Destinies to Fulfill
The original general disclaimer in the first section is applicable to all future sections I write.
Disclaimer: Don't own any of them.
Rating: PG 15+
Spoilers: none that I can think of.
Continued from Chapter 5
Xena used every ounce of strength in her well-toned body to carry Hercules into the bedroom and onto the bed. Her body was ravished by fatigue but she put all that into the back of her mind and concentrated on tending to his wounds. It was hard to tell the full extent of his injuries because of three reasons.
1. All the serious damage was internal and she couldn't see inside him.
2. That thunderbolt was an unknown entity. She had no idea what its effects were and or how she could possibly treat them.
3. He was shivering so much that she dared not keep him exposed to the chilly air any longer.
She also had a few problems to overcome. Obviously Hercules needed to get some warmth into his body and covering his body with blankets just wouldn't do it quickly enough. She couldn't carry him over to the fireplace and even if she could, lying on the cold wooden floorboards would probably cause a fever. She had thought about body heat but once again she wouldn't risk placing any weight on his broken ribs. Maybe if she got behind him ... yes, that was the answer.
She and Gabrielle hoisted him up so she come slip in behind him. While he rested against her Gabrielle piled as many blankets as she could find over him. It was the best they could do.
"Would you go fetch me a water skin please?"
"Sure, Ill be right back..."
Xena watched as Gabrielle left the room.
Hercules groaned in response.
"Gabrielles just gone to get you some water, do you want anything else?"
"No...That can't be very comfortable for you..."
Xena chuckled, "Don't worry about me, worry about yourself and getting well."
"So I can have the night of my life?"
"Mmhmm..." She bent down to whisper in his ear, "Because the sooner you get better than the sooner we can be together..."
"But you have got to promise me that you will do whatever I tell you to do, because doing fighting me will only make the process longer. No heroics O.K.?"
"Good...I'll hold you to that..."
"And if I break that promise how will you punish me?"
"I'll think of something."
Gabrielle re-entered the room carrying the water skin.
"Thanks Gabrielle." Xena said while holding up to Hercules' mouth so he could take a sip. "You better get some rest, you've been though allot today."
"I'm fine Xena, I can stay..." She didn't get a chance to finish.
"Gabrielle, there is no point in us both not getting any sleep, Its going to be a long couple of days and you need rest."
"So do you, even the great Warrior Princess needs to sleep..."
"She's right." Hercules interjected.
"Stay out of this." Xena retorted. "Gabrielle look, I can go without sleep for much longer than you, I have been doing it most of my life. If it makes you feel more comfortable then you can sleep beside us but please try and get some rest."
"All right..." Gabrielle grumbled
defeated. "But yell if you need anything..."
"I will, now get some rest..."
Gabrielle moved to the other side of the bed and snuggled in next to Xena. Xena for her part felt like she was an overstuffed cushion and for someone who doesn't take well to human contact it was rather unsettling. She was trapped beneath a huge and not to mention heavy Demi-god while at the same time cornered by a rather sleepy bard who was laying contentedly at her side. If they hadn't have been the people she most loved in the world she would have probably given them some permanent damage by now but she shook of that thought. Hercules had taught her patience and now the man that she loved and had given her a chance to make a life for herself, lay badly injured in her arms. She would concentrate on getting him well for the time being. She would get even later.
It had been three days and Xena's fuse was growing shorter by the second - so much for patience. She was juggling a bowl of hot broth in one hand and a handful of bandages in the other. Nope, she definitely wouldn't make a housewife!
"Xena..." Gabrielle wined not for the first time that day.
"What is it now?"
"Its Argo, she's really grumpy and she keeps on pacing in the stables!"
"Well let her out then!" Xena said exasperated.
"Why didn't I think of that?" Gabrielle muttered as she turned and head back to the stables. Xena practically stared daggers at the back of her head before walking to the bedroom. She set the load down on the bedside table and bent over Hercules who was apparently sleeping.
"Wakey wakey..." She called.
"Its time to wake up..."
They had been playing this game for the past two days. It basically consisted of Hercules refusing to 'wake up' until he got a kiss from Xena. Well two can play at that game she thought. She brought her mouth to his and gave him a bruising kiss, slipping her tongue between his lips and running it along his teeth before caressing the roof of his mouth. He responded immediately and she deepened the kiss again until she felt his heart begin to race at which point she withdrew leaving him panting and wide awake.
"That was so unfair..." he complained. Instead of receiving something as he had planned, he was now missing out on something. She was so cruel sometimes but he guessed he deserved it. It must be hard for her to be in this situation he realized. She had to care for a wounded man who was trying to get her intimate attention constantly and at the same time a young bard who's well meaning enthusiasm and chatter was tiring. She had a horse who missed her master and above all was trapped inside a house when all she felt like doing was going alone to some secluded spot and get some grueling training under her belt.
Xena sighed. "Here's some soup."
"Thanks." He looked up into her eyes and saw how tired she was. Instead of insisting that she hand feed him he took the bowl and spoon himself. Xena was surprised at his change in attitude. Both said nothing as he downed the bowl's contents in seconds. He didn't even complain when she changed his bandages.
"All right spit it out." She said as she sat on the side of the bed facing him.
"Spit what out."
"Why are you being so co-operative?"
Hercules just smiled, grabbed one of her hands and kissed its palm. It was becoming an 'I love you' gesture between them and said what words could not. They looked into each others eyes and were lost in each other until suddenly Gabrielle burst into the room.
"Xena....um...sorry." She apologized looking at them both suspiciously "Argo is still really upset and she won't let me anywhere near her."
"Xena." Hercules said still holding her hand. "Go, have some time to yourself, We will be fine...won't we Gabrielle?"
"Yeah, I mean what trouble could we possibly get into here?"
Xena raised an eyebrow. "Do you really want me to answer that?"
Gabrielle and Hercules shared a quick glance. "Not really" he both responded.
Xena shook her head. It would be nice to get out for awhile.
Xena let her muscles relax against the rippling water that rushed past hr body. All Argo had needed was some tender loving care and her master was more than happy to provide it. She told her horse about the whole situation and her feelings and like usual it had made her feel much better. There was just no other like Argo. She hated to admit to herself but when Hercules had taken that hit for her she had lost control. It upset her to think that after all these years of redemption that underneath, deep inside of her she was still capable of the same ruthless acts. She had wanted to talk to Hercules about it, he always knew what to say and how to say it. She dreamed of gazing up at the stars from the treetop of that old oak, telling Hercules how she felt, what she needed. He just listened only speaking when necessary, holding her in his arms, stroking her hair. But now that was impossible. She would no longer be able to achieve that feeling of peace in the old Oak. It was stained forever not only with her love's blood but with her rage.
An eerie feeling came over her. Startled she opened her eyes and spun around only to find Callisto sitting on a rock facing her. More upset with herself for not sensing the goddess sooner than startled, Xena swam towards her.
"Stop right there pretty, I don't want you any closer ..." Callisto said as Xena became within two meters of her.
Xena was confused, why didn't Callisto want her to come any closer to her. She was no real threat to the goddess. Was she afraid?
Obviously Callisto saw the look of confusion on her face and explained. "I saw what you did to Aries ... you even have Zeus shaking in his boots. Not to bad for a days work huh?"
Zeus was threatened by her? That made things interesting.
Callisto examined her speculatively. " My, my ... I knew you were hiding something behind that leather ... all that hard work paid off huh? ... I bet Hercules has fun with you."
Xena just gave her a grim smile. Callisto sure wasn't here to give her compliments about her physique. "What do you want?"
"I've just come to warn you."
"Oh really, and why would you want to do that?"
"Because The other gods are not only plotting against you, they are also plotting against me."
"What are you saying?"
"I don't know what you did Princess but Zeus doesn't want you near his son. They have been holding crisis meetings these last few days."
"Crisis meetings?" Now she was really intrigued.
"Yup, They want you out of the way Xena and they asked me to do it since well .....my love for you is not exactly a secret."
"Is that why you're here? ...To get rid of me?"
"No. I refused and now I am banished from Olympus."
"Why did you refuse, I thought you would jump at the opportunity to waste me..."
"I refused because when I kill you it will be for me and for me alone, not for some glorified god who plays with the lives of mortals because he doesn't have a life of his own."
"Ares also refused and he has been ordered not to go anywhere near you or he will be stripped of his powers."
"Good." At least he will be off my back for awhile she thought.
"Whatever you may think Xena, Aries is on your side, just like me and no matter how good you might be, you cannot win without us."
"I don't know exactly."
"Well that's comforting, so let me just recap this for a moment. The gods are planning to kill me but at the same time they are afraid of me for whatever reason. My two greatest enemies are on my side and I am supposed to try and win something but I don't know what it is?"
"Thanks for the warning." Xena said angrily as she turned and headed for the river bank.
"I'll see you soon pretty." Callisto coo-ed as she disappeared.
"I'll bet." Xena muttered as she clothed herself in a clean shift.
The little meeting must have taken longer then she had though. It was almost dark. She involuntarily shivered, she had a lot to think about. By the time she got back to the house it was well into the night. She walked into the bedroom expecting to find Hercules asleep but he wasn't. A look of relief came over his face.
"Are you O.K. ?" He asked worried.
"I'm fine." she replied taking of her shift and changing into her robe. Hercules was once again astounded by her beauty as he was every time her saw her. Her lean, muscular yet completely feminine body left his insides in his throat and it took him awhile to regain his voice.
"What took you so long, Gabrielle and I were worried."
"I had a little chat with Callisto ...where is Gabrielle anyway?"
"I sent her to bed not long ago .....what did she want."
"Oh just the usual." She said smiling at him. "She just was impressed with my reaction to you almost dying and wanted to pay a compliment I guess." It was only half true but she didn't want to worry him.
He could tell that she thought it was amusing but he didn't. "Did she hurt you?" he asked almost panicking when the picture of Callisto standing over Xena's bloody body came into his head.
"No, she didn't even touch me."
Hercules breathed a sigh of relief. She came over to him. "I am fine, she did not hurt me."
She would have laughed at his protective nature towards her if she had not have known of Iolus and Autolycus' death. She lent over and gave him a hug careful not to crush any of his ribs. When she pulled away she asked "So how have you been?"
"Good. Much stronger, I should be up and walking tomorrow."
"We will decide that tomorrow O.K. ?"
"O.K..... Xena can you sleep beside me instead of behind me tonight ? I don't feel comfortable with you being crushed with all of my weight."
"Hey, Its not exactly like I havent been under you before." She said with a wicked smile.
"Please." he pleaded searching her eyes.
Xena sighed. "We'll try ... but no promises ..."
Xena moved to the other side of the bed and slipped under the covers. She seemed hesitant to touch him.
"I'm fine." He encourage pulling him closer to him. "There is no broken ribs this side." He wanted her touch, he needed to feel her in his arms. Safe.
Xena let his pull he closer until her head rested on his shoulder. She was not entirely happy with this but he needed the contact, they both did. He guided her hand so it rested on his broad chest and placed his arms around her so he could stroke her hair. Soon they fell into a restful slumber, not troubled by dreams or past demons, waiting for the sun to rise and the beginning of a new day where gods only knew what would happen.
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