Xena was the first one to wake up the following morning, she still had her arms wrapped tight around Gabrielle, their legs entwined. She opened her eyes to look directly at Gabrielle's soft face, every muscle in her body completely relaxed in Xena's embrace. A smile reached over Xena's face, the sensation of having Gabrielle so close, skin to skin, gave her life a complete new meaning.
She watched the bard sleep calmly in her arms for a long while, how much time that passed was impossible to say, but one thing was for sure; watching Gabrielle sleep gave her a sort of peace she had never experienced before.
The new morning was quickly turning into day, and even though Xena was enjoying herself immensely they still had a few days journey left before they would reach the Amazon lands, and so she decided that it was time to wake the bard from her land of dreams.
She planted soft kisses over Gabrielle's face, starting at her chin. Gabrielle stirred in her sleep, and Xena smiled as she kept planting kisses along her jaw line, to her ears. Gabrielle stretched and let out a small moan, before she buried her face in Xena's neck.
"Good morning." Xena said in a soft voice. "It's time to wake up."
Gabrielle groaned in Xena's neck and pulled the covers over her head. Xena smiled, there was a new softness between them, and for Xena a new experience in all. She had never before experienced this kind of softness with anyone, this cuddling, enjoying having someone so close, to not be bothered, not wanting to get dressed immediately.
Gabrielle resurfaced from under the covers, sighing, peeking around the camp. The mist lay thick around them, magically covering them from the surroundings. "Autumn really is here." Gabrielle stated, still with her arms wrapped around Xena. "Indeed." Xena agreed, following Gabrielle's gaze. "And the Amazons are awaiting our return to their lands, so we better get going."
Gabrielle peeked at her "Are you so eager to leave my embrace?" she raised one of her eyebrows.
Xena smiled sweetly "I'm eager to return to your embrace, when the night falls, and we're closer to the Amazon land."
Gabrielle was pleased with the reply, she withdrew from Xena, and the two women got dressed. Gabrielle rummaged through the saddlebags to get something eatable while Xena packed the rest of their things.
"We need to get more bread." Gabrielle stated.
"There's a village not too long from here, we can get bread there." Xena said.
Gabrielle handed Xena a piece of bread, and they sat down to have breakfast. Neither one of them spoke, and yet the silence that fell around them wasn't uncomfortable in any way. They just enjoyed each other's company. That was one of the things Xena loved with Gabrielle; the fact that they could be silent together, even though Gabrielle did speak a lot, sometimes silence embraced them and Xena felt right at home.
When they had finished their breakfast Xena mounted Argo and they began their journey, Gabrielle walking beside her.
"It's been a long time we haven't visited the Amazons." Xena stated.
"A little too long." Gabrielle said. "I should visit them more often."
"Well, I'm sure the return of the queen will be a joyful event." Xena smiled.
"It usually is." Gabrielle grinned. "I've missed them. Maybe more than I've realized. It's like, the closer we get, the more I miss them." She turned serious.
"Probably because you think more about them." Xena pondered.
"But it's more than that." Gabrielle gazed at her. "If I was ever to settle down, I think that would be the place I could do it."
Xena raised an eyebrow. "Are you planning on settling down?"
Gabrielle smiled "Not right at this moment. But some day."
Xena contemplated the revelation for a little while, before she spoke. "When we're old."
Gabrielle laughed. "Don't worry, warrior, I'm very pleased with our life now."
Xena smiled at her "Well, anywhere is home to me, as long as you are there."
"So you would be willing to settle down, then?" Gabrielle raised her eyebrows.
"Some day." Xena answered. "When we're old."
Before the night fell the came to the village Xena had been talking about during the morning. "Do you want to get a room for the night?" Xena asked Gabrielle.
"Do we not need to travel further today, then?" Gabrielle asked.
"Well, sometimes nothing beats the comfort of a bed." Xena replied and winked at her.
Gabrielle felt the blush spread across her face, and Xena grinned when she noticed.
"Let's get a room then." Gabrielle replied.
When the night fell not long after they were having dinner in a tavern. Gabrielle could hardly focus on her food, all she wanted was to be close to Xena, to once again feel her hands over her body, and to once again feel her lips against her own.
"Are you not gonna eat that?" Xena asked pointing at Gabrielle's food.
"Yes." Gabrielle replied, taking another bite.
Xena looked around, taking in the faces in the tavern. "It's been an unusually slow day, don't you think?" she asked.
"Yes." Gabrielle agreed.
"We haven't stumbled on to a single fight." Xena stated, still looking around.
"Is that why you're looking for trouble now?" Gabrielle asked, raising her eyebrows.
"I'm not looking for trouble." Xena defended herself. "I'm just checking." She added.
"Mhm." Gabrielle took yet another bite of her food. "You get restless when you haven't fought for a while." She stated without looking at Xena.
Xena gazed at her "What?"
Gabrielle looked up and met her gaze "Just a statement." She said.
"Yeah, well…" Xena muttered. "It's what I do."
"I know." Gabrielle nodded. "I don't mean it in a negative way."
Xena took a zip from her cup. "Are you finished?" she asked, nodding her head once at Gabrielle's now empty plate.
"Yes." Gabrielle nodded.
"So we go?" There was a light shining through Xena's eyes, just the thought of once again getting to hold Gabrielle almost made her tremble.
"Yes, we go." Gabrielle laughed.
They went to their room and Xena closed the door while Gabrielle sat down on the bed, to then lean on her elbows, facing Xena, one knee pulled up, the other leg dropping lazily off the bed, placed in the centre of the room.
Xena locked the door and turned to face her, a smile spreading across her face. She took off her armor, feeling Gabrielle's gaze burning her skin. Her long hair caressed her back, her bra and panties the only thing covering her, but it didn't make her shy, she knew Gabrielle would appreciate the view. And so she turned to her and smiled at her, slowly walking towards her, and Gabrielle felt the heart in her chest speed up. Xena stood right by the bed, she placed her hand on Gabrielle's knee, smiling at her, and Gabrielle gazed at her, took in her beauty, from head to toe and back up. And when their gazes met again Xena leaned over her and placed a soft kiss on her lips.
Gabrielle felt her body react instinctively, she wrapped her arms around Xena's neck, her eyes closed shut and she shivered by the sensation of having Xena so close to her.
The kiss was soft and tender, yet passionate. Xena withdrew a little, to Gaze in to Gabrielle's emerald eyes. She caressed her face with her fingertips. "How did I not see then, what I see now?" she murmured.
"What do you see now?" Gabrielle asked.
Xena smiled a little. "The love I've been searching for."
Their night together lasted long, while outside it had began raining, nothing could disturb the couple in the room.