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 (or two men) in love turns you off. This story contains explicit sexual content, as well as probably some four-letter words.
Xenite Disclaimer for Part Two: No current or former bedmates of Xena's were harmed in the creation of this fanfic.
Don't get strung out By the way I look Don't judge a book by its cover I'm not much of a man By the light of day But by night I'm one hell of a lover. --The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Xena knelt anxiously by the fallen body of her lover. A quick glance around the temple showed that Aphrodite had disappeared. "Coward," Xena muttered to herself, but there was no time for that now. Gabrielle -- or whoever was inhabiting her body -- was coming around.
"Are you all right?" Xena asked with concern, gently raising Gabrielle's head. The bright green eyes blinked in confusion.
"Xena?" Gabrielle's voice asked hesitantly.
Well, whoever it is, he knows me, anyway, Xena thought. "Uh-huh. Who are you?"
"Um-" A shocked glance down the length of Gabrielle's supine figure; a widening of eyes; a long look at the surroundings; a pained grimace. "Okay. What has that meddling sister of mine done this time?"
Xena stared incredulously. "Hercules?!"
"Xena, any time you want to start explaining is fine with me."
Xena rolled her eyes. Great ... of all the men she could have picked...! "Come on, let's get you out of here." She helped Gabrielle's body to its ... her ... his ... feet and led ... him ... out the door. The priestesses and worshippers -- those who hadn't already fled -- stared at them in wonder. Xena gave them her most murderous glare, and they all backed away.
"Praise Aphrodite! The Goddess is great!" quavered one brave priestess. Xena's eyes narrowed.
"Yeah," she growled. "Bitchin'."
"Hercules, what happened?" Iolaus asked with concern. His muscled friend put a shaky hand to his face and groaned.
"Oh, no. No, no, no, no!"
Iolaus's concern grew as Hercules continued to moan and shake his head. The blond man grabbed his friend's shoulders and shook him slightly.
"Herc! Talk to me! Can you stand up?" Slowly, he helped the bigger man to his feet. Hercules looked down at Iolaus as if he had never seen him before. Then he glanced around at the small crowd of people who, distracted from their marketing, were watching with interest.
"Uchhhhh...." A heavy hand landed on Iolaus's shoulder. "Iolaus, let's find somewhere quiet and I'll explain everything. I don't think you're going to like it, though."
"Um, okay," Iolaus replied, thoroughly confused. "There was a little privacy in that stand of trees we passed a while ago."
"Lead the way."
Shaking his head in perplexity, Iolaus took the lead.
"I-I-I don't think this is really the best idea," Joxer whimpered, rolling his eyes nervously.
"Best idea I've had in months," Ares replied calmly, propelling Joxer forward with a hard hand on the back of his neck. The would-be warrior hit the stone floor with a thump and a clang.
"Okay, Xena," said Gabrielle/Hercules as they approached Argo. "Why am I in Gabrielle's body? Where's Gabrielle? Why were we in a temple of Aphrodite?" A new thought occurred to him. "Is it true what we've been hearing about you and Gabrielle?"
Argo took one look at Gabrielle's body, snorted in dismay, and then tossed her head as if to say, "What, again?"
"Probably," Xena said shortly. "Gabrielle and I are ... very close."
"Well, I knew that." Hercules waited for more, but it wasn't forthcoming. "Well?"
"As for where she is, I can only assume she's in your body. Wherever THAT is."
"With Iolaus, in Cambripolis -- oh, great," Hercules groaned. "This is just great. Start from the top, please. What in Tartarus is this all about?"
"Gabrielle and her good ideas," Xena sighed resignedly. "See, it all started a few months ago when...."
A few minutes later, she wound down: "....and I tried to stop her, because I just knew Aphrodite was up to no good, but it was too late. She disappeared the moment she had switched your bodies."
"Of course she did," Hercules sighed. "Well, I guess the only thing to do is head for Cambripolis and hope we can intercept Iolaus and Gabrielle before they do any lasting damage."
"Damage to what? Your reputation?" Hercules noticed that Xena wasn't looking at him too closely.
"She just better take care of my body, that's all. Xena," he added, "you can't avoid looking at me forever, you know. It's several days' travel to Cambripolis."
"I know." Reluctantly, Xena turned and looked directly at ... him. "This must be what it was like for Gabrielle when I was in Callisto's body."
"Oh yeah, I heard something about that. What happened?"
"Well," said Xena, shaking her head ruefully. She was beginning to feel like a bard-in-training with all this storytelling. She took Argo's reins and they began to walk. "It all started after I killed Callisto, when she was in Tartarus and somehow attracted Ares's attention...."
"Okay, Herc." Iolaus led the way to a small stand of trees by the side of the road leading to the village. "Now are you going to explain?"
Carefully, Hercules sat down on the soft grass and leaned back against a tree, looking pained. "I'm not Hercules."
"What?" Iolaus studied him carefully, looking for signs that the bigger man might have hit his head.
"Iolaus, don't give me that look. I didn't hit my head. I'm Gabrielle."
"Gabrielle, eh?" Iolaus nodded slowly. "Okay. It's going to be all right. Just tell me what happened."
Gabrielle rolled her eyes. "Listen, Iolaus, remember when Xena died and you helped me beat off those bandits who wanted to take her body?"
"Remember how I said that I wished I could have told Xena I loved her?" She watched him, waiting for that moment of shocked realization to cross his features.
"Well, did you ever tell Hercules about that?" she prompted in exasperation.
"No, I wouldn't do that! That was a confidence...." Iolaus's voice trailed off as the revelation finally arrived. Gabrielle gave a little grunt of relief.
"By the Gods! Gabrielle, it's really you?"
"That's what I'm telling you," she said patiently.
Iolaus leaned forward to stare into Hercules's eyes. "Wow... where are you? Is Herc in there too?"
Gabrielle slapped his hand away as it reached for her ... his ... chin. "Cut it out. Hercules is probably with Xena, in my body. We have to find them!"
"Okaaaaay...." Iolaus gave her a dubious frown. "Exactly how did this switch happen, Gabrielle? What's going on?"
"I'll explain everything," she sighed reluctantly. "But first, we have to figure out where we are. Here's a map...."
"Yo, Mom," said Cupid airily, setting down his bow on a table. "Boy, have you messed things up this time!"
"As if," Aphrodite replied with disdain. "This could be, like, totally bitchin'. If that idiot brother of mine wakes up. Hel-LO!" She shook her beautiful head at the image of Hercules-in-Gabrielle that floated in her scrying bowl. "Like, obviously he didn't get the brains in the family."
"Get a life, Mom." Cupid rolled his eyes. "You've been trying to hook up Uncle Herc with that lame-o sidekick of his for ages. You just don't know when to quit."
"But this time I might just be killing two birds with one rock," Aphrodite mused, looking from one scrying bowl to the other. "Just wait and see...."
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