Gabrielle is silent as she walks back. The moon is hidden now by clouds and so she is traveling by touch and scent. Her hands grazing the bark of trees and the smell of smoke filling her lungs... Gabrielle knows she is close to the camp. Close to Xena again.

She wishes her stomach did not flutter and she wishes her heart did not pound so much at the though of seeing Xena. She wanted to come back to camp all cool and aloof, to show Xena that she did not care... Gabrielle takes a deep breath.

I am the only one who cares... Xena does not have a clue.

Gabrielle stops moving all at once and can hear someone close. All these years with Xena did not come without a lesson or two... She cannot make out exactly which direction the sound is coming from. It is definitely not someone who is cautious, Gabrielle decides, at the crunching of twigs and leaves. It is someone who is unafraid.

Then, from behind, a hand snakes around her waist and pulls her into a body. Gabrielle cannot calm her breathing... not from fear, though...

“Where have you been?” A voice asks, a voice that rings in Gabrielle’s ears all the time, a voice that sends the inside of Gabrielle’s body into heat.

“I needed to walk, get some energy out.” Gabrielle says, the air getting caught in her throat, making the words sound choked.

She hears the sound of relief leave Xena’s lips and the grip lessens, but does not let go. Gabrielle, however, intends to not lose all composure due to Xena’s affect on her. She steps away and turns around, trying to see the warrior in the night.

“Did you have a good night?” She queries. She can hear Xena shift on her feet.



There is a beat of silence, almost to the point that Gabrielle wonders if Xena is still there.

But then the warmth of Xena’s body is close and her lips find Gabrielle’s. And she does not try to fight it... Because that would set off Xena’s alarms and... she likes it too much, the feel of Xena’s lips. She can be the one to end it, though... I have to end it...

Gabrielle backs up and she can sense Xena staring at her.

“I... was concerned.” Xena states.

Good. “I’m sorry I worried you.”

“And did you have a good night, walking in the dark?” The warrior asks softly.

Not truly, no... “Yes.”

Gabrielle finds her anger twisting inside with her desire, turning into a sadness she does not know how to combat.

“We should get some sleep.” She says and starts back to the camp. They do not talk for the rest of the short journey. And once back, Gabrielle quickly gets under her blanket, willing sleep to come. Before she can change her mind and let Xena hold her, before she lets loose with all that she is thinking...

To Be Continued...

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