Author: Ellie, sidewinder, G. Bonobo and Evil-Lyn
Story Title: Been There, Never Done That
Characters: Xena/Gabrielle, Xena & Joxer, Gabrielle & Joxer, Xena/Gabrielle & Joxer
Rating: NC-17
Summary: A very juicy and sweet (if you can believe it) tale about one particularly exhausting lost day. Was a round robin on the Joxerotica mailing list.
This rating is for explicit f/f, m/f and m/f/f sex.

I think we all plead temporary insanity for this. But it was damn fun! We don't own anyone in this story, we're just letting them have a little R-and-R.

Well, boys and girls, hold onto your hats, here comes a biiiiiig one. This round-robin started way back when, but grew so huge it took a long time to proof & edit it. Many thanks to my buddy the Range Ryder who went through this beastie as our beta-reader.

Definitely NC-17 f/f/m action!

Note from Ashera: I would never have been able to get the permission to post this story from all of the authors had it not been for sidewinder's generosity and patience. Much thanks.

Send feedback to sidewinder at

You can catch more stories by most of the authors at The Joxerotica Archives.


Been There, Never Done That
By Ellie, sidewinder, G. Bonobo and Evil-Lyn

That damn rooster...somehow Xena was convinced it was the rooster's fault, all of it. Sure she'd killed that scrawny bird already to absolutely no effect but there was something in that smug, self important little rooster that made her more certain than ever that it knew something. Little bastard probably remembered everything, just like she did, day after day...or was that same day after same day. Whatever. It was strutting back and forth on the roof now, probably laughing its ass off at her, wondering what new idiocy she'd be dragged into today. She was going to kill it again, there could be no question about that. Yeah it was going to die. Sure it'd be back to hell with it. But it would feel good, just for a couple of hours to know it was off to poultry Tartarus.

Closing her eyes she counted the seconds, the barn door creaked open and she prayed as she did every morning that she'd hear something different, just a intonation...anything. Then:

"Rise and shine everyone...Rise and shine!"

The only thing that kept her from putting her Chakram in his chest was the fact that she'd already done it once, and living with Gabrielle for the rest of that day had been nearly unbearable. Sure he annoyed the hell out of the little bard to the point that she was tempted to do him great bodily harm on a fairly regular basis, but she wasn't quite prepared to deal with Xena murdering him. It hadn't helped that the warrior had calmly explained that it really didn't matter, that he'd be fine in the morning, the bard had treated her like a pariah. Speaking of which...."I'll rise," grumbled the sunny-haired lass to her right, "but I refuse to shine."

Joxer paused, just as he always did, with an expression so similar to that of a mutt that used to hang around her mother's tavern in Amphipolis that Xena had to smile. She could never quite bring herself to raise a hand to that dog, no matter how many times it nearly tripped her, or slobbered all over her. Damn but she missed that dog.

Xena tuned out the rest of the conversation, so utterly bored with goose eggs and horseshoes that she nearly screamed. Bored, bored, bored out of her skull and frustrated to nearly the point of homicide, the warrior desperately needed a distraction. Something...different. Something that could really get her juices flowing and snap her brain out of the rut it had tumbled into. Something...

It hit her like one of Zeus' thunderbolts. Oh but it was a bad, wicked, naughty thought. She should be punished for even considering it. And yet, there it was, refusing to drift away back into the dark nether regions from which it had come. 'Come on,' a voice whispered from deep within her, 'what could it possibly hurt?' How could she argue with logic like that? A slow, sensual smile drifted across her face as she planned her attack.

Gabrielle grimaced at Joxer's notion of breakfast and was just about to suggest that she and Xena prowl around the town for something a bit more palatable when she caught sight of her friend's expression. The hairs on the back of her neck were standing at attention almost before her sleep-fuddled brain had even registered the sight. "Uh, Xena..." she began, just the slightest bit concerned.

"Gabrielle..." the dark-haired woman growled, "I'm hungry..."

Joxer, utterly oblivious to any sort of emotional undercurrent in those words, chirped, "Great, 'cause I've got goose eggs and..."

"I'm not...hungry...for goose eggs..."

The bard took a hesitant step back as her friend rose slowly to her feet, blue eyes locked on her emerald ones. There was something downright predatory in that look; it both aroused and terrified her. She heard a slight whimper and wasn't sure whether she or Joxer had made the sound, for both were staring at the warrior as if quite convinced she was about to transform into a Bacchae at any second.

"I...I could, um, you know, go get s-something else..." Joxer stammered, pointing in the vague direction of the door and keeping pace with Gabrielle's retreat.

"Yeah, and I could go with him...k-keep him out of trouble...y'know?"

The man beside her paused, the affront to his dignity momentarily overcoming his survival instinct, "Hey, whatta' ya mean, keep me out of trouble?"

It was all the distraction Xena needed.


Trussed up like a couple of prize chickens, Joxer and Gabrielle exchanged a rather forlorn glance. Neither could remember all the details of their capture, save that their friend and traveling companion had turned on them for no apparent reason. Just why they were in this predicament was a puzzle, but the look on Xena's face as she inspected her handiwork didn't give either of them much confidence.

She knelt down to gaze at each of them and smirked as both rather vainly attempted to speak around their gags. Giving the ropes on each a final tug, Xena grinned, stood and crossed to the barn's massive doors. With a grunt of satisfaction she slid the large beam into place, effectively locking her captives in, and the rest of the world out. Watching her with wide, round eyes, both prisoners gulped as best they could with a mouthful of fabric and attempted to scoot as far away from her as possible. "Now I'm sure you're wondering what's going on..." The warrior's voice was deceptively light, as she turned to face them again. "I could take the time to explain to you how the same day has been repeating for me, over and over, how no matter what I do I can't seem to escape this crummy town, how every morning I wake up to that goddamn rooster in this same fucking barn...But really, would it do any good? No, it wouldn't, and you know how I know that? 'Cause I've explained it to you two every single fucking day and no matter how I put it, no matter what proof I have, you still think I'm nuts. So let's just go with that explanation for now, I've lost my ever lovin' mind and you're in my power. Now the question is, what am I planning to do with you?

"You're probably thinking, 'Is she going to kill us?', which I have to admit is a reasonable question under the circumstances. Believe me, though, killing you isn't what I have in mind. I don't want you to be scared...worried, but not scared." She ambled back over to the two, knelt at their feet, then slowly crawled up between them. "Are you worried?"

Two heads bobbed vigorously in response and she chuckled. "Good...very good. Now, Gabrielle, I'm going to take your gag off. You can scream or yell at me if you want to, but in a couple of minutes I don't think you're going to want to. Just ask yourself something..." pausing to move her hands up to the material in the young bard's mouth Xena's eyes locked with hers, " you trust me?"

The gag came off to much sputtering and a cough or two before Gabrielle finally managed, "Of course I trust you, Xena, but what is all this..."

Her friend smiled, a warm, loving smile that made Gabby's insides tie themselves up in knots. "You wouldn't believe me even if I explained it to you. But I've decided to do something I've never had the guts to do before. I can only do it now because I know you won't remember it tomorrow."

"You're afraid of something? Xena, what is it, what are you afraid of?"

"This..." The word came out as the softest of sighs as Xena lowered herself down to claim her beautiful bard's lips. She felt as if she were falling from a great height, with only that kiss to keep her fragile soul from shattering into a million pieces. Gabrielle tensed beneath her, her breath catching with surprise. The warrior almost pulled away, almost, but the taste of that exquisite mouth egged her on and she pressed even closer. It took a full second or two to realize that what had been frozen shock was suddenly becoming enthusiastic encouragement. Gabrielle's lithe tongue met hers and flicked her teeth and palate playfully. She forgot everything in that second, all that existed was the Elysium of her bard's mouth and the heat where their bodies touched.

A soft moan brought the warrior back, not the sound of passionate acquiescence she'd hoped for, but that of complete despair. Pulling away from Gabrielle, the warrior dragged her eyes over to her other captive. His head was turned as far from the two as he could manage. As tightly bound as he was, Joxer tried in vain to ignore what was happening just a few inches away. Reaching over, Xena tugged his gag free and murmured, "Look at me, Joxer."

He shook his head and kept his eyes averted. "I said, look at me, Joxer," she repeated, touching his chin gently and turning him to face her. Those infinitely dark eyes gazed up at her so full of misery she thought her heart might well break. Elysium to one side, Tartarus to the other...that would never do. "I'm sorry about that, Joxer, it was thoughtless of me, I didn't mean to hurt you...I...I know how you feel about Gabrielle..."

"How he feels about..." the bard gazed from one of her companions to the other, a myriad of emotions flitting one after the other across her expressive face. "Oh....Oh!"

Joxer looked like he'd be forever grateful if Hades would just claim him now. There simply wasn't a word invented that could begin to describe his humiliation. Xena frowned; she was losing the mood she'd just begun to establish. Something had to be done, immediately. Before anyone in the barn knew what was happening, Xena leaned over to lay claim to his lips as well. He actually managed a small squeak before his body gave in to the inevitable. She'd kissed him before, though pretending to be Meg at the time, and had been pleasantly surprised by the experience. If there was one thing Joxer was good at it was using his mouth, and Xena was determined to find out just how good. Pulling away long enough for both of them to catch their respective breaths, the warrior grinned and purred, "You're pretty good at that...Meg been giving you lessons?"

His cream-like skin flushed with both embarrassment and the heady rush of Xena's kiss. "Why did you...I mean not that I didn't like it...'cause, well, I did, but why did you just...?"

"It's all part of the plan, Joxer, all part of the plan. But there's a lot more in store for you, for both of you, if you're willing. If you say the word now I'll cut you loose and we'll never mention this again. But I promise you if you'll just trust me, I'll make it worth your while."

Gabrielle, a little annoyed at being ignored, quipped, "So are you going to share this plan with us or do you just intend to kiss us senseless all day?"

Blue eyes met brown and Joxer managed a weak smile. "I'm in if she is."

"You won't regret it, I'm going to do things to both of you, things you've never even dreamed possible. I'm going to explore you, each of you, discover precisely what makes you tick, what spots need to be nibbled, where just a lick will do. I'm going to make you squirm and buck and writhe...and then you're going to do it to me."

"That's the plan?" Gabby quipped with a playfully quirked eyebrow.

"That's the plan," Xena returned, mirroring her expression.

"Good plan," Joxer intoned, his smile widening.

Xena smirked lightly in satisfaction at Joxer's eager response, and the equally enthusiastic glimmer in Gabrielle's eyes. She was pleased to know her instincts hadn't been off, that her two friends might indeed enjoy a little walk on the kinky side if the situation presented itself--and a little direct persuasion was used, of course. And if things didn't end up working out, well, no one but she would have to live with the memory after today. All in all, it was a much more interesting challenge than the one she'd been banging her head (and others' heads) over for the past few days--past few todays--oh to Tartarus with it, none of that was important right now. No, right now she simply had a very good feeling that there would be few if any regrets on anyone's part come the end of this particular today.

"What about these ropes?" Gabrielle asked, looking hopeful at the prospect of freedom.

Xena pondered for a moment, then shook her head. "I think they'd better stay...for now...just to be on the safe side. Wouldn't want things to get out of control, now, would we?"

Gabrielle appeared a little disappointed but Joxer's grin stayed firmly in place. So he enjoys a little bondage, does he? Xena mused. That was something she'd have to remember. I wonder what else Meg's been giving him lessons in... Xena had to admit that her companions' current helpless state was definitely a bit of a turn on for her as well.

"All right that we understand the plan and we're all agreed..." Xena shifted closer to Gabrielle again, reaching out and letting her fingers slowly trail through the bard's golden hair as she gazed down into her bright expectant eyes. How many times had she looked into those eyes, wishing and wanting to see that spark of desire which was now so evident, so strong and fiery it seemed less a spark and more a volcanic eruption. The warrior could feel herself growing wet with anticipation, the ache between her legs growing fast, but she tried to force down her own desires to be touched and pleasured and to first serve her companions instead. She wanted to make sure neither of them would be in any mood to leave this place for the rest of the day.

Gabrielle parted her rosy lips slightly, titling her chin upwards as she looked to Xena, obviously waiting for another kiss. Leaning in to meet that sweet eager mouth, Xena wondered idly why it had taken her so long to try to use this repeating-day phenomena to her advantage. Sometimes she just got herself too...focused. But all work and no play, she had to remind herself now and again, makes for one dull and horny warrior. After giving her tongue ample time to explore the warm, delicious depths of Gabrielle's mouth, Xena gently released her, lips moving slowly down to the underside of her chin, caressing and kissing her soft neck. She was determined to learn every curve of this body in intimate detail, and what her mouth couldn't easily reach, she used her hands to investigate instead.

Gabrielle let out a deep groan and arched back into Xena's strong arms, straining at the ropes holding her arms and legs restrained. Her mind was barely processing what was happening, but her body knew exactly how to respond. She ached to have her hands released from their ties, leaving them free to touch and explore and caress, to mirror everything Xena was doing to her. Her most secret, believed impossible fantasy was coming true and it was nearly too much for her to handle. "Oh, Xena..." she sighed in delicious agony as the warrior princess' teeth nibbled playfully at the sensitive flesh of her neck, then traced upwards towards her earlobe. She didn't know how much more of this she could take, but she knew perfectly well that Xena was only getting started...

Meanwhile, Joxer simply couldn't believe what was going on right before his eyes. Am I dreaming? he mused idly, his initial horror at seeing Xena kiss his beloved Gabrielle having now faded past a strange curiosity at this point to truly...stimulating...voyeuristic enjoyment. Well, If I am dreaming, here's hoping I don't wake up anytime soon. He didn't know what was turning him on more: being helplessly tied up and at Xena's complete mercy, or watching the two beautiful women going at it, unconcerned that he was witnessing their intimacy merely a foot or so away. His eyes widened as he saw Xena's hands moving lower down Gabrielle's body, from her shoulders to the ties that held the young woman's already minuscule top in place...

It was taking all of Xena's self-control not to simply reach for her Chakrum and slash the tightly-secured garment off Gabby's bosom, but she knew she'd not hear the end of it from Gabby for the rest of the day if she did so. It had taken her long enough to earn forgiveness for shrinking it accidentally that one day by washing it in that hot spring. Instead, she carefully teased the ties loose, grinning at Gabrielle's growing impatience at how long it was taking her, the young woman's squirms and whimpers, and also Joxer's totally evident interest in Xena's current endeavor. She'd get back to Joxer soon enough. But for right now...

Ah, free at last! Gabrielle exhaled deeply as the ties were completely loosened, and the top hung now only lightly over her breasts. Xena's hands roved over Gabrielle's bare stomach, slowly, terribly slowly, moving upwards, but never quite reaching the other's heaving chest.

Gabrielle couldn't stand it any longer. "Please..." she managed to whimper.

"What was that?" Xena asked wryly, though she'd heard the plea perfectly fine. "What do you want me to do. Tell me."

Gabrielle's need won over her modesty after a brief struggle, while Xena's hands refused to move. "I to touch me...higher..."

"Like this...?" Xena's hands slid up under her breasts, cupping them lightly as she leaned in for another kiss, smothering the other woman's loud moans of pleasure. Xena massaged and squeezed and played with the soft, perfect mounds, eventually letting her thumbs brush over the sensitive nipples. They stiffened immediately, Gabrielle's whole body trembling in response to Xena's touch. Nudging the loosened garment back over Gabrielle's shoulders and halfway down her arms, Xena sighed and took a long moment to admire the beautiful sight before her and the heated state she'd been able to work Gabrielle into so easily.

" look like you need a time-out," Xena teased, knowing she too needed a break before she ended up bringing Gabrielle over the edge without really having a chance to enjoy her body properly. So for a change of pace, she turned her attentions back to Joxer, afraid that he might be feeling a little left out of the action.

The expression on his face, however, made her grin and realize Joxer was not suffering any real hardship at the moment. She hoped that later on Gabrielle would be relaxed enough to let Joxer pleasure her directly as she knew he would give anything to do. Xena didn't have any real objections to sharing. But for now...

She shifted over to Joxer and had her hands on him before he even realized it. Of course, the fact that his eyes had been glued to Gabby certainly had a lot to do with his lack of concentration on Xena. "Joxer..." she purred, lifting one hand to his cheek to turn his attention back towards her. Finding his lips once more, she marveled at the wonderful contrast of taste and feel presented by her two companions, both delicious and exciting in their own very different ways. It seemed Joxer's ineptitude on the battlefield did not carry over into ineptitude in sexual confrontations; oh no, Xena had to come to quite the contrary conclusion. His tongue darted hungrily into her mouth, challenging her, almost, to refuse him access. She didn't, but just to reinforce who exactly was in charge at the moment, she let her free hand rest against his inner thigh, let it creep upward until it brushed against the very solid presence between his legs. She squeezed playfully and he yelped, breaking the kiss in surprise.

"Impressive..." she drawled, allowing her hand to hover there for a moment longer, deciding she was definitely going to have fun playing with that. But later. No, for now she had other things to explore...

Without that damned ridiculous helmet, Xena would have to say Joxer was almost attractive. And she was sure he'd look much, much better without the armor. A mad grin breaking across her face, she threaded one strong hand securely into his hair, and leaning in to him, drew her dagger with the other hand. She could hear Gabrielle gasp and felt Joxer jerk with surprise under her hand. With a few clean strokes, Xena cut the leather straps across each shoulder, resulting in a sound like a wagon full of tin pots running over a rut in the road as the ridiculous armor sagged across his body.

"My armor!" Joxer protested. "It was custom made!"

Locking eyes with Joxer, Xena tugged at the ridiculous confection of metal and leather. With a teasing lick across his half-open mouth, Xena leaned away from Joxer and sheathed her dagger. "I promise, your armor will be fixed tomorrow." Xena didn't bother adding she wouldn't need to see an armorer for the job. This Tartarus-spawned curse would take care of that for her.

"Well...if you're sure..."

With slow, confident gestures, Xena pulled the various layers of protective outerwear from the young warrior's body, as he watched her intently. With a graceful sweep of her arm, she tossed each item of warrior's garb to the far reaches of the stable where it would clang or crash or thunk, depending on its construction. At last, Joxer was naked to the waist, wearing only a pair of ragged pants and raveled blue socks.

Tweaking first one flat male nipple, then the other, Xena watched as Joxer's blush rose. "He's cute when he blushes, isn't he, Gabrielle?"

Gabrielle gave a sound halfway between a gasp and a choke. "I never really thought about it, before, Xena." Xena could see the bard's nipples were still crinkled pink with arousal.

"Haven't you?" Xena inquired. "I know he's watched you, Gabrielle, and wondered how your smooth skin would taste, imagined how he'd touch your breasts so tenderly, taking them in his mouth, perhaps tugging them with his teeth..." As she spoke, Xena dragged her fingernails lightly down Joxer's chest toward his waistband. His attention seemed divided between the lovely sight of Gabrielle, immovable under his gaze, and the sensual torture of Xena's erotic attentions. "He's wondered how you'd look, naked in the moonlight, smiling at him. He's imagined kneeling before you, worshipping you like the goddess, his hands gently holding your ass, his face hovering inches from your golden fleece..."

Joxer groaned, as Xena slipped a hand into the waistband of his trousers, and caressed his stomach under the fabric. "Haven't you, Joxer?"

Joxer's mouth was dry. His brain could barely process the words. "Ah..." was all he said.

"Haven't you, Joxer?" Xena tugged at the front of his pants, juggling the cargo they contained. Joxer managed a slow nod, his eyes closed in an unbearable combination of embarrassment and arousal. "I'll take that as a yes," Xena smirked.

Abandoning the would-be warrior, Xena shifted her attention back to Gabrielle. "Well, I know just how he feels, because I've imagined it, too."

"Xena..." Gabrielle's eyes glowed with emotion as the warrior princess bent to kiss her again. As their tongues locked in playful combat, Xena's hands swept downward from the bard's shoulders, pausing only briefly to caress sweetly curved breasts and trim waist, hovering for a moment at the tooled leather belt holding the woman's skirt around her hips. With gentle motions that seemed practiced, as they were a thousand times in her mind, Xena unfastened the belt, then gently tugged the fabric of Gabrielle's skirt away from the woman's shapely hips. Gabrielle wiggled slightly to help Xena remove the garment. With trembling fingers, the warrior caressed her friend 's smooth belly, expressing with her hands the love she had so long suppressed. Veering away from the mound of golden curls to caress the blond woman's rounded thighs, Xena inched herself down, pressing butterfly kisses to Gabrielle's face, her neck, her shoulder, her collarbone, as her hands followed the line of Gabrielle's thighs, caressing behind her knees. Xena was glad Gabrielle hadn't had time to put her boots on before the morning's struggle.

Xena paused in her ministrations, then turned to Joxer and said, somewhat shakily: "Is she everything you imagined?" Not waiting for a response from him, Xena continued kissing Gabrielle, at first gently laving her breasts with warm tongue strokes, then hungrily sucking at the pert points, taking as much of each breast into her mouth as she could until Gabrielle was softly moaning in pleasure. The sound sent another warm gush of liquid to Xena's crotch, and panting, she drew herself away from the contentment of this erotic suckling.

Xena's eyes were half-lidded in passion as she looked to Gabrielle. "Do you like this?"

With a soft sigh, Gabrielle managed a drugged sounding, "Ah...uh...yes. Yes." The feel of Xena's mouth on her body and the gentle tickling sweep of her long dark hair against her skin was building a fire under her skin that she had never felt quite so fiercely. Sure, she'd always imagined what it would be like to have Xena pay such loving attention to her, but the knowledge that Joxer was watching their play made it all the more arousing. She turned her head to see the gangly fellow watching them with a glazed expression. She tried to smile, but Xena's teeth were tugging on her nipple, and all she could manage was a sultry look and a sigh. Gabrielle could see his Adam's apple bobble in his throat as he gulped.

"Xena...I think you're forgetting something," Gabrielle insisted.

"What?" Xena continued to kiss her friend's creamy skin.

"Well, I'm naked. Joxer's...oooh..." Gabby paused as Xena's teeth teased her other nipple. "...almost naked," she continued. "Why do you still have your clothes on?"

With a final open-mouthed kiss to Gabrielle's left nipple, Xena moved away. "You want me naked?" she teased, smiling into her beloved friend's eyes.

"Yes, please," Gabrielle begged.

"All right." Xena bent to unlace her boots.

"Slowly!" Joxer blurted out.

Grinning at the rope bound man, Xena slowly stood, and stretched for her audience, her voluptuous body shifting under the armor she habitually wore. Leaving her boots on for the moment, Xena instead began to undo the fastenings holding her clothing in place. Slowly, she removed each item of concealment, watching the growing excitement in her friends' eyes. Soon she was wearing nothing but a dark brown shift that hinted at the feast of flesh beneath. Nipples strained against the fabric, tantalizingly obscured. With one bare foot Xena caressed the outside of Gabrielle's leg. "I think Joxer is now more clothed than either of us. What should we do about that Gabrielle?"

It was Gabrielle's turn to gulp nervously. "Strip him," she whispered.

With an arched eyebrow, Xena asked, "What did you say?"

His eyes shifting their attention nervously from Xena's barely clothed body to Gabrielle's delectably naked one, Joxer heard the reply clearly. "Take his clothes off, Xena. All of them. I want to see Joxer naked."

Kneeling in front of him, Joxer watched as Xena tugged his socks off, playfully pinching his toes in the process. "You didn't really like these pants anyway, right?" she said, fetching the sharp knife from amid her discarded clothing. At this point, Joxer didn't care if they wanted to shred all his clothes into tiny pieces for the birds to carry off as nest building material. Gabrielle, the most wonderful woman in the world wanted him naked, so naked he would be.

As much as he trusted Xena, Joxer still had to suppress an anxious chill as she inserted the cold and gleaming steel under the waistband of his trousers. With a practiced violence, she slashed the material along the front of his thigh, and tore the fabric the rest of the way. One leg now exposed, she repeated the process with the other leg, and pulled the remaining rag away from him. His cock sprang free, a proud warlord surrounded by a curling throng of dark hair.

"Oh, my!" Xena said. "You certainly have been holding out on us, Joxer."

"It's so..." Gabrielle couldn't finish the thought, her mouth had gone dry. She took a deep breath and could smell the musky scent of aroused male. Her dry mouth was suddenly flooded with saliva. She licked her lips with an uncoordinated tongue, and had to open her mouth to breathe, because suddenly she felt like she wasn't getting enough air. A little voice in her head started screaming, "What are you getting so worked up about? It's JOXER! What's the big...?" Then Joxer's eyes searched hers with hesitant desire, silencing the voice as though he'd bonked her on the head with a blunt object. "Xena says this day won't matter," Gabrielle convinced herself, "that we won't remember any of this tomorrow. I trust her. What's the worst that could happen?"

"Ohhhh," Joxer moaned, staring at the outline of Xena's breasts and following the movement of her pebbled nipples where they poked against the rough fabric. Hypnotized by the display of her arousal, his eyes tracked the faint jiggling movements of her flesh. In his mind, he whispered, "Forgive me, Gabrielle, but I find her attractive, too."

Struggling to reach Xena, Joxer's lips begged to kiss the pouting peak of her breast. Swinging the fabric-clad flesh before his lips, tauntingly, she didn't expect Joxer's sudden lunge toward her. Off-balanced, he fell face first into Xena's bosom, and taking advantage of his position, began to nuzzle the twin mounds of feminine flesh, sucking at her nipples through the thin cloth of her shift.

In an attempt to brace herself against the unexpected sensual onslaught, Xena cast her hand out for support. Her hand met only air, and she rocked back, landing somewhat awkwardly against Gabrielle's pliant body. Her arms flailed for a moment, encountering only loosely packed straw and slick flesh. With Gabrielle supporting her back, and Joxer pressing against her front, Xena was trapped in a sandwich, surrounded by bare skin.

"Uhm," Xena cleared her throat. "I don't want to hurt you. Let me get up. I have to finish undressing, remember?"

"I don't think so, Xena. I like you helpless like this." Playfully, the bard took a mouthful of Xena's hair between her teeth, and tugged gently, to demonstrate her power.

"And there's no reason you can't get naked from here!" Joxer's eyes gleamed. He smiled at Gabrielle. Xena could feel Gabrielle nod. Finding a weak spot in the stitching, Joxer tugged at Xena's dull garment with his teeth, ripping the fabric halfway to her navel.

"You didn't really like that shift, anyway, Xena, right?" Gabrielle teased her friend as Joxer resumed his playful assault on Xena's now naked breasts.

Xena growled playfully. "You want to play rough? Fine by me." Xena rolled Joxer onto his back, then finished ripping the shift from her body. Dusky nipples pointed first left, then right, as her breasts swayed from the motion of tossing the rag to the far corner of the stable. "Okay...who wants some?" Leaning over Joxer she asked, "You?"

Suddenly wary, Joxer could only gulp as Xena took his shoulders in her hands. Diving in for another deep kiss, Xena distracted him, so that he did not at first realize he was being moved.

Having carefully propped Joxer in a sitting position, Xena backed up to admire her handiwork. "Are you comfortable?" Joxer nodded. "Good." Xena turned back towards Gabrielle, and after spreading a blanket in the space in front of Joxer, lifted the bard onto the waiting blanket.

"Are you going to untie me now?" Gabrielle asked hopefully, as Xena inspected the knots holding her arms.

"Not yet. I think I want to show Joxer something, first," Gabrielle was not amused by the slow salacious grin that broke across her friend's face. "Yes, Joxer...are you watching?"

"I'm watching," Joxer croaked.

"Good." Xena began tracing feather light caresses around where the ropes bound Gabrielle's wrists. Slowly, she trailed her fingers down the sun-kissed skin of the bard's arms, and outlined each rib with increasingly confident strokes. Lying down next to Gabrielle, making sure Joxer could see both of them clearly, Xena pressed herself into the other woman's side, and let her breasts brush against Gabby's increasingly fevered skin. At Gabrielle's beseeching look, Xena bent over her friend for a languorous kiss, while her hands worked gentle magic.

Slowly, persistently, Xena's hands aroused every inch of the blond woman's body, stroking belly and thighs, and finally brushing the triangle of blond curls between her legs. Gabrielle's body was taut with arousal, and only Joxer's strangled moan could be heard over the harsh breathing of the two women. Lifting Gabrielle's knees, Xena loosened the ropes around her friend 's ankles enough so that she could spread the captive girl's legs like the wings of a butterfly.

Without protest, Gabrielle watched as Xena began gentle caresses up the inside of her legs, playing with the folds behind each silken knee, fingertips rubbing subtle spirals up the smooth pale flesh of her inner thigh. At last, the warrior woman probed the moist hollow of her groin with gentle fingers. Combing the golden hair away from the younger woman's moist secret with loving deliberation she spoke. "This, Joxer. This is what I wanted you to see."

Gabrielle closed her eyes. Never in a million years did she imagine she'd be tied up in a barn, her naked body ministered to by the capable hands of her best friend and studied lovingly by the equally rope bound Joxer, sitting a few heartbeats away. Then Xena's long, callused finger traced the inner petals of her femininity, and leaned on the tiny button of flesh above it, and Gabrielle decided thinking was overrated, as she surrendered to the amazing sensations Xena was stimulating.

Joxer watched the woman he loved arch against her bindings in wordless pleasure. Xena's dark hair curtained her expression from him, but he could see the absolute dedication with which she pleasured her friend. With sudden clear insight Joxer realized that Xena loved Gabrielle as much as he did. He wished suddenly that his hands were free, so that he could touch the two women, expressing all the emotion he felt, emotion that could not be put into words.

As Xena caressed the slippery folds of Gabrielle's sex with the thumb and fingers of one hand, the index finger of her other hand slid down to caress the tunnel to Gabrielle's womb. Another finger joined the first, as she smoothed the walls of the slick tunnel with her touch. Gabrielle was as sweetly responsive to her touch as she was to a kind word or a casual gesture of affection. Xena gloried in the power she had to bring such pleasure to the blond woman, and tried not to think what she would do without Gabrielle's dedicated companionship.

Gabrielle's breathing was punctuated with short, sharp gasps. "Xena, aaah, Xena please!" she moaned. Writhing under her friend's ministrations Gabrielle was nearing release, but Xena didn't want to rush anything. It was, after all, going to be a long day.

One last tickle inside the lovely blonde and Xena withdrew her fingers. "Oh Xena, please..." Gabrielle begged, but Xena had other ideas. Kneeling next to her beautiful captive Xena stared into the dilated pupils and brought her hand up to caress her cheek and run a finger across Gabrielle's trembling lower lip. Gabrielle lunged forward as much as her bonds allowed, trying to capture the finger in her mouth, but Xena's reflexes were too fast and she fell back with just a hint of her own juices on the tip of her tongue. Xena smirked at Gabrielle's discomfort. She raised the hand to her face and traced her fingers against her own mouth, then hungrily licked each finger in turn.

"Mummmm, luscious," she purred. Her eyebrow arched up as another idea struck. Running her damp hand down Gabrielle's stomach and slipping easily back into her dripping pussy, Xena bent over and gave her sweet side-kick a deep kiss, tongue plunging deep into her mouth as her fingers pumped into her once, twice...Gabrielle teetered on the brink, head back, eyes squeezed shut, but nothing, the fingers were gone, the tongue gone. "Wha...what? XENA?" she called opening her eyes to see Xena on her hands and knees in front of Joxer. Hand and knees actually since the hand so recently inside Gabrielle was now halfway down Joxer's throat as he frantically sucked at the essence of his beloved.

Once her fury at the interruption of her pleasure waned she turned her full attention on Joxer and Xena.

Xena couldn't remember when she had seen a man so aroused. Watching Xena pleasure Gabrielle and watching Gabrielle react had Joxer inflamed to the point where, when he saw Xena heading towards him holding out her hand shiny with Gabrielle's liquor, he opened his mouth, straining forward against his bonds. Gabrielle stared in amazement as Joxer slowly gave up Xena's fingers only to have them replaced with Xena's tongue as the two shared a steamy kiss born from their mutual passion for the sweet bard.

Gabrielle watched them together. She had seen Xena's gorgeous body on many occasions but never in such a state of arousal. Joxer was quite another story. He looked like a skinny idiot in the layers of "custom-made" armour. Too bad, she thought. Naked he's, he's rather impressive. Joxer's body was surprisingly well muscled, slim and pale, virtually hairless, but nicely defined. It looked rather inviting, smooth to the touch. And then there was...his erection. Who knew? she wondered.

Xena glanced over to see how Gabrielle was fairing and followed her gaze. "Pretty impressive, isn't he?" she growled. She traced zigzag patterns down his chest. His cock twitched as her hand approached it and he bucked as she traced one finger up one side around the tip and down the other. She bent down and inhaled Joxer's scent. "Mumm." Joxer shuddered, feeling her warm breath as she exhaled again. Xena reached down with one hand and gently cradled his balls, stroking them tenderly with her thumb. Gabrielle watched in amusement as Joxer threw his head back at the warrior's touch. Keeping eye contact with Gabrielle, Xena stuck out her tongue and licked slowly up the length of Joxer's erection. "Yummy," she said. "Want some?"

The little bard didn't realize it but her lips had parted and the tip of her tongue was peeking out between her teeth. "Uh-huh," was all she could utter.

"Sorry, still my turn," Xena teased her friend. "Maybe you'll get a chance later," she said, taking the florid head of Joxer's erection into her mouth and swirling her tongue around it a couple of times. She felt his testicles start to tighten up and pulled away. Xena had really hoped that she could make her friends' pleasure last but they were both so hot...

"Right," she exclaimed rolling over to face Gabrielle, "we'll have to untie your ankles..."

"Oh good," began Gabrielle, relieved.

"So let me grab another length of rope here..."

"What!?" she exclaimed.

Xena stood, completely unashamed of her nakedness and glanced around the barn. She picked up a pitchfork and drove it solidly into a bale near Gabrielle's leg. Untying the bard's ankles, she looped a length around her left ankle, running a hand lasciviously up the shapely leg to tickle the blond thatch of curls.

Joxer watched her moving purposefully, panting, wishing his hands were free so he could end his torment himself.

Xena drew her friend's legs gently apart. "You said you trust me, right? I won't tie you so tight that you can't move, but it'll be worth it, okay?"

Gabrielle looked into the loving smile hovering above her and relaxed a bit while suppressing a shudder. "Okay," she mouthed.

A minute later, Gabrielle wondered if she was going to be okay after all. Xena had tied her arms stretched apart above her head and one leg was attached by a short length to the pitchfork, the other had a loop of rope attached to an iron ring on a post a couple of feet to her right.

Xena grinned at her handiwork and threw a leg over Gabrielle, straddling her hips. "You're beautiful, you know," Xena purred.

Gabrielle looked up into the flushed face of her companion. "You too," was all she could mumble. She felt Xena's warmth over her stomach, then felt the tickling soft hairs stroking her belly as Xena moved above her.

"Please," she begged, "more."

Xena looked tenderly at her little captive. This was going better than she could have imagined. She had fantasized about touching Gabrielle, loving Gabrielle and now here she was begging for more. The words sent Xena into a frenzy, she kneaded her love's breasts, and rubbed her dripping opening against Gabrielle's stomach and pubic bone, craving stimulation. "No. Not yet," she mumbled shaking her head to clear her thoughts. Xena put her own lust on hold. It'll be worth it, she told herself, mind racing with images of some of the activities she had planned for the day.

Gabrielle lay squirming on the blanket, whining in protest at the sudden lack of Xena's attention to her body. Turning from the woman spread-eagled on the floor, Xena lifted Joxer to his feet by one arm, then lowered him to his knees between Gabrielle's legs. Gabrielle watched her maneuver him with interest, her mind racing. Last night she had forbade him from sleeping in the same barn as her, yet now she yearned for the touch of his mouth against her.

Joxer, his wrists still bound in front of him, managed to support himself on his elbows with his face inches from the golden curls of the woman he loved. He looked to her face for acceptance of what he was about to do and was surprised by the raw lust in her eyes.

"Yes, Joxer, please," she rasped at him.

Joxer was a little hesitant; he wanted her so badly, but he had always wanted it to be tender and loving with his sweet bard. He looked up again and saw Xena pulling a sweet pink nipple with her teeth as Gabrielle threw her head back and moaned. Xena caught his eye and winked and Joxer hesitated no more. He lowered his face and nuzzled the soft fair hair, inhaling deeply the scent of her arousal. With his arms pinned under his chest, he used his tongue to part her rosy folds. This must be what ambrosia tastes like, he thought to himself, delving ever deeper into her.

Gabrielle was overwhelmed with the sensations she was feeling. Xena was licking her breasts, tender one moment, roughly sucking her nipples the next. When Gabrielle tried to say something, Xena grabbed two handfuls of breast and kissed her hard on the mouth, swirling her tongue around and around until they broke off, gasping.

Joxer had found his way to his love's opening and was thrusting his tongue as far in as he could, lapping up her juices like his life depended on it. He lifted his head to take a deep breath then nuzzled back into the golden curls, licking and kissing until he reached the little nub that he'd been searching for. He squeezed the throbbing pleasure center between his lips and ran his tongue back and forth across it.

The combined stimulus from Xena and Joxer was more than Gabrielle could take. Her muscles tensed and her back arched off the blanket-covered straw. She threw her head back and opened her mouth but the shriek that started in her throat was muffled by Xena's mouth clamped over her own. Joxer finally raised his head in time to see Gabrielle slump limply, eyes closed, her nipples puckered little peaks, her breath coming in ragged gasps. It was the most beautiful vision he could imagine.

Xena pulled reluctantly away from her delicious little bard and turned feral lust-filled eyes on the would-be warrior gazing up from between Gabrielle's still twitching thighs. She was startled by the expression on his face; she'd expected hunger, perhaps longing for his own satisfaction. Instead her blue eyes met brown ones so full of adoration and love that her heart skipped a beat. Unbidden the image of his death crept back into her mind, watching helplessly as he toppled into Gabrielle's arms, the bard's silent plea that she do something, anything to save him. She hadn't realized until that moment how large a part of her life he'd become, and how much emptier both their lives would be without him. It was time to see if she could express that new understanding to him in a way words never would.

Joxer seemed content to remain precisely where he was, waiting patiently for Gabrielle to require his eager services once more. Xena, however, had other plans, and with a final nibble at the bard's neck, she crawled towards him. A little reluctant to take his eyes from Gabby, he wasn't aware that Xena had crept behind him; only the sensation of cool metal on his back brought him back to reality. The small dagger she'd discarded earlier after relieving Joxer of his clothing was back and trailing tantalizingly down the length of his spine. He felt her warm breath on his ear before hearing a soft purr, "Don't think I've forgotten about you..." Trembling slightly his breath caught as she nipped playfully at his shoulders and neck, all the while that slim blade traced a pattern over ribs and muscle. "You smell sooooo good," she husked, inhaling him deeply before returning to her work. Indeed she could actually taste the spicy soap he'd used to bathe with before joining the two that morning. His breath was coming in pants now, his muscles tensing and skin flushed with color. Smiling, Xena slit several of the ropes imprisoning his body. Startled, Joxer's dark eyes sought out hers. "Don't worry," she cooed, "I'm just going to make you a little more...comfortable..."

Arms still bound, but legs now free, she easily lifted him into a standing position and after tossing the blade aside, attached yet another length of rope around that which held his wrists securely. Before he knew precisely what she was doing, the longer rope was tossed up over a crossbeam and landed with a soft "thump" somewhere behind him. A strong but gentle jerk pulled his arms up over his head, he tugged slightly to find them held quite firmly. Xena returned to his view, a lusty smirk once more on her face as she guided each leg apart and secured them to support beams. Gabrielle's head had turned and she watched the preparation with eyes growing ever wider. That warmth in her lower belly was growing again, making her squirm with the need to touch and be touched. Staring at Joxer, fully erect and positioned for her full viewing pleasure, wasn't helping much. He almost looked like one of the statues in the temple before it was painted, all white planes and smooth surfaces, gleaming in the morning sun that filtered down from above. Xena had paused in her ministrations to simply gaze at him as well. Her positioning of his body had left him a little off balance and he was forced to strain a bit at the ropes, it helped to define the muscles on his arms, stomach and legs. He was, indeed, a work of art.

The warrior woman turned to her bard and murmured, "What do you think?"

Gabrielle's sluggish tongue struggled to define the impressions that were assailing her but to no avail. Xena, moving close to her again said softly, "Tell him how he looks..."

"Beautiful..." the bard sighed, her emerald eyes round with astonishment. "Like a marble pillar in the temple of Apollo..."

He blushed, a fiery crimson that spread from face to throat to chest, his eyes hesitantly met hers. "Really?"

She was about to continue when she felt the unmistakable tug of Xena's nimble fingers on her restraints. Blue eyes met hers as the warrior finished freeing her legs. "Would you like to touch him?"

The bard managed a nod and at last felt her wrists released from their prison. She paused a moment to work the feeling back into her hands before sitting up. She started to move to Joxer but Xena's voice halted her. "I want you to tell him how beautiful he is, how much you enjoy touching him, what you're going to do to him, understood?"

She pulled Gabrielle to her feet and the two made their way to Joxer. When they drew close Gabby hesitated, some part of her balking at the notion of what she was about to do and with whom she was going to do it. Xena trailed a warm hand down the bard's well muscled back before crossing to Joxer, she stroked his chest, letting each palm explore, soothe, and ignite all at once. "She's right you know, you are beautiful." Those arctic eyes held his once more as Xena leaned in for another passionate kiss. She finally drew back and continued, "Beautiful, and kind, and" Each word was punctuated by a scalding kiss as Xena slowly made her way down his torso. "Sweet...oh so sweet..." She ran her tongue from hip to hip as he arched towards her, in one swift movement she engulfed his gorged cock in her welcoming lips.

Head snapped back and eyes tightly shut, he gasped with pleasure, his whole body strained, hips thrusting forward as the rest of his body bowed back. Gabrielle's breath caught at the sight and she found herself moving towards him before she was even consciously aware of it. Xena sensed rather than heard her approaching and slowed her ministrations, much to Joxer's distress.

Half delirious with desire and light-headed with need, Gabrielle's voice broke through the maelstrom, "I saw a statue of Nike once, the goddess of victory...she stood high atop a cliff, perched just on the edge as if she were about to leap off into the air. It was more than just a statue, it seemed to glow from within, as if the goddess herself had somehow been frozen in a moment forever..." She ran her hand over his taught abdomen, and around to grasp his quivering cheeks. "That's how you look right now, right on the edge of a cliff ready to fly off into the heavens..." Leaning her nude body against his back she rubbed him at first gently, then with more daring and ardor. "I want to see you fly, Joxer..." She pulled his face to hers and kissed him, tongue dancing with his, arms entwining his body like a vine. Xena's own tongue was swirling around his engorged member as she alternated between sucking and nibbling her way from one end to the other. Her hands kneaded his thighs then slid up to cup his balls, squeezing ever so gently in time to his now rhythmic thrusts.

Meanwhile Gabrielle had pulled away from their kiss, a wicked notion compelling her to drop to her knees behind him. Spreading his cheeks she nipped each playfully before turning her attention to his anus. She gave the entire area a thorough tonguing, aware that mere inches in front of her Xena was doing the very same to another portion of Joxer's anatomy. Sliding her tongue into the delightful little ring she felt him tense even more, if that were possible, and he cried out, his body so near release that all of them could feel him teetering on the brink. Wetting two fingers with her own juices, Gabrielle replaced tongue with fingers and eased them into his hungry ass, pumping slowly and gently in time with Xena's own ministrations. Kissing the small of his back she whispered, "Fly for me, Joxer, fly for me..."

With an inarticulate cry of joy and triumph Joxer came, his body shuddering with the power of his release. Xena swallowed greedily, savoring the salty semen, its taste altogether as satisfying as that of her little bard. She used her tongue to lap away the excess moisture from the tip of his shaft as Gabrielle eased gently out of him. His body slumped in the ropes, altogether as limp as Gabrielle had been only minutes before.

Panting, his dark eyes opened slowly, and he tried to reassure himself that this was real, that it was really happening. The sight of Gabby's sparkling eyes reassured him, and the caress of her soft lips on his made his heart nearly burst with love. She broke away long enough to murmur, "Thank you, that was were perfect...."

Xena gazed up at the two from her kneeling position, just drinking in the sight of their bodies and the exposed emotion on both faces. She knew that even if she chose to repeat this particular experiment on another of the days she seemed destined to repeat that never would she again see this moment of complete love and trust. She wanted them both so badly her body burned with need...but...first things first. "Ok, let's get you down from there before you pull something." Her voice once again took on that delightfully playful tone that had drawn both bard and would-be warrior into this tryst to begin with. "Now it's your turn to show me what you've learned..."

Xena retrieved her knife from where it had been tossed and used it to release Joxer's arms and legs. Finally, all three of them were not only naked, but free from restraints of any fashion--free from the restraints Xena had fashioned; free from restraints of modesty and shyness. There was only one brief moment of uncertainty, while Joxer rubbed his slightly raw wrists and tried to gather his senses, and Gabrielle found Xena turning her attention back towards her. But the pause did not last long, for soon Gabrielle reached for her, pulling their bodies close as their mouths met for a passionate duel. The kiss was spiced not just with their own but also Joxer's essence, and their different tastes all swirled together into something completely unique, exotic...exhilarating. Xena clutched at Gabrielle's lithe body, unable to bring her close enough.

After a while, Xena felt other hands on her body--strong, masculine hands. Joxer had joined back in the action, caressing her from behind while his mouth nudged her dark hair out of the way and tickled her sensitive neck. The double assault on Xena's senses was overwhelming, and she broke Gabrielle's kiss to let out a deep, low moan.

"What's the matter?" Gabrielle asked, her hands roving over Xena's ample breasts while a wicked smile rested on her lips. "Can't take a dose of your own medicine?"

The warrior might have been able to formulate an appropriate wise-crack for an answer if not for Joxer's delightful nibbling on her neck, and Gabrielle's fingers tweaking and teasing her nipples without mercy. Instead all she could do was sigh and find herself leaning into Joxer for support, her own sense of balance rapidly dissolving.

Wet, hungry lips soon replaced the fingers on her breasts as Gabrielle suckled one, then the other, then went back to the first for some more. The extended play on her so-sensitive flesh left her writhing in delight. Joxer continued to hold her in place for Gabby, and Xena let out a purr of yearning as she eventually felt his cock slowly coming back to attention, pressing against her backside. One of Joxer's hands slid around her, long fingers seeking the warm opening between her legs, brushing against her aching clit. She was so wet and ready that the gentle touch was almost enough to bring her over the edge right then and there. She pulled his hand away and brought it to her mouth, sucking her own juice off his finger as Gabrielle continued to work her way down her body...she skipped down to Xena's bare thighs, nipping the skin lightly with her teeth until her legs tingled. Then Gabrielle soothed the irritated skin with her tongue, licking the flesh in slow, long strokes. And eventually, that tongue drifted higher, closer to the focus of the delicious agony that was driving Xena mad...

...oh, but if Gabrielle reached her final destination, Xena would simply not be able to take it, she was too close to the brink. She needed stimulation of a slightly different kind, if she was going to make it last a little while. Hoping she wouldn't be disappointing her fair bard too much--there was still, after all, many hours left before this day was over--she turned into Joxer's arms, kissing his mouth hard and feeling that he was indeed almost ready to meet her needs.

Not so gently, she pushed him down onto the hay-covered ground. Then she straddled him, holding his stiffening cock in one hand as she looked down into his gentle brown eyes with raging desire. She was too hot to be bothered with any more words of affection or reassurance, and she could see Joxer did not need them now anyway. She rubbed his cock against her sex, sliding herself eagerly against him until there was no doubt he was ready for her. And then with a gentle push he was inside her, both parties letting out deep sighs of satisfaction. It felt so good, having been some time since she had accepted a lover into her body. She held him there, without moving, for a long time, savoring the feeling, the way it made her feel so strangely complete.

Making what had seemed perfect even better, Xena found Gabrielle settling down behind her, lovingly stroking her shoulders. Xena arched back into the other woman's warm touch, almost too lost in rapture to hear the softly murmured words, "I love you, Xena..."

I love you...they had spoken those words so often before to each other, but never had Xena heard Gabrielle say it in exactly that way before. So tender. Love beyond that of friendship. She reached up to touch Gabby's hand where it rested upon her shoulder, squeezing it in acknowledgement. Then she felt a pulse rush through Joxer's cock inside her, bringing her thoughts back down to a more carnal level. Her body needed release, and she had denied it that for too long this morning.

Slowly, she started rocking against him, finding a rhythm where each thrust brought her closer and closer to fulfillment. Gabrielle's hands rubbed against her chest, each stroke against her nipples sending tremors through her body, adding to the thrill of each thrust of Joxer's cock inside her. Joxer's moans became louder, as did Xena's own, until she found herself suddenly nearing that inevitable moment. The pressure for release reached critical and she leaned back, Joxer's hands grasping her above her hips and pushing himself as deep as possible inside her, warrior and would-be warrior climaxing nearly at the same moment. Xena cried out and fell down against Joxer's sweat-drenched body, feeling more exhausted and content than she could remember having felt for a very long time.

Soon Gabrielle's arms were against her and she rolled gently off Joxer, settling comfortably in between her two lovers. They all cuddled close in a contented heap, no one having the energy or desire to speak for several minutes.

Finally Gabrielle asked playfully, "Did we learn our lessons to your satisfaction, Xena?"

Xena lazily stroked Gabrielle's hair and sighed, " far so good."

"Are you serious that tomorrow we won't remember any of this? That it will never have happened?"

"Oh, it will have happened, because I'll remember it. But you and Joxer won't." No traces will remain, nothing to prove this was anything beyond a dream, Xena added regretfully to herself.

Gabrielle didn't say anything in response, and Xena finally asked, "Gabrielle...?"

The younger woman sighed, her breath falling lightly against Xena's skin. "Nothing...nothing, really." Then she sat up a little and said, "You know, I know you planned on keeping us here all day, but suddenly I'm starving...must be all this...physical exertion..."

Xena realized her stomach was grumbling a little, too, now that Gabrielle mentioned it. Well, a quick trip outside to grab some munchies couldn't hurt, could it? "Okay, I'll go get something for us..." Xena added, "I don't know what might have happened out there today without our intervention, so I'd like to go alone in case there's trouble; you and Joxer can stay here. Joxer, what do you want for breakfast? Joxer...?"

She finally turned her attentions back to the man snuggled against her right side and had to grin. Exhaustion must have won out as he seemed happily off on his way to dreamland at the moment. "Joxer!" she repeated, more insistently this time.

His eyes fluttered open as he heard his name. "Hmmmph?" was all he managed, his brow furrowed in confusion.

Xena playfully scruffed his hair and explained, "I'm going out for some food...I don't think enough of your goose eggs survived to feed us all and Gabrielle here is bitching for breakfast."


Xena ignored the woman's annoyed tone and swat of her hand as she disentangled herself from the others, trying to find the scattered pieces of her attire. "So what do you want?" she asked.

"Mmmph...whatever..." Joxer supplied indifferently, stretching out slowly. Now he was reminding her more of a large, lazy cat than that scruffy old dog.

Looking to Gabrielle instead for a suggestion, the bard gave Xena a sunny smile and shrugged. "You know what I like," she answered, a slightly suggestive tone in her voice.

"Oh, that I do..." Xena quipped back, quickly commencing getting dressed. When she was ready to go, she took one last glance back at her naked, relaxed companions and resolved to make serious haste on this little errand. "Don't go anywhere while I'm gone..." she insisted.

"Like I could," Joxer smirked. "I don't have any pants anymore!"

Gabrielle got up and followed Xena to the door, reassuring her, "I'll bolt the door after you. Hurry back..."

"Count on it." Xena ran a hand along her lover's beautiful body one last time, then opened the door to pay a very quick visit to the outside world...

Gabrielle lingered by the door, securing the bolt. Slowly, she turned around to contemplate the other naked person in the room. Joxer. She always used to laugh at the bumbling warrior's accidents, never quite letting herself acknowledge the feelings he felt for her. But after what they'd just shared...*who* they'd just seemed ridiculous to balk at sharing the blanket with him. And yet she was reticent.

Joxer had fallen back to sleep. He sighed in his sleep, and Gabrielle suddenly noticed the weak feeling in her knees. "It must be all the exertion..." The blond bard smiled, remembering the look on Xena's face this morning when she first proposed this...whatever this was. Gabrielle walked quietly towards where Joxer lay, and lowered herself onto the blanket beside him. She still didn't understand why she wasn't going to remember this in the morning, but she trusted that Xena knew what she was talking about.

As sweat-slick skin cooled after the morning's exertions, Gabrielle's flesh chilled. In a half-drowsy reverie, she curled towards the closest heat source: Joxer. The faint tang of oiled metal and leather still clung to him, under the smell of human exertion and a scent that was completely unique to Joxer. It was not unpleasant. Gabrielle inched closer to the warmth radiating from the man's body.

In a smooth motion, Joxer stretched and rolled in his slumber, flinging an arm across Gabrielle's shoulder and a leg across hers. He mumbled something unintelligible to her hair before resuming the even breathing of a sleeper. Her first instinct was to fight him off, but she found his embrace warm, and telling herself it was just for a few moments, until Xena returned with breakfast, she settled in more comfortably, tucking her head under his chin, her nose landing in that little hollow at the base of his neck.

A bit of straw tickled the bard's nose. Rather than move a hand to scratch, she figured it would be less disruptive of the cuddle to brush it off on Joxer's shoulder. Nuzzling his neck, she managed to assuage her itch. But she still wasn't quite comfortable. She snaked an arm around Joxer's waist, pulling herself closer, and relaxed, breathing in the unique scent of Joxer, basking in the warmth of his body.

Gabrielle had almost fallen asleep when Joxer moved again. Restlessly, he muttered, "...he is filled with turtle meat..." in a peculiarly vehement voice, and rolled, pulling Gabrielle with him. Landing half across Joxer, one leg fell between his, her breasts crushed against his chest. Stifling a giggle at his nonsense, Gabrielle rested her cheek against his chest, listening to his heart beating like distant Amazon drums. His leg moved restlessly between hers, and she felt suddenly very protective of the clumsy man, and more than a little aroused by his unconscious actions.

Lazily, she let her hand play over his chest, circling his flat male nipple with an idle forefinger. Unconsciously, she shifted her hips against his, both easing and exacerbating the growing feeling of arousal. One of Joxer's hands rested at the base of Gabrielle's spine radiating heat, which added to the fire building within her. She wanted that hand to move, up, down, sideways, somewhere. Consciously, now, Gabrielle attempted a slow undulation against him. It felt wonderful.

Just then, Gabrielle heard Xena outside. "Let me in. It's me!" Guiltily, Gabrielle tensed to lever herself off Joxer's sleeping body. Joxer's arms held her fast. Startled, Gabrielle looked up at Joxer's no longer sleeping face.

"Gabrielle," he whispered with quiet intensity.

Mesmerized by his dark eyes, Gabrielle held still long enough to see the depth of emotion behind the look he gave her. Shaking herself, she eased away from him. "I have to get the door for Xena."

"She can wait a minute," Joxer insisted huskily, before kissing her deeply.

Shakily, Gabrielle tripped over to the stable door and unbarred it. Xena shouldered her way in, grinning. "I got enough food for a week, so I hope you're hungry."

"Um..." Gabrielle said with a half-hearted smile. "Yeah. Hungry." Xena glanced from Gabrielle to Joxer, who was propped on his elbow, but still where she had seen him last. "And I bet I know what you're hungry for..." Xena grinned at her naked companions. "Goat's cream!" Nudging the bard over to where Joxer reclined, Xena sat. "And I got some honey, some fruit...some other things..." Sitting down quickly, Xena began to unpack the satchel, reminding Gabrielle of Senticles on Solstice night. But when Gabrielle reached for the container of goat's cream, Xena slapped her hand away. "Not yet! Let me get everything set up first...then we'll eat."

Joxer watched with amusement as Gabrielle kept trying to intercept food as it was unpacked, and Xena kept stalling her. Eventually, the blond changed tactics, attempting to distract Xena with a series of playful touches, snatching at buckles and fastenings, attempting to undress her athletic friend. Xena let her succeed, to a certain extent, but kept the food out of reach. The smell of spiced meat pies was causing Joxer's mouth to water.

"Gabrielle," a mildly exasperated Xena finally said, "do I have to tie your hands behind your back to get you to behave?"

"Of course not, Xena..." Gabrielle tugged on the hem of Xena's garment. "And I am behaving. I'm behaving like a hungry person!"

With a smooth motion, Xena grabbed Gabrielle's hands, and swept them behind her back. "So, now you can behave like a hungry person whose hands are tied behind their back." Xena grinned, kissing Gabby on the nose, and Joxer was suddenly eager to see what the warrior was planning.

"Aw, Xena..."

Taking several lengths of silk from the sack still containing a few items of food, Xena twisted the soft fabric into knots behind the young woman's back, holding her hands comfortably, but firmly behind her. Then, she took another length and tied the young bard's hair back from her face securely.

"What do you think, Joxer?" Xena and Joxer admired the way the awkward position of her arms forced Gabrielle to lift her chest, presenting her breasts in a pleasing way.

"I think she's beautiful," Joxer said simply.

"So do I," Xena agreed.

"And I think you're both beautiful. Can I eat now?" Gabrielle whined.

"I think so. What shall we start with. Joxer...? Any thoughts?"

"Well... Gabrielle likes goat's cream, doesn't she?" Joxer offered tentatively.

A slow grin broke across Xena's face. "Yes. Yes she does." First, quickly divesting herself of her garments, Xena picked up the container of goat's cream. Waving the pot of goat's cream in front of Gabrielle's nose, Xena scooped up a fingerful. Gabrielle lunged to lick the white cream from her friend's outstretched hand. Xena pulled her hand away. "Not so fast," she admonished before turning to Joxer, and anointing his chest with the cream. Gabrielle began to salivate. Xena decorated Joxer's chest with a liberal amount of goat's cream topped with grapes and slices of melon, occasionally feeding a piece of fruit to Joxer, who munched happily, knowing what was going to happen next. Leaning back on her heels, Xena admired her handiwork. "Artistic, don't you think?"

"Very," Joxer agreed.

"Can I eat now?" Gabrielle uttered between clenched teeth.

Xena raised an eyebrow in Joxer's direction. "Shall we allow her to feast?"

Not able to contain his eagerness, an enthusiastic, "Yeah!" ripped from his throat. Gabrielle's unexpected cuddling earlier had sparked all sorts of naughty ideas, and this was as good a place to start as any.

"So untie me, already, Xena!"

"Oh, no, Gabrielle. You don't get it. You're supposed to eat without using your hands. It's like a game. Aren't you hungry?" Xena appraised her friend. "You must be hungry. You always get grouchy when your blood sugar is low. Here..." Xena dripped a little honey on Gabrielle's up thrust breasts. "I'll show you how it's done..." Without using her hands, Xena proceeded to lick the sticky sweet substance from the warm mounds of flesh.

"Hey, don't I get anything more to eat?" Joxer asked.

"Sure you do." Xena reached for a bunch of grapes, plucking them one at a time from the bunch and popping them playfully into his mouth.

"Come on, Gabrielle. Food's waiting..."

Despite the events of the morning, Gabrielle was feeling shy. But watching Xena cuddled against Joxer's side, feeding him, emboldened her. Edging towards the fruit and cream bedecked warrior, Gabrielle bent at the waist to feast on the delicacies Xena had placed there for her. Delicately she nibbled bits of fruit with her sharp, white teeth. At first careful, her hunger urged her to more shameless licking of the delicious goat's cream off Joxer's smooth chest. She felt his muscles tighten as she licked a dollop of cream from his stomach. His own unique flavor lent a spice to the goat's cream that Gabrielle found delicious.

When she looked up from her meal, Gabrielle saw Xena feeding Joxer one of the meat pies. Reclining next to him, Xena fed him half the pie, while she ate the other half. Having finished all but a few streaks of cream in places too awkward to reach without her hands to support her weight, Gabrielle was still hungry. She saw Joxer holding the last morsel of meat pie between his teeth. She wanted that meat pie.

Gabrielle's lips met Joxer's hungrily. Stealing the savory bite with teeth and tongue, her lips lingered. A jolt from the man under her caused Gabrielle to break the physical connection. She turned slightly to see that Xena had drenched Joxer's shyly rising cock with honey.

"Dessert?" Xena asked archly, with sinful grin.

The blond woman hesitated a moment.

"Because if you don't..." Xena held Gabrielle's gaze, "...I will!"

The two women bent towards Joxer's honey-drenched love muscle in graceful synchronicity. With nibbles and licks, they feasted on the sweet treat, pausing occasionally to taste the honey on each other's tongues. Under their ministrations, Joxer's cock rose triumphant once again.

Tormented by the sight of the two women sharing him with their mouths, Joxer twitched restlessly. He expected no less than fierce passion from Xena, but Gabrielle's growing ardor hurt as much as it pleasured. He wanted to watch her face as he took her. He wanted to see her eyes dance with passion as he moved inside her. He'd dreamed too many times of having Gabrielle naked and willing to let an opportunity like this pass him by yet again. Always too shy to speak, too hesitant to make a move, Joxer existed for the rare moments when Gabrielle smiled for him.

Before things could get out of control, he made his move. "Now I want dessert." Gruffly, Joxer spoke: "Xena... cut her free."

Surprised, but pleased at the stiffening of Joxer's resolve, (along with his other body parts) Xena pulled herself away from licking the last traces of honey from his balls to untie the silk that bound her other friend's hands. Joxer, taking Gabrielle by the shoulders, pulled her to his mouth for a slightly sticky kiss. Searching her passion-glazed eyes for a hint of resistance to his plan, Joxer gently pressed her back to the blanket, looming over the now-docile bard. "I've waited a long time for this..." he whispered, then bent to kiss her face a thousand times.

Pleased that Joxer had finally decided to act upon his feelings openly, Xena sat back to watch his thorough seduction of Gabrielle with intense curiosity.

Gabrielle lay with her eyes closed, her mind battling her heart over the sensations she was feeling. Joxer peppered her face, neck and shoulders with tiny kisses. He spent several minutes tracing the contours of her left ear with his fingertips, his lips and his tongue. The feeling was exquisite. She hadn't wanted to admit it but he obviously really did love her. Gabrielle was starting to see he loved her more than she could imagine. How long? she wondered, and her heart ached slightly.

Joxer had forgotten about what Xena had said about today and tomorrow and whatever. He had forgotten they were lying in a barn in a hostile town. He had even forgotten that Xena was lounging just a few feet away, embarrassing a baklava and watching them out of the corner of her eye. Gabrielle, his beautiful bard, his stunning Amazon was lying naked and glorious, allowing him to show her just how much he loved her. He wanted this moment to last forever. He touched her tenderly, worshiping her body, no longer thinking about lust or his own satisfaction. He had been given this chance to show her how he felt and he was going to do his very best.

Gabrielle shuddered as Joxer drew his fingertip across her lower lip so gently that it felt more like a zephyr than a touch. She opened her eyes and looked up into his face, only inches from hers. His deep brown eyes were shiny and seemed to reach into her and touch her soul. His lips that she had thought only good for making funny faces touched hers ever so gently in a surprisingly chaste kiss. They're so soft.

Lying next to her, propped up on one elbow, he trailed his fingertips along her jaw and down her throat. He kissed down her neck to the hollow of her collarbone, then followed the contours of it with the tip of his tongue until he had to lift himself up to hover above her, ending up at the opposite shoulder. He sat back on his haunches and picked up her hand that had been lying slightly curled on her flat stomach and smiled at the ink-stains that never quite washed off the first two fingers. He laid her hand against his cheek and closed his eyes, sighing. Gabrielle was entranced by his exploration of her. His hands are so delicate, his touch ethereal.

He had her hand on his face and she felt his features passing under her fingers; the high cheekbones, the strong nose, the little cleft in his chin...He kissed each fingertip in turn, running the sensitive pad of the fingers back and forth across his lips. She smiled slightly as she saw his face not with her eyes but with her touch and she realized, He really is quite handsome.

Joxer shifted again and gently laid Gabrielle's hand at her side, kissing the soft skin inside of her elbow. He bent down to give her lips another gentle kiss and let his hand trail down to rest on her chest between her breasts. He cupped his hand, laid it on one flattened mound and held his breath until he could feel her heartbeat under his touch. He brought his cheek down to rest against her breast, blew a teasing breath across her nipple and watched it begin to harden. "You are so beautiful," he whispered.

Joxer touched her nipple with his fingertip, sending sparks through Gabrielle's body. He kissed it gently, licked it, then took it between his lips and gently suckled it. He repeated the treatment with her other breast until Gabrielle gave a little whimper. He moved on, stroking and kissing her flat abdomen, tasting the gorgeous skin he had admired for so long. When he reached the little vee of golden curls he brushed over it lightly with his fingers, then moved down to stroke and nuzzle her legs, ankles and feet. Gabrielle thought his touches should tickle. Had anyone else tried to touch the sole of her foot like that she would've shrieked but Joxer's delicate stroking was lovely. She would never have guessed that he would be such a gentle and attentive lover. Of course, she had never considered him in terms of a lover at all. Gabrielle's speculation was cut short as Joxer gently rolled her over and began stroking and kissing her back. Now that really tickles, she thought as Joxer kissed, licked and caressed across her shoulders, down her spine, around her waist and around her firm young buttocks.

Xena licked the sticky honey from her pastry while watching to see how things progressed. She had been aware of Joxer's passion for Gabrielle for some time, but this surprised even her. The warrior was just beginning to wonder how long Gabrielle would hold out when she saw her make her move. Xena felt rather proud as her friend whipped around, bringing Joxer into a solid hold between her legs and, with hands holding tightly to either side of his head, pulled him down into a passionate kiss. Good for you, Gabrielle! she cheered silently.

Joxer hardly knew what hit him. Suddenly Gabrielle had her strong legs wrapped around his hips, her warm wet opening pressing firmly against his erection. He opened his mouth to protest but was pulled into a fierce kiss, his beloved plunging her tongue into his mouth before he could utter a syllable. When he opened his eyes again she was staring at him. "Now Joxer. Now."

He thought about protesting, that he had so much more planned, but the look in her eyes was very serious and he automatically complied.

She loosened her grip long enough for Joxer to re-position himself, but kept her legs around him. She was seeing this strange, endearing man who annoyed her more often than not in a new light, and right now she wanted him in her so badly she could feel the need like a hunger. The playfulness was gone from Joxer too. He wrapped one arm around her waist and tilted her hips up to meet him. Locking his gaze on hers, he slowly slid into her, pulling her to him until he had buried his full length inside her.

She held his stare unblinking even though she reeled from the sensation. It was him, him, Joxer inside her and it felt like he was boring into her soul. She could actually feel the end of his shaft pushing against her womb. She could feel an ache in her stomach, or was it her heart? In spite of her resolve, Gabrielle gasped aloud.

Eyes still locked on hers, Joxer pulled back a little, reveling in the effect he was having on her. He entered her again, a little more forcefully this time. He wanted to say her name, to tell her how being inside her was the most beautiful thing he could imagine but her stare was so serious; she had listened to his tender words earlier, he would hold his tongue, for now. He continued to thrust into the bard's hot, tight opening, concentrating on keeping it slow, staying in control, listening to her gasp of breath each time he filled her.

Joxer and Gabrielle now held Xena's full attention. Gods but they're hot.

Thrust. "Gasp."

He really is very good.

Gabrielle was starting to feel light-headed but didn't want to take her eyes off Joxer's. She thrust up to meet Joxer's attack and he quickened his pace in answer to her reaction. They continued to hold one another's gaze, but they could each see the mounting passion in the other's eyes. Joxer maintained his steady pace, enraptured by the sensation of being surrounded by Gabrielle, wishing he could die with her looking at him like that. Suddenly Gabrielle blinked, her gasps for air turned to little whimpers and she struggled to keep her eyes on Joxer's.

He could feel his erection being squeezed as her body raced toward release and he fought for control. Just a little more, he thought.

She threw her head back and screamed, "Joxer, oh godssss, Jaaaah-csserr!"

He looked at her face, green eyes wide, looking but not seeing, his name on her lips. He plunged into her mindlessly seeking his own release.

Xena gave a little sympathetic shudder. I hope they have something left for me, and she smiled that smile.

"Ah-Gabriellllle," Joxer didn't so much scream as sigh as he came. The release itself took all the breath he had. He held his beautiful bard tightly against him, still buried deep within in her and looked into her eyes. "I love you, Gabrielle," and he kissed her, long and languorously, not giving her a chance to respond.

Part of her wanted to simply give into that kiss, let it wash over her like a tidal wave, sapping her will and drowning her doubts in its intensity. For several seconds she even managed to ignore the nagging voice in the back of her mind that clucked nonsense at her about "conscience." Who could care about trivialities when they were being kissed with such ardor? Still, even a conscience being overwhelmed by passion can find a way to make itself heard and slowly, sadly, Gabby pulled away from him. Her emerald eyes were suddenly quite serious as they gazed up at his, "Joxer..I..I love you but I...I'm not in love with you understand what I'm saying?"

The smile that spread across his face nearly broke her heart. "I know that, Gabrielle..I've always known you didn't...couldn't....feel that way about me. But it doesn't change my feelings." He sighed again, this time with equal parts resignation and longing. "I don't think anything ever could...well, all right maybe if you went on a killing spree or something...Of course if you did you'd probably have a good reason for it so then I'd be kinda' torn about just how to f-..."

Taking his face in her hands Gabrielle grinned and mock growled, "Joxer, you talk entirely too much!" With a kiss that was, to some degree, an apology, she squirmed out from beneath his lanky body. She sought out Xena's long, luscious body, and noted that her face was a bit troubled. That would simply never do. "Joxer, I think Xena's starting to feel left out..."

For his part the would be warrior managed a smile and quipped, "I do believe you're right, and I know just what to do about it!"

"Well it just so happens," Gabrielle muttered in return, "that I have an idea of my own."

"Can't be as good as mine." he replied, sitting up with a grin. Feeling once more on known territory, Gabby fell back into their rather sibling-like banter, wondering how long Xena would tolerate it before acting on her own. "Oh I beg to differ, after all as a bard my imagination is obviously superior, therefore any idea I come up with would have to be better than yours."

Joxer attempted to gather some sort of facade of dignity before answering; of course sitting naked on a barn floor hampered his efforts somewhat. "You mean just 'cause I'm a warrior I couldn't possibly come up with an idea that could be better than yours?"

Before Gabrielle could form an appropriately scathing retort Xena's low, languorous voice interrupted the bickering duo. "Why don't you wrestle for it?"

"What?" followed quickly by, "Huh?" and two pairs of quizzical eyes met her question.

"Why don't you two wrestle for the privilege of deciding what you do with me next? Winner gets first crack at me!" The word "crack" was emphasized by a widening of the warrior princess's eyes and a leering grin.

"I can't fight her, she's a, woman!"

Gabrielle's eyes flickered over to meet his, one eyebrow quirked. "Afraid?"

Leaping to his feet, hands planted firmly on his hips Joxer couldn't help crowing, "Joxer the Mighty fears no man...or woman!"

Standing gracefully she retorted, "How's he feel about Amazon Queens?"

"Well, they do make him a little nervous..." he replied with a sheepish smile. The wicked twinkle in his opponent's eye was enough to inspire him to silently amend, 'a lot nervous!' Before he could contemplate the foolishness of his previous bravado Gabby leapt at him, tumbling them both over a bale of hay and into one of the stalls. His scream of surprise was cut short as the air rushed from his lungs when their bodies impacted the ground. The temptation to simply let Gabrielle have her way was nearly overpowering, but a twinge of competitiveness kept him from giving in completely. That coupled with the certainty that his idea really was incredibly good actually inspired at least a token show of resistance on his part.

Giggling and just a little bit smug, Gabrielle straddled him easily. "Looks like I've got you pinned. Ready to give up?"

Joxer threw his head back and laughed, "Joxer the Mighty never gives up, prepare to be defeated!" With that he grabbed her arms and used his weight to flip them both over. She landed with an "Oof!" and writhed delightfully under him. "Ah-ha, now it is I who has the upper hand! Like so many before, you have underestimated me and it has proven to be your downfall..."

Meanwhile Gabrielle's hands had wriggled free from his grasp and were snaking their way down Joxer's body. "You think you can distract me with your wily ways, do you?" She managed to reach his thighs and his body jerked to attention despite his best intentions. "Ah-heh, you're right, you can..." Leaning in to steal a kiss was all the opening the bard needed to lever her legs up behind his and flip him over her head.

Xena watched the match with a mixture of amusement and lust. The sight of those two nude, sweat-slicked bodies tussling in the hay was having a profound effect. One hand reached down to tease her pulsing clit as the other popped a piece of baklava in her mouth. Munching away happily, her own body wriggling in response to both physical and visual stimulation, she leaned back against a support beam and made herself comfortable.

"Admit it, Joxer, you've met your match," Gabby crooned, straddling him once more and using her knees to keep his arms pinned. Arms raised in victory she added, "Gabrielle, Bard of Poteidaia and Amazon Queen is hereby officially named the w-...."

So caught up in her triumph was she that she missed Joxer's head popping up just far enough to reach her golden curls. Overbalanced and taken totally off guard, she managed a squeak before leaning back to give him better access. " cheat!" she panted, her hips grinding into his face with enthusiasm.

He simply responded by doubling his effort, that long, nimble tongue of his circling her clit before he took it gently but firmly between his teeth. Several tugs later and it was the bard's turn to be rendered speechless. Leaning back against his legs she was helpless to stop him when he managed to lift his upper body. She quickly found shoulders pressed into the hay while her back rested on his extended thighs. Her own legs had been positioned over his shoulders, giving him an even better angle on her pleasure center. From this vantage point he was able to use his mouth even more effectively, lapping up her juices like they were the finest wine he'd ever been privileged enough to taste. The bard was gasping and seeing stars within seconds, her body shuddering with the intensity of her pleasure. All thoughts of fighting her delightful adversary were conveniently tucked away as her legs tightened around his head, forcing his ministrations to just the right spot to push her over the edge. A sound that was halfway between a gasp and a groan issued from her mouth as she once again sagged, sated and limp in his grasp. An answering moan sounded from Xena as she shuddered to a climax of her own. "Sorry, Gabrielle," she panted, "but I've gotta' give Joxer the match...that was definitely a ten count."

"Oh that's okay..." her friend returned, still a bit dazed, "I can wait my turn...after all we've got all day."

"Now," Xena purred, "what's your great idea?"

"I'll have to show you!" Joxer chirped, easing Gabrielle down to the ground and scrambling over to Xena. "First I want you to lie down on your stomach and get comfortable."

"If this is what I think it is..." she began.

"Trust me, Xena, this'll be a little different, but I promise you'll enjoy it."

She sighed and did as she was told. Inspecting her quickly, he nodded his satisfaction before saying, "When I was younger my dad would sometimes come home after a campaign and bring us all presents from far away lands. He wasn't a really famous warlord or anything, not like well, like you or Draco, or anything like that, but he did all right. Anyway one time he brought home three slaves from the lands south of Chin." Warming his hands by rubbing them together, Joxer placed them gently on Xena's shoulders and began to move them slowly and with great skill in large, leisurely circles. "One of the slaves was a boy named Uvi, he was very sweet and way too pretty for a least that's what my dad always said. At night Uvi and I would meet at this fig tree a little way from my home and sometimes we'd talk or tell each other jokes, other times he would teach me things. I learned more about music from him than I ever did from any of the teachers my mother made me go to. He used to tell me stories and he told them with such skill that I'd almost feel like I was a part of them. But the one thing he taught me that I'll never forget is that a good massage is the single most enjoyable experience in the to sex anyway." The last was followed by an embarrassed grin. As he increased the intensity of his strokes his movements became more focused, Xena could feel the tension in her muscles begin to drain away. At first it was a little disturbing, for even in sleep she maintained a certain degree of wariness, never quite letting herself relax totally. Under Joxer's skilled ministrations she was having a hard time holding onto that physical readiness that had saved her life on so many occasions. "Sometimes," Joxer continued in a gentle purr, "a good massage can be even better than sex."

Gabrielle had crawled over to join them, using her own strong, slightly calloused hands to help wring every last drop of tension from Xena's body. She favored Joxer with a sideways glance before muttering, "Better than sex? I find that hard to believe."

Working his way carefully, and oh so thoroughly down Xena's well-muscled thighs he returned, "Wait'll we get done, then you can ask her."

The subject of this particular discussion was too lost in sensation to add her own input beyond the occasional moan as one of her lovers hit a particularly tight spot. She'd crossed that unseen boundary between pleasure and pain some time back and now would cheerfully trade her soul for an eternity of this attention. It was almost as if her entire body were being brought to the edge of climax, excruciatingly slowly, and she was helpless to seek her own release. Yes, helpless was exactly the word to describe her situation because, had Ares himself appeared to challenge her she was convinced she'd barely be able to lift a finger in return. Xena felt at once terrified and exhilarated by that sensation, almost like a virgin lying beneath her first lover.

Joxer stopped at the bottom of her calves and gazed up at Gabrielle, who'd decided to employ more than just her hands in her work. She ran her strawberry blonde tresses over the larger woman's back, following the path she'd so recently kneaded into relaxation, then continued down her body to meet Joxer who grinned and murmured, "Now we need to turn her over. You get her feet, I'll get her shoulders, ok?"

They rolled the warrior over quite gently and were greeted by the sight of a blissful smile on her exotic features. "Don't stop..." she breathed, "Oh gods don't stop!"

"Don't worry, the best is yet to come," he reassured her softly as he straightened out her limbs at her side.

"Oh I bet I know what's next!" Gabby laughed, eyes merrily following the contours of her lover's body.

Joxer simply replied, "Betcha' don't."

"How much?"

The slender man looked up in surprise, "How much what?"

"How much do you bet I don't know what you're going to do next? C'mon, let's see you put your dinars where your mouth is!"

Joxer pondered that challenge for a moment then said, "I don't have any dinars...but I'll bet you anything else you like."

Now it was Gabby's turn to consider, what did he have that she might want...well, aside from the obvious and she could have that easily enough. Suddenly her mind was thrown back to their first tussle, and a certain weapon..."That little itty-bitty dagger of yours."

His first impulse was to refuse, but remembering what Xena had said about the day repeating, he finally muttered, "Okay, you can have the dagger if you're right, but if you're wrong I want...I want..."

That was a tough one, the one thing he really wanted from her was for her to return his feelings but that wasn't the kind of thing you could really bet on. Like an oil lamp flickering to life over his head it came to him. "I want you to wear my helmet!"

Even Xena's eyes slitted open with that one. Gabrielle looked at him as if certain he'd lost his mind. "Why?"

A little embarrassed that he'd actually blurted that out aloud he mumbled, "I've always wanted to see you in it..."

"Okay, it's a bet!"

He nodded once and they shook on it. "Now watch carefully." Positioning himself at Xena's head, he placed his arms beneath her back, balling his hands into fists. Starting at the back of her hips he dragged his knuckles up along her spine, lifting her body as he did so.

The effect on the warrior was startling. Her eyes rolled back and she gasped with delight, "Oh...G-gods!" She'd quite literally never felt anything like this in her life, and her brain was far too overwhelmed to possibly process all the sensory input. The last coherent thought she managed was that somehow someway she was going to have to convince Joxer to become her own personal masseuse.

Gabrielle watched the effect Joxer's hands were having on Xena with absolute astonishment. He was nowhere near her waist or breasts or mouth and she was arching, toes curled, like a woman lost in the throes of passion. It was quite a sight to behold, Xena's body rolling like an ocean wave, her golden breasts heaving and bouncing ever so slowly, her dark hair spilling back like a waterfall. The bard had never seen anything quite so beautiful.

Easing Xena back down to the ground, Joxer smiled at the moan of disappointment that issued from her. "Don't worry, we're not quite done yet." Gesturing for Gabby to join him he pointed to Xena's midsection. "You start on her abdomen, nice easy strokes, then work your way down her legs." He repositioned himself at the bottoms of her calves and began kneading them with smooth, even pressure. Gabrielle was itching to get her hands back on the lovely warrior's firm body and resumed her work with relish, the feel of that flat stomach was making her positively throb with desire. She bit her bottom lip and tried to keep her mind on the task at hand; this wasn't about her pleasure, but Xena's. Meanwhile Joxer had turned his attention to the warrior's long, slim feet.

If Xena thought his attentions to her back had been mesmerizing, what he was now doing to her lower extremities had her seeing stars. Just don't stop, she thought hazily. Don't ever stop.

Gabrielle managed to tear herself away from Xena's delectable abdomen and was moving slowly but surely towards Joxer. He seemed to be working her feet like a potter molded clay, his long thumbs working from heel to toes with exquisite detail. Not one inch was missed, no muscle went untended, no nerve unexcited. It was too much, and at the same time not nearly enough as far as Xena was concerned. Oddly enough she wasn't entirely aware of the exact moment when the two broke contact with her. Her own body felt as if it were floating away from her...or falling, she couldn't be sure which. For the first time in a very long time the warrior princess felt free, unencumbered, and completely and utterly safe. Blue eyes flickering open, she sought out the two people who had now become an inextricable part of her life and soul. Both were gazing back at her with their hearts in their eyes and Xena was startled to feel the cool trail of a tear down each cheek, and she blushed hotly.

Looking a bit uncomfortable, Gabby and Joxer exchanged a glance before the would be warrior cleared his throat and said, "Well, did I win?"

Sighing dramatically the bard growled, "Yes, as much as I hate to admit it you did. But how was I supposed to know that you," and she gestured sharply at him, "would be able to do something like that." The final word was followed by an expansive sweep of her hand over Xena's body.

Grinning he murmured in his deepest voice, "I have many skills."

That sent all three into a fit of giggles. Gabby leapt to her feet and said, "Well, where is it? Might as well get this over with."

Joxer whipped around, his eyes scanning the barn with slight confusion. "Um...I know I had it with me this morning..."

The bard scrambled about the barn, ducking behind bales and poking her head into stalls. "Oh, I found it!" Her voice sing-songed from somewhere behind her reclining friends. "Be out in a sec!" A few clangs, bangs, and sharp cracks later she pranced out into the center of the space and struck a pose. Helmet, far too large and tipped jauntily on her golden tresses, Gabby had opted to throw his mismatched shoulder guards and breastplate (such as it was) on as well. Standing there, one hand on her hip, the other raised over her head, and the fragments of Joxer's armor revealing far more than they covered she cooed, "Gabrielle the Mighty, at your service!"

The sight of Gabrielle half-dressed in Joxer's armor and with the crazy helmet on her head was too much, and reduced both Xena and Joxer to an extended fit of the giggles. Gabrielle, seeing their reaction, hammed it up for all it was worth, striking poses and strutting around as if she was competing in one of Salmoneus' beauty pageants. Not only was it infinitely amusing, but Xena had to admit that a half-naked Gabrielle was almost more of a turn-on than a completely naked Gabrielle.

"I think it's quite an attractive fit, don't you?" Gabrielle remarked, doing a pirouette and nearly falling as the helmet was throwing off her balance.

"It certainly looks better on you than it ever did on me," Joxer admitted enthusiastically.

"No argument there," Xena added with a smirk.

"As long as we're playing dress-up, there's something I'd like to see," Gabrielle said, suddenly getting a wicked glimmer in her eyes.

"Oh?" Xena asked.

"Mmm hmm..." She turned away and walked towards her bag of scrolls, showing off her quite adorable bare backside as she bent down to pick it up. "I know it's in here somewhere...a-ha!" Dropping the bag and turning back to the other two, she was keeping something hidden behind her back as she approached. Turning her attention to Joxer, she asked, "Joxer, would you do...anything...for me?"

He blinked and sat up eagerly, answering, "Of course I would!"

"Good. Then...I want to see this!" And she dropped the item she'd been concealing into the man's lap.

Xena had to bite her lip to keep from keeling over in laughter. Gabrielle had just given Joxer a lacy, frilly, and oh-so-feminine pink nightgown.

"You've got to be joking..." Joxer started, his cheeks flushing bright pink, ten shades more intense in color than the sheer nightie.

"Please...?" Gabby asked, sitting down next to him and rubbing his back encouragingly. "There's something about the idea that just...really turns me on..."

Well, if Gabrielle seemed that enthused about the idea...He cast a sheepish look at Xena, who merely grinned and said, "I'm with Gabrielle on this one."

"If you really want me to..." he acquiesced, looking at it disdainfully and grumbling, "I doubt it will even fit."

But it did, and "quite magnificently" as Gabrielle observed to Xena only a minute or so later as she instructed him to stand and show off how it looked.

"I didn't know you even owned something like that, Gabrielle," Xena commented.

"I've been saving it...for a special occasion. And it can't get any more special than this. What do you think, Joxer?"

"I think...I think it's a good thing my brother Jace isn't here to see this. He'd want to start giving me lessons on makeup application next," the nightie-adorned warrior stated, though as he fingered the silky fabric, his eyebrows arched and he did have to admit, "I suppose it is...rather comfortable..."

Gabrielle proclaimed that she was growing hungry again, and so the three gathered to dig into what was left of the food Xena had brought in earlier in the day. They passed around a flask of sweet, aromatic wine and playfully finished the last of the fruit, honey and cream. They took turns feeding each other, licking dripping honey off sticky fingers, lips, and wherever else it landed. Joxer and Gabrielle laughed and traded jokes about their respective ridiculous attire, but Xena found her thoughts drifting as she watched them, listening to their easy banter...Perhaps it was the massage that had so relaxed her, freeing her mind as well as her muscles. Perhaps it was the slight change in the light drifting in through the cracks in the barn's walls, reminding her that though the day would repeat itself, this particular day would draw to a close, and the hours were passing faster than she had realized. What then? What of the next today? What of the tomorrows she hoped would come once she figured out the solution she knew was there, waiting for her to find, that would get her out of this situation?

She knew she would not repeat the events of this particular today again, not even as tempting as the idea was. The memories would be too perfect to risk tarnishing or lessening through repetition. No, she needed to get time back on track; this break had been just what she'd needed to keep from going mad, but that was all it would have to be--a brief, treasured break from reality.

But once this was over, and life returned to "normal"...Gabrielle and Joxer would remember nothing, but she would retain these memories forever. She would know how easy it would be to confess her love to Gabrielle, and that Gabrielle shared her feelings and could reciprocate them fully. Were either of them ready, however, to allow their relationship to progress to that heightened level yet? There was a danger to it, for they relied on each other for survival, day to day...and passion could cloud one's mind and slow the reflexes. Xena knew all too well that was a dangerous thing for a warrior. Part of her felt the need to keep just that one degree of distance from her beloved least until times and their lives might be different.

And Joxer...Gods, there was the other dilemma. She had known Joxer had feelings for Gabrielle as well, but she had believed them to be no more serious than a boy's lust-driven crush...and she knew so much better now. His love for the fair young woman was no less real than her own. Gabrielle might not return his feelings now, and Joxer might feel hopeless that she ever could, but Xena did not doubt that the potential was there for a relationship to blossom one day. If Joxer had the chance to mature and overcome his insecurities, perhaps Gabrielle just might see him in a different light.

It all left Xena wondering if, in the long run, Joxer might not be the better match for Gabrielle than she was. His spirit was not damaged by a regretted past as her own was...damage she felt she would never be able to fully repair, no matter how much faith Gabrielle seemed to have in her that she could. Didn't Gabrielle deserve better? Someone...whole, untarnished...

Of course, there was another option. Could they make this trio work, outside the confinement and seclusion of this day out of time? It was one thing to give in to an odd moment of desire, where there would be no repercussions, and something entirely different to try to build a lasting relationship out of it--especially when one person seemed to be the center of the other two's attentions.

Suddenly she realized the barn had grown strangely silent, and Gabrielle and Joxer were both looking to her, concern evident on their faces. "Xena, is something wrong?" Gabrielle asked. "You seemed a thousand miles away for a minute."

"It's...nothing." She shook her head and picked absently at the last few grapes on the bunch. "Nothing we need to think about today." Then she found it was rather impossible to stay in a serious mood, what with Joxer and Gabrielle still dressed perfectly ridiculously and acting as if there was nothing strange at all about it. "Are you going to wear that helmet all day?"

"Maybe," Gabrielle answered with a smile. "I like it. But it is a little heavy. Perhaps you'd care to help me take it off?"

There was no "perhaps" about it. She took a quick glance at Joxer, who simply sat back comfortably with a satisfied smile, nibbling at one last meat pie that had been left. Xena wanted the chance to fully pleasure and love Gabrielle on her own, as she had allowed Joxer to do earlier, and he seemed to understand her intentions fully and offered no objections.

Xena stepped towards Gabrielle, and the young bard allowed her statuesque companion to remove the uniquely designed helmet. With a casual motion, Xena tossed the helmet towards Joxer. Cramming the last bit of pie into his mouth he caught the wayward headgear in both hands, then set it aside to watch the two women.

Gabrielle allowed her tall friend to stand close, their naked bodies barely touching. Xena trailed gentle fingers along Gabrielle's bare arms before removing the last of Joxer's armor. The bard felt her body sing as Xena laced strong fingers through her long blond hair and pulled her in for a demanding, searching kiss.

At first, surrendering to the carnal kiss, Gabrielle pressed her naked flesh against Xena's well endowed frame. Gradually, the bard realized something was wrong. Gently, but firmly she pushed her friend to arm's length away.

Sensitive to the bard's withdrawal, Xena was nevertheless confused by Gabrielle's sudden change of mood. "What's wrong?"

"Xena..." Gabrielle paused meditatively.

"Do you want to stop?" Xena asked.

"No! I mean, no, it's not that." Gabrielle took a step back, appraising the beautiful length of Xena's body. "I don't know if I can explain... It's just, since this morning, you've been in charge. Even when you weren't in charge, you still had the power. I want..." Words failed a woman who prided herself on her ability to use words. Gabrielle smiled and shook her head. "I don't think I can explain it, but maybe I can show you what I mean. Xena... would you sit down?" Gabrielle gestured. "Over there, maybe."

With an amused look on her face, Xena sat where her friend directed. Gabrielle moved to sit beside her. "Now, if you would lie back?" Xena did as she was instructed, willing her limbs to relax. Gabrielle loomed over Xena, bending to kiss the comely warrior.

Gabrielle took control of the kiss, sweeping Xena's mouth with a tongue almost too rough, too demanding. Bearing down on top of her warrior friend, Gabrielle took what she wanted, ignoring the surprised gasps she muffled with more kisses. When Xena reached a hand up to stroke the pale skin of her suddenly dominant companion, Gabrielle broke away, admonishing, "No. Not yet. I touch you." Suiting action to word, the bard began tracing pictograms on her supine victim's dusky flesh, refusing to allow the warrior to reciprocate.

Xena moaned. "Gabrielle, you're killing me..."

Grinning, the blond woman continued her sensuous torture.

"Um..." Joxer cleared his throat, clearly affected by the scene being played out before him. "Shouldn't you something?"

The bard continued her aimless touching over Xena's belly, breasts, arms, face. "Eventually." But each of Xena's low moans sent a pulse of sensation down Gabrielle's spine, her already moist lips flooding with new juices. "Soon." Gabrielle drifted one hand across Xena's hip, along her thigh.

Automatically, Xena parted her legs to give her friend's questing hand easy access. Xena appreciated the younger woman's urge to take control, and relished the role reversal. She eagerly anticipated the feel of Gabrielle's hand on her sex. She could imagine the feel of those clever fingers deep inside her, pulling pleasure from her womb with the same skill the bard inspired goodness in the people around her. But Gabrielle had other ideas in mind.

Scooting down so she was between Xena's legs, at eye level with the warrior' s navel, Gabrielle, propped on both elbows, gently stroked the smooth inner thighs of the recumbent Xena. "Joxer..." Gabrielle began with a speculative cheerfulness, "Did I remember seeing a cucumber in that bag?"

Not wanting to take his eyes off the two women for a moment, Joxer blindly flailed, trying to locate the shopping bag without looking for it. "Lemme check..." His hand connected with the bag, and he dragged it into his lap, concealing his returning erection. He didn't know a man could stay so hard for so long. Watching Gabrielle's flirting play with Xena's exposed sex, Joxer fished through the half-empty bag for the alluded to cucumber. His hand encountered the feel of silk, something like feathers or fur, a cool rounded metal something, and, at last, the smooth skin of the cucumber. Pulling the green object from the bag, he affirmed that it was the cucumber, as he offered it to the bard. "Uh... is this what you were looking for?"

"Thank you, Joxer," she said politely as she accepted the cucumber from his hand. Xena's eyes widened, suspecting her friend's next move.

Resting the vegetable on the floor beside Xena's leg, Gabrielle gently parted the brunette curls at the juncture of Xena's thighs, and took a long silent look at the glistening rosy flesh. Curiously, she traced the outline of these nether lips with sensitive fingers, as if to memorize and map the swells and hollows of her friend's intimate self. Playing with the swelling clitoris, Gabrielle heard Xena's breathing grow rapid and harsh, and felt her body tense around the building pleasure. Continuing this torture with one hand, Gabrielle reached for the cucumber with the other, and positioned it at the quivering opening to Xena's womb. Twisting the vegetable slightly, Gabrielle slowly pushed the cucumber into Xena's sex. Arching her body to greet the vegetable intruder, Xena's hands spasmed against open air.

When the cucumber was in as far as it could comfortably go, Gabrielle pulled, removing the solid length of it almost entirely, before thrusting it back in, a little faster.

"Oh, by the gods!" Joxer exclaimed softly, his own hand around his cock, slowly stroking it in time to Gabrielle's deliberate thrusts. Xena was blind and mindless now with passion, concentrating only on the sensations of Gabrielle's hands: one wielding the vegetable, and the other on the elongated button of her clit. Gabrielle gloried in the power she had discovered, this amazing new power to make her friend writhe with pleasure.

Joxer came first, the white foam soaking into the straw. He rolled onto his stomach, his head turned to watch Xena's expression of raw passion, and his Gabby's look of intense concentration. Gabrielle continued to ream Xena with the cucumber, now fast and furious, as Xena keened a long high pitched sound of abandon. At last, Gabrielle felt her arm tire, and forced an amazing climax from Xena with a few final sustained thrusts. Soaking with sweat, all three of them were silent, enjoying their respective afterglows. Gabrielle watched Xena, eyes closed, collapsed on the floor, and wondered something. Could she do the same for Joxer?

A glance at the apparently dead naked hero a few feet away made her mind up. She'd tie him up if she had to. Gabrielle pulled the cucumber, slick with Xena's juices, from between her friend's nether lips with a gentle sucking sound. Carefully tiptoeing to Joxer, she sat on his legs, and stroked a gentle hand down his spine.


"Just relax, Joxer," Gabrielle cooed. "I'll be gentle."

Joxer would trust his life to Gabrielle, but he was still nervous, not sure she knew what she was doing. But her gentle, sure hands spreading his ass cheeks influenced a sort of tranquilizing calm over his nervous system. This is my Gabby doing this...How can I refuse her anything? Gently Gabrielle teased at the puckered circle of Joxer's anus with the dripping wet cucumber. Lubricated by Xena's juices, the cucumber eased its way past the constriction of muscle, and inside Joxer's body. "Oh, wow!"

Gabrielle smiled, and continued to coo, "Relax, Joxer. Just relax. Let me do this..." With far more finesse than she'd used on Xena, Gabrielle manipulated the cucumber inside Joxer's ass. Despite himself, his body jumped and quivered when the vegetable put pressure on his prostate gland, and he felt himself hardening again.

Between ragged gasps, Joxer forced out, "Xena... what goat's cream?...I...I've...never!"

Xena crawled towards the pair. "Gabrielle...I have an idea."

Gabrielle paused. "Whisper it to me..."

Joxer just gasped on the floor, still feeling the intrusion of the cucumber, but not Gabrielle's touch on it.

"Joxer..." Xena's voice came from somewhere behind him as the women changed places, "It wasn't the goat's cream, it was the meat pie. And it's nothing harmful, just a little additive to increase your...stamina."

Joxer felt two pairs of hands roll him onto his side, then Gabrielle came to lie in front of him. He felt the warmth of Xena settling in behind him. The bard smiled at the overwhelmed man, and he suddenly knew what was going to happen next.

As Xena took control of the cucumber behind him, Gabrielle hooked a leg over him, and reaching down, grasped his swelling manhood, and eased herself onto it. Completely filled and enveloped by these two women who were so dear to him, Joxer could have died that moment and been happy. Xena leaned over his body to kiss Gabrielle. Thus entwined, the three of them began to move together.

The women let Joxer dictate the pace, as he alternately pushed back against the thick vegetable, and forward into the warm girl. Xena kept firm hold of the cucumber, bracing it against her pussy, so each of Joxer's thrusts pleasured her as well. Xena turned her attention to nibbling Joxer's earlobe, and sucking on the side of his neck. Half turning his head, he muttered, smiling, "...bacchae..."

Gabrielle met Xena's lips on Joxer's neck, and the two of them covered the tender skin with passionate suck marks. Overwhelmed by sensation, Joxer could not contain himself, and orgasmed, spilling his seed into Gabrielle. A few moments later, Gabrielle followed. Xena withdrew the cucumber, but before she could move away, Joxer had turned in her embrace to give her neck the same treatment she'd given his. Joining in the fun, Gabrielle half-crawled over Joxer's body to do the same.

"You two have too much energy!" Xena complained without really meaning it.

But soon all three of them were shaking from the exertion, and as the sweat cooled on their bodies, their frenzied kisses slowed, and they rested, wrapped in each others' arms. Joxer was the first to speak. "I can die happy now."

"It smells like one of us has died!" Gabrielle commented.

"Hey!" Xena argued indignantly, "I don't smell that bad!"

"Face it, Xena, we all could use a bath." Gabrielle averted her nose from Joxer's armpit.

"There's a lake near here, isn't there?" Joxer offered.

With a pang, Xena remembered Joxer's first death in this village, the funeral pyre set aflame and pushed out over the dark water. That bad memory needed some good memories to replace it.

"Anything for you, Joxer!" Xena exclaimed, smacking a lusty wet kiss on his lips. She remembered his second death, at her hands. This would be a lot more satisfying. With renewed energy, Xena got up, and started pulling her clothes on. "Shake a leg, my beauties. We're burning daylight! Let's go get clean!"

In short order (their only delay being a quick trip on Xena's part to market again, to get Joxer a new pair of pants), the threesome had packed their gear, and crept out of the village without incident. Xena had argued against bringing everything. She knew that everything would be replaced when morning repeated itself. But Gabrielle had been adamant. Xena didn't care as long as she didn't have to carry it all.

The sun had warmed the lake waters, and Xena didn't hesitate. She stripped her togs and dived headfirst into the lake, parting the silken waters with alacrity. Joxer took a little longer undressing, but soon, he too was naked and wet, splashing awkwardly in the silty shallows. Gabrielle hesitated. Her companions had seen, stroked, licked every inch of her body, but stripping before them, she was suddenly shy.

"Come on, Gabrielle!" Xena encouraged. "The water's not cold at all!" Deciding she had nothing to lose, Gabrielle surrendered her clothing to the ground, and followed her companions into the water.

Xena was right, Gabrielle decided. The water was lovely, still and clear and just cool enough to be refreshing. As much as she thought the other two needed a bath, she realized she was probably just as wiffy as they had seemed to her.

Xena frolicked like a dolphin further out. She dove, seeking the cooler deep water, twisting and stretching, reveling in the feel of her own body. She couldn't remember when she had ever felt so good, so free and so in love. She smiled, thinking about how Gabrielle had not only accepted her love, but had returned it in kind, and enthusiastically.

Joxer was floating on his back, his skin reflecting as much sunlight as the water around him. He was sure he had never been so happy in his entire life. He turned his head just in time to see Xena's strong legs disappear below the surface. Looking the other way he saw his beautiful bard waist deep in the water, splashing gingerly.

Too tempting, he thought as he rolled over and dove under the surface.

Gabrielle had gotten used to bathing out of doors but preferred a warm tub full of bubbles any day. The idea of little fishies nibbling at her toes and gods knew what lurking in the silty floor gave her the willies if she thought about it too much. So, when Joxer swam underwater to gently pinch at her bottom, she shot almost straight up out of the water, shrieking and slapping at herself. When she had calmed down enough to realize that Xena was laughing at her and Joxer was next to her smiling sheepishly, it dawned on her which aquatic creature had attacked her.

"Joxer!" she yelled, lunging at him. Uncharacteristically, Joxer neatly dodged the attack and Gabrielle landed face first in the water where he had been standing. Feeling sudden pangs of guilt, Joxer helped the sputtering bard back onto her feet. Planning on ducking him in turn, Gabrielle leapt up, planted her hands on his shoulders and pushed down hard. Joxer delighted to find his face pressed between Gabrielle's breasts, wrapped his arms around her waist as his knees buckled, taking her down with him. They came up spitting lake water and splashing each other, until Xena decided to intervene before their horseplay escalated. Coming up behind Gabrielle, she put her arms around her slick golden body and nuzzled at her neck.

"I thought we came here because you wanted us to bathe?" she murmured into the bard's shoulder. Gabrielle froze in mid-splash as she felt the heat from the gorgeous warrior pressing against her lake-cooled flesh.

"Right...yes," was all she could manage.

"I've got some soap in my saddle-bags..." Xena began.

Seeing the passion on the faces of both women, Joxer broke in, "I'll get it," and sloshed out of the water.

Gabrielle leaned back, giving herself up into Xena's arms. The warrior princess ran her hands across the bard's stomach, around her waist and up her sides brushing the breasts with her fingertips. Gabrielle raised her arms and arched backward into Xena, running her hands down her smooth wet hair to pull her head down to her cheek. Xena gently kissed her cheek and nibbled her ear whispering to Gabrielle how beautiful she was.

"I love you, Xena," she murmured.

"And I love you, Gabrielle."

Joxer, heading back into the water with the soap, smiled a wistful little smile on seeing the two women so obviously lost in one another. They really are perfect for each other, I don't know how I could have been so blind.

He waded out a little ways off from the lovers and started to rub the piece of soap around his hairless chest.

Gabrielle turned her head for another kiss and noticed Joxer out of the corner of her eye.

"Xena," she said into the warrior's mouth.


She broke the gentle kiss. "Joxer's using up our soap."

"So? He was stinky, you said so yourself," Xena muttered into Gabrielle's cheek.

"True, but I'd like some too."

"You're busy right now," she told Gabrielle's chin.

"And you could use some yourself..."

Xena lifted her head and loosened her grip on the bard. "Gabrielle, have I ever told you that sometimes you talk entirely too much?"

"Yup," she answered as she broke away from Xena's embrace and turned to Joxer. "Hey! Save some for us, that's expensive stuff, you know!"

Joxer, startled out of his musings, reacted quickly and tossed the chunk of soap towards the approaching bard. She reached out but the wet soap slipped through her fingers and sank towards the bottom of the lake.

"Joxer..." she began crossly.

"S'okay, I'll get it," called Xena. She dove underwater towards them and the spot where the soap had disappeared.

Seconds later, Gabrielle's eyes grew wide as she felt Xena running the soap up her legs, up the cleft in her buttocks and back down again coming around to swirl about her little thatch of hair. Gabrielle reached out to hold Joxer's arms for support as she tottered, moving her feet farther apart, allowing the soap access to those hard to reach places.

Xena's hands rose out of the water between Gabrielle's breasts and finally the warrior herself straightened up, rising like some kind of water nymph. She circled each breast with the soap and continued running her slippery hands over her shoulders and around her back. Xena widened her stance and worked her feet into the silt until she was the same height as the smaller woman. Then stepping closer to put her arms all the way around her, Xena pressed up against Gabrielle and rubbed against her, sliding back and forth across the slippery skin.

As Gabrielle returned Xena's embrace, Joxer moved behind her taking the soap from Xena's hand and began drawing patterns on the bard's back with it. As the women pressed against each other, more feverishly kissing and nipping, he realized that he was becoming aroused yet again.

What did she put in those pies? he wondered.

Moving around them, he had a view of their marvelous breasts squashed together, slipping against each other, the hard little points of nipples peeking out here and there. He lathered up the soap and dripped some froth down Xena's shoulder into the melee. He stood behind Xena, watching, fascinated by this vision and distractedly soaped her back.

"Lower, Joxer," muttered Xena as she ran her hands over Gabrielle's soapy body. Joxer obeyed, tearing his gaze from the scene and reached between Xena's legs with the soap in one hand, the fingers of the other delving into the hot folds of her flesh. As he gently entered her with first one, then two soapy fingers her juices mixed with the lake water. The cool water practically sizzled on her fevered flesh, a wonderful sensation. Gabrielle paused and stared as Xena gasped and shuddered from the feeling.

"What are you doing, Joxer?" she asked softly over Xena's shoulder.

"Whatever it is, don't stop."

Joxer grinned, took a deep breath and knelt down so he could reach out and show Gabrielle just what was happening below the surface. He gave up on the soap, dropping it, not really caring how they would find it later, and reached out to open Gabrielle's nether lips to the cool water. She inhaled sharply as the chilly water reached the innermost folds of her tender, engorged lips, and again as Joxer's finger penetrated her and swirled around inside her. The fresh water on her fiery flesh felt wonderful and Joxer's thumb gently massaging her pleasure center sent tingles to the pit of her stomach. Combined with Xena's caresses, alternating between gentle, loving touches of her lips and deep passionate kisses, Gabrielle felt herself nearing release once again.

Crouched underwater with his arms wrapped around their legs, Joxer continued to pleasure both women until he felt his lungs would burst. Reluctantly giving up, he started to disentangle himself just as Gabrielle's legs spasmed. Xena shifted her weight to better support Gabrielle just as Joxer caught his arm behind her knee, bringing them all down with a great splash in a tangle of limbs.

All three splashed to the surface, sputtering, coughing, and laughing all at once. Gabrielle briefly considered being annoyed with the clumsy warrior wannabe, but the desire wasn't strong enough to overpower her need to feel those talented fingers of his once more on her pleasure center. Indeed, it was becoming more and more difficult to figure out why she'd ever want to be angry with him for anything he ever did again. Of course, the day wasn't over yet.

For his part, Joxer was once again interested in finding that erstwhile sliver of soap. He knew it had to be around here somewhere, it was just a matter of locating it. And then locate it he did...the hard way. Arms pinwheeling frantically as his right foot shot out from under him, the man fell back into the water with a tremendous splash. Both Gabby and Xena winced as the cool water doused them, and they growled in unison, "Joxer!"

Popping up from beneath the surface, soaked hair plastered to his face, Joxer crowed triumphantly, "I found the soap!"

Warrior and bard paused briefly, a single, elegant thought was conceived in that moment without a single word being spoken; and as one it was implemented. Joxer had only enough time to gasp in shock as two slick, powerful, and unmistakably female bodies practically flew at him. Their combined weight forced all three back below the surface, and Joxer ended up rump deep in the silty bottom of the pond. Some part of his brain registered the fact that yet again that gods' blighted soap had escaped his clutches, but the part currently in charge of his limbs propelled him to the surface for a deep breath of air. Spitting out a mouthful of sand, dirt, and algae, he moaned, "Aw you made me drop it...And jeez this water tastes awful...Do you suppose the villagers wash their clothes in it 'cause I'd hate to think I had a gulp of whatever came out of their laundry, ugh!"

Xena grinned and murmured, "I know how to get that taste out of your mouth..." She leapt at him again, this time, however, when their bodies made contact it was of an entirely different variety. Wrapping strong arms, and even stronger legs around his lanky body, she latched onto his mouth hungrily. With the water supporting most of her weight, Joxer actually managed to maintain his balance long enough to engage in a tongue fencing match. However, before a winner could be declared he lost his battle with gravity and both slipped under the water. Xena seemed quite unconcerned by this turn of events, and continued to press her advantage, sharing saliva and oxygen as they slowly descended. She came to the inescapable conclusion in those hazy seconds that Joxer had indeed missed his calling in life. He would've made someone a wonderful concubine. Petted, pampered, and allowed to make use of that preternaturally skillful mouth of his, there wasn't a man or woman alive that wouldn't have considered themselves blessed by the gods to have him at their beck and call.

It was with great reluctance that she tore herself away from him, dragging both their bodies back toward the oxygen they craved. The warrior cooed, "Taste better now?"

"Much," he returned with a grin of his own.

"Good." Xena's eyes were smoldering again as she ran a finger along the length of his jaw, thoroughly enjoying the smoothness and cream-like quality of his skin. He was so different than any other man she'd ever been with. Where they were dusky, brawny, and without exception, smelly, Joxer was lean, lanky, and as pale as Athenian marble. He smelled delightful and tasted even better. But the one thing that truly set him apart had nothing to do with her senses, and everything to do with her heart; his gentleness. How odd that such a tender soul should end up desiring to be a hardened killer, and how sad. She suddenly found herself desiring nothing more than to pummel the parents that had failed to see the beauty of that quality, and had done everything in their power to drive it from him. Just as suddenly she wanted to express to him how deeply she treasured him.

But, as was almost always the case, words failed her and so she resorted to the direct approach. Sweeping her arms around his lithe body, she leaned him back in the water and allowed his body to float free on its surface.

Gabrielle, who had been patiently watching the exchange with a rather fond smile curling the edges of her lips, swam over to the two. The water was just deep enough to reach her collarbone with both feet planted firmly on the bottom. Her verdant eyes roamed Joxer's body with none of the hesitation she'd felt only hours before. Now to look on him was like gazing on the rolling hills of Poteidaia; it was, in its own way, like a homecoming. It was then that she realized that these two people were her home. She let her arm encircle Xena's waist, and with her other hand brushed a stray lock from Joxer's forehead. His dark eyes were closed, but a smile spread across his face. He didn't need eyes to tell him that his beloved had joined them, or to know that she was gazing down on him fondly. He'd seen the expression in his dreams often enough to be able to reconstruct it perfectly in his mind.

Giving her bard a quick peck on the cheek, Xena slid away from her, moving ever lower on Joxer's unresisting body. She spread his legs wide, and slipped between them, cupping her hands around his buttocks to keep him from floating away. Turning him slowly, she repositioned herself in the slightly deeper part of the pond, thus putting his most impressive feature at the perfect height. With exquisite attention to detail she began to nip the skin along the inside of each thigh. Joxer stiffened slightly and almost ended up once again below the surface. Gabrielle, however, was there to catch him, one hand poised beneath the back of his head, the other running along the muscles of his back. Relaxing again, he allowed himself to let go, trusting completely in the two women.

Moving slowly up along his right leg, she could see his shaft once again rising to attention. The muscles beneath her relentless teeth tensed and jerked, and his breathing became quicker, more shallow with every passing moment. Just as she neared his hip she pulled away, and started just above his left knee. He groaned rather dramatically, but resigned himself to patience. Meanwhile, Gabrielle brought her right hand up along his ribs and over his taut abdomen. She let it slide lower and into a small warm puddle that had gathered between his jutting hip bones. Gasping, his hips began to thrust, and only a monumental show of will managed to still them long enough to allow Xena to continue to nibble. Her perfect white teeth were sending jolts of intense sensation throughout his body, and his brain was having a difficult time deciding whether it was pain or pleasure he was experiencing. Pleasure was winning out with increasing rapidity the closer she drew near to his penis, and though she hadn't yet so much as touched the organ, he felt as if he were about to explode. Joxer was quite certain that all she'd need do was breath on his engorged member and he'd tumble over into blessed release.

Gauging his state of arousal, Xena repositioned herself to support his thighs on her shoulders while Gabby, taking the hint, brought her own hand up to tease his nipples. At first they were gentle circular motions, then they quickly became faster, more intense. The warrior watched her companion's efforts, waiting for just the right moment. As Gabby bent forward to attack one rosy nub with her mouth, while her right hand worked the other, Xena's tongue started at the very base of his shaft, and ever so lightly she trailed up it. Reaching the tip she briefly made eye contact with the bard, and both responded to the unspoken plan. The women took both nipples and penis tip between their teeth and applied just enough pressure to wring a hoarse cry from Joxer's throat. All thoughts of control gone, he bucked up and Xena's mouth opened to admit him. A long, warm, salty spray washed away the last vestiges of pond water from her eager tongue. Back arched with the intensity of his release, only his companions' steady support kept him from submerging once more. When speech once more became possible he managed to pant, "Oh gods....oh gods..."

Slowly the tension seeped from his muscles and he settled back onto the surface, limp, spent, and perfectly content to float this way forever. He felt on some level, their hands slip from his body as the two women began a lazy stroke off toward the deeper end of the pond. The temptation to gaze after them longingly was difficult to overcome, but not, he found, impossible. They needed some time together, just the two of them, and he felt profoundly grateful for the attention they had already lavished on him. So grateful, in fact, that he came up with a rather inspired plan. Taking care not to attract their attention, he turned over gently and made his way back to shore. He paused just long enough to make sure they were entirely oblivious before gathering up his erstwhile trousers and heading back to the village.

In the deep end of the pond, Gabrielle began to tread water as Xena swam in lazy circles around her.

"Why don't you relax, Gabrielle? Lie back and float. I'll make sure you're safe."

Quietly, the bard leaned back in the water, her blond hair floating out to all sides, framing her lovely face. Xena continued to swim lazily.


"Yes, Gabrielle?"

"You know how much I love you."

"Yes. I do." Xena's mouth quirked in a gentle smile. "And I love you more than I can say."

Gabrielle opened her eyes to smile at her swimming companion, then closed them again, relaxing in the silky water.

"And you know that today has incredible experience for me, right?" Gabrielle continued.

"What are you getting at, Gabrielle?" Xena asked directly, but without much heat.

"Why? Why today? What made you..."

"Want to seduce you?" Xena finished the sentence wryly.

"Well, yeah."

Xena was silent for a moment, but Gabrielle relaxed, knowing Xena was still there. She could feel the gentle waves from Xena's movement lapping against her sides.

"I've tried to explain it before, and you...Let me put it this way. Have you ever had a dream that seemed so real that you woke up the next morning feeling like you had to prove to yourself it wasn't?"

Gabrielle thought about this for a moment. "Sort of."

"Well," Xena continued, "For a while now I've been having experiences that are not unlike a very vivid, very bad dream. I dreamed that Joxer was killed. I dreamed that Argo was killed." Xena suppressed a tear with a sniff. "I dreamed...Gabrielle, I don't want to lose you. You're too important to me, and I love you. These experiences, these dreams, if you will, made me realize that I cannot live without taking advantage of the time we have together. And I do mean take advantage." The warrior princess' voice deepened to a sexy purr, as she trailed a lazy hand along the underside of Gabrielle's leg.

Gabrielle kept her eyes closed. "So, you're going to take advantage of me, huh?" She sounded supremely unconcerned.

"Actually..." Xena said wistfully, "I was sort of hoping you'd want to take advantage of me!"

"Hm....Maybe." Gabrielle opened her legs, and then closed them again, trapping Xena between her thighs. Xena squirmed, trying to keep afloat.

" love...we're going to sink..."

"No, we won't," Gabrielle insisted smugly. "I'm resting on a submerged island."

"You are?"

"Come...feel..." Gabrielle took Xena's hand, and led it to touch a platform of smoothly rounded rock overlaid with a fine layer of silty sand. "A boulder must have fallen in, lodged itself in the mud." Xena scooted around to rest her ass next to Gabrielle's, soft flesh pressing against cool rock. Gabrielle took great joy in "steadying" her friend's balance with roaming hands. Turning to kiss, the naked pair shivered almost simultaneously.

"It's cold. We should probably get out of the water," Xena said.

"Probably," Gabrielle concurred.

They each ignored their own good advice, and lost themselves in a deep searching kiss. The heat between them as their hands roamed over water-cooled skin, raised the water temperature by several degrees, at least. Soon they were both shivering, but for an entirely different reason. Gabrielle inserted chilly fingers between Xena's legs, causing her warrior friend to yelp.

"Too cold?" Gabrielle asked sweetly, as Xena squirmed and half-heartedly attempted to extricate the bard's cold hand from between her thighs.

"Is this too cold?" Xena responded in turn with her own cold fingers finding Gabrielle's warmth beside her.

"Yikes! Xena!" Gabrielle exclaimed. But soon both women were warming to the experience, and before long the insistent rhythm of their fingers had both women moaning in pleasure.

A while later, "It's cold. We should probably get out of the water."

"Yeah, probably," Xena said.

"I'll race you!" Gabrielle said, as she dived into the deeper part of the lake, and began swimming for shore.

"No fair!" Xena yelled after her, before making her own dive. Xena easily outdistanced her smaller friend. Gabrielle grabbed one of Xena's kicking ankles as the warrior passed her, but Xena still beat the bard to dry land. Wet hair dripping, Xena crawled onto the bank, where Joxer greeted her with an outstretched blanket, which he solicitously wrapped around her tall, muscular body.

"Thank you, Joxer." Xena was rewarded for this pleasantry with a sweet kiss from Joxer, who then turned to prepare another blanket to receive Gabrielle from the water.

Gabrielle was shivering as Joxer wrapped the warm blanket around her, and rubbed vigorously to restore the heat to her chilled body. Leaning into Joxer's arms, Gabrielle sneezed into his shoulder. His chest was bare.

"Ew, Gabby," Joxer fussed. Solicitously, Gabrielle swabbed at Joxer's neck and shoulder with a corner of the blanket.

"Sorry," she sniffed.

"Here...I've built a fire. Sit down." Joxer settled the two women in their blankets by the small fire. "Would you like something hot to drink? The water's boiling, and the chicken should be done in a few minutes." Two small chickens roasted on a spit, and a kettle looking not unlike a discarded element of Joxer's armor held boiling water. He moved the pot from the fire and threw in a handful of strange looking leaves.

"It smells wonderful, Joxer," Xena complimented. "How come you never cook like this when you travel with us?"

Joxer thought for a minute. "I have to be...inspired." He grinned, then poured a generous cupful of the tea and handed it to Gabrielle. "Here, Gabby. It'll keep you from catching a cold."

Xena accepted a cup too. At last the three of them were settled around the fire, sipping from steaming cups and enjoying a companionable silence. It was approaching early evening and all three were beginning to feel the effects of the day's excesses.

But, through a haze of contentment, Xena felt a melancholy rise in her throat, knowing that another version of this day would end with nothing to show for it. She still hadn't solved the question of why this day was repeating itself, and knew that tomorrow would begin the same way today had: "Rise and shine, everybody! Rise and shine!"

Xena smiled fondly at Joxer, who glowed with happiness. It seemed all of the erotic attention she and Gabrielle had lavished on him had done him some good. His moves were almost graceful as he pulled the roasted chickens from the spit, and served a portion to Gabrielle with a flourish.

Gabrielle attacked the roasted chicken hungrily, with grease dripping down her fingers and chin. The day of lustful play had brought a new strength to the bard's actions, and Xena approved of the hearty way she had reciprocated Xena's long silent carnal passions. Xena also respected the courage it must have taken Gabrielle to face the profound depth of Joxer's love for her.

Sex had brought out wonderful and surprising elements of her friends' personalities. Once she solved this endless loop of days, Xena thought she might consider attempting a similar experiment in real life. The trouble was, in real life, there was always something to be on guard for. There was always the threat of a warlord, or a capricious god, or a strange monster to defeat. Xena knew that every moment she took for herself was a moment she was not out defending the innocent. And deep down, Xena didn't believe she deserved this much happiness.

Accepting her portion of roast chicken, Xena ate slowly, savoring every bite. "Joxer, this is really delicious."

"It's a little recipe I got from mother." Joxer coughed.

"Joxer," Xena admonished, "we've shared every intimacy bodies can share, pretty much, and you're trying to lie to us? It's a little recipe you got from...." Xena quirked her eyebrow at the suddenly bashful man.

"Meg," he supplied sheepishly.

"Oh, that's nice. Meg's been teaching you to cook, has she?" Gabrielle asked in all innocence around a mouthful of chicken.

"Uhm, uh, yeah. She's been teaching me to, ah...cook." Joxer blushed, and tried to change the subject. "Anyone want any more tea?"

"Yes, please." Gabrielle held her cup out for a refill of the steaming beverage. Around another mouthful of chicken, Gabrielle said, "Meg sure does have a way with cock."

Xena smothered a giggle, and Joxer looked as though he was going to stop breathing.

"Yes, I suppose you could say that," Xena offered. "Lucky for us, Joxer's a good student," she said, locking eyes with the man. She saw him take a noticeable breath. "I love a man who can..." Xena paused deliberately, licking a chicken bone suggestively, "...cook."

Joxer flushed and looked away. Xena reached over and took his chin between slightly greasy fingers and turned his head back to face her. He lifted his eyes slowly to meet hers and smiled shyly.

"Xena," he began. He paused for a long moment, taking a deep breath before trying to continue.

"You know that my, um, relationship with Meg began because she looks like you. The first time, I really thought it was you and it, uh, took a few smacks before I stopped accidentally using your name."

Xena's mouth turned up in a soft smile. She ran her long fingers down Joxer's neck and gently squeezed his shoulder.

"I guess what I'm trying to say is thank you." He reached out and lightly stroked her cheek. "Thank you for today, for being so much more than my fantasy ever was." He leaned over and kissed her lightly on the lips. "You're an amazing woman, Xena."

Gabrielle had been watching her two friends fondly, but her brow was beginning to furrow.

"Excuse me, but I thought you were madly in love with me?"

They both turned to look at her.

"I am."

"I am."

Xena and Joxer looked at each other, then at Gabrielle, and all three friends started to laugh.

The warrior princess reached out pulling her best friend into a hug. Joxer lunged, gathering them both up in his arms.

"Group hug," said Xena softly just as Joxer exclaimed, "Group hug!"

Gabrielle and Joxer looked perplexedly at Xena as she broke down in a fit of giggles.

"What's so funny, Xena?" Joxer asked.

She didn't answer, only continued laughing until tears started to roll down her cheeks.

Still gasping for breath, Xena collapsed, pulling the other two down onto her blanket with her. They lay together in a comfortable tangle, cuddling. After a few minutes Gabrielle spoke up.

"I should thank you both too."

"Wha?" faltered Joxer.

"I mean, I've read about some of the things we've done today." Turning to look at Xena she continued, "And I've dreamed about doing some. I just never thought I'd have the chance to. I've even done things I didn't know two or even three people could do. I just want to thank you both for putting up with my inexperience."

Joxer grimaced slightly. "Gabrielle, if you're telling the truth you must be some sort of natural talent, because even Meg's...I mean, you were better than...well, I just want to say you were wonderful."

"Actually, there are a couple of other things that I'd like to do," Gabrielle began, "if you two aren't too tired."

The grin that spread across Joxer's face was enough to tell her that tired or not, he was willing to do anything that would make her happy or as was currently the case, happier still. Xena just stared at her with mock severity and said, "Maybe being turned into a Bacchae has had some lasting side effects, because this is beginning..."

She was cut short as Gabrielle rolled over on top of her. They all knew Xena could easily toss the smaller woman off her but she was rather interested in what it was that Gabrielle still wanted to do, so she just lay quietly on her back looking up at her aggressor with a lifted eyebrow and a little smile.

"Now what?" she purred.

"Something I've wanted to do for a long time. Well, actually I didn't know I wanted to do it until you did it, but I knew there was something..."

"Gabrielle," Xena interrupted, "why don't you just show me, hmm?"

"I'll just do that," she whispered and the look of lechery on Gabrielle's face astonished Xena.

Gabrielle kissed her supine friend hard, thrusting her tongue deep into the other woman's mouth, swirling and searching. As Xena returned the kiss, Gabrielle closed her lips around Xena's tongue and sucked as if trying to swallow it. Abruptly, she broke away panting and slid down the warrior until she held her cupped breasts in front of her face. The little bard ran her tongue over first one nipple, then the other. Enflamed by her own lustful thoughts of Xena, she took one already erect nipple in her mouth and sucked hard, pulling it into a puckered little peak. Xena almost cried out but the sound caught in her throat and came out as a moan. Gabrielle dealt out the same savage treatment to the other nipple, then squirmed further down until the warrior's dark curls tickled her nose. Glancing up for just a moment, she saw such a look of longing in Xena's eyes that it made her heart ache.

Xena spread her legs, raising one knee, opening herself to Gabrielle's attention. The younger woman thought about how her friends had pleasured her earlier and nuzzled through the dark curls with her lips and nose. The anticipation was excruciating and Xena raised her head to see the vision of Gabrielle's golden tresses nestled between her thighs.

Gabrielle used her fingertips to separate Xena's nether lips, revealing the rosy inner folds to her inquisitive gaze. With the tip of her tongue, she explored the furrows exposed to her. Xena writhed at the tentative touches, wanting more, a lot more. A glistening drop of moisture, like a pearly tear, caught Gabrielle's eye. She extended her little pink tongue, tasting the sweet musky drop, then continued wriggling her tongue into Xena's eager opening.

Joxer could feel the shivers running through Xena's body. He lay alongside her with one arm still trapped under her, cradling her head. He considered taking off his trousers and maybe getting involved, but he didn't really want to disturb Xena by moving. The bond between the women seemed so intense at this moment that he satisfied himself with resting his cheek on Xena's shoulder and watching Gabrielle's red-gold hair shift across Xena's thighs.

Gabrielle licked and kissed Xena's engorged clit, experimenting with tongue, lips and teeth, feeling the little shudders and twitches telling her as effectively as words what felt best. As Xena's quivering became more frequent, Gabrielle inserted a finger into the dewy opening, massaging Xena's fevered passage and concentrated her efforts with her tongue and lips.

Today had surpassed anything Xena could have imagined. The idea of Gabrielle making love to her this way was enough to arouse her. Discovering that not only did Gabrielle want to do it, but wanted to rather badly was more than she could have hoped for. The fact that she was here, now, between her legs, stirred her so...Further fragments of thought shattered into bright light as Xena climaxed.

Joxer watched Xena's entire body spasm mindlessly and saw her face contort, almost as if in pain. He looked down just as Gabrielle raised her head, panting slightly. Their eyes met and Gabrielle winked lasciviously at him and mouthed the words, "You're next."

Just the fiery look in Gabrielle's eyes as she spoke was enough to send shivers of anticipation down Joxer's spine. The young woman seemed positively possessed by desire for her two companions, but he was not about to protest if she was going to treat him to anything similar to what he'd just watched her do for Xena.

Gabrielle moved off Xena's still trembling body onto his, slowly undressing him and stopping him when he tried to assist her to speed up the process.

"*I* want to do all the work," she lightly scolded him. "Now don't interrupt again."

"Whatever you say," he acquiesced, captivated by the sight of her naked form, of every gentle flex and movement of her well-toned body as she continued removing his clothes. Her hands worked methodically, stripping him carefully, each caress of her fingers against his bare flesh almost too much to bear. Even after everything that had happened earlier in the day, each time she touched him he found he needed to remind himself this was real, not one of his fantasies or dreams. Real life wasn't supposed to be this good.

"I want you, Joxer..." she sighed, her voice rough with desire as she leaned down, laying claim to his mouth. She sucked hard on his bottom lip, running her tongue against the soft flesh in a most unbearably teasing fashion. Coming up for a breath, she continued, "I want to taste you...every bit of you..." and one hand slid down against his groin, leaving no doubt as to what she had in mind.

Any feelings of exhaustion Joxer felt from the long day's exertions were quick to dissipate as she moved sensuously against him, her mouth exploring his body, lingering for a long time on his chest and nipples before moving further south. When her lips finally brushed the tip of his cock, and she looked up and gave him a wicked smile, he thought for not the first time that day that he could definitely die a most happy and contented man after this night was through.

Xena, still lost in the dreamy, content afterglow of the treatment Gabby had graced her with, finally started coming back to attention as she heard Joxer letting out a long moan next to her. She rolled onto one side, propping her head up on her elbow to see what Gabrielle was up to. The blonde woman was so intent upon pleasuring Joxer that she was oblivious to Xena's amused observation.

Wonder if he snuck something in that chicken he cooked up, just to get even for the meat pies, Xena snickered to herself as she thought about Gabrielle's remarkable...enthusiasm...ever since they'd finished dinner. Either that, or the two of us have released a sexual monster in that girl today!

Something about the latter idea seemed quite possible to Xena the more she considered it. Gabrielle had only been intimately involved with one person before, and had just barely begun to explore the possibilities of physical pleasure when he had been taken from her so tragically. Grief and guilt had perhaps suppressed her discovered desires for physical intimacy for so long...maybe what had happened today had been exactly what Gabrielle had needed to free herself from the past.

Gabrielle's thoughts were far removed from any such serious considerations and solely focused on doing whatever she could to please Joxer. She felt a thrill of power over the way her actions could drive him so wild, and she enjoyed the way he felt inside her mouth, against the tip of her tongue...though with a building ache between her legs, she remembered how he'd felt even better buried deep inside her. The thought was too much to ignore, for she did not know whether they would ever be together again--if indeed they would not remember this day come the next morning, and if Xena never brought them together like this again.

And so with no small regret, she finally released him, just as she sensed he was nearing the edge of climax. His brown eyes held hers questioningly for a moment until she slid up over him, making her new intentions clear. She rubbed the tip of his cock against her clit teasingly, until she couldn't hold back any longer and slid him inside her, arching against him as moans of delight escaped both their lips.

She moved against him slowly, setting the rhythm and not wanting him to come too quickly. She used one hand to provide just that little extra bit of attention her clit was aching for, and lost herself in the feeling, their closeness. Before she knew it, she felt herself losing control, the orgasm coming over her faster than she would have thought possible. She thrust against him as hard as she could, wanting him deep within her as she came. Moments later he did as well, pulling her down against him in a hard embrace, seemingly unwilling to let her go.

"I love you Gabrielle," he said softly. "No matter what, I'll always love you. Even though I know you love Xena and belong with her after tonight."

"Why can't things stay the way they are now?" Gabrielle sighed regretfully, rolling free and settling between her two lovers. Looking back and forth at them both, she felt so torn. It was true, she shared a bond with Xena that was different from anything she'd ever known before, and she loved her deeply. But despite that, she found herself hating the idea of never being with Joxer again. "Am I just selfish to want to be with both of you?" she demanded, trying to make her tone light and joking even though she was serious.

"No, merely honest to admit as much," Xena told her with an understanding smile. "Stranger relationships have worked...but it's not easy."

"Nothing really worthwhile ever is, though, isn't that the way life is?" Gabrielle argued.

Joxer merely snuggled against her and let out a sleepy yawn. "All I know is, I don't know if I could handle you two ladies on a regular basis. This is more than even Joxer the Mighty could handle every day...unless you've got an endless supply of those meat pies handy."

He wasn't the only one who had reached his limit for the day. Lying together in a contented, tired tangle of limbs, the three settled in for a much-needed rest. The sun had fallen below the horizon, and the stars were beginning to reveal themselves in the darkening night sky.

Xena sighed, once again feeling a tinge of regret. True, it was nice to end the day without one of her companions on a funeral pyre. But she would have given anything at that moment to be able to wake up the next day right there on the water's edge, instead of back in that damn barn. If only she knew how to break the cycle...and if only she knew what she was going to do with Joxer and Gabrielle...

Both Gabby and Joxer caught that rather wistful sigh and raised their heads to look at her, concern evident in their eyes. "Xena, what's wrong?" the bard murmured, reaching up to stroke the warrior's cheek.

"Just thinkin'...about tomorrow...and us..."

Joxer tilted his head and his mouth stretched into a charmingly lop-sided smile. "Hey, who knows, maybe tomorrow will be the day the spell breaks and we'll all wake up right here just like we are."

"You mean," Xena quipped, one eyebrow rising, "that all I've had to do to escape this neverending day is to screw you two senseless?"

"Could be," returned Gabrielle with a grin. Then, quite unexpectedly, she frowned. "What do you mean 'screw you two senseless'? I seem to recall giving as good as I got, how about you, Joxer?"

He simply continued to smile and gaze at the two of them with the most openly tender expression either woman could ever hope to see. "Xena, are you really going to let what might happen tomorrow spoil what did happen today? Worry about tomorrow, tomorrow." Leaning over he kissed her gently on the nape of the neck before settling down against her shoulder once more. He traced a pattern on her chest, along each breast, and around first one nipple, then the other. His touch was amazingly light, and far from being seductive, it was soothing and just distracting enough to coax her mind from her troubles.

Gabrielle cuddled close to the two, laying her own head on Xena's other shoulder. She draped her upper arm around both of her lovers, delighting in the heat emanating from their bodies. The warrior ran her hands through their hair, feeling a sense of contentment and peace that was startling in its intensity. Strange how something she'd never had before could feel so..right..could make her feel so complete. Here, in the arms of those who knew and loved her best she'd found a refuge from her memories, the darkness, and the pain. These two bright souls filled her with their light, chasing away the last of the shadows, and she suddenly understood that no matter what happened tomorrow, she would always have this day...this moment. It would live in her memory forever, and that, oddly, was enough.

Gabrielle's breathing was slow and deep as Morpheus claimed her, and already Joxer's gentle touch was beginning to falter as he too drifted off. She kissed each one on the top of their head, inhaling the scent of them, and silently thanked the gods for the opportunity to love them both. Her blue eyes gazed up at the stars again, drinking in the beauty of the night once more before finally succumbing to sleep.



High above a cool breeze rustled the leaves of an ancient Oak tree. It slithered through the branches and finally paused to coax a sheer, pink skirt up and away from the perfect thigh it had been so diligently covering. The breeze seemed to forget for a moment that it really did have other places to be as it caressed the shapely appendage with glee. Finally a silvery voice interrupted its rather single-minded pursuit, "All right, knock it off!" Reluctantly the breeze continued on its way as Aphrodite straightened the fabric and brushed away a non-existent imperfection. "I've gotta' say, Cupie, you were right, this was one hot little performance."

Beside the vision that was the Goddess of Love perched a roguishly handsome man, whose exceptional comeliness was only accented by two dove-white wings sprouting from his back. He stroked his chin thoughtfully and favored his mother with a wry smile. "They do look awfully happy together, don't they?"

She glanced down at the three slumbering mortals and shrugged a little nonchalantly. "I s'pose, too bad the blonde and my boy Joxer won't remember anything tomorrow."

Her son seemed a bit troubled. "Yeah, it is...I just wish..."

"Cupie, hon, you set this whole thing up in the first place to help that what's his face save his little squeeze...Though I've gotta' tell you he can do way better than that dingy girl. I mean really, sucking back some poison just 'cause the fam doesn't approve of your boyfriend. Can we say 'overkill'?"

"Aw, Mom, it's true love, you know I had to do something to help out. I just should've left a loophole for the 'hero's' friends."

Aphrodite filed her fingernails, completely disinterested. "Yeah, well, live and learn. And speaking of learning, I'm going to have to see if I can't institute some of what I've seen today into my official temple celebrations. Especially the cucumber thing...and the ropes...ooh, and maybe I could get my people to install some large baths in the temples too...Hey, you think I could talk Joxer into joining the clergy? I could use a man with his talents."

Cupid stretched both arms and wings before answering. "I don't think so, Mom, he's still pretty ticked at you about the whole bell thing."

"Oh that..." she muttered, waving off the comment with one perfectly manicured hand. "The boy is seriously wasted in the warrior biz...hmm, maybe if I talk to that cute bard..."

"I don't think you'll have any better luck with her." The young god stood up on the branch the two had been reclining on. "Well, it's been fun, but Psyche's waiting for me and I've got a long day ahead of me tomorrow."

Aphrodite joined him with a slightly regretful sigh. "I don't suppose Xena's likely to try for a repeat performance?" Her son shook his head sadly. "Bummer. Oh well, with any luck Hephaestus is back from his little chit-chat with Zeus...I'm suddenly in the mood to try out a few things myself." She grinned impishly and patted her son's cheek. "Have fun tonight, sweetcheeks, I know I will!" With that the Goddess of Love vanished in a flash of light and shower of rose petals.

Cupid spared the happy threesome one last lingering look. "Enjoy tonight, guys, you've earned it." Then, with a flourish he too disappeared leaving the tangle of sleeping mortals to their dreams.

The End

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