-Post Season Five. Very little angst mentions. Sexual stuff. Originally written for this porn battle.
-...it's always been before Xena and after Xena for Gabrielle.
Gabrielle can't help how life goes - there is just before Xena and there is after Xena.
Even after Dahok and nightmares, even after death and rebirth, even after losing everything and getting back only half of anything... it's always been before Xena and after Xena for Gabrielle.
It is raining and no one is sick, no one is dying.
They are drenched, to be sure, but they could have gone another day or so. But they decide to find shelter, let the horses graze in the cool storm - they can dry out.
Xena finds the tender. Gabrielle sets out all their items - saddles, pouches, weapons.
And the fire feels good. And they smile at one another.
And routine is so wonderful after sleeping in ice, after saving children, after declarations and such... it is so nice when they just stop, just stop being heroes and just get to be two people.
Gabrielle must have fallen asleep and Xena's arm is about her and they are cocooned away from the world.
No Ares. No killers. Not even the past, that thing that stood between them for so long... it is gone, too.
And she turns slowly in Xena's hold and the woman is looking right at her.
"Sorry for just drifting off like that." Gabrielle whispers and she doesn't know why she is talking so low.
But Xena just leans forward and lightly kisses her - not on the cheek and not on the forehead. Right on the lips.
And a litany of moments rush through Gabrielle's memory, of all the times she might have wanted this and didn't get it.
And no one is dying, no one is sick. They are not in any danger at all. Just the two of them avoiding the rain and getting some rest.
And Xena kisses her again, this time with more intent and Gabrielle very nearly comes undone.
Because, yes, Xena is beautiful and Xena is experienced.
But those things mean so little.
Because all she can taste on Xena's sweet tongue is that the warrior and the woman now belong solely to Gabrielle.
No one else can have Xena now and she is letting Gabrielle know it.
And all Gabrielle's body can scream is 'finally'.
Xena's hands are cool and strong and they ask for things that Gabrielle didn't even know she had to give - groans and sweat and guttural things - but it is the revelation of Xena... that's the gorgeous moment, that is the cherished vision that will haunt Gabrielle until the end of her days.
The bound and the braced, leather slipping off, and the opening up of thighs and the gasps from her mouth - Gabrielle brings Xena to the edge so many times and there is no trick to it. Just her hands dipping down and her tongue flicking, just a caress, just pressing against the woman with abandon... and Xena crashes to the ground, hot and flushed and panting.
No one is dying. No one is sick. No one is in trouble. No one is in need of saving. No one is after them. No one is waiting in the shadows to tear them apart.
They are just Gabrielle and Xena today, out of the rain.
And it's always been this way for Gabrielle, before Xena and after Xena.
Gabrielle was ensnared from the moment she caught a flash of blue eyes and gleaming metal, on a summer day outside of Potedia - a girl's longing for adventure masking something far deeper. And she is caught again and again, in the fluttering of raven hair and in the feeling of warm skin against her own - Xena is the before, the after and the everything in between.
And for Gabrielle, it has always been this way.