“Down on the Farm with Gabby and Ares”
Disclaimer: Xena: Warrior Princess and the names, titles, and backstories used in “Down On the Farm With Gabby & Ares” are the sole property of MCA/Universal. The author intends no copyright infringement through the writing of this fan fiction.
Ares loved Xena, but his love didn’t stop him from enjoying the sight of Gabrielle by the fire in her short, short skirt, the firelight illuminating her beautiful smooth legs and reflecting in her lovely green eyes. Yeah, the kid definitely had something.
She had Xena, is what she had.
His reverie was interrupted by Gabrielle saying, “Ares, when you gave up your immortality to save me and Eve, that was…that was quite a sacrifice. Thank you.”
He said, “If Eve had died, and Xena lost her power to kill gods, then Athena would’ve killed Xena. So I was saving Eve to save Xena. You were an afterthought.”
“Thanks, anyway. Thanks for afterthinking of me.”
Ares stretched his sore, tired muscles, and yawned.
“I wish I’d kept my mouth shut about Xena being alive, though. And about Eve’s identity.”
“Yeah, why didn’t you?”
“I had some divided loyalties, there. Hades, Athena, Aphrodite…they were family. I was worried. I didn’t want anything to happen to ‘em. I suppose if I’d kept my trap shut they might be alive today. Man, I hate irony.”
“Gabrielle, I hope you never have to decide between loyalty to Xena and your own family.”
Gabrielle looked down into her lap. A cloud of gloom passed over her features that had nothing to do with the thunderstorm outside.
Ares said, “I’m sorry, Gabby, I forgot about…”
“It’s OK. I made the right choice. Eventually. You know, Ares, I’d almost call you nice if I didn’t know it would just piss you off.”
“You really do love Xena, don’t you?”
“Yes. And so do you.”
“For all the good it does me. The sad thing is, if I could snap my fingers and give myself all the qualities she loves about you…all the people-loving, do-gooding, goody-two-shoes stuff…she’d still prefer you. I swear, I’ve hated you at times.”
“Why? You’re not one of those people who think I changed Xena against her will, are you? Xena changed herself, you know. I was just there.”
“Don’t underestimate yourself. I could’ve had her back by now, if not for you.”
“Even if you could, she’d never be as happy as she is now.”
“You don’t know that. I could’ve given her everything, Gabrielle. If she’d stayed the course she could’ve been Xena the Conqueror by now. If it’s love she wanted I could’ve given her the love of a god.”
“Ares, there’s a satisfaction that comes from putting your life on the line for people you don’t even know that you just can’t imagine. Maybe you should try it sometime.”
“Now you think you can reform me? You are seriously deluded.”
“I know I can’t reform you. Only you can do that. But Xena and I could help.”
“First you want me to be a farmer, now it’s a hero? As Zeus said to Hercules, ‘Stop, you’re killing me.’”
“OK, OK, just a thought. You’ve always been curious as to what makes Xena tick.”
Gabrielle fell silent, and the two of them were lost in thought for awhile. Visions of a dark-haired blue-eyed warrior danced in their heads.
“She really is incredible, though, isn’t she?” he said.
“A lot of people think I’m her father, but that isn’t true. But I swear she must have some divine blood in her, somewhere. I wish I’d revealed myself to her earlier, back when she was a warlord. I don’t know what I was waiting for. Just that spark of greatness, I guess.”
“You didn’t think she was great?”
“No, I knew she was great. I was just waiting for that greatness to reveal itself. She had the passion and the courage and the anger, but she was always holding back, for some reason. Something kept her from achieving her true potential as a warlord.”
Ares looked like he wanted to vomit.
“Why do you have to talk like that? You know I hate mushy stuff. Xena used to hate it, too.”
“She still hates it. With everyone in the world but me.”
“If she’d never met you, I swear…”
“If she’d never met me, if she’d never met Hercules, she’d still never be the Conqueror you want her to be. She got started on the road she’s on because there was a baby she wouldn’t see slaughtered. No matter what you ever did to her, there’d always be something to put her back on the path of righteousness. Whether I was with her or not, she’d eventually find a way to say no to the world of brutality and barbarism. I’m just glad I’m with her, and I can give her something to say yes to. Our love.”
“Why you, Gabrielle? Why you and not me?”
“Well, did I ever tell you what happened when Callisto poisoned her, and I had to impersonate her?”
“Oh, don’t do the bard thing, Gabrielle. I know all your scrolls backwards and forwards.”
Gabrielle looked surprised.
“You’ve read my scrolls?”
“Knowledge is power. Don’t get a swelled head about it. It had nothing to do with you.”
“Well then, you know how I felt when I saw her come back from the dead, rise up and say, ‘Nobody, but nobody, touches my horse!’”
“Yeah, sure. You love her, you love her, you love her. Everyone knows that. So what?”
“Just this. I felt like such a failure because I couldn’t defeat Talmadeus. But she didn’t see it that way at all. You can’t believe how touched she was that I would risk my own life to take her body back home. She was used to being hated, and here was someone who loved her enough to die for her.”
“So? I loved her enough to give up my immortality for her. What’s the difference?”
“The difference is, you love her for who you want her to be. I love her for who she is.”
The object of their affections came in the front door, shaking off the rain and looking forward to warming herself up by the fire.