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Gabrielle is bored, being eaten alive by mosquitoes, and doesn't want to drill with her staff. What happens next?
Timeline: Shortly after ISAIH, but before India arc (long haired, BGSB wearing, staff wielding, non-conflicted with her 'way' Gabby). I'm writing this with the assumption that, since nothing was said on screen, the 'true nature' of Lao Ma and Xena's relationship was merely mentor/student and that Gabs believed that ….. even though WE know better :)
Violence – Several Mosquito's found themselves on Charon's Boat wondering what happened, but none of the human variety
Subtext – uhhhh...yeeeaaaaahhhh. it's like maintext and stuff :)
Sex: Of the explicit sort... F/F
To the creators for this fantastic show. And most importantly to LL and ROC, who made it come to life.
To my trashy talk girls... for putting up with my constant questions... you know who you are ;) BARTENDER!!! Get over here!!
Beta thanks go to : Wildcat13, Mnemosyne, and AlphaLuna. Ya'll are awesome and it wouldn't be the story it is without all of your helpful corrections and wonderful input.
And Very Special Thanks go to Artemis for pointing out 'her folds' **VBEG**
All errors or badly written bits are my responsibility now **grin**
Any and all constructive comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org and will be responded to. Happy reading all.
“What, the bandits we beat off barely two hours ago weren't enough excitement for you today?”
Gabrielle raised her head and scowled at her friend.
“Xena, there were ten of them and you only let me take two. I'm still keyed up.”
'Not that I minded standing back and watching you take them on. Gods, I love how you move... Stop it Gabrielle! That's the kind of thinking that got you so 'keyed up' in the first place.'
“I can't help that they attacked me first.”
Gabrielle huffed in annoyance and swatted at the mass of biting insects vying for the choicest spot to feed from on her stubbornly pale skin.
“Mmhmm. It wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that you taunted them continuously would it? You know, for a woman of many skills and few words, you sure are chatty during a fight.”
Xena shrugged and glanced up from her sword polishing to the bard's face. She grinned at the look she saw, as well as the frantically waving hands. She decided to have a little fun with the younger woman and expel some of her own...energy. Teasing the feisty blonde was something she always enjoyed doing, though it had been known to be hazardous to her health at times. Gabrielle did do the cooking and she could be very inventive in her revenge.
Knowing the reaction that was coming, because of an earlier ramble by the woman of many words, Xena baited her friend, “Don't you have a few adventures you haven't written down yet?”
The blonde sighed, rather perturbed. She briefly stopped trying to send the overzealous bugs feasting on her to Tartarus, and shot the other woman a dirty look.
“Xena, If you paid attention, you'd know I've written about all of our adventures already. And don't even suggest I try making something up, I refuse to do fiction ever again. I learned my lesson the last time. Besides, I just don't feel like writing tonight.”
'I'd rather be doing something much more physical.' The blonde woman added to herself, allowing a moment of reflection on the subject, before pushing the pleasant thoughts aside, and turning her attention back to the insects buzzing around her.
Xena grunted neutrally as she recalled Aphrodite's disastrous meddling, and tried not to think of the three naked dancing Gabrielle's the enchanted scroll had allowed to be conjured up by a poorly written limerick. She reminded herself, again, to thank Joxer for that one day , while trying to overlook her body's natural reaction to the memory and concentrate on something else. Unfortunately, the first things that came to mind were the fantasies that had plagued her continuously since the highly unsatisfying brawl earlier.
Normally, she had good control over those particular flights of fancy, but the inadequate bandits had only got her juices flowing. The fight hadn't been challenge enough to release the tension caused by the duo being in danger, even if it had been a laughably slight amount for the infamous Warrior Princess and her sidekick. The reminder of her partner, even look-a-likes of her partner, dancing naked, did nothing but fuel even more creative scenarios. There were entirely too many things that Xena would like to do to the bard, and her mind was adept at visualizing them in minute detail.
'If she could read my mind, it'd give her plenty to write about and, if I had my way, it wouldn't be fiction for long.'
She shook her head and fell to polishing her sword with renewed vigor, before starting the gentle teasing again.
“Well then, do something else.”
“Like what? We're in the middle of nowhere, its dark as a cave ten steps away from the fire, all the chores are done, I have no new stories to write, and there's not even a stream nearby to go to for a midnight swim!”
Gabrielle's tirade was interrupted by the sharp prick of a mosquito breaking through her defensive hand flapping. She smacked at it, violently interrupting the nasty little beast's meal, and sincerely cursed its mother under her breath. And still, even in the midst of the swarming bloodsuckers, her highly imaginative mind was trying to lead her to places better left unexplored. Wiping the crushed bug on the ground next to her in distaste, she redirected her frustrations to safer ground.
“I don't understand how you can sit there and let these monsters eat you alive! If I didn't fight them off, I'd need more than your chakram to satisfy the itch. I'd be one big bug bite,” She complained.
“They aren't bothering me tonight.”
“Must be a 'Former Destroyer of Nations' thing.” Gabrielle mumbled under her breath, still swatting halfheartedly.
Xena chuckled and replied easily, “Maybe, or it might have something to do with the plant I rubbed on myself earlier to keep them away.”
Gabrielle's head snapped up to glare menacingly at her companion and her eyes shot daggers. She was relieved to have something else to focus on, even temporarily, besides the fire that was burning slow and steady in the lower half of her body. Her words were deceptively calm when she spoke.
“Are you saying that you have something to keep these blood sucking sons of a Bacchae away, and you are JUST NOW telling me about it?!”
Xena, feeling a little guilty, tried to explain.
“I wasn't sure it would help. The blacksmith that repaired Argo's shoes the last time suggested using those plants you saw me picking earlier. I just wanted to make sure they worked before I told you.”
Gabrielle ignored the explanation and growled. She stalked towards the older woman with purpose and stood staring down at the upturned face in front of her, hands on her hips, impatiently tapping her foot.
With calculated nonchalance, Xena laid aside her weapon, useless as it was in the face of a peeved Amazon, and rose, heading to the saddlebags to dig out the pouch that held the freshly picked leaves.
Gabrielle eyed her suspiciously and asked, “How do you use them?”
“Well you don't eat 'em first of all.” Xena smiled wickedly, remembering the linseed oil and ignored the soft sound of outrage from behind her, before continuing.
“He said they work best if boiled down and mixed with fat to make a paste but since we didn't have anything on hand to do that, I crushed them and rubbed the oil all over myself. It doesn't keep all the bugs away, but it seems to help. And it doesn't smell awful.”
She reached in and pulled several good sized leaves out, placing them in the waiting woman's outstretched hand. She turned around to put the remainder back into the saddlebag while the smaller blonde started squeezing rhythmically to release the beneficial oils. A sweetish scent filled the air. It was pleasantly light, which was definitely a good thing since, as Gabrielle had pointed out earlier, there wasn't a stream nearby to wash the stench away if it was too strong.
As Xena turned to face her companion again, she was assaulted with the highly erotic sight of two very capable hands slowly massaging taut skin with single-minded purpose. She stood frozen, her breath catching, and the part of her body she had been trying to ignore all night becoming more than a little damp. The observant warrior's eyes followed the trail of the bard's slightly oily fingers as they ran over that wonderfully muscled, compact body.
'What I would give to be those hands right now.'
Gabrielle realized, after several minutes of concentrating on trying to reach every part of exposed skin, that Xena was still standing in front of her, watching the application intently. The fire in her lower abdomen that had died down a bit, with the distraction of her ministrations, reignited before she could do anything to stop it, and sent bolts more powerful than Zeus' lightning straight through her.
Reacting instinctively to the look she discovered on Xena's face, and before she could second-guess what she was seeing, she asked as innocently as she could, “Could you get my back? They bite through the material sometimes.”
Xena hesitated a moment before nodding. She took the damaged leaves, coaxing the remaining oils out and trying, without much success, to ignore the fact that Gabrielle was loosening the laces of her top.
When the bindings were slack enough to permit a hand to fit beneath the green fabric, she faced her back to the warrior and explained. “I don't want to expose any more skin than I have to, if you could just slide your hands underneath...”
Gabrielle's voice faded to nothingness as Xena stepped closer and adjusted the blonde hair hanging in the way, draping it over the bard's shoulder and exposing the nape of her neck to the balmy night air. A shiver worked its way up Gabrielle's spine at the sudden unmasking of sensitive flesh, causing gooseflesh to rise on her arms and her nipples to contract painfully. She closed her eyes and willed her body to behave itself and not embarrass her.
'Get a grip bard.'
As Xena glimpsed the graceful neck that was laid bare and saw the small shiver course through the bard's body, she had to fight back the urge to stretch out and rake her teeth over the newly displayed flesh to see what the reaction would be. Instead, she tossed aside the ruined leaves and laid her palms flat on the muscular lower back in front of her, sliding them slowly under the loosed green covering. She took a deep breath in through her mouth to cover her own response to the touch, and began slowly massaging the oil into soft skin, reveling in the warm feel of it under her hands. The familiar smell of Gabrielle mixed with the sweetness of the plant filled her with a desperate craving she didn't want to ignore, but had to. She closed her eyes and willed her body to behave itself and not embarrass her.
'Get a grip warrior.'
Though the application of the scant amount of medicinal oil went on longer than was strictly necessary, neither of them commented about it. They had both noticed the others reactions, as well-hidden as they thought they were, and were curious as to what they might mean. To Xena's mind there wasn't anything overt, but something was certainly there, and to Gabrielle, though it wasn't completely obvious, it seemed the very air surrounding them was charged with anticipation. As much as she wanted to digest what it signified, she feared she wouldn't be able to. Not without calling undue attention to the plight and scaring away the less than demonstrative Warrior Princess.
Soon they found themselves back in their previous positions, the physical quandary slightly more intense than before, and continuing the conversation as if it had never been interrupted.
Gabrielle sighed quietly to herself at the predicament, and rested her chin in her palm.
“Sometimes I really wish you were into girl talk. It would make nights like tonight so much easier.”
Xena chuckled at her young friend, the double meaning lost on her.
Nodding, she replied unhappily, “Yeah, and now I don't even have bugs to keep me busy.”
“It's not all that bad. You could practice with your staff,” she suggested, trying to be helpful. “That would wear you out.”
“I can think of plenty more enjoyable things to do to wear me out than drill with my staff.” Gabrielle muttered to herself, absently picking up a stick and stabbing it in the ground at her feet.
Xena stopped mid stroke and eyed her friend speculatively. She considered the implications of such a statement and felt her abdomen tighten at the prospects. Before her imagination could run amok again, especially with the feel of soft supple skin sliding beneath her palms still so fresh in her memory, she quashed such thoughts as pure fantasy and reminded herself sternly that Gabrielle wasn't like that. Still, curiosity wouldn't kill her, right?
“Oh really? Like what?”
Mentally, Gabrielle smacked herself in the forehead and closed the door on the pictures floating through her head.
'Keep thinking like that and I'll have to go find a quiet spot in the woods after Xena's asleep. Not like I don't need to already. Oh Gods, her hands kneading my back, the heat of her body behind mine, the smell... '
Gabrielle felt the blush heat her cheeks and answered nervously, trying to forget the torturous dreams, “What? Oh... umm... that pantomime game I made up? It can get really physical if you do it right. Good way to burn off excess energy. Wanna play?”
Xena frowned at the memory of the game she was so terrible at, and shook her head. She still wasn't sure how Gabrielle kept up with the latest plays when they were on the road all the time.
“Noooo, I don't want to play the pantomime game, I'm not any good at it. Remember?”
Gabrielle grinned at the memory of the one time she had gotten the other woman to participate in it. Xena and Tara had failed miserably at guessing the plays she was (almost) silently acting out, but it had been fun. She had to admit though, it hadn't been much of a challenge. Not that she really wanted to play anyway; it was just an excuse to cover her more... carnal cravings.
'I just wish I had the courage to do something about it already. Too much more of this and I'm going to explode the next time she touches me.'
“But I do know another game we can play.”
Gabrielle looked up in surprise, her introspection cut short. A game? The Warrior Princess just suggested they play a game ?
“Xena? Are you feeling alright? Did you just say you want to play a game?”
Smiling wickedly the warrior responded, “Yeah, a game. What's wrong with that?”
“Well nothing.. it's just .. I never thought you'd be much for games. I mean you're ...” Gabrielle shrugged a little nervously, what was she getting into?
“I do know how to have fun Gabrielle, just because I'm a warrior doesn't mean I can't enjoy myself sometimes yanno.”
She tried to sound offended, even though she wasn't. Xena knew that if Gabrielle thought she had hurt her feelings it would give the little spitfire a push in the right direction. Feeling a touch of remorse, but not enough to stop the manipulation, she waited for the expected response.
“Oh! I know that, I didn't mean...”
'Shut up Gabrielle, you're always telling her to stop and enjoy life, let her for Zeus' sake. It could be fun.'
An unpleasant thought occurred to her and Gabrielle asked, distrust plain in her voice, “It doesn't involve drinking does it? You remember what happened the last time I drank too much...”
Xena grimaced as, indeed, she did remember. The mess afterward had been incredible, not to mention the very irritable and hung-over Amazon Queen she had to deal with the next day. Poor Ephiny was probably still trying to get the smell out of the queen's hut.
“Uh... No. No drinking. It's a... question game. A twist on 'girl talk', as you put it.”
“Girl talk? Xena, I'm serious, are you feeling alright?
“Gabrieeeellle.” Xena rolled her eyes and set aside her sword, keeping her offended act going just a bit longer. “Do you want to play or not?”
She was feeling devilish tonight and the girl talk comment from earlier had helped form an idea from one of her more pleasant childhood memories. One that she thought the talkative woman would probably enjoy and, at the same time, might help the... situation they were in. Xena had finally come to the conclusion that if something didn't give soon, she was going to explode the next time her best friend touched her. She had to have some answers, and this was likely the best way to get them.
'If nothing else it'll give us both a chance to blow off some of that excess energy she mentioned earlier.'
The petite woman was intrigued, her friend always avoided questions, especially personal ones, and suddenly she wanted to play a game consisting of them? Odd.
“Well... I guess. I don't have anything else pressing to do.” She grinned at the chagrined look from the woman sitting across the fire and continued, “So it's a question game? Like the 'who am I' we play on the road?”
“How do you play?”
'Gotcha bard! Now, if only I can keep my nerve up.'
The dark haired woman smirked, stowing her polishing cloth away in her pack and laying her sword within easy reach, before explaining the rules.
“OK. We take turns. First person asks 'Truth or Dare' and the other person picks one. If they pick truth you ask them whatever you want and they answer honestly. If they pick dare, you pick a task you want them to do, and they have to do it. Got it?”
Gabrielle thought a minute and tried to ignore the tendril of panic that coiled up in the pit of her stomach at the thought of exactly what could occur during this friendly game. Especially the way she was feeling tonight.
'Calm down, it's harmless. She won't ask anything you can't answer. She's your best friend, you can tell her anything. Well...almost anything. Besides, you're the bard, if you don't want to tell the truth… make something up!'
Nervously she cleared her throat and asked, “Well, what if we can't do the dare?” 'Or answer the question.' she added to herself.
“If you can't do it then you either forfeit, or answer two questions instead. But I won't ask you to do something you can't Gabrielle, you know that. Same thing goes with the questions, except you have to do two dares. Anyway, I can't think of a single thing I could ask that you couldn't find the words to answer with.”
'At least, that's what I'm counting on anyway.'
Xena saw the look of nervousness pass over Gabrielle's face and instead of it making her feel bad, as was usually the case, her heart picked up its tempo, and her palms dampened with anticipation.
'Take it easy, Warrior Princess. You'll have your answers soon enough.'
“How do I win?”
Xena chuckled at the assumption Gabrielle made, and replied, “The game ends when one of us forfeits. Whichever one of us doesn't, wins.”
“Easy enough, what does the winner get?”
Xena flushed at the immediate idea that came to mind, and quirked a brow before answering.
“What do you want to wager?”
Gabrielle flashed back to the last bet they had made and the literal insanity that had followed, before shaking her head. She decided not to echo the same sentiment and tempt fate.
“You take care of all the camp chores for a whole week, by yourself, if I win. Except I do the cooking.”
“And if I win, you do the same. Except I take care of Argo.” It was much tamer than what she really wanted to venture, but it would have to do. For once, winning was not her top priority.
“Deal. You go first.”
Gabrielle leaned back against the packs she would use as pillows once they got to bed, waiting for the raven haired warrior across the fire to start, her heart filled with trepidation.
Xena grinned mischievously and got comfortable herself, making sure the water skin was nearby in case she needed it. “OK Gabrielle, truth or dare?”
“Let's start easy. Truth.”
“Easy huh? OK then. Lemme think...” Xena considered. Since she was the one to go first she could set the mood. As much as her friend talked, she never spoke much of her past, and this presented a perfect opportunity to learn a few things she, much to her astonishment, was actually curious about. Not to mention, maybe she could prod the shy woman into revealing exactly how she felt about their relationship, under the cover of trying to get out of chores for the week.
“OK, I have one. How old were you when you had your first kiss?”
The blonde was surprised.
'Of all the things she could ask she chooses kissing? What exactly is going on here?'
Who would've thought Xena would care about things like that? Her perplexity was clear when she answered.
“What? Really? OK...ummm. I think I was 12.”
Gabrielle knew good and well how old she had been, she remembered it vividly. She was just glad Xena hadn't asked who had been her first kiss.
“12? Really? Isn't that a little young?”
“Young? Xena, I grew up in Potidaea . Girls who are 16 and unmarried are considered old maids. My turn. Truth or dare?”
Her friend pretended to consider her options, knowing good and well she wasn't about to get up from her comfortable spot.
“Hmmm, truth I think.”
Gabrielle grinned at the uncharacteristically lazy warrior and considered, heedful of the trust Xena had in her, and thankful for it. She could ask anything she wanted and get a straight answer for once.
'Be nice! Don't scare her away.'
Deciding to stay with the current topic, since Xena had brought it up, she asked, “Hmm, alright. Who was your first kiss?”
Xena's heart froze for a beat.
'Damn! Well this is what you wanted Warrior. Out with it.'
To buy a little time she chuckled and teased the unimaginative bard.
“No fair. I just asked you that.”
“No you didn't. You asked me how old I was, not who .”
“Ah, so I did. Ya got me. Alright then, I don't remember her name.”
“How can you not remember the name of the first person you kissed?” Gabrielle asked, amazed. “I mean, I'm sure you've kissed plen.... wait.” As what her friend said sank in, she peered at her intently.
“Did you just say you don't remember her name?”
'Oh boy, you sure you want to go through with this Princess?'
Xena met her friend's gaze steadily, taking time to think through the wiseness of confessing the truth, before she answered cheekily.
“Yup, sure did. My first kiss was with a girl.”
“Oh! Did you like it?” Gabrielle blurted out without thinking, then blushed and looked away quickly.
Xena chuckled warmly and waved a warning finger at the embarrassed bard.
“You already had your one question, my turn. Truth or dare?”
“Uh... dare I think.” She had to do something to calm the nerves that were suddenly making her body thrum.
“Dance for me.”
The statement came out of her mouth before she realized it. It was Xena's turn to blush; she hadn't meant to say that, but the lingering memory of the naked triplet Gabrielles dancing with no inhibitions were still prominently displaying themselves in her mind's eye and it had just popped out.
“Dance for you? Xena, there isn't any music. And besides, you know I can't dance.”
“You can dance when you try, I seem to remember three of you and a bad limerick that proved it.”
Noticing the reappearance of razor sharp daggers in her friend's eyes, she continued hastily, “Besides, didn't you say you had a lot of pent up energy? Surely dancing is better than drilling? Unless of course you want to give up and take over camp chores for a week?”
“No! I'm not giving in that easily. And that was different. They weren't me... It was Joxer's fault for writing that horrible excuse for a poem on Aphrodite's scroll and you know it. And... like I said there isn't any music. How can I dance with no music?”
Gabrielle was in trouble. It wasn't that she couldn't dance without music, but that if there wasn't any music to concentrate on she would be all too aware of the warrior. And she knew what would show on her face.
'Four summers of pent up passion is what. Hades! How do I get myself into these things??'
“I can keep a beat on this log if it'll help. It's nearly hollow. But if not... you can always take the two questions instead.”
Xena wasn't sure whether to be disappointed or relieved.
“Uh...n..no. I'll dance.” The idea of what the next question might be was not appealing either.
Xena smiled and shifted into a position behind the partially hollow log she was leaning against, and started to tap out a steady beat that was familiar to the younger woman.
Gabrielle smiled nervously and stood up, taking a deep breath and letting her eyes drift closed. She let the beat wind its way around her for a few seconds before starting to move with it. It was one that the Amazons used for casual celebrations, familiar, and easy to tune her body into. She opened her eyes and started to twine her hands in intricate patterns in front of her, allowing them to slowly rise above her head, as the rest of her body fell into step. Her hips began swaying seductively, in time with the impromptu music. Her eyes found Xena's and she let a small, teasing smile play about her lips, as she moved around the fire, and closer to her friend. She imagined herself as a body of water, liquid in her motions, feet and hands synchronized with each other, body twisting and turning elegantly, seducing her one woman audience without even trying to... and knowing it. She felt herself inexorably drawn in by the blue gaze and, before she could lose herself totally in it, hooded her eyes to watch Xena, watching her. Her whole form was in motion, weaving a spell around the tidy campsite, and Xena was lost.
Xena observed silently, captivated by the woman in front of her, hardly noticing that she was staring. Long gone was the farm girl from Potidaea that had insistently tagged along over four summers ago. In her place stood a beautiful, mature, and very sensual woman. Her body had shed the baby fat that had kept hidden the compact muscles, now so easily admired. Her stomach was taut, biceps well formed, her legs shapely, and those breasts... Xena stopped short of allowing herself that indulgence. She had enough problems as it was. She quit drumming abruptly, after 10 minutes or so of what felt like an eternity, and cleared her throat.
“Very, nice Gabrielle. You've gotten...ahem....better since the last time we were at the Amazon village. Even with no music.”
It felt to Gabrielle, as if she had been dancing forever, though she knew it was only a few short minutes. She was more keyed up now than before she started. The power she had felt while so obviously entrancing the older woman with her dance, raced through her, causing the troublesome spark she kept so carefully hidden from her friend to burn hotter than ever. She had seen the flash of raw desire preceding Xena's sudden cessation of drumming the log. For those brief moments, she had been totally in tune with the woman she had become, and was mightily pleased with it. Gabrielle slowed her breathing and smiled brightly.
'Warrior princess, is this a game between friends we're playing...or something more? Maybe I've been wrong all this time about how you feel.'
Instead of going back to her place across the fire, Gabrielle grabbed up the water skin and took a drink, then plopped down next to the warrior. She adjusted to make sure she was close enough so that, if she wanted to make a casual movement, it would cause her to brush against some part of Xena. She wasn't intentionally trying to seduce her friend, but she knew she wanted to know more about how Xena felt towards her. She thought small, random acts might be the best way to draw some sort of reaction from the usually aloof woman she traveled with.
“My turn. Truth or dare, Warrior Princess?”
Xena was flustered at the bard's unexpected nearness. The feelings from watching her move so alluringly were still coursing through her body, and she took her time in answering. She knew, if she picked truth, what the question would be and was pretty sure she could answer honestly without fear of scaring her friend away. But she also knew that she needed to move, to work out some of the tension that had built up during the dance.
Xena sighed, “Tough choice but I think I'll go with... dare.”
'Hmmm, do you have a little steam that needs to be burned off too Xena? Interesting.'
Gabrielle considered her options. If she had any chance at all, she wanted to make sure nothing would hinder her when it presented itself. A mischievous smile spread across her face as she studied her friend. She thought of something that Xena hardly ever did unless she was sleeping, and could still be innocent enough, just in case she was misinterpreting anything.
“I dare you to take off your armor. All of it. Even your boots.”
“What? My armor? Why!”
“What do you mean 'why'? Because I dared you to, that's why. Or I could ask a few questions instead.”
Gabrielle pouted slightly and shifted, casually brushing her forearm against the exposed thigh next to her.
Xena gave in as soon as Gabrielle's skin seared hers, knowing that it was the perfect excuse to take a moment to compose herself. This was turning out to be more dangerous than she had originally thought.
“Fine, I'll take off my armor but, if bandits interrupt us and I'm half naked, you get to take them all on. By yourself!”
The light haired woman grinned at the show of exasperation, knowing it was highly improbable that anyone would attack them tonight, not after the fight they had earlier. Word would have spread already. Even if someone did attack, she knew there was no way Xena would make her fight them by herself, no matter what the warrior's state of dress was.
Gabrielle boldly watched as Xena undid all the hooks and clasps of the body armor, stripping down to nothing but her leathers. She hid the yearning she felt for that glorious body, but allowed the other woman to see that she was, indeed, aware of her.
Xena piled everything off to the side where she had laid her sword earlier, still well within reach, as was her custom. She was acutely conscious of her friend's eyes upon her as she partially disrobed. Never had she felt so naked, while still being mostly dressed. Surprisingly it didn't make her feel uncomfortable at all, it only served to intensify the feelings that had haunted her all day.
“Now, that wasn't so hard was it? And I'll bet you're more comfortable too. Aren't you?”
Xena glared for a second before giving in to the cute look of righteousness on her companion's face. She sank down to her previous position.
“Yes, I am.” she admitted grudgingly, “Truth or dare?”
Xena shifted so she was facing Gabrielle, her arm resting on the log behind them, bent at the elbow, cheek resting in her palm. She wanted to watch the firelight play over the bard's features as she spoke. She decided to move into safer territory, as the feelings inside her were intensifying at a steady rate and she hadn't figured out what she needed to know yet.
“Well since you pointed out that I didn't phrase my question right the first time, I have to redo it. You were 12 when you had your first kiss. WHO was it with?”
Gabrielle cleared her throat, not too sure how this would play out, but feeling much more confident than before. She turned, facing the other woman fully, before answering. She had to see the look on Xena's face when she discovered why she had never said anything before.
“You sure you want to know?”
“I'm pretty sure I can guess, but I want you to tell me.”
“Oh, you wouldn't guess if I gave you all the time in the world Xena, I promise.”
Taken slightly aback, Xena was intrigued by the comment. She thought for sure it was Perdicus and had only asked the question out of idle curiosity and to build up to ... well, other questions.
“Good thing I don't have to guess then, huh?”
Blue-green eyes turned away briefly before coming back and gazing steadily at ice blue ones.
“The first person I kissed was…” she paused and took a deep breath, “...Seraphin.”
Xena's head jerked up from the lounging position she had been in, and her mouth dropped open in pure shock.
“Seraphin? You kissed Seraphin ?!”
The look was exactly what Gabrielle had imagined it would be. She giggled.
“Yeah Xena, I kissed Seraphin. Is that a problem?”
She held her smile and smoothed away imaginary wrinkles in her skirt.
Xena stuttered, “Yes... I mean... no! Of course not... it's just that you never... I mean... when I met her you didn't...”
“Xena, when you met her she was trying to bring Hope back into the world to rule by sacrificing herself. And after that... well it wasn't what was on my mind at the time.” Gabrielle responded a bit stiffly.
Xena laid a comforting hand on the bards arm immediately and replied, still surprised but ignoring it in the face of her friend's discomfort.
“I'm sorry... I just... I'm sorry. And NO... it's not a problem Gabrielle. I was just surprised. I thought for sure it was Perdicus.”
Gabrielle chuckled, pushing the dark memories back in favor of gloating; she had finally surprised the normally self-controlled warrior woman. She didn't miss the 'not a problem' part of the answer either. Her spirits rose happily, and her skin tingled pleasantly where Xena's hand still rested.
“Yeah, so did he. He thought he was, I mean. I never told him otherwise.” She faced back to her companion. “Truth or dare?”
By unspoken agreement, the game proceeded with less personal questions and silly dares for a while. At one point Xena was doing a one-handed handstand trying to hold a cup of water balanced with her feet, and Gabrielle was nearly rolling on the ground laughing at her facial expression, when the cup tipped and soaked her leathers. The wet battle dress was uncomfortable enough that the former Destroyer of Nations ended up having to strip down to nothing but her night shift. It was alright though, because the next time Gabrielle picked dare, Xena paid her back by making her balance the ill-famed frying pan, also full of water, on her head while twirling her staff.
Inevitably, Gabrielle ended up having to change into her night shift, having been thoroughly drenched as well, and laid her dripping regular clothes out to dry near the fire. By the end of it all, they were laughing uproariously, enjoying just being together and cutting loose in a way they very rarely got to.
Eventually though, the mood grew a bit more serious and they turned once again to questions of a more intimate nature. Gabrielle was the first to revisit the subject that had left them both so shocked earlier in the evening.
Xena was again lounging on the log, a little closer to Gabrielle than before, cheek cupped in her hand. She had just picked truth and her partner seemed a little hesitant to ask her question. She prodded her with a bare toe.
The nervous bard smiled at her friend and went ahead with her inquiry, editing it slightly from what she had originally intended.
“Besides your first kiss, have you ever... kissed... any other women?”
That was an easy question, and one Xena figured Gabrielle could guess the answer to without even asking, since she had been the recipient of at least one.
“Yeeeeessss, I kissed you while we were in limbo, if I remember correctly.” She took a chance and causally mentioned the one time she had allowed her true feelings to slip through. They hadn't ever spoken of it and she wasn't even sure that Gabrielle remembered...everything had been so hectic at the time. This was one way of finding out.
'Ha! She does remember! But she never brought it up before...' The bard thought.
Gabrielle blushed a bit at the memory. They hadn't ever spoken of that before and she hadn't even been sure that Xena remembered...everything had been so hectic at the time.
“Of course I remember that but, I meant... romantically kissed another woman.”
'Ha! She does remember! But she never brought it up before...' The warrior thought.
Xena worded her answer with care, but not because she was fearful of the reaction to kissing other women, obviously that wasn't a problem. It was more because she wanted Gabrielle to realize the meaning of what she had done so long ago. Especially if the newly crowned Queen hadn't known at the time and, apparently, still didn't.
“The answer would still be the same Gabrielle.”
Drawing in a deep breath, Gabrielle's mind raced at what that statement meant and decided to just go with it. She smiled tensely and turned her head towards the fire cracking merrily in front of them, away from that intense blue stare.
'Gods, is this really happening?'
Xena noticed the shift of attention and the rapid pulse pounding on the side of the blonde's neck, indicating... exactly what she wasn't sure.
'Let's hope it's a good sign. You could really screw things up if you read her wrong now.'
“Didn't even let me ask. Eager?”
“Something like that.”
The tone was one Xena hadn't heard before and, as Gabrielle turned to face her once more, their gazes engaged. What she saw astounded her and sent lightning ripping through her torso. Those brilliant green jewels were sparkling with life, love, and a deeper feeling. A feeling Xena was very familiar with, but astonished to see emanating from the innocent being next to her.
'Well she's not SO innocent anymore. You admitted not even an hour ago she has turned into a beautiful woman behind your back. She's been married, admittedly only for one day but still... And she's an Amazon Queen for the god's sakes. Do you really think she doesn't know what desire and passion are? Get real.'
“Right, uh... have you ever..” her throat went dry suddenly and she reached for the water skin sitting between them, taking a large swallow, wishing it was something stronger. She was encouraged by the recent exchange but still not believing she was about to ask the next question.
“Have you ever been with...” She lost her nerve in mid-sentence, “...anyone besides Perdicus?”
Her chin resting on her shoulder, Gabrielle watched her friend, sensing her hesitation and cover up, and wondered what she had really been about to ask.
'I think you're as nervous as I am. I wonder what you would say if the answer was yes.'
She told the truth easily, even managing to not blush too bad.
“Besides myself you mean?” She laughed aloud at the sudden look of awkwardness and curiosity that statement caused before continuing. “No. I haven't.”
Instead of immediately asking Xena to pick truth or dare she let the knowledge sink in, willing to let the game go for the promise of meaningful conversation with her best friend. Something they were able to enjoy rarely, and never on such a subject as this.
Xena chuckled, even though she was more than a bit surprised to know that Gabrielle pleasured herself.
'I wonder when...?'
The idea sent another current of electricity between her legs and she inconspicuously squeezed her thighs together to ease the ache.
“I'm surprised Gabrielle.”
“Surprised? Why Xena? Do you think I don't have the normal needs of any woman? I gotta do something to release them.”
“What? No! I didn't mean... that. I know you have desires just like I do. I meant I'm surprised you haven't taken another lover since...” She cleared her throat and allowed the sentence to remain unfinished; they both knew what she was talking about.
'You're just full of surprises tonight Gabrielle. What else do you have in store for me?'
Gabrielle shifted and allowed her knee to rest against the elegantly muscled calf beside her. The contact made her heart race. To cover her temporary loss of breath, she sighed deep and answered thoughtfully.
“I guess I feel like, if I can't have the one I want, then what's the point... right? Besides, it's not like I have a gang of admirers hanging around in case you haven't noticed.”
Xena's heart did a flip flop in her chest wondering if she meant her dead husband... or herself. Taking a chance, she replied more calmly than she felt.
“You could have anyone you wanted. Perdicus wouldn't like it if you denied yourself the pleasure of love just because he was gone. As far as admirers go, I personally know of at least a half dozen Amazons that would be more than willing to...ah... help you out.”
Xena threw the last part in as the last piece of bait for her information gathering. Depending on Gabrielle's reaction to it, she would decide her course of action.
Gabrielle gaped at her friend.
'Amazons? I wonder who...?'
Her thoughts came out before she had a chance to stop them, natural curiosity getting the better of her.
The worry Xena had been feeling for what seemed like forever left her and was replaced with something akin to relief. Gabrielle hadn't been shocked that a woman would be interested in taking her to bed, just curious as to who it was.
“If I told you who, I'd be breaking a trust. You wouldn't want me to do that would you?”
Gabrielle frowned, “No, I wouldn't want you to break a trust to a friend. Anyway, it was just curiosity. The person I want isn't in the village.” Something else in the other woman's statement struck her just then and she ground her teeth. She turned away and shook her head, suddenly frustrated with the whole situation and wanting to just get on with it already.
'I'm not talking about Perdicus woman! Take the hint already!'
Instead of voicing her annoyance, she decided to up the stakes a bit and queried innocently, “So, I could have anyone? Really ? Do you think so?”
Letting a small smirk slip, she closed her eyes and stretched out languorously, arms upraised, making soft sounds of pleasure. Her back arched and her breasts were lifted under the thin shift, clearly outlining her nipples in the soft glow of the fire. She heard the partially stifled groan from the woman next to her and smiled to herself.
'Thank the Gods! An undeniable reaction at last.'
She froze, eyes popping open, mid stretch as Xena reached out a hand and brushed a stray lock of hair off the Queen's forehead, moving her fingertips lightly across the skin as she did so. Her eyes locked with Gabrielle's and stayed there as she traced her cheek and trailed down to her chin, before falling away and idly plucking at a blade of grass.
Before Gabrielle could gather her thoughts into anything coherent, Xena spoke up to answer her question, her voice soft and husky.
“Well, yeah. I mean, you're a beautiful, desirable woman. You're smart, funny, courageous, and honorable. Anyone who doesn't want you would be a fool. Or blind.”
Gabrielle's skin burned at the light touch, and she suppressed the shudder that wanted to claim her. She held the blue eyes steady with her own for a few moments before making a decision.
She allowed herself another small smile, her lids to drift closed, and arms to fall in her lap, before taking a deep breath and asking boldly, “And you, Xena? Which one are you?”
She held her eyes shut until she felt a shift in the air around her. When she opened them again, she was met with blue eyes so dark with desire that they looked like they belonged to another person, inches away from her own.
Xena's lips parted and she leaned forward until they brushed Gabrielle's ear, as she whispered throatily, “I'm neither Gabrielle. And I haven't been for a very, very long time.”
Gabrielle's mouth formed an 'O' of surprise at Xena's confession. The apparent fearlessness of those words brought her physical form fully to life. The breath tickling her ear sent shivers of delight all across her skin. The low, soft voice whispering so near made her insides turn to warm liquid and caused an almost painful cramp of desire to tighten her abdomen.
'Xena wants me... has wanted me for a long time. Sweet Gods!'
Her hands formed into fists involuntarily, tightening on themselves, nails biting into her palms. As Xena pulled back, their eyes met and both saw everything they had ever tried to hide, shining in full view.
“Xena...” It was undoubtedly a plea, spoken breathlessly, and there was no way the warrior could deny it.
Xena's lips covered hers, gently at first until Gabrielle couldn't take it anymore and purposely opened her mouth enough to allow her tongue to dart out, teasing her partner's into opening as well. The intimate contact caused a flood of sensations that Gabrielle could barely make sense of. Her emotions were running wild; she wanted to laugh, to cry, to scream, all at the same time. Tears filled her closed eyes and spilled, unchecked, down her cheeks. Xena's mouth was sweet, sweeter than she ever would have imagined. She felt connected in a way they had never been before. With every touch of Xena's tongue to her own, every tender caress of her hand to her face, Gabrielle's spirit was being filled with the delicious awareness of finally becoming complete.
Meanwhile, her body reacted in ways she never thought possible. It felt like this kiss was controlling every part of her. Her fingers grasped at the long dark hair that framed the sculpted face she so adored, and held tight as her tongue explored the mysteries of her lover's mouth. Every one of Gabrielle's senses was heightened to an almost unbearable level. When Xena brushed a finger across her jaw line, it felt like the fierce warrior was reaching into the very core of the sensitive bard, and caressing it directly. The slightly sweet smell of the plant they had covered themselves in surrounded her, mixing with Xena's own personal scent. As they pulled slightly away, she drew a deep breath in and was instantly drunk on the combination as it filtered through her.
The rest of Xena's sentence was stopped by a shaky finger touching her lips, and a ragged voice whispering into her ear.
“Teach me Xena... teach me everything you know.”
That was all the consent Xena needed to hear.
Gabrielle was hard pressed to stay standing when the darker woman tugged her to her feet. Every small shift of her thighs sent a throb of longing through her and practically brought her to her knees. She held tight to her partners arm, not wanting to break contact, while one hand tugged desperately at the shift covering her, trying to take it off. Xena reached over to help her, just as eager to remove it as Gabrielle was. In the process their heads ended up colliding, breaking the tension long enough for them both to catch their breaths. They laughed nervously and slowed down to undress carefully, not wanting any accidents to mar this long awaited moment.
Once they were nude, and finally stretched out on their combined bedrolls facing each other, solemnity descended quickly over the two hopeful lovers. As Gabrielle stared into Xena's eyes she was temporarily overtaken by the swirling emotions she saw there. They touched her in a way nothing ever had. She saw a depth she had always known, intellectually, her partner was capable of but, until now, had never glimpsed. The love was so all encompassing, the passion and need so blatant, the happiness that was all too often lacking was so brilliantly there , that it pushed her already full heart and deprived body to the breaking point. Rational thought left her and she growled low in her throat as instinct took over, and she reached unabashedly for the woman lying next to her. She rested her hand just above Xena's hip, before sliding around to the small of her back, stopping there and tugging, so that they were thigh to thigh, belly to belly, and breast to breast. Moans were torn from both of their throats at the contact of bare flesh on flesh. Gabrielle's lips sought her partners with desperation. As their mouths acquainted themselves again, the bard's hands lovingly caressed the warriors spine, tracing upwards ever so slowly, before making the return trip. She swallowed Xena's groans and whimpers, feeding on them, letting them fan the flame of desire to a degree she had never before attained.
As Gabrielle's hand continued to travel its downward path, Xena unexpectedly caught the blonde's bottom lip with her teeth, biting down gently, causing a symphony of sensations to slam into the bard. Her nails raked roughly the remainder of their way down the warriors back, marking the supple skin she was teasing and continuing further, cupping a bare cheek and squeezing savagely. The sudden movement caused more delicious sensations and both women were panting heavily within moments. Gabrielle rested her head in the nook created by Xena's neck and shoulder and maneuvered her other arm so it was also surrounding the other woman.
She breathed into the warrior's neck, her warm breath tickling the sensitive skin and causing Xena to gasp and roll without thinking, pinning the smaller woman underneath and straddling her thigh. Gabrielle could feel her soon to be lover's soaked center pressed against her and instinctively pushed her leg upwards, watching in fascination as the dark haired woman's face contorted and a guttural growl forced its way out from between perfect lips. The passionate warrior pressed forward with her hips and pleasure exploded from the bard's own center and made its blazing way to every point of contact, intensifying the feelings already boiling so close to the surface.
Gabrielle found herself staring into Xena's stormy blue eyes again, briefly, before they disappeared, following the tongue that was tracing the outer shell of her ear and making a hot, wet trail across her throat, while further down a slicker, hotter trail was created. Her hands spasmed hard, digging into the flesh she was unconsciously fondling, as the other woman's tongue flicked rapidly at the hollow of her throat.
Gabrielle's back arched off the ground and she cried out when Xena finally reached her breasts, greedily licking and sucking at every inch of the smooth fair skin, laying claim to what was hers. As her friend-turned-lover laved her tongue around aching nipples Gabrielle could feel her orgasm approaching all too quickly. Her hips began to move in an age old rhythm and small sounds of ecstasy she had no control over were pulled from somewhere deep inside as Xena hungrily devoured her.
Gabrielle meant it as warning of her impending climax if there wasn't a temporary abeyance of Xena's attentions, but before the name had even left her lips it was upon her, and the last syllables turned into one long, drawn out scream. She felt like she was being turned inside out. The surprising response continued to intensify as Xena, realizing what was happening, thrust down with her own hips, her center grinding into the rigid thigh muscles captured between her legs and pressing erotically onto the bard's throbbing clit.
One of her hands snaked southward, and Gabrielle was distantly aware of a disappointing relief of pressure at her most intimate spot. However, before she even had time to completely register the fact, she felt Xena's strong fingers entering her with force and their bodies part, as the dark haired woman followed the path her hand had just tread.
Not sure, and not really caring, why her lover was moving away, she clutched at the blankets underneath, her hips jerking with each strong, experienced stroke of the slender fingers caressing her from the inside. The only thing she could think was that she wasn't sure how much more she could take before passing out. Just as she was starting to fall from the dizzying heights Xena had just taken her to, a sneaky tongue made its way between her slick folds, and the warrior's lips wrapped around her engorged clit.
The sensations Gabrielle had just experienced were nothing compared to what happened when she felt Xena's mouth caressing her inner lips for the first time. Her body lost all semblance of control and Gabrielle found herself reacting primally. Her body jerked with each lap of Xena's tongue, she howled with every thrust of the warrior's fingers; she clutched and clawed wildly at anything near enough for her to reach. There was no stopping the waves of rapture crashing over her, and she was a willing victim of the storm.
At long, long, last her body began to slow down, her appetite satiated for the time being. She felt one last kiss dropped on the sensitive area, before finding herself wrapped in trembling arms, and crushed against a sweat soaked body. She could feel the shaking of her lover's limbs and hear the pounding of her heart from under her ear, her head nestled between two perfect breasts.
Gabrielle disentangled herself just enough to peer at the dark warrior's face, looking for any indication of what she was feeling. She reached up and wiped a lone tear off the usually controlled woman's face and planted a small kiss on her chin, before burying herself back in the warm cocoon they had created, trying to keep her own tears in check.
Xena was concerned by the usually talkative woman's sudden silence and asked worriedly, “Are you alright?”
A small nod from the woman and a tightening of the arms around her were testament to the fact that Gabrielle was feeling overwhelmed and didn't trust herself to speak. Usually Xena would allow the silence to continue until the bard felt able to express herself again, but this wasn't the time to shy away from their emotions. She struggled to verbalize what she was feeling, hoping to draw the blonde out.
“I love you Gabrielle. I never thought this moment would come and I can't tell you how happy you've made me. I've never experienced anything like this before.”
Gabrielle sniffled loudly and choked out, “I love you too, Xena. I've never...” the remainder of the sentence was lost in a loud sob as the emotional turmoil filling her won out and she broke down, weeping violently in her new lover's arms.
Xena held her, mumbling nonsense words in her ear and rocking her softly, soothing as best she could. When the storm finally passed Gabrielle rolled away to a sitting position, and wiped her face with the back of her hands.
“I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me.”
Xena smiled warmly and sat up as well, slipping her arm around the bard's waist and laying her chin to rest on the bare shoulder. “It's alright, it happens sometimes after release. There's nothing to apologize for.”
Before any more substantial conversation could happen, Gabrielle's stomach complained loudly about the lack of attention recently.
Xena scrutinized her partner and grinned, kissing the tip of her nose and rising, hand outstretched to help the other woman to her feet.
The starving bard grinned back, taking the proffered hand and rising, body sliding seductively up the front of the startled warrior.
Before Xena could protest, she was being consumed by the fire that rampaged through her veins at the first touch of a wet tongue on her neck, followed by sharp teeth raking over her hypersensitive skin.
They slowly slid down to the mussed blankets and began all over again; this time the student taking the lead, neither concerned with who won the game.
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