Author: Towandababe
Story Title: Afternoon Break
Characters: Xena/Gabrielle
Rating: NC-17
Summary: Xena just has to have it; and her and Gabrielle pay for it.
This rating is for explicit f/f sex.

Naturally, Xena and Gabrielle belong to someone else. I'm just borrowing them for a short while. When the story is done, I'll give them right back! I just wish the people that do have the rights to these wonderful characters would get a clue and write in more of the wonderful subtext that we all love so much! Yadda Yadda Yadda

There is lovemaking in this story, between two women who love each other very much. If the thought of such a thing bothers you in any way, I would suggest you do one of three things: go to some other site; go to a therapist and see why it bothers you; or, get a life! And of course, if you are under 18 years of age, this is not for you so get off the computer and go outside and play . . . . . . There is no violence in this story, just some good fun! The kind we all wish for every now and then!

There is no particular episode time to this story. It just sort of came to me after hearing of an incident of lovemaking between two people in a place where they probably shouldn't have been making love! You go girl!

I want to thank author Portia Richardson for her help, suggestions and editing, and KB, for her enthusiasm and encouragement.

You can also find Towandababe's stories at Dreamworker's Magazine

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Afternoon Break
by Towandababe

The day was warm and sunny. It was a good day in all respects, of that, Xena was certain. She sniffed the air and it was wonderful. It had a fragrance about it of flowers and fresh, warm soil. The birds were singing. The sky was the color of the eggs from the red-bellied birds Gabrielle liked to watch. All in all, it was one of those days a tall, dark and gorgeous Warrior Princess and her faithful sidekick, a beautiful, young Bard, were happy to be alive.

Xena and Gabrielle were both walking, Xena had Argo's reins in her right hand, her left hand held Gabrielle's. They were feeling at peace with the world having recently eaten a wonderful breakfast, caught by Xena, as only she can do it, and cooked to perfection by Gabrielle.

The sun felt warm and wonderful against their backs. Very warm, in fact, and very wonderful.

Xena felt the stirrings of something within her as she listened to Gabrielle babble on and on about one of their adventures that the young woman had been attempting to commit to her scrolls. She heard the sound of Gabrielle's voice, but not her words. The warrior's mind began to focus on other things.

Other things, such as the softness of the hand held within her own. The smell of Gabrielle's hair as it occasionally lifted with the breeze and brushed against Xena's arm. The way the young woman bounced as she walked, the beauty and strength and grace of her movement. Just as Xena was relishing these thoughts, Gabrielle tripped over a tree root and would have fallen had the warrior not grabbed her and kept her upright.

"Well, I guess the grace part is wrong."

Gabrielle looked up into those gorgeous blue eyes with a questioning glance.

"What are you talking about?"

"Nothing, I was just sort of thinking out loud. Go on with your story."

"Why? You haven't heard a word I've said since I started. Don't forget, tall, dark and dangerous, I have a few skills of my own, and one of them is knowing when you're listening to me and when you're not! And this is a 'not' time. You might be able to get away with that with some people, but not with me . . . oh no, not with me!"

"Gabrielle, I'm sorry, you're right, I really haven't been paying attention, but it's because I have something on my mind!"

"What is it? Do you hear something? Is there someone coming? Are we about to get into another situation? What, tell me . . . my juices are flowing!"

"Good, that's what I wanted to hear! And yes, someone is coming, or at least would like to be coming! Gabrielle, it's such a beautiful day, let's just get down, get funky, come on, let's just have some fun!"

"What in the name of Zeus are you talking about? You never talk like this, what's gotten into you?

"It's not what's gotten into me, it's what I want to get into me, and into you!" Xena grinned mischievously. "Come on, Gabrielle, let's just make out all day long, we don't have anywhere we have to be, there's no one expectin' us, we're free to just do whatever we want, no bad guys comin' at us, no gods screwin' around with us, nothin to get in our way. Let's just have some fun!"

This said, Xena let go of Gabrielle's hand, picked her up in her arms and carried her off the road and into the meadow. Argo followed the warrior and her squirming bundle. The mare was looking forward to some nice, quiet foraging in the meadow's lush looking grass.

"Xena, have you lost your mind? Put me down, I can walk, put me down right now!"

"In a minute, Gabrielle, in a minute. There, that's where we're goin'," Xena said while motioning with her chin, "Right over there by those fallen trees. Perfect!"

Xena carried Gabrielle, still squirming and wiggling in her arms, over to two huge trees that had probably fallen during one of last winter's storms. One tree, over six feet around was lying next to a smaller one, creating a rough table and bench effect.

"Oh yes, this will be perfect." Xena sat the struggling young woman on the larger of the two fallen trees, then with eagerness began to unlace the BGSB Gabrielle was wearing.

"Xena, stop it, what if someone comes along the road, they'll see us, come on, please, stop, this is so unlike you! I mean, I love what you do to me, but out here in the open? I don't think so, so stop it right now!"

Gabrielle tried to stop her lover but every time she moved one of Xena's hands the other one took over, until she finally realized it was a losing battle. The BGSB was coming off, no way to avoid it . . . but that was all. No way am I going to let Xena strip me naked as the day I was born out here in front of anyone who might be passing by! No way, this is not going to happen, not if I can help it. I love this woman, and I love it when she touches me the way she does, but I have to draw the line somewhere! Have to admit it, though, this is sort of exciting! Oh no, this is not going to happen . . . .after all, I do have my pride. Although this feels . . . . no, not gonna happen, no way, no how!


Xena was having a great time. The struggle Gabrielle was putting forth added a certain something to the scene. Gabrielle pushed against her, fighting to free herself, while moaning deliciously in Xena's ear. Once she had the BGSB off, she stepped back and smiled at the beautiful presentation before her, then she lowered her head and began to kiss Gabrielle's breasts, first one then the other.

"Xena, I want you to stop, this is ridiculous, someone is going to see us, please, this is so embarrassing. Get a grip, Xena, stopitrightnow!! Please, stop, won't you please . . . ohhhh, that feels so good, oh don't stop, oh, I think . . . . . . oh, please . . . ."

Gabrielle's eyes were closed and her breathing was fast. Xena looked up from her sensuous ministrations on Gabrielle's breasts and saw that Gabrielle was in another place, a really nice place, the place where they both loved to go, every chance they got. She smiled and then reached down and began to undo Gabrielle's skirt; untying it and letting it drop off Gabrielle's hips and down onto the ground. Hooking her fingers into the young woman's britches, she began to work them off her hips, reaching around her lover's waist with one arm to lift Gabrielle's bottom off the tree so that the britches could slide down and off.

She had almost accomplished her objective when suddenly Gabrielle's eyes flew open and at the same time her mouth began again . . . .

"Xena, NO! There is no way in Tartarus that you are gonna make me naked out here in front of . . . .in front of . . . . . . Argo! I mean stop, now . . . give me my clothes. If you want to make out with me, fine, but let's go find someplace more private. What if someone comes down that road . . . .Xena, stop, please!"

"Oh no, my sweet love, no way . . . I want you, I want you now, and I am going to have you! This is the Warrior Princess talking, and you know I always get my way. And don't try to tell me you don't like it when I get and have my way. And besides, you always said you wanted to know all of me, well, this is about as all of me as it gets! Come on, Gabrielle, you know you want me, you want me to make you scream out my name, you can't fool me, I know when you're ready, so go with it, just go with it, okay? Don't make me get really rough with you." Xena smiled and widened her eyes. "Unless you want me to? Hmmmm? Is that what you want? Want me to act like some sort of maverick warlord? Want to be the timid little maiden? Want to play act?"

The idea of role-playing appealed to Gabrielle. In fact, she had wanted to broach the idea with Xena on a number of occasions . . . .Amazon/Centaur, Gladiator/Centurion, Queen/Servant Girl, Pirate/Siren, Innocent Village Girl/Crazed Warlord. Well, the last one wouldn't exactly be role-playing, but she liked it. However, this was neither the time nor the place to add this element to their love life.

"Xena, I love you, I always want you, but this is embarrassing. I mean, someone might come along the road and see us!"

"That's half the fun of it, Gabrielle. Besides, there's no one around for miles and miles. You can scream as loud as you want, no one will hear you. Come on, just let yourself go."

Gabrielle tried to grab her clothes, but Xena stopped her. Holding both of the young woman's hands in one of her own, she reached over and stroked her long fingers across Gabrielle's breasts, down her taut abdomen and then into the golden patch of hair at the juncture of her thighs. She ran her finger down through the patch of curly hair, and stroked the full lower lips, dipping her finger into the folds, and then bringing her finger out and showing it to Gabrielle.

"Look at this, Gabrielle, see how wet my finger is? Now tell me that you don't want me to keep going. Tell me you want me to stop. Can you do that with a straight face?"

"Xena, y-y-yesss." Her voiced quivered. "I mean, I'm very turned on, but I don't want to do this out here in the open, it's just too scary. Someone could see us, we could come under attack, bugs could bite us, or at least bite me, since I seem to be the most naked one around! And you know how I hate to have bug bites! Please, let go of my hands, let me get dressed, and then we can go find an inn or something and we can make love all day and all night long. How 'bout it, my big, strong, beautiful warrior woman? Let's go find an inn . . . .maybe we can get a room to rent by the candlemark!"

Xena smiled down at the semi-serious face being presented to her, and then bent to kiss those lips . . . .for two reasons, one, because she wanted to, and the second reason being that she knew it was the easiest, fastest and sometimes the only way to get Gabrielle to stop talking. She felt the response that Gabrielle could not stop, could not deny. She slid her tongue deep within her mouth, and was rewarded with a soft nip to her lower lip, then Gabrielle's tongue began to push against Xena's, until she managed to slide her tongue into the warrior's mouth, back along the warrior's palate, then down and around Xena's tongue. Soon they were both completely involved in deep, searching kisses.

Xena's hand continued to hold both of Gabrielle's, while her other hand moved over the young woman's body, touching, stroking, pinching, probing, until Gabrielle began to move against that hand, arching her back and attempting to get even more contact with those strong, long fingers.

"Xena, I give up, I can't take anymore, please, just do whatever and get it over with, please, just finish, please."

Xena stopped what she was doing and looked at Gabrielle, thinking that maybe she had gone too far this time, maybe she really did need to stop and consider Gabrielle's wishes, her embarrassment. She slowly let go of Gabrielle's hands and started to reach down to pick up the young woman's clothes, feeling that she had made a big mistake; that she had upset Gabrielle. However, as she stepped back, Gabrielle made her move. She jumped from the fallen tree and onto the warrior, causing both of them to crash to the ground, into the lush grass of the meadow.

"What? You're gonna get me all worked up like this? Make my legs weak and my head spin and then stop? What's wrong with you, warrior! Well, I don't think so! You want me naked for the world to see, well, now it's my turn, you long legged package of wonderfulness! Ha, gotcha now . . . let's get all that leather and brass off and see what we really have here!"

Gabrielle took advantage of the surprise element, knowing that it wouldn't last long, and quickly unhooked the armor breastplate while ripping down the leather beneath. Xena's breasts popped out, about the same time as her eyes grew wide. Gabrielle maintained her precarious perch on top of the warrior woman, moving as fast as she could to get as much skin open to the air as possible before Xena took control of the situation once again.

"Hey, you little twerp! No fair, you don't fight fair, you always sneak in, try to take advantage of me . . . . But you forget, I'm bigger, I'm stronger, I'm faster! Ok, now it's my turn again, and over you go!" With that Xena flipped the naked woman over and laid on top of her. She grabbed Gabrielle's hands once again, and held them over the younger woman's head, stretching Gabrielle's arms, causing her back to arch and her breasts to be even more accessible. Xena smiled and leaned down, taking Gabrielle's left nipple into her mouth. She was again rewarded with an instant response, the nipple became even more pronounced, hard, beautiful.

"Ummmm." Gabrielle's eyes closed for a moment. She lost herself in the feeling, but remembered if they got caught, she would be the 'most' caught - she was completely naked. Xena still had on her leathers.

"Xena, if we're gonna do this, and it sure looks like we are, at least take off your clothes too. I love the feel of your skin against mine. Come on, please? And it would be nice if you could get the blanket from Argo's saddle, then I could lay it down here in the grass and I wouldn't get bug bites on my butt!"

Xena smiled down at her precious lover, then raised up and removed her leathers and britches. She hopped over toward Argo on one foot, removing her boot while hopping, flipping the boot toward the tree and starting on the second one. She reached into their saddlebag and pulled out the blanket. Suddenly she heard rustling behind her. She turned to see Gabrielle taking off across the meadow, stark naked, her cute little behind flashing in the sunlight as she ran through the tall grass. Xena stood stock still for a moment, taking in the erotic sight of her lover running naked through the grass, then she snapped back to the moment at hand and took off running after her. Xena's long legs quickly closed the gap between the two women, and with a flying leap and screaming out her distinctive war cry, she tackled Gabrielle.

"Oooph . . . ." Gabrielle found herself flying through the air with long arms wrapped around her, and then crashing to the ground, covered by Xena's body. "I can't breathe . . . " she gasped, as she attempted to pull blades of grass from her mouth. "Get off me, you big bully! You said I don't fight fair? HA! You don't fight fair, you never do, you big, overgrown . . . . . . . . . "

"Oh, now you're gonna call me names, are you? Guess I'm gonna have to teach you to have some respect."

Xena rolled over, pulling Gabrielle with her, until the blonde woman was across her lap. She raised her hand and smacked Gabrielle's bottom, then rolled her onto her back and once again stretched out on top of the younger woman.

"That should show you who's boss. Now, where were we?"

Gabrielle was giggling by now, and had given up the struggle. She turned to face Xena and reached up and grabbed Xena's head, pulling it down toward hers, locking her lips onto the warriors, resuming the passionate kiss they had exchanged earlier.

"Oh, I want you so much, Xena, please, make love to me."

Xena was only too happy to oblige. "That was the idea when I carried you off the road!" She once again leaned down and kissed Gabrielle. Soon they were both happily engaged in a glorious exchange of feelings, kisses, touching, stroking. Xena reached between Gabrielle's legs only to find that the young woman was soaked, her hot juices coating her inner thighs.

"I love the way you respond to me, I love the way you smell, the way you move, the little noises you make."

"Ooohhh. Oh. Oh. Ummmm."

"Gabrielle, I love those little noises. You are just the most precious thing . . . ." You are such a joy; you never fail to make me feel like the luckiest woman in all of Greece, Tartarus, in all of the known world! Without you my world would cease to exist, I would cease to exist."

"Less talk, more action, Xena! You can tell me all that nice stuff some other time, right now, you have things to do, places to go, places on me, in case you don't get it, so get with the program and make me feel like I've . . ."

"Less talk, Gabrielle."

The warrior claimed Gabrielle's lips again. There was no more talking as Gabrielle's tongue was sucked into Xena's mouth. Her breasts were being squeezed and stroked by a strong right hand, while her lover's left hand was slowly moving down her belly, down to her legs, moving her legs apart, pushing them wider apart, then moving up the inner surface of her thigh, toward the sensitive place that cried for attention. Gabrielle was very much aware of how aroused she was, and could feel the dampness there, running into the crack of her bottom, down onto the ground, into the grass . . . . where the bugs lived!

"Xena! The bugs! Please go get the blanket. I'm gonna get bites on my butt."

Gabrielle didn't want to be bitten, but Xena didn't heed her request. Then a strange thing happened, Gabrielle found herself not giving a rat's ass about bugs, or her butt, or bites. She felt herself respond more and more to the loving attention being given her by the one person in the world that she loved more than life itself.

"Do you really want me to get the blanket?" Xena's question was muffled. "Mmmmm, no, I don't think so. I can't stop now, Gabrielle, this is way too wonderful. The sun on my naked back, the smell of the grass around us, the smell of you in my arms, no, I can't stop now, and I don't think you really want me to."

"No, don't stop, please don't stop, I love what you do to me, you make me feel like the world is spinning out of control, you make my body sing, you . . ."

"Gabrielle, please. No poetry right now. You just got through saying I talk too much! Just let me make you . . ." Xena suddenly shot bolt upright. "Did you hear that? Wait, don't move, hold still . . . I think I hear something!"

"Xena, what is it, is someone coming? By the gods, I knew this was going to happen, I knew someone would see us out here, naked as jaybirds . . . . Oh, let me up, let's get out of here."

"Gabrielle, shut up, don't move, don't talk!" Xena clamped her hand over Gabrielle's mouth, knowing that telling Gabrielle to keep still was like spitting in the wind, it was most often counter-productive. She listened intently, trying to sort out the sounds around them, the sounds of insects, birds, small animals. There was another sound, but it was fleeting, not easily identified, not easily centered. She continued to listen, but soon relaxed. Perhaps it had been just a larger than average rabbit. Whatever it was had come and gone. She returned to what and who she had been doing before being interrupted by whatever had interrupted her. She once again devoted her complete attention to the beautiful body beneath her. Gabrielle, in spite of the exposure felt safe in Xena's arms. She looked up into the most beautiful cerulean blue eyes she had ever known and smiled, as Xena began to stir wonderful warm feelings within her.

Xena continued to squeeze and tease Gabrielle's breasts, while sliding down and positioning herself between the younger woman's legs. Gabrielle lifted her legs and put them over Xena's strong shoulders, placing her feet against Xena's behind, pushing down with her feet, affording her bottom even more contact with the tall woman's face and mouth. Xena took advantage of the opportunity to use her tongue with the great skill that Gabrielle had come to know and expect, and love! And how she used it this particular afternoon!

"Mmmmm, oh that feels so good, oh please don't stop, oh wow, oh, you do that so well, oh, you're making me nuts here, oh, I'm almost there, don't stop, oh, do it, do it, mmmmmmmmm . . ."

Xena renewed her efforts, and was soon rewarded with Gabrielle screaming out her name, again and again, as the young woman strained and pushed against the warrior's face. The warrior was aware that Gabrielle's hands were alternately dug deep into her long, dark hair, and in the grass, pulling the grass out by the handfuls as her body arched and bucked in the seemingly endless orgasm. Eventually the wonderful spasms subsided and the young woman relaxed under Xena, as the tall woman slowly moved up and laid down on her lovers' spent body.

They laid together, basking in the warmth of the sun and the warmth of their lovemaking, occasionally touching one another, smiling, whispering sweet, loving words. "This is almost the best part of all, Xena, just lying here together, warm, feeling loved, like nothing could ever come between us, together forever and ever, inside one another's hearts, and souls, and minds. The strength and power of our . . . "

"QUIET! I hear something again . . . .keep still!"

Xena raised herself up slightly on her elbows, listening intently to whatever it was that had again diverted her attention. She slowly raised higher, and looked over the tall grass. She looked in all directions, but found nothing suspicious, nothing that apparently had attracted her finely tuned sense of awareness. She continued to look around for a few moments longer, then slowly lowered her body once again to the ground. She smiled down at Gabrielle, and then rolled onto her back, placing her left arm under Gabrielle's head and pulling the young woman toward her. Gabrielle quickly assumed their snuggling position, safely tucked within Xena's strong embrace, curled against the warrior's side, her left leg bent up and across Xena's body, her left arm across the warrior's chest, her right leg running down the side of the tall woman.

Soon both women found themselves drifting into a sleepy, relaxed place, lulled by the sound of the grass moving in the breeze, the warmth of the sun on their naked bodies . . .

They slept the sleep of the innocent, safe and secure in one another's arms, unaware that the sun was continuing in its usual path, finally sliding toward the west. Gabrielle was the first to stir, awakening slowly, sensuously, snuggling ever closer to the warrior's side, smiling in her state of half sleep, half wakefulness. Xena then began to return to full wakefulness, also smiling, very aware of the beautiful body lying against, on top of her. Then she snapped to being fully awake, and aware of something being wrong, very wrong.

"Gabrielle, wake up . . . we've got a problem here! Come on, wake up, this is not funny, wake up, sleepyhead."

Gabrielle stirred, then sat up and stretched her arms . . . and screamed out in shrill tones.

"Oh no! Oh Xena, look at us, we're all red! Owww, it hurts, it hurts real bad!"

"We're sunburned, Gabrielle, we've got a real bad sunburn. Come on, get up, let's go find some aloe plants and fix ourselves up . . . . Oww, it does hurt, wow, I've never had sunburn there before . . . . and look at you, half of you is red, the other half is, well, it's just you . . . ."

"Wait until you see yourself, oh great warrior with the 'afternoon delight' ideas . . . . You're burnt, too, and lookee there, you have no sunburn where my arm and hand and leg covered you! HaHa . . . .that's a real dead giveway, tall one . . . everyone's gonna know what you were doin . . ." Gabrielle singsonged her teasing remarks, as she started to stand.

Xena rolled up into a standing position also, and began to earnestly examine the damage they'd done to themselves by falling asleep in the sun, bare-assed naked. She looked down at her own body in the fading light, and saw that she did have Gabrielle's leg, arm and hand imprinted on her skin. Everywhere else was red as a lobster. She looked over at Gabrielle, and saw that she also had lobster red skin, except where Xena's arm had been around her. Gabrielle's left hip bore the unmistakable imprint of Xena's hand, showing up against the reddened skin as a white testimony of their sleeping position.

"Gabrielle, we really do have a problem here. This is gonna hurt like crazy in a little while. The sun is going down and its already getting cooler. We'd better get back to Argo and get our clothes on, while we can stand it. Boy, this was a dumb idea, I should never have listened to you . . . "

"WHAT? You're not going to put this on me, oh woman with the great ideas. This was all your idea, and you know it, now let's get back to Argo . . . . We can argue about this later!"

As they walked back through the meadow, they were both very aware that they were naked, hurting, and getting colder by the minute . . . . yet the thought of putting clothes on their sunburned bodies was not something either woman wanted to think about. Approaching Argo, Xena whistled softly, and the mare turned and looked at them both with a look that can only mean . . . .Boy, are humans dumb! Argo stared at them, then went back to grazing. The mare was not surprised by anything these two did!

"Gabrielle, here's your stuff, but don't put it on yet, I want to find some aloe to put on us, otherwise we are reeeeaaaalllly gonna be hurtin' tonight."

"Don't worry, the thought of anything touching me is not at the top of my list of things to do. And just where do you think you're gonna find aloe now? It's getting dark really fast, and . . . "

"Don't doubt my skills, woman. I will find the damn aloe."

With that, Xena walked off, still naked, and began searching for the distinctive plant that would give them both relief. Meanwhile, Gabrielle found the blanket and put it on the larger of the two fallen trees, then she gingerly sat down on it and waited for Xena to return. She looked down at her body, and contemplated the variation in color of her skin. Oh, why do I let that woman do these things to me . . . because I love her, that's why, but this is a real doozy, making love out in the open, in the daylight, the sunlight. Anyone could have come by and seen us, that would have really put the icing on the nutbread . . . .speaking of nutbread, I'm hungry, think I'll go check out the saddlebag, see what there is to fill this void in my gut . . . .

Xena, meanwhile, was having little luck finding an aloe plant. She stomped around like a bear, grumbling to herself and getting her tender, naked, burnt skin poked and prodded by branches and brambles. Damn stuff has to be around here somewhere, there is no way in Tartarus I'm going back there without it. I'd never hear the end of it . . . Aha . . . success, now we're gonna see some relief.

She gathered some of the aloe spikes and carried them back to where she had left Gabrielle and Argo. As she approached the fallen trees, she saw Gabrielle sitting on the blanket on the larger of the trees, eating something with great gusto. Nothin' ever stops that woman's appetite . . . not even a sunburned butt! She is amazing! Good thing I love her so much, makes me able to put up with all her other little quirky things. 'Course, putting up with me is no easy task, at least not to hear her tell it!

"Well, I found it. Come here, I'll put it on you first, then you can do me, I mean put it on me. Hey, don't eat all that, save some for me!"

"Too late, I ate every last bit of dried meat, a leftover piece of nutbread and some apples . . . .you'll just have to go back and find something to catch, I'll cook it for you. Actually, I didn't eat all the apples, I gave one to Argo."

Gabrielle slid down off the blanket and walked over to where Xena was standing, apparently not paying attention or being concerned about the look that was being shot her way.

"Don't bother with 'The Look'," she said, shaking her head. "It isn't going to make any impression on me today. You got us into this mess, Miss I've Gotta Have It Now. You can just get us out of it, first by putting the aloe on me, and then by catching something for us to eat. What I just ate wouldn't fill the belly of a gnat."

Xena just sighed and began squeezing the aloe juice onto Gabrielle's skin, working it all over the sunburned areas as best she could by the little daylight that remained. When she finished, Gabrielle took the remaining stalks and smeared the juice onto Xena's sunburned areas. She took her time, and teased the warrior's more sensitive places provocatively as she applied the soothing substance. This was not lost on the warrior, as she felt the familiar hands and fingers touching her.

"Gabrielle." Xena warned, but the young woman continued playing more than healing.

"Gabrielle, I mean it." Xena sighed. What she was doing felt good despite the sunburn, but they didn't have time for this.

"Gabrielle, I love what you're doing, but just finish so I can get dressed and get us some real dinner, OK? Then later tonight I'll let you finish what you've started here."

Gabrielle smiled and continued to apply the aloe to Xena's skin, still stroking and kneading, noticing the reaction it was having on the tall woman. Xena finally reached out and grabbed Gabrielle's hands . . .

"Stop now, or you won't have anything to make for dinner."

"Okay. I think that I've covered everything that needs covering. Can we put our clothes on now? It's getting cold, just look how your nipples have puckered up. Mine too, see?"

Xena looked down at her chest, then turned to look at Gabrielle's. The bard's nipples were very hard, standing erect, inviting and glistening with the aloe juice smeared on them.

"Gods, Gabrielle, stop it. Do you want to eat or do you want to fool around? Make up your mind!"

"I wanna eat, and then I wanna eat! Get it? A little play on words, there, a little bardly humor." She smiled up at Xena. That lusty, horny smile that Xena had come to recognize.

Xena returned the smile with a shrug. "I'm gonna hunt for food while I still have the will to go. I'll be back in a few minutes. Start the fire. Which would you prefer, rabbit, snake, eel, fish, bird, what?"

"Don't talk about it, you know I hate the thought of you killing things, but just go do it. And Xena, be sure it's skinned, defeathered, descaled, whatever, before you get back with it."

Xena grabbed her leathers, britches and boots, quickly dressed and walked into the woods once again. She listened carefully for any sound that could translate into dinner. Gabrielle, meanwhile, gathered some wood and soon had a fire going near the fallen trees.

Xena returned after a short time with two skinned rabbits, handed them to Gabrielle and then sat down on the fallen tree and began her nightly ritual of sharpening her sword. Gabrielle began to prepare the rabbits and some wild vegetables and greens she had found at their impromptu campsite. She listened to the sound of Xena's sharpening stone against the blade of the sword and found it to be a very restful, comforting sound. When Xena sharpened her sword in their campsite, wherever they might be, it meant that the day was over and they were alone, in peace and quiet. Soon they would be eating their dinner, then they would sit and talk. After that they would be snuggled together in their sleeping blankets, warm and safe. A smile formed on Gabrielle's face as she had these thoughts, and she hummed to herself as she finished the meal preparation.

"It's ready, come on and eat while it's hot."

Xena placed her sword back into her scabbard and accepted the plate of hot food from Gabrielle. They ate in relative silence, each absorbed in their own thoughts. The campsite was quiet, but much was said as they glanced at one another, stared into the other's eyes, tried out their best seduction expressions. When Xena lifted the corner of her upper lip, Gabrielle expelled a deep and rich sigh. When Gabrielle licked some of the tasty gravy from the rabbit off her index finger, Xena swallowed loudly. Gabrielle closed her eyes, tilted her head and ran her fingers through her hair. When she opened them again, she stared at Xena, then smirked. Xena slowly ran her tongue over her lower lip.

They could have continued this non-verbal foreplay all night, but the campsite had to be prepared for the rest of the evening. After they'd finished eating, which to anyone who knows them means after Xena finished one helping and Gabrielle finished three, plus anything left over, they automatically began to clean up and ready themselves for the night.

Xena made sure that Argo had fresh water and some grain. She brushed the mare down and talked softly to her, a nightly ritual that put both Xena and Argo into a relaxed frame of mind. Twice, she glanced over at Gabrielle who was laying out their bedrolls and blankets next to the fire. The bard felt eyes on her and turned to look at Xena. When she saw the warrior staring, she casually ran her hand down her thigh, straightening her skirt, then smiled at her. Then she began to remove her boots, placing them to one side. She slowly unfastened her BGSB, lowering it to the ground, then her skirt. She put a finger under the waistband of her britches, and worked them down, off her hips, then stepped out of them. She bent at the waist and picked up her clothes, turning to be sure she was being watched. She was. She smiled again, tossed her hair and settled down on her blanket. Xena continued watching her and found herself getting aroused all over again, despite the still present sting of the sunburn. She gave Argo a quick scratch on the nose, then joined Gabrielle by the fire.

Carefully, she removed her own boots, leathers and britches, and gingerly lay down next to Gabrielle. As she settled down, she reached for Gabrielle, only to receive a slap on the arm and Gabrielle saying . . . . "Touch me and you die! The aloe helped, but I still hurt, so don't even think about anything tonight, warrior woman." With that the young woman snuggled up against Xena's sunburned belly and quickly fell asleep.

Xena laid there for a bit, somewhat stunned at the rebuke, and then decided that she really wasn't in the mood either, since her sunburn still hurt. She might as well just go to sleep, tomorrow was another day.

The next morning found the two lovers in their usual sleep position, Xena on her back, with her arm around Gabrielle. Gabrielle's head on Xena's shoulder, her left arm thrown over Xena's chest, her left leg up across Xena's belly. Xena woke first, and looked down at the sleeping woman. She smiled to herself. The aloe had worked its wonders, and she knew they both would be feeling comfortable today.

"Wake up, sleepy head, come on, rise and shine."

Gabrielle made little noises, and then stretched and said, "I'll rise but I won't shine." She untangled herself from Xena and sat upright, yawning and stretching. "Hey, the sunburn doesn't hurt anymore, that aloe really did work!"

"Did you think it wouldn't work? Have you no faith in my skills, my beautiful Bard? Let me up now and I'll get us something for breakfast. Then I think we should be on our way."

"Okay, I'll get the fire stirred up; bring back something other than rabbit, please. We've had so much rabbit lately I feel like I should hop instead of walk. That stream we saw on the way into this meadow looked like it might have some trout in it. I could go for trout this morning. Bring back lots."

Xena smiled, grabbed her clothes and headed for the bushes, picking up her sword on the way. She soon returned with five nice sized trout, already gutted and scaled, ready for their breakfast. Gabrielle took the fish, wrapped them in leaves before burying them in the coals of the fire. Soon they were feasting on the succulent fish. Xena ate one; Gabrielle ate four, a typical morning meal.

After they had eaten and cleaned up their campsite, making it appear that no one had ever been there, they started back toward the road with Argo following behind.

They continued down the road, again walking hand in hand, Gabrielle telling Xena a story, Xena barely listening, and Argo following them. Xena marveled at the beautiful day that was before them, and how good the air smelled, the scent of flowers, the soft breezes, the sounds of birds and insects and small animals scurrying about. The warm sun played along their shoulders, the breezes brushed Gabrielle's hair against Xena's arm, and Xena felt the stirrings of something within her. She looked down at Gabrielle and an idea began to form in her mind . . .

The End [Then again, maybe there's more?]

I would very much appreciate any comments the reader would care to send. Thanks for reading my story!

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