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Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle belong to MCA/Universal, and are used without intent for commercial profits. The author's copyright does not extend to said characters. Notice: The author retains all rights automatically attached to the creation of this work. Warning: This is a work of alternative fan fiction, contains description of consensual lovemaking between two women, and may be offensive to some readers. Author's Note: Plot? What plot? This is simply "inspired" by a 20-something-F degree morning... (Whatever happened to Fall?) The story qualifies as an Interlude, set sometime between 12/13 (THE QUEEN'S SECRET LOVES) and 13/13 (THE PATHS OF LOVE) of the LONG IS THE WAY series, but as always, it works alone.
By de Bonheur
The friends have spent the past two days walking through mountain paths, unrecognizable underfoot, but marked by barren trees on both sides. Stark whiteness coated the branches, weighing them down; a gentle breeze caused them to moan in protest. The early afternoon sun bounced off large drifting flakes of snow, which blurred the bright reflection of the light on white.
Demeter must be feeling the sadness of her separation with the Kore most intensely this winter. The Warrior Princess did not remember the excursion being such a task. Since the morning the day before, she had been regretting her suggestion and their decision to head up to the cave in the mountains.
However, the bard didn't seem to mind the trek. She was excited about the prospect of visiting one of Xena's favorite haunts, and was looking forward to spending some quite time alone with her warrior. Just the two of them. Before they had to return to the Amazon village for the festivals.
Besides, Gabrielle was enjoying the twenty-questions game they started playing after breakfast this morning. She had been winning. Big time. And she knew how much it irked Xena to be losing. Oh well, she would make it up to the warrior somehow.
"Hush, don't make so much noise!" An exasperated Warrior Princess warned a squealing bard, who had just correctly guessed the name of yet another warlord Xena defeated. The dark warrior was not amused.
The bard tried unsuccessfully to stifle her giggles. As soon as she thought she had them under control, chuckles would burst forth again. Her big scary partner just looked too funny and too cute trying to act mad, she couldn't help herself.
"You're going to start an avala..." Before deep voice could complete the sentence, wood smacked wood and a large chunk of white fluff fell from the branches, bleaching the color of the warrior's dark wool cape.
Gabrielle didn't intentionally hit the tree with her staff. Honest. She was as startled as the Warrior Princess was when the snow fell and landed on the dark form. Almost. Warning bells went off in her mind, and she pelted away from her victim before blue eyes could blink.
"Why you little..." Flinging off her hood and ridding some of the snow in the process, the warrior went after her bard.
Only the Gods would know what overcame Gabrielle at that moment. She grabbed a handful of snow and threw it back at the sprinting form rapidly catching up. To her amazement her target didn't duck in time.
"Hey, no fair!" The warrior brushed the white flakes off her face and shook her dark tresses.
"All's fair in love and snowball fight!" The bard panted, throwing another handful of snow at her partner. This time she aimed the neatly packed missile at the warrior's stomach. She missed.
"Oh yeah?" The warrior launched a white ball of her own at the bard's direction. She got a hit.
Remembering the thirty-six plans of warfare Xena told her, Gabrielle decided to pick the one on top of the list: RUN.
"Ah ha!" Another hit, square in the middle of retreating back.
"Try and catch me, you big mea... Ooof!" A shrill cry, and a blur of motion overhead. The small blonde found herself crushed underneath an extremely menacing warlord.
"Hey, no fair!"
"All's fair in love and love, my bard."
"Yeah?" She blinked.
"Yeah..." sighed the warrior.
Green eyes closed as soft lips descended. Her senses responded leisurely to the gentle attack. Probing. Tasting.
Long serene moments passed.
"Think we should get going." The warrior suggested, making no attempt to move away.
"Do we have to?" The bard asked, holding on tight.
Pink lips captured hers and renewed their onslaught of assault.
The lovers pulled apart only when their need for oxygen overcame their desire.
"Come on, I want to get to the cave before the sun goes down."
"Oh, all right."
A small branch snapped nearby, succumbing to the white weight. The sharp sound echoed in the crystal air, suspending the stillness.
"I can't go anywhere with you on top of me."
Dark eyebrow raised, accompanied by an evil, feral grin. And before the bard could protest, cold white fluff collided with her face. Tall form heaved up and started ahead.
Long strides turned short, then small steps halted all together when the expected footsteps or snowballs didn't follow.
"Come on, Love..." The warrior solicited, a bit apprehensive.
Only the moaning branches responded.
She retraced her steps back to the bard, half expecting the ambush, which never came.
The blonde was lying exactly where her partner left her, her body stretched out, her arms moving up and down, her legs opening and closing. Two bard-size pits lay nearby.
"What are you doing?"
"Making snow Nikes!"
"Come on, don't you think they look like Athena's Nikes?" The bard jumped up from the freshly made hollow. "See? These are the wings..."
"Hmmm... I suppose they sort of do."
"Join me, this is fun."
"I'm sure it is, my bard, maybe later, but we should get going before it gets dark. Besides, you must be freezing."
"Not really." Gabrielle dusted the snow off her cape and tucked her body neatly next to the warrior, who welcomed the bard into her own cloak, and wrapped a long arm about the slim back.
The pair advanced conscientiously towards their destination. There would be no more detours that day.
"Have you made love in the snow before?"
"Well, have we?"
"You have your answer then!"
"Come on, you know what I mean!"
The warrior smiled fondly, and shook her head in response.
"Really? You haven't!?"
Different variations on Twenty-Questions entertained the friends instead.
Darkness had pressed upon the woods by the time the sojourners reached the cave.
Xena had not been back there for years. She was pleased that already their footprints trailing up the mountain had disappeared. Not that anyone in their right mind would visit this spot in the dead of winter though, and unless one already knew the cave was here, one would not have suspected its existence.
The warrior herself stumbled onto it accidentally while trying to escape persecution by a powerful warlord. The Warrior Princess in a later year avenged the injuries she suffered and the death of her men, of course, but that was not something she wished to think about.
She paused for a moment to look at the icicles hanging from the opening of the cave before she entered, leading her bard.
Outside the cavern, cold crackled in their ears; but here, in the firelight, they couldn't even see their own breaths. The air was actually warm as the friends neared the spring. It was truly like Elysium on earth.
Gabrielle loved it there. Together they built the fire with dry wood they brought with them, and laid out the branches they picked up on the way in to dry. Laughing, sweating, playing, as they set up the bedrolls and prepared their cooking gear.
The first time they stopped for a breather, their chores finished, they ended on the ground. Panting, hugging, kissing, tearing each other's clothes off. They rolled around, their bodies covered with grit and dirt.
The bard grinned down at the warrior, a wicked glint in her bright green eyes, and tweaked her dark partner's nose. "Race ya!" She leapt up and pounded towards the spring.
The warrior grabbed their towels and trotted behind, intentionally allowing her bard to reach the water first. She followed with a splash.
Later that night, with her larger body wrapped around Gabrielle's smaller one, their blankets covering both of them, Xena gazed into the dancing flames. She felt a quiet peace she hadn't felt in moons. Perhaps coming here had been a good idea after all.
The Warrior Princess' feelings towards this place had been mixed. If ever any place could be said to be imbued with her true spirits during those dark years, it would be this one. This was almost like a sanctuary, a tranquil refuge against the chaos.
To be with her bard here, like this, brought back many memories. The pleasant ones clamored for space in her mind, her heart, pushing away, and replacing the woeful episodes. Helped by the gentle fingers soothing faded scars on her arm from days long past.
Xena raised her head from its soft haven and smiled at the twinkling green orbs. They reminded her of a clear pond on a bright day in early summer. Fresh, lovely, full of joyous expectations.
She reached over and threw another log on the fire and settled back into the warmth of her Love.
A slight shuffle and a crunch from the outside woke the warrior. She reached over only to clasp cooling bedroll. Dazed, Xena looked around. The fire had sunk to a red glow, and their cloaks were missing. Her instantaneously alert eyes peered into the flickering shadows. The bard's staff was leaning by their bags; next to them, her clothes were folded, as they were the night before, in a pile.
The warrior grew concerned. Then sensitive ears picked up another small anomalous noise. She wrapped the blanket about her shoulders, picked up her sword, and went to investigate.
At the opening of the cave, the tall form halted. She stood and gazed out at the scene before her.
On mounds of white snow, Gabrielle bundled up in their capes reclined, contemplating shifting white clouds against pale blue sky. A halo of honey-golden hair spilled out onto the frosty ground, mirroring the morning light.
Smiling eyes became aware of the warrior's presence and they sparkled and danced with invitation and pleasure.
Somehow, against all impossibilities, Xena felt on her skin a warm tickle of breath against the stark chill air, and she gasped.
"Take me!" Gabrielle threw opened the cape and exclaimed, with bardic fervor.
"You're nuts, Gabrielle! And you're going to catch cold!" In spite of herself and her concern, the warrior had to smile; and peculiar warmth spread throughout her body.
"Come on!" The bard ran her hands over her smooth toned body and down her tight-muscled stomach to the honey-blonde field of curls. She dipped the tip of a finger in, then circled the glistening moisture around an already taut pink nipple.
All the while, she looked at her warrior, waiting.
"You're a tease, Gabrielle."
"Not for you."
"Oh, Hades!" The dark warrior flung her hand backwards and set whatever reserves she had left adrift with the wind.
And she fell into Gabrielle's arms. Heat surged through her as the lithe soft body arching against her larger one, and hungry lips closed over her mouth.
"Love me, Xe, love me," the bard gasped, with an urgency in her voice the warrior had never heard before.
Soon, around them, the snow drew back from their hot passion.
Against the frigid ground, the warrior's hands spread fire about her body. She moaned and lifted her head to kiss the warrior's throat. Grabbing a handful of white fluff, she teased her lover's sensitive nipples with her chilled fingers, the even colder snow, and her scalding tongue and mouth. Palms and frost burnt a path across and down strong muscled back.
Suddenly, Xena felt a burning desire to sink deep inside her bard. She wanted to crawl inside and fill all her voids from within. She wished she could do just that.
Settling for what was possible, she raised her own body and grasped the fair blonde by the shoulders and gently turned her around.
Her palms caressed Gabrielle's firm shoulders, down her arm, her sides, her spine, and up her thighs. They stopped to fondle and massage the perfect globes of her pale cheeks. Kneading and spreading.
She ran an insistent finger along the crack, rubbing the puckered entry, while tickling creamy flesh with her dark curls. The bard rotated her hips seductively, encouraging.
She groaned softly when the warrior breached her, the ring of muscles squeezing tight against her partner's thumb. And let out a rasping howl when long digits slid into her slippery center.
Xena pushed forward, reached around, and squeezed the swaying breasts firmly, cupping them, pressing them against her palm. Ardent lips trailed kisses all across shoulders and neck.
Her fingers eventually found their way between the bard's crimson lips. Hot tongue instantly curled itself around them, wetting. Hot mouth hungrily closed against them, sucking.
The warrior wasn't quite ready for the way this connection made her feel, but she quickly adjusted to the indescribable intensity. Her own moist tongue twirled in the bard's ear, delivering passionate moans and murmurs of disjointed phrases of love.
Gabrielle pushed herself back, forcing her partner deeper into the intoxicating heat. She arched up into the heated body, maximizing their contact, wanting to be engulfed by her Love.
Xena pulled out part way and drove in slowly, alternating, stroking, setting then matching the bard's rapidly escalating rhythm. Her own center rubbing in sync against fair firm thigh.
"Oh, gods, yes, ohhh..." Gabrielle trailed off into an incoherent scream. Waves of feverish passion surged and propelled her forward, pulling the warrior with her.
Breathing hard, Xena collapsed on her fair partner, her heart erratically pounding, her fingers still lodged deep in tight channels. She tightened her arm about the bard's chest.
"Mine," she gasped, both a plea and a statement.
"Yes, yours, my love, yours."
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