by Salina


Bard Challenge #5

Disclaimer: Classic X & G takin' em out for an afternoon and more date. Violence: Ohhhh No, no, no... This is all about Luuuvvv...<g> Subtext: Umm Maintext, yes!

Thanks: To all bards who inspire me. To Phil for writing up the best contest rules, and to the MerPups for just being you!


The mid-morning sun shines brightly down onto the bustling Amazon Village. Amazon's are going to and foe preparing a pit, and an area around the communal eating lodge. The vernal equinox is almost upon the village, and some of the young amazons are to be sworn in by their Queen Varia. This is proof that they've earned their rites to be called Warriors. An extra excitement runs thru the village since a Queen that has been written into their history books as an extraordinary leader, and Warrior. Is now visiting them, along with her lifetime soulmate and champion Xena: The Warrior Princess. The young Amazon's are a quiver with excitement. "Groan!" Standing up and arching to remove the crick in her a back Gabrielle turns and walks to a window to peer out into a part of the Amazon village. Silently she watches the Amazon's preparing the pit for the boar to put into it later this afternoon. A small smile curves the lips of the bard as she thinks about what she has planned for this afternoon. 'Oh Xena when you get back with the boar hunting party soon, do I have plans for us.' Knowing that from the suns position that mid-morning was giving away to just before noon Gabrielle mentally check marks all her preparations to assure herself that everything is set for her and Xena's "Date" this afternoon, and evening, here Gabrielle's smile grows larger and more lascivious. 'And night if I get my way.'

Laughing softly at her own thoughts Gabrielle turns and walks into the front chamber of their hut out the front to hail one of her sisters to help implement her plans. "Larissa?"

"Yes Queen Gabrielle?" The cheerful Amazon promptly bound up the steps to see what Gabrielle needed.

"Larissa, I know Xena and the other warriors will be returning within the next half candle mark, and I need some help carrying the buckets to prepare a bath for Xena when she arrives." Pausing to allow Larissa to speak. "Of course my Queen, shall I prepare the bathing hut?" Before she can continue Gabrielle halts her. "No, I already have a private bath here for Xena to use. I just need to go get the four buckets of boiling water to pour into the bath. And four hands are better than two!" Smiling at the dawning of comprehension that crosses the cheerful guards face, along with a slight blush. Larissa coughs lightly and small smile quirks her lips. "I had forgotten umm Queen Gabrielle that you and Xena have plans this afternoon..." Stopping when she sees the slight arched eyebrow of the blonde bard. Larissa hastens to explain herself. "Some of the other guard said they over heard Xena telling the hunting party that she had to back here by noon or else you would be on the hunt for her!"

Blushing gently at her partner's forthrightness at times Gabrielle rubs her neck in hopes of making the blush disappear. "So the whole village knows we have plans, then?" Shuffling from one foot to the other briefly. Larissa hesitates only a moment before answering. "Yes, Queen Gabrielle, we all know and think it's very romantic that you two are going on a "Date" this afternoon."

Shaking her head some Gabrielle just goes with it. "Well, then I guess we need to go get that boiling water so that I can get my plans started." Smiling at one another both women head down the steps toward the bathing hut to fetch four buckets of boiling water.

After pouring in the last bit of cold water to make the bath water hot, but not scalding Gabrielle turns toward the sound of a rap on the door, and her name being called.

"Hello Alexis I have everything ready to be taking to our rendezvous point. I really appreciate your help."

"Of course Gabrielle. I'm happy I could be of service to you and Xena. I've been to the spot you are going to and I know the perfect place to set up the fire and were to place the two wineskins so that they stay cooled nicely for you two."

Gabrielle's gently features almost glowed at the words of the dark haired weapons master. "Alex you don't know how much I appreciate you taking the time to go out there and to also wait the half candle mark it should take us to get there. " Gabrielle gathers the basket with the food she prepared in it, and the aforementioned wineskins. Gabrielle moves toward Alexis when she speaks to her. "Gabrielle I just wanted to say that Kari and I have gone to that same little lake where the cold mountain stream pours into it, and it's perfect for the afternoon and evening you have planned. The foliage and the almost waterfall effect from the water running off the mountain and pouring into the lake, is enticing and alluring." Frowning slightly at her own words, Alex watches as Gabrielle's lips curve into a mischievous grin knowing exactly what was coming for her uncharacteristic words.

"Well this is more than you usually say Alexis." Gabrielle teased gently. "I guess Kari is making a difference in how you look at things these days?" Moving slightly restlessly at Gabrielle's words, the weapons master nods slightly and speaks. "Well that last bit was entirely out of Kari's mouth I was just repeating what she said. Umm I'd better get started on my task, so that it's all done when you and Xena arrive." Grabbing the last of the supplies except for the couple of things that Xena and Gabrielle were taking. Alexis mounts her horse and rides off. After watching Alexis ride off Gabrielle goes back into the hut and closes the door. She gets part of the way to where the bath is then reverse's direction and looks out the window.

Focusing to a point past the communal eating lodge Gabrielle's eyes soften and twinkle as the hedge and tree limbs give way to a tall dark haired blue-eyed warrior slightly ahead of five of the Amazon's. The sixth Amazon, Varia the Queen paces to Xena's left speaking to her. The noise from the Amazon village picks up as the other Amazon's notice the returning hunters and their Queen.

Excitement runs through the village once the hunter's prize is discovered. As Gabrielle watches the amazon's patting the hunters in congratulations. She cannot help but notice her partner clamp down on her impulse to keep the Amazon's at a distance. Suddenly icy blue eyes capture smiling green ones. As Gabrielle keeps her eyes on Xena she notices those beautiful blues eyes grow warm, and a crooked smile curve her luscious lips. 'Hmm my bard what do you have planned for us today?' Xena's mind tried to formulate what her partner could be up to, but aside from knowing they were spending the afternoon away from the village and they were eating their meal at this location. 'Well perhaps we will travel towards that small lake formed from the snows melting off the mountain. It was cold even in the summer time, but clear almost to the bottom of it's depths.' Breaking her eye connection with Gabrielle. Xena turns to address Varia. "Varia, since my work is done, I have plans with a certain fair-haired bard. We will see you when we return from..." Pausing from not knowing exactly how to fill in the last part of that statement. Xena is thankful almost when Varia speaks. "We know Xena, go ahead with your plans. We will saw y'all when y'all return." Smiling knowingly Varia silently adds 'tomorrow!' Extending a hand to clasp Xena's shoulder Varia thanks her for hunting with them this morning.

"My pleasure it's been a while since I went boar hunting. By tomorrow night I'll be ready to eat a piece of the stubborn, ornery animal." Laughing at the description Xena parts from the other hunters, and Amazon's and makes her way toward the hut she shared with Gabrielle. Stepping inside the hut Xena calls to her mate. "Gabrielle?" "In here Xena." Making her way towards the sound of her partners voice Xena is surprised to see the steam rising from the bathtub behind and to the left of Gabrielle.

Walking forward Gabrielle starts to remove Xena's breastplate. " Here let me help you. I have your bath all ready, and I'm going to personally see to it that you have your own personal battling bard bathing helper with today's bath. Then once your dressed we will ride out to our rendezvous place, and yes it is the small lake we are going to. " Smiling pertly at Xena's raised eyebrow Gabrielle continues to help with her armor. Once it's mostly removed Xena wraps her arms around Gabrielle's waist drawing her to her. She leans down and places tender kisses along Gabrielle's jaw line before claiming her lips with her own. The kiss deepens as the two lovers draw even closer together. Tongue's and lips chasing one another around. Finally break apart to gasp audibly for breathe. Gabrielle's fingers move convulsively down Xena's chest, and across her stomach back to her shoulders then around her neck. Gently pulling her down for another kiss. Xena's hands lovingly cradle her partners body to her as she caresses her back, and shoulders before cupping the back of her head as she hears a small moan in the back of Gabrielle's throat. An answering growl causes Gabrielle to seek closer contact with her soulmate. Breaking apart once again to breath Gabrielle's smoky passion filled green gaze looks into almost blue-violet darkened gaze of Xena's. "Umm Xena" Gabrielle moves back slightly from Xena breathing heavy and lightly caressing her shoulders, and upper arms. "Your bath Xena... ummm we need to..." Stopping Gabrielle takes a deeper calming breath as Xena speaks. "Join me? Then you can have your very own Warrior Princess bathing all your pertinent battling bard parts." Xena's low voice sent tingles all up and down Gabrielle's body. 'Oh how she wanted to strip of her clothes and join her warrior in the bath, on the rug, in the bed.' Stopping her thought's before they got completely out of hand. Gabrielle speaks in a husky voice. "As much as I would like to join you, I really want us to have this date Xena. Besides Alexis is taking some stuff there now, and I'm supposed to be helping you bathe. And Larissa is saddling Argo II to have her ready by the time your are dressed."

As much as she wanted to continue with her bard Xena could see the slightly pleading look her mate was bestowing upon her. "Alright my bard. A bath then onto the lake, to our "Date" ok?!" Striping off her kneepads, and boots Xena tugs the soiled leathers off. "Oh we are going to finish this at the lake." Xena then steps into the bathing tub. "Oh most definitely my warrior, most definitely." Once Xena was fully washed and rinsed thoroughly, and dressed. Her and Gabrielle grabbed the couple of remaining items they would need for this afternoon, and evening. Stepping out the door of the hut Gabrielle noticed Larissa walking Argo II towards them. 'Hmm perfect timing. Even if I did want to wash Xena one more time just to be certain she was clean. There are two or three areas that require detail cleaning.' Abruptly brought out of her washing fantasy by a poke in the ribs from her mate. Gabrielle turns her head to Xena. Then rapidly blushes as she sees the knowing arched eyebrow, and sensuous smirk on her lips that just seem to say, I know exactly what you were thinking.

Trying to ignore the blush and will it away at the same time before Larissa commented on it. Gabrielle busies herself fusing with the blanket they were taking with them.

"Queen Gabrielle, Xena. Here is Argo II ready to go." "Thank you Larissa for all your assistance today, I... we really appreciate it." The cheerful Amazon smiles and nods at both Xena and Gabrielle before bidding farewell and walking off.

"Well my bard are you ready for our date?" Smiling at her mate Xena stores the few items they have in the saddlebags mounts Argo II then reaches for Gabrielle.

Happily Gabrielle mounts behind Xena and they head off towards there awaiting paradise.

Part 2:

In just under a candle mark they were almost to there campsite. Already detecting the signs of Alexis's earlier passage. Both the Warrior and bard could smell the scent of food cooking on an open fire. Gently nuzzling Xena's back Gabrielle was almost reluctant to give up her position behind Xena, since during the ride there they had both fallen back into passions haze. And it was indeed a heady feeling. Keen ears picked up not only the sound of the water from the faux waterfall, but also the passionate sigh from the warm loving woman wrapped around her. Who couldn't seem to keep her hands from rubbing and caressing the warrior's body. With a smirk and a lascivious twinkle all Xena can think is 'Just wait my bard, when we are alone you are all mine' At that exact moment Argo II steps past the tree line into a beautiful lush piece of ground covered in a soft layer of grass, and the set-up of the campsite was indeed perfect. With the fire in a ring of stone, and the breeze was blowing the almost invisible smoke away from were their gear and blankets were stored.

"Xena! Queen Gabrielle welcome to your oasis. Please let me take Argo II and rub her down, feed and water her." Alexis's dark eyes twinkled as Gabrielle just shrugged at Xena's look of slight disbelief. Nevertheless Xena dismounted helped Gabrielle down allowing her hands to linger a bit before stripping the saddlebag off Argo II and giving her care over to the muscular weapons master. 'I can't believe Gabrielle got her to do this for us. She'll never live this down' Thought Xena wickedly. 'Wait! What am I thinking, the whole village knows what Gabrielle was about setting up this perfect date, preparing food, and wine. Hmm I'll just give them the look and that'll keep them from harassing us about tonight.' Smiling inside at her thoughts Xena reaches for Gabrielle's hand and they walk towards the small lake.

"Xena it is beautiful isn't it? The foliage is so dense, and it seems so peaceful and quiet, unlike the village would be." Turning towards each other Xena reaches up to run fingers thru the soft blonde hair, they both lean into each other as lips meet in gentle passion. Breaking they looked deeply into each other's eyes. Murky green globes looking into crystal blue ones told the story of love, passion, desire, happiness and peace. Xena's face broke into a beautiful answering smile, and look, the one reserved only for Gabrielle. Xena caresses her bard's face when with pleasure Gabrielle's face lit up with her own answering smile. "I love you Gab-ri-elle " Gabrielle's heart double timed at the sound of that mellifluous voice, and her pulse jumped erratically. "Oh Xena, I love you too tiger." A gentle rumble rolled off Xena's chest at the sound of her pet name.

Alexis working quickly and quietly finished Argo II grooming and tucked the supplies away. Turning to observe Xena and Gabrielle in a tender passionate kiss. 'I'd best hurry looks like the food isn't the only thing perking...' Snickering silently Alexis grabs one of the wine skins and pours two glasses of the maroon liquid. Placing them on a flat rock near the blanket Alexis then gathers two plates and goes to the fire to fill them. Both have venison steaks and some dumplings with some sort of red vegetables in them. She then places a deep pan on three stones just out of the direct fire. 'The heat surrounding them should be sufficient to allow this cinnamon apple concoction time to heat up for when the warrior and bard finish their meal. Or it'll burn while they have a meal of each other. ' Finished with that Alexis grabs both plates and clears her throat, loudly. 'Let me get this done so that I can get home to my sweet Kari bear. Thank goodness those two can't read my thoughts.'

Speaking to Queen Gabrielle and Xena, Alexis faces them fully. " If I could direct y'alls attention to the blanket and the wine goblets." Acquiring and innocent look when Xena smirks sarcastically. Alexis waits as the two make there way back over. " As my last official act, I'd like to serve you both lunch, and bid you goodbye. May your date be everything and as perfect as you hope."

Taking both plates Xena offers one to Gabrielle before replying to Alexis.

"Thank you for your attention to detail, and for doing this for my bard, and I." Smiling at the bards soft flush Xena continues. "We will see y'all tomorrow around this same time in the village, and I'll help with any preparations that are needed to be finished." Clashing each other in a warrior grasp. Alexis turns to the bard, who chooses to give her a brief hug, before turning and mounting her horse to head back to the bustling Amazon village.

Both the bard and warrior watch Alexis ride away, before turning to one another. "Ahh my bard alone at last! Let's eat I'm starving." 'For more than food eh warrior. I want to nibble on navels. Did I just think that? Mushball!'

Sitting cross-legged facing one another Xena and Gabrielle take turns feeding each other bites. "This is excellent my Bard. How did you talk Maya into letting you use her cook stove?" Laughing softly at the chance to use one of Xena's catch phrases Gabrielle jumps on it. "Welll... I Have Many Skills... " Almost snorting her wine Xena guff's loudly when her bard speaks. "Hmm... You've wanted to use that for a long time my bard. And yesss ... you do have many skills!" The purr in Xena's voice and the darkening of her eyes make Gabrielle's stomach and other parts north and south tighten in anticipation. Slowly Xena lowers her head, in what seems like candle marks, but isn't long at all. Gently and passionately Xena's lips meet Gabrielle's, and before she knows it Gabrielle has laid them down and turned so that she could lean over Xena while their kiss deepens. Plates pushed aside, wine out of the way, and between the murmuring of love and affection between the two lovers clothes are removed.

As the soft spring breeze blows over the lovers, it does nothing to contain the white-hot blaze of passion between the Battling bard and her warrior. Gabrielle nibbles on Xena's lips, and chin then down to the hollow between her neck and shoulders. Turned on and excited by the faint hint of moisture and Xena's natural earthy essence. Along with the cinnamon and hyacinth, and leather smell that was just all Xena. Made the bard ravenous for more.

Knowing that Xena could turn the tables on her at anytime increased the bard's passion. She fairly dripped with it. Her nipples puckered and tightened in response to when her soulmates murmurs, became groans of passion, and need. Leaving a trail of hot kisses from Xena's breast to her mouth Gabrielle pauses to look into Xena's almost white-blue eyes. Her body trembled in heated response.

"My love..." Once again Gabrielle kissed Xena, their tongues leisurely yet hungrily touching and tasting one another. Gabrielle's left hand reverently caress down Xena's shoulder to her aching breast, paying very close attention to all areas of them before moving further down the ripple that was Xena's stomach. To run over her hip, seeking that which held Xena's bountiful essence. Xena ran her hands thru her bard's hair, and down her beautiful shoulders, and back to her mate's curvaceous bottom. Firmly caressing and kneading them as she brought her love closer, inserting her leg between her mates Xena pulls the bard to her. Loving the feel of her damp curls against her thigh. Xena breaks off from the kiss, and a low hungry growl rumbles deeply out of her chest.

Working her one hand up Gabrielle's back and to the side her face. Xena gazes hungrily at her bard raising her head Xena again locked her lips with Gabrielle's. Nipping hungrily at the bard's lower lip. Gabrielle's ragged breathing and breathless moan tell the warrior how much she enjoys that particular pastime. Keeping her other hand pressed firmly to the bards behind, Xena breaks away for those luscious lips to alternately kiss and nibble her way down to the bards tempting and inviting neck. Devouring the bard's flesh Xena reaches a tempting peak.

"Uhh... Xena..." The Bard voice encouraged her lover to continue on her path... Her breathless sighs, murmurs, and frantic body movements told Xena of her lover's pleasure and need. Rolling them over in one fluid movement Xena continues to kiss and caress her mate relishing the sounds coming from her love's mouth, and the wordless communication of her hands and body. Gabrielle is lost in the vortex of emotions that is the bond between her and Xena. Running her fingers blindly thru Xena's hair as waves and waves of pleasure course thru her body. Climbing up her body Xena gently cradle's the bard to her damp shoulder. Whispering gently words of love and rubbing her love soothingly to calm her wildly beating heart. 'This is truly home. Her and I together.' Xena's thoughts bring a serene smile to her face. Gently running her fingers thru the bards damp locks as peace surrounds the soulmates.

Part 3

Meanwhile back at the Amazon village:

Alexis rubs her mount down, and stables her with the other horses. Then spotting her mate talking with several sisters animatedly. Alexis walks toward them.

"Rhea how can you say that?" Larissa's amused but outraged voice causes Rhea to shrug. "What? You know none of you can say you never thought it!" 'Larissa's right Rhea" Melanie laughs lightly. "Just because you have a thing for Queen Gabrielle does not mean that Xena isn't the perfect mate for her."

Disgruntled Rhea frowns a little at the amused yet oddly compassionate gazes being bestowed upon her.

Silently Larissa gazes at Rhea slightly turned face with longing in her Carmel colored eyes. 'Oh Rhea, why can't you think of me the way you think of Gabrielle.'

"Hades, Rhea we all think both Xena and Gabrielle are hot." Murmurs of agreement and enthusiastic head nodding shows how true that statement is, Kari continues. "Besides you should look beyond the nose on your face to you might like what you see." Smiling enigmatically, at Rhea's confused look Kari says no more.

Subtly turning her attention to Larissa's slightly panic filled eyes. Kari gives her a ghost of a wink. "Ohhh..." startled when two strong arms wrap around her waist. Kari settles when she realizes they belong to her lover. Two warm lips kiss her just below her ear and nuzzle for a bit. "Well!! Now that's what I call a greeting" Melanie lets out a loud sigh and wishes her mate was coming back today instead of late tomorrow. "I guess this means you got Queen Gabrielle and her Champion settled?" Larissa asked.

"Yep I could tell they were hunger and anxious to devour ea... their food when I left." The wicked smirk that accompanied that sentence left no doubt in any of the other Amazon's mind exactly what she meant. "And I don't know about y'all, but I going to find something more diverting than talking about those two walking love goddess advertisements." With that Alexis unwraps her arms from around Kari's waist and takes her hand. "We'll see y'all later... Much later..." Blushing but smiling largely at her lover Kari eagerly turns to go with her. "What could be more fun than conversation with us?" Rhea calls out in play. Shaking their heads at one another they watch the two lovers walk towards their hut.

"Well I promised Maya I'd help her in the preparation tonight's meal." Taking of in a trot Melanie disappears in the communal eating hut. "I also have to go help with the boar." Before Larissa can move. Rhea puts a hand on her arm and stops her. "Umm... Larissa can ... umm would you like to spar with me tonight after the meal? I need to practice for the festivity's tomorrow."

Her heart beating faster at just that thought of spending time with Rhea, Kari readily agrees. "Umm sure I'd like that, I could umm use the practice too." Smiling both warriors part company. 'How can I make her see that all this bluster about Queen Gabrielle is really me trying to keep cover on how I feel about Larissa. Those eyes, gleam like honey. And those lips, Goddess help me, but I need to kiss them.' Stopping and turning Rhea watches Larissa walk out of sight before continuing on to her duties.

Part 3 and half...

Later that night, a small clearing lit gently with the glow of a campfire.

The sound of the running falls, and the night buzz of late night critters. Surround the almost asleep Warrior and her bard. The long afternoon and evening had been perfect for the warrior and her bard. "Gabrielle? This was a perfect day. Thank you my love for planning this." Lowering her head to gently kiss her, Gabrielle raises her head and leans up to meet Xena's lips. Green eyes smile down into the sapphire colored ones of her mates. "Xena..." A small hand cups Xena's cheek and chin. "I love you, and I wanted to give you a relaxing, peaceful afternoon, evening and night. You always have your senses on high alert, and it's my job to see that you get to relax, and ..." here Gabrielle smiles. "Showed just how much I love you."

A rakish grin spreads across Xena's face. They share more little kisses, Gabrielle can just taste the hint of cinnamon and apples from the sweet desert they shared earlier. That along with Xena's own heady scent fires Gabrielle's passion and blood.

Knowing eyes, slightly lavender in the moon and small fire light shine with passion and desire in response to the mossy leaf colored gems of her soulmates eyes. "Well then let me show you how much I love your relaxing perfect date." Xena's growling husky voice fades as her luscious lips meet Gabrielle's enticing lips. Sparks fly off the two lovers. As their love gentle surrounds them in a heady haze of contentment, passion and promise of a great tomorrow.



The end (? At least for now)

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