Author: Jrpanther
Title: Puzzle Pieces
Characters: Gabrielle & Iolaus
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Iolaus and Gabrielle wake up after a long night of drinking and demand to know 'did they or didn't they?'

Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle, Argo, Hercules, Iolaus, Jason and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series' Xena: Warrior Princess, and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers and copyright notices.

NOTE: All works remain the © copyright (2001) of the original author. These may not be republished without the author's consent.

Author's Note: This story is a bit of a homage to the Red Dwarf episode 'Parallel Universe' in which Lister and his female opposite wake up in the same bunk saying, 'We didn't, didn't we?' I must also give credit to Jax for her story Prelude to a Hangover (on Amphipolis Cafe) which inspired the use of the name 'Yolaus'. Very cute story which I encourage you all to read.

Spoilers for 'Forgiven.'

You can also find Jrpanther's stories at Amphipolis Cafe

Email this bard with your comments!


Puzzle Pieces
by Jrpanther
October 2001

The morning sunlight played off the young bard's sleeping form, seeming to embrace the shadows that it left untouched. He had just woken up that second, and found himself almost mesmerized by the rhythmic rise and fall of her sleeping breath. She shifted slightly in her sleep, causing her furs to slip down slightly, revealing a bare shoulder.

It was at that moment that Iolaus realized he had a massive pounding headache. "Oh gods," he said as he gripped his head with one hand, and used the other to pull his furs back over his head. Something instantly dug into his back. Oh how typical. You lay down your fur on top of a big rock and then pay for it for the next week. Why do you do this, he chastised himself. Every time you do, you get in trouble, and on top of that, you feel like Zeus is exploding your brain with one of his lightning bolts the next morning.

Wait a minute. Was that Gabrielle's bare shoulder?

Iolaus' eyes widened beneath the fur and he pulled it down slightly, knowing that even the slightest drop of sunlight would aggravate his already pounding headache. He peeked over the lip of the blanket. No, there's no imagining that. That, Iolaus, is the shoulder of one extremely beautiful and talented bard.

What had happened last night? His mind raced, turning in circles as he struggled to remember. Oh gods, we didn't… did we? They had both had a lot to drink. Iolaus had felt bad that he'd missed Gabrielle's birthday a few months back and when he'd run into her alone at the tavern, he'd bought her a few drinks as a belated birthday gift…

The Amazon shifted again in her sleep, unconsciously throwing an arm around the golden hunter. Iolaus jerked in surprise, holy Zeus on Olympus! We're in the same fur?! Iolaus' vision wasn't at its peak right now. They were indeed sharing a fur, and at the very least, Gabrielle wasn't wearing her green halter top.

All of a sudden, the contents of his stomach churned and burbled their protest. They were coming up, and fast. Iolaus moved as smoothly as he could in order to keep the bard where she was, and in the state of consciousness that she was. This was a disaster. He climbed out of the fur, screwing his eyes up, doing his best to avoid the piercing sunlight.

Things seemed to be going okay. At least, if she'd woken up, she hadn't said anything.

It was then that Iolaus felt the chilled morning breeze brush along his bare backside.

%#$@!!!!!! Iolaus froze in his position and opened one eye. Yes, he was indeed standing over the sleeping furs without a stitch on. What's worse, Gabrielle's arm had encircled the "rock" that had been digging into his back. It was his clothing, and somewhere in that pile was his very solid codpiece.

Think. Think. Think. No! Don't think! No time! He dashed behind a tree as quickly as humanly possible and emptied his supper colourfully into a bush. What an embarrassing situation from all angles. Iolaus slipped his head around the tree trunk to check on the beautiful woman who lay slumbering in their furs. If this wasn't Gabrielle, he would truly be very pleased with this situation.

Sleeping like a baby. Okay. Plan of action. The lake is no more than thirty steps from where Gabrielle is sleeping. I get to the lake, I'm home free. He could clean up and at least keep a very small amount of his dignity by hiding in the water. His clothing was positively unretrievable.

Taking slow, precise steps, Iolaus made his way towards the lake. He was extremely nervous as he walked by the fur, keeping his eye on the bard for even the slightest movement.


&%$#@!!!!!! Iolaus cursed mentally as he froze. His eyes locked on the girl as she rolled over, eyes still closed. Safe?

They flickered open. "Iolaus?!" she cried, and blushed an extremely attractive shade of pink. "Oh gods, Iolaus!" Her eyes were wide with surprise and even interest, Iolaus noted that she couldn't help peeking at what it was he had to offer so many women in Greece. "Here-" she began as she took the fur that covered her, whipping it off despite Iolaus' attempts to protest. She flung the fur at him and then looked down, noting that she herself was in a similar state of undress.

Gabrielle's eyes looked as if they were about to pop out of their sockets. She scrambled quickly to wrap the fur that they had been sleeping on and wrapped it around herself protectively. "What the..?!"

"Yeah," said Iolaus, now at least being covered by the bedroll. "I'm just as confused as you are." The pain of his massive headache suddenly hit him in waves again and he clutched at the side of his head, nearly dropping the fur but managing to keep it intact.

"Oh gods!" she shouted again, trying to get to grips with the situation.

"So, I guess," Iolaus began, "you don't remember what happened either."

"Not much. I don't remember, uhm… this," she concluded in desperation, gesturing back and forth between herself and Iolaus. "No offense, but I don't remember!"

"Then we mustn't have," Iolaus responded with an evil twinkle in his eye, "because every woman remembers."

Gabrielle regarded Iolaus with an extremely irritated expression, arching an eyebrow. "Is that right."


"Uh huh."

"Uh huh what?"

"Where are my clothes?" she said, changing the subject. "And Zeus, what's this?"

Iolaus paled as she pulled his codpiece from her little bundle of blankets and self. "That's, uh… mine…" he stammered in embarrassment.

"What is it?" she began, turning it over in her hands. "Oh gods!" Gabrielle threw the offending undergarment at the golden hunter which he instinctively tried to catch.


"I didn't mean it!" he scrambled to pick up his blankets again and get himself covered. He took a seat next to the sweet young bard who was very angry with him and had every right to be. "Look, Gabrielle —" he began, his embarrassment reaching its maximum capacity with the stern glare he was receiving, "if, well… this happened. If we… I just want to let you know that it wasn't my intention."

"Do you say that to all the women in Greece?" she snapped back. "I guess you have to, since they all remember."

Iolaus again paled, and then furrowed his brow in concern. "Gabrielle…" A sigh escaped his lips as words failed him. "I don't know how to put this. Basically, I don't want to screw you up. There've been women in the past of course, but, I really like you, and more than that I respect you for who you are, and —" he faltered as her eyes softened slightly. He took her hand in his, sweeping his thumb across her palm. "I wouldn't use you like this."

Gabrielle pulled her hand away and sighed. Her voice was breathy and resigned as she looked towards the lake. "You know, I do believe you. I don't know why, but I do."

"Good," Iolaus said with relief. "Then let's start at the beginning."


Luckily, Gabrielle's clothes were easily found. She was sitting on her green top, which she discovered when she stood up to grab her skirt that was hanging off the branch of a nearby tree. They had excused each other to opposite ends of the clearing, vowing not to look at the other.

They sauntered casually into the tavern that they had spent the evening in last night trying to retrace their steps and put a few of the pieces together of their time there. Gabrielle, staff in hand, wandered up to the bar with Iolaus close in tow.

The barkeep was familiar. She recognized him from before she took her first sip of ale. Most of that part of the evening was clear enough.

"Oh hello again," said the barkeep, a tallish man with a belly. His face was red in places and he sported a surprisingly thick beard compared to his rather thin collection of strands on top. He snickered briefly at the pair. "My best customers."

Iolaus and Gabrielle both rolled their eyes at him. Big attitude for over priced watery ale! Iolaus thought. He addressed the young woman, "Well, any luck?"

"I remember the first part of the evening no sweat," she replied, tucking her golden strands behind her ears as she recalled the primary events.


"Gabrielle, I'll only be a day and a half. Meet you back here tomorrow evening?" said the Warrior Princess, accepting a hug from her significantly smaller best friend and bard.

"Of course. I'll be here. Say hello to Toris for me."

"I will." Xena waved before turning around and disappearing through the tavern door.

Gabrielle swung around on the stool and tapped the counter, looking for service. "Bowl of lamb stew, please."

The barkeep nodded his head and smiled at the young Amazon before making his way to the kitchen door. "Lamb stew!"

The wait had been a very long one and Gabrielle was a hungry girl. The trek with Xena had been long today, in fact, Gabrielle couldn't understand how Xena could go on for another few hours without a bite to eat. But she had insisted, and experience told Gabrielle that stepping on Xena's toes was not a good idea.


"And that's when I came in, right?" asked Iolaus.



"What are you doing here, all by yourself?"

Gabrielle spun around to the familiar voice. "Iolaus!" She threw her arms around him for a hug.

Iolaus chuckled at her forwardness. "Hey Gabrielle, nice to see you too. Where's Xena?"

"She went off to meet up with Toris. What about Hercules?"

"I'm meeting up with him sometime tomorrow at Alcmene's," Iolaus responded. "Wow, it's great to see you!" He gave the bard another squeeze and kissed her forehead tenderly. "So, can I buy you a drink?"

"Oh, no no," said Gabrielle as she took quite a considerable sized bite of her stew. "Thanks, though."

"Gabrielle, let me get it for you. I feel bad I missed your birthday, please?"

There was something about those warm blue pools that just wouldn't allow Gabrielle to say no. For all intents and purposes, Iolaus was a good man — nay, a great man. It would be rude not to accept his offer. "I'll have an ale please."

"And one for me." Iolaus nodded and plonked a couple of coins down on the old wooden bar. He picked up the mugs and offered one to Gabrielle. "Cheers."

"Cheers," she replied with a smile, knocking her mug against his.


"Okay, so we remember that much," Iolaus said. "Things get a little blurry for me after that." He rubbed his hand against the back of his neck and squinted up at the ceiling as he tried to remember.

"I do remember that you can not hold your ale," Gabrielle said, scratching her temple ponderously. She looked up at Iolaus and immediately broke out laughing. Why am I laughing! This is very serious!

"You guys're trying to remember what happened last night?" asked the bearded man with a chuckle.

"Yeah," Gabrielle answered. "What did you see?"

"Well, little lady, you sure downed a lot of my good ale." He laughed heartily, "cost your man there quite a bit of coin." He patted his apron pocket and grinned until he saw the look he was getting from both of the patrons. "Well," he became a bit more serious, noting that the man carried a sword on his hip and the woman was drumming her fingers against an Amazon fighting staff. "There must've been about four rounds for the lady, and six or seven for you." He nodded briefly at the curly headed hunter.

"Good gods, Gabrielle, four tankards of ale? You drink like a fish!"

"You're one to talk. Seven rounds for you? Do you have a hollow leg?"

Iolaus began to laugh and ruffled her hair, earning himself a stern glance and an elbow to the ribs. Gabrielle then broke out into a grin despite her attempts to remain serious.

"Pretty early into the night you were on this fella's lap," the barkeep continued.

Iolaus and Gabrielle instantly lost their grins. "Me," she gestured at herself, "on his lap?" She pointed her finger at Iolaus and widened her eyes. They exchanged an embarrassed glance.

"That's right, lady," he said as he relayed the events.


"So what have you and Herc'les been up to?" The first tell tale sign of inebriation, Gabrielle's words had slightly slurred.

"Oh, just the same old thing. Rescuing villages, stopping warlords, defeating the Olympian Gods. What about you and Xena?"

"See this mark on my ear?" she said, scooching her chair closer to the small man.

"No, not really."

Gabrielle looked briefly frustrated before standing up. She repositioned herself on Iolaus' lap and brushed her hair behind her ear. "How 'bout now?"

"Ouch. What happened there?"

"Xena decided to try and help some little demon child the other day. She nearly bit my fricken ear off! The little hag beat the stuffing out of me cause she wanted to replace me at Xena's side. Can you believe it?"


"Yeah. That rings a bell with me, now that you mention it." Iolaus grinned at Gabrielle.

"Well that's not so bad, so I sat on your lap. I was a little out of it. Doesn't mean…"

"I'm not so sure that's all that was happening, Gabrielle. That little story jogged my memory a little…"


"Does it hurt?" asked Iolaus, bringing his arms to hold the bard in her place on his lap.

Gabrielle closed her eyes for a moment and thought about it. "Mmm, yep. Hurts. This much." She held her thumb and forefinger an inch apart. "Yep yep yep."

Iolaus squeezed her and kissed her ear very gently.

"Bwwaaaaahh!" cried Gabrielle, laughing. "That's very loud and it tickles, you! Stoppit!" A quick hiccup escaped her lips. "Ut oh."

"What?" asked Iolaus, his eyes wide as he looked at her.

"I'm drrrrrrrunk!" A giant grin erupted all across her face and she began to laugh uncontrollably, before quickly catching the table.

"Yolaus, you're leaning and I'm falling."


"So mooove!"

"I'm straight."

"No you're —hic- not."

"What do you know!"

"Plenty! Woah. There's two of you."

"See, you don't know noooothin'!" Iolaus began to laugh. "You're drrrrrunk!"

"I just said that, didn't I? Is there an echo in here? No wait, it's Yolaus."


"I'm blank after that," said Iolaus, scratching his head which thankfully was feeling much better. "Wait a minute. You didn't feel ill this morning, did you?"

"Well, no more ill than could be expected, waking up to such a frightful sight."


Gabrielle flashed a winning smile at the hunter before turning to the barkeep.

"Yeah, just you wait. You won't always be able to drink like that and feel like a million dinars in the morning," Iolaus interjected before Gabrielle could open her mouth.

"You're the one who drinks like a fish, not me." A quick wink and an elbow to the ribs. "Do you remember anything else?"

"Well, you two just sorta stumbled out of here drunkenly in the middle of the night, said something about the inn across the way, the bastards have live music," he responded. "No serious antics other than the obvious drunk behaviour. You know, the belching 'n stuff." He nodded briefly at Gabrielle.

"I don't belch."

Iolaus had already burst out laughing. "You did! You did! I remember it! It was so loud and long that all the men in the bar applauded you! You outdid them all!"

"I did not!"

"Did too!"

Gabrielle sneakily leaned the end of her staff onto Iolaus' foot and put her weight on it, glancing at him slyly. That'll teach you! She thought as Iolaus began to turn red. "Well, I think we've gathered all the information we can from you. Thanks for your help. Come on," she said, gripping Iolaus by the ear much like she did Joxer and pulled him out of the tavern.

"Ow! Ow! Ow ow ow ow!" Gabrielle grinned at the blonde hunter, waiting for him to beg for his own release. "Okay, fine. Please, oh beautiful and talented bard, light of my life, apple of my eye…"

"Well done. You catch on quick."

"Let's head to that inn. Maybe we can find something else of interest there that can jog our memories."

Gabrielle nodded to him. "Good idea."


The two unsuspecting pair were quite taken aback to find that even early in the morning, the party at the inn raged on. The music was loud, to a point of being boisterous. The men had drunk until dawn, many of them were surprisingly enough still sober enough to laugh bawdily and leer at the bard as she and Iolaus made their way through the door. And this was supposed to be a respectable inn?

Iolaus himself was also the recipient of some not entirely unwanted affections, the women of the tavern descended upon him like vultures despite the fact that he had arrived with a woman who carried with her an Amazonian staff.

"Back off," snarled Gabrielle, holding her weapon ready for offense. Even she was startled at her possessive reaction. She knew that Iolaus had gotten a kick out of it, the fact that his eyes sparkled momentarily and he tried to hide his smirk gave it away. Gabrielle immediately coloured. Coughing nervously, "For two, please."

The pair sat at one of the tables, declining the offers for drink that the barkeep as well as various serving girls presented. "No, just a chicken pastry and a water."

"For you?" she asked Iolaus, trying desperately hard to keep a straight face. "Ale, right?"

"Ahhh, ahh, no. I've had enough of that, I think… for now. Just a water for me and some scrambled goose eggs." Iolaus avoided eye contact with the serving girl who found something very funny. "Okay. So what did you see last night. Cause we can't remember anything."

The serving girl began to laugh openly as she shouted out to the rest of the crowd that was left over from the previous evening, "The shorties can't remember. Wanna help them out?"

Loud and deep laughter came from around the room. "You came home with me, sweet thing!" cried out one heckler.

"No she didn't," Iolaus responded in her defense, genuinely not thinking of how his words sounded, "I was with her!"

Gabrielle shot Iolaus a look but then paled as someone else shouted out, "No she didn't! Not the likes of you! She went home with a big man. Me!"

"No she didn't! I saw her. And I kept her up a looooong time!"

"I did!"

"She wouldn't go with you!"

"Yes she would!"

"I had her!"

"Me too!"

Iolaus stood up in his seat and put his hand on Gabrielle's shoulder. She'd folded her arms on the table and buried her face in them, not crying, just hiding from the humiliation of the situation. "Hey now. You be quiet. This is a woman of impeccable virtue. She could do better than any of you, any day of the week."

The first one to question Gabrielle's morals stood up to his full height, an entire foot taller than the golden hunter. He was strong but meaty and had things stuck in his teeth. His breath was foul beyond comprehension. "You really think you're better than I am, little man?"

"My breath's better, that's for sure!" Iolaus quipped with a nervous giggle, before he snatched Gabrielle's staff from it's leaning place against the rustic table and used it to block the studded club that was plummeting towards him.

The sound of wood against wood returned Gabrielle to attention. "Oh geez!" she cried, standing up swiftly to aid Iolaus.

"Here," cried Iolaus breathlessly as he simultaneously tossed the weapon to the bard and pulled his sword from the scabbard that hung from his hip. Just in time, Iolaus managed to raise the sword to intercept a downward swing.

Gabrielle caught the weapon and wielded it quickly, smoothly bringing her staff against the back of the thug's knees to put him on his back. The nature of his accusations led her to jab at his abdomen quickly before quipping, "For such a braggart, you're terrible at your craft. And your club leaves a lot to be desired."

The big hulking men who had stood up at the beginning of the fight all began to laugh at their comrade. Gabrielle and Iolaus took this unguarded moment to bolt from the door, leaving the servant girl to call out after them, "Hey, your pastry! Your eggs! You owe me three dinars!" She was furious that they were skipping on their meal, but mostly their tab. Gabrielle's chicken pastry clocked Iolaus on the back of the head, getting crumbs and gravy tangled in his curls while Iolaus' scrambled goose eggs found themselves splattered over Gabrielle's back.

Gabrielle knew better than to stop running. The two of them raged silently as the bits of food flew off their backs from the wind.

"Okay," said Gabrielle breathlessly as they ran, "I think that all we managed to figure out there was that we both acted like real idiots last night!"

"Well yeah!" Iolaus replied, gulping for breath. "I think that's fairly obvious already!"

"So," she panted, "Nothing new. Except for the eggs in my hair and the pie on your head."


Finding their safe haven back by the lake, Iolaus and Gabrielle were utterly miserable. First of all, the only things they had learned led them closer to the conclusion that yes, they had in fact had an encounter of an intimate nature. On top of that, Gabrielle and Iolaus looked like monkeys, Gabrielle first picking the bits of flaky pastry from Iolaus hair, and then the other way around with Iolaus trying to get what he could of the goose eggs from Gabrielle's.

Not only that, but the sludgy eggs had saturated Gabrielle's halter top, leaving a damp eggy patch. "Iolaus, your hair is disgusting. It's full of gravy. You need a bath."

"Hate to say it Gabrielle," Iolaus replied, "but the same goes for you. And your shirt needs to be cleaned. It's got egg in it."

"How convenient that we're nearby a lake," Gabrielle muttered grumpily. This had to be one of the worst days of her life, excepting of course the more obvious bad days of her very recent past.

"Okay. Gabrielle, we can do this separately. You go first, I'll go after-"

"We're being babies about this."

"-and then when you're ready to come out, just holler and I'll turn- what?"

"We're being babies."


"Let's just do it and get it over with. You've got to meet Hercules at Alcmene's. I've got to meet Xena at the tavern. We don't have all day."

"Are you sure Gabrielle? 'Cause…"

"If you're not comfortable, that's okay. Just tell me and I'll run in and be quick about it. But-"

"No, you're right. I was concerned about the time myself, I just didn't want to say anything."

"I know, and that's why I did."

Iolaus smiled at her admission. He hugged her quickly and tightly but pulled away when she seemed to tense up. He frowned at her, not out of anger or disappointment but concern. "Gabrielle," he sighed. "You're not afraid of me now, are you?"

"No, I'm not. I mean, it's not like we haven't come close to doing these things before," she began, looking up at him. Her eyes once looked so innocent, Iolaus thought to himself. But now they're older, wiser. He knew a bit about the things that had happened to her in her recent past, but none of the details. What he had heard was enough to turn many women bitter. Thankfully, Gabrielle's own light had conquered that. "I guess it just surprises me that I could be so… carefree. And I guess it goes back to what you said earlier. I like you, and I respect you for who you are. I know you've been with a lot of women in the past, oh for the love of Zeus, that didn't come out right…"

Iolaus chuckled quietly as his fingers gently brushed her hair behind her ear. "I know what you meant."

"If it ever comes to that," continued the storyteller who, for one who was so able with words, was having a very hard time not stumbling over her own tongue, "I don't want the first time to have been something I forgot, or…" Gabrielle was avoiding eye contact with the man. The blood had rushed to her cheeks, painting them in a natural and healthy looking pink.

Iolaus couldn't help just admiring her for a moment. She really was very pretty. Perhaps not so much in the classical sense, she was short and muscular. He'd had plenty of the long legged curvaceous type and right now, to him, they all just seemed cheap and fake. Gabrielle was real.

"What…" Gabrielle said nervously, turning her eyes up to look into his face. The silence was awkward.

Iolaus shook his head. "Nothing, Gabrielle. I'm just letting your words sink in. We were worried about the same things."

A shy smile made its appearance across the bard's lips. "The sun's just beginning to warm the water. It's still going to be cold…"

"Freezing," Iolaus agreed. "We'd better get in there."

Gabrielle nodded and took his hand, leading him to the water's edge. "You go in first. Tell me how it is."

Iolaus rolled his eyes at her. "Too chicken to do it on your own, huh? Fine then, turn around."

Gabrielle arched an eyebrow at him. "Huh?"

"Turn around, I'm getting undressed!"

"Oh!" If it was possible, Gabrielle blushed even harder. Mortified, she turned her back to the golden hunter, staring towards their campsite, trying to calm herself. The image of him that morning slowly crept into her mind, yet she forced it out. Stop thinking like that, Gabrielle! Part of her really wanted to turn around and startle Iolaus, and the sound of his leathers hitting the shore… Gabrielle, STOP IT!

A couple of splashes later, and Iolaus' friendly voice rang out, "Okay, I'm decent." Gabrielle turned around to see Iolaus grinning at her from within the lake. "It's nice!" He dunked his head under and shook out his hair.

"Okay, Iolaus. Now you turn around."

He did so dutifully as Gabrielle began to disrobe, facing Iolaus even though she trusted him. The modest woman was out of her clothes in no time, folding her arms over her chest instinctively and waddling into the pool, one of her folded arms through the strap of her green top. The thing had to be scrubbed and soaked if she ever expected the egg smell to come out.

She jumped the moment she hit the water. "You call this nice Iolaus?! This is freezing!" she cried.

"I know," came the reply, followed by the giggle that drove Gabrielle wild. He began to turn around, thinking that her voice meant she was decent and she quickly ducked beneath the surface.


Iolaus began to laugh loudly again, and said between guffaws, "I didn't mean it, I thought you were decent."

"You sure did, didn't you!" she retorted good naturedly, knowing that he was telling the truth. With just barely more than her head and neck above the surface of the water, Gabrielle swam a little closer to the well-built man, and shoved a huge wave in his direction.

"You think you're pretty smart, my bard," Iolaus said as an evil smirk crossed his face. Gabrielle realized that she was about to be on the receiving end of someone who would never give up a fight of this nature. She yelped and ducked under water, swimming like a seal to avoid the humongous wave that she knew was coming.

Her shoulder brushed against his calf as she swam, sending shivers up and down her spine. She almost stopped.

She was running out of breath but she knew what she was up against if she surfaced. There was no avoiding it. She needed air.

Her head peeked above the surface and saw Iolaus, stalking her like an alligator. He allowed her just enough time to gulp a full breath before shoving an enormous wall of water in her direction.

"Iolaus!" she screamed with playful delight as her arms came up to protect herself, without realizing that she'd come up just a little too far. She instantly ducked back under, leaving only her head above the surface, hoping that Iolaus didn't notice. Wait a minute… Gabrielle began to panic. Her little green top was no longer hooked on her arm. How mortifying! she thought to herself. "Just a sec," she said sweetly before ducking under water.

"Oh, you're going to play that game again, Gabrielle?"


The two of them sat wrapped in furs by the fire. It was daylight, but they were both freezing and the heat emanating from the flames helped to keep them a little warmer.

With luck, Gabrielle had found her shirt on the lakebed, and managed to get some of the egg out of it once they'd tired each other out with their playfulness.

They sat now, huddled together in their respective furs to dry off. Gabrielle shortly found herself leaning on Iolaus' shoulder. She shut her eyes momentarily, and bits and pieces of the night before came flooding back in that simple contact.


"Gabrielle," Iolaus slurred as he collapsed onto the fur that the two of them had just rolled out. "Blaaah. I'm going to feel like dung in the morning."

"Hahaha! Dung! I won't!" Gabrielle piped in response before cackling and plopping herself down next to Iolaus.

"Yes you will. You just wait."

"I always feel fresh in the morning after a night of … binging."

"Tomorrow morning, you'll feel like dung."

"We'll see, Yolaus!"


Gabrielle chuckled to herself and linked her arm in Iolaus', closing her eyes again to remember.


"You know, Yolaus," began the storyteller, "You're CUTE!"

"So I've been told," replied Iolaus with a giggle.

"That's not attractive ONE BIT."


"Mister ego!"


"Blaaah." Gabrielle began to giggle uncontrollably again. "Wooooohoooooo! I haven't had this much fun in a long time. It's good to see you, -hic- Yolaus."

"Awwww, it's good to see you too, Gabrielle."

"C'mere." The bard tugged on his arm so that he'd snuggle up closer to her, but even in a sitting position, Iolaus' balance wasn't at its peak. He ended up falling on top of her. "Oooh," she giggled. "Lookit that!"


"Is that all you ever say, Yolaus? What! What! What? What! Bwaaahahaha!"

"Oh you're very funny, bardypants."



"Hoookay. Right. Is it me or is it getting hot in here?" Gabrielle was looking flushed. Iolaus grinned.

"Hmm, it is, isn't it? I think it's us. Let's deal with that." From his rather awkward position that neither he nor Gabrielle would deny enjoying, Iolaus took off his purple vest and dumped it on the sleeping fur. "Much better."

"Mhmm!" Gabrielle grinned, wrapping her arms more comfortably around him. "Whew. Yolaus?"


"You're cute."

"You just told me that! But tell me again."

"You're cute."

"Alright! I'm so glad you think I'm cute."


"Cause I think you're cute." Hiccup.


"Well this is awkward, isn't it."


Iolaus yawned widely. "I'm getting kind of sleepy."


"Aren't you the one who's so good at telling the stories? Is that all you've got to say? 'Why. Oh. Yeah. Hmm.'" A grin spread itself widely over the golden hunter's face, his eyes lighting up as he looked into those of the warrior bard.

"I think it's like you said. This is awkward." Gabrielle shrugged her shoulders beneath his weight and grinned back.

"Do you want me to move?" Iolaus raised his eyebrow at the Amazon, knowing full well that she didn't have any intention of moving him.



"But it's still a bit awkward."

"Okay, how can I fix that, Gabrielle?"

Gabrielle pondered for a moment. In a bold moment, her tongue loosened by drink, "Kiss me."


"I said kiss me. It's not very hard. Unless-" Gabrielle was silenced as Iolaus' lips followed her direction. Gabrielle's eyes widened as he kissed her chastely, before pulling away and grinning.

"Like that?"


Iolaus quieted her again but this time he didn't hold back. His lips pressed forcefully upon hers, their kisses almost sloppy in their inebriation. That didn't take away from the sweetness of the moment, however, their fumbling sent them rolling over one another, their fingers coursing clumsily over each other. The couple found themselves in the opposite position, Gabrielle holding Iolaus pinned, when their rolling had finally come to a halt. "Mmmm…" murmured Iolaus as the bard closed in for another taste of the hunter's lips.

Gabrielle scooted down Iolaus' body and began to kiss his chest slowly, languorously.


Gabrielle's head snapped back up to look at 'Yolaus'. "You know," she slurred, "I've never claimed to be experienced at this, or any good, but that's not a sound you're supposed to make, is it?" Hiccup.




"You're ASLEEP?!"

Iolaus snorted succinctly before launching into another earth shattering snore. Gabrielle grunted with disappointment and folded her arms across her chest before climbing off him and curling into his chest, fully clothed.


A small smile passed over the bard's face. It had been awfully hot that night, and she had been known to sleep in the buff if she was too warm. Perhaps that was the case for Iolaus too. She must've kicked her skirt off onto the branch…

"Gabrielle? You're awfully quiet. Is everything okay?"

"Yeah, I really am," she grinned. She would have to tell him the truth, of course, but she had to be very careful to protect his ego. If he knew that he had fallen asleep (saving them both from something they would have regretted) it would be very bruised, to say the least.

It was nothing a little bardic flourish couldn't handle.

The End

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