General Copyright Disclaimers

Characters and backstory of Xena: Warrior Princess are the property of Renaissance/MCA/Studios USA.  This story is not meant to infringe upon their rights.  This story was not written for monetary gain.  Anything not copyrighted to the above mentioned parties is copyrighted to me.  If you wish to archive or link this story, please contact me.

Content Disclaimers

This story is rated NC-17 for explicit sex.

This story contains themes and descriptions of a loving, sexual relationship between two consenting adult women.  This story is intended for a mature audience with an open mind.  If it is illegal for you to read this story for any reason at all, please close this web page and find something that is legal for you to read.

Author's Note

This story was written soon after Fins, Femmes, and Gems, and contains spoilers for that episode.  This is a first-time story.  At the time that this story was conceived, there was still some discussion about whether Xena and Gabrielle had admitted their love or consummated their relationship.  The way that TPTB played with the subtext/maintext, you never knew for sure.  It made first-time stories fairly plausible throughout the entire run of the show, which was fun, at least for me.  First-time stories are a favorite of mine to write.  There's just something about the tingle, zap, and zowie of discovering what another person can do to your body without even touching it, and then discovering the power of the actual touch.  


Fins, Femmes & Gems


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The Biggest Step

Copyright May 20, 1998

Xena woke before Gabrielle, as was usual. However, the sounds of Joxer, or Attis the Apeman, as was the persona the tag-a-long had assumed, reminded the warrior that this wasn't just another normal morning...or perhaps it was. Shrugging mentally, Xena disentangled herself from Gabrielle's embrace and stood to stretch her sleek muscles. Donning her weapons, she went in search for the wannabe and the pink nightie that had intrigued her the moment that she had found out that it was Gabrielle's.

When she found Joxer, he was in the process of rolling a rotted log over to the unfortunate luck of the grubs of which he was making a crunchy breakfast. A look of distaste crossed her features before she crouched down to the apeman's side. "Hey, Attis," she called to pull his attention from his squiggly meal.


"Yeah, you," the warrior confirmed, not at all sure how to proceed with Joxer since the man's obsession had rendered him half as cognizant as his normal self...and that wasn't saying much, the warrior thought with a grim smile. "You know, Joxer," she began, "Umm...I was there something that has been bothering you lately? You know...?"

"Attis, King of Jungle," the man declared, slapping his chest in an attempt to correct the warrior.

"Yeah, Joxer...but really don't understand." Xena stood and began to pace, trying to find the words that would lead Joxer to his own insight. "Joxer, do you ever have feelings of inadequacy, like maybe you aren't what you think you are?"

Attis grunted and scratched the back of his head. "Ar-groo?"

" Joxer the Mighty isn't so mighty?" The warrior winced at the words that cruel, albeit true.

The assumed "apeman" scratched his chest and grunted. "I want to be like you...great white monkey Xena. Gaia love me then," he revealed in his disjointed speech.

Xena smiled grimly as Joxer blinked once, then twice.

His face flushed when he bowed his head to study the pink nightie that was now torn and dirt-stained. "Xena? Oh, Xena," he stammered, rising to his full height and puffing out his chest.

"Good to have you back, Joxer," Xena smiled, slapping him on the back. "Now give me Gabrielle's sleep shift," she growled.

"But, Xena, I don't have my clothes," he whined, looking around at his strange surroundings.

"Now, Joxer," the warrior ordered, extending a hand that demanded no argument.

Flushing pinker than the garment he removed, the wannabe warrior handed over the flimsy article and left quickly to search for his own hand-made leather and armor.

Shaking her head in relief that the problem with the Aphrodite's obsessions was finally over, Xena returned to the campsite, eager to tackle her next challenge...getting Gabrielle to admit her feelings...and to act upon them.

When Xena found the bard still asleep, she allowed the petite woman her rest, for the warrior was content to sit, watch, and formulate her plan. Things between the two of them were beginning to reach the plateau of ridiculously obvious and physically painful. The warrior knew how she felt about Gabrielle...she loved her. And...she knew that Gabrielle had the same feelings, for the bard had told her numerous times. But neither of them had spoken aloud of taking the next step...becoming lovers.

She knew that Gabrielle felt the same way as she did...about wanting an intimate relationship, because the bard did talk in her sleep, after all. And some of the sounds she made.... Xena often found herself lost in the soft moans and mutters of passion as she reluctantly fended off hands influenced by erotic dreams. If Gabrielle only knew that the real reason she awoke so early was so that she could find the privacy to release her own pent up desire.... She couldn't face the day with any rational thought at all, otherwise.

She knew that the bard also dealt with her needs in the same way...had often fought the urge to follow her. She had almost...almost suggested to Gabrielle once, that they watch each other masturbate, but good sense had won out after a few brief, lust-filled moments.

During all their time together, however, neither wanted to take that next step. Their relationship now was that of very good friends...ones that occasionally engaged in some light petting, the warrior thought with a snort. Xena only knew her own reasons for not pursuing a less ambiguous relationship - she was afraid.

She was afraid that she did not deserve Gabrielle. She was afraid that a more intense physical relationship would ruin what had become, for her, the greatest friendship she had ever known. But, reluctant to seek sexual relief from someone who meant nothing to her (another bad reminder of the past), and her wrists becoming strained from her own self-indulgence, she was ready to commit her heart and body unto the bard's care.

Gabrielle's words after she had pulled her from a watery grave the day before, were what Xena thought of, at the time, as an admission of her first. But the effects of the bard's obsession had denied that hope. And to think, Xena thought to herself, I almost told her how I feel. Those words would have been wasted on the woman who was only concerned about herself.

But...the bard was no longer enchanted. Xena grinned at the memory. Most of what Gabrielle had said while she was enraptured with herself, the warrior heartily agreed with. The ultimate fantasy. The warrior sighed at the fleeting images Gabrielle's words had conjured...that was, until her own obsession with fishing had reasserted itself. If she had not had Solaris as a focus for her energies, who knows what she might have done.

Tapping her fingers against her knee guards, Xena pondered her course of action. She would persuade the bard to stay an extra few days at the lake. Now that neither of them were hampered by Aphrodite's influence, it should be a restful interlude. She had to be delicate about the whole admission part, though. She had to give Gabrielle the opportunity to make her own choice. Maybe, I'll even have her eager to learn how to fist a fish, Xena thought with a wicked grin.

Half a candlemark later, the bard began to stir, her right hand searching instinctively for something she knew wasn't there...Xena always woke before she did. Sitting up and rubbing the sleep from her eyes, Gabrielle found the warrior sitting on a log, deep in thought. "Hey," she called softly, not really wanting to disrupt the warrior's solitude.

Bright blue eyes focused on her, stealing her breath away. She had long ago reconciled herself to the fact that she would never be able to look at Xena and not lose her train of thought, her balance. The woman's beauty simply knocked her off her feet...figuratively most of the time. She loved Xena with all her heart. Theirs was a friendship built upon three years of traveling together and narrow escapes of the most horrific kind. She felt a closeness to her companion unrivaled by any other. And yet...she yearned for more. She wanted to lose herself in the warrior and never come out again. But...Xena's obvious experience made her more than hesitant, fearing that she would embarrass herself with a lack of the same.

She returned Xena's warm smile with one that came to her easily these days. With recent horrors behind them, the duo found their newest adventures mild compared to what had happened in Britannia and Chin. Gabrielle stood and smoothed the wrinkles out of her skirt. And after all that...she's still beside me, she thought, fighting to keep her tears at bay. Xena's words pulled her out of her thoughts before they had a chance to consume her.


The bard repressed the shiver that always came after Xena said her name. She had the discipline down pat now. "Yes?"

Xena assumed a nonchalant air and let her gaze drift to the cloudless sky above them. "I thought that maybe we'd take a break. Get some fishing in...relax."

"Haven't you fished enough," the bard asked with a chuckle, reminding the warrior of her obsession of the previous day.

"But it wasn't the same, Gabrielle. I didn't get to fish with you. It's no fun unless we do it together," the warrior explained.

Gabrielle's eyes narrowed and her brows scrunched. "Xena, you fish without me all the time," she stated, perplexed by her friend's words.

Xena moved to the fire and poured the both of them their morning tea. "I know that...but I enjoy it more...when you are with me," she replied, handing the bard her mug.

Shaking her head, as she was still confused by the warrior's need to fish, Gabrielle conceded. She never was one to argue against a break from their travels. "Sure, Xena. We'll stay and fish. But I refuse to hold your flying parchment anymore."

"Great," Xena said, her face lighting brighter than a Winter Solstice's celebration. "We can leave our gear here," she continued. "We aren't so far from the lake that I won't hear someone approaching."

"Okay, then, lead on, Warrior Princess," Gabrielle requested, curious as to what the day might bring.

The second that the lake was in view, Xena began shedding her armor and leathers. However, unlike the day before, the warrior stripped down completely, letting her shift fall to the top of the pile. "Come on, Gabrielle...I really want to show you that technique I was telling you about before."

Gabrielle cocked her head as she watched Xena cavorting in the water like a dark nymph. "You mean...the whammo?"

Pushing wet bangs off her forehead, the warrior nodded vigorously. "Yeah...I...uh...thought maybe it was time for your next lesson," she explained. "It's a lot of fun," she continued, trying to encourage the bard. "And I to show it to you. I've been wanting to, for a long time now."

With a start, Gabrielle was rendered speechless. If she didn't know better, the Warrior Princess was trying to seduce her. But it was unlike any seduction of which she had ever been the prey. The Amazons were bold, obvious with their heated looks and thinly veiled innuendoes. The men they had met while traveling, were straightforward, always declaring with vulgar words exactly what they wanted to do to her.

Xena, however, was the greatest tactician she had ever known...and the warrior's seduction was devious, subtle. But if she read the signals right...the raised brow, the lazy purr in her voice.... It took the bard all of two heartbeats to decide that she was ready for whatever the warrior had planned. Whether it be innocent...or not, Gabrielle was sure that she would end up learning something useful. If it turned out to be of a sexual nature, would be a fantasy that she was ready to realize.

Gabrielle squinted at the sun that reflected of the gentle wavelets of water. "So...Xena wants to taste a bit of this minx," she whispered to herself with a gentle laugh. She watched as the warrior jumped and then dove into the water once more. *Fist a fish, huh?* "We'll see about that," Gabrielle muttered to herself as she rose and began to quickly disrobe.

When Xena surfaced to check on Gabrielle, she was surprised to find the younger woman treading water a few paces from her. "The water's not that deep, Gabrielle," the warrior chided.

With a shrug, the bard grinned and stood on the rock she had discovered under her feet. Trying to appear comfortable with the exposure, she raised her brow to a suddenly quiet warrior. "So, are you going to just stand there...or are we going to do this," she asked, her words tainted with gentle humor.

Xena tore her gaze from the golden breasts that sparkled in the early morning sun. She had been following the wet paths of several beads of water until the bard's words had interrupted her study. "Yeah...sure...right," she answered, nodding her head and moving closer. "Um...first I want to explain something," she began hesitantly. The bard's patient regard fueled her courage. "It's been a while since I've done this with anyone...and I wanted you to know that I don't plan on...teaching another person...ever again. You favorite student, and I want to spend the rest of my life teaching you things like this." Mentally, the warrior berated herself for the words that sounded lame to her own ears. She could only imagine what a great bard would think of them.

Gabrielle, however, well-versed in what she affectionately referred to in her own heart, as 'Xenaspeak,' caught the underlying meaning of her friend's words, and was overwhelmed by the loving and tender sentiment. Clearing her throat to dislodge the lump that had formed, she put the warrior at ease. "I've dreamt of this for a long time now," she revealed as she reached out a hand to Xena's shoulder to steady herself. "I was hoping that I would learn all I needed to know from you...but I wasn't sure if you wanted to show me."

Xena shook her head in mild disbelief. *This is it!* "Do you remember what I told you yesterday...about this technique?"

Gabrielle nodded and stepped from her rock to stand in front of the warrior. Forcing her gaze to remain on the vibrant blue of her friend's eyes. "I remember."

"Good," Xena whispered as she bent her knees enough so that she was eye-to-eye with the bard. "Are you ready?"

Gabrielle was still nervous about taking the final step, but instinctively, she knew that her body was ready...had been for more than two years. "Absolutely."

Xena took a deep breath and began, cautious with the fear that she would make a wrong move and damage their relationship irreparably. "Ok, find a nice,, and then you wiggle your fingers," she instructed, her eyes half-closing at the wetness she found.

"Uh, Xena," the bard asked before she bit back a gasp.


Gabrielle let the warrior's voice roll over her like thick honey. "Just what kind of fish is that," she asked, her breath accelerating.

"Hmm? Oh...I think it's called a muskfish," the warrior replied as she wiggled her fingers a little bit slower.

"Oh, really," the bard asked, her voice a strangled squeak. "Tell me about it," she asked breathlessly.

Xena adjusted her arm to get a better angle and narrowed her gaze at the bard who was flushed with rising excitement. "Well, as you should know," she began reverently, "it is considered a delicacy throughout the known world."

"Oh, yeah?" Gabrielle knew that she would not last much longer. Xena was definitely the fisherwoman...those fingers....

"Uh, huh," the warrior answered as she stepped closer to wrap an arm around the bard's waist. "What you might not know," she continued, "is that when the muskfish is...aroused, it secretes this...this...sweet, musky...." Xena's eyes widened with a gasp of her own.

"Oh, yeah," the bard said, nodding to herself. "I see what you mean."

Xena's nostrils flared as she watched Gabrielle's hand work under the water. When the bard raised her hand to her face, the warrior felt her legs begin to quiver. She watched as the small woman sniffed her fingers and then tasted them almost tentatively before plunging three of them into her mouth. The sight of her pink tongue cleaning the juices from her fingers fired Xena's blood.

"'re right, Xena. Definitely musky...definitely sweet," Gabrielle rasped.

The warrior was hypnotized, mindless with anticipation as she watched the bard submerge her hand once more. In her preoccupation, she abandoned her own task, holding instinctively to her lover's waist.

"So, now that I have the fish occupied, I just punch it, right?"

For a split moment, a fear coursed through the warrior that Gabrielle hadn't quite understood her instructions. But the moment that two fingers entered her quickly, she could only think of the pleasure that the bard was drawing from her. "Exactly," she hissed when the bard added a third finger.

"How's my technique," Gabrielle asked as the warrior moaned deep in her throat.

Barely able to form any coherent words, Xena simply sighed. "Whammo," she replied, pulling the bard tight to her wet body and devouring her lips. Gabrielle answered the assault with passionate zeal, her tongue reaching out to wrap around the warrior's. Xena moaned again. The kiss was unlike any they had previously shared. It was volcanic, explosive. The moment that Gabrielle began sucking on her tongue with a rhythm in tandem with her hand's movement, Xena came in shuddering waves of ecstasy.

Gabrielle held the warrior until her body was reduced to minor trembling. "I think I caught one," she whispered as she buried her face into Xena's sweaty neck.

"That you did, love," the warrior praised as she caught her breath. "Now it's my turn," she growled as she grasped the smaller woman's hips and pulled her higher so that Gabrielle could wrap her powerful legs around Xena's waist.

Even in the cool lake water, she could feel the bard's heated arousal slick against her stomach. The knowledge that she had done that for her friend, companion..., lover, fired Xena's blood once more. She was brought out of her lust-filled haze by her keen hearing. "Damn that man, sometimes," she cursed with a growl.

Gabrielle's brows furrowed in confusion at Xena's words and actions as the warrior disentangled their bodies. "What is it, Xena?"

The warrior unwrapped Gabrielle's legs and stepped away, jerking her head toward the path that led to the lake. A moment's brief time revealed Joxer trotting, then stumbling into the clearing by the shore. "I can't believe I forgot about him," Xena admitted from between clenched teeth.

"Maybe you were thinking too hard about how you were going to seduce me," the bard supplied as she slipped her hand surreptitiously under the water to cup her sex that still throbbed with need. Her eyes fluttered closed and she moaned under her breath.

Xena's brow rose briefly in surprise before her agile mind began to formulate a plan to send their bumbling friend away on some pretense. "Hey, Joxer," she called to capture the man's attention.

The wannabe's eyes scanned his surroundings before he finally spied the warrior and bard submerged up to their shoulders in the lake. "Xena...are you fishing again?"

"Uh...yeah. Say, we need your help," she began to explain.


"Yeah," she replied absently as her mind continued to work on the problem and her eyes continued to watch as Gabrielle fondled herself casually under the water. Needless to say, doing both were not productive, so she forced her gaze to Joxer. "Uh...Gabrielle and I were thinking about traveling to Delphi, but I heard of a warlord gathering an army in those parts. I was wondering if you could, you know, go ahead of us and do some scouting. What do you say?"

The self-proclaimed warrior wasn't sure whether to start laughing or to fall to his knees in gratitude. THE Warrior Princess was asking him to do some scouting for HER. "Why, sure, Xena, whatever you say. I'll make sure that it's safe for Gabby, and all," he trailed off as he began to gawk at the young bard who, in his eyes, was flushed with innocence.

"Great," Xena returned, hiding so many emotions behind her dry tone. "We'll catch up to you in say, five days?"

"You can count on me," Joxer swore, as he grasped the hilt of his sword and nodded his head.

Xena watched as Joxer ran up the path, knocked his head on a low branch, and stumbled to his knees, only to get back up and continue on his way. Once he was out of sight, she turned to the young bard whose hand was still busy at work, fondling her swollen sex. "Now, where were we," she purred.

Gabrielle opened her eyes, betraying her need in their smoky depths. Removing her hand from between her legs, she wrapped her arms around Xena's neck and jumped up so that they could resume their former activities. "I think we were," she answered as she ground herself heavily into the warrior's firm stomach.

Moaning incoherently in response, Xena's fingers, as if with a mind of her own, trailed up the outsides of Gabrielle's thighs. Feeling the heat about to consume her, the bard sank her hands into damp raven locks and pulled the warrior's head closer so that she could assault her lover's lips with smoldering kisses proclaiming both her mounting passion and her undying love.

Xena's hands clutched reflexively at Gabrielle's firm behind, pulling the bard's grinding hips even harder into her. She had wanted to be gentle their first time together, but Gabrielle's sounds of pleasure were pushing her quickly to the edge once more, and she wanted to make sure that both of them fell together. With impatient strides, she carried the moaning woman to the floating dock. Disentangling their limbs, she sat the small woman upon the edge of the rough wood.

Gabrielle had only a moment to whimper a protest before she fell to her back as Xena entered her smoothly. The rough textures of the warrior's tongue caressed her inner walls before slipping out to trace a path through her glistening folds. When the warrior found her stiffened clitoris and then drove three fingers into her, Gabrielle's body began to convulse in great waves of heat and light. Her cries echoed through the trees, startling animals and causing birds to take flight.

Hearing the bard scream out her name in an orgasmic howl fulfilled Xena's most private of fantasies. Reaching one hand down to her own sex while the other still was still thrusting slowing into the bard, the warrior reached her second climax before Gabrielle had finished with her first.

When their breathing had returned to normal, Xena gathered Gabrielle into her arms and lifted her off of the dock, cradling the bard. With a surprised smile, she realized that her friend was crying and mumbling unintelligibly. "Hey, why the tears," she questioned softly.

Taking deep breaths to calm her still-shuddering senses, Gabrielle looked up into the face of the one person who meant everything to her. "I can't believe...I...," the bard stuttered. Lowering her head to the warrior's shoulder, she shrugged. "We could have been doing that all along," she answered with a tinge of awe. "Why weren't we?"

Xena smiled as she spun the bard in lazy circles through the water. She nuzzled the fair woman's hair and inhaled deeply. "I guess we weren't ready. Maybe deep inside we both knew that we had to get to know one another."

"It was a big step," Gabrielle admitted with a stifled giggle.

"The biggest," the warrior agreed as she lifted her head to study her lover.

"So what now," the bard asked as she trailed a finger along Xena's collarbone, her eyes holding the warrior's gaze.

Xena closed her eyes, never wanting the moment to end. "Now, I never let you go," she whispered before she lowered her head to claim the bard's willing mouth in a promise that sealed their love.

The fire crackled, sending sparks to drift on the warm evening breeze. Having spent most of the day exploring each other's bodies, Xena and Gabrielle were content to sit next to each other as they applied themselves to their usual nightly rituals. The sounds of stone upon steel and quill upon parchment joined the sounds of their campfire.

Xena glanced up when the tempting flavor of their evening meal drifted to her nose. "I think dinner's done," she announced, drawing the bard from her concentration on her writing.

Gabrielle smiled in gratitude and set her writing aside. Taking the meat from the spit over the fire, she carefully broke it into pieces and gave the warrior her portion. "I'm just glad it's not fish," she said with wry humor.

Her expressive mouth lifting in half a grin, the warrior raised her brow. "I thought you liked fish," she purred.

Answering with a quirked expression of her own, the bard merely smiled secretively. "Only when you teach me how to catch them myself," she replied.

Xena licked her fingers as she slipped a piece of rabbit into her mouth. "Delicious," she commented as she watched Gabrielle's eyes following her movements with hooded desire.

"Yes," the bard whispered as a piece of meat found its way into her own mouth by sheer practice and not for any attention that she was paying to what she was doing.

Lowering her eyes to her plate, the warrior could feel Gabrielle's eyes devouring her. With their relationship truly intimate now, she supposed that the bard felt free to do such a thing, at least in private. She could feel her skin crawling as little tongues of fire danced along her limbs, creating a sensitivity before which she had never known. It surprised her, although she knew not why, that her young lover was so...intense.


The warrior glanced up from her mental ramblings and shuddered. She could practically see the erotic scenes that the bard was painting with her vivid imagination. Her mouth was suddenly dry and she was unable to manage a question.

"Take off your clothes."

It was a command. It was demanded in a sultry, seductive purr, and it pulled at her groin like an experienced caress. Her first response was to say no. Her second was to ask why. But her mind stumbled over those options before she hesitantly accepted a third. Setting her plate down beside her, she stood and complied with the bard's order. She unlaced the ties at her back and stepped out of her leathers. After she had draped the battledress over a log, she pulled her shift over her head and tossed it to join her outerwear. When the bard nodded her approval, Xena reclaimed her seat and took up her plate once again.

She no longer tasted the fine flavors of her meal, nor did she taste the sweet wine that was in the skin that the bard had handed over to her. Her eyes were locked onto her friend. Her mind was consumed by thoughts of soft skin and gentle whimperings of need. When the bard stood and began to disrobe herself, the warrior set the wineskin down, forgetting to cap it closed and not noticing when the liquid spilled to seep into the earth. She finally managed to close her slack-jawed mouth when the bard lay on her side with her head propped up on her hand.

No words were spoken as they watched each other eat. Both were merely going through the mechanics of the process until all of the rabbit was gone from their plates. Xena was sure that her gulp was audible when Gabrielle set her plate aside and began licking her fingers clean, as if grooming herself like a cat. She was transfixed by the way the bard's tongue and lips left her fingers glistening in the firelight. Her breath suddenly caught in her throat when those same fingers began a leisurely journey of self-pleasure.

Gabrielle closed her eyes. She knew that Xena was watching her, and it gave her a shuddering thrill to fulfill a private desire. She knew that the warrior had often left their camp on some pretense only to relieve her sexual need. She had stumbled upon the warrior doing so one time, but had left as quietly as she had arrived, not wanting to invade her friend's privacy. But the thoughts of what the warrior did, had fueled enough fantasies to get her this far, and Gabrielle had been able to think of nothing else but watching Xena while she pleasured herself, knowing that someone was watching.

She opened her eyes once more as she raised her right knee and slipped her hand between her thighs. "I want you to touch yourself, Xena," she ordered in a half-growl, half-whispered plea.

Xena was sure that she was going to either explode or pounce on the bard, she was already pushed so far to the edge. When she leaned back against the log behind her, she spread her legs wide and allowed her hands the freedom to roam where they would. Her eyes were locked on Gabrielle who sat up to her knees and then back on her heels. They were only a few feet apart, and with the fire's strong light, both could see the other's glistening need. Gabrielle's head was thrown back as she ran her blunt fingernails forcefully up her thigh muscles which twitched in response. Xena jumped a bit when Gabrielle stood abruptly and crossed to their saddlebags.

The warrior could not see what the bard was doing, as Gabrielle was crouched over her occupation. Her breathing accelerated, however, when the bard turned and revealed her find.

With a knowing smile, Gabrielle showed the warrior the phallus that had been a private toy of hers for so long. She had kept it hidden in a concealed pocket of her scroll bag, and she doubted that even Xena knew that she had it, if the warrior's look of surprise was any indication. She tapped the ivory rod on her chin in thought before she crossed back over to her bedroll. Resuming her position, she began to run the toy up and down the insides of her thighs until she finally reached her slick folds. She drew the phallus through her wetness, rotating it so that it was covered in her juices. Then, without any word said, she handed it to the warrior.

Xena's heart was pounding furiously. She could not remember any battle having done to her what Gabrielle could with one look, one...heated look. Her eyes had followed the trail of the ivory toy, and when it glistened in the fire's light, her breath caught. She accepted it from the bard, knowing that it was a gift of both her love and all the past sessions that Gabrielle had with the instrument of pleasure.

"You know, Xena, whenever I used that, I thought of you. I imagined your strong hands possessing my body, my soul. I want to watch you make love to yourself, Xena. I want you to think of me. I want you to know that I am watching you. And as I watch, I am going to imagine that you are touching me, and these," she finished, holding up her own hands, "are going to be your hands."

She forgot to breathe some time during dinner, and this was surely a hallucination brought on by the lack of air to her brain. Or maybe she had slipped and put the pinch on herself...but then, that would make her dead. And if she was dead, then she had made it to the Elysian Fields, because something absolutely incredible was about to happen. Realizing this, Xena snapped out of her mental wonderment and watched as Gabrielle's eyes lowered to the ivory phallus that had been forgotten and was held loosely in her grasp.

She studied the toy and realized that it was actually very nicely a piece of art. It was just a bit smaller than what the warrior thought of as average for the real thing, but its head was prominent and lined with little nubs, as was the shaft which was curved just slightly. The work was undoubtedly that of a skilled craftsman. It was smooth and heavy...and still wet. She closed her eyes a moment to picture how her lover might have used the phallus in the past. Unconsciously, she moved the rod lower, moaning when she finally reached her drenched sex.

Opening her eyes to focus her heated gaze on Gabrielle, she saw that the bard was watching her with an intensity that burned her with its searing passion. Knowing that she was too far gone to enjoy the pleasurable sensations any casual exploration might have given her, she relinquished all thought of patience. Without surrendering the bard's attention, she plunged the phallus deep into her slick core that was already quivering, on the verge of orgasm.

Watching the warrior's hips thrusting uncontrollably against her private toy was enough to make the bard numb to all but her heated center. She was poised over a steep precipice, looking down into ocean blue water. She could sense the unseen force of her passion urging her forward. She willingly took the last step with her lover, as Xena cried out with her own shuddering release. When both were reduced to ragged breathing and weakened limbs, the bard crawled the few feet to her warrior and cuddled up between the woman's legs.

Xena wrapped her arms around Gabrielle and buried her face into the woman's honey-gold hair. "Sweetheart, can you move a little," she asked, releasing her hold and guiding the smaller woman away.

Gabrielle was worried for a moment that she had done something wrong, until Xena reached down between them and withdrew the phallus with a slurpy sound. The bard held up the snort of laughter that she could feel bubbling up inside her. She wasn't sure if Xena could appreciate humor during the afterglow of love. She supposed that it was something she would learn in time. "Forgot about that," she mumbled as she settled onto the warrior's body once more.

Xena chuckled so deep that the bard could feel it reverberate in her own body all the way down to her toes. *Well, that answers that question.*

"How could you possibly forget about this," the warrior asked as she waved the ivory phallus in front of the bard's face. "It really is beautiful, you know. But just where did you get it," Xena asked, curious as to where along their travels the assumedly innocent bard had picked up such a work of pleasurable art.

Gabrielle blushed crimson before clearing her throat. "It was a gift," she explained. "A...uh...coronation gift, actually."

*So that explains it,* the warrior thought. She had not exactly been around during the Amazon Queen's coronation. "From the entire Nation, or someone in particular?" Xena forced her voice to remain neutral, but inside, a seed of jealousy was beginning to take root.

"Oh, please, Xena."

The warrior smiled warmly at her new lover, realizing that with three words and a playful tone, the bard had effectively squashed the ugly insecurities that had begun to bloom inside her mind.

"Ephiny gave it to me. She said that since you were...uh...gone," the bard whispered as she remembered that moment in her life when everything she had come to love and trust, namely Xena, had been dead. Taking a deep breath and giving the warrior a tight squeeze, Gabrielle continued. "She figured that since you were gone, I would appreciate something to make me feel...better," she giggled.

"What's your phallus got to do with me," Xena asked. "I mean, before now, that is."

Gabrielle shrugged and passed off her most innocent wide-eyed expression.

"You mean, they thought that we...."

"Xena, everybody did. They all thought that I was either your sex slave or that you were my consort in truth."

"What!?" The warrior did not hear the bard trying to explain, between chortles of laughter, all the reasons why a person would think that of them. Xena knew what people had thought of at first. She was not ignorant of the knowing looks that were given as they entered a new town together. But she had assumed that as stories of their adventures had been spread that people realized that the two of them were just friends...then. *I guess I just stopped noticing those looks,* the warrior thought.

"Xena, are you all right? Does it bother you that people thought that we were lovers back then?"

The warrior shook her head in denial. It had not bothered her. It had made her curious about their relationship, about what it was between them that others could see so obviously. She had thought that they had kept their feelings private from each other quite well for so least until a few months ago. "No, Gabrielle, it...."

Gabrielle felt the warrior tense beneath her, and she sat up immediately, giving Xena room to find her sword and stand. She scanned the shadows around their campsite for any clue to an intruder's presence as she threw on her clothes and retrieved her staff. A soft voice calling to her broke the tense claws of expectancy that had been scratching at her back. "Xena, wait...I know that voice."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah...I am. Put your sword down and get dressed. He's just a little kid. I wouldn't want him to get an eyeful. It might ruin him for anybody less than perfect," she murmured.

The warrior raised a disbelieving brow, but pulled her shift over her nude body anyway. She was surprised to find that the little kid was actually a young man. "Guess he grew a bit," she muttered loud enough for the bard to hear.


The young man grinned wide and let appreciative eyes follow the bard's shape. "Gabrielle, I'd heard you were near Amphipolis. Mother sent me up here to find you."

"What's wrong," the bard asked as she invited the young man to sit at their fire.

"Seraphin's gone. She took off or something."

"Seraphin and I grew up together," the bard explained in an aside to the warrior who had finally begun to relax her rigid posture.

"Is there any sign of foul play," Xena asked as she found a waterskin and offered it to Telarin.

"No, and Mom's not worried about it much. She just figures that my sister wanted some adventure like Gabrielle did, and just left," the boy answered with a shrug after he took a long swallow from the skin.

"What does she want us to do," Gabrielle asked as she sat next to the young man who used to tag after her and Seraphin as they had played and made up exciting little adventures that would make life in Potedaia just a little more interesting.

"She just wants you to keep an eye out for her...make sure that she's all right. She said that if she hears anything new, she'd let you know."

Gabrielle cast a questioning look to Xena who was studying Telarin. To spare the blond boy his rising anxiety, she cleared her throat. "Xena," she asked, rising and walking a few steps to the other side of their fire, "can I have a word with you?"

The warrior followed without comment. "Yes, Gabrielle?"

"We can do this, can't we? Look, we were already planning on traveling the coastline, and Seraphin loves the wouldn't be anything out of our way, and we just might run into her."

Xena considered the bard's words and turned to the young man. "We're just gonna keep our eyes opened for her. You go back home and tell you mom that if we see her, we'll send word."

The young man nodded his head in gratitude. "Thanks, Gabrielle, and...uh...Xena."

"Why don't you grab a blanket there and get some sleep. It's too late to start for home," the warrior advised. She didn't miss the bard's warm smile that sent a good feeling straight to her soul where it dulled some of the darkness there. Nor did she miss the suddenly blank look of terror. At first, the warrior thought that something was wrong, until she saw Gabrielle searching their bedrolls in a frantic way, trying not to look conspicuous. "Looking for something," Xena asked in a soft whisper and she kneeled next to her lover.

Gabrielle turned her head quickly to Xena to convey her worry and then turned back to her search. A second later, she froze and turned once again, although much slower. Her eyes narrowed as she recognized the tiny lines of mirth around the warrior's tightly pressed lips. "Where is it," she hissed.

"Where's what," Xena asked innocently.

"My...OUR...little...toy," the bard explained in a hushed tone.

Xena winked lasciviously and with quick hands, replaced her sword in her scabbard and crossed over to their saddlebags, into one of which, she concealed the phallus. All of which, Telarin, who had already begun to fall asleep, was none the wiser.

Grinning at her warrior's quick thinking, Gabrielle settled on their bedroll, waiting for the Xena to join her. "So...the arts of concealment and illusion are one of your many skills, right? I mean, I never even saw you put that in there."

Stretching out on her back next to Gabrielle, Xena shrugged. "Never know when it might come in handy," she purred as she snuck a hand up the front of the bard's skirt.

Gabrielle gasped and threw a look across the fire to the young man who was snoring softly. "Xena of Amphipolis...have you no shame," she asked as she giggled, letting the warrior know that she was indeed enjoying the playfulness of their new intimacy.

Xena pulled the bard closer and left her arm draped over an the young woman's hips. "I think I lost it somewhere in that lake today. Maybe you can help me find it tomorrow," she suggested with a light yawn.

Gabrielle smacked the warrior as she yawned herself. "We'll probably have better luck finding more muskfish," she replied, grinning seductively as she felt the arms of Morpheus close gently around her.

"Never know," Xena mumbled as she fell asleep, her dreams occupied by a honey-gold love that had become her reality.


The End

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