Xena, Gabrielle, and any other characters
not of my creation are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and
Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing
of this story.
This story focuses on two women who
love each other a great deal but are afraid to admit those feelings to
the other. A consequence of this is a lot of pent up sexual frustration.
There are some explicit scenes showing how they try to deal with this frustration.
If this type of story is illegal where you live or you are under the age
of consent, you really shouldn't read it. This story also contains scenes
of strong violence and some adult language. If you feel any of these things
would bother you, read no further.
[Author's note: I would, at this time,
like to make a short blanket statement. In no way, shape, or form, do I
now or have I ever felt that a woman NEEDS any type of phallic object for
her own gratification. Okay. That's it. Call it......damage control.]
The sun was just beginning to rise over the edge of the horizon, splashing the valley floor in a beautiful palette of colors. The woman breathed deeply, enjoying the smell of honeysuckle, morningdew, and heather all mingled together. She regretted that she'd wasted much of her life by devoting it to death and destruction. A few years ago, when she was leading her army of mercenaries across the land, she never would have appreciated such a peaceful moment. She closed her eyes and took in the sounds around her. She could hear the faint rumbling of the waterfall across the valley which fed the stream that meandered by at the foot of the hill. The birds had begun their morning chorus and a slight breeze rustled the fresh grown spring leaves. She then heard the familiar sound of her companion snoring lightly a few feet away on the other side of the embers of their fire.
Xena looked down at the stillsleeping form of Gabrielle. When they had first started traveling together, her snoring had often gotten on Xena's nerves. Now, she had become used to it. She even missed it when Gabrielle was not around. She put down her scabbard which she'd been cleaning and came around the fire to stand by the girl's side, looking down at her. She crouched down and gently used her finger to push a stray lock of Gabrielle's hair off of her face. She left her fingers there to lightly trace across the girl's brow. She realized how beautiful the girl...."No. She's a woman now," Xena corrected herself. She realized how beautiful the woman was. It was only her childlike complexion which made her appear as if she were only fifteen summers old. Her body, however, did nothing to hide her true age. Xena looked admiringly down to her chest where Gabrielle's breasts gently rose and fell in time with her breathing. She could see where her nipples made small lumps in the fabric of her shirt. She could also see the small patch of light freckles in the cleavage of her bosom. She began wondering, not for the first time, what Gabrielle's breasts would feel like.....
"STOP IT!!" she thought to herself. "You promised yourself you'd stop thinking like that. It's not going to happen." With a sigh, she stood up and walked back to her side of the fire. She'd had thoughts like these before. When they'd first met, almost two years ago, Gabrielle had been nothing short of a pain in the ass. In time, she had grown fond of the woman's naivete' and innocence. Probably, because she saw in Gabrielle how she used to be before her own soul had darkened. They had fought side by side many times. She would give her life for Gabrielle and she was pretty sure; no, she knew Gabrielle would do the same for her. Their relationship had grown into what it was now. It was hard for Xena to put into words. She knew she loved Gabrielle like a sister. "Oh yeah?" she chided herself. "If she WERE your sister, would you still be fantasizing about making love to her?" She knew Gabrielle loved her, but not in that way. She often thought about what their relationship would be like if they took it farther. If they became intimate. But, like always, she realized she valued her friendship to Gabrielle too much to risk losing it for the sake of her own desires. Besides, Gabrielle had never hinted once that she had any romantic interests in women. She often commented dreamily upon men they would pass in their wanderings.
Xena herself didn't have anything against men. Quite the contrary. She remembered overhearing one of her men say that "her bed had seen more men than the gates of Tartarus." She had pummeled him on the spot. She had to admit though, she'd had her fair share of lovers, men and women. Of course, there was that night when she'd gotten drunk with that minotaur and... She shook her head, "Best not to think about that one." Only a handful of them had had any meaning though. A few years ago, when she'd started making amends for all the evil she'd done over the years, she'd teamed up with Hercules and Iolaus to stop Darphus, her secondincommand who'd taken her army from her. In the process, she and Hercules had spent a few nights of passion together. After you've made love to the son of Zeus, all other men seemed to pale in comparison. They realized, however, that their destinies did not lie together and parted ways. They'd seen each other a few times since then, but not as anything more than friends.
Then there was Marcus. The only man she'd ever truly loved. He was the only man she would have put down her sword forever for. He'd died, initially, trying to save the life of an innocent. She knew that he was in the Elysium Fields and that one day, the Gods willing, they would be reunited. She then realized that Marcus was the last person she'd made love to. She hadn't realized it had been that long. She had vowed to put meaning in her life by helping those she could. She never said anything, however, about a life of chastity.
She looked back down at Gabrielle. A few years ago, she would have taken the woman to bed by force if necessary. As she gazed over Gabrielle's prone form, she could feel warmth flush through her thighs and a slight wetness from between her legs. "NO!" she told herself. "You've lost too many people in your life. You're not going to risk losing Gabrielle too." She still felt her desires welling up inside her and cast a longing glance at one of her saddlebags. Then, shaking her head, she took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. She chuckled, and with a smile on her face, yelled, "GABRIELLE!! LOOK OUT, IT'S A HYDRA!!"
The sleeping woman shot straight upright and bolted behind Xena, looking around for the manyheaded beast. When she realized she'd been made the victim of a joke, she slapped Xena on the arm and stood defiantly with her fists balled at her sides. "That's not funny!! Why do you always do that?!?"
"Because, it's so easy," she replied with a wry grin. "Also because you look so cute when you're angry," she silently added.
"HHHHRRRGHH!!" Gabrielle fumed as she walked back around the fire and began folding her sleeping blanket. She looked up at Xena, who was still smiling, and asked, "Don't you ever sleep? Just once I'd like to wake up first and pull something on you."
"It'll never happen," replied Xena. "You hungry?"
Gabrielle nodded eagerly. Xena was amazed at how much the woman could eat and not blow up to the size of Mt. Olympus. "Alright. We still have some hare from last night and some apples from the grove we passed yesterday. Why don't you go fill this up in the stream," she tossed one of the waterskins to her and then put a few more pieces of wood on the fire.
Gabrielle put the blanket in her sack. After picking up the waterskin, she walked down the hill. Xena caught herself staring at her rear as she walked away.
Gabrielle hummed softly as she made her way to the shallow edge of the stream. She crouched down and submerged the skin completely into the cool, fresh water, filling it as the bubbles escaped from inside. She grinned and giggled as she thought about Xena's joke. She really wasn't that upset with her. Xena didn't do it to be cruel. She did it because she loved her. She just wished that maybe Xena would love her a little more. Xena was the best friend she'd ever had. Lately, however, she'd been thinking of her friend differently. She'd always cared for Xena, right from the start. She had eventually come to love her like family. Somewhere along the line, things changed.
A few weeks before, while traveling on the road to Missantia, they'd been attacked by bandits. While Xena, naturally, had had no trouble with the common thieves, she wasn't so lucky. While she was fighting two of them off with her staff, another snuck up from behind and clubbed her. Everything went black as she felt herself fall to the ground. The next thing she knew, she awoke, cradled in Xena's arms with her head in her lap, her friend looking down at her with both concern and relief.
Xena had spoken softly, "Thank the Gods, Gabrielle. You have to be more careful. I don't know what I'd do if I ever lost you." Then, she had leaned down and gently kissed her on the lips. Gabrielle didn't know if it was the hit on the head or not, but at that moment, all she wanted was for Xena to kiss her again, deeply. She'd looked up into Xena's eyes and thought she saw the same feelings there. Xena's demeanor changed suddenly though. She'd stood and told Gabrielle to lie still while she looked for a safe place for them to spend the night. She didn't want to move her far until she was sure Gabrielle was okay. Gabrielle remembered looking around. Apparently, Xena had carried her into a clearing off the road from the spot where they had been attacked. It looked as though half the bandits had run off and the other half weren't going to be getting up, ever. Then she must have passed out.
She awoke some time later in a cave Xena had found and carried her to. Xena was right next to her, wiping her forehead with a damp cloth as she smiled and said, "Hey, you're back. How was your nap?" Gabrielle had smiled and replied weakly that she was thirsty. Xena had given her some water, a few sips at a time, as she said, "You've got a slight fever, but I think the worst of it is over. The fact that you're thirsty is a good sign. Do you feel nauseous?" Gabrielle had shaken her head and asked if they had any food. Xena had laughed and said, "Now I know you'll be back to your old self in no time." They had spent the next couple of days in the cave with Xena staying by her side the whole time.
Lately, however, it seemed as if Xena had been trying to distance herself from her. They didn't even bathe together anymore. She suddenly wondered if maybe Xena'd had enough of her and wanted to go their separate ways. She then smiled and shook her head, dismissing the thought as silly. Xena wasn't one to hide her feelings. Something was bothering her though, and she intended to find out what. Gabrielle stoppered the skin and made her way back up the hill.
As Gabrielle returned to the fire, Xena pointed to what was left of the hare and said, "The rest is for you. The apples are in the big saddlebag," nodding towards their belongings at the base of the tree.
Gabrielle asked her, while chewing her breakfast, "Where are we headed anyway? You never said."
Xena replied in between drinks from the waterskin, "I thought we'd go to Thendra. I found out an old comrade of mine is living there.We could stay for a few days and visit..." Xena paused a moment, "... and still make it to Solanica in plenty of time for the Spring Festival."
Gabrielle's eyes shot up from the rabbit leg as she asked, "Really?"
Xena looked at her friend's glowing face and replied, "Sure, why not?"
Gabrielle jumped up and hugged Xena tightly saying, "Oh Xena. Thank you. thank you, thank you, thank you." Over the past month, Gabrielle had been dropping hints about wanting to go to the festival. Xena had decided the first time Gabrielle had brought it up that they would go. Anything to put that beautiful smile on her friend's face.
Xena smiled down at her and said, "Okay, okay, why don't you finish your breakfast and we can be off."
Gabrielle hopped up, gave her a quick kiss and then headed towards the tree.
Xena stared after her, raising her fingers to brush past her lips.
Gabrielle spun around and asked if she wanted an apple.
Xena quickly lowered her hand and replied, "No thank you," and hoped she wasn't blushing too badly.
She turned to the dwindling fire and dowsed the ashes with what was left in the waterskin. She turned to see Gabrielle pick up the small leather pouch. Xena's eyes went wide as she hollered, "No Gabrielle!! I said the BIG saddlebag!"
The startled woman dropped the bag as if it had been a serpent as Xena came marching over. She looked up at the older woman and said meekly, "I'm sorry. I hope I didn't break anything," her bottom lip pouting slightly.
Xena picked up the bag and replied, "No, you didn't break anything," as she placed the pouch under a hidden fold in her saddle. She turned to Gabrielle and said in a calmer voice, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to snap at you." She reached in the larger bag and handed Gabrielle an apple, saying again, "I'm sorry. Why don't you go refill the waterskins and I'll pack up our stuff."
Gabrielle took the skins and headed towards the stream, taking a bite out of her apple. "That was strange," she thought. Something was definitely making Xena fidgety and it probably had something to do with whatever was in that bag. She was now more determined than ever to find out what was bothering her friend.
Xena soon came down with Argo and the
trio set off towards Thendra.
Their day's traveling passed by uneventfully. As the sun started to descend behind the tops of the Nameran Mts., Xena began searching for a place to make camp. She looked down at Gabrielle, who was watching a woodpecker in a tree off to the left. From her seat in the saddle she had a nice view straight down the woman's shirt. She was about to turn away when she realized no harm was being done as long as Gabrielle didn't notice. She remembered several times questioning her old friend Wylan when she would catch him staring at her. He'd smile and reply, "I know I can't eat the fruit, but I still like looking at the tree." So, she resigned herself to enjoying the view.
Without looking away from the woodpecker, Gabrielle spoke up, "Xena?"
Xena quickly looked forward and answered her, "What?"
The woman looked towards the mountains and the retreating sun and asked, "Shouldn't we look for a place for the night?"
Xena looked down and replied, "Well, do you see any likely spots?"
The woman looked around and pointed to a ridge overlooking the road a short distance ahead.
"Very good," Xena thought to herself. "Why there?" she asked aloud.
Gabrielle looked up and said with confidence, "Because it's easily defendable and affords a good view of the surrounding area." Xena's smile told her that she'd done well.
Xena looked back up towards the ridge and said, "It's also a good place for an ambush. Stay here and I'll go check it out," she urged Argo forward.
Gabrielle watched her drive the charger up the slope leading to the ridge and then over it. A short while later, Xena appeared at the edge and waved her over.
Gabrielle made her way up to the ridge to find Xena clearing an area of brush to make a fire. She came over to help. Gathering some kindling and her flint, Xena used her dagger to spark a small fire to life. She looked over at Gabrielle and said, "We still have about an hour of daylight. I'll go set a few snares to see if we can catch anything for breakfast. Why don't you warm up that beef."
Gabrielle nodded and began building a spit over the fire. Xena gathered some twine and cord out of a pouch on her saddle and headed into the forest.
She returned not long after, the aroma of the cooking meat filling her nostrils before she even got near the fire. As she came closer, she moved the meat to the side, saying, "I think it's warm enough. No sense in ringing the dinner bell for every predator within a league of here." She sat down and pulled a piece of meat from the spit. "Good news. I found a hot spring about sixty yards over there," pointing into the woods in the opposite direction of the ridge. "We'll be able to clean up tomorrow morning."
Gabrielle smiled and said, "I can't remember the last time I had a hot bath."
Xena said nothing as an image filled her head that she wished hadn't. They sat quietly and enjoyed the simple meal.
Xena looked across the fire at her friend and said, "Hey, save some room for dessert."
Gabrielle looked up and smiled. She washed down a mouthful of the dried beef and brought a couple of pomegranate muffins out of her bag. Handing one to Xena, she said, "Thanks again for buying them."
When they'd passed the merchant that morning, she'd bought the dried beef and some sorghum for Argo. Gabrielle had begged her to buy some of the muffins. Xena figured she owed it to her for yelling at her that morning. Unlike the beef, which she practically inhaled, Gabrielle took small nibbles of the sweet tasting bread, savoring each bite.
Xena got up and handed hers to the woman. "Here, you can have mine too. I'm sorry again I snapped at you this morning."
The woman put the second muffin on the blanket between her legs and looked up. Smiling, she said, "It's okay, no problem."
Xena leaned down and wiped a red pomegranate smear off the corner of the woman's mouth. "Gabrielle, try and get most of it INTO your mouth." The bard just smiled up at her adorably. Xena continued, "I'm gonna go bathe now. You can stay and finish eating. I won't be long. Put away the rest of the meat too," Xena grabbed her towel out of a bag and disappeared into the trees.
The full moon was almost directly overhead. Xena reached the spring and began removing her boots, armor, and bracers. She made her way to the back of the pool which was roughly semicircular and about forty feet wide from the edge to the rockface where she then sat in the water, leaning back in a comfortable position. The water came up to just below her shoulders. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the sensation of the warm water embracing her body. She slowly ran her fingers across her breasts. While not huge, they were ample and firm. She traced her fingers in a circular pattern of decreasing size until she circled her nipples which were now hard from her fondling. She rolled them between her fingertips, teasing and plucking them softly. She thought about Gabrielle again; her friend's soft smile directed up at her.
While one hand continued to massage her breasts, she brought the other down between her legs. She then began running her fingers up and down her petal-like folds while her thumb massaged her clitoris which was slowly growing with her excitement. She continued to think about Gabrielle. She decided it would be okay to let herself fantasize just this once. No one was being hurt. She wished now that she had brought her... "Oh well," she thought. "You'll just have to make do with your fingers." Slowly, she slid two of her fingers inside of her. After they were partly in, she slowly separated them, letting the warm water seep into her. She moaned softly and bit her bottom lip. Then, using small slow strokes, she slid her fingers back and forth while gently pinching her sensitive bud in unison with the other hand. All the while, thinking about Gabrielle's soft voice and beautiful face.
Gabrielle finished the last of her muffin and looked down at the one Xena had given her. She decided to save it for later and put it back in her bag. She took what was left of the beef and put it in the sheepskin pouch they put their leftovers in. She tied the end tight and placed it in a larger sack which she tied to a tree branch like Xena had taught her. She straightened out her blanket and lay on it, trying to decide what to do next. She wasn't at all tired. She stood and said, "A moonlight dip doesn't sound all that bad." She smiled impishly as she
thought, "Besides, maybe seeing Xena without any clothes on will give me something nice to dream about." She grabbed her towel from her sack.
She walked off into the forest in the direction Xena had went, trying to remember the last time she HAD seen her friend naked. Not that her armor did much to hide her body. The moon shone brightly, so she had no trouble finding the pool. She walked quietly, deciding she would try and sneak up on her. "Good luck!" she sarcastically told herself. She came upon the edge of the pool and found Xena's armor and boots but didn't see Xena anywhere. Her momentary worry was eased when she finally spotted her against the back edge of the pool. She had her head back and her eyes were closed. Apparently, she had fallen asleep. With a wicked grin, she drew in a breath and prepared to scream as loud as she could. Then, slowly, she let it out again. She couldn't do it. She knew that Xena went out of her way to look after her. She decided to let her sleep, peacefully, as long as she wanted. She would stay and watch over her to make sure she didn't drown or anything.
Slowly, she took off her clothes, then her boots. She reached back and tied up her hair, not wanting to get it wet. She dipped her toe into the water to make sure it wasn't too cold. As her foot touched the warm water, she thought to herself, "It's a hot spring dummy, remember?" Slowly, she waded out towards the center of the pool. She remained standing and walked around, enjoying the difference in the way the cool air felt against her chest and the warm water felt against her legs. She looked down and noticed that the water stopped only a few inches below her crotch. Then, she realized how quiet it was; she could barely hear the ripples she made in the water as she moved around. She could hear Xena's breathing though. At least she didn't snore. Xena had told her on several occasions that she had snored, but she didn't believe her.
Then, she heard Xena let out a low, drawn out moan as she saw her head turn slightly back towards the rockface. "She must be having a nightmare," she thought. She went a little closer to the woman and asked softly, "Xena, are you okay?"
The swordswoman bolted upright and stared wideeyed at Gabrielle as if she were looking at Ares himself, causing the bard to take a step backwards while saying, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to startle you. I thought you were having a bad dream. I'm sorry."
Xena took a few seconds to grasp what had just happened. Finally, she thought to herself, "Sit down, you fool. She thought you were asleep. She didn't see anything." The woman quickly sat back down and replied, "It's okay, Gabrielle. I'm sorry I scared you." She couldn't take her eyes off of her friend.
Gabrielle was standing with her arms crossed over her stomach, leaving Xena a clear view of her breasts and pubic area. The bright moonlight gave the small, soft down hairs on her arms a silver glow. Looking lower, she noticed it did the same for the thin patch of fine blonde hairs between her legs. Xena realized she'd been holding her breath since she'd sat back down in the water; she let it out slowly. She shifted her gaze to Gabrielle's breasts, realizing how much they'd grown in the past two years. They were about half the size of her own and had the firmness of youth. Her nipples were rather large in comparison to the small areolae. They were soft pink in color, only slightly darker than the surrounding skin. She looked up quickly to make sure Gabrielle had not noticed her staring at her. The woman was looking down at the water as she traced her fingers across the surface, turning in a slow circle.
Xena looked back down at her beautiful firm rear as she spun in place. She again bit her bottom lip. "This is not good," the warrior thought to herself. She could feel heat building below her which had nothing to do with the warm spring water. Through the crack between Gabrielle's legs, she could still make out the bottom of the woman's pubic mound.
Gabrielle slowly lowered herself into the water. When the surface reached her vulva, she quickly stood back up and let out a girlish squeal, "Ooh, that tickled."
Xena closed her eyes and took a deep breath as she thought to herself, "No, this is not good at all."
Gabrielle, again, slowly lowered herself into the water while softly saying, "Oooooooo, that feels SO good."
Xena got up and quickly made her way to the edge of the pond. She said without looking back, "I'm gonna turn into a fish if I stay in there any longer," she grabbed her towel, armor, and boots and headed hurriedly back towards camp.
Gabrielle stared after the woman, noticing how the water dripped off her body, how her large breasts gently swayed with her movements. "Yeah," she thought to herself, "pleasant dreams indeed." The woman settled back into the water and let her hands run over her body.
Later that night, as Gabrielle lay sleeping, Xena stood nearby, pacing, looking down at the bard. "For once," she thought, Gabrielle had wanted to turn in early and fell right asleep. Try as she might though, she herself couldn't seem to drift off. With a sigh of resignation, she went to the saddle and pulled out her little pouch as Argo, grazing nearby, snorted. Xena looked up at the animal and whispered, "Shut up." With that, she headed back towards the pond, stopping briefly to look at Gabrielle's sleeping form. The woman looked as peaceful as ever with a broad smile across her face. Xena chuckled and said to herself as she continued towards the pond, "Probably dreaming of food again."
She returned about twenty minutes later and replaced the bag in the saddle. She stooped over Gabrielle and tucked her in her blanket a little tighter. She then went to her own blanket, closed her eyes, and soon fell a sleep herself.
Xena awoke the next morning feeling refreshed and invigorated. She looked across the slender wisps of smoke rising like serpents from the embers of the fire. Gabrielle was still asleep. She considered letting the woman sleep longer, but she wanted to make it to Thendra before nightfall. She came around to crouch down by the woman who was curled up in her blanket on her side.
Xena momentarily thought about scaring her awake like the previous morning. Instead, she gently pulled the hair from Gabrielle's face and spoke softly, "Gabrielle? Rise and shine, sleepyhead."
The woman stirred a little and then slowly opened her eyes, staring up at Xena with a tender smile. "No hydra?" she asked.
Xena replied, "No. No Hydra."
Gabrielle took Xena's hand from her temple, and to Xena's surprise, instead of brushing it off, gently held it in her own while smiling up at her.
Suddenly feeling uncomfortable, Xena stood up and made her way to the forest's edge and said, "I'm going to check the snares. Start getting our stuff together so we can leave. We'll eat on the road."
With a look of disappointment, Gabrielle began packing their things. She couldn't understand why Xena withdrew from her sometimes. It would seem like with all the time they'd spent together, they would have grown a lot closer. Which was the case up until a few months ago. Xena's attitude had changed somehow. Like the night before at the pool. They used to bathe together often. But last night, it had seemed as if Xena were trying to get away from her. She froze in place when the thought crossed her mind that maybe Xena knew how she felt about her. Then, she seriously began to worry. She wouldn't know how to handle it if Xena confronted her with something like that. She finished packing their things, sat, and waited for Xena to return.
Xena came back with the coiled up cord in one hand to find Gabrielle sitting by the extinguished fire looking at her with a strange expression. She put the cord in a saddlebag and began fastening the saddle in place on the horse. "Gabrielle, are you okay?" At first, the woman didn't say anything, just continued to stare up at her. Now Xena was beginning to worry. She came a little closer.
"Xena?" the woman finely spoke softly. "Have I done anything to upset you?" casting her gaze towards the ground.
Xena came a little closer and started to reach her hand out to the woman's face but decided against it. "No, Gabrielle. Why would you ask that?" she replied softly.
Gabrielle still didn't look up. "So there's nothing you want to ask me or tell me?"
Xena's feelings of concern changed to suspicion. "Why? What did you do?"
Gabrielle looked back up to see Xena looking down at her with the familiar stare she used when she thought the bard was up to something. "Ummmm, nothing," the woman replied, finally smiling. "Never mind. It's nothing," she got up, grabbed the waterskins, and headed in the direction of the spring. "I'll be right back," not wanting to give Xena a chance to get a word in. She breathed a sigh of relief as she realized Xena didn't suspect how she really felt. Still, she would be careful in the future to mask her feelings from her friend. She didn't want to risk losing her.
Xena stood facing the same spot Gabrielle had been sitting, thinking, "What was that all about?" She shrugged and went back to adjust the saddle. "At least, she seemed okay." Xena smiled as she realized that Gabrielle's quirkiness was part of the reason she loved her.
She returned with the waterskins and asked cheerily, "Are we ready?"
Xena tied the skins to the saddle and replied, "Sure, let's go." The two, leading Argo, walked down the slope and turned onto the road in the direction of Thendra.
The older woman smiled as her mind raced back to her friendship with Wylan. "Yeah, aside from Marcus, he was one of the few people I completely trusted. He was a good friend," she said the last with a hint of regret.
Gabrielle swallowed a bite of apple and commented, "He doesn't sound like a killer," and immediately wished she could take it back seeing the hurt look on Xena's face. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean..."
Xena cut her off, "It's okay Gabrielle. You're right. Most of my army was made up of murderers and killers. The worst being myself."
Gabrielle put her hand on Xena's arm. "Don't say that. Xena, you're not like that anymore. You've changed..."
Xena put her hand on top of Gabrielle's, saying, "I know, but I can't ignore my past." Neither of them moved their hands. "Wylan was different. He gave up that lifestyle years before I did. He never had a heart for all that violence. He's the one who taught me most of what I know about medicine and healing. Don't get me wrong; you wouldn't want to get on his bad side. Eventually though, I think it was his conscience that wouldn't let him stay with us. He came to me one day and said he was leaving. He wanted to settle down, get married, raise a family, maybe do some farming. He had hoped I understood and that we could part with no hard feelings. I was hurt, so I lashed out at him," Xena paused before continuing. "I called him a coward and said I never wanted to see him again. I remember the sadness in his eyes when he left. I felt betrayed. I became even more heartless and cruel after that."
Xena paused once more, "Anyway, someone told me that he had a wife and two kids and was living in Thendra. It's been almost five years since I've seen him. I don't know if he'll want to even see me or not."
Gabrielle said in an assuring voice, "Don't worry. He'll see what a good person you've become."
Xena could feel the woman's hand slowly moving back and forth over her forearm.
"And if he's got a problem with that," Gabrielle continued, "He's gonna have to take it up with me."
Xena looked at the bard's smiling face and asked, "Have I ever told you how lucky I am to have a friend like you?"
The woman closed her eyes and replied, "Let me think, uh, hmm, I don't know."
Xena quickly leaned over and kissed her playfully on the lips before standing up and walking over towards the horse.
Gabrielle's eyes popped open in pleasant
surprise. She hopped up and joined the woman on the road.
They arrived in Thendra later that afternoon. Gabrielle looked down at the village as they drew closer. The majority of the buildings were made of stone with thatch rooves. A few of them were covered in slate. While most were single story, some were larger, two story buildings. "Probably storehouses," the woman thought. The village itself bordered on the edge of a small lake. Looking across the water, she could see a handful of fishing boats. It appeared as if the fishermen were pulling in the nets for the day. They made their way to the market in the middle of the village. Xena turned to Gabrielle and said, "I'm gonna ask around and find out if someone knows where Wylan is. Why don't you see if you can find us a place for the night."
As they split up, a loud booming voice filled the market area, "Look what the goat dragged in!!! A miserable excuse for a shewarrior!!!"
Gabrielle spun in the direction of the voice to see a large balding man standing several yards away glaring at Xena, who she noticed was returning the stare. "Damn," thought the bard, "it had been such a nice day." She watched as Xena charged at the man who now stood in a defensive position. To Gabrielle's surprise, instead of knocking him flat on his butt, Xena hugged him. Realization dawned on her as she thought, "Well, I guess we've found Wylan." She made her way to the two, leading Argo by the reins. The crowd, seeing that there wasn't going to be a show, returned to their business.
As she came closer, she heard the man say, "It's been a long time girl. I didn't know if I'd ever see you again."
Xena leaned back and looked up at the man, since he was half a head taller than her, and said, "I didn't know if you'd WANT to see me again after the way..."
The man gently placed a hand over Xena's mouth and replied softly, "That was a long time ago. We were both different people then."
Gabrielle noted how the tender expression on the man's face seemed out of place for someone so large. He looked about ten or twelve years older than Xena. He had the look of someone who was once muscular, but had settled into an easier life and quite a few pies. Regardless, Xena had been right; he was still someone she wouldn't want to make angry. She stepped a little closer to the pair and cleared her throat.
They both looked at her and Xena spoke first, "Oh, Gabrielle. This is Wylan. Wylan, this is my best friend, Gabrielle." The woman blushed a little at her friend's words. She knew how Xena felt, but it was another thing to hear her say the words aloud.
"Well Xena, I see you're still hanging out with a rough crowd," he said with a smile on his face and a wink at Gabrielle.
The woman blushed even more as she extended her hand towards him. "Xena's told me a lot about you."
Wylan bent low and kissed the back of her hand while saying, "I assure you my dear, lies and exaggerations."
Gabrielle's face was now about the color of a tomato. Xena spoke up, "Watch it Gabrielle; I forgot to tell you how charming he can be."
He stuck out his tongue and made a 'PPPFFTTT' sound.
Gabrielle giggled as she thought to herself, "No this definitely doesn't seem like a killer."
Wylan excused himself and went to a nearby fruit vendor's stand. He picked up a green apple and looked up at the vendor, who smiled and nodded at him. He thanked the man and headed over to Argo saying, "We certainly don't need any introductions, do we?" He scratched the animal behind the ears and held up the apple, which the horse eagerly took a bite of. He turned to Xena and said smiling, "You mean this poor animal hasn't had the sense to run away from you yet?"
Xena replied, "Don't start spoiling my horse again, Wylan."
Gabrielle, realizing that she still hadn't looked for a place to stay, broke in, "Xena, we still haven't found a place for us yet."
Before Xena could reply, Wylan spoke up, "Oh yes you have. You're both staying at my home."
Xena asked, "You sure your wife won't mind?"
Wylan didn't say anything as he looked down at the ground while rubbing the side of Argo's neck. After
a short while, he looked up and replied, "Anna died last winter. She had an accident while riding in the hills. She was thrown from her horse and..." He paused before continuing, "she didn't feel any pain," and left it at that.
Xena took his hand and said tenderly, "Wylan, I'm sorry. I had no idea."
He squeezed her hand lightly and returned a halfhearted smile. "It's okay. The Gods sometimes take the ones we love. I'm sorry about Marcus. I heard several months ago about what had happened." He tried changing the mood and said with a conspiratorial look, "You know, I've been hearing quite a few things about you lately. We have a lot to talk about. Later though. Let's head to my house for some supper." He looked down at Gabrielle as he led them towards the western side of town. "Did Xena also tell you what a good cook I am?"
Xena laughed and slapped him playfully in the gut. "No, but I'm sure she's figured that out for herself."
Wylan straightened and sucked in his stomach, feigning insult. "Hey now?!? I can still kick your ass."
Xena laughed and looked up at Wylan to see him staring down at her rear and making no attempt to hide the fact. She gave him a sharper rap to the gut this time.
"Sorry," he wheezed.
They came upon a moderately sized, slateroofed home with a small barn on the side. A small rock garden sat in the front yard. It had several marble statues and a birdbath; it was obviously well kept. Xena remarked, "Well Wylan, I see you've become quite the landscaper as well."
He chuckled as he led them to the barn. "No, that was Anna's passion. I do my best to keep the weeds out and the bird shit to a minimum."
Gabrielle giggled as she realized she was really starting to like this guy. Wylan put Argo into a large stall and helped Xena remove the saddle and halter. He partly filled the trough with feed and indicated that there was plenty enough water. There was another horse and a small pony in the barn.
Gabrielle, upon seeing the creamcolored
animal, immediately went over to pet it, "Awwwwwwww, he's so..."
"She," interrupted Wylan.
"She's so cute," the woman said, not missing a breath. "What's her name?"
Wylan paused a second before saying, "Pooney."
Both Xena and Gabrielle turned to him and asked in unison, "Pooney?!?"
The man raised both palms up in defense and replied, "Hey, I just bought her. I didn't name her. She's for the kids."
Gabrielle asked, "The kids?" She had always loved children.
Wylan rolled his eyes and said, "Don't worry, you'll meet 'em soon enough." He led them out the barn and back towards the house.
As they approached the front door, Xena noticed a large symbol of a caduceus carved on it. She turned to Wylan and asked, "Does that mean what I think it means?"
He smiled and replied with pride, "Sure does."
Puzzled, Gabrielle asked, "What does it mean?"
Wylan replied, "It means you're looking at the village's official doctor. I'm also the unofficial magistrate and 'comes stabuli'."
Xena looked around at the peaceful village. "I can't believe there'd be that much trouble in a place like this."
Wylan opened the door and waved them in while replying, "Usually there isn't, but lately we've been having some trouble that makes me doubly glad you're here."
Xena turned back to him and asked, "What kind of trouble?"
Shutting the door behind him he replied, "It's okay, later. I'd better start supper." They were standing at the end of a long hallway which contained two doors on each a side and a curtained window towards the rear. Wylan removed his vest, hanging it on a wooden hook on the wall and hollered, "Kids, I'm home!" He told the two of them, "I want you to meet the apples of my eye and the pains of my ass."
Suddenly, the back door to the right burst open and two children flew forth to jump into Wylan's arms. They were obviously twins, a boy and girl. They both had dark red hair and green eyes. He asked them, "Did you two behave yourselves while I was gone?"
They both replied, "Yes."
He looked at them with obvious doubt and finally said, "Kids, I'd like you to say hello to two good friends, Xena and Gabrielle."
Both youngsters smiled and said, "Hi."
Wylan continued, "And these are my two children, Asmodeus and Beelzebub," nodding at each child.
The girl frowned and slapped him on the chest. "Daddy?!?" She turned to Gabrielle and Xena and stated, "I'm Trianna and he's Caspius," pointing to her brother.
Gabrielle asked Wylan, "Why do you call them that?"
Putting the kids down and heading for the kitchen, he whispered to her, "Spend a week with 'em. You'll be calling them worse than that."
Trianna took Gabrielle's hand and asked, "Gabrielle, do you want to see what we've been coloring?" Before she could answer, Caspius grabbed her other hand and said, "Yeah Gabrielle, come see what we've been coloring," and the two began leading her down the hall. Wylan looked after them and then turned and walked into the kitchen.
Xena said, "Don't worry, they'll be okay with Gabrielle."
Wylan replied, "Hah! It's not the kids I'm worried about."
Xena sat down at the table, "They can't be all that bad."
Wylan smiled back at her as he got ready to chop up some vegetables and said, "Nah, they're worse."
Xena could tell that Wylan loved his children dearly. Joking was just his nature. It always had been. "Anything you want me to do to help?"
He turned and looked at her with a grin. "Now what did I use to tell you?"
She smiled back and said in her best impression of his deep voice, "Every army only needs one general and every meal only needs one cook."
"Right," he replied, "You lean back, put your feet up and rest. You're my guest, remember?"
"Okay. If you tell me about that trouble you were talking about earlier."
Wylan sighed and started talking as he continued to pour the cut vegetables into the kettle of water over the small firepit. "A couple of weeks ago, we started having trouble with bandits. They would come in and steal food, horses, livestock, or whatever else they could grab quickly. They torched one of the houses on the outskirts of village. A few villagers have been killed."
Xena asked, "Are they organized?"
Wylan replied, "Hardly."
Xena then asked, "Are they well trained?"
Wylan shook his head and laughed, "You know the kind Xena. Bullies who use their numbers to overcome their cowardice."
Xena nodded and Wylan continued, "They attack in numbers, grab what they can, and flee to their hideout in the hills to the north which we haven't been able to find. We're never able to kill or capture more than a few of them. Then, after several days, they get up the courage to try again."
Xena asked, "What do you do with the ones you capture?"
"Hold them until one of Milius' patrols picks them up and takes them to his dungeon."
Xena said, "I have an idea. But, it means waiting for them to attack again."
Before Wylan could reply, Gabrielle came into the kitchen, out of breath. "Wylan, I think your kids are soooo precious."
"Good, take 'em with you when you leave."
Gabrielle slapped him lightly on the arm as she leaned over to smell inside the pot. "Umm, that smells good."
Wylan smiled and said, "Boar stew, be ready in about an hour."
Xena spoke up, "Gabrielle, what happened to your skirt?"
Wylan looked down to see a long tear in the side of Gabrielle's skirt.
Gabrielle replied, "Uhm, Caspius wanted to show me some wrestling moves and I guess he just got a little rambunctious."
Wylan chuckled, "Hah, he's the calm one." He handed Gabrielle a needle and spool of thread he'd gotten from a drawer and then went back to cooking.
Gabrielle sat in the chair next to Xena and began adjusting her skirt so that she could sew it while still wearing it. This gave Xena a good view of most of her right thigh. The older woman tried not making it obvious where she was staring.
Wylan turned around and also saw the expanse of Gabrielle's creamy white skin. He hadn't known Gabrielle as long as he had Xena, so he started to turn away, not wanting to make the woman feel uncomfortable. But as he was turning, he noticed Xena staring intently at the same thing he was. He'd known the woman long enough to read the desire in her eyes. He turned quickly back towards the fire, aware of the large bulge growing in the front of his pants. He'd known that Xena occasionally fancied women, but he hadn't even guessed that the two of them were intimate. He closed his eyes as he pictured Xena and Gabrielle lying in each other's arms. He looked down at the large tent in the front of his apron made by his erection. "Damn!" he thought. "Have to get my mind off of this." Being very careful not to turn around, he spoke aloud, "So Xena, have you seen anyone else from the old days?"
Xena snapped out of her trance, hopping Wylan hadn't noticed, and replied, "Yeah, I saw Demedes in Carsus a few weeks ago. He told me where to find you."
Wylan asked, "Is he still a temple guard? If that ain't the fox guarding the chickencoop. Guess who went into business and opened a restaurant in Poneisis." When Xena didn't answer, he stated, "Midas."
Xena replied, "Midas?!?"
Gabrielle looked up from her sewing to ask, "Who's Midas?"
Xena answered her, being careful not to look at the woman's legs. "He was a scrawny little weasel that used to ride with us. We called him 'King' Midas."
"Why," Gabrielle asked, "did he have the 'Golden Touch'?"
Both Wylan and Xena burst into laughter. Wylan finally got a hold of himself and said, "No, pretty much everything he touched turned to shit."
Gabrielle replied seriously, "Well, then I'll be real careful not to eat at his restaurant." The three of them again started laughing.
"Wylan, do you have any leather oil?" Xena asked.
"Yeah, in the barn, in the cabinet over the feed barrels. Why?"
"I need to oil up my saddle before I forget." Xena started to get up.
Gabrielle stood up and adjusted her resewn skirt. She looked at Xena and said, "I'll do it. You two have a lot to catch up on."
Xena looked at Wylan and asked, "Do you think it's safe for her..."
Wylan interrupted her and said reassuringly, "She'll be fine. We've got sentries posted around the village." He looked towards Gabrielle, "There's a pile of rags in the corner of the barn."
Gabrielle looked at Xena. "Sentries? Did I miss something?"
Xena took her hand and said, "It's nothing. Don't worry about it. Thanks for helping. I don't know what I'd do without you." She leaned down and kissed Gabrielle lightly on the cheek and pat her rear as she headed for the door.
Before she left, Gabrielle turned and stared at Xena, who was focused on the spool of thread, and realized again how much she loved the woman. She then left, afraid Xena would catch her staring at her.
Wylan had missed none of it.
As Gabrielle made her way out to the barn, she thought about how Xena's whole demeanor had changed since they'd met Wylan. It seemed as if Xena had smiled more in the past few hours than she had in the past few weeks. "It must be the bond that she and Wylan share," she thought. It was a connection you felt to someone when you constantly relied on each other for survival, to watch each other's backs. She felt saddened when she realized that she and Xena would probably never share that bond. Yes, they had fought together and gotten in and out of trouble on many occasions, but Xena didn't really need her. She knew, and she was sure her friend knew, that Xena would have an easier time without having to worry about her. She figured if she couldn't fight an army for her, the least she could do was oil her saddle.
She entered the barn and shut the door behind her. An open trapdoor in the roof allowed a good amount of moonlight into the building. She found a hooded lantern and used a nearby striker to light the taper. She made her way over to the pony and scratched its side. A snort from the other side of the barn made her turn to see Argo staring at her from over her stall. She came over to the charger's pen and scratched her side, saying reassuringly, "Don't get jealous. You're still my favorite." Before getting the oil and rags to polish the saddle, she stopped and scratched the other horse, even though she didn't know its name. She didn't want it to feel neglected.
She sat at the table and first wiped the saddle down with a dry rag to remove the thick layer of dust. Then, she wiped the leather down with the oil. When she was finished, she placed the oil in the cabinet and the dirty rags in the trash barrel. Taking a fresh rag, she began wiping off some of the excess oil. She then noticed the hidden fold on the side. Hesitantly, she slipped her hand in and pulled out the small leather pouch. Gabrielle remembered how upset Xena had gotten the other morning. She briefly considered putting it back until her curiosity got the better of her. She untied the cord and opened the flap on the top. She reached in and found a velvet sack which jingled when she plopped it on the table. She looked inside and saw several dinars. She closed it up and reached back in the pouch. She pulled out a small leather scroll tube. She undid the stopper and pulled out a rolled up piece of brown parchment which she began reading. It was a letter from Xena to Marcus. It appeared as if she'd written it before he'd died. She obviously had never given it to him. A few tears ran down her cheeks as she continued reading. Gabrielle suddenly felt hurt that Xena couldn't talk about it with her. She understood how much Xena loved Marcus. Then her feelings changed to guilt at having invaded her friend's privacy. She wiped off the tears with the back of her hand and replaced the scroll in the tube. She was about to put it back in the pouch when she noticed something else at the bottom.
She reached in and pulled out the "stick?" She didn't know what else to call it. It was very smooth, looking like wood, but heavy like stone. It was about eight inches long and two fingers wide. It was flat on one end and rounded on the other. Looking at it from different angles, she couldn't imagine what it was for. It was too blunt to be used as an effective weapon and it couldn't....
"Ewww," she said with a grimace one her face. "It's..sticky?" She carefully raised it to her nose to smell it, thinking it was saddle oil. As soon as she took a whiff, she recognized the smell. She blushed deeply and began giggling. She knew what the object was, what it was used for, and where it had been. She had already smelled, and tasted, her own fingers right after she'd brought herself to climax. She knew it was her friend's essence which coated the shaft of the short stone rod. Feeling very...naughty, she looked around to make sure she was alone, except for the horses, and closed the hood of the lantern. After her eyes adjusted to the plentiful moonlight, she slowly raised the rod to her mouth and gingerly licked the tip.
As Xena's taste hit her tongue, she immediately felt the wetness between her legs. She then took a longer lick down the side of the shaft, closing her eyes and sighing as she savored the flavor. She'd assumed that all women tasted the same. Running her tongue around the tip, she realized she'd been wrong. From the many times she'd licked her own fingers clean, she knew she tasted sweeter than Xena did. Xena's essence had almost a 'wild' flavor to it. She giggled and thought to herself,"Now is that such a shock?" She felt the moisture increasing greatly below her. She stood and positioned the bench near the wall so that she could lean back comfortably. She pulled her skirt as high as she could and slid her undershorts aside. Her blonde pubic hair was now exposed to the moonlight and shone with a silvery glint. She was afraid to completely disrobe in case someone entered the barn. She continued to lick the rod while her other hand rubbed the length of her labia. She placed both of her feet on the table and spread her legs as wide as she could. She then began rubbing her pubic mound with the palm of her hand in small circular motions. She'd had much practice at stimulating herself and knew what felt best. Her breathing became faster. She used her fingers to spread her labia and brought the rod down between her legs. Suddenly, she changed her mind, fearing the next time Xena used it, the woman would realize what Gabrielle had done. She placed the rod back in her mouth as she closed her eyes and pictured Xena pleasuring herself with it. She slowly slid her middle and ring fingers inside of her. She began stroking them in and out of herself while rubbing her now engorged clitoris with her palm.
She was panting quickly now. She could feel herself tightening around her fingers as she neared release. She quickened her hand's movements and began making small whimpering sounds. Suddenly, her entire body stiffened as she came. She put the rod back on the table and brought her wet fingers to her mouth. She licked them like a cat grooming itself. As she lightly sucked the end of her index finger, she thought to herself matteroffactly, "Yeah, definitely sweeter." She stayed in that position, wiping her now soaked crotch with her fingers, licking them clean, and repeating the process. She was so startled when Argo snorted loudly that she almost fell backwards off of the bench. She righted herself and giggled at the thought of someone finding her, unconscious, in the back of the barn in that condition.
Standing up, with the thumb of her dry hand, she took off her undershorts, being careful not to get them any wetter than they already were. She made her way to Argo's stall and stood near the water trough. Dipping her hand into the water, she asked the horse, "You don't mind if I borrow some water, do you?" She brought a palmful up to her navel and let it wash down her legs. She bent over to get another handful when Argo put her head next to Gabrielle's crotch and snorted forcefully, sending a jet of air past her still sensitive clitoris. She jumped up, giggled, and pet the horse on its muzzle, saying softly, "Hey!? Where were you five minutes ago?" She washed herself once more and quickly returned to the table. Using the clean rag, she wiped off Xena's 'stick' and placed it back at the bottom of the pouch after kissing it lightly. She also put the scroll tube and the money back in the pouch and retied it, sticking it back in the saddle. After drying her crotch and legs off with the rag, she replaced her undershorts and adjusted her skirt. She uncovered the lantern and looked around to make sure everything was back in its place. She then blew it out and placed it back on the table. She left the barn and made her way back to the house.
She entered and made her way to the kitchen to find Wylan fixing the children each a bowl of stew, She stared at Xena, seeing her friend in an entirely different light. Wylan noticed the woman staring but said nothing. Gabrielle walked over to the basin and washed her hands. She smiled graciously as Wylan then held her chair out for her as she sat down. As she tasted the stew, she immediately determined Wylan had not exaggerated about his cooking.
Wylan watched her eat the stew hungrily, glad that she enjoyed it. He tapped Xena lightly on the elbow and said, "Boy Gabrielle, you must have worked up an appetite out there."
The woman just looked up and smiled like the cat which had swallowed the proverbial canary. Xena asked her, "Gabrielle, you didn't sniff too much of that saddle oil, did you?"
The woman just kept smiling and replied, "Nope, not the saddle oil."
Xena and Wylan looked at each other,
shrugged, and then returned to their meal.
After dinner, and Gabrielle's third helping, she agreed to tell the children a bedtime story to get them to fall asleep. Wylan had insisted on Xena and Gabrielle using the kid's room while they stayed, and the children would stay in his room. Gabrielle led the children into the master bedroom and tucked them into the large fourposter bed. She pulled up a nearby chair and asked them, "Well, what kind of story do you want to hear?"
They both began shouting suggestions simultaneously. Gabrielle raised both hands and said, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. I guess I'll choose the story." She sat awhile and tried to decide upon the right story for the occasion. Remarkably, both kids sat patiently and waited for her to begin. She finally smiled at them both, pulled her chair closer and began the story.
In the kitchen, Wylan and Xena were cleaning up as he turned to her to comment, "Well, sounds like Gabrielle finally got them to quiten down."
Xena finished drying the last dish and replied, "She's quite a story teller, and she's good with children."
Wylan handed her a cup of tea and indicated for her to sit back at the table. "She sure can put away some boar stew."
Xena giggled. "I think she has a kraken living in her belly."
Wylan chuckled and then took Xena's hand in his, "Xena, I'm really glad you came," he paused. "There's something I've been wanting to ask you since you got here. What happened to you? I mean, don't get me wrong, I really like the change. But, what made you give it all up?"
Xena sat there quietly, staring into her tea, before responding. "I don't know Wylan. I think I must have reached the same decision you had. It just took longer. I looked at some of the victims I'd left in my wake. I couldn't take it anymore."
"I helped save her village from a group of marauders and she sort of followed me."
"You mean like a puppy?" Wylan chuckled.
"Yeah, that's how it was in the beginning. But, we've gotten a lot closer since then. I can't imagine life without her. She's my best friend," she said shrugging.
Wylan paused while deciding on how to phrase his next question. He decided on the direct approach. "Is that all there is to it?"
"Is that all there is to what?" Gabrielle asked as she came in the room and joined them at the table.
Wylan got up and poured her a cup of tea saying, "Xena was just telling me how to prepare a poultice which cures poison ivy."
Xena gave him a stare which made him glad the younger woman had come into the room.
Gabrielle sipped the tea and said, "Xena told me you taught her a lot about medicine."
Wylan, eager to change the subject, replied, "Yes, in her position, it helped to know about the body and how it worked."
Before Wylan could reply, Xena said in a low tone, "Among other reasons." Wylan saw she hadn't stopped staring at him since Gabrielle had entered the room.
"Yeah. They asked me to tell them a scary story. I just hope they don't get any nightmares."
Wylan laughed. "Those two don't get nightmares, they ARE nightmares." He was glad to see Xena laughing also. "Follow me."
He stood and led them to the children's room where he lit a large oil lamp on the table between the two beds. "I placed a partition near the far wall. Anna used it for privacy. There's a large washbasin and a stack of towels behind it. The cistern is out back, and you can heat as much water as you need over the pit in the kitchen. You can dump the dirty water behind the fence in back. Let me know if you need any help." He showed them a closet. "I still have all of Anna's old clothes. While you're staying here, you're welcome to wear whatever you'd like, though they may be a little big for Gabrielle."
Xena took his hand and said, "Wylan, we couldn't possibly..."
He cut her off, "Xena, if Anna were still alive, I know she'd be making you the exact same offer."
Xena and Gabrielle thanked him again. He wished them both a good night and made his way to his room after locking the front door. Obviously, he thought, whatever Xena's relationship was to Gabrielle, she felt uncomfortable talking about it. From the way they'd looked at each other, he'd assumed they were lovers. But something didn't feel right. He couldn't put his finger on it and decided he'd be more careful in the future if he ever brought the subject up again. He shut the door behind him and changed into his robe. He leaned over the bed and gently kissed each of the children on the forehead. Climbing in, he was fast asleep in no time.
Xena took her and Gabrielle's cups to the kitchen where she washed and hung them to dry. When she returned, she found Gabrielle slipping into one of the robes from the closet. It was dark green with gold thread trim. The woman was facing away from her and Xena watched as the fine material made its way up her bare back and shoulders. She noticed how the color of the robe complimented Gabrielle's strawberryblonde hair. When she turned around, with the front still open, Xena was able to see a flash of her friend's body before Gabrielle tied the robe together. Wylan had been right, it was too large for the woman. Her fingertips were barely visible from the bottoms of the cuffs.
Gabrielle noticed Xena had returned and asked her, "Well, what do you think?" flapping the long sleeves at her side like a goose.
Xena chuckled and said, "Keep eating like you do and soon you'll be able to wear Wylan's clothes."
Gabrielle stuck her tongue out at her and went to the washbasin to wash her face. She rolled up the sleeves of the robe so that they stopped at her elbows. When she came back, Xena was preparing to lie on one of the beds, still in her armor. "Xena, you're not going to sleep like that, are you?"
Xena looked at her friend with a wry grin, "And why not?"
Sitting on the edge of her own bed, Gabrielle urged her, "Get something out of the closet. They have a lot of nice things in there. Don't you get tired of wearing your armor to sleep night after night?"
"No. I don't," Xena replied. "Besides, I don't know if I'd feel right wearing his wife's clothes."
Gabrielle thought a while, trying to come up with a new approach. "You know, I think you might end up hurting his feelings. It seemed important to him."
Xena pondered to herself, "She may have a point."
Gabrielle continued, "And you know, you don't want to..."
Xena stood and made her way to the closet, cutting off her friend, "All right, shut up," she said with a sigh. She shuffled through the hanging garments, not really paying attention.
Gabrielle lay on her side with her head perched on her hand, watching the older woman.
Xena pulled out a kneelength, blue silk robe and admired it.
"Ooo, that's pretty," Gabrielle commented, playing with one of Caspius' toy wooden chariots on the bed.
Xena gave the woman a smirk. As she felt the fabric, she thought to herself, "You know, she's right. This is beautiful." She sighed slightly. "You're a woman remember? It's okay to dress like one. Occasionally." She took off her bracers and boots and briefly considered going behind the partition to change. "No. It's okay," she thought. She wasn't selfconscious about changing in front of her friend. "It's Gabrielle being naked that makes YOU nervous," she silently added. She undid her belt, letting it fall to the floor. She then reached back and undid the buckle which held the cuirass together. She slid the straps off of her shoulders and slowly pushed the leather armor down over her thighs, finally stepping out of it.
As Gabrielle watched Xena undress, her mind returned to earlier in the barn. She felt herself getting wet again. She turned over onto her stomach. As Xena bent over to step out of the armor, Gabrielle stared at the woman's shapely rear and then down to her pubic mound. She couldn't see much as Xena had more hair down there than she did. She imagined running her fingers through the dark brown hair and over what it covered. She began growing wetter. Afraid she was going to stain the bed, she clenched her thighs together. This only stimulated her more and she let out a tiny yelp.
Xena turned, still completely naked and asked, "Did you say something?"
Gabrielle only shook her head, staring down at the toy. She looked back up at Xena as the woman placed her gear neatly on a chair against the wall. She looked at the woman's large breasts and wondered if her own would ever get that big. She saw that her nipples were partly erect, sticking out from her large rosecolored areolae.
As Xena went behind the partition, Gabrielle quickly spun on the bed and climbed under the covers, pulling them up to her chin. She untied the sash of her robe, sliding it partly open. She could hear Xena washing herself over the basin. Gabrielle ran her finger down the length of her slickened folds and then brought it up to her mouth, once again tasting herself. She brought her hand back down and felt the moisture increasing. She sighed and thought, "Just remember to wash the sheets before you leave." She stroked the upper folds of her labia, where they covered her clitoris, with her thumb. Her other hand alternated between breasts, gently rolling her nipples between her fingers.
After drying herself off, Xena returned and slowly put the robe on. She enjoyed the decadent feeling of the soft material as it brushed against her skin. The sleeves stopped at just below her elbow. She tied the silken cord loosely around the front.
Gabrielle, watching her friend dress, noticed that this left a deep V down the front of Xena's chest, leaving a good portion of the insides of her breasts exposed.
Xena walked over towards her bed. When she noticed Gabrielle all covered up, she said, "Gabrielle, if you're cold, you're welcome to use my blanket too."
The woman smiled across at her and replied, "No. I'm fine." She lifted her left arm over the covers and let it rest across her chest. "I really like Wylan."
Xena reached down and picked up a small stuffed pegasus. "I can tell he really likes you too." She ran her fingers over the small down feathers which covered the toy's wings.
"I wish I had been there, with you and Wylan in the old days."
Xena's smile vanished as she looked at the woman, putting down the toy. "No Gabrielle, you don't. It was a dangerous time in our lives. You had to constantly worry about your enemies in front of you and traitors behind you."
Gabrielle replied softly without looking up, "I understand, but you and Wylan seem so close."
Xena went over and sat next to Gabrielle. She gently raised the woman's chin with her finger until she looked up at her. "You're right. The closeness Wylan and I share is because of the time we spent together and it's pretty special to me." She leaned in closer and smiled tenderly down at her friend. "But I wouldn't trade what you and I share for anything else in the world. I hope you realize how special YOU are to me Gabrielle." She looked into the woman's eyes and, for a brief instant, considered telling her the true extent of her feelings. As usual, fear stopped her. She watched as a single tear rolled down Gabrielle's cheek and she could see the woman's eyes watering. She wiped the tear away and gently said, "Hey, don't get all mushy on me, okay?" She held Gabrielle's hand for a few moments before bending closer and kissing her lovingly on the cheek where she'd wiped the tear. "Pleasant dreams, Gabrielle." Xena blew out the lantern and climbed into her own bed.
Gabrielle rolled on her side, facing the wall, and cried herself to sleep. There was no trace of sadness, however, in her tears.
Xena looked over towards Gabrielle
once more before finally closing her eyes. She took a deep breath and let
it out slowly. In the home of a dear friend, in a child's bed, near the
person she loved, for once, in what had been a long time, Xena slept soundly.
Oblivious to everything around her except for her own dreams.