The forest loomed dark, while overhead stars gleamed in velvet black sky. and a full moon shone across the landscape. Deep within the forest, a small fire cast a friendly glow over the surrounding campsite. Gabrielle lay with her back propped against a convenient log, the bedroll under her backside more than adequate cushion against the hard ground, well stuffed with broiled rabbit, pleasantly warm, and fairly content. Her eyes lifted to Xena where she sat on the other side of the fire, her sword angled across her lap. The scraping sound made by an oilstone sliding across metal echoed rhythmically through the night as she sharpened it with slow, steady strokes. A hint of a smile touched the bard's lips as she noted the way firelight played over her lover's bare skin, highlighting the twining of bone and sinew as she moved. By the Gods, she was beautiful. Dark and dangerous, like some wild animal who could love, or destroy, with equal passion.
Xena lifted her sword, studying the edge of the blade with practiced care, shifting it back and forth, so that it reflected orange firelight. The position threw the sleek muscles in her arms and legs into sharp relief and emphasized the rises and hollows of her features. The effect was a stark one, accentuating her inherent power. For once, Gabrielle could envision her as a warlord, riding down on some village.
Before she quite knew what was happening, she slid off into a fantasy: Xena's army stood ready to take Potedeia, their swords drawn, blades reflecting orange torchlight. The warrior princess rode at the front, her dark hair flying behind her. Her crystal blue eyes swept across the villagers, taking stock of them, while an arrogant smile curved her generous mouth. Gabrielle shivered as that cold gaze touched on her, and went no further. Xena blinked, her smile broadening a notch, lust gleaming in pale eyes. She spurred her mount forward, and the next thing Gabrielle knew, she was swept up in front of the warrior. A hard hand cupped the back of the girl's head, and warm lips came down on hers. The kiss was powerful, without being cruel, and the warm probing of her tongue made Gabrielle shudder with needs she didn't fully understand. Xena's hands shifted, sliding over her prisoner's slender frame with knowing skill. She scraped the cotton skirt up, slipping her fingers into the vee at the top of her prisoner's thighs, slicking her touch over liquid flesh.
"You're wet," the warrior princess growled as she broke the kiss. She pressed her fingers deeper into welcoming flesh, then lifted her hand, tongue darting out to taste the musky liquid glistening on her skin. "Come with me and I'll spare your village," she offered, her low voice, little more than a soft purr.
Caught in the trap of the warlord's eyes, Gabrielle could only nod in agreement.
Xena chuckled triumphantly and pressed a wet finger against the girl's lips. "Taste yourself," she commanded huskily.
The girl darted her tongue out, tasting musk of her own essence.
"That's right," Xena praised and dropped her hand back to the ache between her thighs.
Gabrielle whimpered low in her throat, thrusting her hips against the invading hand. She didn't care that Xena's army and her entire village were looking on. The only thing that mattered was the woman holding her with such total mastery.
The sound of a body moving yanked the bard from her fantasy, and she blinked rapidly, focusing her gaze, with effort, on the figure of her friend as she stood gracefully. Xena lifted her hands and started to remove her armor.
"Wait," Gabrielle said quickly and snapped to her feet.
Xena's head swung around. "I thought you were asleep," she murmured.
Gabrielle shook her head as she came up behind her lover. "Just...thinking..." she murmured, without elaborating. She reached around Xena, brushing her hands aside as she curved her fingers to the smooth metal hooks that held the metal and leather armor in place.
One fine dark eyebrow lifted. "I was removing my armor alone, long before I met you," Xena pointed out dryly.
The bard sighed softly. She loved Xena, but she wasn't always the most romantic soul on the planet. "But I enjoy it," she pointed out, hands stilling against the leather. She leaned forward to press a light kiss to a muscular shoulder. "Serving my beautiful warlord."
"Your beautiful warlord?" Xena repeated doubtfully.
Gabrielle brushed dark hair to one side, and arched up on tiptoe to drop press another soft kiss against the base of her neck. "That's right," she exhaled, smiling triumphantly as she felt the soft shudder that rippled down her lover's spine. She dropped light kisses onto the warm skin of Xena's back between softly spoken words. "The warlord...who conquered...my heart...body...soul...."
The faintest of frowns drew a line between Xena's brows. A dry smile touched her lips as she turned her head enough to note the top of Gabrielle's head. "What exactly were you thinking about?" she questioned wryly.
Gabrielle shrugged, but didn't answer, just continued feathering kisses over Xena's back and shoulders.
Now Xena was really intrigued. Gabrielle was only quiet when she had something to hide, and the warrior could almost smell the sex pouring off her. "Must have been some very interesting thoughts," she theorized aloud.
"Er..." Gabrielle exhaled, embarrassed to admit to her little bout of fantasy.
"Tell me about them," Xena whispered, her low voice throbbing with command. When the bard didn't immediately answer, the warrior pivoted sharply, slipping long fingered hands into thick, red-blond hair. "Tell me," she repeated.
Her cheeks now thoroughly pink, Gabrielle's eyes slid from her lover's. "I...it...wasn't...."
Xena tucked a finger under the smaller woman's chin, drawing her head up. "Tell me," she breathed her eyes and voice rich with the aura of authority.
Gabrielle shivered, and her mouth went dry. The look on Xena's face was so close to the warlord of her fantasies that her heart slammed in her chest. "I was just...uh...watching you...and...imagining what you must have...looked like....before..."
Xena chuckled very softly. She could see the hunger in her lover's eyes and knew it was far more involved than she was letting on. "When I was a warlord?" she guessed.
The bard's eyes flicked away again. "Right," she exhaled almost inaudibly.
Xena smoothed her hands over the breadth of Gabrielle's shoulders. "Is that what you want, Gabrielle? To be conquered?" She leaned close to the smaller woman's ear, sliding possessive hands over her lover's body, as she continued huskily. "Ravished by a warlord?" She stroked smooth curves, drawing a soft moan of pleasure. "Taken away on the front of my saddle?"
Gabrielle swallowed hard, wetting her lips. There was something almost frightening about the intensity of her lover's expression, but at the same time, she knew Xena would never hurt her. "I-I've...wondered...sometimes..."
Another soft chuckle. "Remove my armor," she ordered quietly.
Gabrielle blinked in surprise, thrown by the sudden subject change.
Xena cupped her lover's face in one hand, her expression compelling as she clearly explained, "That's the first thing you have to learn in order to serve me."
The bard blinked again, not entirely certain she understood the game being played.
The warrior traced a fingertip along her lover's brow. "After all, I gave up taking a village in trade for you."
"Oh...." Gabrielle paused a beat, then trailed her hands up Xena's leather clad torso to the brass clips at her shoulders. They came free with a quick twist of her wrists, and she lifted the twining of leather and metal free of the warrior princess' shoulders. She carefully set the armor aside, then turned to face her lover again, eyes lowered meekly. "I...hope I did that...right..."
Xena's lips twisted in a hint of a smirk, and she had to struggle to keep from laughing at Gabrielle's submissive act. She'd been on the receiving end of the bard's passionate nature enough times to know just how much of an act it was. "It's acceptable...for now..." she murmured, her crystal blue eyes burning with the fires of lust as she watched Gabrielle carefully remove her bracers and armlets. When the bard was done, she reached out to press lightly on her shoulder. "On your knees," she instructed.
Her hazel gaze still locked with her lover's paler one, Gabrielle slowly knelt before the warrior, trailing her hands down the muscular length of her upper legs.
"Unlace my boots," Xena drawled.
Gabrielle reached around each leg, fumbling with the leather laces, that held her leather greaves in place. As she finished the second one, she was almost painfully aware of the length of muscular thigh only inches from her cheek. Unable to resist temptation, she leaned into smooth, warm flesh, nuzzling her way through the supple leather strips of her lover's skirt. She blindly ran her lips over the softness of her inner thigh.
The warrior allowed the heated caress for a long moment, leaning into it as she felt Gabrielle's tongue dart past the edge of her leathers to brush tantalizingly close to her center. Finally, she braced her palm on Gabrielle's forehead, and pushed her back with controlled strength.
The smaller woman sat back on her heels to peer up at her lover.
"That's enough. You haven't earned any more than that," Xena chastised.
"What are you going to do to me?" Gabrielle whispered.
Xena smiled, showing perfect white teeth. "Everything," she promised, passion throbbing through her rich voice. She sank down on the log Gabrielle had been using as a backrest, stretching long legs out before her, then leaned back on her hands. "Finish with my boots."
Gabrielle was so aroused her hands were shaking, and it took all of her concentration to loosen the laces that ran down the front of her boots. She curved a hand to the back of Xena's ankle, and tugged the smooth leather free, revealing an elegant length of leg. Gabrielle's eyes lifted to find the warrior grinning down at her.
"Only one more to go," she murmured and waggled her toes suggestively.
Quick fingers loosened the laces, then pulled the boot free. Gabrielle laid it aside, then sat back on her heels to wait. It didn't take long. Xena lifted a foot to trail her toes teasingly down the open vee of the bard's blouse.
"You have very soft skin," the warrior drawled. She abruptly straightened, dropping her foot to the ground as she leaned forward. "C'mere," she husked, waving the bard into the open space between her spread thighs. Gabrielle scrambled into position, pressing bonelessly against her lover's body as strong arms wrapped around her torso and pulled her close. She tipped her head back, mouth opening to accept a hungry kiss. Xena's tongue probed deep into her mouth, exploring with rough thoroughness, until Gabrielle was groaning softly with every knowing stroke. She wrapped her arms around Xena's waist, fingers spreading against her back, digging into powerful muscles through supple leather. A hand slid under her hair, working into the silky strands. Finally, Xena broke the kiss, trailing her lips into the downy hair at Gabrielle's temple. "I'd trade a thousand villages for you," she whispered raggedly. She pushed her back gently, and leaned back on her hands again. A cool smile curved her lips. "Time for your next...test..."
Gabrielle's breath caught as she stared up at the woman.
"Strip." The single word was softly spoken, but with an unquestioning note of command.
Gabrielle blinked, then slowly rose to her feet, her expression uncertain.
"Do it...." Xena reached out to trail an idle finger over the younger woman's bare midriff. "...for me...."
Uncertain how to begin, the bard paused momentarily, until Xena took pity on her and patted her thigh. "Put your foot up here," she instructed. Gabrielle lifted her booted foot, muscles trembling gently as Xena loosened the supple leather and peeled it away from her narrow calf. "Very nice," the warrior approved, trailing her fingers up her calf to her inner thigh. She heard the soft catch of air as her hand ranged under the edge of Gabrielle's short skirt. "Not yet..." she teased, then eased the small foot back to the ground and gestured for her to repeat the gesture with the other leg. Again, she peeled the boot away, then ran a lazy caress up the smaller woman's leg, but this time, she pressed her fingers into the juncture of her thighs, massaging sensitive flesh through soft fabric.
Gabrielle moaned softly, instinctively thrusting her hips against the raw strokes.
Xena abruptly pulled her hand back, leaning back luxuriously. "You get the idea," she encouraged.
Gabrielle lowered her foot to the ground, then smoothed her palms up her thighs, and over her midsection. "Like this?" she questioned and loosed the ties on her skirt, her movements consciously sensual, as she peeled it away from her body before letting it flutter away to the ground.
The warrior ducked her head in acknowledgment. "That's right."
Gabrielle freed the ties on her simple undergarment and it quickly followed the first to the ground.
"This is getting better all the time," Xena drawled.
Fine- boned hands skated over smooth skin, then fumbled with rough fabric. Gabrielle freed the front of her blouse, then shrugged her shoulders, letting it fall away.
Xena's pale eyes ranged over the bard's bare curves, and she smiled, nodding her approval. "Beautiful." She leaned forward, fingers sliding over the smaller woman's bare torso with confident ease. "Continue Servicing me this well, and your village will have my full protection."
Gabrielle ducked her chin, her manner intentionally shy. "I'm yours to command."
The warrior's lips drew back in a feral smile. "That's right...you're my sweet...beautiful...little...bribe...." She rose abruptly, and peeled out of her own clothes, tossing them aside carelessly before sinking back down onto the log.
Her breathing unsteady, palms damp with sweat, Gabrielle stared at her lover and could almost believe it was no fantasy game. Xena's eyes danced with predatory lights, and her smile was hungry.
"Time to prove your worth," the warrior murmured and smoothed her hands down her inner thighs. "Remember, your people's future rests on your skills."
Gabrielle nodded slowly as she stepped forward, bracing her palms on Xena's muscular thighs as she lowered herself to her knees. Involved in the fantasy, she almost believed she was an inexperienced virgin, faced with pleasing a conquering warlord to save her village. She arched forward to flutter light kisses over Xena's full breasts, then down over her ribcage, and belly, taking her time and building the anticipation. Her lips just brushed soft dark hair before she turned her head, kissing her lover's inner thigh.
"No," Xena groaned and slid strong hands into thick, amber colored hair, tugging the bard's head up. "No more delays. You know what I want."
Gabrielle sat back on her heels, suddenly defiant. "And if I refuse?"
One smooth, dark brow lifted in open disapproval. Xena tugged the girl forward until their lips were scant inches apart. "I can force you, you know," she husked.
The next thing Gabrielle knew she was yanked up onto a muscular thigh, and her lover's mouth came down on hers with devastating force. Hard fingers slid between her thighs, teasing, thrusting, and drawing harsh gasps of pleasure. The bard's hips bucked against the wild touch, blindly seeking pleasure until she was whimpering desperately. She almost screamed when the sweet contact was suddenly broken, and Xena urged her back to her knees. "Finish what you started," she ordered and outlined full lips with a damp finger.
Gabrielle opened her mouth, nipping her lover's fingertip with sharp teeth.
Xena's eyes narrowed dangerously. "Feeling very brave, aren't we?" she drawled.
The bard grinned back. "Maybe I am..." she taunted.
A dark eyebrow lifted, and she rose gracefully. "Perhaps I should just head back toward your village," she sighed, folding her arms across her chest as she turned away.
Playing along with the game, Gabrielle scrambled after her, wrapping her arms around her lover's body as she pressed worshipping kisses to her hips and back, between pleas. "Don't...I'll do anything you want...please...don't go..."
Xena turned in the circle of her arms, reaching down to pet her fingers through Gabrielle's hair, smoothing her bangs back from her face. "That's better...."
The bard pressed her lips against the soft hair at the top of her lover's sex, tongue darting out to taste sensitive flesh.
"...much better..." Xena groaned, tipping her head back as rich sensations washed through her. Strong fingers tightened in Gabrielle's hair, urging her to deepen the erotic caresses.
Holding tightly to Xena's powerful hips, Gabrielle pressed deeper into her warm center, caressing her exactly the way she knew the warrior liked.
Xena groaned low in her throat, clinging to Gabrielle for stability as her knees turned to jelly. Finally, she sank back down onto the log, allowing greater access to her most intimate flesh. In the minutes that followed, Gabrielle's caresses ranged everywhere, playing with her body to drive her passion even higher.
The warrior's hips bucked wildly, and a low whimpering sound began in the back of her throat, signaling the start of her orgasm. Hard contractions shuddered through Xena, and her fingers clawed into blonde hair. Her orgasm went on for long minutes, driven further and harder than usual by the point of Gabrielle's tongue, until she finally pushed the smaller woman back. The bard sat back on her heels, lips drawing back in a satisfied grin. Clear blue eyes focused with effort as Xena leaned back on her hand.
"Very proud of yourself, aren't you?" the warrior princess exhaled.
Gabrielle shrugged one slender shoulder and lifted her hand, washing her lover's wetness away with long, slow swipes of her tongue. "I thought I was supposed to pleasure you...didn't you enjoy yourself?"
"Oh, I enjoyed myself," Xena allowed as she straightened, and slid to her knees. "But, I think perhaps, my lovely little bribe has gotten ideas above her station." Hard hands snatched out, catching Gabrielle's wrists to haul her forward. "I'm the one in charge here," she whispered, her warm breath washing across the bard's face. Full lips claimed Gabrielle's mouth in a searing kiss as Xena slowly forced her back onto the blanket, pressing herself between the spread of the smaller woman's thighs. She pressed Gabrielle's wrists into the blanket on either side of her head and braced herself up on her elbows. "Time to be ravished by a warlord."
Hazel eyes turned near black, as Gabrielle's pupils expanded at the suggestion.
Xena grinned triumphantly, muscles flexing as she slowly thrust her pelvis against her lover's.
"Never," Gabrielle exhaled, twisting her wrists, in a none-too-sincere effort to break free.
"Admit it," Xena drawled, intentionally deepening the erotic contact of flesh on flesh. "You like it..." she whispered as she buried her face in the curve of the smaller woman's shoulder.
"No," the bard gasped, but she arched into the sliding weight of her lover's body.
"The little boys and girls in your village couldn't do this for you." Xena transferred both slim wrists into one hand, and dropped the other to cup the full weight of Gabrielle's breast, rolling a swollen nipple between her thumb and forefinger.
"Don't." Another gasp, as the bard played along with the erotic game.
Xena chuckled, then dropped her mouth to cover a full breast, opening her jaws wide around the soft flesh, then slowly closed her mouth, dragging her teeth over smooth skin until Gabrielle whimpered softly and arched up against the sharp-edged caress. She trailed her free hand down the bard's writhing torso, then between their bodies to slide against her most intimate flesh. "Did any of the smooth cheeked boys in Potedeia ever make you feel like this?" she demanded raggedly. She thrust two fingers deep into her lover's body. "Did they?" she repeated when the bard didn't answer.
Gabrielle looked down, hazel eyes meeting her lover's ice blue gaze. "No."
Xena's mouth ranged over her chest, and she added another finger, pushing her hand even deeper. "But they wanted to, didn't they?"
Gabrielle bucked her hips against the sweet invasion as a response was torn from her throat. "Yes." It was the truth. She'd never fit in, in Potedeia, but there had been plenty of boys willing to overlook that defect in trade for a quick tumble.
Xena arched up, kissing the corners of Gabrielle's mouth. "Why didn't you let them?" The questions were no longer part of any game between them, and they both knew it.
"I knew you'd come for me one day," the bard breathed.
Their eyes locked and held, and their breathing came in perfectly matched cadences. Xena lifted her hand, cupping Gabrielle's face in gentle fingers. "You did?" she whispered.
"I always knew."
Shoulders shuddering violently, Xena buried her face in the valley between Gabrielle's breasts. Silky soft hair spilled across the bard's chest, teasing already sensitive nerve endings.
Gabrielle waited a long moment, then teased gently, "I thought I was going to be ravished by a warlord."
There was a brief pause, then Xena's chin came up, and a soft smile touched her lips. "That's right," she exhaled. She released Gabrielle's wrists, then pushed smoothly to her knees. She stared down at her lover for a long moment before reaching out, drawing erotic patterns on pale skin. "I knew the first moment I saw you," she murmured, "you were mine." Long fingers trailed downward, teasing and exploring. Finally, she slipped her hands under Gabrielle's thighs. "And you always will be." Muscles flexing with controlled strength, she lifted her lover's legs up over her shoulders, fingers tightening on her hips as she sank into silky flesh.
Hanging nearly upside down, Gabrielle could only groan as Xena's mouth ranged everywhere, suctioning and flickering wild caresses on her most sensitive flesh.
The rough caresses set off fireworks behind Gabrielle's tightly closed eyelids, and she writhed in Xena's tight hold. Her mouth voracious, Xena followed the twisting motions without ever losing contact.
Soft mewling sounds filled the air as the bard climbed the pinnacle toward her release. Her fingers dug into Xena's thighs with desperate strength, and she jerked against every pleasurable thrust of her lover's tongue. Already so aroused it was almost painful, it didn't take long for the blinding pleasure of her orgasm to arc through charged nerve endings. A cry was torn from her throat as hard spasms shook her small form. Xena wouldn't let her down, just kept up the influx of sensation until Gabrielle went limp in her hold.
Her breathing fast and unsteady, the girl opened her eyes a heartbeat later as Xena was lowering her legs from her shoulders. The warrior looped Gabrielle's thighs around her hips, then reached down to curve her hands to her waist, tugging her upright with ease. Gabrielle folded her calves around Xena's back and hooked her arms around her neck as they shared a slow, sweet kiss.
"That was," she sighed. "Utterly amazing."
Xena chuckled softly, nuzzling her lover's soft breasts as she responded with a question. "So, you like being ravished."
"Mmm....I recommend it ... heartily." She nibbled lightly on Xena's ear. "Everyone should try it."
"I don't think I have that much time...or energy," Xena deadpanned, her voice muffled against her lover's soft skin.
"Very funny," Gabrielle muttered. She threaded her fingers into silky dark hair, using her hold to tug Xena's head up. "Next time, I think maybe I'll do the ravishing."
A fine, dark eyebrow lifted, and a hint of a smirk touched Xena's lips. "Really?" she murmured. She redoubled her hold on the bard's hips. "And exactly how are you planning on doing that?" she challenged.
"I..." With no immediate answer, Gabrielle trailed off.
Auburn eyebrows drew together in an annoyed scowl. "I'll think of something," the bard insisted.
Despite her best efforts, Xena laughed again. "I look forward to your efforts...but I'd appreciate some mercy tonight...." As she spoke, she slowly lowered Gabrielle back to the blanket, then came down over her. "I think one ravishing per night is about all a body can handle." She pulled a blanket up over their entwined bodies, then shared a long, hungry kiss.
"Are you sure about that?" Gabrielle questioned, and wrapped her legs around her lover's hips, writhing against her in deliberate syncopation.
"Well, maybe one more," Xena allowed.
(Well, not really--if you want to find out how Gabrielle responds to the challenge, read Turnabout)
All images © 1996, 1997 Pink Rabbit Productions