"Bedtime Story" by Brian Davis ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Disclaimer: Characters from Xena: Warrior Princess are the property of MCA/Universal, Studios USA, and Renaissance Pictures. The story is mine.
Warning: Some sexual suggestiveness and relatively mild same-sex sexual content; nothing particularly explicit.
Thanks and Gratitude: To Katelin B. and Lady Adrell for their kind encouragement of my writing.
by Brian Davis
"Joxer, isn't it about time you gathered some firewood?" Xena stared down at Joxer from where she was seated on the log, a look of mild impatience on her face.
"But Gabrielle promised she'd tell a story first," the scruffy, compact would-be warrior said from his seat on the ground. "You always tell us a story before I have to…go away for awhile," he said, turning his gaze to the beautiful blond warrior bard sitting at the other end of the log.
Gabrielle shot Xena an amused look, then with just a trace of weariness turned to look down at Joxer. "I've told you all my new stories already, Joxer. Every night for the past two weeks, I've recited a story for you. I'm all out. I just don't have any more in me right now."
Joxer looked into the campfire and sulked for a moment, then he looked at Gabrielle again. "But that's the deal. We always have a bedtime story before I take my nightly walk. It's always been like that."
Secretly, Joxer worried that he wouldn't have enough tales to tell, when he returned to Meg and the other "working girls" at the tavern the following day. And without enough amusing and exciting tales, he was worried he might lose his status as a special favorite, and actually have to start paying for the tavern girls' services.
"I'm afraid if you want a story," Gabrielle said, "you'll have to get Xena to tell you one. Gabrielle shot Xena a mischievous look. "How 'bout it Xena?"
"Oh no," the large, dark-haired warrior woman answered, her expression changing to one of outright discomfort. "I'm no bard. Joxer will just have to go without tonight."
Gabrielle maintained her mischievous look. "Your story about the girl with the evil stepsisters, who passes up the prince to run off with her fairy godsister, was wonderful, Xena. I think you're the perfect person to tell us a story tonight."
"Yeah Xena," Joxer pleaded. "Tell us a story!"
"That story was just to keep a little girl occupied, Gabrielle. I can't tell a good story for adults."
Gabrielle wouldn't give up. "If your storytelling can make a little princess happy, it can make Joxer happy. Besides, he'll promise to take extra time and effort gathering the firewood, won't you Joxer?"
"Uh, yeah. I promise," Joxer replied.
"You two aren't going to let me off the hook, are you?" said Xena.
"Nope!" said Joxer.
"Okay, I'll give you your bedtime story. Just don't expect me to be Sophicus, or something."
"That's Sophocles," Joxer corrected her.
"Shut up, Joxer," Gabrielle ordered. "Okay Xena, tell us your story."
"All right," Xena began. "Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived in a cottage with her aunt in the woods. One day, the little girl put on her red hooded cloak, and, basket in hand, set out to visit her grandmother."
"What was her name?" Joxer asked.
"What?" Xena replied. "What does that matter?"
"She must have a name. How can I picture her in my mind if she doesn't even have a name?"
Xena scowled for a moment, then she said, "All right Joxer. Her name was…Little Red Cloak. Anyway, Little Red Cloak arrived at her grandmother's cottage and knocked on the door. 'Come in,' she heard a voice say. Little red cloak went in, and saw a big hairy wolf in her grandmother's bed, wearing a bonnet, and with the sheets pulled up to his neck. The wolf's name was…Ares.
"Anyway, Little Red Cloak noticed a pool of blood seeping from under the closet door, and decided she'd better play along with the wolf's ruse. 'Grandma,' she said. 'I've brought you a basket of goodies from Auntie.'
"The wolf said, in a high voice, 'An old lady gets so lonely out here in the woods. What have you brought me, my luscious little granddaughter?'
"Little Red Cloak said to the wolf, 'I've brought you something really special. But Grandma, what big hairy hands you have!' "
"At least the wolf didn't have hands like a sailor," interrupted Gabrielle. Xena glared at her, her look softening to amusement as she saw the boldly mischievous expression on her lover's face.
"I'm sorry I said you have hands like a sailor, Gabrielle."
"That's okay," Gabrielle said cheerfully. "Sailors have to be very adept and skilled with their hands."
"Gabrielle, please!" said Joxer. "Xena's trying to tell us a story. Go ahead Xena."
"Where was I", said Xena. "Oh yeah. Big hairy hands. 'All the better to stroke your alluring hair with, my dear,' said the wolf.
" 'But Grandma,' Little Red Cloak said. 'What a big, furry snout you have!'
" 'All the better to sniff you with, my dear,' replied the wolf.
" 'My Grandma,' said Little Red Cloak. 'What big, razor-sharp teeth you have!' The wolf jumped from the bed.
" 'All the better to eat you with, my dear!' he said in his natural, gruff masculine voice.
"Little Red Cloak cried out, 'Oh gods, you're not my Grandma after all! You're that big ugly wolf, Ares! Well, before you eat me, don't you want to know what's in the basket?'
"The wolf jumped up and down. 'Yeah, open the basket! Of course, I'm still going to eat you, though!'
"Little Red Cloak took the cover off the basket, reached in, and pulled out her chakram. 'Eat this, dog-breathed son of a bacchai!' Little Red Cloak yelled, and sent her chakram flying at the wolf's neck. The wolf's head was cleanly severed from his body, and he died. The end."
"That's it?" Joxer asked. "But her grandma's still dead."
"That's the way life goes sometimes," Xena replied.
"But what about the woodsman?" Joxer persisted. "Isn't this story supposed to have a woodsman in it who rescues Little Red Cloak?"
"Little Red Cloak didn't need a man to rescue her," Xena said.
Gabrielle spoke up. "The woodsman, Joxer, is supposed to be out in the woods gathering firewood!" She gave him a look that Joxer knew meant he was supposed to get lost.
As Gabrielle moved over and put her arm around Xena, Joxer strolled off into the woods.
Later, sitting on a log by the side of a small lake, Joxer stared at the ground and heard the sounds of pleasure, of the two women he loved most in the world, drifting through the trees….
"There you are, little man!" said a male voice. Startled, Joxer looked up to see a roguish, handsome man standing in front of him.
"Autolycus!" Joxer said.
"What took you so long?" Autolycus asked, as Joxer got to his feet. "I've been waiting here for almost an hour. Don't you like me anymore?"
"Sure I like you," Joxer responded. "I don't know why we keep meeting like this, though. After all, I've got Meg and the girls at the tavern. And you've got…well, hundreds of women."
"The only reason you sleep with Meg, Joxer, is because she looks like Xena. Besides, you need to distract your mind from Gabrielle. As for me, well, of course I love beautiful ladies, and it would be a sin for me to deny them my affections. But a man of the world, well, he tends to like both clams AND oysters, if you catch my drift." Autolycus began running his hands through Joxer's hair. "Give me some sugar, Joxer!" he said, and kissed Joxer hard on the mouth.
For a few seconds, Joxer struggled to keep pace with Autolycus' aggressive kiss. Then, as he once again called upon the skills he'd learned from Meg and the other tavern girls, Joxer responded in kind.
A moment later, a startled owl flew from its perch in a tree, as Autolycus tossed Joxer to the ground and climbed on top of him….
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