DISCLAIMER: Same disclaimers apply as in Step #1. However, there is a ‘little’ more skin in this one (no pun intended) and lots of nice kisses, too! Needless to say, it’s not Chemeclees doing the kissing. So, if love and kisses between two woman upset you, I recommend you see an alchemist for a remedy right away.

Feedback is always welcomed at <poorldl@earthlink.net>






Xena finished grooming Argo, ending the final swipe across the mare’s shiny golden coat with a flourish. She returned the brush to its compartment in the saddle bag, frowning when an unknown object blocked the brush from slipping into its pocket. The warrior reached in and pulled out a small jar, raising an eyebrow as she turned it around in her fingers.

It was a full jar of highly concentrated healing ointment.

Xena glanced over at an otherwise occupied bard, sending her an affectionate smirk and flipping the jar once in her hand before arranging both the ointment and the brush neatly back into the saddle’s pocket.

"Stubborn," the warrior whispered the comment into Argo’s ear, "So stubborn. What are we going to do with her?"

Argo paused to snicker softly, swatted her tail and then returned to munch on some fine, sweet grass just at the base of a tree.

"Yeah, I guess we’ll keep her."

Argo snorted again, causing the warrior to chuckle softly.

Xena was happy they were camping out under the open sky tonight, happy to be away from that city, even happier to be leagues away from that castle and its laboratory. In fact, she couldn’t get far enough away, the warrior thought to herself, as she tickled the soft spot just under the mare’s ear.

"You’re glad to be away from that place and its smell too, aren’t ya girl?" Xena whispered to her horse and then sniffed with a grimaced. By the gods, even though they were far from Chalcis she would still get a whiff of the pungent scent of Paracelsus’ laboratory every so often. The smell of it turned her stomach.

A shift in the gentle breeze filled Xena’s nostrils with the sour scent. She sniffed the air, frowning at the strength of the smell.

"What? Did it follow us here?" The warrior said sniffing around, tracing the source with her nostrils. Xena’s eyes followed her sniffing nose and it led her from the tree to the center of their campground, where Gabrielle was squatting over the open fire, stirring the contents of a bubbling pot.

Xena’s long legs carried her quickly to the source of the odor. She stood standing over the firepit, hands on her hips, making a face.

Gabrielle did not notice. She was too busy cooking.

"Gabrielle," Xena began carefully, not wanting to offend the bard’s culinary talents, "what are you cooking?"

Gabrielle gave the pot one last stir and stood with a smile, wiping her hands on the sides of her skirt.

"It’s a special recipe...just for you," the bard beamed. "Looks good, doesn’t it?"

Xena stared down into the contents of the pot. It was green and yellow and looked like water soaked dirt.

She looked back up at the bard, staring to make sure she was serious. She was.

"It looks just...delicious!" Xena drawled, keeping a straight face.

Gabrielle smirked, "You can’t lie to me, Xena. I know it looks like mud."

The bard took a couple of sniffs, "It smells worse than it looks, too!"

"Then why are you cooking it?" The warrior just had to ask.

"Because it’ll be good for you. The healer in Chalcis gave me the recipe." Gabrielle scratched her chin. "Although, I’m not sure if she really had a handle on the symptoms I was describing."

Xena knelt down for a closer look into the pot. She watched the contents bubble and simmer for a moment before the smell made her retreat, disgust crinkling her nose.

"Gabrielle, tell me the ingredients."

Xena watched the dirt colored water swirl around while the bard listed each ingredient prescribed by the healer.

She ticked them off with her fingers, one by one, as she explained.

"Let’s see....there’s alfalfa, cornsilk, dandelion root, garlic, horsetail, kelp......"

Xena turned her head and looked up at her with a bemused expression on her face. She waited until the bard was finished ticking off the ingredients and then chuckled softly.

"Gabrielle, this a herbal remedy for swelling."

"Oh. Really? Swelling, you say?..Hmm..Well, I can see how that could work. Let’s think about this a minute. You were small and then you SWELLED back up to normal size. That would put quite a strain on the muscles, not to mention your skin. And I shudder to think of the traumatic effects to your bones. Yup, a remedy for rapid swelling would be just the thing..."

Xena stood quickly and wrapped the bard up in her long arms, drawing her into a hug that ended with a kiss to the top of her head.

"You’re one of a kind, Gabrielle." Xena gave her a final squeeze and released the smiling bard. Then, the warrior dropped her long frame down to relax on their bedroll next to the fire.

"One of a kind, huh?" Gabrielle countered, squatting back down to give the pot another stir. "Just what does that mean?"

"That means the gods broke the mold when they made you. It means there’s no one else in this world like you, and I’m lucky you’re here with me." Xena reached out a flipped a strand of strawberry blond hair.

Gabrielle halted her stirring and smiled back at the warrior affectionately.

"No one else in the world, huh?" Gabrielle paused, thinking words like this from Xena were as rare as a rainbow. She smiled. "I think like that."

Then the bard lifted the spoon out of the pot and brought it to her lips for a sip.

Xena reached up quickly and halted her hand.

"Whadda ya doing?"

"I’m tasting it...to see if its done."

"Why?" Xena asked, incredulous that Gabrielle was actually thinking of putting the horrid concoction in her mouth.

"Because its our dinner."

Xena rolled back onto the bedroll, chuckling and shaking her head.

"You can’t be serious, Gabrielle."

One look at the bard’s pained expression told her that she was.

Xena reached back up and gently helped Gabrielle to place the spoon back in the pot.

"Oh, I have a MUCH better recipe for dinner than that," Xena purred.

"Really?" Gabrielle allowed her hand to be directed down and she released the spoon, "You... have a recipe?...for dinner? This I gotta hear."

"Oh yeah...it’s a really great recipe. Got it from a master chef."

Xena wrapped her arms around the bard’s waist and pulled her down onto the bedroll.

A delighted Gabrielle giggled as Xena laid her down and began a nibbling assault on her earlobe, but she pushed back on the warrior’s shoulders, suddenly curious.

"No changing the subject now, Xena. What’s this recipe. Who’s the chef?"

Xena smirked and gave the deliciously tender earlobe another nip, before whispering into Gabrielle’s ear.

"His name was Paracelsus."

Gabrielle pushed Xena away again in surprise.

"Paracelsus! Xena, you’re kidding me, now." Gabrielle stared deeply into the wonderful blue of Xena’s eyes, looking for signs of a joke. Although the eyes were twinkling, the warrior’s expression remained serious.

"No, it’s true. He gave me a great recipe." Xena replied, smiling at the curious suspicion drifting across Gabrielle’s bright face and the way the firelight highlighted her hair.

Gabrielle slapped her shoulder.

"Come on, be serious."

"Oh, I am serious." Xena lost her smile, but not the twinkle in her eyes, "There were lots of secret recipes in that laboratory of his. I stole the best one, though."

"You stole a recipe?"

"Yup." Nibble.

Push. "From Paracelsus?"

"Yup." Nibble.


"All right!" The bard relented, grinning back at Xena’s huge smile, "I give. What’s the super secret recipe that you stole from Paracelsus?"

"Ya really wanna know?"


"Promise not to tell anyone?"


Xena squinted.

Gabrielle huffed, "ALL RIGHT. I PROMISE!"

Xena grinned in approval and then brought her lips just shy of the bard’s sensitized ear. The warrior’s warm breath tickled her skin and soft lips, barely grazing the flesh as she spoke, sent a delicious shiver right down to the bard’s toes.

"I stole the recipe for little girls."

Gabrielle shoved her away by the shoulders.

"What!" Gabrielle laughed, "What are you talking about?"

"It’s true," Xena answered, "I...Xena, Warrior Princess...now know the cosmic recipe for making little girls!"

"Oh you do, do you?"

"Oh, yeah...," Xena purred, leaning in once again to continue her assault on the delicious ear.

"What?" Gabrielle smiled, tilting her head to give the warrior better access, "Are we going to eat one?"

"Eat what?" Xena pulled back to ask.

"A little girl," Gabrielle answered, tilting her head and pulling Xena’s head back in so she could continue to nibble. "You said you had a recipe for dinner. So, are we going to eat a little girl?"

"Hmmmm," the warrior mumbled in reply, her lips occupied again by an earlobe, "maybe..."

Xena paused in her nibbling to take a nice juicy bite from her favorite sweet spot on the side of Gabrielle’s neck.

The bard squealed and pushed her away. "So, how do I know I’ll like it?"

"Like what?"

"A little girl...for dinner I mean?"

Xena smirked and raised an eyebrow at the now blushing bard.

"You know what I meant," Gabrielle said, shaking the warrior’s shoulders a little. "Well, at least tell me the ingredients," the bard pressed.

"Which ingredients?" Xena tried her best at looking confused.

"The ingredients...for the recipe...the recipe for what little girls are made of..."

"Oh that." Xena’s smile sparkled in the campfire, reflecting in the bard’s shinning eyes. The warrior pursed her lips, thinking for a moment.

"Now, let’s see..."

Xena caught the bard’s lips with her own and kissed her most thoroughly, waiting until Gabrielle was certainly mesmerized and absolutely out of breath before pulling away.

The warrior licked her lips, tasting the sweetness that still lingered.

"Hmmmm...that’s sugar..."

Then she attacked the bard’s neck with a deliciously ferocious bite, not stopping until she was sure that her mark would remain for the rest of the night.

She pulled away from the bite, sneering quite wickedly.

"...and spice..."

Then Xena, with the well-practiced fingers of a free hand, managed to untie the laces of Gabrielle’s soft amazon bodice. The green top simply fell away, exposing two absolutely delectable breasts for the warrior’s perusal.

Xena’s gaze traveled oh so slowly over every inch of delicious flesh.

"...and EVERYTHING nice!"

Gabrielle closed her eyes and smiled as Xena helped herself to dinner.

"Hmmmm," the bard cooed, "sounds like a GOOD recipe!"

"Oh, it is!" Xena replied around a mouthful of nipple.

Then warrior lifted her head very briefly and shot a wicked grin at the bard.

"And you thought I couldn’t cook!"

The bard laughed and leaned back with a happy sigh.

A thought quickly crossed Gabrielle’s mind that they were breaking yet another of their many ‘rules of the road,’ but she wasn’t about to complain.

It would ruin their dinner.



Conclusion...Epilogue Step 25


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