Timeline: Sometime after "Animal Attraction."
Author's Notes: Just a little ditty that was bouncing around in my head. All POSITIVE comments are welcome. Negatives I will simply ignore. Send your thoughts to email@example.com.
We have been traveling in silence for the better part of the day. I look over to see her fidgeting in her saddle. "What is it, Gabrielle?"
"Nothing." she mumbles. I'm not entirely convinced. I bring Argo to a stop. She reins her horse. She turns and looks at me.
"What is it?" I ask again. Gabrielle twitches her head to the side, her nervous gesture. She sighs deeply.
"I don't want to talk about it." Her gaze falls on the reins in her hands. I smile. She embarrassed about something. Now I think I know what it is.
"You can tell me anything. You know that right?"
"Yeah." She never lifts her head. "Xena....I..."
"What?" I lowered my voice deliberately. She turns to me again.
"How do you do it?"
"Control what?" I smile. This gives me away.
"You know what. I only have one thing on my mind ever since we leveled those slavers yesterday."
"What's that?" She sighs again.
"Never mind." She starts to nudge her horse on, when I reach over and grab her reins.
"Gabrielle. I was only teasing. You have a case of battle lust." I smile.
"I can help you with it." I reach over and kiss her neck tenderly, just below her ear.
"Your pregnant, Xena." The words surprise me, but I don't know why. She hasn't touched intimately since I told her in Spamona that I was with child. I look down at my ever-growing stomach and take a moment to rub my hand over it.
I know my hormones have been raging lately. So I'm not surprised to feel a wetness spring in my eyes. I have cried more in the last few months than I have in my entire life.
"Fine." I rub my hand over my eyes to wipe the pooled tears in my eyes. I heel Argo on without another word. I heard her immediately fall in behind me.
"Xena." she calls. Argo continues at a gallop. "Xena wait." She catches up to me. "I didn't mean it like that, Love." I don't acknowledge her. "Xena, I'm sorry." I finally rein Argo to a walk again, knowing I can't escape her.
"I know I'm hideous right now, but I just hate to be reminded." I said quietly. I'm depending on Gabrielle more and more as my pregnancy progresses. My boots are becoming harder to get on by myself. Hell, I'm getting stiffer sleeping on the ground at night. Luckily, I'm still very able to defend myself.
"No." She nearly yells it, causing me to look at her. "You are beautiful. You will always be beautiful to me, pregnant or not. I love you, Xena. I just....don't want to hurt you."
"You won't." I whisper. I feel her small hand take mine. I found myself squeezing her hand, needing that connection.
We arrived in a small farming community. After arguing with me, Gabrielle got us a room for two nights at the local inn. I must admit, a warm bed would be great on my back. Not drinking port any longer, I felt no need to be downstairs. I went directly to our room and waited for Gabrielle to return. I dropped my breastplate and sword by the bed. I rolled onto my back and threw an arm over my eyes. "You okay?" I heard.
"Uh huh." I mumbled. The arm was removed. I opened my eyes to see Gabrielle leaning over me. She wordlessly moves down and unlaces my boots, removing one then the other.
"I remember one time when I saw you taking off your boots," She begins to rub my toes. "I saw you wiggle your toes. It was sooo cute." she teases. I think I remember that day. I smile as I watch her take my other bare foot and give it the same treatment.
"Let's get you more comfortable." She reaches up and removes my leather pants. I almost cried when she lifted my shirt and kissed my stomach, smiling up at me. "Lift." she said, referring to my arms. She removed the rest of my clothing. She begins to rub my arms gently. "I don't know how you do it, Xena. My mother always told me she was stuck in bed when she was pregnant with me."
"Maybe it was all that extra weight from where you ate so much." A gentle slap to my side. She lies down on her stomach next to me and takes my hand, kissing my knuckles.
"How are you feeling?"
"Good." I smile.
"Why?" I ask. She smiles and pulls herself up, kissing me fully on the mouth. Her tongue demands I open. I do. I couldn't help but moan when she pressed herself closer to me. She immediately stops.
"Yes." I said, slightly annoyed. I reach behind her neck and return her to my mouth. "Get this off." I tug on her top. I watch with great interest as she obliges, followed by the rest of her clothing. She returns to run her tongue along my thigh. Boy, she doesn't waste time. My eyes closed tightly as I felt her fingers enter me, gently probing.
"If I hurt you, tell me." she breaths. I'm only able to nod my head.
It didn't take long for my body to respond to her. I shuttered as I came, moaning my love's name. Somehow I felt ten pounds lighter. I couldn't hide the wide smile as I opened my eyes. "I love you, Gabrielle."
"I love you, too." she smiles. She crawls towards my head, but makes a quick stop at my bulging belly. Giving me soft kiss at my navel, she whispers, "I love you, too." That's it. My flood gates opened. How did I get so lucky? Gabrielle not only accepted I didn't know how I came to be pregnant, but she also accepts this child as her own also.
"Xena..." Before she could say something, I interrupted.
"I love you." I ran my hand down her cheek. "Gabrielle, will you spend the rest of your life with me?"
"Of course." she smiles. "I can't ever imagine leaving you."
"I think we need to get off the road."
"Why don't we go stay with your mother?"
"Yeah. I'm sure she'd love it. She loves you, Xena."
"She loves you, too."
"I know. We'll leave the day after tomorrow then."
"Sounds good to me. Now come here. I have a favor to return."
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