Convert this page to Pilot DOC Format
By Rachelle & BigSis2Shell
Disclaimer: This story contains love scenes between two adults. Please do not read further if you are not of age (18 or 21 depending on your State and country you live in or you don't like these kind of stories.
"I think you might be surprised about the change you can inspire in a man, or a God." Ares-Ten Little Warlords
Xena and Gabrielle was packing up their bedrolls when the sun was peakingover the horizon. As was the routine the bard was doing all the talking, while the Warrior Princess was doing most of the work.
"Hey, Xena, what do you think about going to visit Ephiny? We
haven't seen her or her son in a
while," Gabrielle asked.
"Sure, Gabrielle, that sounds fine. I'd like to see how she's doing as acting Amazon Queen," Xena replied.
"Do you think I should have stayed and resumed the throne?" asked Gabrielle.
"Well, if that's what you want, I would never stand between you and your destiny," Xena said.
"I didn't say that's what I wanted! I just asked what you thought," screamed Gabrielle.
"I think it would be a lot quieter around here and less annoying too,"
Xena mumbled to herself, not thinking Gabrielle would hear. But aloud she said, "I think that maybe you should think upon it before you decide whether to do it or not."
"NO! I heard you! You would rather I do something, anything, even if I didn't want to just so you could have a little peace and quiet," Gabrielle said, eyes ablazing from across where the fire had burned last night.
"Well maybe you should! Maybe then I could let down my guard since It would only be me I would have to look after," Xena yelled back.
"Since you have apparently grown tired of my vast vocabulary, maybe we should part company as soon as we reach Amazonia," Gabrielle stated with tears in her eyes.
Xena wondered what had just came over them. Gabrielle was her best friend in the whole world and the only one she could truly trust and she had just wounded her, just as surely as if she had sliced her with her sword.
Now she needed to apologize. "Gabrielle, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you. I don't know what came over me to make me speak to you that way. You've always been there for me, even when I didn't ask."
Well I do," Gabrielle said, with eyes full of unshed tears. "You must have been speaking from you heart, or lack there of. Well I don't want or need your pity. As soon as we get there you are free to leave," she replied then stormed off in the direction of their destination.
Xena rolled her eyes and thought, 'What are the Gods up to now?' As she followed her friend out of the woods and down the path to Amazonia.
Gabrielle had not spoken to Xena for two days and nights, the silence was getting to Xena. Not that she didn't enjoy the peace and quiet, but for the bard to be quiet this long was beginning to worry her. 'Maybe she is just thinking of what all she has been through these last few months so she can make a decision about her future,' Xena thinks to herself. Surely she will be in a better mood in the morning. She takes one last look at the bard and tried again to say something, but Gabrielle just turns the other way, so Xena rolls over and wonders what tomorrow will bring.
Morning comes and for once Gabrielle had beaten Xena up. While Xena is tending to Argo, Gabrielle starts breaking camp. She is still not talking to Xena and seems to be getting more frustrated as the time passes. With everything done they start back down the road and this time Gabrielle takes the lead while Xena and Argo follow.
It is well into the third day and Xena's thoughts are elsewhere, still concerned about Gabrielle.
Gabrielle, however, was ready for a fight. She had walked ahead of Xena, still wanting to keep some distance between them, her staff at the ready just waiting for anything or anyone to get in her way, when all of a sudden a group of soldiers crossed into their path.
The one who looked to be the leader of the group spoke first, "Well, well. What do we have here? Looks to be a little girl holding a big stick. How's about showing us a good time?"
Gabrielle, glad to have the chance to vent some anger says, "Little girl! Why don't you let me show you what I can do with my big stick."
He started towards her and she brought her staff up to greet him with a devastating blow to his jaw. He spun around and dropped to his knees and yelled at his men to get her.
Xena, having heard the sounds of the fight ran to join in on the fun. One of the men lunged for her, when his body hit hers it propelled her to the ground. He was straddling her thighs and leering at her. She clenched her fist and hit him below the sternum, knocking the wind out of him.
While he was weakened she flipped him off her then she flipped over on top of him and hit him on each side of the head, rendering him unconscious.
As she leapt to her feet to help Gabrielle, another one attacked her from behind, around her midriff. She stomped his foot and broke his nose with the back of her head before he let go of her. When she turned around to pursue the fight he ran off mumbling it wasn't worth it.
During all the commotion of her fight and trying to help Gabrielle, she never saw the dark figure hid in the shadows. She didn't notice that he was watching her with a new interest in his eyes. before long though, he would make himself known.
When Xena heard Gabrielle scream she whirled around to help her fight off her foes, but the bard didn't seem to need any help. For she had taken out four men on her own and was now working on her fifth, while three others where scurrying away. But Xena noticed something different about her friend. There was a bloodlust in her eyes. She seemed to be in a murderous rage and was beating the poor man senseless with her staff and needed to be stopped before she took his life. But before she could reach the bard to stop her, a shadow stepped out from behind a tree and grabbed the staff from Gabrielle's hands. Both women look at him in disbelief and said in unison, "Ares."
Xena looked at Ares with distrust and scorn. Then said with a sneer, "Ares, what are you doing here?"
Gabrielle interrupted and as Xena stare at her she asked, "Why did you stop me when I was ready to finish off that piece of scum? Aren't you the God of War? Isn't that what you do? Why did you interfere?"
"Shut up, you irritating little blonde, enough with all the questions. Don't you ever shut up?" Ares said.
"Actually Ares, Xena said before Gabrielle could attack the God of War,
"She hasn't spoken for two days. Now, back to why you're here."
"It's a long story," Ares said.
"Great, I love stories," Gabrielle said cheerfully.
Xena wonders what has gotten into Gabrielle, she is talking to Ares as if they are the best of friends. 'Well I'm not going to be so gullible, he wouldn't be here if he wasn't up to something,' she says to herself.
"Ares, just get to the point. What do you want?" Xena asked.
"I'll answer everything you want to know, but first could we sit and rest for a while?" he asks.
"Okay, there should be a small clearing up the road a little bit," Xena stated.
Gabrielle and Ares started to walk on ahead. Xena thinks to herself, 'Well, at least I know she hasn't forgotten how to talk.'
Argo sensed the troubles in Xena so she too was standoffish and real earie. They followed the other pair to a clearing where a tree was lying on it's side. When they came up to the tree, Ares looked up and asked, "May I have something to drink?"
"Yeah," said Xena and handed him the goatskin full of water, but before he could put it to his lips he passed out.
Xena, thinking this was just another ploy, kicked Ares in the side and said, "Come on, I'm not falling for it. Get up."
As she pulled back her booted foot, she realized there was blood on it and it belonged to Ares.
Gabrielle gasped when she saw the blood and said, "I didn't know gods bled?" More to herself than to Xena.
"They don't," Xena said as she dropped to her knees to see where the blood was coming from and how bad it was. When she rolled him over it was then that she saw the hole, at his waist, that had been previously covered by his sword and belt. She realized that she would have to cut some to the leather away to get a better view of the wound. So she took out her dagger, from her bodice, and as she started to cut away the leather she asked Gabrielle to get some water and something to dress the wound, from her saddlebags.
With concern on her face, Gabrielle said, "Yes, yes of course. Do you think you can help him?"
"I don't know, but I'm going to try," Xena answered.
"Even though you don't like or trust him," she asked.
"Gabrielle, no one deserves to die, not even my greatest foe. Now go get those things for me."
"Okay. Oh! Xena, I'm not mad anymore, I just thought you should know," she said as an afterthought.
"Good. Let's see what we can do to help him," Xena replied.
When Xena finally got as much of the leather cut away as she thought necessary, she began examining the wound. It was pretty bad and he'd lost a lot of blood. But maybe no major organs were harmed.
Gabrielle returned with everything Xena had asked for and Xena's own shift. Xena looked at it then up to the blushing bard, "Well, I couldn't find anything else to dress the wound, besides, he needs it more than you."
Xena smiled and shook her head then went to work on cleaning the wound. After she had the wound cleaned she discovered it was not as bad as she had feared. She smeared the area with the salve and dressed the wound. Then she casually looked up at Gabrielle and said, "Don't worry, he will be sore for a few days but he will be alright."
Xena then left to get cleaned up and search for food, leaving Gabrielle to look after Ares. Not only did she have to search for food, but she also needed time to think. What was happening? What was the God of War doing here and why was he bleeding? Too many questions and no answers. When she returned to the camp she was still troubled and it didn't seem like she was going to get any answers from him tonight so she decided to watch over him, since she wouldn't get any sleep anyway.
But Gabrielle had alot of her own questions and started asking them as soon as they had finished their meal. "Xena, why do you think he stopped me when I was...fighting that guy? What is he doing here? Why does he bleed? Do you think this is another one of his tricks to get you to come back to him?" She asked all at once not giving Xena time to answer.
Xena shrugged and said, "I'm just as confused as you are and I'm afraid we won't get any answers until morning. But as for this being another trick, I'm not ruling out the possibility that it could be. But whatever it is, it won't work. I'm not going back to him."
"Xena, you know I trust you, but please be careful. I know he has some kind of hold on you and it makes it hard when you are around him to resist your dark side."
Xena interrupts her, "Gabrielle, you have only seen glimpses of what I used to be, from when he has tempted me. But that is nothing compared to what I was. I know I scared you the last time we faced him, when he tricked me into attacking that village, and I..I hit you the first time he tried to get me back," she lowers her head so she doesn't have to see the bard's reaction as she continues, "I have done such terrible things, things you can't even imagine, but I can't blame him for everything. I went to him willingly when Lyceus was killed, to give me the strength I needed. He gave it to me and the skills I needed. And when M'lila was killed, I lost all control and became the Warrior Princess. I needed him then as much as he wanted me. He made me what I am."
"But Xena, you have changed," interjected Gabrielle.
"Yes, but it's still a part of me, a part I will never forget," Xena finished.
Gabrielle puts her arm around Xena's shoulders and holds her close. "I have faith in you and I know you will do the right thing."
Xena smiles at her and says, "Go get some sleep. We have a long day ahead tomorrow."
Gabrielle turns in and Xena tends to Argo. When she is finished she checks on Ares, who is in a restless sleep. She turns to leave when he calls out to her in his sleep, she kneels down beside him, thinking he needed her, it was then that she heard his confession...
She thinks he's just delirious, but part of her wonders what if?
Xena had watched over Ares throughout the night and he seemed to be doing as well as could be expected. His color was returning and his breathing was almost normal. She listened to his rambling's, hoping to get some of the answers she needed, but only ended up with more questions. She decided that while Gabrielle and Ares were still sleeping it would be a good time to replenish their water and get something for breakfast. As she bent down to pick up the goatskin, Ares' hand shot out and grabbed her wrist, she followed the hand up to the face of the only being who could evoke such emotions and turn her inside out. When her eyes reached his face she felt as if she was drowning in the deep dark liquid of his eyes. But this morning he looked different, he didn't appear as cold or cunning as he normally was. This morning there seemed to be a look of regret and maybe some remorse and definitely a look of thankfulness. When he started to speak she quieted him by saying, "Save your strength for now, I'll get the answers I need when I return with water and food." He let go of her wrist and she turned toward the river just beyond a strand of trees.
After she filled the goatskin and had started picking wild berries her mind returned to the look on Ares' face. She thought to herself, 'What was he up to? And why was she starting to feel sorry for him?' She kept having to remind herself that Ares was Ares, God or mortal, and he had to be up to something. She just wished she knew what it was. Glancing down she looked at her wrist, the same one that he had grabbed not long before, she felt as though she could still feel his touch. It wasn't like when he had touched her before, somehow, it was different. Before, when he would touch her, she seemed to go into a trance and when it was over the feeling was gone, but now it seemed to stay and her body had not reacted how she expected. As she tried to figure out why, she remembered what he had told her the last time she had helped him. She had been in Callisto's body and was tending his wounds, when he revealed that he had experienced her body while Callisto was in it. That would explain the feeling she was having. She sighed in relief, thinking it wasn't her feelings he had awaked, just her body's reaction.
When she had enough food, she returned to the camp and found Ares had propped himself up against the fallen tree, but his mouth was drawn and he seemed paler than he had before she left. She kneeled down beside him, while checking his wound she asked, "Are you crazy? You could have just undone all the work I did to stop the bleeding!"
"Keep talking like that, Xena, and I'll think you might care about me." He laughed and winced at the pain it caused.
"Ares, you can go to Hade for all I care, but if something happened to you while in my care, I'd have all the Gods upon me," she replied.
"Oh, I doubt that Xena, but I could name a few," he said with a sly grin. "And as for Hades, I've been there." His look then turned serious and he said, "I know you have questions, so I'll tell you everything and if you have anymore questions, please feel free to ask them."
Xena waited for him to begin. As he started his tale, he placed his hand gently on hers and squeezed. "Well, after Zeus gave Hercules his powers back, he called a meeting before all the gods. He convinced them to relieve me of my powers and my godhood as punishment, but they decided it would only be temporary at first. They gave me three months to do an unselfish act. If I succeed, I get my powers back, if not, I stay a mortal. That is if I last that long."
Xena butts in, "What do you mean if you last that long?"
"I mean, how long do you think the God of War would last if people knew I had no powers? You see one of the conditions of my mortality is if another mortal takes my life, they usurp my throne and take the powers that go with it. My first day almost killed me. Early yesterday morning I came across the same group of men you did, I was stabbed, robbed, and left for dead."
"So that's what happened. You were lucky, the sword didn't hit anything major. You'll be sore for a few days, but nothing more," Xena said as she took in everything he had said. 'So the Gods punished him, but what about Strife?,' she thought to herself. She decided to put the question to him. "Ares, if I were to believe you, which I'm not saying I do, why would the gods punish you and not Strife? Was he not the one who actually did the deed?"
"Xena, they did punish him. He actually got the worst of it in my book," Ares replied.
"You still haven't told me why you're here?" Xena reminded him.
"Well, I was being selfish. I wanted the best warrior on my side and I wanted you to hear the story from me," he told her.
"You're right. If I was like I used to be, I would be first in line to kill you. but what makes you think I'd help you?" she asked.
"Yeah, what makes you think Xena would help you after what happened the last time?" Gabrielle said as she got up from her bedroll.
"Oh, so the little bard decided to wake up and join the conversation," Ares returned.
"For your information, I've been awake since Xena left to get breakfast this morning. I wanted to make sure at least one of us kept an eye on you," the bard said. "Xena, you know you can't trust him, remember the last time he needed your help?"
"If you remember right, I did keep my promise and she did get her body back," he interjected.
"Enough with all the bickering. Yesterday you treated him as if you were the best of friends and said not a word to me. But today, you're on my side?" Xena asked.
"I know, I wasn't in my right mind yesterday, but Xena, you know he'll just use you to help him stay alive and then when he gets his powers back he'll try anything to get you back into his fold,": Gabrielle stated knowing she had already lost the battle with Xena when it came to Ares.
"Okay Ares, I will help you on one condition," Xena said with a challenge in her eyes.
He looked into Xena's beautiful blue eyes and tried to see what the condition could be, but didn't get the slightest inclination. So he said rather leery, "What's the condition? And if it's within my powers, it's yours."
"That's what I needed to know. Here is the condition, if I help you and keep you from meeting your demise, when you get your godhood back you leave me in peace and never, and I mean never, try to reclaim me. If you can give me a blood promise, I will help you," Xena stated.
Ares reached between her breasts, took out her dagger and placed it in his palm, he cut just deep enough to break the skin then handed the dagger back to her. As he closed his hand and pressed it against his lips he bent down on one knee and said, "I swear, by my blood and by the Gods to release you for helping me." Then he stood, looked into her eyes and said, "Is that pleasing to you? For all that I am and all that I have I owe to you for saving my life." Then ever so slowly, as if in a trance, he leaned forward and tentatively caressed her lips with his own. Then ducked as she swung at the side of his head with her fist. As he laughed softly he said, "Xena, even the Gods wouldn't fault me for that."
"Ares, you ever try that again and I will kill you myself," Xena said with the makings of a sly grin on her face.
But before it could she turned away to face a smiling Gabrielle who said, "I guess it's sealed with a kiss," and giggled.
'Oh brother, what have I gotten myself into?' Xena thought to herself as she walked past her friend and took Argo by the reins. "Well," she said not looking back, "We had better get going if we are going to make any time today."
They had walked for several hours and covered a fair amount of ground when Ares asked, "Could we possibly stop and rest for awhile?"
Xena looked off the road to her right, then off to her left before saying, "Yeah, I know of a place to set up camp for the night." Then she and Argo veered off to the right side of the road, her companion's following closely behind.
When they came upon a clearing beside a waterfall, Gabrielle looked around in awe and said with a voice full of amazement, "Xena, how did you ever find a place so breathtakingly beautiful?"
Xena answered with a sadness in her voice, "Borias and I came here a few times."
"Oh, Xena, it must be hard for you to come here and remember," replied Gabrielle sadly.
"Yeah, it used to bother me pretty bad, but now they are just bittersweet memories of a time I will always cherish and hold close to my heart." Then Xena, as if just noticing for the first time, asks, "Where's Ares?"
Gabrielle said, "He's still not used to being a mortal and he doesn't understand the new sensations he's feeling." Xena looks at her with a puzzled look, Gabrielle sighs and continues, "you know, he said he felt funny and like his eyes were floating. So I pointed him in the direction bush."
Xena rolls her eyes and says, "Do you think he can figure the rest out?"
They laughed together then Gabrielle jabbed Xena in the ribs and asks, "How's about that kiss?"
"Gabrielle!!" Xena growled.
Gabrielle interrupts her and says, "Come on Xena, you've been acting strange all day. I just thought the kiss had something to do with it, that's all."
"Well, if you want to know the truth, it was a bit unnerving. It's just his way of playing mind games. It didn't mean anything." Then Xena thinks to herself, "I hope.'
Just then Ares approached, "Looks like you are having an interesting conversation. Can I join in?"
Xena looks at Gabrielle then to Ares, "Girl talk, you wouldn't understand."
Gabrielle smiles trying to stifle a giggle as she walks over and starts to unload Argo.
Xena could swear Gabrielle was blushing, she herself was feeling a little mischievous and thought of a way to get the bard back for teasing her about the kiss, "Gabrielle, I'm going to get us something to eat, would you be a dear and tend to Ares' wound?" then she scrambled away.
While Xena was gone and Gabrielle was tending his wound, Ares decided to break the silence and said, "You know, if you would have saw Xena three years ago, you would have felt about her like you did about Callisto. And if you thought Callisto was bad, she was nothing compared to what Xena used to be."
Gabrielle looked up from her task and said, "So I've heard. But Xena's changed, she's different now."
Ares says, "No one knows that better than I. But I also know that under the right circumstances she could change back to the old Xena."
Gabrielle butts in, "Can I ask you something? Why won't you just leave her alone?"
"Because, she is like fire to my veins. When she was in my fold, those were the best of times. There was nothing I wouldn't have done for her. If you think her skills are good now, you would have loved to have seen her then. She was merciless. No opponent stood a chance against her, but now, her emotions lead her when she fights. She used to kill for the thrill of it, now it's only for self defence. She has always fought with such passion and it brings joy to her face, and mine as well, whenever she's in battle. Back then she was fighting for a better world and she still is, but her purpose had changed. I think you had a lot to do with it. Actually, the bond you two share, is like the one we shared. I made her what she was, but you are helping make her who she is becoming. Even though, she doesn't kill for the thrill, men still tremble at her name. I will always wonder if she were to turn back to her old ways, would she come back to me." He says with a faraway look in his eyes, as if remembering a time long ago.
When he had finished talking, Gabrielle asked, "Is that why you want her help?"
"No," he answered. "I want her help because she is the best and I know I can trust her. She would never switch sides after she's given her word. She would see it through to the end, whatever that might be."
Then she asks, "Is that the only reason you came to Xena?"
He wouldn't look her in the eye, instead he looked over her shoulder and replied, "What other reason would there be?"
But before she could question him further, she saw Xena returning, so she finished dressing his wound and said, "Well, that's all I can do for you. the wound seems to be healing quite nicely."
When Xena reached the camp she dropped two dead rabbits as Ares, asked her if they could speak privately. Gabrielle interjects, "Hey, anything you have to say to Xena, you can say in front of me."
"It's okay, Gabrielle. I think we do need to talk. We won't be long. Go ahead and start cooking."
"Humph, well, I need something to cut these with, I know I saw that chakram somewhere?" as she was looking around for it.
Xena rolls her eyes, "Oh no you don't, use this," and she retrieves her breast dagger from her bodice. Then gave her a smile and left with Ares.
Once they were out of sight, Xena asked, " Ares, where would you like to set down?"
"I guess over there by the waterfall, on that rock," he replied, as he pointed to the spot.
When they reached their destination, Ares sat down, while Xena stood.
"Xena, I think that you should try to convince Gabrielle to either go home or someplace safe until this is all over. I don't want her harmed while helping me."
"Am I to believe that you care?" Xena replied.
Ares chuckled and said, "No, I just want you to focus all your attention on me."
"What where you trying to pull when you kissed me yesterday?" she asked a still smiling Ares.
"Xena, it was completely innocent, unless, you felt something."
"Ares, I felt nothing," she lied, very unconvincingly.
As if to prove a point, he gently took her by the hand and stood up, with his other hand he caressed her cheek, as once again he pressed his lips to hers. Only this time, she didn't swing her fist at his head. Instead, she tangled her fingers in the hair at the nap of his neck. He took this as a reason to deepen the kiss and slipped his tongue through her yielding lips. And as their lips tangled together, so did their bodies.
Xena thought to herself, 'Maybe I should break the embrace before it goes to far. No, I will enjoy this one moment while it lasts. That was her last sane thought as he slipped his hand into her bodice and caressed her nipple into a tight nub. When Xena did not pull back at such a brazen touch, he could feel his blood turning to fire in his veins and hear his labored breathing and erratic heartbeat in his ears. He didn't know how much more of this sweet torture he could take before he disgraced himself. Then a moan is heard and he wonders if it came from him or Xena.
Just then, Gabrielle breaks into his thoughts, "Xena, Ares, where are you? What's taking so long? I'm hungry!" she yelled from where they had made camp.
They jerked apart and Xena turned her back to Ares, as she re-adjusted her bodice and rumpled clothing. When she turned around he was still staring at her with lust in his eyes. She looked him over and noticed the bulge between his thighs and said, with a sparkle in her eyes and a smile on her face, "You'd better stay here for awhile. I'll tell Gabrielle you decided to take a swim to ease the uh...tenseness uh..in your body."
"I guess that's your way of telling me I should cool my arousal before I return to camp," he replied to the retreating back of Xena.
When Xena stepped into the circle of light from the fire, Gabrielle asked, "Where's Ares?"
"Oh, he decided to take a swim to see if it would ease some of his soreness."
"Isn't the water a bit cold for..." Gabrielle started, but before she could finish they heard Ares yell.
Xena shrugged her shoulders, "Could be."
"Xena, what could you have talked to him about for this long?" asked Gabrielle, wondering why her friend was acting so strange.
"Oh, just something that came up. Nothing to worry yourself about.": Xena replied.
"So, have you given any more thought as to whether he is on the level or not?" Gabrielle asked.
"I think he is. At least the part about someone being after his throne." Xena stated.
"Xena, I hope you are right. You don't have the strength to deny him if he comes to you on your terms. I hope you aren't setting yourself up for a fall." Gabrielle explains.
"You may be right, but it's a chance I have to take. What you don't seem to understand, Gabrielle, is no matter how bad you think he is, he would never let any harm come to me because of him," Xena offered.
Before Gabrielle could talk to her further, Ares returned to camp. His hair was wet and he seemed to have a chill when he sat down across the fire from Xena, who smiled and asked, "Was the water to cold?"
"No," he replied. "I think it did the job it was intended to do."
"Did the water ease the tenseness?" Gabrielle innocently asked.
Xena smiles and stifles a giggle as Gabrielle handed her portion of rabbit and then Ares his, before she sat down with her own.
Ares attacked his food with a vengeance and finished long before his companions. "Where are we going?" he asks.
"To Amazonia," Xena replies.
"Why are you headed there? Are they in need of your assistance?" he inquired.
"No, we're going to check on a friend, that's all," interjected Gabrielle.
"And Gabrielle is going to stay there for awhile," stated Xena.
"Oh, no I'm not!" replied Gabrielle. "I'm going with you. I told you, I'm not mad anymore, so why should I stay?: You may need my help."
"Yes, you are. And it is too dangerous to come with me," Xena said.
"That's exactly why I should go. Do you think I would leave you when you could be endangering you life?" Gabrielle asked.
"I'll be there. I can fight you know," Ares interjected.
"You have no powers, Ares, anyways, Xena will need my help to keep you alive. It's going to be an all night job. Someone will have to be on watch at all times. Believe me, I can help."
Ares mumbles under his breath, "Oh yeah, you could talk them to death."
"Okay," Xena conceded. "You can come along, but if I tell you to run, you had better run."
"Thanks Xena," Gabrielle says as she hugs her.
"Well, since that's settled, I guess I'll turn in. Gabrielle, you have first watch," Xena replied as she laid her bedroll on the opposite side of the fire from Ares.
"Me and my big mouth," whined Gabrielle. "I guess I'll go tend to Argo." then walks away from camp.
As Ares lays out his bedroll, across from Xena, he says, "What if I *need* you during the night?"
"If you think you might, then I suggest you take another swim,' she replied with a smile.
Then Ares laid down on his bedroll, facing the Warrior Princess, he says, "Sweet dreams, my temptress," to an already dozing Xena. Then he himself, drifts off to sleep.
Early the next morning, Xena wakes everyone up, since she was the one who took third watch. Gabrielle decided to go for a short brisk swim to revive herself. She had no more made it to the small stream when she heard the clashing sounds of metal hitting metal and knew that the first fight of many, had already begun. She raced, staff in hand, back to camp. When she reached the camp this was the sight she beheld.
Ares, still weak from his wound, was warding off two foes. Argo was keeping three at bay with pawing the air and kicking them with her hind legs. While Xena was facing greater odds. She was welding her sword at six adversaries, they were good, for they had Xena starting to show fatigue.
So Gabrielle headed in Xena's direction, when she was close enough she caterpolled into the midst of the fighting. Xena looked at her and said, "Glad you could join us."
Gabrielle replied, while swinging her staff at two and knocking the breath out of them, "I thought you might need my help." Then she whirled around and caught one opponent between his legs, he groaned as he dropped to his knees and she smashed him in the face breaking his nose and knocking him unconscious.
Xena wounded three and was starting toward the two Gabrielle had knocked the breath out of when she heard Ares yell, she spun around just in time to see him take the lives of this two foes, she turned back around to the two that were laying on the ground, as one scurried away she leaned over, did the pinch hold on the other one, and said, " I have just cut off the flow of blood to your brain. You'll be dead in seconds, unless you tell me what I want to know. Now, why are you here?"
"We heard that Ares, God of War, had lost his powers and whoever took his life received his powers and his throne."
"Deliver this message, anyone who wants to challenge Ares has one hell of a fight to win. Also let them know that he travels with me, Xena Warrior Princess, and they will have to go through me to get to him." She releases him from the pinch and he nods his head in acknowledgment then runs in fear to join his retreating comrades.
"Thanks Gabrielle, I'm glad you came back when you did, I couldn't help Xena but you didn't even think twice about putting your life at risk. You are a true friend and a fair warrior," Ares said humbly.
"I would have done it for anybody, that's just the way I am," replied Gabrielle.
As the two were talking Xena went to see about Argo. She seemed to have made it through without a scratch.
As she was returning to where Ares and Gabrielle were standing, a shadow moved away, unseen, from the group. "Keeping a hand on Ares might be a little more than I had first anticipated. Three days ago, I thought he was finished and he would have been if I hadn't interferred and lowered the direction of the sword that was to have penetrated his heart. I have to keep him alive and to keep him from doing the unselfish deed so I can be soul ruler over war," Athena said to herself. "Maybe now that he travels with Xena, that will be helpful to me."
During this time, Gabrielle was still talking to Ares. "Did you have to take their lives?" she asked.
"Yes, it was either kill or be killed. So I took their lives," he replied.
"But Xena aimed to injure, not kill. Couldn't you have done that?" she added.
"I'm sorry, I am not used to having to defend my actions. I did what I thought was necessary. Now could we just drop it? I'm not used to being mortal and I think I might have exhausted myself," he said.
Xena, hearing the end of the conversation, intervened. "Yeah, Gabrielle, he's used to being in complete control. So he's really out of his element when it comes to things that morals have to deal with everyday to survive."
"Well, Ares, if you think you're up to it, I think we should get going," the bard said.
Xena grabbed Argo's reins and agreed with Gabrielle as she started down the road.
As they travelled, Xena and Gabrielle remained focused on their surroundings, while Ares was focused on why his mind kept returning to the joy he had felt in the arms of the Warrior Princess. Even during the fight this morning, he seemed to fight for his life only so he could taste those sweet tempting lips and have her yield to him as a man, not a god. What was she doing to him? How was she getting in his thoughts? But more important, what would he do if something happened to her while she was helping him. Was the God of War going soft? No, I just don't want the greatest warrior to meet her demise. And the strange reaction I'm having to Xena's body is just because my body remembers the taste and feel from when I had experienced it while Callisto's spirit was in it. Yes, that had to be it. It was the only logical explanation for my body's reaction. I know I've wanted her for years, but that was with my body, not my soul. I've got to get control, having Xena on my mind could very well get me killed. The Gods have smiled upon me so far or maybe luck was on my side.
He came back from his thoughts to hear Xena and Gabrielle ask if he was ready to stop and make camp for the night. He agreed so they walked off a ways from the road, to a nearby stream. They had unpacked their bedrolls and Xena had taken care of Argo, while Gabrielle set off to find firewood and Ares had wandered off to try and settle his urges for Xena. As for Xena, she was fighting her own urges about going to seek Ares out. She was usually in complete control. of her feelings and her urges, except where he was concerned. It seemed she couldn't deny him anything, well anything except giving her life back to him. And for that she was grateful. She had almost decided to go check and see if he was alright when he stepped back into the clearing.
"Xena, I'm not going to apologize for what happened last night, nor can I promise that it won't happen again. So if it is your wish, I will release you from your promise to help me," he told her with longing in his voice.
"Ares, if I don't help you, no one will. Is it your wish to die at the hands of anyone who would come against another simply so they can have the power and be a god all at the swipe of a sword?" she asked him.
"No," he replied. "But I want you to know exactly what might happen."
"So I take it you are warning me? How funny," Xena laughed.
"Take it however you wish, but know this, you are to tempting for me to lay beside you and not taste or touch you. If you stay I won't be responsible for what will happen," he replied with a serious look.
"Don't you mean might happen? Anyways, Gabrielle will be with us. Nothing will happen, not when she picks the most, umm interesting moments to interrupt," Xena replied.
"Ahh! But where there's a will, there's a way. And believe me Xena, there is a will."
Then as if to prove a point, he looked around for Gabrielle and not seeing her, leaned towards Xena and tenderly touched his lips to hers. And this time she deepened the kiss. For a moment he was taken aback. Then he just let her lead him down the road to the sweetness he knew she had buried deep. Slowly they broke the kiss. When Xena felt more in control of her raging emotions she replied, "I'm glad Gabrielle will be travelling with us, otherwise, we might be concentrating more on each other than why we are together and our purpose at hand."
Ares looked deep into Xena's eyes and let her see into his soul, what she saw both confused and appealed to her. But before she could question him, Gabrielle returned.
Gabrielle knew she had interrupted something by the look on each of her companions faces, but she also knew just to let it drop.
That night they decided to have a cold meal before Gabrielle took first watch and Xena and Ares turned in.
While taking first watch, Gabrielle decided to move away from camp. So she went to where Argo had been left to graze and since the moon was full and shining brightly, she decided to write in her scrolls.
He was dreaming, he had to be dreaming, he hadn't ever felt anything this good. He was asleep anyways and this wasn't real, so why not enjoy it.
He ran his thumb back and forth and felt the nipple pucker and harden, his body responded with a hardening of its own. Heat, like a fire, spread through him. Blood rushed to his loins and he groaned with satisfaction. It felt so damn good to respond to a mortal. Why had he denied himself this pleasure for so long? He bent and buried his face between her soft firm breasts, letting his hand wonder down narrow ribs and past an even narrower waist to gently flaring hips. The woman's low moan of pleasure raised his temperature another notch.
With his lips he trailed a path across her collar bone until he found the bare flesh of her throat. There he dipped his tongue, like a hummingbird stealing nectar from a flower, and felt her pulse race. Sweet, she smelled so sweet, tasted so sweet. She moved beneath him and his heart thundered. He trailed his hand around to grasp her firm buttocks and couldn't remember the last time he felt so, so, he could not explain his feelings. All he knew was every nerve in his body tingled with anticipation.
His mouth and tongue took a downward path until he buried his face in the deep valley between her breasts again. Lips and teeth nipped up one mound at a time, stopping at each crest to tease each bud and suck on their sweetness..such sweetness.
The woman beneath him gasped, her hands clutched his head, but only to hold him closer, someone moaned. He wasn't sure who and he didn't care. He trailed hot wet kisses up her chest and neck and along her jaw and settled his lips on an equally hungry mouth.
Xena was in her own tortured dream of another time and another man. She accepted all of the caresses and her body yearned for more. Slowly she came out of her stupor and realized that it was not Borias, but Ares instead, who had invoked such feelings. Her scream was one more of shock than one of the person who had made her feel things she didn't want to fell. "NNNNOOOOOOOO!"
At the tortured scream that seemed torn form Xena's lungs, Gabrielle dropped her scrolls and ran back to camp. As she cleared the strand of trees the sight she beheld was Ares on top of a half dressed Xena. "What in Hades are you doing to her?" she yelled at Ares.
He stood and muttered an apology as he left camp to cool his arousal.
Gabrielle looked at Xena, questions already forming in her mind. She starts to speak, but Xena cuts her short. "Gabrielle, I need to be alone right now."
Gabrielle asked with concern on her face, "Xena, are you ok?"
"Yeah, but it's not what you think," Xena replied.
Gabrielle whispers, "If you're sure you'll be ok," as she walks off to retrieve her scrolls.
When Ares finally returned Xena was gone and Gabrielle had replaced her on the pallet Xena and he had just shared. Only his bedroll was placed on the far side of the fire.
When Ares awoke the next morning, Gabrielle was humming and starting breakfast but Xena was no where in sight.
She's down by the river," Gabrielle answered his unasked question.
He decided to check on Xena, after last night he really needed to talk to her. He got up from his bedroll and left camp, taking the direction that lead away from the river and Xena.
Gabrielle watches him go then says to Argo, "Don't worry, Ares, I won't let on that I know where you are really going. I guess they are going to have to face their feelings together. Xena is going to have to get him out of her system so she can forget him and get on with her life."
Argo seemed to agree with her.
By the time he had took the long way around and walked up to the embankment he didn't see Xena, he figured he had missed her, so he discarded his clothing and was getting ready to submerge himself in the inviting water when Xena's lovely body broke the surface as she plunged into the depths of the merky waters. With a devilish grin he wadded in the water to where he last saw her. She emerged just inches from him. As she turned to face him, he braced himself, for he did not know what reaction he would receive from her, but it wasn't any that had ran through his mind.
When Xena emerged and turned to face Ares her senses reeked havoc on her and she didn't have the strength to fight anymore. She melted her length to his and she could feel his desire for her pressed against her abdomen. She linked her arms around his neck as his lips descended down to touch the silky skin below her right ear. Xena moaned, then leaned back and gave him easy access to her breast. As he trailed whisper soft kisses down to her right nipple, then he slowly suckled, his senses went reeling. Then in a husky voice he whispered, "Xena, if this is not what you want you have to stop me, because I don't have the strength."
"Ares, I think I've wanted this for awhile," Xena replied with a seductive tone to her voice.
At her answer he lifted her up in his arms and carried her to the bank where he gently laid her down on a velvety soft knoll. He slowly covered her body with his own. As he kissed her, he slipped his manhood into her sweet haven. When their body's united there was such a earth shattering feeling that neither one of them could think of anything but this moment in time. Slowly he increased the tempo, all the while Xena matched him thrust for thrust. Their bodies slid together perfectly. Their senses reeling. their passion soaring, then when each thought that neither could handle anymore their passion peaked and they climaxed together, then slowly returned to earth. They laid content together in each others for a few minutes, each thinking about what had just happened and wondering if this would change anything. When they realized where they were and what they were facing, they both got up and retrieved their clothes. After they had dressed they headed back toward camp, but before they reached camp, Ares left her to return the way he had left.
When Xena returned to camp, he was still gone. She fished the hairbrush from her saddlebags, sat down and preceded to brush the tangles from her hair. Gabrielle handed her some dried fruit and nuts and asked, "What kind of excitement do you think today will bring?"
"What do you mean?" Xena asked.
"I mean do you think we can make it to Amazonia without anymore interruptions? How much farther is it anyway?" Gabrielle asked.
"With word getting out about Ares, we could run into a few problems, but we should reach there by the end of the day," Xena told her.
At that moment, Ares walked into camp. The spot between Gabrielle and Xena was empty so he asks, "Is this seat taken?"
Gabrielle answers, "No." Then thinks to herself, 'I wonder how long they're going to try and fight the attraction, even I know is there? Just then they glanced at each other, while they thought the bard wasn't paying attention, a smile planted on their mouths and an arched eyebrow.
Xena tosses Ares the bag of dried fruit and nuts and says, "Toss some down and lets get a move on." Then she grabbed Argo's reins and realized Gabby had thought ahead and had broke and packed camp. Ares started on the road toward Amazonia and Gabrielle fell in beside Argo and Xena.
Gabrielle, having noticed the little secretive exchange between Xena and Ares, could take it no longer. "Xena, what happened between you and Ares?"
"What ever do you mean?" asked Xena.
"Oh don't take me for a fool, even I can see the difference," Gabrielle replied.
"Difference, what difference? I'm still the same," Xena exclaims.
"You know what I mean, I know what goes on between a man and a woman, even if you think I can't. I'm not as innocent as I used to be," Gabrielle yells.
Xena stopped dead in her tracks. "What's that suppose to..."
"Oh, no Xena, you didn't, did you? Oh I know it's been awhile, but couldn't we have just stopped at a tavern somewhere?" Gabrielle interrupts.
"Gabrielle, I'm not that kind of girl anymore," Xena replied. "And what do you mean your not as innocent as you used to be?"
"Oh your not, but you are the kind of girl that sleeps with Ares?" she couldn't believe this was happening. "Xena, I was married you know, or did you already forget that? Anyways it's not me we're discussing."
"Okay, Gabrielle," Xena conceded. "Anyways, he's not THAT bad?"
"I don't want to know how good or bad he is. Can't you see he's just using you?" Gabrielle argues.
"No he's changed. I've seen..."
"You just see what you want to see." Gabrielle interrupts.
"Gabrielle, butt out! I'm a grown woman," Xena yells.
Now Gabrielle is getting angry, "Well, then act like it! As long as you are willing to do this to yourself I can't condone it, nor will I sit by and watch. You have to choose Me or him."
Being very serious, Xena says, "I gave him my word. I can't go back on it."
"You didn't say you'd warm his bed," Gabrielle informs her.
"And he didn't ask," Xena says defensivly.
"Humph!!!" Gabrielle storms off ahead of Ares.
Ares falls back to where Xena is and asks, "What's up with her?" looking toward the bard.
"She knows," Xena answers.
"I'm sorrry. I never meant.." he starts to apologize.
"Don't worry, I'm a big girl and I make my own decisions. She'll understand." Xena tells him.
They travelled the rest of the day in silence, Gabrielle was still fuming over her fight with Xena, wondering if her friend would ever get her senses back. Xena was trying to figure out if she was doing the right thing, and Ares was just confused.
That evening they reached Amazonia. They explained to Ephany what had happened for them to be travelling with the God of War. Ephiny tried to warn Xena before she left, but she just ignored her as she asked Gabrielle to keep Argo in case something happened to her.
Gabrielle surprises Xena by leaning up and kissing her on the mouth, then she reaches her arms around Xena neck and whispers in her ear, "I hope you make the right choice." She slowly pulls away and leaves a stunned Xena watching her lead Argo deeper into the camp.
Their first night away from the bard was spent in passion's bliss. Laying by the campfire, Ares slowly undressed the raven haired, molten-blue eyed beauty, with the body that has been dubbed as a lethal weapon, known as the Warrior Princess. He wanted to take his time and relish every curve of her magnificent body, but before he could shower her lovely body with tantalising caresses, she became impatient, flipped him onto his back and preceded to take control. As she hurriedly undressed him she boldly took his manhood and showed him pleasures that brought him to the brink of self control then slid her hips over his pelvis and slowly eased his manhood into the core of her being. As they rocked together, with the rhythms as old as time, he watched the play of emotions upon her lovely upturned face. He held back his climax until her body convulsed and contracted as he joined her and their souls soared together and pinnacles of light shined in their eyes and minds, his only coherant thought was how she had made him feel like a god once more.
They laid salted and spent in each others arms as they drifted off to sleep.
Ares and Xena had been travelling six weeks and had come across a few who wanted to put an end to Ares. They were not very well matched for the Warrior Princess and the former God of War. But Ares knew that there would be a worthy opponent in the near future. For he knew the gods wouldn't let his punishment be untested.
One night while making camp, Xena seemed to be confined to her own thoughts. Ares did his best to let her know, by the things he did, that he loved her and he didn't care about his godhood anymore. But it seemed that tonight, more than ever before, she seemed to be pulling away from him. Even the last few nights, when they had made love, she didn't share her mind, nor her soul with him. He knew she was missing the bard, hell, even he was starting to miss the always talkative Gabrielle. He felt as if he might be pushing her to much and could possibly loose her, not the same as he did before, for this time, she would take his heart. So he decided not to press her, he would not make love to her tonight, he would just hold her and be there for her if she needed him.
After a dinner of fish, he laid out their bedroll, as was now the routine, Xena took off her armor and laid down. Ares joined her but remained clothed, and cradled her until she fell into a light slumber.
As she slept he reflected back over the last six weeks since they had left Gabrielle with the Amazons. As each day and night passed, she seemed to be growing farther away from him. She hadn't seemed to have given away any of her heart. He supposed she didn't truly trust him completely and really, he couldn't blame her. He tried to let her know that he's changed and that she changed him. If only he could have her for the rest of his days he would willingly remain mortal. Funny he thought to himself, I now know how my brother felt about Serena. I now know a love so fierce that I don't even care what happens to me as long as she is safe. He didn't know when it had happened, only that it had. But Xena wasn't like Serena, no, even if he gave up everything for her, she would never trust me. If only I hadn't done unmentionable things to get her to come back, then maybe I would have now had a chance. But he couldn't go back and change what had brought them to this passing. As long as I can I will prove to her that I love her. With those thoughts still in his mind, he fell into a peaceful slumber.
Xena began to toss and turn, reliving a nightmare from long ago. They seemed to plague her and she knows she will never be truly free from the past. The scene that unfolded before her was one of the most vicious attacks she had ever led. She keeps reliving it because it was the only time she was responsible for the death of women and children, something she would regret for the rest of her life for it had not only cost the lives of those who died, but those that lived also. She saw a young tear streaked face looking at her, saying in an all too familiar voice, "Why?" She jumped to her feet, grabbing her sword and startling Ares. When he looked at her the vision he saw was not that of the beautiful woman he had laid down with, it was one of a woman with vas emotions written not only on her face but in her body language. He saw hatred, rage, fear, regret, pain, joy and confusion, but it seemed to be directed at herself rather than anyone else. What he didn't see was understanding.
"Xena, why do you torture yourself this way? You're not that person anymore. Even I know that," he tries to calm her.
But she just takes the defensive, "What kind of trick are you trying to pull? You know what I am, what I can do, what I have done. I have to live with that everyday, not knowing when the monster will come out again." she yells at him.
"But you are facing it everyday. I have tried to get you back several times and each time you have claimed victory," he reminded her.
"I wouldn't have been able to do it without Gabrielle. She is the one that has kept me on my path. Without her strength, courage and everything she stands for, I don't know where I would be," she confessed to him not knowing what he would do with this knowledge.
"I already know that. In a way I thank her for it." Xena looked at him puzzled and he finishes, "If I can't get you to join me at least she can keep you from killing all those that do follow me," he said trying to lighten the mood.
At this she had to laugh as she sank back down to the blankets. She allowed him to hold her until she fell back asleep. When this was all over and she rejoined Gabrielle, she would make up with the young bard who had changed her life.
Xena awoke slowly, as her sleep fogged brain remembered last night, she looked over at a sleeping Ares. 'What was she going to do?' she thought to herself. She knew she was falling for him. She couldn't fight the feeling much longer. Just then Ares mumbled in his sleep. She knew she shouldn't listen but everything seemed to compel her, as if the fates wanted her to hear. She leaned over to hear his rambling's, finally her patience rewarded her. "Oh, Xena, I love you. Can't you see that? I'm the only one for you. I know I've hurt you, but please give me a chance and I'll prove me love. If I had my godhood, I'd give it up if you'd have me."
"No," she whispered. She couldn't be hearing it right. He lusted after her but he didn't truly love her. How could the fates have played such a trick on her. This was the second time she had heard him say these words, the first time she thought he was just delirious and discarded it. She knew nothing could ever come of them being together, but she'd give him herself for as long as the fates allowed.
She leaned over and placed her hand on his chest, he stirred and slowly opened his eyes. He looked at her hand resting on his chest and then raised his eyes to meet hers. There was such warmth in her eyes. And a invitation to the gentle curve of her mouth. Her whole being suggested passion.
Passion of living, for exploring, for sucking the very last drop of pleasure from her existence. He suddenly felt his own body stir, he slipped his eyes down the smooth column of her throat and came to rest on the swell of her full breasts. They were of a size to nicely fill a man's hands. His loins tightened with the thought of carnal pleasures, such as flicking those pink nipples to attention with his thumb and tasting that sweet mouth beneath his own. He unconsciously leaned toward her.
Xena's eyes softened and she leaned toward him, fully prepared to accept his kiss as the most natural thing on earth at that moment.
Just before their lips connected, Xena rolled away and grabbed Ares and her swords, tossed Ares' to him just in time for him to deflect the blow. Xena caught two opponents just before they reached Ares, slammed their heads together, swung her sword, slicing the air and maiming one of the men. Ares was fending off one opponent in front of him, and one behind him, never missing a blow. Xena, did a spin kick that almost took the head off one of her opponents, then realized that she had broken the man's neck, as he fell lifeless to the ground. The look in her eyes, had Ares worried, for it looked as if blood lust had taken her over again. She noticed him looking at her with concern and smiled, not an evil grin, just one of satisfaction.
Each of the assailants were brutilzed or killed.
After the fighting had ended, Xena walked over, picked up her clothes and dressed.
It amazed Ares that she seemed so calm, what manner of woman is this. 'An extraordinary one, thats for sure,' he thought to himself.
Gabrielle was worried about her friend, she knew she could take care of herself, but she was more concerned about her travelling alone with Ares. Why did she have to get so angry and stay behind? Now she just wished that she would hear something, anything, about her friend.
Xena had willingly spent the night in Ares' arms. It seemed he knew every place to touch her to drive her to the peak of passion and then deliver her what her body yearned for. She knew the sun would soon be breaking over the horizon, but she didn't want the peaceful moment to end so she snuggled closer to him, but before she drifted off to sleep an image appeared to her. It warned her of the danger that was soon to befall her only son.
Xena woke up Ares and was ready to travel within minutes. Not mentioning where they were headed in such a hurry.
He wondered what had came over her, but did not question her. The urgency he saw in her expression was enough for him.
Late that night they stopped only long enough to eat and rest their weary feet. They were on their way again long before the sun rose in the sky.
It was three days hard travelling before they would reach the centaur camp where her son was living and she knew that it would be wrong to ask Ares to go with her.
"Ares, I know you've been wondering where I'm going, but I can't tell you. I wouldn't ask you to come along, but the choice is yours." she finally explained.
"It matters not where you go, but know this, I'm going with you," he replied.
Gabrielle had also had a visitor. After the visitor had left she gathered all the Amazons, ready for battle and headed for Solan. She hoped she would make it there in time.
When Ares and Xena reached the centaur camp it was ransacked and empty except for the scattered bodies left from the battle. After searching the camp and inspecting the scene, Xena realized that it was a major battle had occurred. They found two badly wounded centaurs and four that were already dead. They also found the bodies of several dead soldiers.
After tending to one of the centaur's wounds she questioned him about what had happened. Not mentioning any names, she had to know what had happened. The story he relayed to her still shook her to the core and confirmed her fear.
He told her was of a woman warrior who invaded their camp with a mighty army. "They appeared to be keeping us busy for a reason. It was then that Calyipus saw her riding out of the village with a boy. He sounded a charge and they went after her. I was injured before the charge was sounded and as they headed around the bend, a much larger group of soldiers crossed their path. Many of the centaurs were wounded, but they continued on starting to drive back the army. It seemed the woman warrior had planned a successful attack," he explained.
Xena raises and finds the tracks and begins to follow them, while Ares is following closely behind her.
As they travel they find several more wounded and a lot of dead soldiers. And knew they were on the right course.
A mile from an overhanging cliff they meet up with a wounded Calipus.
Xena rushed to his side, saw that none of his wounds are fatal and he holds her hand as he says, "I knew you would come."
She looks at him, understanding in her eyes and replies, "Don't worry, no harm will come to him. I'll bring him back...ALIVE."
When they reached the small clearing, the first thing Xena saw was Solan tied to at tree at the far side of the clearing. Before she had time to react, Ares was attacked by three soldiers. When a shrill scream split the air, it was then that she saw the blonde demon headed straight for her in a series of flips. She landed on her feet, with catlike grace, smiled sweetly and said, "Xena, so happy you could make it to my little party. I'm happy to inform you, that everyone is dying to see you." Then she pulls her sword out of it's scabbard and replied, "Now it's for you to join the fun," with an evil laugh.
As Xena, unsheathes her sword, she replies icily, "So since I'm the guest of honor I guess I get first slice."
Callisto charges Xena, sword held high and Xena deflects it with an overhead block. They continue to perry and thrust as they match each other strike for strike. The swordsmanship is truly amazing to watch, as they fight fast and furious, with lightening speed. After a series of blows Callisto gains the upper hand as Xena falls on her hands and knees and her sword lands several feet out of reach. Callisto had flipped Xena over her head and was ready to land an overhead blow when Xena quickly lands a devastating blow to her stomach that lands Callisto up against the cavern wall. With no time to spare she spies the loose rock over Callisto's head, grabs the chakram from its clip and sends it to loosen the rocks above her head, to buy time to get Solan away. Callisto does four back flips, jumps in the air and catches the flying Chakram, then looks at Xena and asks, "Can you be two places at once?" then sails the weapon at Solan.
Xena cries, "NNOOOOO!" as she realizes she's too far away to save her son.
Ares having disarmed and wounded his foes, was closer to the child and sees the weapon sailing straight for the boy and knows that he could never catch it in his hand, so he throws his body in front of the scared boy, just as it embeds itself deep in his own chest and he falls to the ground. Xena runs over to him and lays his head in her lap. She whispers to him, with tears in her voice, "He is my son."
He whispers with his last breath, "I know."
Xena, with tears running unchecked down her cheeks, tells him, "I love you."
At the sound of a voice of someone yelling, "You fool, you have ruined all my plans and now you must pay," Callisto turned to see who had threatened her, and realized it was The Goddess of War, who had arrived too late, she knew Ares was already in Tartarus. So she focused all her energy into taking care of Callisto.
Callisto, fearing what the Goddess of War was capable of, knew that she had not a chance, so she fled with Athena following her.
When Gabrielle and the Amazons arrived they helped take care of the rest of Callisto's army. She then went to find Xena. She found her sitting in the dirt holding Ares head in her lap and crying. "Xena, are you hurt? Is everything alright?"
"No, can't you see he's dead!" She looked up at Gabrielle, tears streaming down her face.
"Everything will work out. Come on Xena we need to get Solon out of here." Gabrielle tells her gently.
She had freed Solon after the Goddesses had left and he was sitting beside her. "It's okay, you can take him to Calyipus. I want to stay here for awhile," still cradling Ares lifeless body.
"I'll be back as soon as he's safe," Gabrielle muttered.
Solan, confused at the confession he had heard, needed to speak with his uncle to find out, why this had been kept from him.
Ares had went to Tartarus and when he got there Zeus was waiting.
Ares walked up to him and said, "It's finished."
"Ares, my son, tell me your last wish, I'm here to grant it," Zeus told him evenly.
"Father, I only wish to go back and tell her good-bye," he replied with tears in his voice. "I wish for nothing more."
Zeus took him by the hands, a bright light surrounded them, a tingling sensation filled him as he received his godhood back. Ares looked at his father with confusion in his eyes. He read them and answered, "You, my son, have done the most unselfish deed. You have given your life so that the child of the woman you love, who has at times been your enemy, could be spared. You did it with courage and I'm proud."
Ares appeared and walked over to Xena. She looked up, then back down at an empty lap. He gave her his hand, she took it and raised to stand in front of him, a question lurking in her eyes.
"I wanted to come back to say good-bye," he explained.
"You've got your godhood back," it was more of a statement of fact than a question.
"When I saved your son, I didn't know I would get back my godhood, I did it for you. I swear this to you, as long as the boys days are I will look after him until old age seals his fate. I do this because of the love I feel for his mother." Ares told her before touching his lips to hers for a last time.
"I will always remember what you did this day," Xena replied.
Ares vanished and Xena returned to the centaur camp.
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