Author: Towandababe
Story Title: Ground Rules
Characters: Xena/Gabrielle
Rating: NC-17
Summary: Takes place a short while after the very first episode, 'Sins of the Past.' Xena wonders whether she will be able to put up with the chatty bard for much longer; until Aphrodite decides to help . . .
This rating is for explicit f/f sex.

The characters portrayed in this story, Xena, Gabrielle and Aphrodite, belong to Renaissance Pictures/MCA. If they belonged to me, we would be watching very different Xena: Warrior Princess episodes!

There is explicit sex between two consenting adults who happen to be women. And a bit of violence, if a spanking is to be considered violent. If either of these offend you, or you are underage, leave now, run from the screen . . . and let those who enjoy this type of fiction hopefully enjoy this story!

The story takes place a short while after the very first episode, 'Sins of the Past,' and has been drawn from my imagination, which can be a pretty scary place!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Portia Richardson, author of the excellent story A Half Moon Before and Two Summers After, for her absolutely invaluable encouragement, suggestions and editing! And also KB, who has continued to encourage me, and kept me moving toward the completion of my story.

The words to two pieces of music are at the end of this story, taken from the Sarah Brightman CD . . . TIME TO SAY GOODBYE. Xena's Song is actually titled 'THERE FOR ME'. Gabrielle's song is titled 'NO ONE LIKE YOU'. I have used them here because much of this story was written while listening to this music, and I felt that, at least for me, these two pieces spoke directly to each of these wonderful characters who fill our hearts and minds with such joy, love and adventure. If at all possible, I would suggest that the reader listen to the above mentioned CD if for no other reason than to enjoy some beautiful music.

This work is copyrighted by the author, and consists of 49 pages.

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

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Ground Rules
by Towandababe

Xena looked down from Argo's back for the umpteenth time at Gabrielle walking, skipping, and tripping along side of the tall warrior's horse. It amazed the warrior that this young woman could be so oblivious to so much that was going on around her, including the fact that the Warrior Princess was seething inside! Xena was really pissed, they had once again come in contact with stupid highwaymen who thought they had found some easy pickings . . . and they almost did. Gabrielle had managed to get herself between Xena and the robbers, and as usual Xena had to fight around her while trying to get Gabrielle to safety. In the course of the fight, Xena had sustained a small nick on her right shoulder. This injury was only part of the reason she was infuriated. At least if she was going to sustain an injury, she wanted it to be from a formidable foe, not some creep who thought he was a mighty fighter, and not because she was stumbling over Gabrielle.

This is the fifth time in as many days that we've met up with these road pests, and each time Gabrielle hasn't done what I have told her . . . get back and stay back . . . if this keeps up, she's going to get us both killed . . . probably by some half wit who manages to bean me with a stupid rock, while I am trying to get untangled from her. Why can't she do what I tell her? I commanded my armies with fewer problems than this little blond is giving me. I told her to get out of the way, to back off, to stay back, and she didn't. We need some Ground Rules. I can't have someone traveling with me who can't or won't take orders.

"Did you hear anything I've been saying?" Gabrielle ran up to Xena, reaching Argo's left flank as Xena slowed Argo to a halt.

Xena sat atop Argo, looked down at Gabrielle and considered the danger she was putting herself and Gabrielle in by allowing the young woman to continue to travel with her.

"Did you hear me?"


"You're not listening to me, are you?"

"No. And we could use a lot less chatter around here." Xena tried to keep the anger she was feeling from erupting.

"What else is there to do except walk and stare at trees and rub my feet every three hours? It gets boring!"

"Then maybe you should go back home."

Below her, Gabrielle stared dejectedly at the warrior. "You don't want me around? I won't go home. I've told you that. I followed you out of Poteidaia because I wanted to be with you, I wanted adventure, excitement. If I can't travel with you, I'll travel on my own. I want to be a story teller, a Bard, and I need to experience life in all its forms so that I can tell my stories with honesty!" Gabrielle's enthusiasm bubbled over as she spoke of her plans.

Xena knew she really didn't want Gabrielle to leave, if for no other reason than the fact that she would be dead, or worse, in a half moon, with the total disregard the young woman had for the dangers in her surroundings.

"No," she responded perhaps a bit too quickly. "No, I want you around, but for the love of Zeus, Gabrielle, you have to pay attention. There's more to do than walk and stare at trees. How many battles have we been in just in the last few days! Five! And not once did you hear anyone coming, and twice I almost didn't, because you were yammering on and on about something or other. I can't protect us if I'm distracted and not prepared."

"Oh, all right."

Xena pushed her heels gently signaling Argo to continue. Gabrielle managed somehow to remain silent, and Xena thought that maybe the girl had gotten the message. As they traveled north, Xena considered the territory they were presently covering. She and her army had laid waste to this area and the village that had stood right where they walked. That village was only a memory now, nothing remained. She lowered her head despondently. The things I've done, the pain I've caused. I don't know that I can ever atone for it all.

"Xena, are you okay?"



"Yes, Gabrielle."

"I was just thinking . . . "

The young woman launched into another story. It was a story that Xena had heard many times as a child, and she found herself getting caught up in the way Gabrielle was telling it. Suddenly, Xena heard a twig snap and she was instantly alert to her surroundings. She motioned to Gabrielle to be quiet, but it took the chatty woman a full minute to realize that Xena had drawn her dagger and was listening intently for other sounds. Gabrielle glanced around nervously, holding her breath in anticipation. Suddenly two rabbits ran across their path. Xena returned her dagger to her cleavage and stared down at Gabrielle.

"I want you quiet. Now!"

Gabrielle looked up into very angry; blue eyes, and nodded.

I need to sit down and have a long talk with this girl. She's a danger to herself and to me. I don't need this . . .

Xena tried to form the discussion in her mind, but her thoughts were quickly interrupted when she realized that Gabrielle had started another story, this time about a giant fish or some such thing. She decided it was time to try to teach Gabrielle some of the necessary rules concerning their travels. She knew that their safety was very much her responsibility, but Gabrielle had to understand her own role in helping Xena maintain their safety, or at least not hinder the warrior's efforts with her lack of experience. The big question is not really whether or not the time is right for some discussion of Ground Rules and expectations, but whether or not I can get her to keep still long enough to hear me.

Xena thought about the incessant talking for a few minutes, and then made the decision that this was as good a time as any for lessons on traveling with the Warrior Princess.

"Gabrielle" . . . . . . Nothing, Gabrielle just kept on talking . . .


With some degree of irritation, Gabrielle answered. "WHAT?"

"We need to talk". The beautiful, tall warrior said.

"About what? Are you going to tell me again that I have to go back to Poteidaia? Forget about it, Xena, I won't go. I want to be with you. I want adventures and excitement. I want to learn from you and from the people we meet and the places we see and."

"GABRIELLE!" . . . The warrior shouted with more than a hint of threat in her voice . . . " I'm trying to talk to you, but you have to shut up long enough to hear me."

The young woman clamped her mouth shut, stopped in the middle of the trail, and looked up at Xena. She stared for a moment, and then said, "OK. Let's talk," and immediately started on another monologue.

Xena slid down from Argo's back, grabbed the reins in one hand and Gabrielle's arm in the other and walked off the trail into the woods.

They quickly reached a small clearing, created by old fallen trees. Xena walked Argo over to a spot lush with grass, draping the reins over the mare's back so the beautiful animal could graze and relax while Xena tried to deal with Gabrielle.

Gabrielle meanwhile, had just been standing in the middle of the small clearing, watching Xena and the mare, and, for once, was not talking. Xena walked back toward her and taking her hand led her to one of the fallen trees, motioning to Gabrielle to sit.

Gabrielle broke the silence by starting up about everything and anything, including whether or not they were going to camp there for the night. Did Xena think that she could catch something for dinner? What about taking a blanket out so they could put it across the fallen tree trunk and sit on it instead of the rough tree bark?

Xena's head was beginning to spin, and she could feel a nagging little headache starting.

"GABRIELLE! We're not going to camp here, I'm not thinking about dinner, and nobody ever died from sitting on tree bark . . . Now sit down and be still!"

Gabrielle realized that this was probably the longest string of words Xena had put together since they had met. In an instant her mind flashed back to that day, the day the slavers had tried to take her and so many of the villagers. This gorgeous, tall, dark haired woman with the most penetrating blue eyes she had ever seen had literally wiped up the trail with the evil slavers. Gabrielle had known at that very moment that she wanted to be with this woman, to share in her life and adventures, and that she was not ever going to be happy anywhere but at this woman's side.

Xena looked down at the Gabrielle, who still had not sat down. With an exasperated sigh, she gave her a little backward push, resulting in Gabrielle catching her boot heel in her long skirt and starting to fall. Xena quickly grabbed her, kept her upright, and then sat her down with a bit more force than expected by either of them.

Gabrielle immediately tried to stand, and her mouth opened to protest, but Xena looked down at her with what Gabrielle had very early in their travels together defined as "The Look". She sat down and remained silent. Looking up at Xena expectantly, she was somewhat relieved to see "The Look" fade slightly.

"Gabrielle," Xena started, looking at Gabrielle with very serious eyes . . . "I've got some Ground Rules you need to learn. It's time we started some lessons, you need to learn how we can help one another and keep ourselves safe . . . "

"Xena, I am so glad you brought up this subject, because I have a lot of ideas and . . . "


This time Gabrielle stopped dead in her verbal tracks. She was almost certain that besides "The Look" being very much back, she thought she saw smoke coming out of Xena's ears.

Xena stepped back a moment, as though to regroup, or to keep from strangling her traveling companion . . . and then, when she felt as though her murderous thoughts were in check, she sat down next to Gabrielle and started to talk . . .

"This really isn't easy for me, you know I don't usually have too much to say . . . "

"Xena, that is an understatement! You hardly ever string two words together. You know, communication is . . . " Gabrielle clamped her mouth shut, when she saw the dark clouds forming in those beautiful blue eyes.

Xena was well aware that she had a stubborn streak a mile wide, but was beginning to feel that this conversation just wasn't going to happen . . . then that stubborn streak kicked in, and she tried again.

"I'm happy to have you with me. I never realized how alone I was, and you have changed all that. Just having you around has given my life much joy . . . but there are things that have to change. There are Ground Rules you must obey." Xena's voice suddenly dropped off, and she found herself looking in amazement at Gabrielle, who was sitting very still and did not even look like she was going to open her mouth.

Maybe this is going to work, she's going to listen; I'll get to say what needs to be said, and . . . .

Gabrielle took a breath and though they had been traveling together only a short time Xena knew this girl and she knew that expression when Gabrielle was about to start another mindboggling dissertation.

."DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT OPENING YOUR MOUTH!" the warrior bellowed, almost knocking Gabrielle off the tree trunk with the force and intent of her words.

"If we're going to continue to travel together, you need to learn my Ground Rules . . . our lives depend on our being able to travel as one, hearing and seeing everything in our surroundings and making instant decisions on what dangers may be in our way. And you absolutely must learn to obey me instantly, without question. Without argument!"

Gabrielle was watching Xena with absolute attention, and the tall warrior congratulated herself on finally getting through to her in this very important discussion!

"First off, Gabrielle, you must learn to be quiet. You can't possibly hear sounds that might alert us to possible ambush if you're constantly talking . . . and it's sometimes hard for me to hear the important signals of an attack if my ears are being constantly bombarded by your voice. You need to learn to focus, and you can't focus if your mouth is going."

Xena waited for the intrusion, but none came. Gabrielle was apparently hanging on every word . . .

"Second, when I tell you to do something, or to get behind me, or up onto Argo, or whatever, you will do it immediately. Those commands are not open for discussion. . You must obey me without question."

Xena waited again, and still Gabrielle sat there, watching the warrior with her green eyes never leaving Xena's face . . . encouraged, Xena continued with the important information she felt had to be said.

" I know you don't want to carry weapons of any kind, and I can live with that, but you have to have something to protect yourself, so I want you to think about what you would feel comfortable with. We don't have to make any decisions now, but please give it some thought."

Still Gabrielle sat there and never took her eyes from Xena's face. Xena felt encouraged, Oh, I am on a roll here!

"I've watched you when we've met up with some of the scum that travel these same roads. I can tell you're itching to get into the action, but until I can teach you some moves, you're going to have to stay behind me, and do what I say when I say it. Again, no discussion, no arguments, you do what I say when I say it. I must have your complete obedience!"

Still, Gabrielle sat there as though mesmerized by the warrior's words, her eyes never leaving Xena's face.

Xena continued, feeling really good about how all this was going. She looked down at Gabrielle, sitting there in her peasant skirt and top, looking for all the world like a little girl from a farming village. Not like a young woman traveling with a Warrior Princess . . . .

"This peasant skirt has got to go." With that Xena reached out her hand, stood Gabrielle up in front of her, and with one hand on the young woman's arm, grabbed her Chakram with the other hand and cut Gabrielle's long, peasant skirt off at a point about half way up her thighs. Gabrielle looked down, and then looked back at the warrior with her mouth hanging open. Before she could get a word out, Xena sat her back down and put a finger to the blonde's lips . . . "The Look" was definitely back in full force.

"Gabrielle, your skirt was too long, it's caused you to stumble more than once. It gets dirty dragging the ground. This makes a lot more sense. When we get to the next town you can get something else. But for now, this is what you'll be wearing, this is what I have decided you will be wearing, and I don't want to hear anything more about it."

Still nothing from Gabrielle . . . Xena was now beginning to think that maybe she was actually in some sort of a trance . . . but she continued . . .

"When we camp, we don't need to have discussions every single night about who will do what. We always end up doing the same thing, I catch something, you cook it, we eat it, I sharpen and polish my sword, you clean up, I bank our fire, we sleep . . . "

Something was definitely going on here. This was the longest period of time since being with Gabrielle that she had been quiet . . . even when Gabrielle slept, she wasn't really quiet, she was either softly snoring, or mumbling in her sleep, or on cold nights, snuggling next to the warrior for warmth and almost purring when she found that warmth. Xena thought back to the many nights she had awakened to find Gabrielle literally laying on top of her, using her as an alternative to the hard ground. Such thoughts were not unpleasant . . . but Xena knew that she had to continue laying out the Ground Rules, now that she finally had an attentive audience . . . She had maintained "The Look" . . . since it appeared that it helped in keeping Gabrielle quiet and focused on what Xena was saying . . .

"I also want you to . . .

At this point, Gabrielle broke the silence that Xena had so horribly misinterpreted.

"Do you have any idea how incredibly beautiful you are? Your eyes are the most gorgeous blue, those cheek bones, those lips, and when you are being serious . . . Which by the way, is most of the time, you really should try to lighten up a bit, you know people who lighten up usually live longer, they are much more likely to not have."

Xena exploded . . . it was ever so obvious that Gabrielle had not been listening to anything the Warrior Princess had said.


With that, she grabbed Gabrielle around the waist and in one smooth, swift movement turned the young woman down across her thighs. She flipped up what was left of the skirt to expose Gabrielle's bottom. Only to discover that she wasn't wearing any britches . . . She hesitated, looking down at Gabrielle's bare bottom, and for a fleeting moment considered what she was going to do . . . . This is one beautiful little behind. I shouldn't treat her like a child, she's a grown woman. She certainly has the behind of a grown woman-shapely, firm, all the curves. Xena shook her head to clear these thoughts. But I have to do something to make an impression on her, something to make her understand how important this is, for both of us. THIS she might understand. She WILL understand! She lifted her right arm and brought her hand down across those cheeks with enough force to startle Argo with the sound of the crack of her palm against Gabrielle's backside. Gabrielle screeched, not as much in pain as in surprise, and tried to squirm off Xena's legs.

"No you don't, Gabrielle. You haven't listened to a word I've said, and this is only going to get worse, so deal with it." Xena's teeth were clenched, and she bit each word out as a definite threat!

And her hand connected again with Gabrielle's' backside.

"You are going to start listening" . . . Smack,

"And OBEYING" . . . Smack,

"Do you understand?" . . . Smack.

"You will do what I say when I say it" . . . Smack,

"You will obey me without arguments or discussions" . . . Smack,

Xena continued to spank Gabrielle one hard smack after another, until the young woman stopped struggling and lay across Xena's thighs, sobbing and crying real tears of pain and humiliation. She had never experienced this kind of punishment before. Her parents had given her a few swats across the behind when she was a child, but she usually just scampered away and hid somewhere in the barn or fields until they were busy with something else and had forgotten about whatever she had done to incur their wrath. Her bottom felt like it was on fire, as Xena smacked her again and again. This was different though, as Gabrielle felt her inner thighs becoming damp, and realized that as painful as this spanking was, it was also having another effect on her. She was becoming totally aroused by Xena's touch and her command. She blinked through her tears and hoped that this torture would end soon. She was afraid of what her body would do if the attention her bottom was receiving continued much longer . . . Then she realized that Xena had stopped spanking her, although she was still across the warrior's thighs. She heard Xena's voice, and twisted her head around to see whom the warrior was talking to.

"By the gods, Xena, is someone here? Don't let them see me like this, please Xena, I'm sorry, I'll listen, I'll do whatever you say" . . . She attempted to get up, but Xena held her firm across her thighs . . . then she heard Xena's voice again . . . she was definitely talking to someone . . . Gabrielle felt like she was going to die of embarrassment right then and there . . .

Xena had been spanking Gabrielle with a vengeance when she had suddenly became aware of a flash of light to her right, heralding the appearance of Aphrodite. She stopped spanking Gabrielle as she said . . . "Aphrodite . . . What are you doing here . . . I don't need your help."

"Oh yes you do, Warrior Babe . . . you definitely need my help . . . wow, you have really been whaling away at that irritating little blonde's behind. Aphrodite stole a peak at the young woman. "Look at that color, sort of a flaming pink red sort of shade, wouldn't you say? Hmmm, I think I might like to try that shade for myself, not for my gorgeous behind, but maybe a nice new gown, sort of flowing, and see through, of course . . . "

"What do you want, Aphrodite, leave us be . . . "

"NoooNooooNooo, you do need a few pointers from me, my luscious Warrior Babe, Oh you of the magnificent legs that go on forever. Those thighs, your gorgeous breasts that just cry out for attention, the muscles, the flawless skin, that beautiful face, those lips, and those eyes, oh those eyes . . . where was I . . . Oh yes, this little irritating blond you have been spanking is definitely very much in love with you, and you are going to have to deal with it . . . "

"Aphrodite, you are absolutely insane, you have no idea what you are talking about, and I want you to leave, NOW!"

Gabrielle twisted her head up once again, and looked around . . . "Xena, please, let me up, this is so embarrassing and not fair . . . is Aphrodite here? I want to see her, but please, at least cover my backside, this is very not fair at all."

Xena looked down at the squirming bundle across her lap. She flipped Gabrielle's' skirt down, although it didn't cover her bottom completely . . . she kept her left hand firmly on Gabrielle's back, holding her down and making it clear that she was not going anywhere soon.

Xena gave another smack to Gabrielle's bottom.

"Stop squirming and keep still. I'm not done with you!"

Gabrielle sighed, wiped the tears from her face and looked down at the ground, then she looked at the underside of Xena's thighs. With a little smile, she reached her fingers up and lightly stroked the back of the warrior's knee . . . wrong move. Xena's palm connected once again with her behind. Gabrielle decided to study the insect life that appeared to be rather abundant on the floor of the forest, especially when your face was so close to the ground . . .

Xena growled at Gabrielle . . . "Don't do that again, keep still."

Gabrielle marveled at the fact that she felt very certain that she would do it again, but not just right now . . . she wasn't stupid, she knew that timing was everything . . . .

"Xena, I want you to look at what your punishment of this young woman has resulted in . . . Look at the sweet love juices that are collecting on your thighs. She is so into you, it's not even funny. She is, like, so in love with you. She's got it bad, Xena. But who wouldn't? By the gods, that body, that hair, those lips, those eyes . . . "

"Don't start with that again, Aphrodite, I am not buying it, and besides, this has nothing to do with love."

With that said, Xena became aware of the dampness she felt on her thighs. She lifted Gabrielle's skirt and saw for herself that there was wetness across her thighs . . . she just stared at it, trying to comprehend the proof of Aphrodite's words. She stared until Gabrielle squirmed again, and Xena realized that Gabrielle had twisted and turned her upper body and head so that she was looking at Xena, looking at her. Then Xena also realized that not all of the dampness was Gabrielle's, but that she could feel her own arousal, her own source between her legs overflowing and her own juices finding passage down her thighs.

Xena looked at Gabrielle's face, and quickly turned away, flipping Gabrielle's skirt back down over her bottom. She then looked back at Aphrodite, who was standing there with the most irritating, aggravating know-it-all smile plastered across her face . . . Xena wanted to jump up and wipe that smirk right off Aphrodite's face . . . but she resigned herself.

"OK, Aphrodite, something does seem to be going on here, so why don't you leave and let me handle it . . . "

"Oh right, like you are going to have a clue, oh great Warrior Slash and Burn . . . oops, sorry, I forgot there for a minute that you weren't like that anymore . . . You need my help, my vast experience, my expertise . . . "

"Aphrodite, leave, I really would appreciate it if we could maybe have this conversation some other day. Please, I'm asking nice, you know I don't do that very often . . . " Xena had her teeth clamped tight, and her voice sounded menacing. Even the word 'please' sounded more like a threat than an entreaty.

Gabrielle was taking all of this in from her precarious vantage point . . . however she had quickly realized that she was only hearing part of the conversation, just Xena's words. She wanted so much to hear the other side of what was being said, but it appeared that wasn't going to happen . . . maybe it was a warrior thing . . . some day . . . .when I learn all the things Xena wants to teach me . . . hey, I did hear what Xena was saying to me before all this got started! But wait! What was that comment Xena just made . . . Something else Xena just said . . . this isn't about love??? By the gods, this was so embarrassing! Nothing like lying across a warrior's knee with your bare behind sticking up in the air while that warrior carries on a conversation with someone only she can see!

Xena was watching Aphrodite's face, and was relieved to see that the Love Goddess seemed to be running out of steam. At least she appeared to be thinking about leaving . . .

"OK, Warrior Princess with the body to die for, the voice that causes swooning across the land, oh woman of few words, but when those words come out . . . oh boy! Oh yes, OK, I will leave for now, but I want you to know that I'm watching you, and that I have my lovely little hands firmly attached to your heart, and to that little blonde's heart too, so don't be too surprised when I show up again . . . Toodles" . . . and with that, she was gone.

Xena just sat for a minute, almost totally unaware of the bundle lying across her legs, until the bundle started to squirm again.

She looked down at Gabrielle, her mind racing over Aphrodite's words. Then she lifted Gabrielle's skirt once more, saw her bottom tense up, and brought her palm down one last time, eliciting a real honest yelp out of the helpless woman across her lap.

She lifted Gabrielle to her feet, turning her around and sitting her on her lap . . . She knew Gabrielle's bottom would not appreciate the rough tree bark, but she was amazed at the heat generated from Gabrielle's naked behind against her thighs . . . Time enough later to think about all the stuff that Aphrodite had said, right now I have to try to get back to where I was when this all started . . . trying to get Gabrielle to understand the importance of my Ground Rules . . . . . .

"Gabrielle, I'm sorry I had to get so tough with you, but you must learn to do as I say. You must obey me. When I talk to you, I absolutely must have your complete attention. We'll camp here tonight . . . there's a small stream just at the edge of this clearing, go sit in the stream for a while, you'll feel better."

Gabrielle didn't say a word, she just sat on Xena's lap, with her hands clasped in her own lap, and her head down, sniffling occasionally. Xena lifted her chin with her left hand; her right arm around Gabrielle's waist, and looked into her tear stained face. Instantly, Xena's heart lurched, and she began to think about what she had done to this young woman . . .

."Gabrielle, talk to me, please . . . say something . . . "

"You said I talk too much, now I'm being quiet and you still aren't happy . . . " Gabrielle felt she had Xena right where she wanted her, feeling guilty . . . oh, this was going to be so sweet. Xena, however, saw through this little subterfuge, picked her up and plunked her down on the log, bare butt and rough bark be damned. Gabrielle immediately regrouped her thinking on the guilt thing and on the fact that it wasn't going to work. Not wanting to go through another spanking, she immediately looked up at the Warrior Princess.

"I know I was yammering, but I did hear what you were saying, and yes, I want to learn what to do, and yes, I will not talk so much, and I can't wait until we get to the next town so I can go shopping . . . I would love a new outfit . . . and if I am going to wear a skirt this short, I definitely will need some britches. I can't be walking around flashing everyone now can I, . . . except if that is what you want, after all, you want me to obey you, so I'll do whatever you want, including walking around half naked . . . whatever you want . . . And when do you think I will be able to see Aphrodite? I figured that is probably a warrior thing, so when I learn all this stuff will she appear to me, too?"

Xena just stood there and looked down at Gabrielle . . . she knew when to admit defeat, even on a temporary basis . . . when she needed to regroup. She had fought her way through every sort of enemy. She had fought against most of the nastier gods, against ugly and not so ugly warlords, pond scum road thugs and bottom feeding lowlifes of all kinds, but never ever had she run into such a formidable challenge as this chatterbox. She thought of how she might be remembered through the ages. Warrior Princess, Destroyer of Nations. Her name brought fear to the hearts of any who incurred her wrath, even to the hearts of many who didn't incur her wrath . . . and yet here she was, standing in the middle of a forest, her ears ringing and her head swimming, all because she had agreed to let this little yapper into her life, and, if she really thought about it, into her heart.

"I give up, Gabrielle, we'll save the lessons for later. Let's get you down to that stream so you can cool off your behind."

She offered her hand; Gabrielle stood up and immediately put both hands on her stinging backside.

"Hurts, huh? Keep that in mind when I tell you to do something!"

Xena set her on her way toward the water. As she walked behind Gabrielle she realized that she had cut the skirt way too short. This would not do for when they were around other people, although she found she was enjoying it immensely. I'll save the part I cut off; I can sew it back before we get to the next village. She watched her hips move, caught herself doing so, and looked elsewhere . . . however her eyes kept coming back to the almost hypnotizing movement going on in front of her. They reached the waters' edge, and before Xena could say anything, Gabrielle had shucked her skirt, boots and top and was walking into the water. Just then, Gabrielle turned back and looked at Xena, and at the expression she saw on that beautiful face. She didn't say a word, but she smiled to herself, and took heart in what she had just witnessed . . . Oh yes, this was going to be sweet, maybe not easy, but definitely sweet!

"Gabrielle, I'm gonna go scare up something for dinner. Stay as long as you want, but don't go anywhere and try to stay out of trouble. I don't feel like spending half the night looking for you."

Not a chance, Warrior Princess! Not a chance! I'm not going anywhere. She looked back at Xena with a sweet, simple,demure little smile playing across her face.

As Xena turned and walked back to the clearing, Gabrielle settled herself into the stream, relieved to feel the cool water across her behind . . . the spot still stung in humiliation and tingled with desire from Xena's touch. My bottom really does sting, that woman doesn't realize her own strength . . . actually, I think there are a few other things she might not realize, too . . . like how much I love her, how much I want her to love me . . . As she leaned back to wet her hair and wash away the road grime, she thought about the day and how it had taken a very interesting turn. She was still confused about hearing only one side of the conversation Xena seemed to be having with Aphrodite. Now that was strange. How come Xena could see her and hear her, but I couldn't? And what was that comment Xena made about this not having anything to do with love?

Gabrielle sat and pondered these questions, sitting on the stream bottom and swishing the cool water around. A sudden flash of light startled her. Just as she was about to scream for Xena, Aphrodite appeared, dressed, or at least sort of dressed, in skimpy underwear and a pink frothy thing . . . the woman gave new meaning to the word luscious.

"Well, little irritating blond person with a very sore bottom, how are you feeling? Is that nice cool water helping?"

"Are you Aphrodite??" Gabrielle sputtered, completely oblivious that she was sitting in a stream, totally naked, and talking to someone who had just appeared out of nowhere . . .

"Do you really have to ask? Look at me. I mean, who else would dress like this, and have a body like this, and, oh never mind. Yes, twit, I am Aphrodite, Goddess of Love".

"I am so glad to meet you, your Goddesship!" Gabrielle was clearly at a loss for words, one of the very few times in her life that had happened.

"Yahyahyah, let's not get all hung up on the titles, just listen to me. Follow my instructions, and you just might get to where you want to be . . . with the Warrior Princess, right? I mean WITH the Warrior Princess . . . am I right?"

Gabrielle was still at a loss for words, but Aphrodite's meaning hit her right square in her heart. That is exactly where I want to be.

"OK kid, it's a good thing that I am good at hearing thoughts, because you are obviously not going to be able to say much. Which is certainly out of character for you, you talk more than I do! So here's what you do . . . and don't forget, when I'm good, I'm very, very good, but when I'm bad, I'm even better!" Aphrodite threw her head back and laughed at her own wit. She then began to describe a preliminary plan for Gabrielle to follow.

A few minutes later, an outwardly much subdued Gabrielle climbed out of the stream, picked up her clothes and walked, still naked, back to the clearing. When she arrived in the open Xena had her back to her, brushing Argo and talking to the mare.

"Xena, thanks for stopping here. The cold water really did help. Do you think you could brew up some of those special herbs we use for sore muscles and maybe put some on my behind? I think it would make me feel so much better."

Xena turned around, pulling up short when she saw that Gabrielle was still naked. Oh my, that's one beautiful body. Why is she walking around like that? What's going on here?

"Sure, Gabrielle. Put on your sleeping shift." Please put on your sleeping shift, she heard herself pleading. I'll get some herbs brewing . . . I already have dinner on the fire . . . a couple of rabbits . . . you might wanna check them. My cooking skills aren't exactly in the same league as yours" . . . or probably anyone else's either. Xena went to the saddlebags and rummaged around for the herbs she would need, trying desperately to not think about the naked blond standing nearby . . . Why hasn't she gone to put on her shift, why is she standing there . . . is this some of Aphrodite's work, having Gabrielle tempt me like this . . . that crazy blonde bimbo said she had her hands around both of our hearts . . . I wish she would just leave us alone. I can't stand the interference these gods think is so entertaining. Oh good grief, now she is checking the rabbits stark naked. She's bending over, checking those damn rabbits. Oh, gods.

After checking on the rabbits roasting over the fire, Gabrielle walked over to the bedrolls, and slowly bent over at the waist to pick up her sleep shift. She casually looked over her shoulder and saw that the Warrior Princess was watching her. Gabrielle stood up, stretched, and then slipped into her shift. She slid her hands down her sides, as though to make sure her body was covered, all the while watching Xena watch her. She had the most terrible urge to giggle, but she suppressed it. She couldn't help smiling to herself . . . this is really kind of fun . . . just wish my behind would stop stinging . . .

What has happened to Gabrielle, she looks like she is deliberately trying to tempt me. She doesn't usually act like this, so seductive . . . oh, I think I will definitely have to go for a long walk in the woods tonight! Aphrodite, if this is your idea of fun . . .

Gabrielle walked back over to where the rabbits were roasting and said, "These rabbits are ready, are you?" The young woman paused just long enough for Xena to interpret several possible meanings, then added, "ready to eat, I mean?"

Xena swallowed, shook her head, and joined Gabrielle at the side of the fire. They each ate their meal in silence . . . Xena was lost in her thoughts; Gabrielle could barely keep from smiling.

After they had eaten and cleaned up the campsite, Xena checked on the herbs she had brewed and found them to be ready for use.

"Gabrielle, here's a clean cloth, the herbs are ready, just dip this cloth in and pat it onto your behind, it should help a lot."

Gabrielle looked at the Warrior Princess and then at the bowl and cloth she was holding out for her, then back at Xena. The expression on the young woman's face was pure innocence.

"Xena, I can't do this myself, can't you please put it on my bottom for me?" Her voice nearly cracked into a giggle as she said these words, seeing the almost tortured expression on Xena's face. "I mean, it's not like we haven't helped each other out in the past, and after all, this is sort of your fault…"

"Gabrielle, you aren't gonna to trap me into some sort of guilt trip about this, I'm not sorry I spanked you. You deserved it, you don't listen, and you have to learn to obey me without question. I can promise you that it will happen again if you don't start changing your attitude! My Ground Rules are important, and I won't put up with any more disobedience from you. Just be thankful that I only spanked you, I've had soldiers in my army flogged for disobeying me. Maybe if I stay angry, I can get through this. Maybe I'll be able to breathe while smoothing this stuff on her behind. Lay down on your stomach on your bedroll. I'll put the stuff on you, then go to sleep and tomorrow morning you'll be fine"

Gabrielle settled onto her blanket, with her bottom just barely covered with her sleeping shift. Xena carefully moved the shift up her back, and started slathering the medicinal herb concoction onto Gabrielle's still very rosy behind. Gabrielle let out a long sigh, and settled her head into her arms so that Xena couldn't see the smile playing across her face. Gods, I hope I don't give myself away. It feels so good. Thank you for the advice, Aphrodite. Walking back here naked sure did get a notice out of this beautiful woman. Though we've been naked together before, this was different, oh yes . . . this is going to work real well. Now if I can just carry out whatever the rest of the plan Aphrodite might have without ending up over Xena's knee again, I'll be okay!

I made it. Very professional. Just helping her out, just putting on some stuff to take out the sting. When she'd finished, Xena set the bowl aside and covered Gabrielle's bottom with her shift and the top blanket. She then settled into her own blanket, being careful to not brush up against the young woman, who appeared to be already asleep.

"Good Night, Gabrielle, sleep tight." Xena whispered as she lay on her back, looking up at the beautiful night sky. She was just about ready to close her eyes when she heard Gabrielle's muffled voice…

"Good Night, Xena, I love you." That should keep her awake tonight. Aphrodite really is good at this love stuff; it might have taken me forever to get around to knowing how and when to tell Xena how I feel. I wonder what the Goddess of Love has planned for me to use on Xena next?

Xena knew in an instant that sleep of any kind would be hard come by tonight…. Even as she heard Gabrielle's gentle snores coming from the bedroll next to her.



Xena laid on her bedroll listening to the softly snoring, snorfling woman, obviously sound asleep. She rolled onto her side, and pulled Gabrielle up against her, aware of how well Gabrielle's body fit against her own. Gabrielle sighed softly and snuggled even closer to Xena, but she didn't wake up. Xena was actually somewhat relieved that Gabrielle was sleeping so soundly, it allowed her to do some serious thinking before the morning light came and she would have to deal with the events of the day just drawing to a close.

Xena knew that she felt great affection for Gabrielle; she knew she had felt a connection the day she had found the people of Poteidaia being rounded up by the slavers. The first time she laid eyes on the person now sleeping in her arms, she realized that Gabrielle was someone special. In the time they'd been traveling together, she had come to know the person Gabrielle was now…but realized she really knew nothing about the person Gabrielle had been before that fateful day the slavers had attacked Gabrielle's village. Her concerns for Gabrielle's safety would have to be addressed. She cared about this young woman, wanted her with her, and some how or other, she was going to make sure it happened. Without getting us both killed. I still have to make sure that Gabrielle learns the Ground Rules without exception. If I have to spank her again, I will, but I don't know how I'll handle that, it did strange things to us both. I wonder how much of that was Aphrodite's interference. I want Gabrielle to care about me as I care about her, but I don't want that pink floozy god getting into the act, it should happen because it's right, not because some goofy god decided to play around with us . . . why can't those gods just mind their own damned business?

She thought back again to the day's events. The way she'd tried to teach Gabrielle the importance of their working as a team to insure their safety in their travels. The way the entire effort had ended up, with Xena losing her temper and treating Gabrielle like a child, actually spanking her until she felt she had worn out the young woman's behind. And then there was that strange visit from Aphrodite…ah yes, Aphrodite…the Goddess of Love…more like the Goddess of Goofiness….just where did that hypersexed blond candidate for a visit from the fashion police get off telling her that Gabrielle was in love with her, and that she, the "stick your nose in everyone's business" goddess, was going to make sure that the Warrior Princess didn't screw everything up…

Xena looked up at the sky, and realized that it would be morning soon. She also knew that her lack of sleep was probably going to have an effect on her less than easy going personality… this coming morning is going to be a real interesting challenge…

Gabrielle stirred slightly in her sleep, gradually becoming aware of the fact that she was snuggled up against Xena, and that Xena's arm was around her middle, holding her close.

This is really nice, thought Gabrielle. I could get used to this real fast! Then she started thinking back to the previous day. I guess I could have handled that whole thing a little different…suppose I should start listening more and talking less…she's right, I really do talk too much, I don't blame her for spanking me, I was being rather childish, I guess. I do think she could have taken it a little easy on my behind . . . it did hurt . . . I was being very childish, actually, I mean she was just trying to help me to learn, and I just kept blathering on and on…. Oh well, she'll just have to get used to it. I talk a lot, I'm a talker, not a fighter. I want to be a Bard, I tell stories, and to tell stories you have to ask a lot of questions to get the pieces all together to write the story and then to tell it…good grief, I do talk too much…. And what about the visit from Aphrodite while I was sitting in the stream…I guess I should tell Xena that I saw her and talked to her…But Aphrodite sort of told me that our conversation was just between us . . . I wonder when she is going to show up and tell me some more stuff to do to get my Warrior Princess to really be MY Warrior Princess"… Gabrielle slipped back into a dreamy sleep, content and happy with Xena's arm around her and the warrior's warm breath caressing the back of her neck.

The sun was just coming over the horizon when Xena and Gabrielle began to stir, both experiencing the comfort/discomfort of a warm bed and a full bladder. Xena woke first, and carefully moving her arm, started to get up. Gabrielle grabbed Xena's arm before she could completely retrieve it. She rolled onto her back and with the sweetest smile Xena had ever seen, said, "Good Morning, did you sleep well?"

Xena stared down at the beautiful little blond, almost losing herself in those green eyes, and said "Good Morning to you, and the answer to your question is no. I hardly slept at all, I'll probably be grumpy this morning, so I'd suggest that you work at not irritating me…" As soon as the words were out, she regretted them, especially after seeing the hurt look that flashed through Gabrielle's eyes.

They each headed for the bushes to take care of their immediate needs, then returned to the campsite to eat a quick breakfast of bread and tea. Xena began saddling up Argo, while Gabrielle rolled up their blankets…a few hand fulls of dirt put out their small fire, and they were ready to leave…

Xena mounted Argo, and then looked down at Gabrielle who stood to the side as though she wasn't sure of what to do next. Xena softened her look and said, "Gabrielle, give me your hand, I want you to ride with me today, we've a lot to talk about, and I want to be sure I have your undivided attention."

Gabrielle quickly extended her hand up to the Warrior Princess. Xena reached down and with virtually no effort at all swung her up onto the saddle. Gabrielle found herself in front of the Warrior instead of behind her, where she usually rode. She started to ask why, and then thought better of it since she already felt Xena's strong arms around her.

Xena gave Argo a gentle nudge and they started out of the clearing and back to the trail

they'd been on yesterday. Gabrielle leaned back and smiled to her self…Things are definitely looking up… She felt a strong sense of security riding this way, with the gentle walking gait of Argo rocking her in Xena's arms…then she felt something else. Her skirt was way to short to provide any coverage between her bare bottom and the thick fur that Xena used as a saddle. Oh no, this is not going to work, I can feel myself getting itchy… I don't want to have to get down . . . Oh . . . . . . … She started twitching and wriggling, trying to relieve the irritating itchy feeling she was experiencing.

"Gabrielle, what are you doing? Why are you squirming around like that? Don't tell me that your behind still hurts from yesterday…between the cold water in the stream and the herbs I put on you, you should be fine. Here, lift up a bit and let me see what's wrong."

"No . . . no, Xena, it isn't from the spanking, it's just that my skirt is so short my bare skin is getting itchy from this fur saddle piece…"

"Oh good grief, get down, I think I can fix that."

She swung Gabrielle down onto the trail, then slid from Argo's back and started looking through the saddlebag.

"I saved the piece I cut from your skirt, I want to sew it back on before we get to the next village. I don't want you walking around strangers with your behind showing! We'll put this between you and the fur and you should be fine." When she had the leftover material placed on the fur, she put Gabrielle back up onto Argo, and then swung herself back up behind her. When her arms were around Gabrielle's middle, they started up once again.


"Oh yes, it's much better, thanks. You are really a very nice person, has anyone ever told you that, Xena?" . . . She asked in a somewhat teasing tone of voice.

"No, I don't think I've heard that comment related to me…but you're welcome. I think we need to talk, Gabrielle, yesterday was a strange day, in more ways than one…"

Before Xena could finish her train of thought, Gabrielle started out with one of her long winded discussions that had all the earmarks of covering every subject in the known world. Xena took her right hand from the young woman's middle and clapped it over Gabrielle's mouth…she put her lips right next to Gabrielle's ear and growled …

"Don't even think about yammering about nothing and everything at me today. Remember, I want you to obey me! I have a very specific subject that I want you to talk about…and that subject is you…I want to know everything about you, from the earliest that you can remember as a little child, until the present…and I want to hear it all . . . The good, the bad, even the ugly. When you're finished I want to know everything there possibly is to know about you. Now I give you permission. Start talking, and I'm not joking around here…"

"Why do you want me to talk about myself? I thought we were going to talk about all the stuff I have to learn . . . "

"Gabrielle, please, just do as I've asked, this is how you got into trouble yesterday . . . when I tell you to do something, do it. I have to know that you will obey me without question! I have my reasons, and that should be good enough for you. Talk!

And she did… . . .

And talked . . .

And talked . . . .

Xena listened intently as Gabrielle literally started at the beginning. Her very first early childhood memories, and then continuing through the various months and years of her life. How she felt about growing up in her family, with her younger sister Lila, her mother and father. How she felt close to her mother, but always felt somewhat uneasy around her father, as though she could never be what he expected, or do as well as he thought she should. How she often was punished for various childhood 'crimes'. She made a point of telling Xena that as a child she was never actually spanked, an occasional slap on the behind, but never anything like what she experienced yesterday. She turned and looked back at Xena as she related this, trying to see what, if any effect her words were having on the Warrior Princess.

Xena just looked down at Gabrielle, with no readable, open to interpretation expression whatsoever on her beautiful face…

Gabrielle turned back to face forward and continued with her historical narrative, totally unaware that Xena's mind was spinning. Each time this young woman looked at her with those innocent green eyes, she felt herself sinking further and further. But she wasn't exactly sure just where she was sinking. She had already admitted to herself and accepted the fact that she had cared about this woman almost from the first day she laid eyes on her, but she still couldn't be sure of where this was going. How much of what I am feeling is Aphrodite's interference, how much of it is real? But I was feeling this before Aphrodite's visit. But that doesn't mean she wasn't already doing her hocus pocus on us. But this feels real, it feels right. It doesn't feel like a god's interference, and I can usually tell when they are messing with our lives. But they're clever . . . maybe I can't tell . . . Xena was experienced in all the arts of lovemaking, she had known passion, she had experienced raw sex, all the various carnal pleasures, but she was certain that this was different, this made a difference, this was real. The problem was a fairly simple one, with a very illusive, difficult answer. Do I want to just physically enjoy this woman, or do I want something different, something much more beautiful, more permanent, and more binding. And if it is to be permanent and binding, how would I ever be able to keep Gabrielle safe…I need to teach her how to be safe, she needs to know that I must be obeyed, without question, without discussion. She was unaware of softly running her long fingers across the bare skin of Gabrielle's' middle, one finger occasionally playing along the band of her skirt, then moving back to make circles against the smooth skin.

Gabrielle had noticed the way Xena's fingers were playing along her skin, long before Xena was aware of doing it. The talkative young woman began to stumble along in her words, almost stuttering, forgetting where she was in her narrative, saying things more than once. She started to feel a strange warmth, even though the day was pleasant, even if slightly cool. She looked down at Xena's hands. Her hands were large for a woman, but probably not a woman of Xena's stature. Her fingers were much longer than Gabrielle's, as were the warrior's thumbs. She began to imagine how they would feel against her skin, her thighs, her face, her breasts, everywhere on her body, and in her body, too. She began to have difficulty breathing, or at least remembering to breathe…. Was this part of Aphrodite's plan? Was the Love Goddess making this happen? No, I've felt this way before, haven't I? Her touch and her eyes have always done this to me. She allowed the touch to flow over her as her mind got lost in the fantasy.

Xena suddenly became aware of the fact that Gabrielle had stopped talking, and that her breathing was irregular. She reached up and turned the young woman's head toward her, to see if she was not feeling well. Only to see the dreamlike haze that had come over those green eyes.

They sat that way for what seemed an eternity, even Argo had stopped walking. Gabrielle's eyes slowly closed as Xena leaned forward to kiss that beautiful mouth…

Xena pulled back as though she had been struck. Gabrielle's eyes flew open, and they both stared at one another.

"What happened, why did you stop?" Gabrielle cried, as her eyes began to brim with tears. "I want you to kiss me. Please, I want you to kiss me"…her voice trailed off as she watched Xena, watched as whatever demons were at play within the Warrior's mind tore the beautiful woman's soul…

"Gabrielle, we can't do this, we can't. Not yet. We don't really know where this is going, I think there is something very beautiful here, and we can't ruin it with hormones running wild…" And I need to know that this is real, and not one of Aphrodite's stupid little games.

"I told you last night that I love you, isn't that enough? I do love you, Xena, I think I loved you the first moment I saw you, and that love has grown stronger every day we've been together." Gabrielle was very close to tears now, and Xena felt her own insides churn…I could take her right now, and enjoy it immensely…and I think that Gabrielle would probably enjoy it, too…but it isn't how I want this to happen, at least not like this. Wait . . . she loved me from the first moment she saw me?

Xena tightened her arms around Gabrielle, and with her heels, gently nudged Argo into a brisk walk. She put her face down into Gabrielle's hair and breathed deeply. She kissed the top of Gabrielle's head, and then drew back slightly and asked the young woman in her arms if she would honestly answer some very personal questions.

Gabrielle listened to the Warrior's words, but her mind was on the tightness of those gorgeous arms around her. The feel of that beautiful face buried in her hair. The awareness of a kiss to the top of her head. She heard Xena ask her again and she immediately said yes, without even thinking what those questions might be.

"OK, Gabrielle, this is the first question…how much do you really know about me? And I don't mean what the so-called legends say, or what you or any other imaginative story teller might say, but what you really know about me."

Gabrielle started to answer, but Xena tightened her grip and told her to wait until she had laid out all of the questions . . .

"Second question…how old are you? And I want a truthful answer, not how old you think you are, or how old you think I think you are . . . " By the gods, this idea of having to talk so much is hard, how does this woman blabber on and on all day and half the night?

"This is the last question . . . and this one has more than one part…Have you ever been in love, really loved someone, and I don't mean like your family . . . If you've been in love, how did you express that love, how intimate did you become with that person or those persons, and why aren't you still with them . . . …Have you ever actually made love, do you have any idea of what it is like, what it can do to you and for you…what you can do to and for the other person?"

Xena found herself almost holding her breath as she waited for Gabrielle to answer her.

"Xena, I know that you are, or were, no, you still are, a mighty warrior. I know that you led a very different life before I met you. I know that you led armies of men, and they followed you without question. I know that you and your armies laid waste to villages, killed and burned across most of Greece and Rome. I know that your name was feared like no other, and still is in most of the land. And I know that you live with the demons of your past every day of your life, but that even as you battle those demons, you prove over and over again that you are a good and noble person.

"I'm younger than you, but not in that many years, I've seen 20 winters. I think you've seen 30 . . . but in life years, I realize that you think of me as a child, compared to what you've done in your 30 years. I'm not a child, I know what I want, and I know that I will not stop until I have it…I'm very stubborn. I was always considered different back in Poteidaia, I never did the things the other girls did, I didn't find that my one goal in life was to marry some smelly farmer and become a broody hen so that he could have sons to work in the fields. There was always something else that I wanted, something else I dreamed of, but I wasn't aware of it until that day that we met.

"No, Xena, I have never been in love before now. I've never known anyone in my village that I considered worth loving, but I don't think that means I don't know what love is. I've thought about loving someone, I just never found the person that someone represented, until I met you. As far as being intimate, I have been sort of intimate only with myself, and that is as much as I want to say about that! I guess that kind of answers the last question, too, unless you count the hundreds of times I've dreamt about you making love to me, and of all the times I've dreamt about loving you until you scream my name to the heavens. Does that answer all of your questions?" Oh, I may have gotten a little too detailed in that last answer. She might not feel quite the same way I do; maybe she doesn't love me like I love her. If she turns away from me, I don't know what I'll do. Nah, she loves me, I know she does, she might not know it, but I do!

Xena didn't say a word, she sat very still, moving only slightly with the pitch and sway of Argo's gait, her arms still wrapped around Gabrielle's middle. Her fingers had stopped their unconscious movement against Gabrielle's skin. She dreamt about me making love to her . . . of making love to me? Oh, how much of that is Aphrodite . . . how much is real? Why did that bimbo have to show up?

"Xena, are you going to say anything? Did I answer your questions or is there more? Will you please answer me . . . Xena!"

Xena snapped back to the present, and looked at Gabrielle's sweet, innocent face turned back and watching for her reaction . . . she looked again into those green eyes. That beautiful, sweet face. The mind boggling innocence of that face. She felt herself sliding down a slippery slope, one that had no handholds, no way out, once on that slide, there was no backing out . . . she again leaned forward and started to move toward those sweet lips that were hers for the taking . . . and stopped.

Gabrielle cocked a fist and almost slugged her. "WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM? Do I have bad breath? Do you know what you are doing to me? I don't like this, I don't like this at all . . . First you get all in a lather because I talk too much and I don't listen. Then you put me over your knee and spank me and IN FRONT OF APHRODITE, I MIGHT ADD! Then you ask me all sorts of personal questions and I answer each and every one of them as honestly and fully as I possibly can. We are moving along a very wonderful road, and I am not talking about this trail we are on, and twice now, you back off from what I want most from you, the feel of your lips against mine, your tongue in my mouth . . . .yahyahyah, I know about the tongue thing . . . I might not have done it, but that doesn't mean I haven't discussed it with my sister and some of my friends back in Podunkdea . . . I want to feel your skin against mine, I want it all, you big dumb beautiful warrior woman, and I am tired of this little game you're playing . . . . . . "At that point, Gabrielle had the distinct sinking feeling that once again she had gone a few feet past where she should have gone . . . That 'big, dumb, beautiful warrior woman' remark definitely was over the line, waaaayyyy over the line! Oh well, whatever is going to happen will happen. I don't think she will spank me again, there's no room up on Argo's back for her to turn me over, and if she does stop the mare I could just make a run for it. Or not . . . I probably wouldn't get far . . . damn all her many skills!

Still nothing came from behind her, she knew Xena was there, her arms were still around her, she could feel her breathing, it all felt fairly normal . . . Just what was going on? She would have to turn around and look.

When Gabrielle turned and looked at Xena, her breath stopped short. Xena had tears in those beautiful blue eyes; she was staring at Gabrielle and smiling, a sweet smile, a beautiful smile, a smile full of absolute love and devotion.

"Xena, are you going to say something?"

"Gabrielle, I honestly don't know what to say, you never fail to amaze me, you are so very honest, and really very brave . . . especially that 'big dumb beautiful warrior woman' part . . . not too many people would have tried that."

"Xena, I want you to say something about what I've told you. Are you just going to let all those words just lay there?."

"No, Gabrielle, I'm not gonna just let the words lay there," Xena said, her voice low and weak with emotion, "They're all in my heart."

She tightened her arms around her, hugging her until Gabrielle felt like she would explode.

"I can't breathe," she squawked . . . and Xena, realizing what she was doing, let up slightly. Gabrielle took a deep breath and turned her head back toward Xena.

"I want you to kiss me, and I want you to kiss me now."

"Is that an order, little one?"

"Well, yes, I guess it is, yes, that's an order"

Xena leaned down and brushed her lips across Gabrielle's . . . then she sat back and looked down at this young woman who had become the center of her universe. It took about one heartbeat for Gabrielle to reach back, grab Xena's head on either side and pull it down to meet her mouth.

"Gharrbrehhl, thhish ishhnnnn't woohhrkingng" . . . Xena said, as she tried to extricate herself from the twisted position they found themselves in. She broke free, and in one fluid motion flipped her right leg back and slid off the saddle. As soon as her feet touched the ground, she pulled Gabrielle from the saddle. As she came off Argo's back Gabrielle found herself wrapped in Xena's arms. Xena held her close and then slowly lowered her tall frame to kiss those waiting lips.

Gabrielle had never experienced the feeling that was flooding her very being. She could feel her soul reaching out and melding with this beautiful woman. She really had very little experience in kissing, but she knew instantly that this was what it was all about. She felt her lips being opened, and Xena's tongue penetrating her mouth, touching her tongue, moving back and forth, as though she wanted to swallow her, take her into herself. Gabrielle moaned softly, and Xena backed away slightly and looked at her.

"Are you all right? . . . "

The concern in Xena's voice did nothing to sway Gabrielle from reaching up and grabbing Xena's head, pulling it back down to her lips.

"Stop again and I am going to have to hurt you," she growled at her warrior.

Xena smiled as she once again met Gabrielle's sweet lips . . . this time the blond forced her tongue deep into Xena's mouth, and showed that she had been paying attention to the discussions she'd had with her sister and others back in Poteidaia. Gabrielle's aggressiveness pleased Xena; she had always enjoyed partners who could give as well as they took.

Finally, Gabrielle stepped back, and said with a serious face, "We need a place to camp for the night, come on, let's get back up on Argo and get moving."

Xena laughed, and then immediately resented the fact that she had done so when she saw the look on Gabrielle's face . . . hurt and angry . . . a wicked combination.

"Did I say something funny?" She looked up at the Warrior Princess, with her green eyes flashing out a challenge . . .

"No, absolutely not, but I already have a place in mind, and it really isn't all that far from here . . . it's a cave, and it is really very nice, very private, and very safe. In fact, it is so close, and so safe, that we can even forget about your lessons in my Ground Rules for a while."

"What cave? Have I been there before? When did you decide that we were going to go stay in this cave, and why didn't you tell me that you had already decided on where we were going? I think it would be nice if you would open up a bit and let me in on some of these plans. You know, it is possible that I might have some place in mind, too."

Xena smiled down at this young woman who had moved into her heart and soul, and asked, "Do you have some other place in mind, chatterbox?"


"Good, then we'll go to the cave." She swung herself up onto Argo's back, and reached down for Gabrielle's hand, effortlessly swinging her up onto the saddle in front of her. She once again nudged Argo into a brisk walk, and wrapping her arms around her precious bundle of a thousand words a minute, continued on down the trail.

Gabrielle was quiet for a few minutes, leaning back into Xena's arms, and enjoying the wonderful secure feeling she was experiencing. Suddenly, she sat straight up and turned to look at Xena full in the face . . . Her expression showed that she had just figured out that Xena had been heading for this cave since they had left their campsite that morning. Before she could start on a tirade of why Xena didn't tell her sooner, and on and on and on, Xena leaned down and kissed that sweet nose, those sweet cheeks, and finally those sweet lips . . . Gabrielle didn't say a word.



They had been riding for a period of time, when Xena felt and heard Gabrielle's stomach growl. She immediately began looking for a spot where they could stop for a short time.

"Gabrielle, let's stop here for a bit, so you can eat something. I don't want you to faint on me due to hunger!"

"I'm OK, let's just keep on going, is it much farther?"

Xena smiled down at the face that looked back at her.

"Are you getting anxious, little one? Are you getting 'antsy' on me? Are you, hmm, are you?"

She tickled the bare middle she'd been caressing all morning . . . Gabrielle squirmed deliciously in her arms, and Xena began thinking herself that maybe they really didn't need to stop.

"Can't we just keep going, we can eat some bread and cheese that's in the saddlebag while we're moving."

"Yes, but I have to pee, you probably have to pee, and I do want to give Argo a break . . . who knows, maybe she needs to pee, too! We'll just stop for a short while, don't worry, we're nearly there."

Xena slid off Argo's back, Gabrielle followed, sliding right into Xena's arms. She immediately tilted her head up for another kiss, and was not disappointed. After a few moments Xena pulled back and let out a moan.

"We need to keep focused here woman, or we'll never make it to that cave! Come on, let's sit over here and let Argo have a rest . . . I need to go make a visit to those bushes first, how about you?"

Gabrielle headed off to another clump of bushes, and after finishing walked back to where Argo was chomping on some tall grass.

"What do you think, Argo, do we make a good pair or what?" The mare turned her head and looked at Gabrielle, then turned back to the grass.

"Well, I didn't expect you to be so excited!" She patted the mare's neck, and turned back to where Xena was rummaging through the saddlebag for whatever was in there that they could eat. She handed a chunk of cheese to Gabrielle, and pulled some left over bread from the saddlebag. They both sat on a log near where Argo was grazing, and began to eat the meager findings.

"Xena, tell me some more about this cave. How long have you known about it? Have you gone there with anyone else? And who was it? And . . . "

"Gabrielle, I've known about this cave for years. No one else knows about it, no one else has ever been in it . . . I stop by every few months and make sure the supplies I've stored there are still OK . . . it's a place that I used to retreat to while I was a . . . . I used to go there to get my life into some sort of order, sometimes the constant warring . . . Never mind, just know that it's a very special place for me, and you're the only one I've ever shared it with. I want it to be our special place, always there, just for us."

Gabrielle knew that Xena had just let her into her private world, her past, her sometimes tormented soul . . . she realized that this beautiful woman trusted her, and she swore to herself that she would always hold that trust in her heart.

"Xena, do you think we might be able to find a stream or river or lake or something before we get there so we can get clean? I feel really grimy, and I want to be clean and sweet for you."

"I have many skills, Gabrielle . . . and I've another surprise for you. The cave has a warm spring running through one of the back chambers. I built a short stone wall around a part of the stream, so there's a bath area just waiting for you. The water is constantly warm, and there is a natural opening in the ceiling of the cave, right above the bath!"

"Xena, Argo has eaten enough. I don't want any more of this moldy cheese and stale bread. Get back up there and help me up. We need to get going!"

Xena smiled and after settling herself once again on Argo's back, she reached down for her treasure and quickly lifted her to sit in front. A quick nudge caused Argo to set off down the trail, this time the mare was encouraged to walk at a quicker pace, and each time they reached a level, open place on the trail, Xena set Argo into a steady trot.

Gabrielle had never enjoyed riding on Argo, or any horse, for that matter, until now. She only thought about how fast the mare could get them to their destination.

Xena smiled again at the way Gabrielle was expressing her excitement and anticipation in reaching the cave. For a fleeting moment she wondered if Gabrielle's excitement was about what might happen between them, or just the thought of a warm bath. She knew the answer was all of this and more. Then she started wondering why her little bottomless pit wasn't asking about what they would eat. Gabrielle's appetite had been one of the first things Xena had marveled at after they started traveling together. Xena knew the cave was well stocked with supplies; that the area immediately around the cave was abundant with game, but Gabrielle didn't know that, and it wasn't like this young woman to not be asking about food. This woman had two hollow legs when it came to eating.

"Gabrielle, you haven't asked me anything about what we'll be able to find to eat, once we get there . . . how come?" . . . she asked in a teasing voice.

"I know you well enough. You probably have all sorts of good stuff stored in the cave, and there are probably lot's of rabbits running around right outside the entrance, just begging to be caught by the mighty Warrior Princess . . . They're probably wearing little signs, 'take me first' . . . .I'll even bet there is a really nice river or lake nearby where you can catch fish . . . which reminds me, someday I want you to teach me how you do that thing with your fingers . . . I still can't figure that one out."

"I plan on teaching you how to do a lot of things with your fingers, and your mouth, and every part of your body."

Gabrielle's stomach flipped with anticipation, she turned around, and looked with surprise at the beautiful face looking back at her. She saw the love and hunger and longing in those beautiful blue eyes. She felt her lower regions get warm . . . she felt a tugging feeling in her lower belly . . . she realized that she was getting wet. She started to squirm in earnest, and turned back to face forward. "Is the saddle making you itchy again?" Xena asked. "Noooo," Gabrielle moaned. She reached up to her midriff and took Xena's right hand, then slowly brought it down to the edge of her skirt. Xena's fingers touched her inner thigh, and ever so gently circled her long fingers over the smooth skin. Gabrielle took her own hand, and guided the warriors' hand up under her skirt, toward the source of her wetness. She shifted her hips slightly so that more of her lower region was accessible to her warrior's hand. Xena's fingers lightly skimmed over Gabrielle's lower lips, barely touching, a hint of what could be, then moving away to touch another spot, never staying in one place for more than a heartbeat.

Gabrielle felt like she couldn't breathe, she felt like she had forgotten how to breathe, all of her thoughts, all of her senses, were concentrated on Xena's fingers, and how they were creating this most delicious feeling. "Xen . . . Xeeennaa . . . where is thissss damn cave?"

Xena smiled into the young woman's neck and said, "We're there!"

Gabrielle refocused her eyes, and saw that they had indeed come upon a rocky outcropping, but she didn't see a cave entrance.

"Where is it, all I see is a bunch of rocks . . . "

"Patience sweet one, let me put you down, and I'll take Argo over to her special place, then I'll be right back for you. Don't go anywhere, I'll just be a minute!"

"Fat chance, Warrior Princess, that I would go anywhere! Hurry, please, hurry. Sorry Argo, but I really do want her to hurry!"

Within a few moments Xena was back and with one continuous motion, picked Gabrielle up in her arms, kissed her lips and started walking toward the rocks. Gabrielle still didn't see an opening, but she really didn't care . . . she was being held in the arms of the woman she loved more than life itself, nothing else mattered. She nuzzled her lips against Xena's neck, and then suddenly realized that they were inside the cave. Argo was contentedly eating grass in a side area of the cave, where she could go in and out at will. Gabrielle looked around in absolute amazement, the cave was wonderful, it was dry, warm, and she could hear water gurgling in the back of the cave. Firewood was neatly stacked against one wall, and a firepit with a spit was situated with an opening in the ceiling that showed a small piece of the sky. An area had been designed for sleeping, there were thick furs and blankets piled deep. Gabrielle's mouth just hung open, her eyes were as wide as they could be . . . she hadn't said a word . . . .

"Gabrielle, do you like it?"

Gabrielle looked up at Xena, and still couldn't find words to express what she was seeing. Xena smiled down at her, and set her feet on the floor. Gabrielle walked over to the firepit, noticing the many containers of beans, rice and other staples. She walked back toward the bathing area, and could barely believe her eyes. The pool was huge, it looked nice and deep, and the ceiling did open up to the sky. She walked back toward Xena, passing the sleeping area . . . she looked down at the beautiful skins and blankets, and then looked back at Xena, a flush creeping up her chest, her neck, and onto her face.

"Xena, this is amazing . . . I am speechless."

"Well, if this is what it took to shut you up, I should have brought you here a long time ago! Come here, woman, come here to me"

Gabrielle moved quickly to Xena's arms and was immediately swept up and carried back to the bath area. Xena stood her up, and began unlacing her top . . . Gabrielle's eyes never left Xena's face, as she watched the woman she loved remove her top and look down at her breasts. Xena was barely breathing herself, as she dropped the top to the floor and moved her hands to cup the beautiful mounds of flesh. She lowered her head and swept her lips across the nipple of Gabrielle's left breast, then moved to the right one. The twin nipples immediately hardened, and Gabrielle moaned softly. Xena then moved her hands down to the skirt, and with little effort, untied it and let it drop to the floor. She dropped to her knees and kissed Gabrielle's lower belly, then moved down slightly further and nuzzled the curly hairs at the juncture of her thighs. She stopped and looked up at Gabrielle, who was standing so very still, watching every move the warrior made. Xena then sat back on her heels and untied her boots. Gabrielle placed her hand on Xena's shoulder to balance herself as her boots were removed. When she was standing there, totally naked, Xena stood up and wrapped her in her arms once again.

"Please remove my armor."

Gabrielle reached up and started to unfasten the armored breastplate, as she had done so many times before, and set it aside. She tugged down the straps of Xena's leathers, releasing those beautiful breasts that she had longed to touch for so very long. Next she tugged the leathers down and off the warrior's body, leaving her standing there in britches and boots. Gabrielle stopped for a second, taking in the erotic vision before her. She slipped her fingers into the band of Xena's britches and pulled them off. She kneeled down and unlaced the boots and knee guards, and Xena stepped out of them, too.

Gabrielle reminded herself once again to breathe . . . as she slid her hands up Xena's long body, marveling at how smooth the warrior's skin was, how warm and cool at the same time. She brought her hands to the warrior's breasts, and held one in each hand, watching the nipples harden. She lifted her head, and looked up into those beautiful blue eyes. She felt herself being lifted up and carried into the pool, Xena's motions were as fluid as the water they entered. Xena sat in the water and pulled her onto her lap, facing her. The water came to their shoulders, it was warm and smelled sweet. Gabrielle leaned forward and they kissed, tongues intertwining, searching, tasting, testing. Xena's hands grasped her back, and slid down toward her bottom. She grasped Gabrielle's beautiful behind, and for a fleeting moment remembered how she had spanked her just a day ago. She kneaded the muscles of Gabrielle's' bottom, and was rewarded with a low, slow moan.

"Mmmmmmm . . . I sure like that a whole lot more than getting spanked!"

Xena playfully nipped at Gabrielle's neck.

"The best way to avoid that is to be a very good girl. Now you do know how to be a good girl, don't you?

Gabrielle looked into those blue eyes.

"I think so, but you might need to remind me every now and then. I want to be very good for you, I want to please you in ways that you never dreamed possible, I want you to want me every morning and every night, and maybe a few times during the day, too."

"On the subject of your beautiful little bottom, I don't think you were all that upset about getting spanked, in fact I think you kind of liked it!" Xena smiled down at Gabrielle, as she watched her try to come up with some sort of denial.

Gabrielle sputtered as she tried to keep from blushing, and then finally looked up at Xena and said, "Well, it hurt, and it hurt for a long time." She looked at Xena with a somewhat defiant pout, and then started to smile, and buried her face in Xena's neck. "I love you so much, my Warrior Princess."

Xena drew Gabrielle's face away from under her chin and kissed her again, deeply and tenderly. Gabrielle broke the kiss with a sharp nip to the warriors' lower lip.

"Do you think we're clean enough yet . . . "she asked with a look of pure lust.

Xena wrapped her arms around her woman's waist and lifted her up out of the water while standing up herself. She held her close and with her left hand, pulled Gabrielle's right leg up to wrap it around the warrior's hip. Gabrielle automatically put her left leg around the other hip, and Xena stepped out of the tub. She kissed her as she walked back toward the sleeping area, and Gabrielle clung to the warrior as though they were of one skin.

Xena gently dropped to one knee, and slowly deposited her precious burden on the skins. Gabrielle moaned again, and reached up for her beautiful warrior, pulling her down on top of her. Xena attempted to brace herself on her elbows, so as not to crush her, but Gabrielle moved the warriors' arms so that her entire long body was covering every inch of her woman. They both just lay there for a moment, luxuriating in the warmth being generated by their two bodies. Then Xena moved slightly to lie on her left side, allowing her right hand to move over Gabrielle, as she began exploring every inch of her body.

"I am going to make love to you, Gabrielle, I am going to show you what love is, and what it does to us. I am going to make love to every inch of your body, I want to feel you and taste you, I want you to know that I love you, and that I'll always be there for you, no matter what . . . are you ready for this, are you ready to give me everything?"

Gabrielle looked up into that beautiful face, into those blue eyes, and smiled. "You have no idea how long I have wanted to hear you say that. I want you to make love to me; I want you to make me yours, now and forever. I just hope that I don't disappoint you, you always say that you have many skills, and . . . ."

"Woman, you have no idea of the many skills you have." She said, as she started to kiss her face, and neck. Gabrielle moaned and squirmed, obviously wanting more. Xena looked down into those green eyes, and said, "This is going to be long and slow, and I won't rush. I mean it when I say I am going to taste and kiss and feel every inch of you."

Xena continued to kiss Gabrielle's lips, her tongue danced around Gabrielle's, while her hands continued to caress her perfect breasts. She watched as the pink nipples became even more pronounced, then leaned down and took a breast into her mouth, sucking and licking, causing Gabrielle to moan and arch her back in an effort to get even closer, to have even more contact with the warrior's body. Gabrielle's hands grasped Xena's hips, pulling her closer still.

Xena reached down and took the young woman's hands, stretching her arms above her head.

"I want you to keep your arms above your head, just like this."

"Xena, I want to touch you."

"Have patience, my woman, I have so much to show you, and I can't have any distractions right now. I won't hurt you, but you can struggle all you want, you are going to stay right where I put you . . . do you like what I'm doing? Are you getting wet for me?"

She slid her right hand down and touched Gabrielle's lower lips, finding them to be dripping with her passion.

"I will be down there soon, I am going to kiss you and lick and suck you . . . I want you to experience what love feels like, what it feels like when I make love to you. I love the way you look when you are stretched out like this, how your breasts stand up so proud and beautiful. It's as though you were opening up completely to me, offering me all of you, holding back nothing. And you are, aren't you? You are completely mine, just as I am completely yours."

Gabrielle listened to Xena's voice as she tried to do what she was told. Her body felt as though it was vibrating, her senses were nearly overwhelmed by the intense feelings she was experiencing. This was certainly much different than the feelings she had experienced in the past when she pleasured herself. She felt Xena's mouth on her breast, sucking and licking, driving her nearly to distraction, while the feelings in her lower belly intensified until she felt as though she was going to explode.

Xena continued to caress Gabrielle's beautiful breasts with her mouth, while her right hand started to move down her body, touching and stroking the smooth skin, working her way down toward the treasure she knew was waiting between Gabrielle's thighs. Her fingers reached the curly patch of hair; she stroked and patted her fleshy, curly hair covered mound, watching as Gabrielle's hips thrust up in an attempt to bring the warriors' skilled hand to the source of her heat.

"Gabrielle, I love you, I love you so very much. I want this to be very special for you, as special as it will be for me."

Xena looked down at Gabrielle, and felt her self melt into those beautiful green eyes. She continued to lightly brush her fingers over Gabrielle's breasts and down her smooth belly, then back up again, touching her woman's face, her neck, while kissing her mouth, her nose, her eyes. She felt her own heated center throb with anticipation, and was very aware of the wonderful fluid collecting there, coating her lower lips and inner thighs. The beautiful smell of a woman aroused filled her senses, and she realized that it was a combined smell, hers and Gabrielle's.

"I think you are very ready for me, Gabrielle. I think you are ready."

Xena slowly leaned over Gabrielle's body and began kissing every inch of flesh she came in contact with, working her way down toward Gabrielle's thighs. She began to gently open Gabrielle's thighs, and then, after kissing the inner part of each of Gabrielle's upper legs, she carefully moved herself between them, and lifting Gabrielle's legs, placed a thigh on either of her strong shoulders. Gabrielle's feet naturally rested on the warrior's back. She moaned and lifted her head to watch the beautiful woman between her legs. Her legs parted even further, and her hips began to lift in an effort to form contact between herself and her beautiful warrior. Xena watched Gabrielle's face as she lowered her mouth to gently brush against Gabrielle's lower lips. As she made the first light contact, Gabrielle cried out, and pushed up on her elbows, straining to see her lover between her legs. Her hands reached down and grabbed Xena's head, attempting to push the beautiful face into her center.

"Do you want to watch me, little one? Is that what you want? Let me stay here just a while longer, then I will let you watch, is that all right with you? Lay back down now, and then I will let you watch all of the magic of our love."

Xena continued to lick and suck the delicious lips and folds before her, drinking in the beautiful musky juice that was almost pouring from Gabrielle. As she licked, she would fleetingly circle the sensitive little nubbin that was pulsating before her. Each time she touched it, Gabrielle would nearly levitate off the skins. Xena had her strong arms around her lover's thighs, so that she wouldn't lose contact as Gabrielle moved. She continued to tease and torment the swollen lips that held so much promise, knowing that Gabrielle was rapidly reaching the delicious point of no return. She was aware of her ragged breathing pattern, the way Gabrielle's head thrashed back and forth, and the guttural moans coming from that sweet mouth. Gabrielle's hands were no longer above her head; instead they were flailing and grasping at the furs beneath them, moving constantly. She could feel her self ready to come, and knew that Gabrielle was nearly there, too. She pushed up onto her knees, and in doing so, Gabrielle's hips were raised higher, giving Xena even more access. She put her mouth over Gabrielle's center, and plunged her tongue as deep as she could into that beautiful source of loving fluid, while her right thumb began to gently caress the swollen nub, dipping to collect juice and returning quickly to continue touching, rubbing. Her tongue moved with the thrust of Gabrielle's hips, and she became acutely aware of the fact that Gabrielle was very much a virgin. Xena's tongue continued to push into Gabrielle's center, and with each thrust she felt the tightness, the tentative grasping of her muscles around the source of all those fluids. She could feel her own center pulsating, and knew that within moments she would reach her own orgasm. Xena doubled her efforts with her tongue and thumb, and then replaced her tongue with one long finger, moving it slowly and carefully within those lips and folds, until Gabrielle's thrusting hips left no doubt that she wanted Xena inside. She gently slid her finger into Gabrielle, feeling the tightness give slightly and was rewarded with Gabrielle's hips moving up so that she was almost off the skins, supported only by Xena's shoulders holding her thighs, with her own shoulders dug deep into the furs beneath her.

"Can you see me, little one? Can you see what I'm doing? I know you can feel it. I love you so very much; you make my heart feel as though it's going to burst. You're giving me everything, Gabrielle, and I love you for it. It feels good, doesn't it; it makes you know how much I love you. Oh, beautiful one, let it wash over you, you are so ready, let it come, come to me, come to me, come to the one who loves you more than life itself."

Gabrielle's hips came up even further, and she pushed into Xena's hands and mouth, making the contact ever stronger. And then it happened, she exploded with a beautiful sensation that she had never known possible.


Xena felt Gabrielle reach her orgasm, and then felt her own orgasm come crashing down over her. She buried her face in Gabrielle's center, nearly drowning in the delicious fluid as it flowed over her face and neck. She felt her own center pulsate, and she let the welcome release rush over her, as she listened to Gabrielle scream her name. After a few moments, she gently let Gabrielle's thighs down off her shoulders and carefully moved up to take her woman into her arms.

Gabrielle grabbed Xena, pulling her closer and closer. She sobbed and cried, her tears washed over her face and onto Xena's breast, while Xena held her and kissed her and rocked her in her arms.

"I love you I love you I love you." Gabrielle repeated the beautiful phrase over and over, while Xena held her tight and continued to kiss her.

"I love you too, my beautiful woman, I have you, I love you, you are mine, you are in my heart forever."

Xena continued to hold Gabrielle until the woman's sobs diminished.

Gabrielle moved her head to the side, and looked up at Xena.

"By the gods, I never knew that was possible. I don't know why I'm crying, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to cry." Her voice choked with another sob, and the tears started up again.

"Don't be sorry, Gabrielle, you cried because it's another form of release, it isn't unusual to cry, or even to laugh, it's very normal, and it means a lot to me. It means that I really moved you, that I loved you completely, and that you know it. It means that you trust me with your entire being, that there is nothing that you wouldn't open to me."

Xena continued to hold Gabrielle as she talked to her, and again the sobs subsided, replaced by soft breathing. Xena smiled to herself, as she realized that Gabrielle was very relaxed, and almost asleep. She shifted her precious burden slightly, so that they could lie down together, and with Gabrielle in her arms, they both drifted off into a light sleep.

Xena was aroused out of her slumber by the delicious feeling of Gabrielle's mouth on her breast. She was also aware of Gabrielle's hand, stroking her belly, and moving down toward her legs.

"Did you have a nice nap?" Xena asked, as she took Gabrielle's wandering hand in her own and kissed each of the fingers, and ran her tongue over the palm.

"I want to make love to you, Xena, please, I want to love you like you did me."

Gabrielle rolled over on top of Xena, and then sat back on her knees and heels.

"Let me make love to you, please. I want to feel you, please?"

"You've already given me more than I could have ever imagined, my sweet little chatterbox."

With that, Xena reached down and grasped Gabrielle's beautiful round bottom with both hands and literally lifted her and placed her over her face. Gabrielle raised up on her knees, and looked down at Xena under her.

"How can I make love to you like this, Xena?"

Her question was forgotten as Xena pulled her down until her warm center came in contact with Xena's mouth. She gasped at the exquisite contact, and quickly realized that she could have some control over the amount of pressure that she would feel. Xena used her tongue to apply long, leisurely strokes to Gabrielle's lower lips, and moved her mouth up and back, causing the woman to twist and squirm as Xena touched that sensitive little nubbin. Gabrielle was so very wet, and kept getting wetter. Xena's face was covered with the musky, tangy fluid coming from her love. She reached her hands behind Gabrielle, and ran them up and down Gabrielle's back, finally coming to rest on the cheeks of her behind. She kneaded the muscles of Gabrielle's bottom, moving closer and closer to the cleft of her behind. As Gabrielle moved up and down on Xena's face, she moaned and grunted, her eyes never left Xena's, and as Xena felt her reaching her climax, she once again penetrated Gabrielle's center with her tongue. At the same time she separated the beautiful cheeks of Gabrielle's bottom and, using the slippery fluids that covered both of them, gently placed her thumb against Gabrielle's little puckered hole. Gabrielle stopped for a second, looked down at Xena and then came down onto that thumb, taking it all into her. Her head went back and again she screamed out Xena's name as she experienced the second complete orgasm of her life.

Gabrielle all but collapsed down onto Xena, who quickly took her other hand and slid a finger deep into Gabrielle. She could feel the thin tissue separating her thumb and finger within her. As the pulsating tremors slowed, she carefully removed her thumb from Gabrielle's bottom, then she slowly pulled her finger from her. Gabrielle was lying on top of her, and Xena wrapped her long, strong arms around her, just as Gabrielle again started to cry.

"I love you, Gabrielle, I love you so very much. Let me hold you, melt into me, I am here for you, come down to me, let me hold you as you come down to me."

Xena knew she had tears in her own eyes, as she felt Gabrielle's sobs rack her body and then gradually diminish once again to soft whimpers. She kissed Gabrielle's head, her neck, her tear stained face, her beautiful lips, anywhere and everywhere she could reach without losing any contact with the beautiful body in her arms.

"Xena, is it always like this?" Gabrielle had lifted her head to look into Xena's face.

"No, Gabrielle, sometimes it's better!"

Gabrielle looked at her love's eyes, and at the smile lighting up that beautiful face.

"I don't think I could live through it if it got any better than this!"

Xena laughed, and Gabrielle had the distinct impression that she had never heard a more beautiful sound than the sound of that laughter. She pushed herself up to a sitting position, still astride Xena's body, and shook her hair back out of her face, causing her breasts to quiver ever so wonderfully. Xena's hands immediately reached up and captured a breast in each hand. She molded them, and ran her palms over the nipples, which responded instantly by becoming hard and definitely kissable. Gabrielle watched Xena's hands as they squeezed her breasts; she then looked at Xena's face. The love that was showing in Xena's beautiful eyes made Gabrielle almost forget to breathe. She leaned down to kiss those lips, and as she did, she could taste herself.

Xena kissed Gabrielle, running her tongue into and out of her mouth, over her teeth, sucking in her lower lip, trying to inhale the very essence of this wonderful person who had entered her life and now occupied her heart.

"That's you, that's us that you taste, Gabrielle, that is the delicious fluid you produce when I make love to you. That's one of the sweetest, most sought after tastes in this world, and probably the next, also. When you taste that, you know you're one with the person you love."

"I want to taste you, Xena, please, let me make love to you. I think I know what to do, and if I don't do it right, you can tell me, teach me."

"Let me hold you for just a bit longer, then I think it might be a good idea to have something to eat, because when you do make love to me, I want you to have energy and stamina! We're going to have a whole lifetime to love one another over and over again. Just come here and let me hold you for a little while . . . then you can get up and make my dinner, wench!"

Gabrielle flopped down onto Xena and buried her face in the warrior's neck. She was laughing softly, and Xena reached down and gave a sharp smack to Gabrielle's bottom.

"What are you laughing about, you little minx? Did you think that I was going to get up and fix something for us to eat? Warriors don't cook, remember that, and you will do just fine!"

"It's a good thing that warriors don't cook, if they did, we'd all be in trouble, sick, or maybe even dead."

Gabrielle started to giggle, and Xena found herself starting to laugh.

For a moment, she thought back to whenever she had last actually laughed . . . and couldn't come up with when that might have been. She reached around and started to tickle Gabrielle's sides, causing her to squirm and twist in an effort to get away from this torture. Then Gabrielle started digging her fingers into the warrior's ribs, causing the tall, beautiful woman to start to squirm also. They finally collapsed into each other's arms, laughing and kissing one another while tumbling around on the pile of furs.

Gabrielle ended up sprawled on top of the warrior, with her right leg bent at the knee and covering Xena's abdomen. They both lay very still just looking into the depths of each other's eyes. There was a softness they both saw, a softness that is only seen when two people are totally in love with one another. Gabrielle leaned down and, with her eyes wide open, kissed Xena, running her tongue into the warrior's mouth, sucking on her lower lip, all the while watching Xena's eyes, as they closed so very slowly. She moved her left hand up to the gorgeous warriors right breast, and closed her fingers over the nipple she found to be beautiful and hard.

Xena moaned softly, and brought her arms up around Gabrielle's back, then sliding them down to grasp her bottom, caressing and squeezing the firm muscles, kneading them in reflexive response to the pulsating feelings she was experiencing as Gabrielle continued to kiss her, to move her tongue in and around the warriors mouth, to stroke and squeeze her breast. She was very aware of how wet she was, and also of how wet Gabrielle was; she could feel the younger woman's juices coating her abdomen. She slid her right hand further down Gabrielle's behind until she could feel those beautiful, soaked lips and folds. She ran her fingers as far forward as she could, and then back again, up into the crack of that beautiful bottom, then forward, bringing juices with her fingers each time she moved back and forth . . . finally coming to rest against Gabrielle's tight little puckered opening.

Gabrielle suddenly stopped what she was doing and looked down at Xena. Her hair hung down covering both of them with a beautiful drapery of a mixture of blond, gold, red strands. Her breasts swayed deliciously above the warrior's face.

"Don't you dare! I am enjoying myself here, and I don't want any distractions! Does that sound familiar, Warrior Princess? Unless you want me to stop what I'm doing here, you'd better move that hand!"

Xena smiled up at her beautiful little one, and brought her hand back up onto Gabrielle's back.

"I don't want you to stop . . . farthest thing from my mind . . . " No, don't stop, but don't think I won't be back, woman.

Gabrielle started kissing Xena's neck, sucking on the sides of her throat, under her ears, all the while slowly caressing the warrior's right breast, and then the left. She let her lips slide down, and took her warrior's right nipple into her mouth, running her teeth over it ever so gently, while still sucking and pulling with her lips. She scooted down so that she could run her kisses under Xena's breasts, over her stomach, down toward the warm mound of curly hair, and then back up again. Her hands continued to caress, mold squeeze and play with first the right and then the left breast of this woman who meant the world to her.

Xena felt her self being transported to a place she had never been before. She had years of experience, had had many conquests, lovers, but nothing compared with what she was feeling now, in the arms of this woman who was slowly and carefully and erotically driving her right out of her mind.

"Gabrielle, I love you, I'm not good with words, but I love you . . . I have never . . . " Her voice stopped, as Gabrielle had reached down with her right hand, and had begun slowly and carefully running her fingers up and down the warrior's lower lips, teasing the warrior into a shortness of breath, a loss of the ability to put together a coherent thought.

Gabrielle slid down the length of the tall woman's body, and moved herself into the space created between the warrior's legs. Xena's knees came up, and she planted her feet to either side of Gabrielle's shoulders. Gabrielle pulled her head back slightly and looked at the beauty that was before her. The wet, curly hairs, the pink, glistening folds and lips, the source of the beautiful, sweet fluids coming from her warrior, the little nubbin that peeked through at the top of the lips, coming into view and then retreating, as Xena arched her back, digging her bottom into the furs, in an effort to make contact with Gabrielle and the joy she knew that contact would bring.

Gabrielle lifted her head once more to look up into Xena's beautiful, flushed face. Their eyes locked, and Xena reached down to touch her blond head . . .

"Gabrielle, please, I need you to set me free . . . please . . . "

Gabrielle pushed her face down into the beauty that was open to her, begging for her, and was immediately immersed in the pleasure that awaited them both. She licked up and back, drawing the little nubbin into her mouth and then moving back down to lick at the source of the fluids running like a delicious stream . . . coating her face and neck, running into the crack of the warrior's bottom. She licked and sucked with increasing pressure and heard Xena begin to moan and groan, her head thrashing about on their bed, her hands pounding into the skins, grasping and pushing. Gabrielle moved her right hand around in front of her face, so that she could stroke the now pulsating nubbin with her thumb, well lubricated with the fluids being produced by the warrior. Her right hand moved up Xena's belly until she could almost reach her gorgeous partner's left breast . . . By the gods, this woman is tall!

Gabrielle could feel her own sex pulsating, and realized that she was going to find release as Xena did. She stopped for a quick moment to look again at Xena's body stretched out before her, moving, writhing in the most delicious way, and then pushed her face down into the warrior's center, sucking with a vengeance, while bringing her left hand back down and pushing first one, then two, then three fingers as far as they would go into Xena's glistening opening.

Xena's back arched even further, pulling Gabrielle's head up as she tried to hang onto the warrior's beautiful source of joy and pleasure. She heard the warrior scream her name over and over again, as the beautiful woman found the delicious release Gabrielle had given her. Suddenly Gabrielle realized that Xena's thighs had clamped around her head, and she felt like she was going to pass out, but she continued to match the warrior's hip thrusts with her fingers plunged into the deep source of all the passion they were experiencing. She continued to stroke the warrior's nubbin, but slower and with less pressure, as she held on for dear life.

Ever so slowly Xena relaxed her thighs, but before Gabrielle could move her head, they clamped down again, then relaxed, then clamped . . . Gabrielle stayed right where she was, still slowly licking and touching, but not moving her fingers, which had stayed locked into Xena. She carefully looked up over her source of delight, and saw that Xena was trying to look down at her, but appeared to be having some problem focusing. Her face was flushed, and beaded with sweat. Her hair was tangled, in disarray, but she was beautiful, none the less.

"Gabrielle, I . . . "

"Ssshhhhh, my beautiful one, don't talk, just lay back, I have never known such happiness as I have with you, since the day we met, and most certainly these last few hours we have spent in this beautiful new wondrous world we are experiencing."

With that Gabrielle slowly removed her fingers from Xena, and, while still situated between the warrior's legs, sat back on her heels and without taking her eyes from her lover's face, slowly and erotically sucked the warrior's juices from her fingers and hand. She smiled as she cleaned each finger of its precious fluid, then moved forward and laid her face on the beautiful mound of curly hair, still soaked with the passion of their lovemaking. She drew little circles with her index finger against Xena's right thigh and across her hip.

"So, how did that measure on your warrior scale? Was I able to at least come close to some of your other lovers? Do you still think I'm a little kid, do you still think you need to spank my behind if I misbehave?"

Gabrielle's tone was teasing, and her expression as she watched her warrior was mischievous. She had a silly little grin on her face, as she acknowledged her newly acquired power to turn this beautiful, strong woman into a quivering mass of want. She was very aware of the fact that she had moved from an inexperienced village girl to a woman of considerable talent in the areas that, certainly at this point in time, were the most important areas of all. The ability to receive and give of herself totally and completely to the one person in the entire universe that meant more to her than life itself.

"Gabrielle, come up here, please, let me hold you, I want to feel your arms around me."

Gabrielle threw herself up into Xena's arms, and they held each other close. No words were spoken for a time, just the shared feeling of warmth, feeling of each other's breath, feeling of each other's heartbeat.


"Yes, Gabrielle, what is it?"

"I want you to tell me about your other lovers, I want to know about your past experiences . . . you asked me all kinds of questions about me and my experiences, now it's your turn. I want to know about the people you have been with."

"Gabrielle, that's not something I want to talk about right now . . . just know that no one, ever, has taken me where you took me . . . no one ever has, and no one ever will, except you."

"But Xena, I . . . "

The warrior had lifted Gabrielle's head from beneath her chin, and kissed her hard and deep.

"We're not going to go there now, woman, and that's final. Isn't it enough that I've told you that you are the only person to move me like this? Don't you believe me? Please don't ruin this delicious feeling with questions about the past that don't matter. The past is just that, the past, and we are now and into the future . . . Please"

"Alright, I won't bother you now with my questions, but don't think for a minute that I won't get you to tell me, one way or another."

"Oh, I have no doubt about that! I'm sure you will keep at me until I either have to answer you or strangle you! I can't begin to find the words to describe the love I feel for you, you little chatterbox. I wish I had your way with words. Maybe some of your yammering qualities will rub off on me, and I'll be able to express exactly how I feel about you, what you mean to me, how I would give you anything, do anything, just to know that you love me, and only me . . . .no . . . I don't see myself becoming a chatterbox like you . . . one in the family is enough . . . .in the family, we are . . . we are a family . . .

"Xena, where are you? You haven't said anything, and you have a strange look in your eyes . . . what's wrong?"

"Absolutely nothing is wrong, and I don't need to say anything, 'cause you do enough talking for both of us . . . with some left over!" She smiled up at Gabrielle, and then wrapping her arms tightly around her treasure, she rolled over so that she was on top. She propped herself on her left elbow, while capturing Gabrielle's wrists with her right hand. She leaned down and laid a big, wet kiss on each of Gabrielle's eyes, and another on her nose, before capturing her lover's lips, pushing her tongue deep into Gabrielle's mouth.

Gabrielle struggled in a half hearted effort to free her hands, then gave up because she knew it was hopeless. She moaned into Xena's mouth, and squirmed under the warrior's long, tight body. Her right leg curled up over Xena's hip, while her left leg stretched out and tried to get under the warrior's legs. She pushed and squirmed as hard as she could, trying to give as clear access to her sex as possible. Her efforts were not ignored by her warrior, as Xena stopped kissing the wonderful face of her love, and looked into Gabrielle's eyes, with a small smile playing across her own face . . .

"What is it, woman, are you ready again? Is there something you want from me? Talk to me, tell me what you want . . . come on, you always have something to talk about, tell me what you want?"

"I can't get enough of you, I want more and more, please, don't tease, let go of my wrists and make my body sing as only you can . . . Please, Xena, I have such a hunger for you, I feel like I'm going to burst!"

Oh, you do have a way with words, woman, I would have just said 'fuck me . . . now.'

"If I let go of your wrists, what are you going to do with your hands while I am delighting you, and delighting in you!

"Uunnghhh, anything you want, please just go there, pleasepleaseplease . . . ."

Gabrielle squirmed even more, driving Xena to the point of distraction. She could feel her own lower regions becoming more and more heated, the intense pulsating sensations becoming almost more than she could stand. She made an instantaneous decision to teach Gabrielle a way of achieving wondrous, mind blowing simultaneous orgasms.

"Gabrielle, I'm going to let go of your wrists now, but I don't want you to do anything for a second, until I show you something . . . "

She released Gabrielle's hands, then stretched her body out on the large bed, on her back. She reached over and lifted Gabrielle up, turned her around and laid her on her body, with Gabrielle's face even with the juncture of Xena's thighs. She separated Gabrielle's legs, placing one leg along each side of her own head, only to realize that the difference in their heights would be a great disadvantage. She immediately went to plan B . . . and flipped Gabrielle onto her back, then turned her own long body around, so that she had access to Gabrielle's sex. By bending her own knees at almost right angles to her body, her own sex came within reach of Gabrielle's beautiful and talented mouth. Xena's breasts hung down, touching, dragging across Gabrielle's tight abdomen. She could feel her nipples harden each time they came in contact with Gabrielle's skin. The feelings continued to grow in intensity until she felt that she would scream. She quickly reached down, separating Gabrielle's folds with her fingers, and plunged her face into that warm, slick, beautiful source of joy and happiness.

Gabrielle needed absolutely no directions, and grasped the warrior's bottom with both hands, pulling her down and as close as possible to her mouth. She had her eyes wide open, and again marveled at how beautiful this part of her lover was, how exquisitely formed to afford sensual, tactile pleasure. She literally latched her mouth onto Xena, pulling as much into her mouth as she could, sucking as hard as she could. She was only somewhat aware of Xena doing the same to her, it felt as though they were one, whatever one was doing, the other felt it and did the same . . . they both built to their release within minutes of the exquisite feelings, and came at the same time, neither of them releasing their hold on the other, neither of them crying out, but both felt their hearts were going to burst . . . the rainbow of colors that flashed behind each of their eyes, the unheard sounds that crashed into their heads, they truly experienced an absolute shared orgasm, something that most lovers only dreamed of, and seldom, if ever, achieved.

Xena crashed down onto Gabrielle, but the younger woman didn't mind at all, even though she felt that she might soon have trouble breathing. Xena's legs stretched back, moving alongside Gabrielle's head. The warrior's legs quivered, then relaxed, then quivered again . . . each time it lessened by slight degrees, until finally her body relaxed completely. Only then did the warrior realize that she was probably crushing her lover, and started to roll over. Gabrielle's arms reached up and grabbed the warrior's behind, and held her tight to her body, as her own quivering aftershocks slowly subsided. Then Gabrielle gave a little light smack to the warrior's bottom, and Xena rolled off and turned around, reaching for Gabrielle and enveloping her into her strong arms. They held each other, neither saying anything.

"Oh by the gods, that was . . . " Gabrielle found herself struggling to put the words into a coherent statement . . . and failed. She let out a delicious sigh, and snuggled her head under Xena's chin, while tightening even more her arms around her wonderful, beautiful warrior.

Xena was not having the same problem, as she couldn't talk at all, much less think. All of her senses were concentrated on the warm, delicious woman wrapped in her arms. The world could have slammed to a stop on its axis and Xena would not have been aware, nor would she have cared.

Slowly both lovers became aware of their immediate surroundings, and carefully eased up on holding one another. Gabrielle leaned back slightly, and looked up into that drop dead gorgeous face, those blue eyes, and smiled . . . . . .

"Is that what you meant when I asked you if it was always that good, and you said sometimes it's even better?"

"Yup." Xena smiled down at her precious lover, her heart had never felt so full.

"Xena, I think we need to work on your language skills . . . "

Gabrielle giggled, and snuggled closer, squeezing the warrior in a warm embrace fueled by the afterglow of great sex, mind blowing sex . . . and even greater love.

They both moved at once, settling down without a word, and dropped into a collective, well earned rest. They were in the hands of Morpheus within seconds . . . each of their dreams directed by the experiences they had just shared.


Xena was the first to come up out of the depths of sleep, and as she stirred, Gabrielle mumbled and tried to snuggle even deeper into the warrior's arms. The warrior reached over with her right hand, and began to lightly tickle her lover's ribs . . . carefully bringing her back to consciousness.

Gabrielle came fully awake in an instant, something that Xena had never seen her do, and in one motion, threw herself on top of her lover and began tickling her unmercifully. Xena enjoyed watching Gabrielle's unfettered breasts bob up and down as the young woman dug her fingers into her lover's ribs.

Xena finally put a stop to their play, and pulled Gabrielle to her, kissing her one more time, and then standing and lifting her up to stand with her. She wrapped her arms around Gabrielle, and Gabrielle did the same.

Gabrielle smiled up at her lover. She reached up and moved Xena's sweat soaked hair off her forehead.

"I think it might be a good idea if we go back and soak in the bath a bit, we both could use it!"

"Are you suggesting that we smell bad?"

Gabrielle laughed and poked Xena in the ribs.

"Not bad, but we do have a certain odor about us. Come on, just a quick rinse, and then we can have something to eat. I'm starving."

They walked back to the bath area with their arms around one another, as though they never wanted to let go. Xena stepped down into the water and reached up, lifting Gabrielle and then letting her slide down the length of her body and into the water. They submerged themselves and let the warm, clean water rinse their bodies. After just a few moments, Xena reached her arms around her love and lifted her out of the water. She stepped up and set her precious bundle down on the floor of the cave. Reaching down with one hand, she cupped the little blonde's chin in her hand.

"I have another couple of surprises for you, some things you didn't notice when you went on your 'tour' of the cave."

"What? Show me!" Gabrielle's excitement was delicious.

"See that woven basket chest thing over there, go look inside, I think you'll like what you find."

Gabrielle ran to the basket, and lifted the lid.

"Xena, these are beautiful," she exclaimed, as she pulled one and then another and another silk shift from the basket. The colors were nearly iridescent, beautiful blues, greens, a luminescent pearl white, all the colors of the rainbow, and then some.

"Where did you get these, are you sure no one else has ever been here?"

Gabrielle held a beautiful blue shift up to her body, and realized that the garment would be perfect on Xena's tall frame, but rather large on herself. She looked over at Xena, who had moved to one side, watching with a smile on her face.

"I told you no one has ever been here but me, and now you . . . don't you believe me?" The smile on her face showed Gabrielle that she was teasing her, but also telling her the truth.

"I'm sorry, I do believe you. I didn't mean to . . . "

Xena walked over to Gabrielle, wrapping her arms around the little blond, and kissed the top of her head.

"Why don't you put one of those shifts on, and hand one to me. I still want you to make my dinner, wench, and I can't have you walking around here in just your gorgeous, sexy naked body."

Gabrielle handed Xena a shift of blue that almost matched the warrior's eyes, and took one for her self of a pale green color. They both slid the shifts over their bodies, and then looked at one another.

"Oh, this might not work at all, you look even more gorgeous than ever . . . Get started on our dinner, I have some wine casks in a side room, I'll go fill some skins with some of the best wine you will ever taste . . . we can have it with dinner. Now get going, before I change my mind and have my way with you, wench!"

Xena gave a playful smack to Gabrielle's silk covered behind, and then went back to get the wine.

Gabrielle stood there for a moment, watching the beautiful, tall, dark haired woman walk away into the side room. She couldn't believe her eyes, her heart. This wonderful human being loved her as no one else ever could. She felt tears come to her eyes, and with a quick swipe at her eyes, turned and walked over to the fire pit. She began rummaging through the supplies, and found some dried vegetables, herbs and dried meat. She grabbed a pot, threw everything she found into the pot, and then gathered some fresh water from the stream that fed the bath area.

Her next challenge would be to start a fire, not exactly her greatest skill. She worked and struggled with the flint and kindling without any success. Her frustration level was growing by leaps and bounds. Then she felt a pair of strong arms reach around her, taking the flint from her hands, and in one sure stroke Xena had a spark that ignited the dry kindling.

"Is there anything that you can't do?"

"Actually there is something . . . I really can't dance very well. I think it's because I'm so tall, but dancing is definitely not one of my many skills!"

"I can teach you how to dance. You'd be a natural, as athletic as you are, with all the leaping and spinning and flying through the air . . . "

"Gabrielle, I'm not interested in learning to dance well. It doesn't fit my image!"

Just then the cave lit up with a brilliant flash of light, and once again Aphrodite was in their midst . . . wearing a rose/pink diaphanous gown that kept none of her ample charms hidden from view.

"Oh good grief, why are you back here?"

"Xena, be polite, I can see her too . . . we both can see her at once . . . Hello your 'Goddesship', Xena didn't mean to be impolite . . . we're honored to have you here."

"Speak for yourself, Gabrielle, I am NOT impressed with . . . ."

"Oh, gorgeous warrior and irritating little blond. I just came back to check on you, and to tell you that I was really sorry that I didn't get back to you, but I had to do a little of my magic on some royals in another valley. I wasn't able to help you along in your quest for love . . . but by the looks of you both, I would guess that you managed it anyway."

Xena looked at the Goddess of Love with wide eyes. "You mean you didn't have anything to do with us, after that one visit?" Oh please, let her say it was just that one visit, and no other interference!

Gabrielle started to squirm . . . "Uh, Xena, there was more than one visit, Aphrodite came to me while I was soaking in the stream after you spanked me."

"Why didn't you tell me?" Xena looked down at Gabrielle, and then back at Aphrodite. Her blue eyes were dark with hurt and anger.

"Why did you have to interfere with us, what is it with you gods anyway, you're always meddling in human affairs . . . now you've ruined everything!"

"Wait just a heartbeat oh 'gorgeous when you're angry' warrior. All I did with Gabrielle was give her a few hints on how to get you to see what was right in front of you all the time." Aphrodite stepped back a few paces, just to be sure to be out of range should Xena explode,as it looked like she might.

"Xena, all she told me was to walk up to you naked after my session in the stream, to try to get you to see me differently than you had in the past. And she did tell me to tell you I love you when we went to sleep, but I swear to you, I would have said it anyway . . . I do love you! You have to know I love you!" Gabrielle looked as though she was going to burst into tears any second. She looked up into the warrior's face, searching for a sign of understanding.

Xena stood perfectly still, obviously trying to maintain some form of control. Her hands were clenched at her sides; she looked like every muscle in her body was strung as tight as the string of Ulysses' bow. Gabrielle had seen this before, many times, as Xena was about to do battle with thugs and warlords. She knew that if the situation wasn't diffused quickly, the cave might turn from a warm, loving place of refuge into a bloody battlefield, quite possibly with messy Goddess of Love parts all over the place . . .

Gabrielle tentatively reached out and placed her hand on Xena's arm . . . very lightly at first, and then gradually added pressure. She knew from her limited experience that to touch the Warrior Princess in any form of aggressive manner at a time like this would most likely result in her being backhanded across the cave. As she increased the pressure of her touch, she was aware of the vibrations emanating from the warrior. She slowly placed her other hand on the other arm, and again carefully increased the pressure. She then very slowly moved her entire body into harm's way, by moving closer to Xena's body. Eventually she moved in as close as she could, while softly moving her hands and arms up Xena's arms until they were standing as close as humanly possible. Gabrielle's arms slowly went around Xena's shoulders and touched her back, she then carefully moved in even closer, until she had literally enveloped the warrior's body.

Gabrielle's head rested under Xena's chin, and she leaned in and began to softly kiss the neck and upper chest of her lover. Soft, little kisses, covering as much area as possible without breaking contact with the rest of her body. As she continued to kiss every inch of skin she could reach, she softly said "I love you . . . I love you . . . I love you . . . " over and over again. Finally she began to feel a change in Xena's body, as the muscles began to relax, as the vibrations of tension began to dissipate.

Gabrielle began to relax, she knew the worst was over, for now. She felt Xena's arms come up around her back and hold her close. They stood that way for what seemed an eternity. Eventually Xena looked down at the beautiful, brave woman who had the courage and strength to soothe Xena from her savage, dark side back into the strong beautiful woman that Gabrielle loved.

Xena leaned down and kissed the top of Gabrielle's head. "I'm alright now, it's all right."

Gabrielle looked up into that beautiful face, and smiled. " I love you so very much, you do know that, don't you? And everything that we have shared today is all of our own doing. Neither Aphrodite nor any other god had anything at all to do with it. Even the gods can't give us what isn't already there."

Aphrodite was still standing there, watching all of this. Even as dippy as she was, she recognized the way Gabrielle had soothed Xena out of her anger. I don't know if I would have gotten that close to that beautiful warrior woman, not when she is like that . . . oh no, even if I am a god, I still don't like pain . . . and that could have made a whole lot of pain! She continued to watch Gabrielle and Xena, as they stood with their arms around one another, as thought she wasn't even in the area! Hey! Enough already, pay some attention here to me! Hearing Gabrielle assure Xena that she, the Goddess of Love, had nothing to do with their love for one another, was more than she could handle. "Hey, just hold on a minute. I had plenty to do with all of this, why if it wasn't for . . . "

Both Xena and Gabrielle looked at Aphrodite and then shouted at once. "Shut Up!" The two lovers looked at one another and started to laugh.

"Gabrielle, I was so worried, I thought that maybe all of this was some goofy idea of fun, some stupid joke that Aphrodite wanted to play around with . . . "

Gabrielle tightened her grip around the beautiful woman in her arms.

"Xena, she might have had a little to do with our getting started, or maybe more with you getting started, since I, of course, knew exactly what I wanted all along. But it was all just us, really! Don't even think for a minute that she cast any kind of spell over us."

Xena looked down at Gabrielle, and then over at Aphrodite.

"Isn't it time for you to disappear in a blast of light or something? This is our cave, and you really aren't all that welcome here, so why don't you leave?"

Gabrielle cringed when she heard Xena.

"Oh, Xena, please, we are going to have to work on your social skills, too! Aphrodite, we both thank you for opening up our eyes to what we have here. We are both very appreciative. Please accept our thanks, and if you would allow us some privacy we would be ever so grateful."

"Yeah, I'll even make an offering . . . How about a nice rock slide onto your temple, with you inside, of course," the warrior growled.

Gabrielle slid her hand down the warriors' back, reached under Xena's shift and pinched the warrior's backside. She whispered into Xena's chest . . . she couldn't reach the warrior's ear.

"Will you please be quiet, you are only going to make things worse. Let me handle this, I'm the one with the verbal skills, remember? I do the sensitive talk stuff, OK?"

"Then handle it, get her out of here, or I will." Xena whispered back, into the top of Gabrielle's head.

"You know, you two, that I can hear everything, including what you might be thinking! It's one of those god perk thingees! But don't worry, I know when I'm not wanted . . . So I will just toddle off for now. But I am still going to include your love as one of my better efforts . . . I can't wait to tell Ares and Zeus and . . . ." Seeing the menacing looks that were being directed in her direction by the Warrior Princess and the irritating little blond, Aphrodite decided that it probably was a good time to leave. A blinding flash of light, and she was gone.

"Well, that was fun." Xena smiled down at Gabrielle. "But I am glad to know that she didn't do anything other than that first visit, while I was spanking your beautiful little behind! And of course there is that other visit . . . which you didn't tell me about! Obviously this relationship isn't going to be built on trust!"

"Xena, I'm sorry, you know you can trust me, I wanted to tell you, but . . . "

"It's all right, Gabrielle, I'm just teasing you. I'm so relieved that Aphrodite didn't have anything more to do with us than those first two encounters, it doesn't even matter to me. Although I have to tell you, I think I had an idea that you had been coached on what to do when you came back from sitting in the stream! I mean, really, walking around naked, leaning over like that and watching me watch you. Come on, Gabrielle, we both know that is hardly your style!"

"Oh really! And just exactly what is my style?" Gabrielle looked up at the warrior, with a hint of mischief in her eyes. "I want to hear from the all knowing, all seeing great Warrior Princess, just exactly what is my style?"

"All right, all right, maybe it is your style. Whatever it is, it was great! And I can't wait to see some more. Let's go have something to eat, and then you can put on a regular show for me!"

"Sounds like a great plan to me. I'm starving!"

"Why am I not surprised?"



XENA'S SONG [There For Me]

There for me
Every time I fade away
Will you be there for me
Thinking of you everyday
Are you my destiny
Whereas I'll have a debt to pay
Will you be there for me
Just think of you and me
We could never toe the line
It's such a mystery
Just to hear you say you're mine
And while you're close to me
So close to me
Just hold me


In your eyes are my secrets that I've never shown you
In my heart I feel I've always known you
In your arms there's a comfort that I never knew
You're what I've been waiting for, there's no one like you
Sure as the sunrise, pure as a prayer
You fashioned hope right out of thin air
Every dream I abandoned, seems it could come true
I believe in miracles, there's no one like you

Author's Note: This is my first attempt at writing alternative fan fiction. I would very much appreciate any feedback that the reader would care to send. Of course, I would prefer only hearing from those readers who have enjoyed my efforts, and would like to have me write more . . . however, I also would appreciate hearing from readers who have suggestions or criticisms . . . .please be gentle!

Thank you for reading my story.

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