Night 1

"You can't tell me you haven't thought about it," Gabrielle said as she cleaned out the pot. They had finished what little they had for dinner and were getting situated for the night.

Xena raised an eyebrow as she laid out their bedrolls side by side. That was a habit they had gotten into some time ago, and it was just second nature now. Xena had always wanted to keep Gabrielle close and this far the blonde hadn't seemed to mind. "Of course I've thought about," Xena glanced over and noticed Gabrielle looked a bit annoyed at her admission. "How could I not." Xena watched as Gabrielle shook her head and put her tongue in her cheek. Xena stepped closer and peered down at her. "But just because I've thought about it, doesn't mean that's what I want. I'm smart enough to know it would be a terrible decision."

Gabrielle put down the now clean pot and stood up, crossing her arms. "So you're telling me, if Ares appeared right now and said 'Xena, I just want one night with you, nothing more', that you wouldn't jump at the chance?"

Xena crossed her own arms in front of her and shifted her weight. "No. I wouldn't."

Gabrielle shook her head and walked past her toward Argo 2. "I don't believe you," Gabrielle laughed as she grabbed Argo's brush and began wiping the horse down. She was startled as Xena suddenly stepped right in front of her. She hadn't even heard her coming.

Xena looked firmly into Gabrielle's eyes. "Gabrielle, I don't want Ares. Or any one else, for the matter. I like our lives the way they are, I don't need anyone but you."

Gabrielle felt her heart warm at the love in Xena's eyes, but was still unsure if Xena was being honest. "I know, Xena, but surely you must miss..IT," Gabrielle flushed at mentioning sex to Xena, but it was something that seriously bothered her. She knew Xena had enjoyed sex often before their lives tangled with each other, and she didn't want Xena to resent her for keeping her from finding companionship. Truth was, Gabrielle wanted desperately to be the one Xena wanted, but she dared not tell Xena that. That could ruin their friendship forever.

Xena saw a throng of emotions cross Gabrielle's face and wondered what was going on in that head. Suddenly she thought maybe Gabrielle was projecting her own thoughts onto Xena. She shifted her weight uncomfortably. "Do you? Miss it?"

Gabrielle blushed. "Kinda hard to miss something I only tried once." She chuckled after, but continued brushing Argo awkwardly. "It was, it was okay. I guess I didn't see what all the fuss is about."

It was Xena's turn to blush. "Well, it gets better after the first time." Xena peeked at Gabrielle from a down turned face and walked over to the fire. She tossed a few logs on before laying down on her bedroll. After another moment Gabrielle laid down next to her, both settling on their backs.

After a few moments of silence, Gabrielle turned on her side to face Xena. "You know, Xena, if you ever want some time to...if you meet someone and you want to...I'll leave so you can have privacy, I don't want to stop you from anything."

Xena half smiled before she too turned on her side. She smiled before reaching out to tuck a few stray hairs behind Gabrielle's ear. "Gabrielle, stop, okay? You're not hindering me from doing anything. There's no where else I'd rather be than with you." Xena smiled as Gabrielle's face lit up, and she leaned over to place a soft kiss on Gabrielle's cheek. She breathed in the sweet scent of Gabrielle's hair and found the kiss lingering a bit longer than she had anticipated. She pulled back and was shocked to see Gabrielle's eyes shining at her. They were a darker shade of green. Xena leaned back onto her bedroll as that familiar heat rose between her legs and spread warmly over her body. She slowly pulled her hand off Gabrielle's neck and swallowed.

Gabrielle felt her breath catch at feeling Xena's lips on her cheek, and breathed in the smell of leather and jasmine. She tried valiantly to control her breathing but failed as her chest heaved. She swallowed as she was sure she had never seen that look in Xena's eyes before. Is it possible Xena felt the same way?

Gabrielle took a deep breath and swallowed down the feelings she had been secretly harboring for years. She ran her hand down Xena's arm before stopping at her wrist. "Good night, Xena," Gabrielle whispered.

Xena smiled to herself as she felt Gabrielle's soft fingers wrap gently around her wrist. "Good night, Gabrielle."

Night 2

Xena was holding her sides, laughing hysterically. Tears were starting to stream as she rocked back and forth in front of the fire.

Gabrielle sat, arms crossed over her lap, stone faced. She stared into the fire until finally shooting Xena a dirty look. "It's not funny, Xena," she spat.

Xena finally got a hold of herself and wiped the tears from her eyes. "Oh, come on, Gabrielle. That was hysterical. That poor little kid, seriously thought he had a chance with you. All pimply and skinny. Poor thing was really putting the moves on."

Gabrielle shook her head and rolled her eyes. "Easy for you to say. You're not the one who had to keep peeling his hand off my leg." Gabrielle got up and started laying out their bedrolls. She ignored several more of Xena's giggles as she settled down. She sighed heavily. "Yeah well, he probably figured I was young and desperate enough to let him cop a feel."

Xena was still chuckling and dropped herself heavily onto her bedroll, immediately leaning over Gabrielle. She flashed a huge smile, amused by the fact Gabrielle was pouting. "Gabrielle, take it as a compliment! It's not his fault he couldn't resist those big green eyes," Xena teased, reaching over and grabbing Gabrielle's side. "He just wanted to kiss that adorable face of yours!" She saw Gabrielle crack a smile and tickled her to elicit a cackle. She reached up and grasped the side of Gabrielle's face and pulled it toward her. She started peppering Gabrielle's face with featherlight kisses, smiling as Gabrielle giggled. "He...can't resist...your charm..." She said through kisses, finally landing a few pecks to Gabrielle's lips.

Gabrielle felt Xena's lips land on her own and she stiffened slightly, and held onto Xena's wrist. She knew they were playing, but after the first few pecks to her lips, Gabrielle found herself kissing back. Although they kept it playful, still giggling and smacking loudly, there was definately a tension in the air, and both women felt it.

Xena felt Gabrielle kissing back, and her swift pecking slowed down slightly, and she found herself making eye contact with the beautiful best friend below her. "I'm just...teasing...Gabrielle," Xena said between light kisses, alternating from her forehead and cheek to lips. She knew she was lingering dangerously close to a line she shouldn't cross, but Gabrielle's reaction kept her going.

"I know," Gabrielle felt her face flush as she continued to feel Xena's kisses pepper her face, being certain to kiss back whenever Xena came to her lips. Her body tingled, and she dared to reach up and hold onto Xena's tricep.

Xena pulled back between kisses to look at Gabrielle's face, wanting to make sure she wasn't making her uncomfortable. One more kiss to the lips, met back with Gabrielle's lips. "Is this...okay?"

Gabrielle heard Xena's question and nodded as Xena's kisses came softer and solely on her lips. "Yes," she whispered.

Xena slowed down considerably, repeating soft, quick, chaste kisses to Gabrielle's lips. Gabrielle squeezed Xena's arm, realizing they were dangerously close to something they couldn't take back. As if realizing the exact same thing, Xena leaned back, gazing down into darkened eyes. She shyly tweaked a smile, slowly pulling her hand off of Gabrielle, swallowing awkwardly.

Gabrielle loosened her grip and watched Xena lay down into her blanket. She clearly was aroused by their playful kissing fest, and took a deep breath. Gabrielle dared to lean over and gently place her arm over Xena's middle. She caressed her thumb over Xena's hip bone. "Is this okay?" Gabrielle whispered.

Xena pulled one arm around Gabrielle's back as the other gripped the wrist at her waist. She had never felt so complete then with Gabrielle in her arms. She leaned down and left a lingering kiss to the top of Gabrielle's head. "Yeah, perfect," she whispered. They both smiled themselves to sleep.

Night 3

There was an awkwardness about the campsite that both women ignored. They went about their chores, finding each other in sideways glances and half smiles. Secretly they willed the sun to go down so they could lie together again, hopeful to resume their previous connection.

Xena laid on her back, waiting for Gabrielle to come lay down. The blonde was finishing up putting their packs back together. Finally she laid down and Xena felt her body humming.

Gabrielle immediately turned toward Xena as she laid down, already having rehearsed in her head how this was going to go down. She propped herself on her elbow and looked down at Xena with a curious look. "How did you like the fish? I used those new spices I got at the last village."

Xena turned her head and smiled. "It was great, Gabrielle."

"Are you sure? Did you get enough?" Gabrielle reached over and patted Xena's stomach. "I know you have a bottomless pit in there," she laughed as she ran her hand along Xena's taught abdomen.

Xena smiled up and caressed down Gabrielle's arm. "Yes, I had plenty, thank you. But for the record, you're the one with the bottomless pit," Xena winked as she tickled Gabrielle's side.

Gabrielle's body jerked violently at Xena's tickling, and she reached down to pull the hand away. Her weight was pulled off her own elbow and she found herself on top of Xena, arms around each other, face to face. Her cheeks flushed. She smiled into Xena's own shining smile and sighed silently. Her eyes batted slightly as she glanced down at Xena's lips, glistening in the moonlight.

Xena knew things had changed between the two of them, both openly craving intimacy and closeness that previously had been scarce. But as she looked up into Gabrielle's questioning eyes, it seemed as if this was a change a long time in the making. And one she was thoroughly ready for. She just had to make sure Gabrielle was. She decided if things were going to progress between them, Gabrielle had to be the one to set the pace.

Gabrielle reached down and found a boldness she didn't know was there. She let her head fall down and place three quick kisses to Xena's cheek, landing a fourth one on her lips. She pulled her head back to see Xena who she could swear was starry eyed. "Good night, Xena," she said softly. She leaned down again and kissed Xena again, this time reaching up to brush the hair out of Xena's face. She kissed her softly again, feeling Xena's hand run up her back softly.

The kisses were soft and chaste, but as they continued, they lingered longer and hands moved more freely across bodies. Gabrielle breathed out at one point as she tried to reign in her desire. "Is this...okay?" She gasped.

Xena felt her fingers grip into Gabrielle's shoulder when she heard the question. She met Gabrielle's lips again before responding. "Yes," she gasped, running her fingertips up Gabrielle's muscular arm and tangling into short blonde hair.

Gabrielle turned her head and ran her cheek across Xena's mouth, breathing out as she felt Xena kiss under her ear. She turned back and kissed Xena chastely and slowly, again and again. Her body was aflame with desire, but she fought back the incredible urge to take things further. Instead she chose to pretend that this was what all best friends did, and it meant nothing.

Xena knew Gabrielle was discovering the same thing she was, and was wise enough to know they both weren't quite ready to admit how they felt. But damn if it wasn't hard for her to stop. Her body was begging for Gabrielle's touch. She kissed Gabrielle sweetly, but had to keep her head about her. "Maybe...we should...get some...sleep," she whispered between kisses.

Gabrielle knew Xena wanted her. That much was clear, judging by the heat Gabrielle could feel coming from Xena's body. But she knew they needed to fall into this slowly, and to force anything now just wasn't right. "Right," she said as she kissed two more times, running her hand down Xena's side. She pulled back and smiled sweetly, noticing how Xena melted into the bedroll. She kissed her one more time before settling into Xena's embrace. She let her arm drape over Xena as she sighed deeply. "Good night, Xena."

Xena rolled her eyes and sighed as well, trying to force back her desire. "Good night," she said, hearing her voice break. Another long sigh and she relaxed, the feeling of Gabrielle pressed against her enough to provide the comfort she needed to fall into a fitless sleep.

Night 4

They had encountered a lake, and had spent an unusual amount of time at it than they usually would have. Both woman were overly sensitive to the other's privacy, making sure to look away whenever necessary.

As they settled into freshly cleaned bedrolls, they came together like magnets. Gabrielle clung desperately to Xena, knowing they were crossing a long awaited threshold into something beyond friendship. They grasped, caressed, clung as if both afraid the other would disappear. There was an unspoken knowledge, but one that needed to be spoken. Gabrielle was below Xena who was half rolled on top. Xena was brushing hair from Gabrielle's face while also rubbing her thumb along a jutting hip bone.

Gabrielle had one hand on Xena's shoulder blade and the other on her neck, heavy breathing giving her lust away.

As Xena looked down on her best friend, whom she now knew was also the love of her life, her breath caught. She SO wanted to go there. But she didn't want to ruin what they had. But, gods help her, she had to try. She leaned down and kissed Gabrielle's cheek, and gasped when she felt Gabrielle list her hips upward.

Xena pulled back and looked into Gabrielle's lustful eyes, involuntarily squeezing wherever her hands had landed. She moaned quietly as she leaned down and kissed Gabrielle's lips, this time opening her mouth a bit. When Gabrielle pulled her head back down, it made Xena repeat the motion, this time feeling Gabrielle open her mouth open as well. Xena felt herself gasp. "Is this..okay," she asked between deep lip kisses.

Gabrielle let her head fall backwards as she pulled Xena's body into her own, moaning as Xena's lips sucked into her throat. "Gods, yes, Xena!"

Xena heard the desperation in Gabrielle's voice and picked her head up to capture Gabrielle's mouth. This time their kiss was immediately passionate, Xena crying out as she felt Gabrielle's tongue caressing against hers. She felt her life evolving in an instance as suddenly her reason for living came into perspective. She sighed as she rolled herself fully on top of Gabrielle, and felt strong arms come behind her to pull her closer.

She looked down on her blonde with fresh eyes, suddenly releasing all the hidden desire she had always harbored for Gabrielle. She felt her body tweak and Gabrielle grip into her. She forced her eyes into the green orbs below her, desperate to retain their inherent intimacy. "Gabrielle," she gasped. "I think we need to-" Xena was cut off as Gabrielle suddenly flipped them over, straddling herself over Xena.

Gabrielle had had enough. It was now or never. After she flipped them over she pinned Xena's hands over her head. She knew the warrior princess could buck her off with just the blink of an eye, so the fact that she didn't just egged Gabrielle on. She looked down and the desire was clear. Gabrielle knew at that moment that Xena wanted her back. She ground her hips slightly as she leaned down and took Xena's bottom lip in hers, scraping her teeth along the flesh as she released it.

Xena was so wrapped up in Gabrielle, she almost didn't detect it. Everything she had dreamed of was right in the palm of her hand, and somehow the familiar sound of Gods teleporting entered her ear and she froze. No way in Hades did she want her time with Gabrielle to be interrupted. But also there was no way she would enjoy this moment with Gabrielle knowing someone was looking on.

Xena was pissed. She ripped herself off of Gabrielle in flurry and pulled her sword from it's sheath within a second. She thrust the sword through the darkness, knowing exactly who her target was. It landed with a jolt, Xena's eyes flashing in anger as she saw Ares holding her blade between two open palms. She looked at him with hatred as that damned smirk stared back at her. "Ares."

Ares smirked at Xena and looked over at Gabrielle who was clutching at the blanket over her body. He looked back at Xena and quirked an eyebrow. "Am I interrupting something?"