By Pink Rabbit Productions
Disclaimer: Xena and Gabrielle belong to Renaissance
Pictures and MCA Universal. I'm just borrowing them.
Author's Note: This is set just after the events in A
A fire glowed off mineral coated walls, while snow slipped to the
ground outside the small cave.
A girl, young and pretty, her red-gold hair caught back from her face
by a narrow braid, stood in the mouth of the cave, leaning against a
chill rock wall. Her blue eyes glittered with curiosity and excitement,
as she watched the snow continue to blanket the land. Occasionally, she
lifted the toy sheep in her hand, tugging at the tail to make the mouth
open. The child�s toy brought a grin every time, and she clutched it
against her breast, when the cold brought shivers, and she folded her
arms across her chest. Gabrielle heard the soft pad of footsteps, then
felt the softness of Xena�s wool and fur cloak settle on her
"If you won�t stay by the fire," the warrior muttered.
"You can at least stay warm this way." They�d been lucky she
remembered the cave when the storm blew in, or they�d still be out in
the bad weather, trying to find shelter.
The bard snuggled into the warmth of the cape, breathing in the warm
mixture of smells that wafted up from the garment, tantalizing her nose
with odors of fur, and smoke, and Xena herself. "Thanks," she
murmured, still watching the steady descent of white flakes. "It�s
just that I�ve heard of snow, but I�ve never seen it before."
Xena folded her arms across her chest, glaring out at the thickening
white with a jaundiced eye. "Nasty, wet, cold...I�m not sure I
understand the fascination."
The bard glanced back, her expression understanding. "Oh, come
on. It�s beautiful, and you know it."
"Maybe," Xena allowed, sounding as though she�d rather
not. "But it�s still cold, and wet, and I bet you won�t be so
enthralled when the road is a muddy, icy mess tomorrow."
Gabrielle sighed softly. She loved and trusted Xena, but there were
some days she had no romance in her soul. She shifted her shoulder
against the stone wall, and felt the press of the carved sheep against
her body. A soft smile touched the bard�s lips. Well, okay, so she had
some romance, and it popped up at the most unexpected times. "Can�t
I just enjoy it tonight?" she questioned.
Xena sighed heavily. She really hated snow, and Gabrielle�s
tendency to romanticize everything was endearing, but entirely too alien
at the same time. Xena wasn�t used to people who thought of snow as
anything but an impediment to a successful campaign. She was still
mulling the thought over, when the bard twisted, holding the sheep up to
her face, while she made baaing sounds. One dark eyebrow lifted.
"What do you think you�re doing?" she questioned.
Gabrielle stilled, uncertain how to answer. Finally, she just
shrugged, and gave an answer that precious few people in the history of
the world could have given in regards to the warrior. "I was just
"Do you realize there are whole nations that would quail at the
very idea," Xena noted dryly, her eyebrow lifting another notch.
Gabrielle shrugged and turned back to watch the snow slipping to
earth. "Thank goodness I'm not a whole nation." She reached
back and tugged Xena's arm around her waist. "Just one redheaded
Xena spread her fingers over her lover's midsection, and pressed her
lips to silky hair. "Mmm, thank goodness�even I don't have that
"Har de har har," Gabrielle muttered, as she leaned back
against Xena. She held her toy lamb a little tighter. "But I feel
bad�I didn't get you anything."
There was a brief pause, then Xena lifted her hands to Gabrielle's
shoulders to gently turn her around so they were face to face. She
carefully removed the toy from Gabrielle's hands to set it on top of
their things, then cupped the smaller woman's face in her hands.
"You are my gift," she told Gabrielle seriously. She dropped
her hands to wrap them around her friend's. "The only one I
want." She whispered, her breath playing over Gabrielle's face in
the moment before their lips touched. She slid her arms around her
lover, holding her close as the kiss deepened. "The only one I
need," she whispered when their lips parted. Moments later, armor
rattled gently as it was lowered to the floor. Fabric and leather
followed, to form silent puddles, as bare flesh blended together. The
two lovers sank down onto their sleeping pallet, pulling Xena's cloak
over them as they snuggled into soft wool, and fur blankets.
"The only present I've ever wanted," Xena exhaled as rested
her cheek on the bard's chest, her hands tenderly stroking silky flesh.
Surrounded by Gabrielle's warmth, the sound of the bard's heart under
her ear, Xena finally had everything she'd ever wanted�.
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