Disclaimer: Characters from the television show Xena: Warrior Princess are not owned by me, to my regret. This is written purely for enjoyment with no thought to monetary gain. There are women in love (eventually, as Gabrielle is a bit miffed) and if that is illegal for you or where you live, move on or simply move.

Post FIN, I guess, though I have kept specific references to a minimum.

Mail is always answered and appreciated at Kamouraskan@yahoo.com

My website is at http://dreamcatching.netfirms.com/kam/index.htm

When In Rome

By Kamouraskan


For some reason, Xena and Gabrielle found themselves discovering a sudden quite unaccountable shyness as they entered the Apodyterium to begin the much needed and long promised Roman bath. It was not yet morning, so the room was empty of all but the ornately carved marble benches. They stood there, hesitating; each fumbling uncertainly with the clasps of their togas, until Gabrielle finally spoke. “What in Hades is wrong with us? After all we've been through, why is this so awkward?”

Xena shrugged. “Yeah, it feels like our first years together. All that time, dancing around each other.”

“Sometimes literally.” She grinned at a memory. “But these aren't even our bodies,” she went on. “Why am I feeling so damn shy about revealing it, and to you of all people?”

She stomped over to a bench so loudly that she almost missed Xena's quiet explanation. “Because some part of you knows that it is your body to me. I keep telling you, the way you move, the expressions on your face? That's Gabrielle and no one else to me. And even if you were that 85 year old Amazon, that's still all I'd see.”

Gabrielle sighed, and without any thought, moved towards her partner, circled her with her arms and held her. Almost muffled by Xena's toga, she whispered, “You know, once in a while… you say exactly the right thing.”

“Once in a while, I get lucky.”

Gabrielle partly withdrew to look up with a smirk.

Xena pretended to consider her words for a moment before continuing. “Or… maybe, maybe when it's really important to me, I find the words.”

Gabrielle resumed the hug, saying, “Twice in one day. You have changed.”

They rested in each other's arms for another moment, and when they broke apart, it was with dazzling grins and a certain defiant pleasure that they shucked their cloths onto the bench and rushed through the lukewarm Tepidarium area. Stopping only to collect a few vessels of oil and a clean strigil. The caldarium was not at full blast so they didn't need their sandals to walk across the heated floor; the water itself was more than hot enough though. Xena lowered herself into the scented heat without a word; then with a moment's hesitation, Gabrielle eased in front of her.

Part of Gabrielle's mind accepted that this closeness should be awkward. Some things did not feel completely resolved and yet… ‘ Maybe the comfort that we're feeling, is simply because we're together again in a familiar position… in the water, simply a matter of unforgotten habit. And the Gods know it's been a long time since either of us has taken a real, honest-to-goodness bath, and we should just… appreciate how relaxing it can be. That's all. It would be dumb to rush into… things… considering what we're facing, right? At least, that was what ran through her mind as they rested, without a word, allowing the scented fog to waft about them.

Xena was becoming a little less relaxed as time passed, though. Gabrielle's weight, the skin pressed down on her own was definitely affecting her, arousing her and when she opened her eyes to look at just the bare shoulders pressing against her chest, her breath caught. Her partner seemed vulnerable and still all too desirable. Even the wet, downy hairs on her arms seemed to demand a caress. Despite the fragrances in the stream, Gabrielle smelled of familiar scents and woman; and as Xena watched, a bead of water ran along her shoulders forward down to her chest. She swallowed, wanting nothing more than to be that drop of liquid.

‘Was she presuming too much? Was this too much again?'

“Should I…?” Xena began to shift to give Gabrielle some space when a hand grasped her thigh.

“Xena, I'm comfortable,” Gabrielle stated flatly, though there was a trace of amusement in her tone.

“It's okay? Like this?”

Then Gabrielle began to question the situation. “Is it bothering you? I could get up?”

The warrior drew in a breath, and released it . “Naw.”

The bard relaxed once more. “Good.”

“Just seems like I'm, you know, assuming…”

Xena was in no position to see the smirk on the bard's face, but she could hear it in her voice as she asked, “Assuming what?”


“Yes, Xena?”

“You keep saying you're not a Vestal or even that naive kid from Potadaia, and sitting like this, I feel like I'm, well, it's a sort of…”

Gabrielle snorted. “You think you're taking advantage. As if being the chair is the dominant position.”

Affronted for some reason, Xena disputed, “Well, it is.”

“You're a chair, Xena. I sit on you,” Gabrielle said, emphatically.

“What d'ya mean? My big long arms are around you and I could…”

“My sharp little elbows could nail your gut, my hard little head could break your chin…”

“It feels like the dominant position.”

“I'm sure the chairs have been telling themselves that for a long time.”

Xena's chest shook with repressed laughter. Grateful for the change of mood, Gabrielle cheerfully ignored her and looked instead in antipathy at the curved strigil in her hand, grumbling as she slid it along her arm. “Speaking of dumb things, do you think What's his name deliberately changed the entire course of history just to get rid of soap in bars?”

“Compared to most warriors, he's always been relatively clean.”

“That I didn't need to know or hear. Maybe we should be talking about what happens tomorrow?”

“Gabrielle. I've had a lot of experience waiting to die. And one thing I've picked up, is that mentioning it all the time does not improve the experience.”

Gabrielle nodded her agreement and lay back, closing her eyes once again, when she felt a long arm slip gently about her and drift slowly toward her thighs.

She coughed in an exaggerated fashion. “Ahem? Where does that think it's headed?”

Xena stilled. “Sorry. I guess it was… cold.”

“Really? It was cold?” Gabrielle's eyes sparkled mischievously.

“And, I thought…”

Gabrielle sniggered. “I'm sure you did think… things.” With a firm motion the bard pulled the tanned arm back into the same questing position. “I've been… thinking things, as well.”

“Not as often as I have, I bet.” Much relieved, Xena shifted slightly forward so that her chin rested on Gabrielle's shoulder, her nose contentedly buried in her hair, while her hand continued its slow glide along the oil slick thigh.

Gabrielle thought for a moment before saying, “I think it still worries me, just a little, that you're seeing this… young body.”

“Gabrielle, haven't we established that I'm attracted to, in love, completely and utterly in love, with the bard inside?”

Gabrielle smiled. “So. You do know that it's not like I'm actually…”

“A Vestal?”

Gabrielle could feel the smirk against her scalp. She reached underneath to caress the side of the firm buttocks she was resting on. “Let me tell you. Right now? This mind is far from being…”

“Yes?” Xena prodded.

“Far from being virginal.”

The warrior chuckled deep in her throat. “Certain about that?”

“And I'm pretty certain I'm old enough to know what I want.”

“Doesn't matter. You could be this young virgin AND an eight hundred year old crone. I really don't give a Hades' cuss about the bindings on the scroll.”

“Easy to say,” Gabrielle harrumphed

“Look at me,” Xena requested softly.

At the change of tone, Gabrielle swallowed, acutely aware of the warrior's body against hers. She slowly tilted her head sideways to stare up into Xena's eyes. “Okay.”

“This scroll,” Xena said solemnly. “Would you read it?”

She examined the face, and more importantly the eyes, of her partner carefully. Then nodded just as solemnly and spoke with certainty. “Every line. Every page.” Gabrielle paused nervously before asking, “And… this one?”

Xena nodded earnestly. “Every line. Every story. The ones I knew and especially the ones I didn't.”

“There are some… sad… stories in there.”

“Then I might cry a little. But there are also some very, well… not so sad stories.”

There was not any gap between them now. And neither of them was conscious of their unfamiliar bodies or their lives apart, or of anything but what they saw deep within each other's eyes.

“And you'd laugh?”

“Laugh, cry, every emotion I'm capable of. You've always brought out the best in me. Even the feelings.”

“Really?” Gabrielle wondered.

“You're doing it now.”

It seemed as though there was no movement required at all for their lips to touch.

After a long, sweet moment, they pulled away with softly swollen mouths. Gabrielle reached up to cup the warrior's face and smiled. “I hope you're not going to say that we should've been doing stuff like that since I first arrived.”

Xena chuckled. “This body may be fit, but I REALLY don't think we could have been doing half the stuff I've been thinking about, pretty continuously, since I first saw you.”

“Warriors,” she snorted. But she pulled Xena's mouth closer and bit her lip ever so sharply.

“There were guards at the doors,” the warrior managed with only part of a lip and even less concentration.

“OUT side the door.”

“They better not come in,” she growled.

Gabrielle raised herself from her warrior seat, the warm water running down her thighs. Xena could not stop herself from capturing some of it with her tongue. She looked upwards and saw beyond the young girl to her partner, who was reaching out her hand, asking her to stand. “Are you sure? “ Xena asked.

Gabrielle deliberately misunderstood. “I spoke to those guards and I was very clear. We are special emissaries with cultural traditions that require privacy.”

Xena laughed and took the firm hand in her own. “Sounds like you were presuming…?”

The bard replied confidently, “I was just… thinking.”

“Traditions?” Xena questioned and rose and Gabrielle gave a throaty chuckle.

The bard reached out, brushing the dark wet hair out of her partner's eyes, that simple touch marking the warrior as her own again. And then, her breasts were slowly, ever so lightly, nestled against her partner's, and she could feel the heat between Xena's legs pressing against her stomach, and once again, all she could see were Xena's eyes, shining.

“Too long,” one partner murmured.

“Much, much too long.” One of them agreed.

Though who made either statement, neither could have told.

So with what time they had before noon, the special emissaries renewed several traditions.

To be continued...

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