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Overstaying His Welcome
Roused from sleep, the ever alert warrior raised her chakram, ready to fling it towards the unwelcome intruder. Xena tilted her head slightly, trying to get a lead on the noise that had awakened her, and tense seconds passed as she finally pinpointed the source of the sound. Her pulse quickened, and she tightened the grip on her weapon; the cocky trademark smirk already making its way onto her face, only to morph into a frown moments later when she finally realized what it was that she was hearing.
Thirty feet away, Joxer lay on his back, his mouth gaped open wide as his resounding snores made their way to where Xena lay next to a totally unaware Gabrielle. She glanced over at her blonde partner and wondered how she could possible sleep through the disturbing noises emanating from the annoying, klutzy wanna-be-warrior. Closing her eyes, Xena attempted to drift back to sleep, but her thoughts kept returning to their unwanted visitor.
Joxer was supposed to have traveled with them for a couple of days until he was to head home to visit his mother; however, days had turned into weeks, and Xena was at her wits end. Joxer's visit couldn't have come at a worse time, a time when she and Gabrielle had finally decided to take their relationship to the last step, consummation.
It had been a day like all the rest . . .
. . . filled with endless chatter from the bard and silence from the warrior. Secretly, Xena loved to listen to Gabrielle prattle away about this or that. She could take even the simplest of tales and turn it into the finest productions Rome could or would ever see.
They'd decided to stop their travels earlier than usual as Xena had found a crystal clear spring and a beautiful cove nestled next to it. There weren't any battles to fight, or warlords to hunt down, or maidens to rescue. Even Ares had left them alone; it was the perfect time and the perfect place to make love for the first time; and Xena was bound and determined to make it happen.
The campfire was low and the moon was full. Argo had been tended to and both women had been fed. Tonight was the night.
Xena smoothed out the rocky surface and laid the bedrolls across the ground while Gabrielle finished the last strokes on the scroll she'd been working on. The warrior stretched out on the soft fur and gazed at the bard, noting the cute little habit Gabrielle had when she was searching for the perfect word. She worried at her bottom lip and looked out into the darkness, and Xena knew the exact moment she'd found it as a grin formed in the creases of the blonde's mouth, followed almost immediately by a beautiful smile. The strokes of the feather became bolder as the bard added the latest stages to their saga, and soon, Gabrielle sat back and scanned the finished product, placing it down reverently next to her bag. Turning towards Xena, her face beamed with pride as she stood to join the warrior.
Returning the infectious smile, Xena moved to the side of the bedroll, making room for her soon-to-be lover. Gabrielle gracefully took a seat next to her warrior, reaching out to gently stroke Xena's cheek with the backs of her fingers.
Gabrielle's whispered words left no doubt in Xena's mind that her bard was definitely on the same scroll as she was. "Xena, I love you with all my heart. Make me yours."
Reaching for the hand caressing her face, Xena took it into her own and lightly kissed the back, turning it over to place gentle kisses on the palm. She never took her eyes off the smiling bard.
"Are you sure, Gabrielle?"
"I've never been so sure of anything in my entire life."
Xena smiled. Sitting up, she slowly leaned towards her bard, giving Gabrielle the opportunity to change her mind if she so desired. Instead, Gabrielle moved towards her warrior, cutting the distance in half. Finally, their lips met in a sweet, reverent kiss, each woman reveling in the touch, neither quite believing that the moment was real. The kiss soon grew in intensity as Xena laid the bard down gently on their furs.
The warrior's free hand reached out, placing her chakram on top of her sword and next to the ever growing pile consisting of a breast plate, a set of leathers, and a green-laced top. Xena had just moved her hand to cover Gabrielle's breast when she heard off-key singing coming from the entrance to the path leading to their camp.
"With Gabby as his sidekick, fighting with her little stick; righting wrongs and singing songs, being mighty all day long. He's Joxer, Joxer the mighty."
Xena groaned and dropped her head to Gabrielle's shoulder.
"Xena? What's the matter? Did I do something wrong?"
The warrior mumbled into Gabrielle's shoulder. "No, Gabrielle. Be quiet for just a minute and listen."
Gabrielle tilted her head, concentrating on the sounds of the night. An owl hooted off in the distance, the crickets softly chirped their courting song, and someone was heading their way, loudly.
"Oh, hey Argo. How are you girl? Where's your mommy, huh?"
Gabrielle quickly reached for her top, displacing Xena from on top of her.
"Quick, Xena. Help me lace my top."
Xena rolled to a sitting position, grumbling, "I'd rather be unlacing your skirt."
. . . and so, Xena stared up into the starry night, listening to the loud snores and trying to figure out how, short of killing him, she could get rid of Joxer. By morning, a plan had taken shape.
Gabrielle squinted at the bright light overhead, and it took the groggy bard a few moments to realize that it was late morning. She reached a hand to her side and groped around for Xena, only to find the space empty. Yawning, she sat up and took in her surroundings.
The camp looked the same; Argo seemed pleased grazing on the shaded grass, her bag and staff were lying nearby, and Xena's sword was sitting next to her things. Movement caught her eye, and she watched, mesmerized, as the warrior stepped around from behind the cover of the trees.
Xena bent slightly over, allowing her wet hair to drip onto the ground. Her shift was clinging to her body and left nothing to the overactive bard's imagination. Gabrielle followed the muscled legs up to the narrow waist, briefly halting her gaze on the warrior's firm breasts before moving upwards to broad shoulders.
Swinging her head to and fro, Xena attempted to free the droplets from her dark tresses, unaware that she was being observed. She then reached up with a hand to wring the excess water from her hair, and Gabrielle noted the fine play of the warrior's muscled biceps. The bard's imagination ran free as she followed the line down Xena's forearm and rested on the strong, calloused hand. She shivered at her thoughts of the warrior's hands on her body, and she once again cursed Joxer's poor timing.
Speaking of whom, Gabrielle frowned and glanced around the camp again. Joxer's bedroll was gone as was his traveling bag, and that could only mean . . .
"Hey, sleepyhead. I didn't think you'd ever wake up. Feel like trout? I just caught a string-full." Xena reached over to a nearby tree limb and held her catch up for Gabrielle to see.
Gabrielle kept her eyes on the warrior as she strode toward her, the fish still squirming on the line. Blinking, she cleared the vision of Joxer's head on the biggest trout.
"Xena? Where's Joxer?"
The warrior grinned evilly, and Gabrielle wondered if Joxer had taken the fish's place in the bottom of the spring.
"You didn't hurt him did you?"
"Nah, I just convinced him that it was time to move on." Xena placed her catch on a nearby rock and grabbed for their cooking knife.
Gabrielle watched as she sliced the heads off the fish and proceeded to cut and de-bone the trout. With the efficient manner Xena wielded the knife it was probably a good thing Joxer had moved on.
Clearing her throat, the bard asked, "And how exactly did you convince him?"
Xena never missed a beat as another fish head fell to the ground. "I mentioned that our next stop was to visit the Amazons, and I might've said something about how it was the season for all the fertile Amazons to go out and find a man to impregnate them so that the tribe would flourish and grow."
"Yes, I did." Xena wiped the blade with a cloth and laid the cleaned fish on the rock, using a small bowl of water to rinse her hands.
"I'd have thought he couldn't wait to go then, all those women to choose from."
Xena laughed. "Well, you see, Gabrielle. One woman might've gotten his attention, but knowing that he had to service the entire tribe made him a little nervous, especially when I explained, in detail, how much the Amazon women loved to dominate their men."
Gabrielle put her face in her hands. "Couldn't you have just told him that he'd overstayed his welcome?"
"He'd have never left. Besides, I'm pretty sure he'll stay away from all women for at least another couple of moons, including us. I don't think we'll see him for quite awhile."
Chuckling, Gabrielle rose and moved to start the fire. She grabbed their frying pan and placed the cleaned fish diagonally across, fitting as many of them as she could in the cooking vessel. Xena watched with a smile.
The bard smirked. "As a matter of fact I am, plus I need to make sure that I have enough to eat today. I'm going to need all my strength tonight."
Xena wrinkled her brow, various thoughts racing through her head until one particular one stopped and replayed itself in living color. The frown was quickly replaced with a beaming smile.
"You know. I think I'd better eat a little extra, too. You never know what the night may bring."
"Yeah, like a bumbling Joxer returning."
Xena stood and moved towards Gabrielle, pulling the surprised bard into her arms.
"Gabrielle, if anyone steps into our camp tonight, I'm letting my chakram fly and asking questions later."
Rising on her toes, the bard kissed her warrior passionately. Her intentions were clear; nothing and no one would stop them from completing the cycle of their love.
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