Learning The Ropes

By joan the english chick
Part 8

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

Please read the Disclaimer in Part One!
Please also read the Author's Notes and list of characters at the end.
Xenite Disclaimer for Part Eight: Kevin Sorbo's acting abilities were not intentionally maligned in the production of this fanfic.

Gabrielle felt like she was flying. Her hair streamed out behind her, the breeze of their passing bit at her cheeks, and Xena's upper body was warm and strong in her arms. The vibrations of the motorcycle underneath them made her thighs tingle pleasantly. Sight, sound, feeling, even smell and taste, blended into one singularity of experience, and for that instant, it was perfection.

They rounded the fourth corner, having circled the building, and as the powerful machine slowed under Xena's command, Gabrielle leaned up and said into her lover's ear, "I'm sorry about Cally."

Xena brought the bike to a halt some twenty feet away from where they had left the three men standing, and turned her head to reply, "The next time I see her, she won't get away so easy." Gabrielle smiled quietly against Xena's leather-clad shoulder.

"I love you, Xena."

Xena gunned the motor and the cycle shot forward, making the men jump. It stopped again beside them. Xena shook her hair back; her cheeks were flushed. She glanced at Luther and Ian, and focused on Hank.

"One more thing for ya," he said before she could speak. Digging in his jeans pocket, he pulled out something that flashed bright in the dusky grey, and handed it to her: a key. "My dad says you can keep storing her in his garage. He doesn't use it for shit anyway."

"You truly are a prime first-class asshole," Xena said admiringly as she and Gabrielle climbed off the bike. Producing her keyring, she fastened the garage key to it, as well as the key she took from the bike's ignition.

"Yeah," said Hank, looking as uncomfortable as if she had paid him the highest compliment. "Well, you know I like to tinker."

"Ain't that the truth," Xena said, and again her glance flickered across Luther. "C'mon upstairs." This command, or invitation, seemed to be extended to all present, so they trooped back inside together. Entering the dorm building, Luther glanced over his shoulder at the bike, which stood gleaming magnificently in the walkway.

"Is it safe to just leave it there?" he asked. No one seemed fazed.

"Ain't no one on this campus stupid enough to touch Xena's hog," said Ian confidently. Xena's voice rang down the stairwell from above.

"'Sides, we'll be right back," she put in, her tone relaxed. She bounded up the last flight of stairs three at a time.

Back in Xena's room, Hank and Ian stood around somewhat uncomfortably as Xena went into the closet and rooted around, finally producing a large box which Hank helped her haul out while Luther somewhat belatedly put on the rest of his clothing. Digging inside the box, Xena unearthed a sleek black helmet which, once she wiped off the dust with a sleeve, gleamed with a dangerous look that perfectly matched the motorcycle.

Gabrielle took the helmet from Xena and set about cleaning it thoroughly, using a handful of Kleenex and a light, caressing touch. As quickly as they had arrived, they left again, trooping back down the stairs. Hank and Ian seemed to relax somewhat once they had left the building and emerged again into the chilly, rapidly darkening evening.

Resting one hand gently, almost erotically, on the motorcycle's handlebars, Xena looked at her watch. "Hey, Hubba Hubba is still open," she observed. "We gotta get you one of these. We can grab the One Bus."

"Why don't you ride her over? We'll take the bus and meet you," Gabrielle said, finishing off the helmet and handing it to Xena. The tall dark woman turned it in her hands, and looked indecisively from her lover to the bike and back.


"Go on, you know you want to," Ian urged with a grin. Xena's eyes narrowed and she snarled briefly at him, but then her mouth curved upward.

"Okay," she said to Gabrielle. "Bring these." A jerk of her head indicated all three men. She threw her leg over the bike again, settling into its seat with liquid ease, pulling the helmet onto her head. "Who knows, maybe they'll see something they like." She gave a strangely cryptic wink and was gone.

"What'd she mean by that?" Ian wondered aloud as the rest of them moved toward the edge of the Yard. Hank appeared unperturbed.

"Maybe she remembers what you're into," he said provocatively, giving his smaller lover a nudge. Ian's jaw dropped, but he recovered quickly, returning a saucy grin and rolling his eyes. Gabrielle grinned secretively into her scarf.

Their timing was good; as they moved through the gate into Harvard Square, the bus arrived. Pulling handfuls of loose change from their pockets, they piled on, swapping quarters and dimes back and forth until all four had made the fare. Then they moved to the back of the bus and sat at right angles to each other.

"So, Gabrielle," said Ian as soon as the bus began to move. "Tell us about your little friend there. Where *did* you two find him?"

Luther flushed bright red as Gabrielle smiled and replied, "Never you mind about that, Ian. He's just some guy, you know?"

"Yeah, right," Hank scoffed good-naturedly, his hand resting casually on Ian's thigh. "And I'm Conan the Barbarian."

"Well, actually...." said Ian teasingly, with a sly wink. Hank gave him a playful shove. Gabrielle burst out laughing.

"Hey, come on guys, there's such a thing as 'too much information,'" she teased back. Luther raised his eyebrows in agreement. Ian looked across Gabrielle at him.

"There's also such a thing as not enough," he said. "Doesn't he ever talk, Gabs?"

"Only when Xena says so," Hank commented blandly, looking out the window at Massachusetts Avenue. Gabrielle shrugged noncommittally.

"Come on, say something," Ian coaxed. "Tell us what you like, honey. Tell us what you're about."

Luther felt himself blushing again, but he replied with equanimity, "About eight inches, but you knew that already."

Ian's jaw dropped again in surprise, and it was Hank's turn to burst out laughing. "Well said," he chuckled, getting to his feet. "Come on, we're here."

"The boy has untapped depths," Ian commented to Gabrielle as they disembarked from the bus. She nodded and grinned at him.

"No pun intended, right?" she added, nudging him. Ian rolled his eyes, but he was snickering. Hank gave an inarticulate grunt of annoyance.

"God, I hate Central Square," he groused. "Where the hell's Xena?"

"She probably took the long way," Gabrielle said uneasily, and a slight momentary shadow seemed to pass over the genial mood of the three as Luther watched in perplexity.

But an instant later they heard the gruff throbbing of the bike, and Xena rode into view, bringing it to a stop and slithering off.

"Well, whatcha waiting for?" she asked brusquely, and led the way into the shop.

Hubba Hubba, as it turned out, was a fetish shop, the walls of the entrance bristling with advertisements for phone-sex lines, private dancers, sadomasochism clubs, and so forth. Inside, it was a veritable minefield of kinky tools and accoutrements. Hank and Ian headed immediately for the racks of leather clothing, while Xena strolled lazily toward the counter.

"Oh, hey, Xena," said the pudgy young man behind the cash register. "We got these great new whips, Katherine just brought 'em in from her workshop. Really high quality stuff. Check this out!" He pointed to a display case full of whips. Xena glanced disinterestedly at them.

"Some other time, Sal. We're pretty much cool in the whip department." Luther winced involuntarily. "What I need right at the moment," Xena continued, "is a kickin' cycle helmet for Gabs."

"Of course, of course," Sal agreed, rubbing his hands together eagerly. "Gabrielle, nice to see you, what color were you thinking of? We have them in black, but I gotta tell you, the red is also extremely popular ... I'll bring you a couple from the back." Chattering a mile a minute, he bustled back into the storeroom.

"What about this?" Ian was asking, holding a pair of tight leather pants up to his waist. Hank eyed it critically.

"I liked the studded one better. Here, try this one."

"Xena, look," Gabrielle called from beside a display case full of dildos and vibrators. "Check out this thing they call the Adonis."

"The what?" Crossing her arms over her chest, Xena strolled over to investigate. Luther, curious in spite of himself, followed.

"The Adonis. Look, it's for guys, it goes around his balls like this, and then it vibrates!" Luther shifted from foot to foot, trying not to imagine the sensation.

"Toys for boys," Xena said disdainfully. "Who needs 'em? I got my whips." She glanced over the display case. "Do we need another pair of cuffs?"

"What for? We have four," Gabrielle answered, following Xena like an eager puppy as she returned to the front counter. Sal reappeared, carrying several motorcycle helmets.

"Here we are!" he sang out cheerfully. "Now, this black one is very simple, very classic, I think you'll like it. Of course, the red is also very popular with the ladies, and the-"

"The black one," Xena commanded. "Try it on."

"Oh, I like it. Isn't it funky?" Gabrielle exclaimed, lifting the helmet and fitting it onto her head. Xena helped her fasten the straps and then wiggled the helmet experimentally, testing its fit.

"Crash-tested, right?" she asked Sal. He pulled himself upright and looked offended.

"But of *course*, like all our merchandise, only the absolute highest quality for you, Xena," he blustered. Xena rolled her eyes.

"Yeah, yeah. Whatever." And to Gabrielle: "What do you think?"

"I like it. It feels good," the redhead replied eagerly. Her face glowed with excitement.

"We'll take it," Xena said to Sal. "And I'll be back to look at Katherine's whips."

"Of course, whatever you say, Xena," he agreed. "I'll just ring this up."

"Hank!" Xena called imperiously. Hank and Ian left off their inspection of the men's-sized high-heeled pumps and came over to the counter.

"What's up?" Hank asked casually. Xena moved her head, indicating Luther.

"Ya want some action?" Luther blanched slightly. Gabrielle, by his side, put a reassuring hand on his arm. Hank gave Xena a measured look.

"Xena," he said quietly, "I fixed your hog. 'Cause I like to tinker and I knew you'd be wanting her back. That's all."

"I know that," Xena replied calmly. "And I'm offering you the boy, 'cause we're done with him, and I knew you might be interested. That's all."

There was a pause, as Hank and Ian looked at Luther, and Gabrielle looked at Xena, and Xena looked at Hank, waiting. Finally he spoke again.

"We ain't interested in taking what he doesn't wanna give," he said cautiously. Xena turned her head, looking at Luther.

"Oh, he wants to give it," she said after a moment, and Luther understood that this was his moment to voice a protest. His mouth was dry, his groin throbbing, whether with fear or anticipation he wasn't sure. He wanted to speak, but something kept him quiet.

"Okay then," Hank said, acquiescing. Not taking her eyes off him, Xena reached into her pocket and pulled out a credit card, which she handed over the counter to the hovering Sal.

"Okay then," she repeated, and turned back to Luther. "You do whatever they tell you, my boy ... for tonight. After that, you're on your own." Mutely, he nodded acceptance. Xena turned to the counter and signed her credit card receipt.

"We're gonna go take a long ride," she said, pocketing the card and patting Gabrielle on her still-helmetted head. "You three have fun now."

"No worries about that," replied Ian, who like Gabrielle had kept quiet during the negotiations. "Thanks, Xena."

The five of them left Hubba Hubba and returned to where the cycle was parked. "You're welcome, assholes," Xena said, mounting the cycle and pulling her helmet back on. Gabrielle climbed on behind her and they watched the three men stroll off together.

"Xena, are you sure we're done with him?" the poet asked her lover as they settled themselves in the seat.

"We accomplished our stated objective," Xena replied with a small shrug. "Did you see how quickly he obeyed me?"

"He did," Gabrielle agreed, watching Luther's body language. "And he certainly seems less uptight. I guess you're right. But you were wrong about one thing."

"Oh?" Xena enquired with a slightly dangerous growl.

"Yeah, when you said it wasn't about trust. It was, in there. He didn't think he wanted to go with them ... but you did, and he trusted you to decide."

"Mmm," Xena commented, kicking the motorcycle to life again. "Well, we never said he wasn't a smart boy."

"Yeah." Gabrielle wrapped her arms around Xena and braced for motion. "He was a good choice."

"Still an asshole, though," Xena added just before the bike shot off the pavement and took off down the road.

Gabrielle shook her head ruefully, grinning a tolerant grin, and snuggled tightly against her lover's back. Purring sensuously, the motorcycle bore them off toward Memorial Drive.

The End

Author's Notes and Character List

Author's Note on Verisimilitude: Hubba Hubba is a real place, you really can get to it by taking the One Bus to Central Square, and it really does sell all the merchandise described, except the motorcycle helmets. The salespeople aren't quite as obnoxious as Salmoneus, but they are friendly and extremely helpful. If you're ever in the Boston area and find yourself in dire need of a vibrator, a dildo, a whip, or a woman's dress shoe in a man's size, I recommend Hubba Hubba highly. :)

Character List:
Xena: Xena
Gabrielle: Gabrielle
Hank: Hercules
Ian: Iolaus
Jax: Joxer
Tiffany: Ephiny
Professor Amazov: Terreis ("Hooves and Harlots")
Cally: Callisto
Aaron: Ares
Sal: Salmoneus
Minya: Minya ("ADITL")
Howard: Hower ("ADITL")
Luther is my own creation.
The MIT students who accompany Cally are based (very loosely) on friends of mine who went to MIT.

If you enjoyed this story, please email me and let me know. Your feedback is the only reward that I get for writing fanfic, and every message is appreciated.

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joan the english chick
Last updated 7 February 1998 (content) / 25 February 2002 (format)