licked her fingers. Gabrielle felt her loins react instantly to the sensual gesture, emphasized by the look in the eyes of her lover.
"Shall we go ??"
"Back to the Inn?"
"Back to the Inn it is, then." Xena decided.
"Uhm Xena, I'm having some trouble walking," Gabrielle said when she got up to relieve herself.
Xena just threw her a happy smile. "I can make it worse." she offered.
In no time at all, they managed to pack their stuff.
They climbed up the steep slope with some difficulty. When they stood panting at the top, they turned around and looked back at the sheltered beach.
"That's where I found my purity again!" Xena contemplated, serious for a moment.
Gabrielle grinned and added: "And where I lost mine!" Now both were laughing. They kissed passionately before Xena whistled for her horse.
"Do you know what really purified me?" Xena teased. Gabrielle looked at her curiously. "It was your fire! Or then again maybe it was your ? water?" The Bard grinned embarrassedly.
"I rather think it was your own, my Warrior!"
Argo arrived in a canter. She was happy to see them and buried her nose in Xena's neck. She then nuzzled her hands.
"I think this clever horse is onto us!" Xena said with a giggle.
"She is definitely on to us." Gabrielle smiled affectionately. "You look a mess!" It was true. In all their time together, she had never seen Xena undone like this. Dirty, bloody and bruised, yes, but never relaxed, giggling and out of control. She loved it!
"Hmm, you don't look so bad yourself!" Xena returned the complement. "Argo says so too."
"I am glad she is the first to know."
"Mother will be glad too." Xena said, stroking the horse's neck. "She has continually pushed me to open up to you."
"And she has provided me with some very useful advice to persuade you to," Gabrielle added.
"She did now, did she?" Xena said, one eyebrow raised.
Gabrielle nodded. "Couldn't have done it without her."
"Guess we owe her," Xena grinned good-humouredly. "Somehow she always knows what I need. I have never been so happy."
"Your mother is a wonderful person. You do take after her." Gabrielle said, leaning in for another meaningful kiss. She felt the stirring of desire grow in her loins again and a now familiar jump of her heart. "You make me very happy too."
"Hmmm," Xena moaned. "Oh, but not here, let's find a better spot."
They mounted Argo, but it soon became apparent Gabrielle was not comfortable. Not comfortable at all.
"Xena, I can't sit!" she moaned. "I am so sore!"
"Here. Turn a quarter, I'll hold you." Gabrielle did as she was told, now sitting with both legs on one side. It felt better. And it had some other advantages: kissing was much easier this way! Of course the two couldn't resist the growing yearning for long. At the first possible tiny place of shade, they quickly dismounted and took only just the time to spread a blanket, before they made for each other's sex in a short but very satisfying hug.
When they got back onto Argo again, Gabrielle discovered she could now ride astride, her swollen sex cushioning the soreness. In fact, Argo's rhythm stimulated her deeply. She turned around on Xena's lap so that she rode backwards, wrapping her legs around the Warrior. Xena watched the insatiable Bard with half a smile and a raised eyebrow.
"Are you laughing at me, Warrior?" Gabrielle asked.
"Nah," Xena said, kissing the beautiful young woman on her swollen lips. "But I must say I never expected so much passion. You are insatiable."
"I'm afraid you are right." Gabrielle mumbled, a flush rising to her cheeks. "I cannot get enough."
"Neither can I, my love." Xena comforted. "And I am so flattered."
"But?" Gabrielle sensed a however.
"We are going to need some fresh water soon: the waterbags are empty since sunrise and we are going to be dehydrated if we don't get any. I wonder how you still get so incredibly wet down here?" she softly touched the sodden folds of Gabrielle's sex. Gabrielle responded immediately, nearly falling off Argo but for Xena's quick reaction.
"You seem to glide off the saddle too, my Warrior!" Gabrielle grinned. "Oh, let's, please? and then we go looking for water." She had a very convincing manner to persuade the Warrior. But Xena didn't need to be begged. She scooped the bard in her arms and jumped to the ground. Not even bothering for the blanket this time, they satisfied their need. Several times.
When they were finally ready to travel again, Xena grinned fully, looking at Gabrielle.
"I cannot possibly take you to Mother like this? everyone can see right through us."
Gabrielle looked at their condition and grinned too. In addition to their swollen lips, clothing torn in strategic places, an occasional hickey, starry eyes and hoarse voices, mud was all over them.
"Cyrene will know anyway. But you are right: we need water. In many ways." Her voice was croaky with overuse, and maybe a little dry.
They mounted and Xena spurred Argo into a fast gallop. "I want you again, but next time I am going to spoil you in a real bed."
"Can hardly wait?" Gabrielle grinned, holding on tight. "But I'll settle for a pond or so," she mumbled softly. Xena had very keen hearing and smiled knowingly.
A knock on the bedroom door silenced them for a moment. It was Cyrene. She had thrown them one look when they had finally arrived at the Inn and had waved them upstairs with an amused grin. She knew better than to verbalize her comments: Xena had been uncharacteristically timid. Gabrielle just radiated. They had not been downstairs since.
"I have put some food for you outside the door, girls! Come and get it when I am out of here!"
Gabrielle wondered how long she had been there. Had she heard ??
"I have heard enough to know you make me a very happy old woman!" Cyrene grinned audibly. Gods, had they been so noisy? Yes, they had! She had to admit.
"Oh and by the way, there is a musician playing at the Inn tonight, so I will not need a Bard. I will make sure the musician makes a lot of noise!" Cyrene chuckled before she retreated, a big smile on her face when she heard a duet "Thank you, Cyrene!" and "Thanks, Mother!" from the other side of the door.