All Inn Good Time by Pink Rabbit Productions

Please send comments to Pink Rabbit Productions at pinkrabbit@altfic.com

Disclaimer: Xena and Gabrielle belong to Renaissance Pictures and MCA Universal. I'm just hoping that I'm too poor for them to care if I play with them a bit. If you're underage in your country state or municipality, offended by the notion of two women in love, lust, and assorted silliness, or this is illegal in your neck of the woods, please bug out now. No major body parts were damaged during the creation of this story.

Gabrielle's eyes slid across the crowded confines of the Yellow Ass inn, noting the logo of a burro relieving itself that decorated one wall. How appropos. She'd agreed to meet Xena in the common room after the warrior finished with her business concerning the local potentate. They were in town on the sly, carrying a peace agreement from the neighboring kingdom, and Xena had disappeared to speak with the garrison general, hoping to convince him to make peace despite his master's wishes. Meanwhile, Gabrielle had been left to fend for herself, with the firm orders to avoid any form of official detection. The warrior princess' plan depended on utter secrecy…which meant the lowest of low rent inns in the red candle district. Oh…joy. Another fun evening spent in the company of drunken soldiers, ugly prostitutes, and clumsy pickpockets. The bard determined to make her lover pay as she tread carefully through mudpuddles of spilled ale…at least, she hoped that's what it was, though she was less than sanguine on the subject.

The bard's nose wrinkled in distaste at the smells that touched her nostrils, most of them coming from the hard-eyed, broad shouldered men who populated the room. She came up short as she studied the crowd, wondering if any of the army was still in camp, or if they were all here. As she stood there, several of them looked up, eyes assessing as they ran over her from head to toe. Great, just great. She didn't mind these kinds of places when she was with Xena. The tall warrior tended to cow all but the most ardent suitors, and those never seemed to stay conscious long, but alone...alone was definitely on the intimidating side. She seriously debated going back outside to wait, but discarded the idea. She was an Amazon after all. What did she have to be afraid of? Gabrielle tried not to think about all the possible answers to that question as she straightened her shoulders and pasted her toughest look on her face. No one looked terribly impressed as she strode through the crowd and it took all of her willpower to ignore the wandering hands that seemed to find their way to colliding with her narrow frame.

She finally found an empty table toward the back, and sank down on one of the benches, careful to keep her staff close at hand. A harassed looking waitress appeared almost instantly, coolly assessing Gabrielle even as she took her order.

A nearby table full of men, all wearing the colors of the local army, though it was likely they were nothing more than hired mercenaries, were eyeing the bard and trading jokes amongst themselves, making Gabrielle wonder if this was such a good idea. On the other hand, if she left now, there was a strong possibility they'd follow her...which would be even worse.

Her mug of wine came, and she stared down into it, noting the faintly cloudy appearance. A quick taste confirmed her opinion that it was a bad year. She took another sip. A very bad year...either that or one of the grape pressers had a fatally bad case of athlete's foot.

Another sip.

Or maybe he'd tromped through a field of cows on his way to stomp the grapes.

Her eyes lifted to the logo, and she tried very hard not to imagine any scenarios that might explain the link between the wine and the name of the inn. Tried, but didn't succeed.

She made a face. Unfortunately, after a day of sneaking through enemy lines, she was in no position to be picky. The bard was still debating whether to die of thirst, or risk a case of athlete's tongue, when a hard hand clamped down on her shoulder.

"Hi, honey," a rough voice cut into her considerations.

The bard twisted on her bench, brows drawing into a frown as she realized one of the charmers from the neighboring table had decided to pay a call. Great...Adonis obviously thought she was cute. Her nose wrinkled as his odor caught up with his hands. She was surprised she hadn't smelled him coming.

The vague thought crossed her mind that maybe one of this man's socks had fallen into a wine barrel. That could explain the unique taste of the beverage.

"You look lonely," he said pointedly.

Gabrielle briefly considered saying something clever and vaguely insulting. She ran her eyes from his toes, all the way up his towering frame and quickly reconsidered that idea. True, this man could probably kill by body odor alone, but the tree trunk arms weren't a bad back-up. Either of them was bigger than her thighs. She swallowed hard. "Ah...." she exhaled with brilliant wit. She was going to kill Xena for getting her into this mess. "Not really, no....not lonely..." she babbled. "Thanks for asking." Oh, Gaia, you idiot--she thought as she realized what she'd said.

The monster cleared his throat and tightened his hold on her shoulder. "I said," he growled menacingly, "You look lonely."

Gabrielle shifted one hand to her staff. He was big, but she'd learned how to take down large men with well placed blows. Her eyes flicked over to the men laughing at the next table, any one of whom was as big as her newfound "friend" ... and probably just as smelly. Any way she played it, this was not going to be fun. Her skills with a staff had improved, but not enough to take on five this size. At the very least, fighting while holding her breath promised to be a considerable challenge. Besides, Xena had specifically told her not to attract any attention--though it occurred to Gabrielle that she really should complain to the warrior about that, since her chances of not attracting attention in a place like this were few and far between. However, Gabrielle had no doubts that a barfight wouldn't exactly fit in with Xena's plans. She cursed the warrior once again. Her gaze came back to Prince Charming, just as his mouth split into a wide grin, showing uneven, and blackened teeth. He knew she'd recognized her problem and was already savoring his victory.

Like Hades, Gabrielle decided, muscles tightening. Xena just might have to have her plan go awry.

She was just starting to rise when a tall figure stepped around the giant to hitch one hip against Gabrielle's table. The bard's eyes flicked over, relief surging through her blood as she realized it was the warrior doing one of her infamous last second appearances.

Xena folded her arms across her chest, smiling ever so slightly. She considered killing the man in front of her--considered it very seriously--unfortunately, that wasn't part of the plan, no matter how much fun it would have been.

"So...D'ya want something?" the giant growled, when she didn't immediately speak.

"Yes," she drawled and offered a pleasant smile, but no further explanation.

Gabrielle's head swung back and forth like the the audience at a joust, her expression openly confused. What the heck was Xena up to now? Her new friend, the big one with the bad breath wasn't doing much better, though she suspected confusing him wasn't that difficult a trick.

"Well, what?" he grumbled at last.

Dark eyebrows lifted. "Wha...oh...sorry, I was just thinking."

The giant's frown deepened, making it obvious that thinking wasn't his strong suit. "'Bout what?" he asked suspiciously.

The lance was again in Xena's court. She nodded toward Gabrielle. "Her..." She unfolded her arms, holding out her right hand. "I'm Xena, by the way."

The giant stared at her as thought she'd lost her mind, but his hand met hers. Apparently, somewhere during his misbegotten life, at least one small hint of good manners had penetrated his thick skull. Gabrielle was actually quite surprised by that fact. She waited for Xena to disembowel the monster, give him a really thrashing…or at least a good talking to, but the warrior just kept smiling. The bard gritted her teeth, trying to shrug off the ham-sized fist still attached to her shoulder.

"Good...good...I'm glad to see we can handle this situation in a civilized manner," Xena chatted good naturedly.

"Civilized?" the giant repeated doubtfully, before sputtering. Where he was from that word was an insult. "Now, look, I don't know what you..."

Xena held up a hand, and he trailed off. "I'm sorry if I've been a bit slow getting to the heart of the matter," she apologized. "But, there's this internal debate I have to deal with."

"Debate?" the giant repeated with a frown.

"It's a sort of an argument," Gabrielle explained, frowning slightly, still waiting for Xena to hurt this stupid lug for sport. When the giant's expression started to darken, she quickly added, "With herself, in this case."

"That's right," Xena agreed cheerfully. She leaned in close, her voice dropping conspiratorially low. "As you no doubt noticed from her clothes, the young lady is an Amazon..."

The giant glanced over at Gabrielle, consideringly. In truth, he hadn't noticed anything but the redhead's chest measurements. Actually, he rarely noticed anything about a woman but her chest measurements. On the other hand, he liked to think he was a smart man. "Uh...yeah," he murmured at last.

She folded her arms again. "Well, the problem here is...by the way, I never did get your name."

"Er...Brunocius."

"Brunocius, huh? Nice name. D'you mind if I call you Bruno?"

"Well, I--"

"Great. Now, the problem here, Bruno, is that the young lady's mother entrusted her into my care, and I'm supposed to deliver her safely to her aunt's tribe up north."

Bruno's expression darkened, as he began to suspect the aim of this conversation wasn't going to be encouraging him to drag the little redhead off into an alley for the best 48 seconds of her young life. "The lady and I were about to..." He trailed off as he hunted for a fancy phrase for having sex. He finally came up with something that thoroughly exhausted his supply of clean language. "Retire to a room."

Xena raised her eyebrows, looking impressed. In point of fact, she was impressed. It had never occurred to her that he could imply a sexual act without using words that relied heavily on the letter F. She threw up her hands, and flashed a knowing smile. "Hey, I can understand that...I mean, she's a tasty looking little thing." She shook her head, her expression turning ironic. "Not much in bed, if you want the truth."

Gabrielle nearly swallowed her tongue, and Bruno appeared in immediate need of the Heimlich maneuver, which unfortunately, wasn't due to be invented for at least another two thousand years (though, unbeknownst to Gabrielle, Xena did have a prototype maneuver in her medical arsenal--but that's another story). When Xena arrived, the bard had been hoping for some convenient rescue, not more embarrassment.

"You mean you've..." he gasped at last.

The warrior refolded her arms, her lazy posture a study in nonaggression. "Sure...I mean..." She grinned broadly, showing straight, white teeth. "Her mother did tell me to guard her virginity carefully." The grin widened a notch. "So, I had to take it for safe-keeping."

Gabrielle coughed heavily, uncertain whether to kill her lover now, or wait until morning. Speaking of things that weren't going according to plan.

Bruno snorted at the joke, but didn't loosen his grip on Gabrielle's shoulder. "I think I'll just find out if she's any good for myself."

"I can understand that...but I think I should warn you, the last two pretty much tapped out the money her mother gave me for traveling expenses, so I can't afford to give you anything afterward."

That got Bruno's attention. "You mean you paid them for sleeping with her?"

Xena nodded. "Well, I had to."

Gabrielle's eyes widened. Great, that should discourage her would-be rapist. Help like that she could do without. Gods, couldn't Xena just kill him, or threaten him… or something equally vicious and get this over with?

Bruno chuckled smugly. "I guess I can do her free," he allowed magnanimously.

"I just wanted to make certain you know that I'm not financially responsible for any damage that may come to your more...intimate parts...in fact, if you don't mind, I'd appreciate it if you'd sign a waiver to that effect."

"Intimate parts?" Bruno repeated, wishing fervently that this woman would speak Greek like everyone else.

"You know...your..."Xena trailed off suggestively.

Bruno frowned. "My?" He thought about it for a moment, noting the way the warrior's gaze dropped briefly to a point directly below his belt. A sudden horrifying suspicion occurred to him. "You mean my..." he whispered.

Xena nodded.

Bruno's eyes widened, and a thin film of sweat formed on his forehead. "That couldn't ... but ... why ... how ... that couldn't really happen," he muttered at last, in an effort to reassure himself.

"The girl's an Amazon," Xena said matter-of-factly. "You do know about Amazon's don't you?"

"Of course I do," Bruno insisted quickly. He glanced down at Gabrielle uncertainly. "But...well...maybe you should go over it again....just so I can make sure you've got your facts straight."

Gabrielle could hardly wait to hear this one.

"Oh...sure...well...it's pretty simple, really....I mean, everyone knows that all Amazons are trained in the warrior arts."

"Right," Bruno agreed knowledgably. He didn't really have any idea, but he supposed that sounded right.

"But only a select few more...intelligent souls like you and I know the rest."

"Uh...that's right."

"I mean, I personally find it amazing they can train those muscles that way. I mean...imagine....strong enough to emasculate a man in the throes of passion." She shook her head and let out a low whistle.

"Emasculate?" Bruno questioned. He had a sneaky suspicion about the meaning of that word (which, for Bruno was a considerable accomplishment, since he rarely thought much about words with more than four letters), but it was too horrifying to contemplate.

Xena continued as if he hadn't interrupted. "I mean, tear it right off. Of course, they say it's worth it, even if a man's only good for guarding some pasha's harem afterward. Personally, it makes me glad I'm a woman...."

Bruno turned pale...very pale...as the implications of what she was saying sank in. He tried to straighten his shoulders and nerve himself up. She couldn't be telling the truth. There was no way a woman could...could....he couldn't even finish the thought, but there was just no way. He peered down at the woman still seated on the bench. She was so tiny (not in the chest, of course, or this conversation wouldn't have been taking place, but everywhere else). She couldn't really be a threat to a man...could she.... No...it couldn't be....the brunette was just trying to scare him. He nerved himself back up. The little redhead was his, fair and square and he wasn't giving her up for any story.

"'Cause, hey," Xena continued cheerfully. "The worst I can lose is a finger or two." She held up her left hand to reveal her index finger, missing at the middle knuckle.

Bruno's eyes bulged as he forgot his determination that it was only a story.

Xena shrugged, looking a little embarrassed. "What can I say, I've always had a weakness for Amazons."

"You mean?" Bruno croaked, his voice cracking mid-word.

The warrior princess could only shrug. "I was younger and not so fleet of hand."

"I....uh...." Bruno stammered.

Gabrielle turned another sweet smile his direction. Okay, so Xena had taken her own sweet time about it, but she found she rather liked this particular bit of non-violent revenge. "You know, you are kind of cute," she murmured, appearing to consider his masculine charms.

Bruno yanked his hand back so fast he almost sent her spinning. "I...uh...don't...I mean....my wife...she wouldn't....approve..."

"Are you sure?" the bard asked pleasantly. "Because we could get a room..."

Bruno backed away, barely keeping the urge to flee under control. "No...no, that's all right." he said quickly.

Gabrielle was hard pressed not to giggle as he spun and hurried back to the table he was sharing with his pals.

Xena clamped a hand on the bard's shoulder. "Shall we go?" she whispered near the smaller woman's ear. "I took an extra moment and rented a room."

Gabrielle nodded. "So, that's why you were late?"

"Mmhmm," the warrior nuzzled her lover's hair, grinning at Bruno as he told his tale to his friends and watched them all turn pale. "Perhaps we should go before they have a chance to think too hard about what just happened." She eyed the men with a raised brow. "Though…that's probably not a big problem…the thinking thing, I mean." They didn't look like that was really their specialty.

The warrior was still considering the likelihood that it would occur to the thugs that they'd been fooled, when Gabrielle turned in her arm, drawing her head down to kiss her fully on the mouth, suddenly rather enjoying the terror their little show was engendering. The warrior promptly forgot all about the soldiers. They could get their own damn dates. She kissed the bard hungrily, the taunting fun forgotten as she dragged her through the common area and up a rickety flight of stairs.

They stumbled into the room Xena had rented, barely breaking the hungry kiss to relock the door in their wake. Chuckling through the heady kiss, the warrior unfolded her "missing" finger to stroke the outer curve of a rounded breast. "So that's where that went," she laughed. "So, did you miss me?" the warrior gasped, still breathing hard in the wake of the protracted public display of affection.

"What do you think?" the bard questioned, already fumbling with bronze armor. "So, how'd your meeting go?" she questioned as she pressed a kiss to a newly bared shoulder.

"Perfect," the warrior groaned. "Problem's all solved." Gabrielle's lips moved on as she stripped away bronze and leather. "No more problems," she added drunkenly, then tipped her lover's head up for another long, sweet kiss. "I missed you," she panted when their lips parted.

The bard grinned. "We were only apart two days."

"That was about one and a half days too long." Xena tugged green laces aside, then pulled the front of Gabrielle's blouse apart to bury her face in warm breasts. "Gods, I want to make love to you, feel you, hear you--"

"Really?" the bard murmured mock-doubtfully, teasing her lover, knowing full well it would spur her to greater passion.

"Mmmhmmm, want me to show you?"

"Promises, promises…." Gabrielle taunted, then gasped as Xena slung her up in strong arms.

The warrior laughed softly. "I always did enjoy a challenge…."

Hours later as female screams echoed through the small inn, two women shivered with merry passion, lost in its electric currents.

While five men shivered in their sheets, terror in their eyes, fully resolved never to touch another Amazon as long as they lived...

More screams.

…maybe not even another woman…

Louder screams.

…even female goats were starting to look mighty unappealing…

The next morning, a local monastery for the holy order of the Penitent Essence of Reestablished Virginity--whose mission was to seek freedom from the blight of sexual ways and thoughts--had five new converts, perhaps the most devout they'd seen in ages.

The End

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