Almost noiselessly, Xena dismounted and stood at the edge of the
clearing, enjoying the view as the bard leaned over a pot of what
smelled like vegetable soup.
Mmm . . . . One long, hard ride deserves another, Xena
mused. Wonder if she's--
"You're just in time."
Xena smiled at the bard's ability to sense her, even in stealth mode.
"In time for what?" she replied seductively.
"New recipe." Gabrielle clasped her hands together
excitedly. Xena quickly ran through the various roots and greens
indigenous to this area, cringing at the thought of what Gabrielle might
have stumbled across. "I'll get you a bowl."
Xena smiled her thanks. Fortunately, she had recognized the
'want-to-try-something-new' signs in the bard's mutterings this morning,
and the resulting abstinence from food during the long day would ensure
an adequate number of second helpings to assure the bard of her success.
She studied Gabrielle as the young woman dished out servings. Gods,
she looked good. Reeeally good. Xena took a calming breath. The last
thing she wanted was the frosty bedroll she got a couple of weeks ago
for her ill-advised response to what had seemed like a trick question: "Xena,
you don't want to spend all our evenings just having sex, do you?"
She needn't have starved herself, Xena realized later; the
potato-and-something dish had proved quite delicious. As was its
preparer. Xena reached for her sword, gathering up stone and cloth as
well while she figured out how long she'd have to wait before making a
grab for the sexy blonde.
The bard's voice broke into her thoughts. "You know what I'm the
Xena hoped it was the same thing she was in the mood for . . . .
That wasn't it. Gods, she hated that game. 'Don't worry, this is an
easy one', the bard would assure her. Fifty guesses later, the
frustrated warrior would offer an unsolicited opinion of the bard's
miming abilities and/or choice of subject, and things would go downhill
Speaking of which . . . . She watched as Gabrielle stretched her arms
"I thought of a new one today that you'll be able to get, no
Xena eyed the sharp edge of her sword, so close to her wrist on those
downward strokes . . . .
The bard laced her fingers over her head, then bent over and touched
the ground with her palms. Xena perked up. She could hazard a few
guesses about that one . . . .
Ready at last, the bard silently began a complicated series of hand
signals, and glanced up expectantly.
Man, she is hot tonight. The green material covering
Gabrielle's goodies (barely) had edged a little higher with one
particularly emphatic movement. Gods, she's--oh--a guess was in
order, Xena realized. "Uh . . . could you give me that one gesture
again?" She illustrated with a vague hand motion, and was rewarded
a moment later as the lace top rode up a bit higher.
"Xena!" The bard was impatient.
"Oh--um . . . ."
Me taking you against that tree, she wanted to say, but she
was reasonably certain that the next words to break the mime's silence
would involve "separate" and "bedrolls". Not that
Gabrielle wasn't a firebrand once she got started; it was just that
'quality time' thing she was always going dreamy about. Of course, when
the bard herself was worked up, it was 'screw quality time'. Xena cocked
her head, wondering if there might be something to the bard's theory
about the power of suggestion . . . .
"Crimisus having his way with Aegesta?" she guessed.
Gabrielle blinked. "No . . . . Where in the world did you get
Xena shrugged innocently.
"OK. I'll do the first part again a little more slowly."
Actions followed, and it came time for another guess from the Warrior
"Dionysis taking advantage of Nicaea in the spring?"
The bard sighed. "How can anyone be so bad at this?" she
muttered. Her arms began moving again in some sort of circling motion.
"Aethra lying with Aegeus after being deflowered by
"Argh! You're actually getting *worse*!"
More frantic motions, with a little torso action thrown in.
"Attis losing his virginity to Sagaritis?"
Gabrielle pressed her palms to her waist and stared at Xena.
"Zeus changing into a swan and coupling with Nemesis? Hemithea
sneaking into Lyrcus' bed?" She was on a roll now. "The king
of Sicily's daughter seducing Daphnis?" Xena realized abruptly that
Gabrielle wasn't moving, and it suddenly seemed quiet. Too quiet, even
for pantomime. She looked up to see an unreadable expression on the
"Aegesta? Nicaea?" Gabrielle repeated softly.
"Oh, Xena -- you really *do* listen to my stories!"
She launched herself at the Warrior Princess, and laid a series of
happy kisses across Xena's face. "Mm" -- Xena's reply was
muffled by more kisses -- "all of them, Gabrielle." She
reached down and fumbled with green laces. "Proetus . . . Graeae .
. . . Orestes . . . ."
The bard's attentions were growing fiercer with each named
protagonist, but Xena felt her focus starting to slip. The gods -- that
would be easier. "Hephaestus," she murmured. "Hermes . .
. Apollo . . . ." More gods, she thought feverishly. Oh,
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