Please read the Disclaimer in Part One!
Warning: This story is rated NC-17. Do not read it if you are under 17 years of age, or if the idea of two women in love turns you off. This story contains fairly explicit sexual content, as well as at least one obscenity (in part 3).
"Gabrielle, it's almost sunset," Xena pointed out as they passed through a small copse of trees. "We should stop for the night soon... we have a long night in front of us." Her voice dropped low on the last few words, and she put her hand over Gabrielle's where it was wrapped around her staff.
"Good idea, why don't you go catch us something for dinner?" Gabrielle asked, freeing her hand with an ease that was rapidly becoming habit. Xena sighed dramatically but moved away.
"Whatever you say, my sweet."
Rolling her eyes, Gabrielle began to look around for firewood. Suddenly, she heard male voices calling her name. Reaching warily for the staff, she looked around, trying to place the voices. Recognition hit, and she smiled, waving as she called out, "Over here!"
"Gabrielle! How are you?" cried a short but muscular blond man as he emerged from the trees with his taller companion. He and Gabrielle hugged each other.
"I'm so glad to see you, Iolaus. Hi, Hercules. What are you two doing here?"
"We heard something was wrong with Xena," Hercules explained, "and the local warlords might be preparing to attack her, so we came to see what's up."
"Where's Xena?" Iolaus asked, looking with concern into Gabrielle's unhappy face.
"She's over there," Gabrielle said, but as she waved her hand toward the field, the warrior princess herself appeared, holding a small bunch of flowers.
"Gabrielle, my darling," she said, "look...these flowers are the same shade of creamy white as your beautiful skin. Aren't they lovely? Just smell the perfume." She hardly spared a glance for her former lovers.
"Xena," Gabrielle said patiently, "look who's here: Hercules and Iolaus."
"Oh....yeah, hi guys," Xena said disinterestedly. She wrapped her arms around Gabrielle from behind, lightly stroking the bard's tight stomach and nuzzling her neck.
"Aren't you glad to see them?" Gabrielle prompted, removing her friend's hands automatically.
"Sure...I guess," Xena said noncommitally, looking up at the two surprised men. Her face brightened. "Are they here to talk some sense into you?"
"Um....yeah, something like that," Hercules muttered.
"Xena, what happened to the game you were going to catch for dinner? Did you catch anything?"
"Oh...no," Xena confessed, blushing a little. "I got distracted by the beautiful fields of wheat that reminded me of your hair, my love."
Gabrielle removed strong fingers from her hair. "Well, go back and catch something, okay? I'm hungry!"
Xena looked mortified. "Of course you are! I'm so sorry. Can you ever forgive me?" Without waiting for an answer, she turned and hurried back to the fields.
Gabrielle turned back to the two men, but before she could speak, Hercules put up a hand to stop her. "Don't tell me," he said. "Aphrodite."
Some time later, the four travelers sat eating the birds that Xena had caught and Gabrielle had roasted over a hastily constructed fire. By unspoken agreement, the two men positioned themselves on either side of Gabrielle, forming a human shield against the amorous Xena. The warrior princess sat chewing intently, almost oblivious to her surroundings. But the growing pile of unconscious warlord-minions around the campsite testified to her continued protection of Gabrielle.
"So let me get this straight," Hercules was saying. "They've been trying to kidnap you all day, and when Xena rescued you from the keep, it looked like she'd fought every man she saw?"
"Yeah," Gabrielle confirmed, "and she had no memory of it."
"But that's not really her normal style, is it?"
"No," Gabrielle admitted, surprised. "Usually she'd sneak into the hold and only beat up one or two people to get there."
"See," Hercules shook his head. "I knew Aphrodite wasn't the only one behind this. Not only has it made Xena more...." he gestured helplessly at the lovelorn woman, "....sappy, it's also made her a more vicious warrior."
"Oh no," Iolaus said. "Ares."
"You got that right!"
Hercules, Gabrielle and Iolaus spun around in alarm to see Ares standing behind them, glowering angrily. His curly dark hair and his majestic cape flowed out behind him in a nonexistent wind.
Xena glanced up from her legbone. "Oh," she said dismissively. "It's just the God of War." She took the opportunity to step across the fire and put her arms around Gabrielle again. The bard pulled away and moved to the other side of Iolaus.
"You've made a mistake, meddling in this, brat," Ares growled. "The warrior princess will be mine, and you better not mess with me."
"Forget it, Ares," Hercules growled back. "Your plan failed. Admit it, you never should have asked Aphrodite for help. Now tell her to take the spell off."
"Make me!" Ares yelled in annoyance. "You couldn't even *find* her if you tried!"
Hercules pursed his lips in frustration and glanced at Gabrielle and Iolaus. "Any ideas?"
"Well," said Iolaus, "I have an idea how to make her appear, but...."
"What is it?"
Instead of replying, Iolaus turned to Gabrielle and grabbed her by the waist. Her squeak of surprise was muffled by his mouth as he brought it down on hers. An instant later, Gabrielle joined in the kiss with gusto. Xena's eyes flashed fire, and she stepped forward, but Hercules held her back.
A flash of golden light, and a disgusted shriek. "Oh, GROSS!" cried the Goddess of Love as she materialized beside Ares. "Like, totally gag me!"
Iolaus released Gabrielle. "Sorry," he whispered to her before turning to the others. "Yo, babe."
Aphrodite smiled coyly. "You're cute." Then she turned her frown on Ares. "Dude, like you said this plan of yours was going to make things more romantic with the Warrior Babe all gooey. Um, NOT!"
"Listen," Ares began fiercely, but Hercules interrupted him. Putting an arm around his half-sister's shoulders, he drew her away.
"Listen Aphrodite," he said, "don't you think it's more romantic for them to continue traveling together, wanting each other but not saying anything for months and months?" Seeing the gleam in her eye, he lowered his voice a notch. "Letting all that desire just build... and build... while the hot glances get hotter and hotter... the dreams get wetter...."
"Oh, give me a break!" cried Ares, but Aphrodite was swayed.
"Like, get a life," she told the God of War. "Hercules, you are like, so totally with it." She flashed her sultry smile again and oozed her way in between Xena and Gabrielle, which was no easy task. "Hi again," she whispered before stretching up to plant another kiss on Xena's cheek. She stepped back. Xena blinked.
"What's going on?" she asked. "Hercules...Iolaus?" Her eyes narrowed. "Ares...."
"Like, it was fun while it lasted," Aphrodite sighed wistfully. "Come on, Ares, don't be a sourpuss. Like, you didn't get the Warrior Babe, but you got some really great sex, ya know?" She winked and smiled cheerily. "How often does a guy get to lay the Goddess of Love?" She turned away from the fuming Ares, laying her hand on Iolaus' arm.
"Thanks, Aphrodite," he told her.
"Hey, like, no problemo. Totally groovy seeing you again, babe."
"Yeah...bitchin'. Say hi to Hephaestus."
"Will do. Toodles noodles!" Waving happily, she disappeared.
"You haven't heard the last of this," Ares threatened blackly, shaking a finger in Hercules' face. Herc merely shook his head, unruffled. Ares spared an angry glance for Gabrielle before he, too, was gone.
"Hey, good work, man," Herc told Iolaus, clapping him on the shoulder. "You've really got Aphrodite's number... so to speak."
"Yeah...." Iolaus laughed. "But you helped, a little."
"You both helped," Gabrielle said gratefully. "I owe you a big one." She hugged both men with feeling.
"Hey," said a voice. The three celebrants turned to see Xena watching the proceedings with a bemused expression.
"Is someone gonna tell me what in Tartarus just happened?"
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