Honey, that's MY Razor!
By Nancy Lorenz.

Vignette in the "Forever" Series, set after "The Band".

EMAIL: tosh@opera.iinet.net.au
GENRE: Gabrielle/Joxer, Ares/Xena
SUMMARY: Future life with Past Pals doesn't turn out to be as blissful as one would expect.
RATING: PG-13
ARCHIVING: Go for it dudes.
DISCLAIMER: The characters and universe herein are the property of MCA Universal, Studios USA and a bunch of people I'm *NOT* talking to right now. *hmmph*
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Dedicated to our returning comrade, the Dread Pirate Greggy-Poos. Love you sweety!
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I swear to God, I'm gonna kill the guy.

Okay, I fell in love with him, right? Yeah, that's right. I fell in love - with Joxer. Joxer the chanteuse. Joxer the sweet and sexy. *NOT* Joxer the incredibly noisy and annoying! I'd forgotten he'd ever been like this.

"AAAH SEE! A Bad-ah Moon Ah-RAHZin!"

"Joxer..."

"AAAH SEE - Um... something on the - WAY!! W ooo!"

"JoXER..."

"Hey Gabby - watch me flip this pancake..."

I tried to smile, pushing away my laptop that had the half-finished story of my once-life on it. I crawled to my feet, plodding over to his kitchen. I don't know why I chose to come over to his flat so often. My apartment seemed so huge, so spacy, and his place, it was just - cosy. Nice. I liked the way his bed smelled, and I liked the decor of his house. It was like I was bathed in him.

Which is why I realised bringing work to my Joxer-Time was probably the worst thing I could do. I hadn't the option to not do work though. The deadline for my next title was fast approaching.

When I entered the kitchen, I leant on the doorframe, watching him flip the pancake expertly. I smiled a little easier this time, clapping my hands.

"You should be a chef," I said.

"Ha!" He shook his head. "I'm not that good".

"Bullshit," I frowned, breaking off a piece of pancake from a pile next to the stove. A stubby pale hand shot out and smacked mine and he frowned.

"Gab," he said with a pout, "Wait till it's served!"

"Oh my God, you were just like Jace then!" I laughed.

He scowled at me and turned away, "I'm going to ignore you said that..."

"Sorry," I giggled, "I'm sorry."

I glanced back to me and smiled, spooning out more batter into the pan.

"How's the novel coming along?" he asked.

"Slowly," I said darkly, rubbing my neck, "It's hard trying to remember back so far, especially with um," I pressed my lips together, "Additional background noise."

He glanced up from the pan, "Huh?"

I rose a brow, looking to him pointedly.

"OH! GAB!" He smacked is brow as he shimmied the pan, "I'm so SORRY! My singing - right - why didn't you just say something?"

The tension that had built in me all night, the anger, it flittered away, and I felt suddenly foolish.

"You know Joxer, I don't know. All those years ago I would have just told you to shut up."

"Exactly," he nodded, flipping another pancake, "Woo!"

"But uh," I shrugged, "I know you'd get that sad look on your face. I couldn't bear to see that, not now, not here."

He looked up at me with those sweet chocolate brown eyes of his, a firm twist in his lips.

"Gabrielle," he said, putting a hand on mine and squeezing, "Honey, we're sharing our lives now. I don't wanna ever be a pain to you - if something is annoying you, just say so. I know you love me, and we're together now. I'm not gonna be as bummed as I was back then if you tell me to shut my trap, I promise."

This teased a smile from my lips and I sighed, "I love you."

"Yeah." He nodded and lifted a spatula at me, "You'll love my pancakes more."

I had to grin now, "Yeah, I'm sure I will."

I watched him fry up the last pancake, my mouth watering at the sweet cakey smell that filled the air. He loaded a tray with the somewhat strange dinner (he was low on food and pancakes was all he could scrounge together). Funny thing is, Joxer doesn't have a dinner table. He has the lounge coffee-table.

He toed his way through with the laden tray, kicking off a couple of guitar magazines and lowering the tray onto it.

"Mmmm," he cooed, "Nice yummy panny-cakes!"

I rolled my eyes at the baby-tones, secretly warming at his child-like excitement.

"Honey?"

I watched his eyes light up as he offered me the squeeze-bottle of honey.

"Well, I kinda need pancakes to put it on."

"Oh," He smacked his forehead again, finally placing some pancakes onto my plate, "I got so excited..."

I frowned now, reaching over to his forehead and rubbing it with my thumb. "Stop hitting yourself, Pookie."

His eyes flashed up at me, his lips a little open in shock. "W- What did you call me?"

"P-" I opened my mouthed, closed it again, in some awe, "Pookie..."

He looked down, his eyelids fluttering, a difficult smile on his face.

"You - You haven't called me that since ah... "

I nodded thoroughly, grabbing his hand, "Is it okay? If I call you-"

"Sure," he nodded back, looking up at me with a warm smile, "I wanted to hear you say it, for a very long time."

I smiled broadly, rolling up my freshly honey-covered pancake, "Good. Cause it's gonna be your pet-name from now on."

"Goody," he grinned, squeezing some honey onto his dinner, "I'm still callin' you Gabby."

"Since no one else calls me that, I think it's pet-namey enough," I said, chewing on the pancake,"Oh man, this is so good."

He nodded a bow,"Your welcome. So, what do they usually call you?"

I looked up to him and shrugged, "Ms. Baird, Gabrielle."

"Of course," he said. "What bit are you up to in your story?"

I looked up at him again, my heart fluttering a little. I cleared my throat, battling not to choke on the pancake. I swallowed, patting my chest, "I um, ah - well. The bit where - um - India."

I lied. Big fat hairy lie.

"No you're not," he said suddenly. Shit! I glared at him and saw him pointing at the laptop screen, "Says here about Rome..."

"Ah!" I blushed in shame, pulling the lap-top away, "Don't read it yet, it's not finished..."

He frowned at me. "Okay."


Damn it all. How did he DO that? He just looked at me and I felt like a complete bitch. "It was just - I don't want to talk about it - it was a hard time for me."

"What - being in Rome? You came back, it was the most wonderful day of my life."

"Your life," I said pointedly, "I was confused, hungry, I felt like shit and I'd been crucified a few days before. Not fun, Joxer."

"Oh yeah," he nodded solemnly, "Sorry - I didn't think."

"It's okay," I said, sighing, "Maybe you can help me with it anyway... I can't remember a few things. What shop did I get the gauntlets from? The silver ones?"

He sniggered in mid-chew, "The cutlery shop!"

I blinked at him, "Huh?"

"They were napkin holders bent out to fit your arms!" His snigger fell into a chortle of laughter and I glowered.

"Funny."

I missed the quill to grab and scribble with prissily, which I used to do in such situation. Instead I had a small keyboard that I tapped at, glaring over the edge of the laptop screen at him. He just gave me a naughty grin that made me wanna rip his clothes off. I had to watch myself, or I'd say "I love you" to him every fifteen minutes. I couldn't help it, damn it all to hell, I did.

"You were so pretty when you first woke up," he said suddenly, gazing off past the ceiling like a Botacelli subject. I frowned at him with a cock of my lip.

"Do you *remember* the huge bags under my eyes? My hair was a mess and I-"

"You looked beautiful," he said, "You were all warm looking. The light it... it made your hair glow... so pretty."

I smiled, a blush returning to my cheeks as I looked to my next pancake. A softness was at my cheek all of a sudden, and glancing up I saw him cradling my face, his eyes soft.

"You're a sap, you know," I said, a knowing smile on my face as he leant forward, "I'll never have to - mmm," He kissed me with honey-tinged lips, "Fish for Mmph - Hero character dialogue in my stories ever again!"

"I'm gonna take that as a compliment," he mumbled saucily, his kisses slipping from sweet to deeply caressing. I pushed the laptop aside to make room for me, crawling around the table and into his arms.

Yeah, it was a bad idea to bring work into my Joxer-Time. And Joxer being Joxer, he wasn't going to tire any time soon either. I was in for some late nights, definitely some very late nights. Well damn, I was going to enjoy a few of them.

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Arran just sat there, chewing on his burrito and drinking the expensive beer he pilfered from work. He pointed at the screen and grunted at me. "That guy is gonna get his ass kicked."

I rolled my eyes, sighing, "Like I give two shits."

He glared at me mid-chew, "Honey, babe - it's Kung Fu! How can you not care?"

"It's a re-run," I said, crossing my legs, "Why didn't you get me a burrito?"

He chewed guiltily and swallowed, "I didn't know you wanted one."

I frowned, "Of course I wanted one - go get me one."

"I'll miss the fight scen-"

I cut him off with one of my glares, clenching my teeth, "It's one BIG LONG fight scene!"

Clearing his throat, he put the burrito down, padding into the kitchen in a hurry.

"Do you want a beer too?"

"Naah," I adjusted myself on the couch and cocked a nostril, "Coke."

"Oh now I don't trade in OOPH!"

I sent a cushion sailing through the air, hitting him in the head as he turned behind the counter in the kitchen. As it dropped to the floor, he glared at me.

"What the hell was that - I'm getting you a burrito and you attack me!"

I gave a long leer, "Are you forgetting who you're sleeping with?"

He rolled his jaw, glaring and me and nodded, "Fine - I'll get you your precious fucking burrito and coke. This is what I get for letting you stay in my apartment, eat all my mexican food and use my special razor."

I looked up, "What special razor?"

"The funky one shaped like a space-ship."

I narrowed my eyes at him know, clenching my teeth and glaring death. He padded over, handing me my meal, and he snuffled.

"What?"

"That's *my* razor."

He frowned, "Is it?"

"Yes..." I put the burrito down, "It's a very expensive razor. For my *legs*. Not your FACE!"

"No way... that's yours? I swear I bought it."

"For fuck's sake," I grabbed the burrito, "Elderly Gods, I dunno."

"I'm not elderly," he said, settling down to watch the TV, "I'm in my prime."

"You were past your prime a very long time ago," I growled.

He just sulked quietly now, chewing burrito and watching Kung Fu.

Honestly. Why the hell did he have to do this sort of thing? It was like living with a kid half the time!! A very tall, muscly, attractive- I cut myself off before I let myself think like that. He wasn't going to get away with being an idiot with me just cause he had delicious thighs. Dear God... I had to stop thinking like that. He glanced at me, eyeing my crossed arm and hard features.

"You're angry with me..."

"Yes."

He sighed, "You hate me..."

I scoffed, "No. Jesus Christ - I get a little miffed and you think I want you dead!"

"Well it used to be like that."

"Well I'm not like that anymore!"

My outburst silenced him, for the moment anyway. It was times like this I'd get really annoyed with his melodramatic tendencies. Why did he have to be like that? He was so clever and sensitive and passionate, yet sitting here watching TV he was as annoying as my brother Luke. Then again, I was feeling very hormonal. And ugly. And fat. Grrrrr.

He blinked, looking at me, "Are you on your - you know?"

I glared at him darkly. Shit. The silence lasted a long minute until I finally mumbled, "Yes."

He rolled his tongue about in his mouth thoughtfully and sighed, "Oh." He shifted in his chair. "You want anything else?"

Oh shit. Guilt bombarded me as I realised - I'd been a bitch again. Damn - why did I always have to do that?! Just cause I found him annoying sometimes, I didn't have to bash him up for it. Literally or otherwise. I sighed, putting my face in my hands.

"I'm so sorry, Ar."

He rose a brow, "What?"

"I was being a bitch again..."

"That's okay," he shrugged, "I'm used to it, trust me."

I looked to him, tears forming in my eyes. Fuck, he was too.

"Well you shouldn't have to be!" I exclaimed, "This isn't Ancient Greece anymore, you'd think I'd grab a clue!"

He kneed his way over to me on his couch, wrapping large warm arms around me, "It's okay. I don't mind."

"You should mind. I'd mind."

"You do mind," he said, "But it's okay cause then I know when I've been a jerk again."

I looked to him. He looked kinda uncomfortable with all this comforting stuff. It was kinda cute really. I pursed my lips, looking to the burrito in my hands then up at him.

"You're missing the fight scene."

He shrugged, "Yeah well - it's one big long fight scene."

I nodded, "Yeah."

He smiled, a short little smile that came with a nod, and he squeezed me a little, pulling over his meal as he settled alongside me. I wanted to tell him that I loved him. I felt kinda silly being so needy like this. Whenever I was mad, it killed me to think of when I thought I'd lost him, cause often I'd realise how silly it all was to be mad in the first place. I rested my head in the nape of his neck, just enjoying being with him.

"I'm gonna do something really sappy in a minute..."

"I'll prepare myself," he said, taking a swig of beer, "Woo! Go Caine baby! You make Daddy proud!"

I smirked, leaning on him, "You're a dork, but I love you."

He glanced down and squeezed be, "Back atcha baby."

The smirk drew into a smile and I looked to the show, taking up the burrito he'd gotten me. Future life was weird. The perks were heavenly. I was kinda enjoying it though. I was enjoying it all. Even the arguments with Arran. Maybe I was the elderly one - gettin' all sappy like this. Oh well, we were old farts together.