Disclaimers: Not mine.

Warnings: Sex. Duh... what is my name again? *smirk*

What If?
by Katelin B.

It has been said that every decision a person makes affects the outcome of a life, and therefore, the future. A different decision, a different future. But some choices are more all-encompassing than others. Some decisions affect an entire world of people. Some decisions create futures so completely different than the one we know, they are almost impossible to imagine.

People with regrets sometimes wonder about the decisions they have made. What if’s become the focus of their thoughts. Unchangeable events but intriguing never the less. Insignificant wonderings of “what if I hadn’t cut my hair?” build inevitably to “what if Bacchus had defeated Xena’s army the first time he faced her?”...

...I wonder...

Solari entered the tavern as usual, and sat silently in the corner. She never bothered anyone, nor did she invite trouble. As a runaway slave, she tried not to draw attention to herself. She didn’t want her former master finding out where she was. She had been his slave all her life and she was finding freedom very strange. Solari didn’t know how to do many of the things that she saw everyone else doing. All she knew was fighting and pleasure. The two things she had been trained for.

When she had first arrived in the tavern, she was alone and didn’t know anyone. Now she had friends. Not many, but more than she had ever known at one time. Plenty for her. They were good to her, and protected her from her former master’s guards when they came. She was happy. But something was missing. She looked around the room and noticed instantly what it was. Ephiny wasn’t there. Solari sighed. She missed Ephiny very much.

Many people didn’t like Ephiny because she was bacchai, but Solari did. Ephiny had fought for her freedom the last time Cortez’s guards came for her. And Ephiny didn’t ask for anything in return. That Solari found strange. Everyone always wanted something. Nothing was freely given. But Ephiny was different. Solari found the goodness in Ephiny that others didn’t take the time to look for, and helped it to grow.

Ephiny often came to her for food, and Solari willingly gave it. Secretly she loved the feeling of Ephiny’s fangs piercing her throat and the way she would suckle at the wound to draw out the blood. Solari shivered just thinking about it, and a smile crossed her face. Ephiny was always careful too. Solari never failed to notice that Ephiny treated her differently than the others that she drank from. She was rough with them. Almost violently so... but with Solari, she was always gentle.

Solari felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up and shuddered as a cold chill went through her. Her eyes darted around frantically and came to rest on Autolocus. Solari swallowed and looked away praying to the Gods that the King of thieves would leave her alone. When ever Ephiny wasn’t around, he always came to her, tormenting her. She had never had the courage to tell Ephiny what he was doing. She was so afraid of him. *Please let Ephiny get here soon* she prayed and closed her eyes.

Solari felt a hand on her shoulder and jumped, looking up. She nearly screamed. Autolocus had come to her again. He was relentless. He smiled that toothy grin and asked her to accompany him to a room. When Solari said nothing, he hauled her to her feet quietly, so the other patrons of the tavern wouldn’t notice. She was terrified of him. It had never gone past mild taunting, but now it looked as if he intended to take her to his bed. Solari wanted to die. But she was too frightened to say anything. So she meekly followed him, head bowed, tears running down her cheeks.

Once in his room, he shoved her down onto the bed and shucked his clothes rapidly. Solari remained still, afraid to move, even when he straddled her. She simply cried silently, praying that it would be over soon, and she wouldn’t have too many bruises to explain to Ephiny. That thought and all others were forgotten when he began tearing off her clothes, and muttering obscenities at her. His bacchai strength allowed him to tear the fabric like tissue and she was soon naked as well.

A choked sob escaped her lips and she received the back of his hand for it. “Shut up!!” he shouted at her, and began pawing her roughly. Suddenly there was a mighty slam as the door of the room was forced open and his hands abruptly left her breasts. Solari kept her eyes closed, not seeing who had come in and taken Autolocus’s attention away from her. She didn’t even move when he scrambled off her. She was too scared that he would hit her again.

There was an angry snarl followed by a slap and more snarling. Two snarls?? Solari opened her eyes to see Ephiny growling right in Autolocus’s face. The two bacchai were facing off over her. Solari felt relieved for a moment that Ephiny had saved her, but it was gone the moment she remembered that she was naked on the bed. She began crying again and curled up on the pillows, tugging a sheet up to cover her nakedness.

Solari didn’t watch the rest of the fight between the two bacchai. She didn’t even know who won until she felt two gentle hands on her. Solari flinched reflexively but when she realized who the hands belonged to, she opened her eyes and looked up at Ephiny. There was such love and worry in her eyes, that it was too much for Solari to deal with. She sobbed uncontrollably and rolled over into Ephiny’s embrace.

Ephiny held her tight, whispering reassurances into her hair as she rocked her. It was a struggle just to hold her and not to feed. She was so hungry. But she held herself back. She didn’t want to frighten the poor girl even more. Autolocus had done a good enough job at that, she thought grimly, wondering why she hadn’t killed him for disobeying their sire. Bacchus had given Solari to Ephiny when she asked, the lord bacchai not able to deny her anything. And Autolocus knew that. He had been standing right there with them.

The young bacchai noticed after some time, that Solari had stopped crying during her contemplation, and was silent in her arms. She had made no move to pull away from the embrace, so Ephiny simply held her. Giving whatever comfort her cold arms could to the warm, blood-filled body she cradled.

Ephiny hissed softly and shook her head to rid the thoughts of feeding for the moment. Her body screamed for nourishment, but she refused to take from the girl after what had just happened. She would find another once Solari had been cared for properly. *Cared* That word hit Ephiny hard, and she hissed softly again. Where did that come from, she thought, frowning slightly. Suddenly she realized that she did think of Solari as more than just willing food. She had come to care for this young woman. Very deeply in fact.

“Ephiny?” Solari’s soft, timid voice came to her, snapping the thoughts off midstream. She gazed down to see those bright blue eyes, rimmed with redness from recent tears looking up at her quizzically.

Ephiny brushed the wetness away from her cheeks with a gentle hand and smiled a little. “Hush now, Solari,” she said softly, “It’s okay. No one’s going to hurt you.” The words came out before she could stop them, thinking Solari had been frightened by her hissing.

Solari frowned at Ephiny, for the first time noticing how pale and drawn her savior looked. Finally realizing that Ephiny had not come to her to feed in three days, the young woman sat up slowly and touched her cheek. Ice cold. “Ephiny, you’re hungry,” she said, not asking, but stating the obvious. She had come to recognize it quickly in the last few months, wanting to anticipate Ephiny’s needs and make herself useful.

Ephiny closed her eyes at the warm hand on her face, and breathed in deeply, feeling more than just the pulse of the woman’s blood in her veins. “I’m all right,” she responded, not without some effort, “I will find a young farmer or such to quench my thirst on this night.”

The hand drew away quickly and Ephiny opened her eyes, wondering at the sight she saw before her. Solari looked on the verge of tears again. For a brief moment she wondered what could be wrong, before the question blurted out of her mouth. When the former slave had merely shaken her head and taken to looking down at her hands, something she hadn’t done in weeks, Ephiny knew what she had done, and felt terrible. Solari thought the young bacchai didn’t want her blood any longer.

“Oh my dear,” Ephiny said softly, grasping her warm hands in her terribly cold ones, “Please don’t be sad, I did not mean that I had tired of your blood. Far from it!” Solari looked up hopefully and Ephiny continued. “I merely didn’t want to frighten you more after that business with Autolocus. Rest assured that you are still my favorite, but I would gladly cease feeding from you for a while if I thought it would scare you.”

Solari smiled shakily, blinking back the tears that no longer threatened to fall at a moments notice. She lifted a hand to Ephiny’s face, caressing the same cold cheek, noticing once again how cold it seemed. “You are so good to me Ephiny,” she said softly, smiling when Ephiny covered the hand with her own, holding it there as she closed her eyes. “Thank you for saving me... again.”

“Sweet Solari,” she murmured, her eyes still closed, “I could do no less. I... You mean a great deal to me.” She silently cursed herself for stumbling over her words like that, but it couldn’t be helped. She found that she lost all composure around the young woman. Her concern for her words was lost, however, when the raging hunger returned and rumbled her insides almost painfully.

Solari’s smile faded instantly at the sound, and the faint frown that crossed Ephiny’s face. “You hunger,” she stated firmly, catching her gaze and holding it, “You must feed.” Her words sounded stronger than she felt, but the former slave was determined to hold up the charade.

Before Ephiny could protest, Solari moved closer, the sheets falling away from her otherwise naked form, and pulled the hair away from her throat. “Please,” she whispered, remaining still, near Ephiny, but not touching, waiting for the bacchai to make the first move.

Ephiny could see the need in Solari’s eyes and studied it for a moment. That’s what it was. Need. The young woman needed to know that Ephiny still wanted her blood. That the incident with Autolocus hadn’t changed anything between them. Realizing that, Ephiny couldn’t deny her precious girl any longer, and leaned forward slowly, gently drawing Solari’s naked form to her in a careful embrace.

The young bacchai closed her eyes at the feel of her hands on Solari’s naked skin, reveling in the sensation for a few moments, while her lips softly caressed the tender skin of the woman’s throat. She waited until the tenseness left Solari’s body, and the girl relaxed completely in her arms.

Baring her fangs, Ephiny was about to make the strike, hungering for the warm, sweet blood that would soon fill her mouth, and glide down her throat, but a gentle plea held her back. “Slowly, please, Ephiny,” Solari murmured as the hand resting on her thigh gave a gentle squeeze and fingers laced into her hair.

Craning her neck to bring her lips close to Solari’s ear, the young bacchai whispered back her vow. “Slowly my dear one,” she murmured, gently stroking Solari’s bare back with a cold hand that she knew would soon be very warm indeed, “This night, and ever more. I swear it.” Ephiny turned her attention back to the soft skin of Solari’s throat and kissed it tenderly before baring her fangs once again. She hesitated for only a moment, then obeyed the former slave’s request and slowly sank her sharp canines into the warm, blood filled, flesh before her.

Solari tensed for only an instant before her body melted against Ephiny’s, and her arms drew the feeding bacchai closer. She moaned softly, adjusting her weight while listening to the soft suckling noises that Ephiny was making. Then something incredible happened purely by accident, startling both women. Solari’s hand slipped.

Rested on Ephiny’s thigh, Solari tried to move it to take some of the weight, but it slipped down the inside of the bacchai’s leg, and pressed firmly against her mound. A ripple of pleasure shot through Ephiny and into Solari by the link they shared and both women moaned at the sensation.

Ephiny finished feeding, and licked the wound closed before sitting back to look at Solari, surprise on her face. Not wanting to break the hush that had fallen over the room, Ephiny remained silent, thinking about what had happened. She had been told by some of her older bacchai sisters, that such a connection was possible. When bacchai and slave were close enough, anything was possible. Ephiny hadn’t expected it. Had never even felt it before. She had never had that type of connection with any of her victims. They were all too busy struggling for their lives.

Solari remained quiet as well, mulling over the feelings in her mind. She had felt pleasure before, in the cells where she had been kept by Cortez. Some of the women he owned, in fits of desperation to find some sort of escape from the hell they lived, would share their bodies, pleasing each other. She had occasionally satisfied her longings as well, with another slave girl named Gabrielle. A little waif of a thing, who was now owned by General Xena, the commander of Bacchus’s armies.

She hadn’t felt the pleasing sensations in a long time, and felt their forceful pull. And it was Ephiny after all. The woman who had taken her in and protected her, at the risk of her own life. Solari felt closer to her bacchai owner than she had to anyone in a very long time. She missed that.

Unable to stop herself, Solari leaned in, hesitating only for an instant, before brushing her lips lightly over those of her bacchai owner. She sighed quietly at the feel of Ephiny’s lush red lips, warmed now by her own blood. The knowledge made her tingle.

Pulling back and dropping her head, Solari waited for the powerful creature to react. When she didn’t, the young slave trembled. The tiny voice that had been yelling from the back of her mind, suddenly became much louder, screaming in detail all the tortures she would endure for assuming her place.

Solari felt her heart leap into her throat, and pound loudly in her ears, the longer Ephiny was silent and unmoving. She wanted to beg forgiveness of her owner, whimper and fall to her knees in submissive shame. But her fear held her in place.

A small choking sound escaped her throat, and her trembling increased. It felt like an eternity since she had moved, but Solari refused to look up, unable to gather the strength to presume so much again. She could only pray silently that Ephiny would make her death a quick one.

At the small sound, Ephiny’s eyes finally opened. They had slid shut at the wonderfully hesitant kiss from the girl, and stayed closed as she savored the sensations. Barely a few seconds passed before her keen hearing picked up the sound, and her sense of smell caught the scent of the girl’s fear.

Ephiny saw Solari’s trembling shoulders, and mentally chastised herself, realizing that the young woman was expecting punishment for what she had done. She lifted a hand carefully, and drew a gentle finger along Solari’s cheek, down the line of her jay and under her chin. One little movement and Solari’s face was tipped up to Ephiny’s gaze. The frightened girl flinched at the touch, but didn’t resist or pull away, her eyes tightly shut, tears of soul shattering fear dripping down her cheeks.

Ephiny felt her stomach twist at her beloved girl’s obvious terror, and gently reached up, wiping the salty fluid away with a tender touch. “Look at me, Solari,” she whispered softly, not wanting the girl to begin fearing her as much as she did the others. When Solari’s eyes failed to open, Ephiny sighed audibly and gently caressed the girl’s quivering bottom lip with her thumb.

The touch forced another strangled sound from the girl’s throat, and her eyes opened hesitantly, widening almost instantly at the look of tender caring on Ephiny’s face. “Please, Ephiny,” Solari choked, still fearing the torture she knew she deserved.

Ephiny placed her thumb fully over Solari’s lips, silencing her, and after a moment, leaned forward, replacing the digit with her mouth. She kissed the trembling lips once, twice, and finally a third time before she felt Solari’s body relax.

The girl returned her kiss haltingly at first, then with more passion, as the realization of Ephiny’s feelings finally became clear to her. It released a torrent of emotions within her, and Solari moaned softly, bringing her hands up to tangle in the curly blonde locks that she so loved to brush whenever allowed.

Ephiny felt a stirring deep inside, the girl’s enthusiasm becoming quite contagious, and pulled her closer, leaning back against the headboard of the bed. She forced her tongue into Solari’s mouth and explored as she wished, moving the girl to straddle her lap as she did so, letting her hands travel all over her naked back.

Solari moaned softly, over and over, pressing herself fully against the bacchai woman. Everywhere Ephiny touched her left a trail of fire, that burned straight to her center and radiated outward, filling her with warmth. She arched her back seductively, using the skills she had been taught as a slave, to excite Ephiny even more, wanting to be touched everywhere by this woman.

Ephiny could smell Solari’s excitement. The musky scent of her arousal filled Ephiny’s nostrils and made her growl softly. She wanted more of it. She wanted to hear the woman in her arms scream her name in pleasure. And what Ephiny wanted, she always received. Focusing solely on Solari’s sounds, she forgot that her own body was reacting, until she felt the sharp canines descend and nearly pierce her own tongue.

Solari felt the extending teeth with her own tongue and pulled away slowly, smiling softly into Ephiny’s eyes in reassurance that she wasn’t frightened. She laid her head gently on the bacchai’s shoulder and moaned softly again as she felt Ephiny’s hands slide even lower to her hips and squeeze.

Ephiny growled again, unable to stop herself as the scent of Solari’s passion increased in the air. She wanted this girl... NOW. Lowering her hand slowly, the bacchai slipped her fingers between Solari’s legs, feeling the dripping source of the musky smell. “Ohhhh, Great Bacchus Solari,” she purred into the moaning woman’s ear, “You’re so wet.”

Solari whimpered at Ephiny’s whispered words and bucked against the touch, feeling sparks shoot all through her body. Her arms came up again to wrap around the bacchai’s shoulders tightly, her hips rocking forward in search of the exploring fingers. “Oh, Ephiny,” she whimpered, her voice muffled against the bacchai’s throat, “Please... oh please...”

Ephiny closed her eyes and continued running her fingers lightly over Solari’s dew soaked folds, loving the sound of her passion strained voice, and the lips against her throat. “Tell me Solari,” she whispered, dropping her head to let her fangs graze lightly over the girl’s pulse point, “Tell me what you want, love.”

Solari gasped at the feel of those sharp points on her skin, and her body trembled with need. Her neck arched involuntarily, presenting more of herself by habit to the bacchai that held her. “Gods, Ephiny,” she gasped, moaning almost continuously, her hips wiggling frantically, searching around for more contact, “Please... please take me!”

Growling sharply at the girl’s pleading voice, Ephiny gave in to her wishes and quickly plunged two fingers deeply inside the warm cavern, pressing them in to the hilt. Solari cried out and arched her back, forcing herself hard down on the invading digits, her insides squeezing tightly.

“Oh!” Solari’s body tensed for a moment, then her hips began rocking unconsciously, trying to find a rhythm that would give her the release she so desperately craved. Ephiny’s fingers began moving in counterpoint to her hips, and Solari groaned, the sensations of being filled, radiating from her center out across her body.

“That’s it Solari,” Ephiny whispered roughly, slowly building the speed of her thrusting inside the girl, and loving the feeling of the tight warmth around her fingers, “Work for it, love.” She moved her thumb up over the girl’s clit, and began rubbing gently with each downstroke of her hips.

Solari’s hips began moving faster at the new sensation and she cried out at every thrust. She began forcing herself harder down on Ephiny’s fingers, her hand coming up to hold the bacchai’s lips to her throat, as her movements became more and more frantic. “Oh Ephiny!!” she cried, her body beginning to tense, “I’m...... I’m gonna....... OH!!!!!”

Ephiny sank her fangs deeply into Solari’s throat, unable to control herself any longer and drank deeply as the girl tensed and cried out in orgasm. The bacchai’s own body spasmed with the transferred sensation of release, and she cried out, a sound muffled only by her need to taste the woman’s pleasure.

Solari felt another spasm go through her at the slight pain of Ephiny’s penetrating fangs, and reached up to hold her head tightly, arching her back and savoring the sweet pain of such a powerful release. When she finally began floating back down, her body went limp against the bacchai that fed from her, and she released Ephiny’s hair, letting her pull away.

A gentle lick to seal the wounds, and Ephiny fell back against the headboard, panting hard with Solari, a huge smile on her face. “Thank you,” she whispered softly, brushing her lips against Solari’s forehead where she rested against Ephiny’s shoulder, “That was wonderful, love.”

Solari whimpered softly in reply, unable to form words. She was exhausted from the dual sensations of climax and blood loss, but wore a smile even larger than Ephiny’s. Her weak arms hugged the bacchai as tightly as they could, and she purred softly at the answering caresses on her naked back.

Ephiny watched the girl begin to drift off to welcome sleep and smiled softly, feeling at peace with herself for the first time in a long time. She almost told Solari that but a loud knock on the door jolted her. Growling softly, she glared at the door. “What!” she barked, keeping her voice soft enough that it didn’t wake Solari.

The heavy oak door opened quietly, and Ephiny’s eyes widened in shock at the figure standing there. “Nice greeting, Ephiny,” Xena smirked, shifting the blonde girl in her arms a little, “Could you be a little more gruff next time?”

Ephiny smirked and raised an eyebrow at the mighty general. “What do you expect?” she said, nodding down at the sleeping girl in her arms.

“Wear yours out too?” Xena smirked, looking down at her own little mortal. She walked in and gently deposited Gabrielle on the bed and covered her with a blanket, smiling softly when she whimpered in her sleep at the loss of contact. “Come on, Eph,” she said quietly so as not to wake the girls, “The Master has commanded another battle with the slayer.”

Ephiny sighed and carefully laid Solari out beside Gabrielle, covering her as well before standing up. “What does the Master think he can accomplish with this Xena?” she asked, gathering her weapons, “The slayer cannot be defeated. “

“Yes, he can,” Xena said with a growl, “I just haven’t found his weakness yet.”

“And will you find it before we are all killed?” Ephiny said with a soft growl, not understanding her determination or their Master’s.

“I will find it, Ephiny,” she growled back, storming to the door, “Joxer will not leave this battle alive.” Xena disappeared from view as she left.

Ephiny watched her go and sighed again, taking a long look at her sleeping girl and smiling tenderly. She bent quietly and placed a soft kiss on Solari’s cheek and whispered “sleep well, love” before following the path General Xena had taken, fervently hoping she would be one of the lucky ones to survive this latest battle and return to the warmth of Solari’s loving arms.

...sitting back on her blanket, Gabrielle read over what she had written. Smiling softly to herself she placed her quill back in it’s leather case and rolled the parchment up, quickly hiding it as the familiar noise of Xena’s footsteps approached through the woods.

“Did you get some writing done?” Xena asked as she placed two skinned rabbits by the fire for cooking.

“A little,” Gabrielle replied nonchalantly, shrugging.

Xena wondered at the strange look on Gabrielle’s face as she looked up at the setting sun, but shook her head and dismissed the thought. She didn’t even wonder where the scroll was sitting as she pulled her sword from it’s sheath and began her nightly ritual of sharpening it. Through the steady rasping of stone on metal, Xena looked over at Gabrielle too short hair again, and briefly wondered... “what if I hadn’t thrown my chakram and cut it all off?”......

...I wonder...


comments? katelin_b@hotmail.com