DISCLAIMER: Xena Warrior Princess is the property of Renaissance Pictures and those who now hold the rights to the show.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Sparx

'Five days. She's been driving me crazy for five whole days now. I know I should have listened, but this is going to kill me if it lasts much longer' thought Xena as she watched Gabrielle walking just ahead of her on the path. Shaking her head a little she moved up to walk beside the bard. She scowled when the younger woman put a hand on her shoulder. "I think it might be a good idea to take a break. You look like you could use a rest." she whispered seductively.

"I'm fine," Xena replied quickly "Besides, there's a clearing further up the trail. I'll rest when we get there," with a slight shrug she dislodged the hand from her shoulder and moved ahead. 'She's trying to kill me,' she thought, as she quickened her pace.

Five days ago:

"Xena! What do you think you're doing?" Gabrielle demanded furiously.

"What does it look like I'm doing?" Xena replied with a smirk, as she turned her attention from the seven bruised and battered amazons littering the small clearing, "These featherheads should know better than to sneak up on me."

"They weren't sneaking up on anyone. They were coming to greet us." Gabrielle shouted as she quickly finished adjusting her short skirt, "You knew they were expecting us, but noooo, miss 'I have many skills' was too distracted to remember that or to even hear them coming up the trail. Then, you just have to beat the shit out of them. I think you broke Solari's wrist, and Epinon looks like she has a concussion," she continued as she swiftly examined the slowly rising women.

Moving to the smaller woman's side Xena leaned in and whispered, "It's not all my fault you know. You were just as distracted. You know how I can be when someone interrupts our 'distractions'."

Gabrielle snorted, "Oh, that's just great. Blame it on me. In case you didn't notice, I tried to warn you, and when that didn't work, I tried to stop you. You just don't have any control. I'm not any happier about being interrupted than you are, but at least I didn't beat the Tartarus out of our friends."

Xena shrugged, "They're Amazons, they understand. I'll make it up to them." Looking to Gabrielle for a reaction, she began to worry when she noticed that the blond still scowling and apparently lost in thought. "Uh..Gabrielle..I will make it up to them. Really. I promise. Next time, I'll try to control myself. It's just hard, you know, when you get me like that." Hoping she had said the right thing, she waited for the bard's reaction. When she saw the feral grin on the angelic face, she broke out in a cold sweat. 'I'm in trouble,' she thought.

"So,"Gabrielle began sweetly as she moved closer to the wary warrior, "you're saying that, if we hadn't been about to make love, you wouldn't have beaten up my Amazons?"

"Of course not. I was just..um..agitated." Xena answered. 'Yep, big, big trouble.'

Gabrielle moved in closer and pressed her body to Xena's. As the taller woman relaxed into the body contact, Gabrielle continued in a causal manner, "I guess that makes sense. There was that innkeeper, and those farmers, and that poor hunter. You do have a habit of losing control when you're 'agitated'. That does present a problem, doesn't it? I like you 'agitated', but we can't have you beating up everyone who interrupts us. After all, it's not their fault, " indicating the Amazons, who had now picked themselves up and were slowly approaching the couple, "that you got 'agitated' in the middle of their forest, on a direct path to the Amazon village, when you knew they would be coming out to greet us. What happened today could have ended with our friends getting seriously hurt. We live on the road Xena. We camp in the forest more than we see the walls of a house or inn. This isn't the last time this is going to happen. What if, the next time, it's someone who doesn't know enough to back off? Someone could end up getting killed."

Xena's eyes rolled back slightly, as did her head, when a pair of lips, now finished speaking, for the moment, fastened softly to her neck. A low groan was her only response as the bard sensuously licked and sucked on the exposed flesh. She was still excited from their aborted attempt at lovemaking. The firm body leaning into her and the soft lips at her throat were quickly bringing her to a high state of arousal. She forgot about the Amazons, and everything else, as her body began to respond to the younger woman. Just as she brought her hand up to tangle into her bard's blond hair, Gabrielle broke off the embrace and stepped away and to the side. Snapping her head back, she glared at the Amazons, who were now an arms length away. "What do you want?" she growled, as the Amazons stepped back, expecting the warrior to begin swinging once again. When she heard the soft laugh, she spun to Gabrielle only to find the younger woman smirking at her knowingly. With her senses still clouded by lust, she took a step towards the younger woman, intending to drag her away and finish what had been started, while another part of her mind supplied, 'I'm toast.'

"No, Xena." Gabrielle said firmly, just as the warrior was about to reach for her. "We have to get to the village. Come on Solari, let's go," and, taking Solari's arm, Gabrielle led the way down the path followed by one extremely frustrated warrior princess and seven very battered and very nervous Amazons.

The procession back to the village was a quiet affair. Solari and Gabrielle chatted quietly. Xena glared at everyone around her. The other Amazons wished they were anywhere else other than near the thwarted warrior.

Once they reached the village, they were greeted by Ephiny, "It's good to see you," she said as she gave Gabrielle a hug. Turning to Xena, she involuntarily took a step back. She had expected the warrior mask but, she also saw the intense, barely controlled emotion in eyes that had darkened to a midnight blue. "Hello, Xena," she said with some confused caution.

Receiving a curt nod in response, she turned questioning eyes back to her queen.

"Xena and I will be in the Queen's hut until dinner time. We can talk then." Gabrielle said with an amused grin, as she took the warriors hand and led her away.

Once inside the hut Xena reached out to pull the little queen closer and was surprised when the smaller woman moved neatly out of reach. "Gabrielle.." she said in a warning tone.

"Oh no, my warrior. We still haven't finished our talk." Gabrielle said.

"I said I'd work on it," the warrior grated out, "now come here."

With a low laugh and a shake of her head Gabrielle stepped further out of reach, leaving Xena standing in the center of the hut. "You don't sound like you're working on it."

'Stupid, stupid, stupid. Think of something, quick.' "I will..I mean, I am. Really. Come over here and let me prove it to you," she ended with a low growl. 'She's not buying it. Damn, damn, damn.'

"You know what I think?" Gabrielle asked as she slowly circled around behind the warrior. "I think you don't have any intention of learning to control yourself. I guess I'll just have to teach you some control."

Xena spun around to give Gabrielle an incredulous glare, "What??" 'Why is she looking at me like that. Oh, gods, this is not good'

Gabrielle continued her slow pacing around the warrior. "I'm going to teach you some control. I can't have you beating people up every time you get excited. I could just take you now. That would work for the moment, but then, what happens the next time you get excited. Face it Xena, you get excited a lot. Of course, that's one of the things I love about you, but you just can't seem to control yourself when you get excited. No, I think this is the perfect time to teach you some control."

Xena sneered at her lover, "And just how do you plan on doing that."

"By denying you what you want," Gabrielle answered softly. Before she could take another step, she was swept up in strong arms and quickly found herself deposited on the large bed in the corner of the room. She was just as quickly covered by the larger body of her lover.

"You would deny me?" Xena questioned roughly, as brought her head down to kiss the bard. Just as their lips were about to meet, she found herself stopped by small hands tangled in her hair and pulling back. She glared down at the small woman glaring back up at her. 'Gods no, she's serious.'

Still holding Xena's hair, Gabrielle moved them both until she was laying on top, along the length of the tall warrior's body. Xena moved her hands up and began to slowly caress the muscled back of the woman above her.

"Don't touch," Gabrielle ordered softly. With a slight tug on the hair still tangled in Gabrielle's fists, Xena complied.

It was obvious that Xena's body was receiving mixed signals at the moment. Part of her was still incredibly aroused, another part angry and frustrated. That Gabrielle was also angry, was beyond doubt. The bard had never reacted in this way before. Xena, once the Destroyer of Nations, found herself afraid of what her bard would do next. Though she was confused by this, Xena also found this new forcefulness in her lover arousing. After a moment she managed to move her hands to the bed and simply lay quietly waiting for what was to come. 'I hope it's me.'

Gabrielle watched as the different emotions flickered across Xena's face. It was a mixture of lust, frustration, anger, and amazingly fear. Though she could see that the lust still won out, she knew that Xena would never force her. This added to her sense of power and made it easier for her to say what she had in mind. "That's the first rule. You can't touch me unless I tell you to."

"The first rule?" Xena asked, "What's going through that head of yours, Gabrielle?" 'Shit, shit, shit. She can't be...please don't let this be what I think it is.' she thought as she tensely waited for the answer.

"I think you already know what's going through my head Xena. You need to learn control and I'm going to teach it to you," Gabrielle replied. Carefully watching the warriors reactions she continued, "I'm going to make you wait until I think you've learned some control. Maybe a week," she mused thoughtfully. Only her firm grip on the warriors hair, kept Xena from bolting upright.

"A week?" Xena shouted, "You're joking, right?" at the look on the bards face she knew the younger woman was serious. 'Oh, well,' she thought, with a slight grin, 'there's ways around that.'

Knowing what the reaction would be, Gabrielle buried her fingers deeply into Xena's hair and firmed her grip before continuing. "Rule number two, you can't come unless I say so." This time, Gabrielle had to use a real effort to keep Xena's head on the bed. Her only answer was an angry hiss, as she felt large hands suddenly digging into her back. She leaned forward and growled at the warrior. "I mean it Xena, if you touch yourself, or let yourself come without my permission, you will be waiting for a very long time before you have me again. A week will seem like nothing to the wait you'll have if you disobey me."

"But.." Xena began. One look at the serious face hovering over her and she fell silent. 'She means it. I'm gonna die'

"Rule three, I get to do whatever I want to you, whenever I want. Rule four, you have to control yourself at all times. No matter how frustrated you get, you can't take it out on anyone around you. I don't expect you to pretend to be happy about it, but you aren't allowed to purposely intimidate anyone or fight with anyone, not even sparring. " Gabrielle continued. "Do you understand? I want your agreement Xena."

Xena lay very still, digesting this. The queen's anger was understandable. She had come very close to seriously injuring several friends today. She was not happy with the idea of being under the younger womans power like this, but she was also not surprised by the action. Gabrielle had been angry with her before for this very thing and this time she had taken it too far. She didn't really have a choice. If she didn't agree to Gabrielle's terms, it would be a long time before she would find any relief from her bard. If she did agree to them, she would at least have the knowledge that this arrangement would have a time limit. All she had to do was keep her hands to herself (and off of herself) and play nice with the amazons for a few days. Opening her mouth to voice her agreement, she was stopped by soft lips covering her mouth. She abruptly stopped thinking, as she tightened her grip on the bare back and melted into the kiss.

Gabrielle proceeded to kiss the warrior senseless, before letting either of them get any much needed air. Kissing her way to Xena's ear she whispered, "Think carefully before you answer Xena. No matter how much you want me to make love to you, I won't. I'm going to keep you aroused for most of the next week and you won't be able to do anything about it. If you disobey me, I'll punish you."

"You're not giving me much of a choice here, Gabrielle. If I say, no, you still won't make love to me. You'll still keep me frustrated and you'll still find ways to punish me if I take it out on anyone," Xena whispered as she closed her eyes. 'She's got me trapped, like a rat on a sinking ship, and she knows it. I am going to be one sorry warrior'

"It's still a choice Xena. Will you give me this, or will I take it? Will this be something done out of love or out of anger?" Gabrielle asked quietly. Rising up so she could sit straddling Xena's belly, Gabrielle waited for the answer.

Xena kept her eyes closed as she felt the smaller woman moving. She allowed her hands to move from Gabrielle's back to rest on the tops of her thighs. Knowing that there was only one answer to give she opened her eyes to look at her lover. "I love you and I trust you. For the next week, you control me." Gabrielle leaned forward and gave Xena a soft, quick kiss. "There's one thing you haven't thought of though. What about you?" Xena asked.

"What about me?" Gabrielle asked.

"Well," Xena smirked, as she slowly ran her hands up the firm thighs, "What are you going to do when you get aroused. How are you going to deal with your frustration." Xena inhaled sharply when she saw the wicked grin forming on Gabrielle's face.

"Who says I have to be frustrated Xena? The rule is that you can't come. I never said I couldn't." Xena groaned when Gabrielle gyrated slowly against her belly. She gasped out loud when she remembered that the bard still wasn't wearing anything under her skirt. The arrival of the Amazons on the forest trail, had eliminated any chance of discreetly replacing her undergarments. "I also said that you would be punished if you break any of the rules." Another rotation of hips and Xena knew what form the punishments would be taking. 'A week? Please gods just kill me now' "Do you remember the first rule Xena?" Gabrielle asked too sweetly as she covered Xena's hands with her own.

"I can't touch you unless..." Xena stopped abruptly and her eyes widened in shock, as she realized just where her hands were resting. She attempted to pull them away, but was stopped by Gabrielle's surprisingly strong grip. "I didn't mean to. I wasn't thinking. I just..."

"Couldn't control yourself?" Gabrielle finished with a sweet voice and an evil grin. When she let go of the warriors hands, Xena brought them quickly back to her sides on the bed with a thump. Not bothering to stifle a giggle Gabrielle slowly unfastened her short skirt. When she removed it, she almost broke into giggles again at the pained look on the warriors face.

Gabrielle stayed in her position straddling the warrior as she began to move her hands down her flat stomach. As those hands began to travel lower, Xena closed her eyes tightly and tried to think of something...anything..to keep herself from reacting to what her bard was doing, literally on top of her. "Oh no Xena, I want you to watch me," Gabrielle commanded softly. Xena opened her eyes in time to see the queen's fingers just beginning to glide through golden curls. She could do nothing but watch helplessly, as her week in Tartarus began.

A long time later, the happy, smiling Amazon Queen led her, less than happy and unsmiling companion across the village to the dining hut. Gabrielle couldn't suppress a smile as she noticed the glares Xena was giving everyone within sight. "Remember Xena, you can't take your frustration out on anyone. You don't have to pretend to be happy about it, but you can't go around giving everyone the evil eye."

Mumbling incoherently about Tartarus and blonds, Xena glared at the ground instead as she followed her lover into the dining hut. As soon as they were seated, Gabrielle took advantage of the concealment provided by the table and began to slowly caress the warriors thigh. Once it became clear that the small bard had no intention of stopping this particular torture anytime soon, Xena ignored everyone around her as she tried not to react to the slow stroking. She seemed to be holding her own, until they were joined by Ephiny, and Solari. Upon seeing Solari, Gabrielle asked, "How's your wrist?"

Lifting the wrist in question Solari answered, "Fortunately, it's just sprained. The healer says I have to keep it wrapped up for a few days but that's all."

"That's great news. I'm so glad it's not serious." Gabrielle stated with a smile. Xena attempted a smile to show her agreement, but the result looked more like a sneer. After a brief, bardly, squeeze to her thigh, she gave up the attempt. "How's Epinon?" the queen then asked.

"She does have a concussion." Ephiny answered. "It's not too bad though," she continued, "the dizziness has already passed and she should stop seeing double by tomorrow. Everyone else is just bruised." Looking directly at Xena, she added, "I think, in the future, we'll have the scouts bang on drums and cymbals on the way to meet you, so there won't be a chance of them interrupting anything."

Xena's expression was one of apology for the incident mixed with relief that Ephiny's comment had caused an embarrassed Gabrielle to remove her had from the warriors thigh.

"You heard, huh." Gabrielle said while blushing furiously.

"I think everyone's heard by now," Ephiny chuckled. "Don't worry about it. There's more than one amazon here that would have reacted the same way. As a matter of fact, some have," She said with a grin to Solari.

"Don't look at me," Solari retorted. "I wasn't the only one there and as I recall, you were....." she was interrupted by Ephiny's hand firmly covering her mouth. With a grin she removed the hand and after kissing the palm, entwined her fingers with those of her wife.

Leaning into her own wife, Xena muttered, "See, I told you they'd understand." She realized her mistake the instant she felt the hand return to her thigh. 'It's going to be a long week,' she thought as she tried to suppress a moan.

Four days ago:

Though Gabrielle had ended the torment soon after dinner, Xena felt it's effects long into the night. She had hoped to burn off some of her restlessness with some after dinner sparring but, Gabrielle had made it clear that there would be no sparring this visit. Unfortunately, Xena had to agree with the reasoning. In her current state, anyone sparring with her would be in serious danger. The fact that it also broke the rule about taking her frustration out on anyone, was also a concern to Xena. The day before had been difficult enough. She didn't want to do anything to encourage the younger woman to think up even harder punishments.

Still frustrated, with lots of unspent energy, Xena managed to behave herself. After the torture of the day before, Xena had been sure she would be in for a full day of the same treatment. So far, she had been able to avoid Gabrielle. Using the excuse that she needed to check on Argo, she had left the hut at first light and had been studiously avoiding the queen since.

When Xena came into the dining hut it was obvious to anyone who knew her that she was incredibly tense. She had spent the morning doing nothing more strenuous than talking with the amazons and hiding from Gabrielle. Because of Gabrielle rule about taking her frustrations out on anyone, it had been a real ordeal for the warrior. She had spent the last several hours being 'nice' to the amazons. Not being known for patience, she had outdone herself. For some strange reason, almost every amazon in the village had sought Xena out to discuss some minor matter or another. By now, everyone had heard about the events of the day before and they all wanted a chance to enjoy the warriors discomfort. Not only had she been polite , she had also managed, (much to the surprise of everyone) to actually smile once or twice. The fact that the smiles more closely resembled a pained grimace, was graciously ignored by one and all..

When she sat down beside the queen for the midday meal, the hand made an immediate appearance. Still tense, Xena bolted to her feet at the first contact. Turning to Gabrielle, she was met with a knowing grin. Resigning herself to the inevitable, she slowly sat back down. This time, she managed not to jump when Gabrielle squeezed her thigh under the table. She grimly tried to ignore everything but the food on her plate. Ignoring the sudden increase in her pulse, she took a large swallow of ale to steady her nerves.

With an evil grin, Gabrielle leaned in close and whispered seductively, "You're awfully jumpy today Xena. Maybe, after lunch, I should give you a nice long massage." She immediately started thumping Xena's back, as the tall woman began choking on her drink.

Resisting the urge to start thumping her grinning wife, Xena picked up her plate and moved to the other side of the room. Finding herself sitting beside Epinon, she asked, "How's the head today?" Watching Epinon's, not quite focused, gaze, Xena momentarily forgot her own predicament.

Epinon shrugged in the usual bad ass warrior way and replied, "Better. You still in trouble with the wife?"

Xena shrugged in the usual bad ass warrior way and said, "Yep."

After sharing a steady (well, one steady and one slightly fuzzy) look, they both ate their meals in silence.

When Xena left the dining hut she was ambushed by a certain blond amazon queen. Before she could think of an excuse and escape, she felt herself being led towards the path to the lake. "You know," Gabrielle began conversationally, "There really isn't much point to all this if you spend the whole week hiding."

"I wasn't hiding," Xena began indignantly. She stopped when she heard the full throated laugh, coming from the woman beside her.

"You were so." Gabrielle stated confidently. "Every time you saw me coming, you went the other way."

"There is no way you could know that. I made sure...." Xena started then stopped when she realized what she had been about to say.

"You made sure.....what?" Gabrielle asked sweetly. "I think you forgot the rule that I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. I can't do that if you're hiding, can I?"

Knowing she was in trouble, Xena stopped dead in the middle of the path, as she tried to think of something to say in her defense. After a few steps, Gabrielle noticed and turned to walk back to her. Taking her hand she began to lead her down the path again. 'I am really in for it now,' Xena thought as she saw the glint in her lovers eye.

After a few minutes of walking, she dared to ask, "Where are we going?"

"Down to the lake," was the reply as the white sand of the small beach became visible.

'Good, good. Swimming I can handle.' Aloud she said, "A swim sounds like a good idea."

Reaching the edge of the water, Gabrielle pulled the warrior to a stop beside her. Reaching up, she cupped both sides of Xena's face and pulled her down for a long thorough kiss. "Well, if you want we can swim too." she said as she began undoing the taller woman's leathers.

What followed was an afternoon of naked water fun/foreplay (well, fun for a certain amazon queen. A certain warrior princess spent half her time reluctantly enjoying the activities and the other half hoping that the ground would just open and swallow her up, thus ending her misery). It ended later, in the queens hut, with one frustrated warrior crushing the arms of the chair she was sitting in to kindling, while the queen relaxed on the bed and treated her to a repeat of yesterday's show.

The rest of the day was spent in the queens company. Though Gabrielle did nothing else for the rest of the day, every look or touch she received was enough to make her break out in goose bumps. For some strange reason Xena didn't sleep well that night. Every time she closed her eyes, all she could see was a naked bard laying open and exposed on the bed pleasuring herself, while she could only sit and watch. The fact that said bard was sleeping naked, sprawled over the warriors equally naked body the whole night, didn't help matters at all.

Three days ago:

Xena snuck out of the Queen's hut well before sunrise. After waiting silently for a tense moment, to be sure Gabrielle still slept on, she took off at a dead run. Her only thought was to run herself onto a state of exhaustion. Sneaking off for some sparring practice was definitely out. The rule about taking her frustration out on anyone, was not one she was willing to ignore. She had already had a taste of her punishment for breaking the rules. She didn't think she could survive too many 'punishments'. Xena figured her only option was to keep herself too exhausted to be able to react at all.

Two hours later, just as the sun was rising, she came back into the village, sweaty, dirty and dead tired. As she neared the hut she shared with Gabrielle, the little queen came out the door.

"There you are, where have you been?" she asked casually.

"Went for a run." was the mumbled reply.

Noticing the small, shallow scratches covering her wife's arms and legs, Gabrielle pulled the warrior into the hut. "Really? It must have been hard to see the trail in the dark." she said.

"Didn't use the trail." Xena mumbled again, as she followed her wife into the hut.

"I see." Gabrielle replied as she examined the scratches. Hiding a smile she said, "C'mon, let's get you cleaned up."

In a matter of seconds, Xena found herself being led to the hot springs by the smaller woman. With the sleepless nights before and her current state of fatigue, Xena didn't see the trap until it was too late.

Gabrielle led her to a large pool, where she helped the warrior ease into the warm water. As the queen gently washed her, Xena slipped into a comfortable half doze. Still not seeing the danger, she relaxed under the treatment and willingly let herself be let from the water and onto a low, wide bench. As her wife tenderly applied salve to each of the small scrapes, she smiled in contentment. When she felt small hands begin to massage her broad back, she relaxed even more. Her internal alarm bells tried to give warning, but she was too relaxed and tired to notice, or care. Her body was having a pleasant struggle between sleep and the sensations that were beginning to seep through her body when the younger woman spoke.

"I just love running my hands all over your body, Xena." Gabrielle said, as she moved from Xena's back to her long legs.

She grinned as she watched her leg muscles jump at the contact. Letting her hands just slightly graze the inside of her thighs, Gabrielle continued to massage the warrior. Once she noticed Xena's breathing start to speed up a little, she moved up to massage her back again. "You must be pretty proud of yourself. How long did you have to run to get yourself this tired?"

"Hmmm, about two hours. Had to go full speed the whole way, but it was worth it."was the sleepy reply.

"It looks like it. I bet you're so tired right now, I couldn't get you worked up, no matter how hard I tried." Gabrielle said as she moved back to the long legs. "It doesn't seem fair really. Almost like cheating wouldn't you say?" she asked with a feral grin that Xena couldn't see.

The alarm bells were back, but they still weren't loud enough to get Xena's attention. "It's only cheating if you get caught." she muttered. As the last word left her mouth she finally saw the trap. The alarm bells rang loud and clear. Xena came fully awake, as her brain finally noticed that her wife was massaging her nude body and that her body was happily enjoying the attention. It was her unfortunate choice that she tried, at that moment, to put as much space between herself and her wife as possible. When she rose up on hands and knees to push off the bench, Gabrielle took the opportunity to impale Xena on two fingers.

"Consider yourself caught," Gabrielle whispered as she began to move slowly within Xena.

Xena, still gripping the edge of the bench, could only hang on for dear life. Closing her eyes tightly, she tried to stay as still as possible. She tried to ignore her body's response. She didn't have a chance. With a low moan, she felt her body surrender to the sensation. As she started to move against the fingers inside her, Gabrielle leaned forward and kissed her neck. Still holding the bench with white knuckled hands, Xena twisted a little and was rewarded with a deep kiss. As the kiss grew more intense, Xena felt her resistance fail completely. When Xena began moving in earnest, Gabrielle removed her fingers and broke off the kiss. Moaning loudly at the loss, Xena opened her eyes, she was greeted by the sight of the bard casually sucking her fingers clean. With a groan, she closed them again and let her head drop. When she felt a small hand on her chin, she reluctantly lifted her head. Gabrielle kissed her and she moaned aloud when she tasted herself. Xena's body was, once again, a thrumming mass of lust. When the kiss ended, Gabrielle helped the shaky warrior to dry off and dress, then led her back the their hut. Once inside, Xena moved to the bed where she proceeded to curl up in a ball facing the wall.

Gabrielle still stood by the door and smiled at the sight of her big, bad warrior curled up like a baby in the middle of the bed. Taking pity on her poor wife she said softly, "Get some rest. I promised Ephiny I'd go over some things with her. I'll come wake you in time for lunch."


After the scene in the hot springs, keeping Xena on edge had been a simple thing. A look, or a single touch, was all it took to keep her shaking with lust for hours. Knowing that further games would push Xena beyond her limits, Gabrielle backed off. Leaving Xena to her own imagination, she enjoyed her time visiting with Ephiny and her friends. Xena spent most of her time calculating the exact minute the week would end. Of course, it really didn't help much because then she would invariable end up calculating the exact minute after the weeks end and what she planned on doing to her bard by the end of that minute.

Xena was sitting on a comfortable bench enjoying the sun and trying to think of a better way to distract herself. So far, everything she had tried made her think of Gabrielle. More specifically, a naked Gabrielle. Thinking about various battles made her think of how they worked off the battle lust afterwards. Thoughts of being stuck in a dirty, damp cave during a storm made her think of all the creative ways a person could dry off and warm up. She even tried to think of the time Gabrielle had married Perdicus. That one almost worked, until she remembered their first night together and how Gabrielle's reactions and later her own words, made it clear that Xena was the best lover Gabrielle had ever known. "And ever will!" she muttered out loud, as she furiously tried to think of something else.

Xena opened her eyes and looked up when she felt a shadow pause over her. Looking up into the amused face of her wife she groaned out loud. 'What now?' she thought. When Gabrielle said "Let's go for a walk." Xena was immediately suspicious, but she knew she had no choice. After allowing herself to be pulled to her feet by the smaller woman, they headed towards the dining hut where Gabrielle picked up the package of food that was waiting for them. Within minutes, they were heading down one of the many forest paths.

Walking along behind the smaller woman, Xena found herself staring at the toned legs and shapely backside moving ahead of her. Because of the narrowness of the path, they were forced to walk single file. It would take at least an hours walking before it widened out. Xena clenched her teeth and determinedly stared at the branches overhead as she followed Gabrielle. She couldn't see the sight grin queen wore as she faced forward, listening to the normally quiet walking warrior stumbling along behind her on the path. Her resolve lasted all of two minutes, before she found herself mesmerized by the curves of the woman in front of her. She was so distracted that, by the time the trail did widen, it took her another half hour to notice.

'Five days. She's been driving me crazy for five whole days now. I know I should have listened, but this is going to kill me if it lasts much longer' thought Xena as she watched Gabrielle walking just ahead of her on the path. Shaking her head a little she moved up to walk beside the bard. She scowled when the younger woman put a hand on her shoulder. "I think it might be a good idea to take a break. You look like you could use a rest." she whispered seductively.

"I'm fine," Xena replied quickly "Besides, there's a clearing further up the trail. I'll rest when we get there," with a slight shrug she dislodged the hand from her shoulder and moved ahead. 'She's trying to kill me,' she thought, as she quickened her pace.

The little queen now grinned openly, as she hurried to catch up. By the time she did, Xena was already moving into the small clearing. She found a place to sit and patted the space beside her, a gesture which the taller woman ignored. Watching Xena pace the area she said nothing while she laid out the food she had brought. When that was done she called to Xena, "At least come and eat something." When she saw stormy blue eyes darting between the food and herself, she knew what the warrior had made of the comment and almost laughed out loud. Instead, she waved a small loaf of bread at Xena and said, "C'mon, I brought some lunch. Let's eat."

After a quiet lunch, Gabrielle turned to Xena and said, "I'm really proud of you."

Xena gave her 'the look' but otherwise didn't say anything.

"Really. I mean it." The bard continued. "It's been five days and you haven't even yelled at anyone."

"Well, I figured I'd better not," Xena began. "After what you've already done to punish me, I don't think I could survive if I did anything to really make you mad."

"I've been pretty mean, haven't I?" Gabrielle asked with a frown.

"Yeah. But I deserved it." Xena said as she laid back on the grass, folded her hands behind her head and watched the branches swaying in the trees above.

Laying on her side beside the warrior, Gabrielle lifter herself on one elbow to look at her lover. Using her free hand she reached out and stroked the dark hair with the tips of her fingers. The slight flinch at the contact did not go unnoticed. "I think I might have gone too far." she murmured to herself.

Not realizing she had spoken out loud, she was startled when Xena truned her head slightly to look the bard in the eye. "Not really." Xena said. With a deep sigh she continued, "I can't say I'm happy about it but, it wasn't exactly a surprise."

"What do you mean by that?" Gabrielle asked, with a frown.

Rolling onto her side, Xena braced her elbow and rested her head on her hand. "In every other way I've become less violent, more controlled. I used to just act, without ever thinking of anyone or anything else. Now, I do think. I still fight. I still kill people sometimes. The difference is that now, it's my last choice. That's because of you. You believed in me when no one else did, even me. That gave me something to believe in. You have been and will always be, my strength and my light. You helped me to become the person I always wanted to be." Laying back to once again watch the swaying branches Xena continued. "But, when I make love to you, I forget all that. I just want to get lost in you and every time something happens to stop that, I just lose it. I know it's hard for you, having to worry about who might end up getting hurt every time I touch you. I never wanted....."

The rest was lost, when Xena found herself being kissed fiercely by a teary eyed bard.

"I love you." Gabrielle said, when she finally broke for air. Looking at Xena, she saw the pained expression and tightly closed eyes and leaned back a little to study the warrior. She took stock of the tension in the prostrate woman and the hands that were digging into the grass at her side. "You know," she began, "when I said a week, I only said maybe. I think..." she stopped, when she was suddenly pinned, by eyes, darkened to almost black, with desire.

Xena froze. Unwilling to move or to think. 'Oh god's, please let this be for real. I can't take it if she's just messing with me.' With a clenched jaw, she resisted the urge to break the 'no touching' rule, as she warily watched the smaller woman.

Understanding what the dark woman was thinking, Gabrielle let herself rest fully on the tall warriors body. Bringing her mouth to Xena's ear, she whispered, "It's OK. No more games Xena. Touch me."

In a heartbeat, Gabrielle found herself on her back, being kissed fiercely by a very 'agitated' warrior. Moaning into the taller woman's mouth, Gabrielle threaded her fingers through midnight hair and melted into the sensation.

Xena also melted. She could feel herself trembling as she ran her hands over the compact body under her. She drove her tongue into a willing mouth, just as her hand reached under the now loosened tunic and reached the prize they had been denied all theses long days. Her moan of pleasure turned into a moan of frustration as Gabrielle suddenly broke the kiss and halted the motion of her hands. Glaring suspiciously at the woman under her, Xena was about to say something when she noticed the figures standing awkwardly a few feet away, just as Gabrielle said, "We have company."

Epinon stepped back carefully from the pair laying on the grass a few feet away. Motioning quickly, the other amazons did the same. "We were just patrolling the area. Didn't know you were here." she said, as she tried very hard not to look at the couple. Unfortunately the other, less experienced amazons did look. As soon as they saw the glare from the tall warrior they all started to move, carefully, back towards the path they had just left. At the sudden, loud growl from a certain dark haired warrior, they turned and bolted. Without a word, Epinon turned and ran after them, though Xena's sharp hearing clearly picked up the low chuckle from the retreating woman.

Once they had gone, Xena began to reluctantly rise from her comfortable place. Grabbing her shoulders, Gabrielle said, "Where do you think you're going?"

Uncharacteristically, Xena began so stammer. "I-I'm sorry. I, ah, um know you said..."

"I know what I said." Gabrielle interrupted gently. "I said you have to control yourself."

"I didn't mean to scare them like that. I just wanted them to leave." Xena mumbled.

"Xena," Gabrielle said slowly, as she pulled the warrior back down. "You did scare them, but you didn't hurt them. A few days ago you were beating them senseless. Today, no one got hurt. That's all I wanted. Now please, make love to me."

"I guess I did learn to control myself." Xena growled as she pulled the younger woman down.

"I guess you did," Gabrielle whispered, "but right now, I don't want you to control yourself at all." she finished as she began to press her hips into the firm thigh beneath her.

"Oh there's no fear of that." Xena stated, as she proceeded to spend the rest of the day and most of the night, repeatedly and thoroughly relieving every ounce of 'agitation' that had built up over the last five days.

The End

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