Subtext Reports
Those crazy posts about the episodes originally posted to the nutforum and saved here for posterity in their error riddled entirety (since they were written 'on the fly'). 
Homecoming Series
A series of five (not so short) stories about Xena and Gabrielle building their life together as a couple. 
Magic Series
Janice Covington and Melinda Pappas find love as they uncover more writings of Gabrielle about her warrior princess. 
Conversations by Campfire Series
Set during Season Four, parts of the episodes are worked into chats between Xena and Gab, particularly the subject of Najara and the bard. 
Changes of Heart Series
My take on what happened after Gabby got Chakram'ed upside the head by Xena in the Season Five ender. 
Bonding of Souls Series
This series picks up where 'Changes of Heart' ends with Xena and Gabby back together. Each 'episode' is an expansion of the episodes of Season Six.
Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace
How DID Ares get stuck in that tomb from the Xena Scrolls? This story answers that question. 
The Play
Xena and Gabrielle have to play the leads in a performance for a ruthless king to save Salmoneus' neck. Unexpected consequences and confessions are the result. 
The Queen, the Regent, the Warrior
Xena leaves Gabrielle in the care of the amazons, only to have Ephiny and Gabby fall in love. Xena does return and chaos and secret confessions follow.
The Contest
Ares and Aphrodite battle over Xena's spirit. 
Loss of Virginity
Romantic musings from one of our gals. 
Moment of Truth
Gabrielle does anything it takes to keep Xena out of a battle that's foretold to take the warrior princess' life. 
Thank the Gods For Henbane
At an Amazon festival Gabrielle has one too many henbane brownies, which results in a funny and sexy night for Xena. 
As It Should Be
The Queen gets taken by the Warrior Princess at the Amazon Village.
Family Ties
Xena takes Gabrielle back to home to spend a little time with the 'in-laws'. 
Dueling Cousins
Xena's look-alike cousin, Sappho, has always been competitive but now the Tenth Muse wants the ultimate prize - Gabrielle. 
The End
Alternate 'demise' of Xena and Gabrielle based on the Season Four crucifixion. 
Truth or Dare
Sexy romp between Callisto and Gabrielle set during 'A Necessary Evil' 
November 29th, 1942
A little romance fic between Janice and Mel. 
Inside Outside
Set after the events of 'A Family Affair', it's a scene told through the eyes of four people - Gabrielle's Father, Mother, Gabrielle herself and Xena.
Something To Talk About
Xena and Gabrielle's friends are all surprised that the pair aren't lovers so they consider why not.
Henbane, Horsenappings and Other Obstacles
A 'murphy's law' comedy where everything that can go wrong for Xena and Gabby but, of course, they still end up saving the day.
All That Matters
During Gabrielle's birthday party in' Takes One To Know One', Xena reflects on her love for the bard.  
Warlord
What if Gabrielle was actually the one behind all the folks who influenced Xena's journey toward good? 
Have Yourself a Merry Little Solstice
A little Winter Solstice tale that's available in general (not lovers) and alternative (lovers). .
Little Moments: A Day in the Desert
A tale told through the eyes of Janice and then Mel while on a dig.  
Candy or Chaos
'Classic Xena' general Halloween story with Xena and Gabby return for the Potiedaia Harvest Festival.
Conquering Heroine
Gabrielle is the Conqueror in this piece. How exactly? Give it a read and find out. 
Watching and Waiting
Set after FIN II, Xena watches from afar as Gabrielle moves on with her life. 
1971
Police Office Carol and Protestor Erin clash but find they're fighting for the same things. A short story based on my novel, 'One Belief Away'. 
March 26, 1943
Sequel to November 29, 1942. This time it's Janice's birthday and Mel has some sexy plans for her lover. 
The 10th Muse
In this traditional subtext story that's part French farce; part musical, Gabrielle has a Doppelganger, the Poetess Sappho. It's up to Gabby, Xena and Sappho's friend Aphrodite to guard Sappho during the 10th Muse Competition...Of course they must also try to repair Sappho's damaged relationship with her lover (a woman, and bandmate, who's the spitting image of Xena).

Title: A Day In the Desert

Author: CN Winters

Fandom: Xena Fanfiction, Xena fanfic, Xena fan fiction, Xena and Gabrielle fanfiction, Xena fiction

Rating: PG

Disclaimers: Here’s the latest invention from my warped mind <G>. They are stories of Janice Covington and Melinda Pappas that take place three years after the Xena Scrolls episode. Some are from Jan’s point of view. Some are from Mel’s. These ladies are deeply in love but they have yet to express that love to each other. So if the idea of two gorgeous dames longing for each other in a non-platonic way is upsetting, I feel very sorry for you. It’s hard to live with tunnel vision and you have my sympathies. It will be a very long road for you.

Synopsis: Janice and Mel's musing on their lives together on a dig. 

Feedback: Sure, you can reach me at cnwinters71@yahoo.com.

A Day in the Desert

Part One (Janice's thoughts)

I can’t take my eyes off of her.

She captivates my every thought. All my decisions are based on how they will effect her. Whatever actions I take play a role in her life.

I never had this ‘problem’ before. I was a free spirit. I had ties to no one; at times, not even to myself. I didn’t care whether I lived or died. The rush of living on the edge, even if it meant my mortal existence, was all that mattered.

Like a reckless, untamed mare, I was never ‘broken’ by neither man nor woman. Until this woman… This woman rules me although she has no idea how much.

My heart flutters with every step she takes closer to me now. It reminds me of the Coney Island when I was a kid and how my father would take me on the roller coasters. His work was his life so I relished those few special moments he gave me.

I loved Coney Island. We didn’t make it to New York often but when we did, Brooklyn was always on the list. The Cyclone was my first stop and I would tug him along, my small hand fitting snug in his large callused one. It was quite a sight, I’m sure, to see this grown man being led around, arm outstretched by a petite child.

I’d look behind me and see the huge smile on his face beneath his long stubble. At the time, I thought he was just as happy as I was to be there. Later, in hindsight, I realized that I put that smile there, not the amusement rides that brought ME so much joy. I was the true ‘joy’ for him. And it was years later that I too realized the best part of Coney Island was my Pop.

We’d strap ourselves in and I’d feel the butterflies start as the cart went in motion. Every click and jerk the cart made had my nerves jumping both in anticipation and in fear. I waited for the big ‘drop’ with my fingers digging into the lap rail and my father’s hand over mine. It was a mixture of excitement and comfort – of the unknown and of love. It was a feeling I never thought I’d feel again as an adult. And I never did until now... until Mel.

I’ve been from one side of this world to the other and back around again all before the age of 14. I’ve been in brawls. I’ve been in firefights. I’ve even been shot. But nothing compares to the fear that comes with knowing that someday my life might go on without Mel in it.

And nothing compares to the butterflies I get when I look at her on a hot day. The Cyclone never gave me the belly flips like this southern belle. And I never thought I’d feel as safe and as warm as when my father was sitting next to me. But on days like today, as I watch Mel approach – her long hair piled high above her head to offer some relief from the terrible heat – I feel it again. She’s made my butterflies return and it’s one of the best feelings in the world.

As she starts to speak, she has a half-chuckle in her southern drawl. "What’s on yer mind, doctor? Ya seem awful happy seein’ it’s about 160 in the shade," she teases.

"Thinking about Coney Island," I answer cryptically.

She seems annoyed when I answer in such a fashion, but I can also tell she likes the challenge. Many folks think Mel’s just a looker with little going on between her ears. How wrong they are. She has a quick mind and an analytical nature about her that I truly adore.

It’s a curse of beautiful woman one could say. Perhaps that’s why I opt for the plain jane look and khakis. If I’m going to be taken seriously, my feminine wiles, as they are called, shouldn’t be openly displayed. But Mel... Mel never leaves the tent without her Avon in place. And I know it’s much harder for her to win the confidences of the men we see from time to time as we discuss business.

First, they see her face. And then they see her body. Or perhaps it’s the other way around. Either case, it’s the outward appearance that first strikes them. And Mel is a striking woman without a doubt. When she goes to speak and they hear that southern accent, her credibility takes another shot in the arm. She’s a cute little debutante in their eyes; nothing more. Sadly, I can’t say I felt any different when I first met her. But many a times, after Mel HAS their full attention, they start to notice just how well versed and intelligent she is.

Jaws drop. Eyes pop. And more times than I can count, I’ve had to stifle a smile behind the back of my palm under the guise of scratching an itchy nose. I truly love it.

I love it because once they realize that Mel has looks, class AND god forbid brains, they cower like timid, guilty school children. She’s smarter than most of them. She’s certainly sexier than all of them. She’s the madonna and the whore rolled into one, which plays havoc on what they expect a woman to be. That in turn, plays havoc with what role they should play as ‘men’.

They feel threatened by a gentile woman who’d rather shoo flies away than try to kill them. I’ve got a whip on my left hip and a gun on my right, but Melinda Pappas is far more dangerous in their eyes. Who’d have thought it?

The voice of my partner of three years brings me back from my thoughts. "Janice?" she questions, getting my attention. "What in tarnations are ya talkin’ about?"

Uh oh. The intellectual side has slipped back and the ‘hillybilly’ in Mel as she calls it, steps center stage. I can see the heat is getting to her. There will be no guessing cryptic messages today for her.

"You," I answer looking away. I don’t want her to see just how weak she makes me. I don’t need any clinks in my armor. I haven’t spent years building it up just to have some damsel, no matter how bright she is, take it away. "I saw you walking here with a grin and it reminded me of when I went to Coney Island with my father."

I finally turn to see her smile has returned and, not to mention, much bigger than before.

"I remind ya of ‘dad’, uh?" she teases. "Is that good or bad?" she asks, already sure of my answer.

I feel another clink form on my ‘bronze’ with her confidently stated question.

"Well, I didn’t say you remind me OF my Pop -- just some happy times we shared is all." This conversation is getting way too deep for my tastes and I turn again to pick up a shovel. "But I’m sure you’re not here to stroll down memory lane." I grin. "What did you need?"

I let out the smallest of sighs when I see Mel’s mood shift to her original reason for coming to my side. 

"We found something," she said nodding over to the area she and some of my men had been digging.

"Really?"

"Yeah, seems like it’s a chest or strongbox of some kind. I had ‘em bring out the smaller tools ‘til we have a better idea of what it is."

"We know what it is, don’t we, Mel?" I ask with a sly grin.

The last scroll we managed to find gave directions to another chest containing more works from my crazy ancestor. I honestly think that perhaps I am the ‘mad dog’ I’ve been nicknamed sometimes – and not because of my experiences so much but rather my genetics. I think it all started with a certain bard who’s been sending me all the way around the world to every place she’d ever been. Either that or she had a really ‘warped’ sense of humor the more I think about it, perhaps it’s a bit of both.

"Welllllll, let’s not get too excited yet," Mel said being ever the practical one when it came to the Xena scrolls. "We’ll know more by the end of the day. Come take a look."

She nods toward the site and starts to make her way over. At the moment I can’t move my feet. I simple watch her glide along the sand. I could have made a small fortune with all the things I’ve found in my lifetime, but I realize the greatest treasure I found, which I would never sell or part with, is Melinda A Pappas.

Part Two (Melinda's Thoughts)

Paydirt!

My first thoughts are of Janice and how happy she’ll be to see this.

She gets so excited – like a child on Christmas Eve - when we make a new discovery. She has a habit of pacing like an expectant father. In between, I’ll find her ‘reading’ the scrolls over my shoulder, all the while ringing her anxious, dirty hands together.

Although her Greek has gotten much better, she’s still terrible at syntax which is why I’m still around, I’m sure. I feel proud to know I can help the woman who’s well on her way to being one of the world’s most renowned archeologists. The spotlight is never a place I wanted to be. If I spent the rest of my life standing behind this woman I would be happy because I think she’s truly amazing. But as Janice points out to many folks we meet, my place is at her side, not as a leader or a follower.

I went home once since I met Janice. Just once. Once was enough.

It had been a rocky first year and I was feeling a little blue. Janice can be very demanding - very stern at times. I guess I just wanted to see some friendly faces and do some ‘catchin' up’ with the folks back in Carolina.

When I announced my plans to go home for a spell, Janice brushed it off, mumbling something about me ‘deciding to give up’ and ‘have a nice life’. At that very moment, I considered just staying in Carolina - if my leaving meant nothing, then my staying meant nothing either.

But on my last night at the dig site, Janice came into our tent and ‘casually’ mentioned my plane trip in the morning. I figured she’d give some brute response again, but what transpired shocked me. She sat down on her cot that ran parallel to mine, facing the door, of course. Janice always needs all the angles covered she says. Anyway, she sat down and told me that she hoped I’d return. I’d become a great asset to her. But if I found that life in Carolina was better she wished me well.

She didn’t wait for my response. She just turned down her lantern and climbed under her covers, turning her back to me. I’m kind of glad she didn’t want an answer. For once, I was speechless. I’d never seen Janice open up in that kind of way. Sure, she could scream at me if I used the wrong tool for a job. Without a doubt she could yell when I dropped an artifact on the ground. But this side to Janice, this caring, was something I was unprepared for. And it was certainly unlike anything I saw in our first year together.

But as I said I went home. I saw my friends. And every one of them never asked me how I liked my new life. They just wanted to know when I was coming home for good. After Janice’s confession I was uncertain and I told them such. I didn’t know when, if ever, I was going to come home. It was BettyJo’s comments that helped me consider things more closely.

BettyJo was one of my oldest and dearest friends. One night over dinner she asked when I was going to get this wanderlust under control. I was acting ridiculous. Janice didn’t really ‘need me’. And besides, people were beginning to talk. I didn’t understand just what she meant by ‘talk’, but it seems in some circles, and quite close to me I should add since I left my beau Richard to ‘take up’ with Janice, people were wondering if I was one of THOSE girls.

I was offended. I was appalled.

But when I got home that night and I lay in bed, I thought back to something my momma told me on her deathbed. She said, "Melinda, one day you’re gonna met a man who will sweep you off your feet. He’ll have all the right looks. He’ll have all the right lines darlin'. But don’t be sold too quick on him. Because the one for you will protect you and grow with you. Someone who’ll stand beside you, not ‘own’ you. And you my dear will feel the same." I asked just how I would know, and she told me, "When it happens, you’ll know darlin’. Cause it will hit ya like lightenin'."

Lightenin' struck as I lay alone in that stuffy bedroom that night.

Richard was the ‘looker with all the lines’. Janice was the real deal. Momma never pointed out that the ‘package’ might be different, but that special someone was still the same.

I thought back to the very first day I met Janice. She saved my life several times that day and I was a perfect stranger. She told me often that I should finish up my college degree, even if it meant correspondence courses. She gave me the freedom to return to her or stay with my kin in Carolina. That night I realized Janice was the one.

Daddy told me that sometimes you couldn’t see the forest for the trees. I know now that I was too close to Janice to see it, but once I stepped back – saw where my life was and where it was heading - the choice was easy... Janice Covington was my destiny.

I hopped a plane to Greece and never looked back.

It’s been two year since then. I haven’t confessed a single thought to Janice At least not yet. Perhaps someday I will. Perhaps if I knew she felt the same. At this point, the risk of telling her would be too great. I enjoy my work. I enjoy my time with Janice. Why ruin a good thing in the fleeting chance that it might be just a little bit more? I mean I already love Janice. I’d give my life for Janice. The chance at physical intimacy is not worth losing my best friend in the world.

As I walk toward her now and see that smile on her face, I realize I’ve made the right decision. The only decision. My humor helps keep my attraction at bay and as I walk up and see how dashing she looks I plot my response to the grin that has me turned inside out.

"What’s on yer mind, doctor? Ya seem awful happy seein’ it’s about 160 in the shade."

"Thinking about Coney Island?" she answers without adding more.

She really knows how to push my buttons by being ‘mysterious’, but with this god awful heat and my growing attraction, I’m simply not in the mood to be ‘pushed’ today.

"What in tarnations are you talkin’ about?" I ask her a little more shortly than I intended.

The language of my momma’s kin always peeks out when I get agitated. Daddy came from a ‘refined’ family. Refined is a clever way to say ‘rich’. My momma’s family didn’t have many ‘assets’ and it caused quite a stir when Daddy asked her for her hand. Janice has learned at this point, when those terms come creeping out it’s best not to push me. Thankfully, today she notices.

"You," she says in a bashful voice, not looking for a ‘fight’ today.

Me? Did she just say me? Is she smiling because of me? My heart is starting to soar now, but I realize I have to keep things cool. The thought of the word cool is a bit funny within itself given how hot it is out here.

She mentions something about me reminding her of happy memories with her father but ‘all business’ Covington soon takes over. I realize it’s probably for the best anyway and I let the comment go. Well, let’s just say I don’t push the issue. But the comment goes back into my memory file I keep with all the little moments that Janice probably wishes I’d forget. Those ‘tender, mushy moments’ as Janice calls them.

I tell her about the possible prospect of any other scroll case and instantly she lights up, but I have to reel her in. We might come up empty, as we sometimes do. I don’t want her to get her hopes up too high because it’s terrible to try to cheer her up afterward. I must admit she is getting better though after two years of my ‘coaching’.

I instruct her to follow me and for an instant it seems as though she’s... watching me? Could that be it? I’m not sure, but I’m not going to make mention of it. I turn around and I see that look in her eye. Admiration. Perhaps it’s for the job well done I tell myself. Nothing more.

"You comin’ or not?" I ask, waving her over.

I watch her adjust her fandora, an action that always makes my blood race. She looks so determined and dashing when she does that. With it firmly in place, she begins to make her way over... I wait for her and side-by-side we walk to the dig - the way it’s been since the beginning. Perhaps the way it’s been for thousands of years.

The End

 

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