Gabrielle wakes to the squeak of the screen door and the click-click-click of Xena’s bike as she wheels it in. She cracks open an eye and finds the clock.
7:32 AM. Ugh.
She flops onto her back. The ceiling of their tiny studio apartment is tinted orange from all the sun Xena’s letting in, and Gabrielle blinks at it until the indignation of being woken so early dissipates. Cool air wafts in through the door, making her cocoon of blankets feel cozy by comparison. She digs in with her toes to get the sheets tucked in more securely and turns her face toward the door.
Xena’s got one hand propped on the doorframe, bending over to rip at the velcro on those strange, clunky bike shoes. Her helmet’s already off, and there are damp tendrils of hair clinging to her forehead and neck. She appears as a silhouette, framed by the morning light streaming in through the screen and shining off her edges. Gabrielle sighs her appreciation.
Xena glances up and sees her. “Hey. Sorry I woke you.”
“S’okay.” And it really, really is, because Gabrielle loves this part. Oh, she might have protested a bit when Xena started cycling: busy streets and bad drivers and so forth. But then Xena started coming home all pink and panting and sweaty and wearing these amazing skintight outfits that she proceeded to strip out of in the middle of the apartment, and yeah. Gabrielle became a fan of the whole cycling thing.
At the current moment, Xena is unceremoniously stripping shoes, gloves, socks, and shirt. There’s a weird zippered pocket in the back of the shirt, and Xena fishes her ID out of it and pads over to drop it on the bedside table.
Gabrielle takes a long, deep inhale as Xena passes near. Maybe it’s a little crazy, but she loves the way Xena smells after a long bike ride. Salty and somehow windy, as if all that air whooshing past her has become embedded in her skin.
Xena bends over again, dressed in nothing but a sports bra and bike shorts, to do some sort of stretching. Xena, for the record, looks amazing in bike shorts. The padding at the back does something magnificent to her ass, and Gabrielle feels no shame in staring as Xena goes through a couple more stretches.
Right. Something has to be done about that. Gabrielle drags herself out of bed and staggers over. She plants her face in Xena’s breastbone, grabs her ass in both hands, and takes a deep inhale of her cold and salty skin.
“You are so weird.” Xena says to this, amused.
“You smell good,” she tells her.
“I smell like an armpit.” Xena shuffles sideways towards the bathroom, but Gabrielle doesn’t let go. “Let go. I need a shower.”
“What you need is to take off those shorts and let me lick you.”
“Come on,” Gabrielle whines, and when Xena tries to shake her off again, she digs her fingers into the waist of the shorts and lets her knees drop out from under her, dragging the shorts down with her.
“Gabrielle,” Xena says. The shorts only come about halfway down her ass, but when Gabrielle peeks around under Xena’s arms—she’s put her hands on her hips, disapproving—Gabrielle can see the dried trail of sweat that disappears into the crack of her ass. Yes please. Gabrielle plants her tongue and lips against the point of a hip bone and sucks. The taste is so good that she actually groans.
“Gabrielle,” Xena says, voice sharp. Gabrielle looks up at her. “I’m gross. I’ve ridden 30 miles this morning, and I’m sweaty, and I don’t feel like doing this until I’m clean.”
Gabrielle sighs. Xena’s face softens, and her mouth quirks up into a smile. “I’ll take a shower, okay? And then we can get back to it? Or,” and Xena’s voice lowers into a more persuasive register, “You could just join me in the shower?”
“We always have sex in the shower,” Gabrielle says, dropping her gaze to Xena’s hip and trying to keep the whine out of her voice.
“And you’ve always seemed to like it,” Xena says evenly, but Gabrielle can hear the question in it.
“No. That’s not-” Gabrielle shakes her head and drops her hands from Xena’s shorts. She smiles up at Xena reassuringly. “It’s okay. Go take a shower.”
One of Xena’s eyebrows goes up at that, but she shrugs, touches Gabrielle’s cheek, and heads for the bathroom, stripping off her bra as she goes. Gabrielle flops back onto the bed.
If it had been a couple of years ago, back when their relationship was still new and shiny, and Xena had offered sex—any sex, anywhere, particularly while wearing nothing but bike shorts and a sports bra—Gabrielle would have been gagging for it. Xena always had a way of making whatever she was doing sound like the filthiest damn thing you could think of. But that’s just it: Xena doesn’t like to be filthy. Or at least, not for sex. Gabrielle suddenly remembers the camping trip when Xena had claimed all week that she didn’t feel like it. Or when Xena had been clearly faking her enthusiasm for Gabrielle’s whipped-cream bikini last Valentine’s day. Or, the fact that Xena’s doesn’t usually want sex during her period. Which is fine, really, lots of women don’t, but now Gabrielle is wondering whether she’ll ever be able to have sex with Xena when they’re not perfectly clean. She’d really, really like just a little taste of Xena when she doesn’t taste like soap. Because Xena, legs spread and covered in sweat and pink skin and smelling like the wind? Gabrielle feels her cunt contract at the thought. Oh, there are plenty of other ways that she’d like to see Xena, much dirtier ways, ways she hasn’t even allowed herself to properly imagine yet, but that one would be a start.
She should just ask Xena. They’re grown-ups, in a grown-up relationship. That’s what grown-ups do: they communicate. The sound of the shower cuts off, and Gabrielle turns just in time to see Xena step out onto the bathmat, dripping and naked and completely unselfconscious with the bathroom door open.
Even naked, there’s something in Xena’s shoulders and spine, something in the way she carries her head, that makes her impregnable.
Gabrielle turns her face into the pillow and sighs. She’ll just have to work her way up to the communication thing.
At dinner that night, after Gabrielle has ladled out the meatballs on top of two plates of noodles (she’s also working her way up to real cooking, okay?), Xena takes a deep breath and says,
“Yeah?” Gabrielle takes a too-big bite of spaghetti and has to choke it down.
“I was thinking about this morning.” Xena shifts uncomfortably in a very un-Xena-like manner. “I know I’m kind of a clean freak.”
Gabrielle knows what she's talking about immediately and is struck by two scary thoughts: 1) that she had made Xena feel pressured and uncomfortable this morning and 2) that maybe Xena wants Gabrielle to be clean for sex. Usually it's Xena who takes the shower before sex, not Gabrielle, and what if that turns Xena off? Gabrielle casts her mind back to the last time Xena had gone down on her. Had she been feigning enthusiasm? Oh god, is their whole sex life a lie?
Gabrielle is already half-way to a minor meltdown and almost doesn’t hear when Xena says, “Maybe we could try it. I could try it.”
Gabrielle freezes. “Try what, exactly?”
“I mean, I’m going to ride again the day after tomorrow. Maybe we could…you know. Afterwards.”
Wow. Xena, reduced to you know. This really is a big step for her. Gabrielle tries to make her face really calm.
“I’d like that,” Gabrielle says. And then, because apparently they’re talking about this now: “But it’s not just after a bike ride, although I really desperately love you in those shorts, and I really, really want to do that. A lot. It’s…a lot of times. Anytime. Hell, I’d love to be able to push you down on the table right now with the spaghetti.”
“Really? Spaghetti?” Xena looks dubiously at the noodles hanging off her fork and raises an eyebrow. Gabrielle is suddenly struck by a vision of Xena laid out on the dinner table, elbow in the meat sauce, her rucked-up top soaked in wine, and bucking up hard as Gabrielle pumps most of her hand in and out of her.
“I think I kind of have a thing for making you dirty.”
Xena looks surprised. “You’ve never mentioned it before.”
“I didn’t…it didn’t really occur to me, before." And when Xena’s brow goes back up in disbelief, she amends, “Okay, maybe it occurred to me. I just didn’t think you’d be into it.”
Xena nods contemplatively and takes another bite. A little bit of red sauce trickles out of the corner of her mouth, and Gabrielle's eyes can't help but track it as it leaves a dripping track down her chin before disappearing under Xena's napkin. Xena catches her staring.
“I may need to work on the ‘anytime’ part," she says. "What if we planned on it the first few times, and then I can get used to it?”
Gabrielle is nodding and nodding and hell. She plants her elbows on the table and leans up and over to plant a smacking kiss on Xena’s lips. Xena laughs at her.
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Gabrielle lies awake for the full two hours that Xena is out cycling. She’s obsessing. She knows she’s obsessing, but she can’t stop. What will she do when Xena gets back? Will she meet Xena at the door? Make sexy comments from the bed while Xena undresses? Make her breakfast? (And that causes a whole tangent of thoughts, because Xena with bacon grease on her face, Jesus Christ.) Maybe she’ll just touch herself in bed and wait for Xena to decide how and when she wants to join her.
Yes, she’ll do that. She will definitely do that one.
She licks her fingers and pushes them eagerly under the covers and into her pajama shorts and panties. The first circle she makes around her clit is too eager and too hard, and she huffs a laugh at herself, going more slowly. She teases herself for a few minutes, drawing circles and figure-eights and working out a bit of wet to dip her fingers in.
It’s not hard to get a fantasy going. She pictures the two of them out in the woods, perhaps at the end of a long bike ride. They dismount in a glade, somewhere green and lush and probably still wet after a rain. Gabrielle would push Xena down in the mud, where stray raindrops might drip from the trees onto Xena’s face and smear the dirt there in brown streaks. She could trace patterns of mud and sweat into Xena’s skin; she could lick at the combined sweat and mud and rain on her throat. She can just see it now, the way Xena’s thighs would clench as Gabrielle rubbed the grit into them, the way her hair would tangle in Gabrielle’s hands…the way she would grimace.
Gabrielle’s fingers stop moving. She can picture the exact expression of discomfort Xena would wear in a situation like that. She sighs heavily.
The bang of the door opening makes her jump.
“Hi,” Xena says, standing in the doorway and looking like she stepped straight out of Gabrielle’s fantasy. Except for the mud. But the sheen of sweat on her arms, the hair sticking to her neck, the pink in her cheeks...
“Hi,” Gabrielle says. She feels stupid, suddenly, with her hand down her panties, and retracts her arm. Xena’s lips twitch up in response, and Gabrielle smiles back as Xena starts to disrobe.
Down to her shorts and bra again, Xena hesitates before getting in the bed with her. It worries her at first, before she realizes that Xena is likely concerned about dirtying the clean sheets. She shoots Xena an apologetic look, but Xena just shrugs and leans in to kiss her, smooth and no-nonsense. Xena smells nice, like salt and wind and outdoors, and Gabrielle breathes it in through her nose as she deepens the kiss, licking and sucking at Xena’s lips. She leans back to briefly to shift their position and pauses at the determined look on Xena’s face.
She wonders suddenly whether Xena is making herself do this for Gabrielle’s sake, and her arousal fades.
“Are you up for this?” she asks, locking eyes with her.
Xena bites her lip, smiles in a self-deprecating way. “I don’t know,” she says.
“That’s okay. It really is,” Gabrielle says. It’s a challenge to keep the disappointment off her face, but she doesn’t want to do it if Xena isn’t into it.
Gabrielle shifts until she can get her cheek pressed under Xena’s chin, and they lay against the pillows for a while, Gabrielle sweeping a hand up and down Xena’s side in slow, soothing strokes. Her skin is wet, slippery, and Gabrielle wonders whether she should be enjoying just the feel of it under the pads of her fingers.
“What is it about this that is so hot for you?” Xena gestures to herself, apparently indicating her sweat, her wet shorts sticking to the no-longer clean sheets. Gabrielle doesn’t answer at first, just keeps moving her hand.
She shrugs. “It just is.” Gabrielle’s actually given it a lot of thought over the last couple of days, but she doesn’t want to talk about it now. She doesn’t want to make Xena feel pressured.
And if she's being honest, she doesn't want to justify herself. Not even to Xena.
Xena’s breasts dip under Gabrielle’s cheek as she exhales loudly.
“What if I ate you out?” Xena says. Gabrielle smiles ruefully into Xena’s sternum; trust Xena to plunge ahead even when she’s ambivalent about it. She even allows herself to picture it: maybe 69ing so that Xena’s pussy is within reach, so that she can taste her. But she wouldn’t be able to forget that Xena wasn’t enjoying it. Maybe they should just give up and go get in the shower together.
Oh. There’s an idea.
“Let’s go to the bathroom.” She bounds up and extends a hand to Xena, who accepts it and levers herself up. Gabrielle doesn’t miss the way that Xena glances back at the dirty sheets as she gets up out of them.
“We’ll wash them,” she says. Xena smiles back at her, comforted and bemused by her sudden energy and follows her easily into the tiny bathroom.
As soon as Xena crosses the threshold of the bathroom, Gabrielle turns and kisses her, pushes up through the balls of her feet to make it hard she can, gets her tongue against Xena’s to make it wet as she can. “What if we were in here? Where we could wash off right after?”
Xena smiles, perhaps partly to humor her, but definitely in a better mood now that she’s not dirtying the clean sheets: “Yeah. Yeah, that sounds good.”
They make out against the sink, and Gabrielle can finally get her fingers digging into the slick skin at Xena’s back, her mouth sucking on her collar bone. The taste is…god. It’s indescribable, mixed in with the smells- the musk between Xena’s breasts and under her armpits. She can tell the moment Xena starts to get into it, shifting against her hands to work her thigh between Gabrielle’s legs. She goes loose, like the spaghetti noodles the other night, and all of a sudden she wants to tell her:
“I think it’s hot because you’re not as put together, you’re wet all over, and that makes me wet, and you’re dishevelled. I like that you seem more…on my level,” she says in a rush at the end. Wow. Where did that come from?
Xena apparently thinks the same thing, because she’s pushing Gabrielle gently away from her so that she can see her face. “More on your level? Gabrielle. How could you possibly…Why do you think I’m not your level?”
Damn. They are definitely not going to have sex now.
“I didn’t mean to say that. I mean…I don’t….” But Xena is still looking at her with intense concern. Gabrielle resigns herself to this and sits down on the bathroom mat. Xena crouches down in front of her. She places a hand on Gabrielle’s knee.
“I know I just sounded like I was having a self-esteem crisis, but it’s not that, not really,” Gabrielle says. Xena raises an eyebrow.
“Okay, maybe I have a little bit of a self-esteem issue sometimes, but that’s not what this is about. You just seem so put together; you’re always clean and beautiful. I don’t really…” Gabrielle clenches her teeth. “I like it when you’re filthy because…maybe it’s actually because you don’t like being dirty. You seem more vulnerable. You’re always in charge when we have sex. You’re always on top, so to speak. And I love that. I really do. But I also…when you’re dirty and awkward and feeling self-conscious…it makes me want to lay you down and, I dunno, lick you clean with my tongue until you feel good again. It makes me want to take care of you.”
“I see,” Xena says evenly, but something in her posture is tense, reclining against the edge of the shower stall.
Gabrielle resists the urge to defend herself. "Listen," she starts, "you don't have to—"
“No. No, it’s just—” Xena pauses, and then her mouth stretches outward into one those slow, dangerous smiles. “These last couple of days—I don’t think I’ve ever heard you talk so dirty before. Just telling me what you want like that? I like it.”
“Oh.” And Gabrielle can’t help but grin back. “So…yeah.”
“Yeah,” Xena says. “I’m glad that you told me. It may not be my thing exactly, but—” she looks around, “the bathroom was a good idea.”
The two of them together take up most of the floorspace in their bathroom. Their legs are intertwined, Gabrielle’s ankle tucked up against Xena’s hip, and Xena’s eyes meet hers amicably when Gabrielle digs her toes under her ass.
“We spoiled the mood, didn’t we?”
“Maybe a little,” Gabrielle says. “Maybe we should have taken it slower.”
Xena shrugs, then shivers a little, and Gabrielle remembers that she’s half-naked and covered in cold sweat. She stands and leans over Xena to reach the switch for the radiator. Xena catches her hip in one hand as she does so, squeezing it and tilting her head back to smile as Gabrielle stands up straight.
“One more try?” she says, rubbing one thumb up under Gabrielle’s hip bone, right where she knows it’ll make her gasp. When a little sound comes out of Gabrielle’s mouth, Xena smirks.
Gabrielle threads her fingers through the wet strands of Xena’s hair, looks down at her gorgeous, beloved face and watches as Xena’s expression softens, feels the touch to her hips turn into a caress. She really does look more relaxed now, more Xena-ish. The heat from the radiator is starting to spread out into the room, and Xena’s eyelids droop briefly from the feel of it on her back.
“Where do you want me, then?” Xena says. Her face is open and waiting, and this is what Gabrielle has been dreaming about: Xena sweaty and receptive and in need of a good fuck.
“No, baby. Tell me. Tell me what to do.”
Gabrielle takes in a deep, thrilling breath.
“Get naked and lay back against the mat.”
And then Xena does, which, okay, involves some scooting around, tugging at clothing, and rearranging of their limbs, but they laugh while they’re at it, and in no time at all, they’re both naked and Gabrielle is kneeling between Xena’s open legs.
She’s maybe staring a little.
There are pink indentations around Xena’s waist where the shorts had dug into her skin, and Gabrielle skims her fingers over the slippery skin there, sighing happily. Xena huffs a laugh.
“No. The look on your face—” But Xena’s smile fades as Gabrielle’s fingers move down through the curls between her legs. She scratches and pulls a little, and Xena gasps. Gabrielle grins at her. Ha. So there. She feels predatory, all of a sudden, and the lust that’s starting to simmer again in the pit of her stomach feels shockingly like hunger.
She dips forward and breathes in, deep. It smells salty between Xena’s legs, like the rest of her, but it’s blended obscenely with the rich scent of pussy, and Gabrielle’s mouth waters. She opens her mouth wide, and covers as much of Xena with her mouth as she can, licking broad, long swipes up and down her entire pussy. The taste is…indescribable and familiar all at once—pure, heady, and maybe a little metallic. No soap, no deodorant, nothing between her and the pure animal taste of her. It’s a different level of intimacy, taking this from Xena, seeing her like this, and she glances up at Xena as she begins to focus her tongue and lips around Xena’s clit.
Xena rocks her head up to look at her, nerves or possibly embarrassment warring with arousal. Gabrielle keeps her eyes locked on Xena’s, trying to let her know that this is amazing, that she is amazing, that Gabrielle is enjoying the fuck out of this. The heat from the radiator pervades the room, and it’s just that much harder to catch her breath as she eats Xena out.
She wants…she wants all of Xena in that moment, to put her mouth over the whole of her and swallow her down. She tries to do just that, for a moment, sweeping her tongue and mouth over Xena’s thighs, Xena’s pussy, Xena’s belly, Xena’s breasts and back down again.
And when that’s not enough, she thrusts two fingers into her, curling them immediately and hoping that she can stroke some more juices out of Xena. The moan she gets in response is loud and low.
She takes her other hand where it’s been clutching at Xena’s thigh and reaches down to touch herself, because this is almost definitely the hottest thing that’s ever happened to her, and she is going to come just from doing this. It’s difficult, keeping herself upright with one hand on herself and the other in Xena, and she ends up leaning into Xena’s pussy, holding herself up with her mouth, where she’s moving her tongue around Xena’s clit in a pattern that she knows is Xena’s favorite.
Xena’s breath is coming out in stuttered, beautiful pants.
“Talk— talk to me.”
Gabrielle pulls away to rest her head on Xena’s hip and works her fingers harder. “You taste amazing. You’re—god—you’re so beautiful like this, It makes me want to fuck you with something, it makes me want to put my fingers up your ass, it makes me want to eat you out in lieu of three square meals. You are the entire fucking food pyramid, Xena.”
Xena makes a sound somewhere between a laugh and a moan, and Gabrielle revels in the way she can feel it vibrate in the muscles currently clenching around her fingers. She sucks at Xena’s clit and lets her teeth drag over it, and Xena’s thighs tighten up in that familiar way, and she’s coming, gasping, around Gabrielle’s fingers and against her mouth.
Gabrielle hardly waits for her to finish before she’s climbing up and over her, keeping her fingers on her own clit moving hard. She kisses Xena greedily while she gets her other hand where she wants it—in Xena’s sweaty, tangled hair—and her pussy where she wants it—grinding down against the slick skin of Xena’s belly. Everything’s glorious for a moment, and she’s looking down at Xena, firmly in that quivering stage where it won’t take much at all.
Xena smiles up at her, eyelashes sticking together and beads of sweat on her forehead, looking happy and boneless and and for some reason it’s that that makes her clench, from her cunt to her shoulders, and let go, shuddering and falling forward to catch herself on the side of the tub.
She ends up resting her forehead there, breathing in and out. A sudden wet pressure on her nipple makes her jump, and Xena looks up at her mischievously.
Xena runs a hand up and down Gabrielle’s side where she’s perched above her. Then she purses her lips.
“Would it ruin your afterglow if I said I really wanna take a shower right now?”
Gabrielle laughs, and leans down to lick a bead of sweat off Xena’s forehead. “No. ”
Xena retaliates with a slap to Gabrielle’s ass, but Gabrielle just laughs again, exhilarated.
“Shower sex?” she proposes, and reaches up to turn on the water.
“Shower sex sounds great,” Xena says, and the gratitude in her eyes makes something go warm and tight in Gabrielle’s chest.
The things she wants to do with this woman.
Gabrielle’s going to have to make a list. They can work their way through it.
They clamber into the shower together, and Xena must catch the faraway look on her face, because she says, “You’re brainstorming substances you can dip me in, aren’t you?”
And then she tips her head back into the shower spray, eyes closed, the splatter of water against her face like something out of a supermodel photoshoot.
Gabrielle is going to make a long, long, magnificent list.