Love and Vengeance

By Ashley

Disclaimer: All of the characters are trademarks of Renaissance Pictures and USA Studios. I own none, except a few I made up. There is no rating for this story. There is absolutely no subtext in this story. If you haven’t noticed this is a Xena and Ares site. Any lines that start with a * and end with a * are thoughts. Enjoy!

*I love him so much.* Xena thought this as she rode her horse alongside Gabrielle and Eve. I wish that he was here. But, he’s not. He’s trying to work a farm.*

"Xena, are you okay?" Gabrielle asked her best friend.

"What?" Xena asked being snapped out of her thoughts.

"Mother. You seem distracted." Eve said. *Of course I’m distracted. I can’t stop thinking about Ares.* Xena thought this as she looked to Eve.

"I’m fine." Xena said. "I was just thinking of something I forgot to do." Xena said. *Yeah. Like tell Ares I love him.* She looked around the land. She saw nothing wrong. She was wondering why she was interrupted from her daydreaming.

"Xena, are you sure you’re okay? You haven’t been the same since you heard about Ares starting a farm. You kept saying you needed to help him. He can help himself Xena." Gabrielle said.

"I know that." Xena said. "I just think he needs some help for awhile." Maybe I can help him. Maybe I can tell him I love him.*

"Mother, Ares can take care of himself." Eve said. *She’s too much in love with him to listen to that.*

"I know that." Xena said sighing. They came upon the small Greek village and saw the small farm. The saw a man out tilling the fields. It was Ares. Xena kinda chuckled when she saw him out working hard. Well, at least he’s trying.* She thought to herself. She never thought the ex-god of war would ever try to work the fields. She started to laugh.

"Xena. Can I talk to you for a second?" Gabrielle asked. Yeah. Like she’s going to care what I have to say. I’m gonna make her tell me she loves him.* Eve walked away to give Gabrielle and Xena some privacy. Gabrielle looked at Xena. "You love him don’t you?" she asked. Xena looked shocked that someone would even ask that.

"What?!" she asked. "Gabrielle!" Xena wanted to deny it. Well, I have to admit, it is true. Come on Xena. Just admit you love him!* she screamed to herself. "I…." Xena started. *I can’t do this!*

"You love him." Gabrielle said smiling. *If she denies it, I swear I’m not going to talk to her for a week! Wait a minute. That’s childish.*

"Yes. I do." Xena said with a sigh. There you go Xena! You said it!* She smiled halfway as Gabrielle sighed.

"Xena. Xena. Xena." She said. "I knew you’d admit it someday." Gabrielle hugged Xena. "Just tell him. He loves you. You love him. What’s the problem?" *The problem? The problem is that she hardly worked up the nerve to tell me!*

"I’m the problem." Xena said. *That’s for sure!* "A part of me is screaming ‘Go! Tell him!’ and another part is saying, ‘No! He’s bad for you.’"

"That’s a big part of love. You have to go with your heart." Gabrielle said. *Yeah. Now I’m talking to Xena about her heart and Ares in the same sentences. What’s this world coming to?

"Yeah." Xena said. *Great. Now all I have to do is tell my daughter who just happens to despise Ares.* She saw Eve, and motioned her back over.

"Mother. I know what you were talking about. You love Ares. Don’t you?" she asked. *Duh Eve! Stupid question! You know she loves him!*

*Oh boy. Here we go.* "Yeah. I do." Xena said. *Oh no. She’s going to be mad!* Eve smiled at her and gave her ‘oh boy’ look and looked at Gabrielle. *Okay! That wasn’t a mad look. There’s hope yet!*

"Are you going to tell him?" Eve asked. *Why does mother have to love Ares? Of all men!*

"I don’t know." Xena said. *That’s what I’ve been yelling at myself for all morning.* During all of this discussion, the three didn’t notice that Ares had spotted them and was making his way up a hill to greet them.

"Xena!" Ares greeted. *Okay. Ares. Listen to yourself. Don’t say something she’s going to kick your ass for.* "Gabrielle. Eve." He said looking briefly at them and then to Xena again.

"Nice to see you Ares." Xena said smiling. *You look better than ever. I wish that I could tell you I love you. I really hope I’m not saying this out loud right now. Okay. Good. I’m not.*

"Come on. I’ll show you the farm." He said. *Smooth Ares. Real smooth. Maybe next you’ll invite her in for a snow cone!* He decided to take the short way. He led them through a short cut and they were at the farm in a few minutes.

"So, Ares, how’s mortal life?" Gabrielle asked. *He’s probably hating every minute of it.*

"It sucks." Ares said.

"Oh." Gabrielle said smiling. *Ah hah! I was right!*

"So, why don’t you show me around the farm?" Xena asked. *God! I want him! Oh. Great Xena. Now we’re acting like a teenager.* Xena smiles at Ares.

"Um. Yeah. Sure. Gabrielle? Eve? Are you coming along?" Ares asked. *Please say no! Please say no!*

"No, we’ll stay here." Eve said.

"Oh. Okay." Ares said. *Yes!*

"Well, we’ll see you later." Xena said. *Hopefully a lot later. Maybe a couple hours later.*

"Okay. Bye." Gabrielle said. *If Xena doesn’t tell him, I’m going to scream!* Gabrielle watches as Xena and Ares walk out the door to have a talk and look around the farm.

"You think she’ll tell him?" Eve asked.

"Not a chance in Tartarus." Gabrielle said. She and Eve started laughing.

"Maybe she’ll actually tell him. If she’s motivated to." Eve said.

"Well, if she doesn’t tell him soon, I will. She’s driving me crazy!" Gabrielle said laughing.

"I know what you mean." Eve said smiling. "I just want mother to be happy. If she says Ares makes her happy, I have to be happy for her."

"Yeah. Xena really loves him. It’s not her fault." Gabrielle said. "She is following her heart. She did tell us she has a soft spot for bad boys."

"Yeah." Eve said. She sat down and started writing in a scroll as Gabrielle looked around for some fruit to eat.

Xena is walking with Ares outside, and trying to think of a way to tell him. *Come on! He’s already said he loves me over and over again. I have to tell him.*

"So, Xena. How have you been?" Ares asked. *There. That was nice. I don’t think she’ll kick my ass for that.*

"I’ve been good. What about you?" Xena asked. *TELL HIM!*

"Oh. Not too bad. I’ve been working this farm. It’s pretty much under control. But, I’m not exactly what you would call a good farmer." Ares explained. *What was that? Are you an idiot? You want to impress her! Plus, you don’t want her to know you want help with the farm!*

"Oh. Well, I’m sure that everything will work out. Do you need any help? Gabrielle, Eve and I will help you if you need anything." Xena said.

"Would you please?" Ares asked with a pitiful look of relief. *YOU IDIOT! CAN WE SAY ‘DESPERATE?’*

"Yeah. We’ll help out." Xena said.

"Thank you." Ares said. *Good going. At least she doesn’t think I’m a total helpless jerk.* Xena smiles at Ares as they walk along. The walk into the barn and go up into the hay loft.

"Well, you’ve done a lot with this place. I remember walking by here a few years ago, and it was in shambles. You’ve put a lot of effort into this place." Xena said. She smiled and looked over into the sunset.

"Thanks. It’s just that being a mortal, life is so boring. So I had to do something." Ares said.

"Yeah. Being mortal can be boring at times, but sometimes it’s not." Xena said. *Gee. That was really stupid.*

"Xena. I love you. I know I’ve told you that a lot, but I do. I mean that. You may not feel the same, but I love you." Ares said. *There you go! Nicely done. Now lets hope she doesn’t punch you!*

"Ares. I care about you. I know I don’t really show it." Xena said. *COME ON! YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT!*

"Yeah." Ares said. *Okay. She didn’t punch me in the face. That’s a good thing. Now it’s time for her to tell me to get a life or find someone else, and tell me that our chances of being together are one in a billion.*

"Ares. I love you." Xena says. She looks over to him. *YOU DID IT! I knew you could tell him. Yay Xena. Now I’m worrying about myself because I keep talking to myself. Oh well. I told him I loved him.*

"What?" Ares asked surprised. *She told you she loves you, you idiot! She feels the same way you do.*

"Ares. I love you." Xena said. *Kiss him!*

"I love you Xena." Ares said. * Kiss her!* Xena leans in to kiss Ares as he brushes his hand over her shoulder. They lay down in the hay, and enjoy a couple of hours of bliss.

"Gabrielle, do you think she told him?" Eve asked.

"I don’t know. I’m thinking she did." Gabrielle said.

"Why do you say that?" Eve asked.

"Well, they’ve been gone about an hour, and I don’t think they’re coming back for a little while." Gabrielle explained. "Look." She pointed to a light from a lantern coming from the hayloft in the barn. *Great Gabby. You’re actually explaining this to Xena’s daughter. Nice one.*

"Well, I guess you’re right. I don’t think they’ll be in for awhile. I’m going to bed. Where are we supposed to sleep?" Eve asked.

"I don’t know. I’m going to sleep in the upstairs room with the window looking over the village." Gabrielle said.

"Okay. I’ll just find some room to sleep in. Good night Gabrielle." Eve said.

"Good night Eve." Gabrielle said.

The next morning, Xena awoke in Ares’ arms. She smiled. *Wow. I’m definitely telling him how I feel more often.* She stretched and yawned. She got dressed, and made her way out of the loft. She went into the farmhouse, and saw Gabrielle and Eve sitting at the table eating breakfast.

"Good morning!" she said happily. She smiled and poured a cup of water.

"Good morning mother." Eve said.

"Morning Xena." Gabrielle said. "I trust you slept well." *Of course she slept well. She was with Ares. Who wouldn’t sleep well with him by their side…Whoa! What am I thinking? Shut up Gabrielle!*

"I slept fine Gabrielle." Xena said smiling. *Better than ever*

"Did you tell him?" Gabrielle asked. *Of course she told him!*

"Yeah. I did. I don’t know why I was nervous. I’ve never been that nervous in my life!" Xena said.

"Mother. When it comes to love, everyone gets nervous once in a while."

"I know. It’s just that when it comes to Ares, everything is different." Xena said. *He’s the most incredible man I’ve ever seen!*

"Everyone has their opinion of people." Gabrielle said almost choking on her breakfast. *I have a different opinion of the jerk.*

"I know you don’t like him Gabrielle. Just try to get along with him. I had to do that with a lot of people in my past. So, please. Eve, the same for you." Xena said.

"Xena. I’m not going to do anything to jeopardize what you have with Ares. I know that you love him." Gabrielle said.

"Same here mother." Eve said.

"Thank you." Xena said. "That means a lot."

Ares woke up in the barn alone. *Where is she? I hope she’s still here. I hope she didn’t leave.* Ares quickly dressed, and jumped out of the loft and hurried to the house. He saw Xena through the window and was relieved. He opened the door and was faced by Gabrielle, Eve, and Xena.

*What am I supposed to say?* Ares sighed. "Good morning." *Oh that was lame.*

"Good morning." Xena, Gabrielle, and Eve said in unison.

*Okay. Good. This is going good.* "So, I’m going to go start working on the fields." *Nice. I’m officially an idiot.*

"We’ll be out in a few minutes." Xena said. Ares left, and Xena followed a minute later. *He’s not getting away that easy* Xena laughed to herself. Gabrielle and Eve decided to stay in for a few minutes to give them a head start to the field so they could have a few more minutes alone.

Xena caught up to Ares. "Hey." She said.

"Hey." Ares said. He kissed her softly.

"Did you sleep well?" he asked.

"Like a baby." Xena said. *Oh. Great. ‘Like a baby’ was the best you could come up with?*

"Good." Ares said. He kissed her again. A lone rider coming up to the farm fast interrupted them. He raced through the field, and stopped in front of Xena and Ares. Gabrielle and Eve came racing out on the house.

"What can we do for you?" Xena asked.

"Are you Xena?" the man asked. He looked to Xena.

"That’s me." She said.

"We need your help." He said. Xena sighed.

"What’s wrong?" she asked.

"Our village, Nolis, its in Norway." He said gasping for air. "There is a creature. It’s called Corrix. It’s destroying the village, and everyone in it."

"Corrix?" Xena asked, searching her memory. *I’ve heard that name before.*

"Yes. We were told that you are the only one able to stop this creature. Darphus created it. But locked away in an underground mine. Darphus put a curse on it. It was to be released a certain year. It was released a week ago. It’s destroying our land. Please. You have to help us." The man explained.

"I’ll help you." Xena said sighing. Ares looked at Xena, trying to read her, but her guard was up, and he couldn’t tell what was going through her mind like he could when he was a god.

"Thank you. Here is a map of the land. Hurry. I have to go now. I have to save my wife and children." The man said. He threw down a map, and hurried off on his horse.

"Xena. We should hurry." Gabrielle said. She looked at Eve who nodded.

"Yeah. We should go." Xena said. She looked to Ares who stared into Xena’s eyes. Gabrielle and Eve walked away to give them privacy.

"Xena." Ares started.

"I’m sorry." Xena said. "I have to go. A village is depending on me. I have to go. I have to help them." Xena said.

"I know. I was just hoping that for once you would stay. You wouldn’t leave like you always have to do." Ares said. *She has to go. Don’t try to stop her or you’ll lose her forever!*

"I’m sorry." Xena said. *I don’t want to go. I love him. But I have to go.* Xena kissed his lips softly, and hugged him close. "I’m sorry." She repeated. *You have no idea how much this hurts.*

"I love you Xena." Ares said. *Please don’t go. What am I saying? Of course she’s going.*

"I love you Ares." Xena said. "I love you." She kissed him again, and walked off. She didn’t turn back to see him because she knew she’d cry. She didn’t want to cry in front of him. She got onto Argo, and rode out to the woods to catch up with Gabrielle and Eve.

After a long time of silence, Eve finally spoke up.

"Mother. Are you okay?" she asked.

"I’m fine." Xena said. She sighed. *Yeah right. I’m not fine. I miss Ares. I can’t believe I left. I can’t believe it.*

"Xena. I know what you’re going through. When I joined up with you, after leaving Perdicus, I was upset. I know I’ve never told you that, but it’s true. I missed him for awhile." *I still miss him.*

"I love Ares. He loves me. We’ll be together again someday. If that is our Destiny." Xena said. *Oh God please let that be our destiny.*

"It’ll work out mother. It will." Eve said. Xena smiled at her daughter, and they all rode on in silence. Xena knew it would be days before they reached Nolis. It would be days before they would battle Corrix.

That night, Xena, Eve and Gabrielle sat around a fire and ate trout for dinner. They all had the same things on their minds, but in different ways. Gabrielle, Xena, and Eve sat in silence just thinking to themselves.

Xena sat staring into the fire. As soon as I defeat Corrix, if I defeat Corrix, I have to go back to Ares. I have to stay with him. But then again, I can’t. I can’t give up my life of fighting. If Ares traveled with me, he’d be a warrior, like he is, but he could easily go back to being the ruthless man he was before he was mortal. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I love him, but maybe I’m not destined to be with him forever.*

Gabrielle sat beside Xena, and stared into the darkness of the night. *Xena is probably thinking about Ares. Why wouldn’t she? She’s in love with him, but she can’t be with him now. This has to be hard for her.*

Eve was also busily thinking. *Mother loves him. She loves him so much that she is confused about her life. She has to choose between him or fighting for what she believes in. It’s tearing her apart trying to decide what to do.*

They all decided it would be best if they got some sleep, and talked in the morning. Xena hardly got any sleep at all.

The next morning, Xena woke up before dawn. She caught breakfast and dressed. She put some fish over the fire, and started brushing Argo.

"There you go girl." Xena said to her horse. "Good girl." She patted the horse’s back, and Argo trotted off to graze. Xena walked over to Gabrielle and Eve who were asleep. "Wake up. It’s morning." She said. Gabrielle stirred, but Eve rolled over and stayed asleep. Gabrielle opened her eyes.

"Is it already morning?" she asked.

"Yeah." Xena said.

"Goody." Gabrielle said sarcastically. She walked over to Eve and tapped her on the arm. "Hey, wake up." She said laughing. Eve woke up, and stretched.

"I want to sleep." Eve said tiredly.

"Come on sleepyhead." Xena said. "We have to get back on the road if were going to make it to Nolis by the end of the week."

"All right. All right." Eve said. She stood up and got ready.

"I love this valley." Gabrielle said as they rode on their horses through a river valley. There were mountains in the distance, and a crystal clear river running through the middle of the forest.

"It’s so peaceful." Eve said.

"Yeah. It’s a wonderful place to be." Xena said smiling.

Gabrielle sighed happily. *Good. She’s in a better mood.* "Xena, are you going to be okay?" *Great Gabby. You just ruined it.*

"I’m okay." Xena said. "I’ll be fine." *If I can get through one day without thinking of him!*

"Mother, are you sure?" Eve asked.

"I’m okay." Xena said again. I’ll be fine if I can just concentrate on what I’m supposed to be doing." They rode along a little while longer.

About a mile up the road they were on, a warlord waited patiently for the warrior princess to be going that way. He knew that she would be coming soon.

"Boss, are you sure the warrior princess will be here?" a man asked.

"Silence Silas!" the man said. "You are to speak when spoken to!" the warlord said.

"But Zagreas!" Silas said. Zagreas pulled his sword, and killed Silas without a second thought.

"Xena, what’s going on up there?" Gabrielle asked. She pointed to the hill up ahead. She saw a line of men standing, ready for battle.

"Zagreas." Xena said laughing.

"You mean the little man in Gabrielle’s scrolls who tried to take that village your friend Minya lived in?" Eve asked.

"That’s him." Gabrielle said laughing.

Xena, Gabrielle, and Eve rushed the horses up to Zagreas.

"Hello Xena." He said. "Long time no see." He said. Xena had to laugh to herself when she saw the man before her. Zagreas was a very old man. "I hear you’re on your way to Nolis. Well, that is if you get past me." He said. He drew his sword, and charged at Xena. She held out her fist and punched him. He fell back and didn’t get back up. He lay there holding his nose.

"Nice seeing you Zagreas." Xena said as she, Gabrielle, and Eve went on. Zagreas’ men just stood there waiting for their boss to give them orders. But he didn’t say anything.

After a week, Xena was feeling better and they were in the middle of Nolis. Xena saw at the end of town, the creature that was destroying the village. It was the most pitiful creature she’d ever had to battle.

"Xena. Don’t tell me that’s Corrix." Gabrielle said.

"Yeah. That’s Corrix." Xena said. Eve started laughing. Corrix was nothing but a group of men dressed under a big sheet that looked like a big dog.

"I thought the guy said it was made by Darphus." Gabrielle said.

"Yeah. That must’ve been a folktale." Xena said. The three of them walked to the end of town and pulled the sheet off, and the men all looked at each other and pulled their swords.

The battle lasted only a few minutes, seeing as none of the men had any battle experience. Well, at least not with the warrior princess and her friend Gabrielle. Eve sat and recorded this historic event in a scroll. As Gabrielle did later that evening.

Later, they were on the way back to find Ares. They were approached by an old woman. She was a traveling oracle. Xena, Gabrielle and Eve looked at each other.

"May we help you?" Xena asked.

"I have been looking for you Xena. You are in danger. Gabrielle is in danger, and your daughter is in danger. If you go back to Ares, you are doomed." The woman said.

"What?" Eve asked.

"Ares doesn’t know yet, but there is an invisible plague. It is heading straight for his village. If any of you help him to leave, you will be doomed for eternity. He has to leave by himself with no help from you." The woman said. She walked on, and disappeared into the forest.

"Xena. What was that about?" Gabrielle asked.

"A plague. Some very angry demons or something must’ve released it. She was right. Ares has to leave the village himself. If he doesn’t leave, he is doomed, and he’ll die." Xena said painfully.

"Xena. Is there anything we can do to help him?" Gabrielle asked. Just as Eve fell to her knees.

"Great Eli. I ask you what plague is reaching Ares’ village." Eve asked. Xena and Gabrielle quietly stood aside. A few minutes later, Eve rose, and looked seriously at Xena and Gabrielle.

"What is it?" Gabrielle asked.

"It’s worse than we thought. It’s a plague of death. It stops after it wipes out every god, not goddess that is still alive after you killed Athena and Artemis and the others. It won’t hurt the goddesses that are left, but it won’t stop until it kills the last of the Greek gods. That would be Ares." Eve explained.

"No!" Xena said. "I won’t let him die. We have to do something so the demons that sent this won’t know it’s from us. We have to lead him far away from here. We have to lead him somewhere where it’ll take him months, or even years to reach. He has to leave." Xena said.

"But Xena. Do you realize that if you do that, everyone in the plagues path will die?" Gabrielle asked. "Eve said that it won’t stop killing until Ares’ is dead."

"Come on. I know who can help." Xena said. Eve and Gabrielle looked at each other, and followed Xena. They walked for hours until they reached the place they knew very well. It was the village Eli was killed in.

"This is the actually death place of the Great Eli." Eve said shivering.

"Yes." Gabrielle said. "Come on. I’ll show you his resting place."

Xena waked into a small temple beside Eliís. "Callisto. I know youíre listening. I need your help. I donít ask for help much, but I need it now. Please hear me."

Xena prayed. Callisto appeared in a flash. Her wings folded behind her back. "Xena." Callisto said smiling.

Xena opened her eyes. "Callisto. Thereís trouble." Xena said.

"I know. Ares is in danger." She said.

"Yes." Xena said. "I have to lead him far away, but you have to help me so the plague doesn’t kill anyone else. I know it won’t work for Ares, but you can save thousands of innocent lives. Please help me."

"Yes. I’ll help you." Callisto said. "Come with me." Callisto held out her hand. Xena took it, and they disappeared into another realm.

"What will you do?" Xena asked.

"All it takes is a little magic." Callisto said. She did some thing with her hands and a ball of light appeared. She blew it, and it left the realm, spreading all over the world.

"What was that?" Xena asked.

"It was a protective shield that the plague cannot break through. The world is safe from it, but Ares has to move fast. You, Gabrielle and Eve are not protected from it because you are trying to help Ares. So, please be safe. Remember, my spirit is inside of Eve. If you ever need my help, just call on me. If Ares doesn’t leave in one day, the plague will get him." Callisto said. With that, Xena found herself alone at the little temple.

"Gabrielle. I can’t believe this is his urn." Eve said. She lightly touched it and felt a strong power go through her. "Thank you for showing me this." She said.

"You’re welcome. Eli was one of my best friends. He was very special to me. He always will be." Gabrielle said. Xena walked into the temple, and Eve turned around.

"Mother? What did you do?" Eve asked. "I felt something. Like a force inside of me was triggered."

"I spoke to Callisto." Xena said.

"I thought she was inside of me. She was my spirit." Eve said.

"She is." Gabrielle said. Eve looked at her. "If you really need to talk to her, all you do is pray, and she appears. Even though she is inside of you. You can still see her Eve." Eve turned to face Xena.

"Mother, is she going to help us?" she asked.

"Yes." Xena said. "She put protection on everyone on this earth. Of course that won’t help Ares, but we have to get him to leave the village in one day. Plus, we are not protected from the plague. We have to keep him on the move until we find something to beat this plague. I know where to go."

"Where?" Gabrielle asked.

"It’s in a place at the bottom of the world. It’s frozen land and nobody lives there. No mortal can survive long there. We have to go. The cure to this plague is in the center of the land." Xena said.

"What are we waiting for?" Eve asked. "Let’s go." She said.

"Okay. First, we have to get Ares away from the village. Come on." Xena said. They rode fast for hours. They saw Ares sitting by the lake near his farm.

"Look at him." Xena said. *He looks miserable. He probably feels the same as I do.* Xena sat down, and wrote a letter to Ares.


I need your help. Please come as soon as possible to Egypt. Please hurry. It’s urgent.



She folded the letter, and walked down into the village with Eve and Gabrielle. She saw a local man, and stopped him.

"Sir, could you please give this to Ares? He lives in the farmhouse at the end of the road." Xena said.

"Yes. I was just on my way over there to sell him some eggs." The villager said.

"Thank you." Xena said. She, Gabrielle and Eve headed out of town. They watched from a hill as Ares read the letter. She saw him run into his house and a few minutes later he came out with his old outfit from when he was a god. He had it on, and he put his sword in it’s sheath. He got onto one of his horses and rode off. Xena, Gabrielle, and Eve hurried out the same way on their horses. He was coming toward them, so they had to stay ahead. But he had to always be in their sight, even though he wouldn’t know they were there.

Two months passed, and the three women were aboard a ship to Egypt. They knew that Ares would be on the next ship.

Xena sat on the deck of the ship. She played with her hair, and sighed. Gabrielle was practicing with her sais, and Eve was reading a few of Gabrielle’s scrolls.

"This is great." Gabrielle said sighing peacefully. Gabrielle looked around the boat. She finally wasn’t seasick. She was enjoying herself. The beautiful sun glistening on the ocean, the sea gulls flying beside the boat, Xena throwing up over the side of the boat. Wait a minute. Xena’s sick?* Gabrielle didn’t understand that. "Xena are you okay?" She walked over to her best friend, and Eve stood up and walked over to the two of them.

"Mother?" Eve asked.

"I’m okay." Xena said. Then she threw up again. *Yeah. I’m great. I feel like dancing.* Xena sat back down, and rested her head on the wall of the boat.

"This isn’t like you, Xena." Gabrielle said.

"Yeah. You’re never sick." Eve said.

"I know. I don’t understand it either." Xena said.

"Oh boy." Gabrielle said smiling.

"Oh no, Gabrielle. Don’t even think it." Xena said.

"Mother? Are you?" Eve asked smiling.

"No. I couldn’t possibly be." Xena said.

"Hey, you can’t tell me that all you did in that hay loft was talk all night." Gabrielle said laughing.

"Hey." Xena said glaring at Gabrielle. "I’m not even going to say it because…." Xena said, her voice trailing off.

"Xena. When we get to Egypt, go to a healer." Gabrielle said.

"Please mother." Eve said.

"Fine. But I am a healer, and I know there is nothing wrong with me. I’ve probably got some kind of stomach virus." Xena said. "It’ll go away." She gave her ‘and that’s final’ look, and crossed her arms.

"But mother, you know you are never sick." Eve said.

"Remember what you said in Spamona. You said you were fine, and you just needed sleep. Well, you went to the healer, and found out you were going to have Eve." Gabrielle declared.

"So?" Xena asked. "That doesn’t mean that I’m pregnant again. I’ll feel better when I get on land."

"Mother." Eve said smiling. She was going to say something else, but decided not to.

The boat docked in Egypt, and they got to land.

"Feeling better?" Gabrielle asked Xena. Xena frowned.

"No." she said quietly.

"What was that? I couldn’t hear?" Eve said smiling.

"No." Xena said louder. Eve and Gabrielle started laughing. They knew Xena was pregnant.

"Xena. Go to the healer. Eve and I will wait outside."

"Fine. But I’m not pregnant." Xena said.

"Okay. Whatever you say." Gabrielle said. *Of course she’s pregnant. After all, she has gained a little weight, but if I told her that, she’d probably start yelling.*

Xena walked inside of the healer’s building. She sat down, and thought. *I am not pregnant. That’s impossible! Well, not completely impossible. That night with Ares. Ummm…. There’s a chance. I could be. I don’t know!*

"Come on over." The woman said. The healer was a short pleasant looking woman.

"My friend and my daughter seem to think that I’m pregnant." Xena said laughing nervously. "Isn’t that funny?"

"Well, it’s not funny. You could be pregnant. Let’s just check to see if you have a little one on the way." The healer said.

"Okay." Xena said. *Oh goody. A healer who talks to me as if I’m a child!*

"So, do you think she’s pregnant?" Eve asked.

"Yes. I do." Gabrielle said. "I mean, she’s never sick. And it’s been a couple of months since we left Ares’ farm."

"I could actually have a baby brother or sister that is 25 years younger than me?" Eve asked.

"Yeah. But, actually 26 years. Remember, the year that Xena didn’t know who she was and when I was asleep in the circle of fire." Gabrielle pointed out."

"Yeah. I know it sounds childish, but I think it would be fun to have a baby brother or sister." Eve said.

"Babies are fun, but they are hard work." Gabrielle said.

"Was I hard work?" Eve asked. Gabrielle started laughing. "What?"

"Well, not for me really. I was Aunt Gabby, but for Xena it was a different story. It wasn’t that bad for Xena because she finds different ways to do things. She’s still young. 25 years younger than what she should be because of the ice cave. But, she still knows how to take care of a baby." Gabrielle explained.

"Well Xena, you’re pregnant." The healer said as Xena was standing up. Xena nearly fell back into the chair but she caught her balance.

"How exactly do you know?" Xena asked.

"You’re kind of well….." the healer started.

"I’m not fat!" Xena exclaimed incredulously.

"I know. I know. But it looks like you have gained a little weight recently, and besides, you have all of the symptoms." The woman said.

"Okay. Okay." Xena said. *Wait a minute! I’m having a baby!*

"Congratulations." The woman said.

"Thank you." Xena said smiling. *Now Gabrielle and Eve are going to say ‘I told you so.’* She walked outside, but didn’t stop for Gabrielle and Eve, but she kept walking. Gabrielle and Eve hurried to catch up with her."

"Well?" Gabrielle asked. She had a bit of excitement in her voice.

"Well what?" Xena said playing.

"Are you?" Eve asked.

"Yes." Xena said.

"We told…" Gabrielle and Eve started.

"I know." Xena said. "I know."

Later that evening, Gabrielle, Xena and Eve watched as Ares got off of the boat and headed for town. The watched the man they had given a letter to. He hurried to Ares and gave him the second letter that told him to head South. He hurried on his horse that had been aboard the boat as well. Xena, Gabrielle, and Eve on their horses headed North as well. They were a good hour ahead of Ares.

After that sun had set, Ares was so tired he couldn’t stay awake on his horse. He made up camp, and decided to head back out in the morning. He didn’t want to sleep, but he had to if he was going to find Xena. Xena, Eve, and Gabrielle would head out at dawn. They were a mile up from Ares in the woods. He wouldn’t see their camp.

Xena and Gabrielle sat around the fire. Eve was asleep with a scroll in her hand.

"I just can’t believe that I’m actually going to have a baby. I don’t know if I can handle this. Solan is dead. Eve was brought up in Rome, and she became Livia. "I don’t know what’s going to happen with this baby. But 2 out of the 2 times, something bad has happened. That means that something bad will happen with this one." Xena said.

"Xena. Everything turned out okay. You got Eve back to her old self, and Solan is in the Elysian Fields." Gabrielle said.

"Yes, but I never got to see Solan’s or Eve’s first steps, hear their first words." Xena said.

"But everything turned out to be just fine. That’s all that matters."

"I don’t know." Xena said. "I just don’t know."

Seven months, or over two seasons, had passed and Xena was sleeping more and more. Gabrielle scouted most of the time with Eve’s help, and Ares followed Xena’s trail toward the bottom of the world. Xena, Eve and Gabrielle were at the end of Africa. They were ready to board a ship heading to the end of the world.

At the docks, Xena found the wharfmaster.

"I need a boat to the continent just south of us. I believe it’s called Antarctica." Xena said.

"Are you crazy?" the man asked. "In your condition? You three ladies don’t have any business there."

"Oh no?" an very testy Xena said grabbing the man by his collar.

"Okay! Okay!" the man said. "But you’ll have to take the boat yourself. None of the captains ever want to go there."

"Okay." Xena said calmly. She handed the man a letter to give to Ares. She described him and when he would be there. "Make sure he gets this letter."

"I will." The man said. The letter told Ares to take a boat to Antarctica.

Ares arrived on the docks. It was a cold place. He saw a short man running up to him.

"The warrior princess said to give this to you!" he said. Ares took the note, told the man to take care of his horse for awhile, and he took a boat out to Antarctica.

Xena slept in a warm bed under the deck of the boat. Gabrielle and Eve, dressed in warm layers of clothing directed the boat into the freezing night. They were so thirsty. But all of the water was frozen. They had to eat partially frozen food. It was so cold that the fires they lit would die out quickly. The wind was so harsh it blew the fires out.

Ares was weak. He knew something had to be seriously wrong for Xena to lead him out into this freezing place. He didn’t know when or where he would see her, but he knew it would be soon. He could that she was close. He could sense it. He didn’t know why.

Two days passed. The three women melted ice as best they could to have something to drink. They ate their food and slept when they could. Finally they saw land. They knew it would be at least a day until Ares would be there. There was no person here. Xena hoped that Ares took the same route she did as she left him the directions she would take in the letter. She took a board from the boat, and a piece of stone, and left him a message indicating to head to the center of this mysterious place. She left a trail, hoping he would follow it.

"Gabrielle, I need to sleep." Xena said. "I’m too tired to walk. My feet hurt, and a lot of other things hurt. My baby needs rest too."

"We should rest." Eve said. "We’ve been walking for hours. The horses are back in Egypt. We can’t go any further."

"Yeah. I know." Gabrielle said. They luckily found a small cave to sleep in. They built a small fire in the back of the cave, and covered the opening with big thick furs that they had taken with them. The cave became warm quickly.

Ares sat up camp when he got off of the boat. He built a fire, and made a small hut out of furs and sticks. Ever since he became mortal, he found ways to keep warm.

The next day, Xena, Gabrielle, and Eve reached the center. They saw a stone cave. Xena pulled her chakram. Gabrielle and Eve looked at her questioningly.

"I’m going to knock down some rocks that we can tie this rope to. Then we can go down inside of it. The way the cave looks, we’ll have to." Xena said.

"Okay." Gabrielle said. "Let’s go." Xena threw her chakram and knocked a few boulders down, and they tied a rope to it. Sure enough, they had to climb down.

Since Xena was due to have her baby anytime, she had bought a new outfit months back. It was black leather with gold armor with a black coat. It was much different than the one she had when she was expecting Eve.

The three slowly climbed the rope down into the cave. They immediately saw what they had come for. It was a small glass ball. It had the power to kill the plague.

"What do we do with it?" Eve asked.

"Shatter it." Xena said.

"Well, what are you waiting for?" Gabrielle asked.

"I can’t do it. Ares has to." Xena said. "We have to wait for him. He has to break this curse."

"All right." Eve said. "We wait."

"Right." Xena said.

"Ares will be here soon, right?" Gabrielle asked.

"He should be here hopefully by sundown." Xena said. "I hope he gets here soon. If he hurries he’ll be here by sundown."

"He’ll be here soon." Eve said. "I know he will."

"Ares didn’t know what he was doing. He had nearly forgotten what he was doing on his journey. But his mind always went back to Xena’s face. Her smile and her eyes. He pressed on. He wanted to find Xena so much that it hurt worse than the cold.

"Come on Eve." Xena called down to her daughter as she stood up in the cave. She reached down, and Eve grabbed her hand as Xena pulled her up.

"Thanks." Eve said. Xena smiled, and straightened up. She felt a pain in her back. Xena groaned painfully.

"Mother?" Eve asked.

"Xena!" Gabrielle called. She rushed to Xena’s side. "Is it time?" she asked.

"Yeah." Xena said. *What do you think? I’m just moaning painfully for the heck of it?*

"Okay. Come on." Gabrielle said putting one of Xena’s arms around her neck. Eve helped support Xena as well. They led her over to a far wall in the cave where they had built a fire. Gabrielle put the glass ball aside and was helping prepare Xena for her child’s birth.

"What do I do?" Eve asked Gabrielle.

"Go get some of those fur blankets. It’s too cold for a baby here. We need to keep it and Xena as warm as possible." Gabrielle said.

"Okay." Eve said.

"And, get some snow into that basin over there and put it over the fire to heat it." Gabrielle ordered.

"All right." Eve said. She did what Gabrielle told her to do.

"Okay Xena. Focus on me." Gabrielle said.

"Shut up!" Xena screamed at her. "You aren’t the one going through this!"

"Hey. I’ve been through this before." Gabrielle said calmly. Xena screamed some more, and finally she started to calm down. "Come on Xena. Just breathe."

"You can do it mother." Eve said. "Just push."

"I see the head. The baby’s coming!" Gabrielle exclaimed. Xena pushed hard again, and Eve had a fur blanket ready as well as some newly heated water.

"One more push Xena." Gabrielle told her friend. Xena gave her best push, and the baby came as Gabrielle wrapped it in a fur blanket and cleaned it off. She handed the baby to Xena.

"It’s a boy!" Xena exclaimed. "I have a son!"

"Congratulations." Gabrielle said smiling. Eve hugged her mother.

"I have a brother." Eve said. "I have a brother."

Hours later Xena was sitting in the cave holding her baby. She looked up and saw a figure heading toward the cave.

"Gabrielle, Eve, give me the ball." She said. "He’s here." Xena could see darkness looming close to Ares. He had to smash the ball quick, or it was going to kill him. "Ares!" she called. Ares looked up to see the woman he loved.

"Xena!" he called. Xena threw the ball hard hoping it would reach him. He caught it.

"Smash the ball!" she called.

"What?" he asked.

"Smash it!" Xena yelled. The baby started to cry. She cradled him in her arms. Ares understands, and smashes the ball, and the darkness disappears. He starts to run to the cave.

Xena holds her son to her and tries to keep him in his blanket.

"Shh…" Xena soothed her son. "It’s okay Lyceus." She said. She named her son after her brother who was killed in battle. The baby quieted and finally stopped crying. Ares reached the cave after Xena had handed baby Lyceus to Eve.

"Xena." He said out of breath. Xena turned and saw Ares. She ran over to him and hugged him.

"It’s so good to see you." Xena said. She kissed Ares, and they held each other in an embrace. "I missed you."

"I missed you too." Ares said. Xena explained the whole thing with the plague as Eve walked up to them with Lyceus.

"Umm…I think someone wants to meet you, Ares." Eve said. Ares looked questioningly at Xena.

"Ares. This is our son." Xena said taking the tiny infant. "His name is Lyceus, after my brother."

"Our son?" Ares asked.

"Yeah." Xena said smiling. The baby boy looked at Ares and cooed. Xena softly handed the tiny boy to Ares and he looked at him. He kissed his son’s tiny hand. He kissed Xena.

"Let’s go home." Ares said. He looked at his son, to Xena then to Gabrielle and Eve.

"Home sounds like the best place on earth." Xena said. They bundled up the baby boy and headed on a treacherous journey back to Greece.



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