A Present from Xena
ran down as all parties do and Gabrielle finally felt as if she had done all
that was required of her as a hostess. That’s when Xena led her away into the
dark. Gabrielle could not see if they moved in any particular direction… only
away from everyone else. Xena wrapped her up in a warm coat and handed her a
pair of warm sweat pants that she had apparently stashed along with a backpack
full of who knew what.
are we going?” It was clear that they weren’t going to sleep in the park.
It was all she would say. She looked around to make certain that no-one was
near and she whistled loud and clear and then she waited.
A short time
later, Gabrielle heard something that sounded like the beating of huge wings.
It was a sound that was familiar but impossible. She had not heard that
particular sound in a thousand years and more. But she scanned the skies
anyway… hoping to see the impossible… and she did. There just above the horizon
was a shape. It grew bigger with each beat of its mighty wings. Gabrielle could
scarce believe what she was seeing. It was a Pegasus and not just any Pegasus
it was a Valkyrie Pegasus. That was when she remembered that many
Valkyrie had come to Mars to bring the scrolls and other items that she had
left with Odin. She had assumed that they had gone home… she was apparently in
landed and walked over to them. Gabrielle reached up to pet his nose while Xena
secured her pack on the back of his saddle. “You can still call them?” She said
finished strapping the pack down and turned to Gabrielle with a smile on her
face. “We both can. We were both Valkyrie at one time and even though we are no
longer we did not leave on bad terms… well I did but Odin forgave me when I had
mercy on Aphrodite and Ares. Anyway, we retain some of the gifts that Odin
bestowed on us when we served him as Valkyrie.” She mounted the steed.
“And one of
them is the right to ride the Pegasus.” Gabrielle was very pleased. She went to
get up on back behind Xena but Xena pulled her onto the saddle in front of her.
Gabrielle’s shoes from her feet and tossed them into the grass. “It’s warm
where we’re going. If your feet get cold on the way pull the pants down over
them… and I hate those shoes almost as much as you do.” She took the reins and
clucked to the stallion. He ran for several strides and then took to the air.
Gabrielle had forgotten the thrill of taking off on the back of one of these strong
and mighty animals.
caught her hair and pulled it from her face. She took a secure hold of the
saddle horn and leaned her head back against Xena’s shoulder, closed her eyes
and let the cool dry air of Mars chill her face. She was in heaven… a different
kind of heaven but heaven all the same.
feel Gabrielle’s pleasure and contentment. She knew that this would help ease
her troubled soul even if it was for a short time. This was not even part of
her actual gift but Xena knew that it would be a welcome addition.
for the better part of an hour. Both women enjoyed just riding and holding on
to each other. Neither spoke much; they had passed the need for verbal speech
with each other a very long time ago. So they rode in almost total silence.
Occasionally one of them would giggle or ooh or ahh at the spectacular
that Gabrielle had wrapped around the saddle horn had gone a bit numb from the
cold air when Xena pointed the animal towards the side of a good sized
mountain. He landed with grace and trotted to a stop. He wasn’t even winded.
Xena slid from his back and told Gabrielle to stay where she was at. Gabrielle
lost Xena in the dark but soon a torch lit up the night a dozen feet to her
right. Xena was standing beside a cave entrance. She beckoned Gabrielle to
retrieve their pack and join her.
they walked into the cave and were instantly warmed. The air inside the cave
was much warmer than outside. Xena poked her head outside and thanked the
Pegasus by giving him a treat and dismissed him. When she rejoined Gabrielle
she found her partner looking up at the stars from a hole in the ceiling. It
wasn’t a hole really or rather it was
a hole but it was covered with a huge crystal much like a hole in a house wall
is called a window when glass covers the opening. This was a really big window.
Xena took the pack from Gabrielle and began to set up a camp under it. She was
half done when Gabrielle noticed what she was doing and tried to help her.
“No, this is
your birthday so you go look at the stars or go explore the cave. Go on…” Xena
was quite insistent so Gabrielle lit another torch and wandered back further
into the cave.
She found a
nice natural hot spring swimming hole that had a waterfall at one end and a
stream coming off of it at the other. She dipped her foot into the water and
shivered as the warmth of the water took the chill from her toes.
Off to one
side of the swimming hole she found a shelf with a wide selection of cleansing
soaps for the body and hair and another shelf with body oils and other similar
items and yet a third and fourth shelf with a wide array of towels and sponges.
She smiled when she realized where Xena had brought her.
the solid but near silent footsteps of her soul mate coming up behind her. “So
you’ve brought me to the Valkyrie’s little mountain bungalow have you?”
Gabrielle put the torch in a sconce and turned around. Xena put a glass of wine
in her hand.
complaining?” She asked and took a sip of wine from her own glass.
took a sip of her wine, tasting it and having decided that she liked it she
took a healthy swallow. “Mmmm, not at all, this is really nice.” She said while
looking around a little more.
like it then?” Despite everything Xena had been a little concerned.
was delayed as she had spotted something else that was a little out of place in
the quaint cave and had stepped towards it. She flicked a switch on the wall
and soft lights came on in the pool and along its edge. Gabrielle broke out in
a smile. “Oh, I really like it a lot Xena.” She finished her wine and turned
back to Xena. “This is wonderful, honey.” She was beaming.
seen a smile like that on her beloved in a while. It was heart stopping. She
held out her hand. “C’mon, let’s get you some more wine. I have meats and
cheeses and some bread… and some other stuff you might like… if you’re hungry.
If you’re not hungry we can always slip into the pond or I can give you a
massage or we can stare at the stars… whatever you want to do love, this is all
for you tonight.”
chose the pond first. They relaxed in the water for a while then they took to
washing each other and things turned sensual. They were prunes when they
finally climbed out.
The air, as
warm as it was felt cool against their steaming skin. They rushed to their
blankets and crawled under them quickly. The cave bungalow had a stash of thick
mattresses stashed in a cupboard. The mattresses were just thin enough to roll
up and just thick enough to be really comfortable. Her bungalow bed was
comfortable and Gabrielle was really enjoying herself.
up dear, because I grabbed some entertainment before we left the other room.”
She said teasingly and held up a bottle of flavored body oil.
Xena saw the
oil and smiled devilishly. “Where do you want me to rub it… back or front?”
Gabrielle had the devilish look. “Yes” She raised a single eyebrow.
deep in her chest.
A few hours
later they were back in the pool, this time washing in earnest to get the
residue of the sticky oil off of the tops of their heads and other innocuous
places. Xena finished first and departed the hot water to flip the mattress and
change the blankets out. She also brought Gabrielle a blanket to wrap in so she
didn’t have to run across the cave when she was done with her bath.
later they were once again back under the warm covers. They both lay on their
backs looking up at the stars and snacking on what Xena had brought for them
and drinking more wine.
are the same they’re just in the wrong places… kind of.” Gabrielle was
like a star from here and I can barely see Venus.” Xena was making short work
of the sliced roast that she had brought and a good portion of the bread
whereas Gabrielle was more interested in the fruit and cheese… and the wine.
“Yeah and I
can almost make out the rings of Saturn… God, it is beautiful here Xena.”
up on an elbow and looked over at Gabrielle while she looked at the sky. “Yes
it is dear.”
noticed the change in her voice and looked over at her. She was a bit surprised
that she had missed it when Xena moved. But as she thought about it she
realized that shouldn’t be that surprised. She and Xena had been sleeping
beside each other for a very long time… except for that strange seven hundred
year gap they had not left each other’s side for close to three thousand years
or more. There was absolutely nobody that she trusted more or that she relied
upon more. That’s why she hadn’t registered Xena moving… she was used to her
moving around in their bed and as long as she didn’t leave it Gabrielle trusted
her to do anything. No-one else would ever get this close to her… not without
her permission. The thought left a door open that invited darker thoughts and
Gabrielle think through whatever was on her mind. “What is it dear?”
voice shattered the nightmare that had been forming in her mind. “Xena I don’t
understand. I cleansed myself. I was clean and free of this… this thing. So what is wrong with me?”
over to Gabrielle and put her hand on her stomach. Xena wasn’t really sure what
was wrong but maybe if she ran through the events as she saw them maybe between
them they would figure it out. “Sweetie, you cleansed your body… a body that
hadn’t been violated. You came to terms with and accepted the emotions that you
had blocked out. You accepted them and felt them and then washed them away. But
you can’t wash away the fear until you retrieve the body that felt the pain.
You have to go back to that room and take that body out. You have to free it
from the torment.” It sounded good but it didn’t really sound right. “I think
you’re kind of feeling guilty that your mind escaped but your body had to
endure it all… and then you left it there.”
“I left it
to rot… alone in a cold dark hole with all the ghosts of the men that had
tormented it… tormented me.” She emptied the glass that she had been holding. “I
left Hope to have her soul rotted out by her father… then I poisoned her…” She
couldn’t finish the thought.
her close. There were no words that she could say. Gabrielle may never forgive
herself for what she had done to her eldest daughter. But if there was a way Xena
prayed silently that the God that they served would find it. “It was more than
just a body that you used for a time. This was Hope’s body. That’s what has you
by the throat… your guilt… not your fear.” Xena finally had it figured out.
looked up at her. There were tears in her eyes that were running down into her
ears. “Help me.”
Gabrielle, of course I will help you. It’s already started, soon we’ll be back
on Uranus. We’ll retrieve the bodies and give them a proper burial. Then we’ll
train and when we’re ready we’ll confront and defeat Alti…” The rest need not
be spoken, at least not yet. They could decide what they wanted to do
afterwards when it really was afterwards.
There was no sense in counting your chickens before they were hatched.
nodded and then smiled and shook her head. “I really know how to throw a cold
blanket on a hot date don’t I?”
“Oh, I think
that I can fix that.” She slid her hand down Gabrielle’s stomach and leaned
down and kissed her deeply. Gabrielle happily responded by pulling Xena’s head
down closer and by throwing her leg up over Xena’s leading hip.
came up for air Xena reached over their heads and pulled another strawberry
from the bowl and ran it down Gabrielle’s nose, across her lips and down her
chin to her breasts. She then gently cradled the strawberry in her teeth and
leaned down for Gabrielle to pluck it out with her own teeth. But when
Gabrielle tried Xena pulled away. She did this several times before Gabrielle
pushed Xena back onto her back. They were both giggling. “Fine woman, this
means that I get to be on top this time!” She said triumphantly and she quickly
took a bite of the strawberry and watched as the other half dropped into Xena’s
mouth. They didn’t wait to finish chewing their respective halves before they
were kissing again.
lied… she effectively put the warmth back into the date.