Mush by Della Street

Xena watched from the doorway as the blonde woman took another sip from her mug, then licked her lips absently until something apparently occurred to her, and she scribbled some more words across the scroll stretched out on the table. A moment later, the warrior eased into a

chair beside the bard, who glanced up, her initial irritation transforming as she recognized the new arrival.

"Wondered when you'd be dragging yourself back here," she said casually.

"Well, you know what it's like without the old ball and chain." Xena stretched luxuriously, and gestured toward a server. "Ale," she called when the woman passed near.

"True," Gabrielle replied.

"Not much reason to hurry back."

"No," the bard agreed. "And no need. I've had plenty to do." She retrieved three dinars from her purse and slid them across to the young woman who had just delivered Xena's drink.

"Generous tip," Xena noted.

"Well, I feel kind of obligated since I slept with her."

"Better make it four, then." A blonde eyebrow went up inquiringly, and Xena cracked her knuckles. "Out in the barn, before I left."

"Mm." Gabrielle pressed her lips together knowingly, then tossed her head toward the table next to them. "On that table."

"Really." Xena looked over. "Didn't that knothole chafe?"

"Actually, it came in quite handy a couple of times."

Xena nodded to acknowledge the potential. "Anywhere else interesting?"

"Nah." The bard thought about it. "A couple of guys in a pastry booth, but mostly upstairs in our bed. How 'bout you?"

"Nailed the king's daughter in a chariot." She grunted. "Damn chastity belt dented my breast dagger."

"Oh." Gabrielle winced in sympathy. "Yeah, I hate that."

"A few soldiers on top of the city wall," Xena continued. "Otherwise, just the usual campsite stuff."

Gabrielle nodded. "Well, I'm glad we both kept busy," she said. She looked up into Xena's eyes. "Otherwise, I would have missed you horribly."

Xena returned the gaze. "Every minute."

"I might have gone all mushy on you."

"We wouldn't want that, would we?" Xena agreed.

"I might have begged you to take me upstairs and make love to me right now and all night," Gabrielle continued.

"And I might have told you I love you," Xena replied.

"Wouldn't want that, would we?" Gabrielle asked softly.

Xena shook her head. Gabrielle rolled up her parchment and took Xena's hand, and they headed for their room.


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