Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle belong exclusively to MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended through the writing of this piece. All aspects of Dior and Armani belong to themselves, please don’t sue me, I don’t have that much, think of it as another form of advertising, I’ll forward my invoice.

Subtext Warning: Ah, yes, so if you are under 18, or the subtextual display of affection between two consenting adult women is illegal where you live, or if you are offended by it, I suggest you read no further, but you are missing out on all the fun.

Acknowledgments: Primarily thanks to Carolyn Palliardi for writing an article on cosmetics in the Sunday Telegraph Magazine. It provided me with much laughter and inspiration. Quoted sentences are marked with an * just so I am not accused of plagiarism. Also to George Susino, for further stimulating my creative juices, so to speak, and providing me with a description of commercial applications of cosmetics as a spak filler, or alternatively a crack filler, the face lift of the future, just don’t smile! Again to Kamouraskan for discussing her occasional zit problem, it sent George off on a strange tangent.



A Thousand Smiles




Xena rolled her eyes skywards yet again as Gabrielle dashed off excitedly to the next stall. She sighed heavily and trailed her sword along the ground behind her. She knew it wouldn’t do the blade much good, but somehow, the slight scratching, grating sound it created kept a handle on her temper. How long had the bard been shopping? Candlemarks? It was a nightmare. Already she was laden with various objects and curios that no-one in their right mind would buy, well no-one but Gabrielle.

"Oh Xena, come look at this." The bard’s voice called out from a distance.

Xena had been eyeing a tavern and was on the verge of bolting when she head Gabrielle call. She grunted and stumped over to where the bard stood, engrossed in the various wares of a cosmetics stall.

"Look Xena!" the bard yelped, grabbing the warrior by the arm and dragging her further into the trap.

"What?" the warrior replied gruffly.

"Christanos Dioros has the aptly named Tower of Power out. It’s got five shades of lippy magic which come together in a sleek cylinder."* The bard grinned.

Xena raised an eyebrow, "You don’t need that Gabrielle, and what in Hades is a sleek cylinder anyway?"

"One of these, Xena." Gabrielle said in an exasperated tone, picking up the rather interesting object and shoving it under the warrior’s nose.

"That’s a tower of power?" the warrior asked, taking the object from the bard and inspecting it more closely. "Well, if you ask me, it could be put to better use than holding these sticks of colour."

"Xena! Don’t be so crude, it’s called lipstick."

The warrior grinned, "Yeah, I’ll show you where you can stick your lips Gabrielle."

The bard’s jaw dropped as she stared at the warrior. Deciding it was best to ignore the rather graphic image, she turned her attention back to the stall. Finally her eyes narrowed. Her hand reached out and grasped something.

"Well, if I can’t have the Tower of Power, how about the all in one beauty tripod with a sable lip brush for easy application?"*

Xena sighed, "Gabrielle, you’re gonna have to stop talking about lips and the application of, because I’m not that interested in painting them."

The bard blinked, catching Xena’s meaning and noting it for later.

"Ah, okay, how about this then?" she asked, dropping the beauty tripod and picking up a bag.

"Eggs? You want eggs? What are you going to do, wash your hair?"

Gabrielle rolled her eyes, "Not just any eggs Xena, these are bath eggs, you know, fizzy feel-good bathing balls."*

"Sounds disgusting." The warrior grimaced.

"Oh no, not disgusting. Look, they’ve got the Zippy, for energy,"* she said, pointing out one of the balls, "and the Zsa Zsa for indulgence."* she finished.

"Gabrielle, you are not buying any balls. If you want something, why don’t you get that concealer over there for your, well, you know?"

The bard’s eyes narrowed, "For my what, Xena?"

The warrior looked over Gabrielle’s shoulder and cleared her throat, "Your ah, zit problem."

"Oh, you mean this?" the bard asked, pointing to a rather large protuberance on her chin.

"Yeah, that’d be the one." The warrior backed away a couple of paces and grabbed the concealer from the stall. "I mean, you could use this, and then colour it in with kohl and call it a beauty spot or something."

The bard glared at the warrior for a moment, "You’re the one with the hairy mole Xena." She paused, "You think it’s a problem?" she finally asked in a small voice, subconsciously fingering the lump.

"Well, you know, you’re a bard, it’s all in the presentation, this concealer may help." Xena said, turning the pot in her hand to read the blurb. "It’s plaster based, and gives you a beautiful statue-like, white complexion. Or, it can be mixed with ochre for a more natural look, blended to mimic your skin tone." The warrior shrugged, "Might be worth a go Gabrielle."

"Give me that!" the bard snapped, swiping the pot from Xena.

She read the blurb herself, shoulders slumping, "Oh yeah, really good Xena, says here that in an emergency it can be used to plaster walls, or as a crack filler. Thank you very much Warrior Princess."

"Crack filler? Really?" The warrior raised and eyebrow.

"Don’t get any ideas." Gabrielle grated.

"Ideas?" Xena tried to sound innocent.

Gabrielle frowned, "I’m not buying putty for my face."


"My nails on the other hand. . ."

"Oh ha." Xena rolled her eyes yet again.

"Well, all this traipsing around the country side really takes it out of a girl. Then there’s the cooking, and the fighting. Ever since I started traveling with you, my nails just haven’t been the same." She said, inspecting the nails of her right hand with a critical eye. "Look at these cuticles! They’re obscene." She threw her fingers in the warrior’s direction.

"Maybe you need some cuticle cream." The warrior suggested, thinking that the bard’s nails really did need a bit of work, or at least a trim. She frowned.

"Like this?" Gabrielle asked, rummaging through the stall supplies and coming up with a tube of some kind.


"Well, I suppose, it’s got a nozzle for easy application*, but oh, look, it say it may leave a sticky residue."* The bard groaned, "I don’t know if I want a sticky residue on my fingers."

"You’ve never had a problem with residues before." the warrior intoned slyly.

The bard swatted her in the shoulder before throwing the object back.

"How about this then, the new scent from Georgio Armani, especially imported from Roma for the fair dames of Athenae?" the bard asked.

"You know how I feel about the Romans." The warrior grumbled.

Gabrielle’s shoulders slumped again, "Will you at least let me buy something where I can have an array of choices at my fingertips?"* the bard asked, throwing her hands in the air.

"Fingertips?" the warrior questioned.

"Yeah, you know, easily available." Gabrielle almost fumed.

Xena grinned lewdly, "You can buy anything that’ll make you easily available Gabrielle."

The bard squinted at the warrior, but decided to take the advantage.

"Fine, I’ll take the Tower of Power."

The End.

Uh-huh. . .

Unitl next time,


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