DISCLAIMER: Xena and the rest of the Xena universe are copyrighted characters owned by Ren Pics and Universal. Lucky bastards!
CHALLENGE: Written as part of the 1001 Nights Challenge - hands.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Her Hands
By Calliope


Her hands…Gods, her hands. From the moment she saved my village from Draco's men, I knew I had to follow her. Desire overrode reason and I knew my destiny somehow lay in her hands. I had only been traveling with her for a little over a year, but I found myself watching those hands. The same hands and long tapered fingers that had broken the necks of warlords and healed a child's injuries had stoked a fire of imagination in me. These lethal yet gentle hands were going to be my undoing. It started one night as we made camp outside of Thessalia. The firelight of the camp infused the night with a surreal, mystical quality. If I didn't know better, I'd say I had been entranced. Maybe I was, maybe I am. Maybe I was hypnotized by the rhythmic scrapping of stone on sword as Xena went through her nightly ritual or maybe I was hypnotized by her.

That night, I had finished telling a story of yet another mighty king who conquered his sworn enemies and won the heart of the woman he loved when Xena stopped in mid-motion. She gave me an affectionate smile before laying the stone down by her feet and picking up the cloth to methodically begin cleaning and shining her sword.

Her fingers worked in slow, gentle circular motions. I watched the muscles play under the bronze skin of her forearm and followed the ripple down to the back of her hand. Her long, tapered fingers lovingly stroked the sword in small, minute circles down to the tip and back up to the handle. Her right hand cradled the hilt in the groove between thumb and forefinger as the fingers lightly encased the handle. I had the random thought about whether this is how she touches a lover. A wave of warmth flowed over me and my face felt hot.

"You okay, Gabrielle?" The question drew me back but not before I saw an image flash before my eyes of those hands touching my heated skin.

I jumped from my spot on the log across from her and rubbed my face trying to gather my wits, "Of course!" Xena raised her dark eyebrow in a look of doubt.

"Well, you looked kind of sweaty and flushed. I thought maybe the fish we ate for dinner wasn't sitting well with you." She shrugged and returned to cleaning her sword, but not before Gabrielle caught the edge of an amused smirk gracing her face.

I looked around flustered not sure what to say or how to act. Finally, "I have to pee." Oh, brilliant! Way to go, bard!

I ran that night and every night since in my mind. I was trying to chase away the way she made me feel and by doing that I had made a lot of mistakes. The worst of which was marrying Perdicus. I thought that if I tried with him it would make it all go away, but it didn't. She thinks I mourn a love lost, but really it's my guilt for dragging him into a situation that eventually got him killed. If I had been honest with myself, with him…with Xena, he would have never been caught in the middle.

Since that night by the fire, I've felt restless, even irritable. Xena wants to blame it on Callisto and the heartbreak she brought me, but I know it's more than that. I watch her slow and steady breathing in the firelight as she sleeps, the rise and fall of her breasts under leather, the peace that settles over her face making her look almost innocent and childlike. It's rare to see her calm and relaxed, and I've found that I enjoy watching her at moments like this. The fire caresses her skin like a lover, shadowing the curves of her tanned neck and the swell of her breasts. Her arm is draped casually on her side causing her hand to hang limp.

In the silence of the night I do what I fear her seeing in the light of day. I watch her, imagine her touching me. My heart begins to race at the thought. The images that come to my mind are anything but innocent and naïve. Gone is the sweet village girl from Poteidaia. Watching her long slender fingers open a floodgate of sensations that rush through my body. Gods how I want her! But she still looks at me like I'm a puppy at her feet.

Tonight, I can't lay here any longer torturing myself with a love that will never be returned. All she sees is a farm girl, not a partner, and the feeling this elicits makes me hate Poteidaia, my writing, even this gods' awful peasant skirt! I slip out from the bedroll and quietly walk to the edge of camp. When I'm out of earshot, my anxiety breaks loose in me and I run until I reach a clearing. In frustration, I rip the skirt from my body, followed by my blouse. I throw my head back and open my arms to the moonlight being bathed down on me.

"By the gods, why? Why can't she love me?"

"Maybe she does," I swing around and see the moonlight bouncing off of long, shapely legs that disappear under a leather skirt. The rest of her pushes off the tree she was leaning against and slowly moves toward me like a prowling tiger.

Part of me wants to run, but the wild look on her face pins me in place. Her azure eyes are almost black with desire, never breaking contact with mine, until her leather bodice brushes my naked breasts, making the peaks stand excruciatingly erect. In any other situation, I would have felt exposed, even shy or embarrassed, but feeling her heat radiate through the leather broke down any residual barriers I might have left.

"Touch me…please," the husky voice deepened by arousal didn't even sound like me. Her hand slid behind my neck and strong fingers wandered into my hair where she gave a light tug. The action caused me to take a sharp intake of breath and push closer into her body.

"Like this?" Her warm breath was so close I could feel it caress my cheek. I opened my eyes to find her looking at me, searching my face for answers.

"No…like this," I took the hand in my hair and kissed the pad of each finger. Her other arm wrapped around my waist, holding me steady and tight to her chest. I wanted to taste her, feel her hands on me, feel her inside me. With words unspoken, I communicated my desire by sucking on her fingers one-by-one. Her breathing was becoming ragged and I felt a familiar ache building between my legs. It was the same feeling I had on many nights by the fire, envisioning a moment just like this. I placed her hand to my chest and watched her eyes drift down to my mouth as her hand slid down to my breast.

I reached into her inky tresses and pulled her to me. The kiss was filled with the emotions we couldn't speak. It was urgent and aching…primal. Her fingers squeezed my nipple, making me push harder into her and gasp out a moan. My head fell back and her mouth followed, sucking and biting, from my earlobe to the base of my neck.

Her hot mouth kissed a path lower as she slid to her knees in front of me. I watched the moonlight dance off of her face. She was a goddess, my goddess. Her hands slid up my torso and cupped my breasts. I was torn between watching those long, elegant fingers that had captured my fantasies move across my skin and watching her tongue delve into my bellybutton. The sensation shot like fire directly between my legs.

"Gods, Xena!" Unceremoniously, I grabbed a hand and pushed it between my legs. Her eyes flew open in surprise and she broke the exploration on my stomach. "Please…I need…". I couldn't finish the thought. Her fingers were teasingly playing with me, barely touching. My hips bucked of their own accord.

"What do you need, Gabrielle? Tell me." Blue was locked on green. I couldn't stop this, even if I wanted to, and gods knows I didn't want to.

"I need…oh gods, Xena," I braced my hand on her shoulder to keep from falling over as she slipped a finger further up. Sensing my distress, she wrapped her other arm around me holding me up.

"Say it, baby. What do you need?"

"Inside…I need to feel you inside me," she pushed a little further and I wanted to throw my head back and bask in the sensation.

"No, look at me, Gabrielle. I want to see your eyes." At that moment, I knew I'd deny her nothing. I would give her everything. I was giving her everything. With a final push, I felt her, all of her.

"Oh, gods, Xena," the words came in a rushed whisper. With a joy I had only heard about in tales, I gave myself to her and for the first time, I felt a completeness I'd never experienced before. The world fell away and all that existed in that moment was the moon, me, and her hands.

The End

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