by WhymZ

DISCLAIMER: None, no one is mentioned, (SPECIFICALLY) so it's MINE (nyah!)

MENTAL DISCLAIMER: As usual, WhymZ is quite happily mental. Sharing in the blissful unknowing of her true self she's on a search and "discovery" boat . . . floating contentedly along. Plenty o'room spacious and comfy . . . enjoy the ride.

The exquisite pleasure of her hands on my bare skin is overwhelming. Maybe this bath thing wasn't such a good idea. Thank the gods the water is hot enough to be steaming. The blush on my neck would surely give me away.

"Here now let me wash your back." She said to Gabrielle. The water was relaxing but unnerving in the tingling of her senses. Gabrielle complied and reluctantly gave up the sponge she was running mindlessly across the warrior's back.

Oh my gosh, I wandered off and she noticed and now I've made her uncomfortable. Now what? Now what? Ok, just breathe, Gab. It's nothing, she doesn't notice stuff like that. That'll teach you to go off fantasizing while in the bath…with her. Ugh! I can't take this.

"So, are you Talmadeus?"

"Nope!" she smiled.

"Xena, who could it be? No don't tell me." Gabrielle closed her eyes as she felt Xena's hands travel across her shoulders. Trailing behind a warmth that had nothing to do with the water. Her thoughts drifted in and out of fantasy. That was dangerous. Xena moved her hands over the bard's shoulders in a gentle massage.

Gabrielle's eyes closed at the touch and a soft murmur escaped her lips.

"What was that?" Xena asked, her motion stopped.

"Wha? Oh, nothing… I was just thinking about who it could be…you know the guy you killed? Warlord?" she stammered visibly shaken that she had made a sound.

"Oh, well, yeah he was a warlord."

Ok, Gab, get a grip will you? What are you thinking! Come on come on snap out of it.

Xena kept up her gentle ministrations until it just got to be too much. She found that her hands had slowed and were drawing circles on her friends back. Not that Gabrielle seemed to mind. She noticed the bard's relaxed posture and her head lolling to one side. Her neck extended and the muscle pulled taut. She pushed the hair off her shoulder. The temptation to kiss that pulse point was overwhelming.

"Hey, well we better get out of here before we turn into dried grapes."

"Raisins Xena." The bard shook her head.

Xena laughed nervously and quickly got out of the tub. She grabbed a towel and wrapped it around her trembling body. She turned just in time to watch Gabrielle step out of the tub. Time slowed as she let her eyes drift over her companions body. She watched as the muscular thigh flexed and pushed out and over the side of the bath. Her golden hair dripping as she pushed it off of her face. Green eyes blinked up into blue and blushed. She'd noticed the warrior's look and smiled to herself. Xena turned abruptly away kicking herself silently for having been caught.

"Xena, Hey! Hand me a towel, would you?" the bard's voice held a touch of mischief. She watched as Xena awkwardly stopped and turned to give her a towel. Carefully averting her eyes and show nothing on her face. It's too bad Gabrielle was feeling reckless.

"So, Xena are you hot or cold?" she teased mercilessly. Watching how her warrior friend stopped in her tracks caught off guard.

"Hot or cold? I'm dead. What are you talking about?" she looked Gabrielle in the eye.

"Well you're shivering, but there is sweat on your lip. I was just wondering if you were hot or cold." The bard knew she was getting to the warrior and let her towel slip slightly off her shoulder.

Xena stood stock still her eyes darting around the room in frantic necessity to find somewhere else to look. She shuffled her feet uncertainly and muttered something about the water being hot and the air when getting out.

The bard simply smiled at her stumbling, stuttering friend.

"Yeah, I guess you're right but for some reason the air just made me feel much warmer." She stretched, letting the towel fall open and stood stark naked, in front of the warrior. Water trickled down the middle of her bare stomach and glistened on her muscular thighs. Her hands trailed down her sides brushing errant drops of water off her body. She shook her head to get the water out of her hair running her hands through it. Xena stood mesmerized watching what she could not tear her eyes from. Surely the bard knew what she was doing. For some reason the warrior was planted and growing roots right were she was. Her mouth dry and her thoughts racing.

What is going on? What is she thinking? Is this some sort of game? Is she trying to distract me from something? HA! I bet she's got her staff here and she's planning on whacking me with it while I'm lost like an idiot looking at her. Ha! She thinks she can fool me! Well, two can play at that game.

Xena visibly relaxed, and watched Gabrielle's face. She let her own towel slide off her body and gather at her feet.

"Mmm you're right, it is a little warm in here, Gabrielle . . . " she trailed off and she ran her hands over her body gathering random droplets on her fingertips. She peeked at the bard who was still as stone, her eyes plastered on Xena's body. Shamelessly plastered. The bard's arms were wrapped around her own stomach as if trying to hold back the desire she was feeling.

Try to distract me, little bard? You are way out of your league here. Ha!

Xena muffled a grin as she let herself go all out. She moved slowly towards Gabrielle, whose eyes never stopped roaming the warrior's body. Xena treated herself to a lazily roaming glance of her own up the bard's body and stopped when she caught the bard's eye. There, she watched the blush creep silently up the bard's neck and across her face where it settled on a bright crimson. She ran her fingers down the bard's cheek and smiled, "You seem to be quite warm, maybe you should take a dunk in the lake. We wouldn't want you to get overheated now would we?" Xena drew out her last words in a sexy whisper. Smiling as the bard blushed an even deeper shade of red.

She turned then and gathered her towel to walk out of the room. Not before she glanced back saucily to Gabrielle and winked.

The bard stood shocked, perplexed, frazzled. She was barely able to regain her composure. Picking up her towel she retrieved her clothes and dressed.

Whoa! What was THAT? What just happened? It was my game, how did she turn it around on me? Ooo I'm gonna get her for THAT. What a sneak! Well, we'll just see who gives in.

She straightened her skirt and walked out the door. She looked around wondering where Xena had gone off to. She found Minya still trying to get that darn goat to cooperate.

"Hey Minya, have you seen Xena?" she asked brightly.

"Um, last time I saw her she was headed for the lake." Minya pointed in the direction she saw the Warrior Princess headed.

"Thanks!" Gabrielle called behind her as she headed that way.

She pushed through the woods towards the lake. Smiling to herself proud of the little flirtatious game that she'd started. Glad that Xena had not run in fear from this innocent release of emotions. Neither one of them was really ready to deal with what was going on inside. She rounded a corner and stopped dead in her tracks as the lake came into view. There in the middle of the lake full in her leathers, sat the Warrior Princess. Gabrielle was barely able to control her laughter. The look on Xena's face was priceless. The bard couldn't resist.

"A little overheated, Xena?" she called out to the dripping warrior.

Xena merely shrugged her shoulders and smiled.

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