Disclaimer: Xena:Warrior Princess is a trademark of Renaissance Pictures. This is a kinky adult romp. No tender bairns allowed - be off with you :) It contains explicit sex, naughty words, Gab-tormenting, and a fun outing for Killian (if you've read Killian's Way you might remember her).
© September 1999 Charmer

This is the last part of a loose trilogy which began with "Killian's Way," and continued in "A Taste of the Warlord."


by Charmer

'Run, Gabrielle, run!'

Gabrielle didn't need to hear Xena's frantic yell behind her to spur her on. She shot up the grassy path like a pebble from a catapult. A wide-eyed pebble at that.


'I am running!' Gabrielle shouted back. 'What d'you think I'm doing, Xena? A friggin' rain dance?'

She was starting to pant and sweat. The heathered heath was bathed in glorious sunshine and her muscles protested such exertion in this demanding heat. As she ran the burden she was clutching over her shoulder thumped painfully against her back.

'I'm going to chuck this stuff, Xena,' Gabrielle barked.

'Don't you dare!'

'Maybe they'll let us go if we give it back.'

'No!' Xena shouted from the rear, her pitch going up a notch. 'I want it!'

Gabrielle gritted her teeth and raced on up the little track. Gods, they must have covered a mile by now. Where had that tarn got to? How much further to the top? She could hear Xena pounding the ground about twenty yards back, her long legs gradually closing the gap between them as the two women fled. Their pursuers were relentless and seemed undaunted by the steepness of the path.

Gabrielle heard Xena curse foully behind her. One of their assailants had caught up with her and was giving her a hard time.

'That's it!' Gabrielle gasped. 'I'm chucking it!'

Xena's voice climbed a full octave. 'Gabrielle, you lose it and I'll dangle you over the Styx by an ankle and beat you 'til you beg me to let you drop!'

Despite her shortness of breath Gabrielle managed an annoyed grunt. She reaffirmed her grip on the bag that kept bouncing between her kidneys and threw herself into a final effort, charging towards the crest of the heath like a determined athlete. The steep path levelled abruptly and suddenly their sanctuary was in sight - leafy birch saplings nestling in the shelter of a grassy hollow, their blanket still lying in the shade where they'd left it - and most important the tarn beyond, its still blue surface glittering in the noon sun. Gabrielle dropped the bag on the blanket as she raced past, tore off her clothes and boots at full kilter and ran straight into the drink.

It wasn't quite so easy for Xena. All her warrior bits and pieces took longer to get off. She managed to divest herself of boots, sword and chakram before the bulk of their pursuers reached her and swooped down to attack.

'Shit! Shit!' Xena gave up and plunged into the water like a mighty warship.

The small tarn was quite shallow. Even at its centre Gabrielle had to bend her knees to keep her chin level with the surface. To her consternation Xena aimed for the same spot, angry foe in tow.

'Damn it, Xena, you're leading them right to me! ' Gabrielle backed up, splashing to deter the swarm as it got dangerously close.

Xena ducked repeatedly as individual bees dived to attack. 'Fuck!' she said. 'Fuck!'

Gabrielle glared at the beleaguered warrior and pursed her lips. '"Nothing to it," she says. "I've done this a hundred times before," she says. "Just stay quiet behind me," she says. "Trust me," she says...'

'All right all right!' Xena cut in, jerking back as a kamikaze bee came right at her nose. 'This doesn't usually happen. These bees are abnormal.'

Gabrielle rolled her eyes. 'Right. Abnormal bees. That's it. They're not just mad at us because we stole their honey.'

Xena turned swiftly. 'You didn't lose it, did you?'

'Don't worry, oh expert queen of honey thieves, it's over there on the blanket.'

Xena glanced to shore to check that Gabrielle's bag was indeed safe. Reassured she spat out water. 'See, they're not interested in it.'

'No, they're just interested in us.' Gabrielle frowned. 'You, in fact,' she corrected herself, for it was still Xena who was getting all the fierce attention. The warrior had to splash and swat to keep the irate insects at bay.

Gabrielle straightened up to test her theory. Sure enough the bees ignored her, apparently focused only on her dark companion. 'Hey, it's you they want. Not me.' She started to get out.

'Don't risk it, Gabrielle,' Xena warned. 'They've got to be dangerous mutants. They could turn on you at any moment.'

Gabrielle wrinkled her nose in disbelief, then thought better of it. Xena was usually right. Besides, it wouldn't hurt to stay in the nice cool water a little longer. She lowered her shoulders beneath the surface again and relaxed. 'You're the one who messed with the nest,' she muttered.

The attacks on Xena had finally ceased but the swarm still hovered above her head. Xena scowled up at her enemy. 'Little bastards. I know your game.'

'You think they're planning an ambush?'

'Yeah, and I'm not falling for it.'

Gabrielle cocked her head. 'We can't stay here forever. Perhaps if we're quiet they'll just go away.'

Xena snarled up at the bees malevolently. The swarm didn't budge.

A third voice drifted from the shore. 'Are you two having fun, then?'

They both turned in surprise and saw a slim woman standing beside their blanket. She was leaning casually on a bow with one leg crossed in front of the other. Her hair was a very distinctive fine, pale blonde and she was dressed in doeskin from head to foot.

'Killian!' Gabrielle said brightly. 'Fancy meeting you here.'

The archer grinned. 'Having a spot of bother?'

Gabrielle grinned back coyly. 'Yeah. We can't get rid of Xena's new friends.'

Killian smirked at the dark swarm that still threatened the warrior. 'And what did you do to annoy them, Xena? I hope you're not a honey thief.'

'Why?' Xena's eyes flicked warily between Killian and the swarm above her. 'What's it to you?'

'A great deal since I've been promoted,' Killian said proudly. 'This heath is part of the Khedros estate and I'm the queen's official gamekeeper.'

Gabrielle beamed. 'Congratulations! What do you have to do, then?'

'Oh, the usual. Monitor the game, protect the wildlife, deal with poachers...' She looked at Xena pointedly.

'Does that include people who take honey?' asked Gabrielle.

'It does if I say so. Bees are essential to the balance of nature. Their role is vital and delicate.'

Xena snorted. 'Since you're the expert, Killian, why don't you get us out of this?'

Killian waved a dismissive hand. 'Oh don't worry, they'll give up soon enough. They're friendly little souls really, once you get to know them.'

Gabrielle's smile broadened and she looked at Xena indulgently. 'Dangerous mutants, huh?' Just then she noticed that Xena was rubbing her lower anatomy beneath the water. 'Xena, did you get stung a lot?'



'Shut up.'

Killian put down her bow, unshouldered a quiver and satchel and settled herself on the blanket. She reached for Gabrielle's bag and opened it.

'Hey,' Gabrielle protested, 'that's private.'

'I'm looking for evidence.'

'Do you have a warrant?'

'Don't need one just to stop and search... ah, what's this?' Killian pulled out a large makeshift packet of folded parchment. Something suspiciously sticky was leaking from one corner. She lay the parchment on the ground and opened it, revealing two beautiful slabs of honeycomb that were absolutely dripping with golden honey.

Killian dipped a finger in quickly and took a big lick. 'Yep, that's honey all right.' She scooped up a double fingerful and devoured it. 'Mm, heather honey. Lovely.'

Xena was getting agitated. 'Don't eat all of it!'

Killian addressed the swarm of bees. 'Hold that suspect right there, girls! I need time to investigate.' A third scoop of delicious honey went the way of the first two.

Xena made to get out to rescue her prize but the bees had apparently taken heed and buzzed her back into the water again. The warrior turned and jerked her head. 'Get out and stop her, Gabrielle.'

Gabrielle's eyes widened. 'Oh, so now you want me to risk it?'

'If we let her carry on there won't be anything left!'

'Then you stop her, Xena. You wanted the stuff in the first place.'

Xena growled with frustration. By now Killian was on her fourth indelicate scoop and one of the honeycombs was already looking depleted.

Gabrielle sighed gently and turned towards the shore again. 'Killian, you do realise you're consuming the evidence?'

Killian paused mid-scoop and smiled guiltily. 'Oops.' She put the messy packet aside and licked her fingers almost clean. 'Okay,' she continued, retrieving further items from the bag, 'let's see what else is here by way of corroboration. Ah, more of the same parchment, quills, ink... oh! Xena, it seems I owe you an apology. There's nothing here to incriminate a warrior. This is all bardly gear.' She grinned mischievously. 'Gabrielle, you're under arrest. I'm taking you to the castle for a royal spanking. I hear the queen's quite good at them.'

Gabrielle pouted. 'Xena made me carry it.'

'Not much of a defence, dear.' Killian shook her head. Just then she paused and peered deeper into Gabrielle's bag, and abruptly her eyebrows shot up. 'Wow, Gabrielle, that really is a big one. Does it fit?'

Xena frowned, then looked at Gabrielle sideways. 'Don't tell me,' the warrior drawled, 'you brought a phallus with you.'

Gabrielle looked sheepish. 'Yeah. The one I use on you.'

'What did you bring it up here for?'

Gabrielle rolled her eyes. 'Duh, Xena. Why do you think? I was planning to ravish you senseless in this nice beauty spot... until you got distracted by your sweet tooth, that is.'

Xena beamed. 'You were? Oh Gabrielle, you can be so thoughtful.'

Gabrielle smiled shyly. 'Yeah, well...'

At that moment the bees decided to abandon their cause. The swarm retreated tidily back the way it had come, sailing off into the distance and disappearing into the blue horizon. Gabrielle waved cheerily.


Xena immediately straightened up and headed for shore, her armour wet and shiny over her sodden battle dress. Killian inhaled deeply as the looming vision sloshed towards her.

'Gosh, would you look at that. Dripping warrior leather. I think I'm going to faint.'

Gabrielle breast-stroked through the shallow water and floated in the last few feet. 'Careful,' she warned, 'Xena hates getting her armour wet. It puts her in a mood.'

'A mood for what?' Killian's head fell back to gaze in awe as the warrior towered above her. She did a double take as Gabrielle climbed out of the pool next, all naked and equally dripping. 'Ooh, this is too much...'

Xena unclipped her breastplate and dropped it into Killian's lap. 'A mood to make you dry it before it rusts,' she said dourly.

'Then can I polish your bard with my tongue?'

'I'll have to think about it.'

The day grew hotter and the women retreated to the shade of an apple tree. Xena stripped down to her damp tunic and hung her leathers on a branch to drip. Gabrielle was soon dry and put her skirt and shirt back on before settling down on the blanket beneath the welcome foliage. Unlike the young birches, the apple tree had already reached maturity in the shelter of the hollow and small green fruit were sprouting on its branches. Gabrielle regarded them with a speculative expression.

'Too sour,' Xena told her. 'They need a few more weeks yet.'

'I wish I'd thought to bring a picnic,' said Gabrielle.

'You can't be expected to think of everything,' said Killian. 'Not with warrior-ravishing occupying your mind.'

Killian produced fresh bread from her satchel and they used it to mop up the rest of the honey. After a few mouthfuls Gabrielle noticed that Xena had not sat down. The warrior was fidgeting about the blanket, alternately kneeling and standing up, unable to get comfortable. 'Xena,' she said, 'how many bees got to your butt?'

'Enough,' Xena muttered.

'Let me look at it.'

'No.' Xena rubbed under her damp skirt and winced.

'I've got some ointment with me,' Killian offered. 'I always carry some for bites and scrapes.'

'They're just bee stings,' said Xena, starting to sound a little impatient. 'I think I can cope.'

Killian shrugged. 'Yeah. It's the poor little bees I feel sorry for, really. You realise every one of those stings represents a bee that gave its life for the greater good?'

'It does?' asked Gabrielle.

'Absolutely. Human skin is too tough for them. When they sting you they get stuck, and they have to rip themselves apart to escape.'

Gabrielle's expression crumpled to one of dismay and distress. Killian continued.

'Of course, it means they leave their little sting sack behind, constantly pumping poison into you.'

Gabrielle's compassion for the bees evaporated immediately. She turned to Xena and spoke firmly. 'Xena! Show me your butt this instant.'

Xena growled sharply. 'For crying out loud, Gabrielle, I can look after my own damn butt!'

Gabrielle sighed and turned back to Killian. 'She's so proud, you know.'

Killian grinned. 'I'd noticed.'

Gabrielle followed Xena's awkward pacing with her eyes and smirked. 'See? Strutting about like a peacock.'

Xena frowned, still rubbing her behind with one hand while she ate bread and honey with the other. 'You'd better look to your own butt, bard. I can make it sting for you.'

'Big talk, Xena. Big for a warrior who was whipped by insects just ten minutes ago.'

Xena actually smiled. It was a slow, rather scary smile, laden with threat and promise. 'Gabrielle...'

Gabrielle licked the last of the honey from her hands and leant back on her elbows. 'Let's see, I'm sure I can come up with a suitable verse for the occasion...

Xena can't sit on the grass,
The bees have got her outclassed

Xena swallowed her last mouthful and her tone grew more dangerous. 'Gabrielle...'

'She thrusts out her butt
With her warrior strut
And rubs at her stinging red ass

Killian was an experienced hunter. She was very familiar with the kinds of speed a creature could muster when spooked. Even so, what happened next caught her by surprise. She couldn't even tell who moved first, and she hardly had time to flatten herself on the blanket as Gabrielle dived across her and shot off like a bolt from a crossbow.

Xena was in close pursuit. Her fingers actually brushed Gabrielle's heel as the bard sprinted away but couldn't quite get a grip on her. In an instant both women were racing round the pool, wet hair whipping behind them as they ate up its circumference at a sharp angle. Their bare feet were a mere blur in the soft grass at the water's edge.

Gabrielle got more than half way round the tarn before Xena caught her. Killian watched with wide eyes as Xena grabbed the laughing blonde and hoisted her up without even breaking her stride. The warrior marched on purposefully with Gabrielle writhing futilely on her shoulder until she arrived back in the shade.

Xena looked around for a perch but, finding nothing suitable, she settled for bracing her foot against the apple tree trunk and flipping Gabrielle across her bare thigh.

'Killian,' she said, 'if you're still thinking of arresting this criminal for a spanking I'm going to save you the trouble.' Then she flipped up Gabrielle's skirt and delivered several sharp slaps to her backside.

Gabrielle squealed and squirmed predictably until she fell backwards off Xena's thigh and tumbled onto the grass. She lay there giggling with Xena standing over her.

'So much for retribution,' said Xena, her hands on her hips, 'you find it much too enjoyable.'

Gabrielle climbed to her feet. 'I want pudding,' she announced, still grinning. She pulled a clean sheet of parchment from her bag and rolled it into a cone shape, then trotted up the grassy path.

'Where are you off to?'

'Bilberries!' Gabrielle called over her shoulder. 'I saw some ripe bushes back there.' A moment later she was over the crest of the hollow and her blonde head bobbed out of sight beyond it.

Xena wandered back to the blanket. Killian was still draped across it, propped up on one elbow. She smiled luxuriously as Xena knelt down awkwardly beside her.

'I've got to admit, it's fun to watch her play you, Xena.'

Xena glanced at her. 'What do you mean?'

'Well, she has you twisted round her little finger.'

Xena frowned sharply. 'She does not.'

'Oh yes she does.' Killian nodded emphatically.

Xena's hand moved unconsciously to her backside and began to rub again. 'In case you didn't notice, Killian, I just slapped her butt.'

'Oh yes. You gave a command performance.' The hunter's smile grew roguish. 'Tell me, do you always jump like that when she whistles?'

Xena stiffened. Her eyes narrowed dangerously. 'Now just a min...'

Xena broke off. Killian was grinning at her wickedly. Xena sighed and smiled sheepishly, realising how easily she'd let herself be teased. 'Okay, I admit it. I'm pussy-whipped. Happy now?'

Killian laughed loudly but pleasantly. 'Like I said, it's great fun to watch.'

Xena rolled her eyes. 'Yeah yeah. Give me your damn ointment, woman!'

Killian chuckled some more as she delved into her satchel and plucked out a small clay jar. She handed it over.

'She adores you too, though.'

The corner of Xena's mouth curled up as she tugged off the lid and smeared her finger across the yellowish contents. She reached behind her and applied the ointment blindly.

'Absolutely adores you,' Killian continued. 'The way she looks up to you, gazes at you, hangs on your every word...'

'She doesn't worship me.'

'It's love, not worship. And she's aching for your discipline.'

Xena slowed her careful rubbing. 'What did you say?'

Killian smiled knowingly. 'Just now, she wanted you to control her.'

Xena raised an eyebrow. 'You don't think I gave her what she wanted?'

'Not quite.'

Xena replaced the lid on the jar and tossed it back into the open satchel. She eased herself carefully onto one buttock, wincing slightly.

'I spanked her for real once, you know,' she said.

Killian looked surprised. 'You did?'

'It was a long time ago, soon after we started travelling together.' Xena looked almost wistful. 'She seemed so much younger then. I can't even remember why now... she persisted in doing something dangerous or foolish and I just reached the end of my tether.'

'So you actually spanked her? To punish her?'

'To deter her.'

'Did it work?'

'I think so. She stopped doing whatever she was doing anyway...' Xena smirked at the memory. 'But as soon as she thought I'd gone hunting she hid behind a tree and had a good wank afterwards.'

Killian broke into reckless laughter. 'Oh wonderful! And I bet you watched, didn't you, Xena? You dirty old warlord!'

'I didn't have much choice. I was already up the tree having a wank myself.'

Killian howled and fell onto her back. She caught her breath eventually. 'Oh well, you know what they say about killing two birds with one stone?'

'What do they say?'

'It takes firm aim and fine timing.'

Xena smiled appreciatively. 'Oh yeah. I like that. That's me, that is.'

Killian shook her head up at the sky. 'Warriors and their big egos.'

Xena tossed her head arrogantly, flicking back her dark wet hair. 'So, you think she needs some discipline?'

Killian smiled at her judiciously. 'I think you know her needs better than anyone.'

Xena paused, then her lip curled lasciviously. 'Hmm. Wanna help?'

Gabrielle was getting hot again. There was no shade out here on the heath and the afternoon sun was relentless. Nevertheless she kept at her task diligently. Her handy cone of parchment was already one third full. It would have been packed to the brim by now, but somehow the bilberries kept finding their way into Gabrielle's mouth en route. She couldn't resist the tiny, succulent fruit that sweetened her lips and stained her fingertips purple. Pick us, they insisted. Now eat us. Immediately.

She rounded a hillock, deep in concentration.

'And where do you think you're going?'

Gabrielle jumped, startled. Killian was standing directly in front of her. The hunter had circled round silently to intercept her and now stood in her path, arms folded, one eyebrow raised laconically.

'Damn it, Killian, you scared me!'

Killian smiled very slowly. 'You little runaway.'


Killian advanced a step. 'Thought you could escape, did you? Your mistress is very displeased with you.'

Gabrielle blinked. She noticed that a long, slender coil of leather was looped in Killian's hand. Her brow creased in puzzlement.

Killian continued. 'You shouldn't have run off without permission, slave. I've been hired to fetch you.'

Gabrielle's mouth dried a little as her mind absorbed these words rapidly. 'You have?' she asked weakly.

'Yes. My instructions are to catch you, strip you, bind you... and return you to your mistress.'

Gabrielle's knees wobbled slightly. When she'd left the sheltered hollow she'd already been aroused - Xena's little spanking had got her juices flowing nicely. Now a delicious spasm gripped her abdomen as an enticing new game opened up before her. A gush of warmth descended into her loins and began to pulse there steadily.

She licked her lips in anticipation. 'You... you're going to tie me?'

Killian unfolded her arms and took another predatory step towards her. The soft loops of leather brushed against the hunter's leg as she drew closer.

'That's right, slave. Now, are you going to come quietly?'

Gabrielle considered only briefly. Then she bolted. Killian sprang into action, giving rapid chase as bilberries scattered across the path behind them. They were well matched and for several yards Gabrielle's firmly muscled legs kept her just ahead of Killian's slender, longer ones.

Of course Killian had a slight advantage. Gabrielle didn't really want to get away; at least not for long. Killian launched herself headlong and wrapped her arms around Gabrielle's knees in a perfect flying tackle. The two women tumbled sideways into the heather, and grunted noisily. The tough clumps of heather were a lot less comfortable than they looked.

Killian rolled and pinned Gabrielle beneath her. Immediately she began tugging at her captive's clothes.

Gabrielle writhed excitedly as her skirt and shirt were quickly peeled from her body. She was sweating now, hot from the sun, the exertion and her own building arousal. Her chest rose and fell rapidly as she tried to catch her breath and felt Killian's soft leather jerkin brush sensuously against her.

'Please,' she said breathlessly, 'don't take me back. My mistress is cruel to me.'

'Not my concern, slave,' said Killian as she looped one end of the leash several times around Gabrielle's wrists. 'I just do what I'm paid to.'

Gabrielle squirmed and Killian struggled to hold her. 'Please!' Gabrielle repeated. 'If you promise to let me go, you can have your way with me.'

Killian froze and gulped audibly. She looked down at the lovely, nude body moving beneath her and felt her belly tighten. Unable to help herself, she imagined the same firm body willing and defenceless, wrists and ankles fastened wide to solid stems of heather.

Stick to the plan, girl. Stick to the plan.

Gabrielle twisted gently. 'Please, soldier,' she said seductively. 'Anything you want...'

Killian closed her eyes and trembled. By the gods, the bard was an exquisite tease. As if they didn't both know that the last thing Gabrielle wanted was her liberty.

But two could play at that game. Swiftly, Killian knotted the leash on Gabrielle's wrists and pinned her arms behind her head. She brought her knee between Gabrielle's thighs and pushed up firmly. Gabrielle gasped and her hips rose instinctively, but Killian took care to remain absolutely still against her. She lowered her head and spoke next to a delicate ear, almost in a whisper.

'You conniving little temptress. You're trying to bribe me? That will prove a serious error.' She paused when she heard Gabrielle's sharp intake of breath beside her and tightened her grip in readiness. 'Because I'll be sure to tell her, slave. I'll tell your mistress all about your disloyalty, and no doubt she'll punish you severely.'

Killian knew she'd hit home when she felt warm moisture seep through the doeskin against her knee. She grinned to herself ruefully. Ooh, that'll be a bugger to wash out.

Abruptly she stood and hauled her prisoner to her feet. She passed the end of the leash down between Gabrielle's legs and moved behind her, gripping the other end tightly.

'You walk ahead,' she said, collecting the discarded clothing. 'That way I can keep an eye on you.'

And as Killian watched Gabrielle's neat nude bottom make its way back to the hollow, she wondered sympathetically whether its pretty owner had a clue what she was in for.

Xena stood waiting for them, her shoulders against a tree trunk. She was wearing her boots and leathers again and her coiled whip hung from her hip. Her hair was almost dry now and was swept down over her back. Her face was a silent mask of foreboding as the two women approached.

Gabrielle slowed to a halt as they descended into the hollow. She looked at Xena's tall, dark form and instantly felt nervous. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Killian sit down on the grass. Gabrielle wondered if she should say something, then decided it was best to wait until she was spoken to and hovered on her leash.

Xena ignored her and addressed Killian instead. 'Did she give you any trouble?'

'She ran.'

Xena pursed her lips.

'And she tried to buy me off. With her body,' Killian added with relish.

Xena's eyes narrowed. She looked at Gabrielle sharply. 'Come here.'

Gabrielle stepped forward and was quickly brought up short by the leash on her wrists. She turned to see Killian holding the other end firmly. 'Let go,' she whispered.

Killian didn't. Instead the hunter wrapped the leather around her palm to tighten her grip.

'Now,' said Xena in a louder voice. Gabrielle glanced up to see Xena frowning at her. She tried to walk forward again but her tether went taut. She twisted, lifting her foot over the leash to get more leverage, and tried to pull herself free, but Killian leant back and held on fast, refusing her release.

'Gabrielle!' Xena's tone grew angry behind her. 'Get over here.'

Gabrielle tugged, frustrated. 'Killian!' she hissed.

Killian regarded her solemnly. 'You chose disobedience earlier. Perhaps you'll think twice before choosing it again.'

Gabrielle's expression grew panicky when she realised that Killian had no intention of letting her go. She glanced back anxiously to see Xena rock forward from the tree and advance a step.

'Don't make me come and get you,' the warrior threatened with menace. She pointed to her feet. 'Come here!'

Gabrielle struggled to obey but couldn't. Her eyes widened at her dilemma. 'I can't! Killian won't...'

Xena strode forward abruptly, anger written all over her face. She was almost upon the bard when Killian let go of the leash at the last moment and Gabrielle stumbled forward desperately, falling to her knees at Xena's feet.

Gabrielle landed nose to thigh with Xena's powerful legs. She gasped as the smooth, bronzed muscles filled her vision and her gaze climbed fearfully upwards. The scent of leather was in her face, and another heady fragrance that was entirely Xena.

Xena was glowering down at her. 'Too damn late, Gabrielle.'

Strong, firm fingers tangled in blonde hair and Gabrielle quickly stood up again, somehow sensing that she would be in even more trouble if Xena had to pull her up. 'I'm sorry, Xena, Killian wouldn't...' she began.

'I don't want excuses!'

Gabrielle closed her eyes as Xena's harsh tone sent shivers of delicious trepidation through her limbs. She trembled quietly.

'So...' Xena's voice was low and sober, 'disobedience and disloyalty. That's a lot to answer for.'

Gabrielle swallowed.

'Tell me, Gabrielle,' said Xena, 'how do you think I should chastise you?'

Gabrielle took a deep breath. She managed to open her eyes and meet the cool blue ones inches above. When she eventually got some words out her voice was anything but steady.

'However you think fit?'

Xena's slow smile was amused and seductive. 'That's a good answer,' she said. Suddenly Gabrielle's mouth was captured in a fierce, demanding kiss. Xena held her tightly with one hand at the back of her head and seared her lips. Then, just as Gabrielle's brain caught up with what was happening Xena broke off the swift possession and dropped her hand to Gabrielle's breast. She seized a nipple and tugged.

Gabrielle flushed bright pink as Xena led her over to the apple tree by her breast. The leash was demeaning enough.

Xena positioned her firmly underneath a sturdy branch. She looped the tether over it and pulled Gabrielle's wrists up, then tied it off so that Gabrielle was secured with her arms above her head.

'Spread your legs.'

Gabrielle complied, a little breathless at this swift turn of events.


Gabrielle planted her feet as wide as possible. She managed a yard's distance before her arms went taut, but Xena seemed satisfied. The warrior disappeared behind her back.

Feeling unusually vulnerable in her nude, bound posture, Gabrielle twisted her head and tried to see where Xena went. Instead she found Killian still sitting to the side on the grass, watching the proceedings with interest. Gabrielle blushed again as she was reminded that her discipline would have an audience. It was an embarrassing yet oddly stimulating notion.

'Do you know what this is?'

Gabrielle flinched at Xena's unexpected question close against her ear. She faced forward again, quickly focusing on an object that was held close to her face. She whimpered.

It was a birch. No doubt about that. Freshly cut from one of the saplings, six smooth, flexible sticks of variable length were bound together at one end. Xena was standing behind Gabrielle and holding the birch in front of her where she could view it in all its supple, whippy glory.

Gabrielle studied the brand new instrument of correction and whimpered again.

'I see that you do,' Xena said quietly, 'and you're wise to fear it.'

The birch was lowered and Gabrielle grew tense. It occurred to her that this erotic game might actually hurt. She looked up at her wrists and pulled on her bonds tentatively.

Xena's breath was warm on her face as the warrior moved round to tease her. 'Ah, Gabrielle, are you going to struggle for me?' Before Gabrielle could decide whether or not she was supposed to answer Xena continued sternly, 'I won't permit it. You're to stay still, Gabrielle, you understand? This is also a lesson in obedience.'

Gabrielle nodded mutely and Xena's expression softened a little. Her fingers stroked the back of Gabrielle's thigh, assessing her skin's sensitivity. 'Now,' she said, 'these nice legs were very disobedient, weren't they? First you ran away, and then you didn't come to me when ordered.'

Xena pulled away and moved to the side to assume a comfortable stance. Gabrielle heard a swishing sound as Xena swung the birch experimentally through the air and immediately braced herself. A moment later, Xena brought the birch down sharply against the back of Gabrielle's leg.

It was painful. More painful than Gabrielle had anticipated, and she soon realised why Xena and made her spread her legs. With each stroke the tapered ends of the birch snapped over her skin and stung the inside of her thigh. Gabrielle squeezed her eyes shut and fought the urge to flinch as the tiny whips reddened her tender flesh, but soon the stinging sensation became a burning and she struggled to resist. Just when she thought she was going to have to move or plead for mercy, Xena stopped and stepped round to work on her other leg.

At first the change was a relief, but before long Gabrielle was wincing again. She gasped as one of the pliant sticks sprang up and caught the sensitive part of her thigh just where it met her buttock. The acute soreness made her thrust her hips forward in an involuntary effort to escape.

'I told you not to move!' said Xena.

Gabrielle forced herself to stay rigid as Xena delivered the last few strokes. It was incredibly difficult, and when Xena finally finished Gabrielle let her chin fall forward on her heaving chest and tried to regain some control over herself. She worried that Xena would be annoyed with her for failing to keep still throughout, but this time the warrior seemed to let it pass. Cool fingers found their way to Gabrielle's thighs and soothed her hot skin with gentle caresses.

'That's your initial disobedience dealt with, Gabrielle. Now we can attend to the rest.'

Xena moved round in front of Gabrielle and gently lifted her chin. Gabrielle's face was warm and flushed, though not as pink as the backs of her legs. Xena bent and kissed her on the lips, tenderly this time, as though rewarding her for the suffering she had just endured. Gabrielle closed her eyes again and accepted Xena's carefully probing tongue. She felt the warrior's hand travel lightly over her breast and down to the soft curls below her waist. She moaned as Xena's fingers began to explore and Xena withdrew the kiss.

'You're very wet,' Xena told her. 'Now what could have caused that?' Xena tested deeper, sliding a finger into warmth and velvet. 'Was it the birch?' Xena wondered aloud, 'or was it something else..?' The fingers grasped a silky curl suddenly and tugged hard. 'Killian, perhaps!'

Gabrielle inhaled sharply and opened her eyes to find Xena's accusing gaze upon her again.

'Was that it?' Xena demanded. 'You wanted Killian to fuck you out there on the heath?'

Gabrielle opened her mouth to reply but nothing coherent came out. She grunted in surprise as Xena's hand cupped her hard and shoved upwards, forcing her legs straight again.

'That's it, isn't it?' Xena continued in a low, threatening tone. 'While I was out of the way you thought you could get a secret fuck.'

Gabrielle began to wonder if Xena was really angry with her. Didn't the warrior realise that she had only been playing?

'She turned you on, didn't she?' said Xena. When Gabrielle still failed to answer she tightened her grip. 'Didn't she?'

Gabrielle gasped and blinked. That was true, of course. Realising that she'd better respond she uttered a shameful whisper.


Xena relaxed her hold and the anger left her face. She smiled a little, obviously pleased with Gabrielle's confession. 'Well that's something. You may be disloyal, but at least you're honest about it.'

Encouraged by this change in Xena's demeanour, Gabrielle chose to speak up.

'Xena, I didn't mean to... ow!' She yelped painfully as the birch cut across her butt. Xena had struck her without warning and the keen impact got her instant attention. Belatedly, Gabrielle realised that the strokes she'd received on her legs had been relatively mild, for the birch left a fierce, biting message across the width of her backside.

'Bard, you talk too much.' Xena regarded her thoughtfully. 'I'll have to do something about that.'

Xena reached up and plucked one of the tiny, green apples from the branch above. She inspected it briefly, removed the stalk, then pushed it into Gabrielle's mouth.

The unripe apple was a neat, snug fit. Too big to swallow, it was small enough that Gabrielle could breathe around it but it made speech impossible. Gabrielle's eyes widened when she realised how effectively she'd been silenced.

Xena stroked Gabrielle's cheek. 'Now listen carefully. That apple stays put, understand?'

Gabrielle made a brief, subdued whimpering sound.

Xena tapped the whip that hung from her hip. 'Because if I turn round and see it on the ground, I'll uncoil this thing and whip you 'til you can't see straight, you got that?'

Gabrielle's eyes widened even further.

Xena smirked. She curled an arm around Gabrielle's ribs and stroked the firm, smooth muscles on her back. 'You've never tasted a leather whip, have you? Well believe me, Gabrielle, if you forget your recent lesson in obedience I'll take exquisite pleasure in striping this virgin skin of yours.'

Gabrielle shuddered. Something in her partner's flinty eyes told her that Xena meant it. She could feel her heartbeat speeding up as adrenaline coursed through her. A strange and wonderful thrill travelled through her body. It was fear mingled with sweet intoxication at the thought that Xena might actually punish her in such a manner.

Gabrielle wondered briefly if Killian would let Xena do it, then realised that it hardly mattered. Xena could easily put the hunter out of action if she chose, and Gabrielle herself was bound and helpless.

Xena noticed the heated trembling in the bard's well-toned body. She stepped away from her.

'I think I'd better let you kick your heels a little. Don't want to overload you.'

Gabrielle watched, her breasts rising and falling rapidly, as Xena tossed her birch on the ground and wandered towards Killian.

'So,' Xena said casually, 'when do you want paying?'

Killian smiled up at the warrior. She seemed a little breathless herself, but then she had been watching.

'Whenever it's convenient, Xena.'

'How about now?'

'That would be most welcome.'

The sun had travelled in the sky and Xena picked up the blanket to move it back into the shade. She chose a place just a few feet directly in front of Gabrielle's position and flung the blanket out flat on the ground. Wordlessly, Xena and Killian lay down on it, their heads closest to Gabrielle and their feet pointing towards the tarn. Gabrielle frowned curiously as they turned to face one another, each propping themselves up on an elbow.

Neither woman bothered to remove any clothes. Killian's hand found its way under Xena's leather skirt and Xena's fingers probed the top of Killian's doeskin leggings. Their clothing prevented Gabrielle from seeing exactly what their hands were doing but she didn't have any trouble guessing. The rhythmic strokes of the women's arms and their soft sighs of pleasure were all the clues she needed.

Gabrielle groaned. This couldn't be more unfair. Xena was deliberately tormenting her. She looked up at the bonds on her wrists and twisted her arms to test their strength, but the soft band of leather was wrapped firmly and securely hitched, a testament to Killian's excellent knot-work. Gabrielle tried not to watch the women in front of her but as their indulgent moans grew louder her eyes were inevitably drawn towards them. Despite the nonchalance with which they'd undertaken their erotic task - an aspect of the encounter which Gabrielle was sure Xena had planned specifically to tease her - they were obviously enjoying themselves. She could hear their breaths quicken and see their hips rocking in time with their hidden mutual fondling.

It wasn't simply unfair, it was extremely stimulating. The needful ache at Gabrielle's centre started to intensify. She groaned again, unable to touch herself there to ease her growing arousal. She squirmed and crossed her thighs, squeezing them together in a futile attempt to gain some much needed friction, but all that did was add to her frustration. Her breath came very hard indeed as finally she was forced to listen to Xena and Killian climax.

The women lay back and rested for a minute while Gabrielle suffered quietly. At last Xena sat up and glanced towards her, raising a perfunctory eyebrow at the sight of her hot and bothered captive.

'Did you notice what she was doing?' Xena asked Killian without taking her eyes off Gabrielle.

'I think she was trying to bring herself off.'


Xena stood up and Killian rose to follow her. There was a disapproving tone in Xena's voice as she slowly paced towards her.

'Again, without permission,' Xena accused, her chilly blue eyes narrowing. 'Any suggestions for punishment?'

Killian pondered briefly. 'The best is usually one that fits the crime.'

'You're right. Take a leg, will you...'

Xena and Killian closed in to grab her thighs and Gabrielle found herself lifted between them. Suddenly her legs were pulled wide, her vulnerable need exposed as they took her weight and spread her. Gabrielle's cheeks flushed brighter as she was displayed so lewdly. There was no mistaking the ripe flesh and the gleaming moisture on offer.

'You just don't get it, do you?' Xena said in a quiet, dangerous voice which made Gabrielle shiver. She caressed Gabrielle's silky curls. 'You belong to me. This belongs to me. And if Killian can resist playing with your pretty snatch what makes you think I expect less from you?'

Gabrielle couldn't answer. She tipped her hips towards the teasing fingers and sobbed when they refused contact. Xena lifted her hand instead and plucked the apple from Gabrielle's mouth.

'Do you understand me?' she asked sternly.

Gabrielle swallowed hard and nodded once. 'Yes, Xena. Only you may touch me.'

Xena pushed the apple back in harshly. 'You haven't understood at all. Anyone I choose may touch you, given my permission.' Then from some leather hiding place Xena produced Gabrielle's phallus and handed it to Killian. 'Fill her up for me, will you?'

Gabrielle nearly lost the apple. Her gaze landed on the large polished phallus and she struggled instinctively. Both her captors held on tight and Xena smiled at her lecherously.

'What's the matter, Gabrielle? You don't usually flinch at the sight of it.'

Gabrielle looked at Xena. Her eyes flashed at her partner. Xena's smile vanished.

'Wipe that insolent scowl off your face, Gabrielle, or I'll lash you senseless anyway.'

Gabrielle did so immediately. She lowered her gaze in contrition and mewed softly. The carnal toy hovered a few inches in front of her quivering centre, its dark red surface shiny and its thickness ominous.

Killian seemed a little concerned. Xena's lascivious smile returned when she noticed.

'Don't worry. I know Gabrielle intimately. It'll be tight, but very becoming.'

Nevertheless Killian was gentle. She slid the length of the phallus across Gabrielle's glistening thighs first, gleaning some of the fragrant moisture that had gathered there. Then she nuzzled the smooth tip against the flushed entrance to Gabrielle's inner folds, rotating it cautiously.

Gabrielle let her head fall back against her bound arms and closed her eyes, sighing as at last her body got some of the attention she craved.

'Careful, Killian,' said Xena, 'she's not allowed to come yet.'

Gabrielle felt pressure and the firm, tapered summit eased inside her. She opened her eyes and looked straight at Xena, determined not to take her eyes off the woman who had ordered this done to her. Xena met her brave look with an amused smile.

'Ah, Gabrielle, I suppose I can allow you a little indignation. It will make birching your backside all the more satisfying later.'

The phallus penetrated further and Gabrielle inhaled hard through her nose. The toy's width met the supple resistance of her inner walls and her whole body lifted slightly. Nothing could have made her feel so much like Xena's property and she felt her pulse pounding hard against the stretching intruder. Slowly, Gabrielle released her deep breath past the apple in her mouth, her eyes still fixed on Xena's increasingly smug expression. She moaned softly as her weight slid down again around the solid invasion.

Still the phallus forged leisurely upwards, filling her and then some. Though broad it was not overly long and soon much of it had disappeared inside her.

Killian looked at Xena as her prudent efforts met vertical resistance. She winked. 'Mission accomplished.'

'Nice work,' said Xena. 'Hold steady while I position her.'

They lowered Gabrielle's legs so that she stood on the ground again and Xena unhitched the leash from the branch. She tugged Gabrielle's wrists down firmly and passed the leash back between her legs before throwing it up over the branch again. Then she pulled it, hard.

Gabrielle squeaked. The soft leather pressed taut between her delicate folds, tightened under the phallus and buried itself between her buttocks. She jerked up onto her toes and as a result she nearly lost her balance, but Killian steadied her by the shoulders and eased her down onto her heels again. Even so, the sudden and intense sensations caused Gabrielle to bite down hard on the apple.

That proved to be a major mistake. The unripe apple's sour juices ran onto Gabrielle's tongue and she spat spontaneously. Before she had time to gasp in alarm the apple was tumbling from her mouth and heading straight for the ground.

As luck would have it Gabrielle's hands were fastened directly in its path. She just managed to open a palm and catch it as it fell. She gaped uselessly down at the apple. Then she gaped at Xena.

Xena's countenance darkened like a stormy sky. Her right hand lowered to the whip on her hip.

'Put it back,' she said.

Gabrielle's throat tightened. That was easier said than done, for the leash was once more fastened to the branch and her wrists were secured beneath her waist, pretty much useless.

Xena's fingers touched the whip, stroking the braided leather. 'Now.'

Gabrielle tried. With what little movement she could muster she tossed the apple in the air and tried to catch it in her mouth. Her inept efforts were totally unsuccessful and this time when the apple fell she didn't have a hope of catching it. She cried out in dismay as it plummeted towards the ground again.

Killian caught it inches from the grass. She straightened and held it up between her thumb and forefinger, peering at the teeth marks like a lucky miner with a promising uncut gemstone. Then she turned to Gabrielle.

'A whip-lashing can hurt a great deal. Are you sure you want to risk it?'

Gabrielle wilted. 'No...' She appealed to Xena. 'Please, I didn't mean to!'

Xena's face was stony. 'You're very fortunate, Gabrielle. It hasn't touched the ground yet.'

Killian flipped the apple in the air and caught it again while Gabrielle looked on anxiously. 'What shall I do with it, then?' the hunter wondered out loud. She threw it in the air once more, much higher this time, and idly snatched it from a spinning tumble.

Gabrielle watched the apple's acrobatics with mounting distress. 'Please!' she blurted. 'Please, Killian, put it in my mouth.'

Killian tossed the apple casually from one palm to the other, hardly watching what she was doing. 'You want this sour thing back in your mouth?' she asked carelessly.

Gabrielle was nearly beside herself. 'Yes! Please! Please!'

Killian relented and popped the apple between Gabrielle's lips. The bard whimpered a sweetly incoherent thank you.

Xena retrieved her birch and examined it, making sure the flexible sticks were properly separated. Killian winced to herself at the sight, then reached out and touched Gabrielle's butt where it already wore a faded welt from the single stroke earlier. She caressed the tender skin with her fingertips.

'Xena,' she said, evidently concerned, 'she's so soft and sensitive. Perhaps we should fasten the apple in this time?'

Xena paused. She sounded rather dubious. 'I'll be disappointed if she can't control herself to that extent, but...' She raised an eyebrow at Gabrielle. 'How about it, Gabrielle? I'd prefer to see you learn control, but if you'd rather not take the risk... Shall I tie something over it? Your decision.'

Gabrielle realised that more than anything she wanted to please Xena. It came as a surprise to her, but the knowledge that she could choose to do so even now brought a warmth to her insides. She shook her head.

Xena smiled. 'That's my girl. Now, it's time to deal with your transgressions. Your disloyalty.' She approached as Killian moved out of the way. 'You'll receive six strokes; and I warn you, these are not the petty stings you got on your legs. This is the real thing.'

And as Gabrielle stood straight with her hands bound in front of her and a phallus jammed inside her, Xena used the painful birch to punish her defenceless backside.

Somehow Gabrielle managed not to cry out, even though the snapping birch felt like half a dozen slices of fire licking across her flesh. Xena's strokes were strong and measured and Gabrielle braced herself for each one, grimacing as the thin sticks bounced against her firm cheeks.

Mercifully it was soon over and Gabrielle sighed in relief. She wished that she could move her hands to soothe her throbbing rear and, even more importantly, give the sensitive peak of flesh currently trapped under her leash some urgent attention. She tried to look round to see if Xena were about to offer any assistance, but the warrior was still waiting behind her.

'So, Gabrielle,' said Xena, 'do you think you've been suitably chastised for your disloyalty? Is this a whipping you think you can remember?'

Gabrielle grunted as loud as she could in the affirmative. Her burning rear felt chastised, all right.

'Good,' said Xena. 'In that case I shall now whip you until it suits me to stop.'

With that the birching resumed in earnest, and Gabrielle danced energetically.

It was a beautiful dance and delightful to watch. Gabrielle hopped and skipped in time to the rhythmic music. Her firm breasts, trapped between her tightly pinned arms, bounced up and down deliciously. She twirled about on her leash to escape the snapping torment, but Xena followed each pirouette round and made her jump some more.

The leather between Gabrielle's legs was soon slippery with her juices. Every time she jumped it slid along her crevices, burnishing the tip of her need until Gabrielle was squealing. The rhythm grew faster and faster until Gabrielle thought she was going to faint. Just as she thought her knees would give way she was swept up off her feet and found herself convulsing into Xena's arms, yelling a noisy, awesome climax.

Gabrielle orgasmed so violently that Xena's powerful frame was hard pressed to hold her. The warrior braced her feet and hung on tightly, blue eyes wide at the intensity. She met Killian's impressed gaze across the bard's shuddering body. Killian grinned back at her.

'Firm aim, fine timing.'

When Gabrielle's spasms eventually subsided Killian helped Xena to remove the various bits of paraphernalia. Xena carried the sweating bard to the blanket and lowered her onto her belly. Gabrielle reached back with her hands and tried to massage her sore behind but Xena was having none of it.

'Oh no, this is mine too. I'll attend to it.' She noted Killian licking her lips and pointed to one of the bright red cheeks. 'You can have that one.'

Xena and Killian lowered themselves to the task of soothing Gabrielle's inflamed bottom. Their cool tongues bathed the criss-cross welts that covered it, adding an artful sheen to the glowing skin beneath them. Before long Gabrielle was moaning again and undulating against the blanket. Xena slipped her fingers between Gabrielle's thighs and caressed in time with the rocking hips until Gabrielle's legs went rigid. The bard trembled out another orgasm, then fell still and silent.

Not long after that Xena and Killian heard mild snores emanating from the other end of Gabrielle's anatomy. They indulged in a few more dainty licks, then sat up.

'Thanks for your help,' said Xena.

Killian rolled her eyes. 'Oh gods. As if you need it. But any time, believe me.'

They rested back on their hands. Killian inclined her head. 'She's dropped off again, I see.'

'I often wear her out with sex,' said Xena. There was more than a hint of self-congratulation in her voice.

Killian had more than a suspicion that the reverse was usually true.

She looked down at Gabrielle and her expression turned sympathetic. Gabrielle's rear was as bright and striped as a brand new, detailed map of Athens.

'Gosh, Xena, you whipped this pretty butt good and proper. She won't sit down for a week.'

Xena sighed. 'I'll pay for it. That bee limerick will be on a dozen tavern walls before the same week is out. Re-written with three more verses to enhance my ignominy.'

Killian nodded. 'I'll look out for it.' She reached for her satchel and retrieved the jar of ointment. 'I think I'll leave this with you. I reckon you'll both need it.'

Xena smirked. 'Thank you.'

Killian held up the jar and smiled at the warrior furtively. 'Xena, are you sure you don't want some help applying it?'

Xena sighed again and rolled over onto her hands and knees, flipping up her leather skirt to give access to her own embarrassing war wounds.

'Killian, I'm starting to suspect you have a bottom fetish.'


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