Dedicated with love to Liat Levi, who, among others, inspired me a lot, but is one of the only persons in this world who can stand me (and my craziness) day after day (or maybe not, but at least you're trying J).
dedicated to Ayelet Yaari who helped me a lot with the storyline. Thanks for
that, and for everything else you've done for me as a friend, and as what I
Part 1: Circumstances
"Come on Xena,
"No, Gabrielle! You've had enough!"
"But Xena, I can't help it!"
"Gabrielle, I said no!"
"Xena, I really want it!"
"If you're so hot for it, do it alone, you don't always need me, you know".
"Alone? How can I do it alone?"
"All you need is to be fast with your hands".
"Xena, I'm not half as good as you are!"
"How can you know if you haven't tried?"
"Oh I've tried, it's not even close to being as good as when you do it".
"Oh alright, but only a few more fishes!" Xena said and stepped into the river again.
She stood still with her eyes focused to a point up the river, and instantly she sent her hands into the water and pulled out a nice herring. She gave it to Gabrielle and caught another one.
"Come here now" she told her.
"Into the water?" Gabrielle asked.
"No, I want you to fly, of course to the water!" Xena said sarcastically.
Gabrielle took off her boots and walked into the water. Xena stood behind her and held her arms.
"Ok, now look up the river" she told her.
"Xena, what are..." she started.
"Common" Xena said. "Look up the river".
Gabrielle bent forward, turned her head to her right and looked up the river.
Xena bent forward with her and turned her head as well, still holding her arms with her hands.
"Now open your palms" Xena said.
Gabrielle opened her palms and let go of her arms, letting Xena control them.
"Do you see that?" Xena asked.
"What?" Gabrielle asked.
"That trout, swimming towards us?"
"I only see the skies reflecting on water".
Xena left Gabrielle's arms and placed her hands on Gabrielle's head, moving it a bit to the left, lowering her sight.
"Now?" she asked and grabber her arms again.
"Yeh!" Gabrielle smiled and turned her head up to Xena, and then looked back at the fish.
A moment passed, they both stood silent without moving, as suddenly Xena pushed Gabrielle's hands into the water. Gabrielle instinctively closed her fingers, grabbing the fish in her hands.
"I got it!" she yelled with excitement. "I got it!"
Xena laughed with her and pulled Gabrielle's arms out of the water with her own hands.
"See, you can do it" Xena said with a smile.
"Thanks" Gabrielle said and kissed her on the cheek. Xena's arms closed around the bard, and with them the latter's, leaving the little blond in the warrior's hands. Gabrielle looked up at Xena and smiled.
"This is nice," she said.
"Yeh" Xena said, and Gabrielle turned to her, putting her arms around Xena's waist. Xena looked down at her bard and kissed her softly on the forehead.
"When are we due back?" Gabrielle asked and rested her head on Xena's chest.
"Our leave ends in a few days" Xena replied.
"Must we go back?" she asked.
"The unit needs us" Xena sighed. "And if we don't get back, we're in for some trouble".
"Yeh, well, it's boring!" the bard complained. "Why do we have to teach cadets?"
"So they could fight? Besides, it's safe" Xena thought. "It's safer than a base in the southern border and being in a risk of getting shot all the time".
"Safe? We're immortal, Xena!" Gabrielle said as the warrior went out of the water and dried up in a towel.
"You're coming?" she yelled to her.
"No, I want to practice this a little bit" Gabrielle yelled back.
"Good, with enough practice and concentration, you'd become good at this".
Gabrielle smiled at her and looked back up the river. Xena went to their bags and took out the car keys. "I'm going back to the car to get you a towel as well", she yelled.
"Thanks" the bard smiled at her and looked back up the river.
Xena walked about
five minutes and arrived to where they parked their Ford Explorer, and opened
the passenger door. She sat at the passenger seat and opened the glove compartment
to look for something, as suddenly she jumped to the unexpected yell.
"Varuuuuuuuum" a voice yelled and made car noises.
"Very funny, Ares, scare me to death, why don't ya?" she breathed, shut close the glove compartment and stepped off the car.
"This is the welcome I get?" he asked. "After such a long time?"
"Not long enough" she said. "It's been like... What, two hundred years since we last heard from you?"
"Yeh, I'd say so" Ares leaned back on the driver seat. "Woh, this feels comfy".
Xena opened the back door and grabbed a towel she left there the day before.
"So, what are you and Gabrielle doing in this desolate piece of nature?" he asked.
"Resting" she shut the door close and turned her back to him, going back towards the river. "So go away, we don't want you here".
Ares thought for a second and then walked out of the car, and after Xena.
"Do you still blame me for the death of Eve?" he asked knowing that the painful memory would probably make the princess hate him even more.
"Buzz off, Ares" Xena said and started walking fast.
"But I didn't tell you what I came for!" he screamed at her, and teleported himself in front of her.
"I knew there was something. Spit it up, Gabrielle awaits me" she listened without patience.
"I have a preposition for you" he said.
"I know," he interrupted her. "Not interested, but hear me up. This might be your chance to get out of the boring life you two have".
"Sigh. Ok, I'm listening" she said.
"Soon, I'm going to present myself to the world as who I really am"
"Huh!" she laughed at him.
"I am going to take control over this world, Xena. It's as easy as that. The people of this earth are dying for God to come down to them, and so when he does...."
"Wait, you're going to make them think you're THE one God, as in from the bible?"
Ares smiled. "Yes, well Duh! They forgot all about us Olympians!"
"You know Ares, when Gabrielle and I got our immortality", she started.
"And I my Godhood back" he completed her, both referring to that incident that happened so long ago.
"Well, I realized people never forget. They just stop caring".
"Forgot, gave up, does it matter? The point is that the people of the world are so impatient for an answer, they wouldn't give a virtual damn if it would be God or an alien UFO coming down from the sky... And if I am that answer they're looking for, why not come down to them? Help them.... You know.... Organize the world".
"The point is, Ares, that your kind of order is not the kind of order the world needs" the warrior was about to give up.
"There's no better way, Xena".
"You're still claiming to be what you're not, Ares. That never works".
"And what if I told them I was Ares, the ancient Greek God of war, ha? Then the catholic would consider me Satan, or a demon, or whatever, and by trying to kill me they'll only devastate themselves. And then what have you gained?"
"And if you tell them you're God, they're going to ask you to do things even you can't do, and when they realize you're not the almighty one God, but can still do all that Godly stuff, you'll be tagged as "Demon" again, and there you have the same result again" she turned her back to him and walked back to Gabrielle.
"Oh ancient Greek immortal warrior princess of little faith" he mumbled.
"This is going to change things, you know, whether it works or not" he said. "If you cooperate with me you can only gain. Any other way would only hurt you!"
"Bye, Ares!" she yelled back as she was getting farther.
"You're going to regret this!" he yelled back at her, and disappeared with a blue cloud of pure divineness.
this shooting?" Xena, or Major Joanna Best as everyone in the base knew her,
asked to poor private.
"Sorry maam, must have been out of concentration" he replied with an embarrassed look.
"No, Private, had you been out of concentration you would have got at least one of the bullets, what you did here is statistically impossible!"
"If the God of war saw this he'd fry your sorry..."
"God of War, maam?" he interrupted her.
"Never mind private, just try again" she sighed.
"Maam, are you not Christian?" asked another soldier.
"My religious beliefs are none of your concern," she sounded offended. "Now shoot another round, and this time hit, by the Gods!"
Gabrielle called Xena as she entered the staff room.
"Hey, Gab" Xena dropped in a chair next to the bard and sighed.
"What's the matter?" she asked her and gave her a cup of coffee.
"The soldiers are starting to pry about my religious beliefs" she sighed.
"Are you one of those people who think God is mistaken for Aliens?" asked her Lieutenant Mike Fisher.
"Yeh Mikey, and I also believe you are one of them" she raised both her eyebrows as she does when being amused, and sipped from her coffee.
"Pity, now I'm going to have to kill you with my laser-gun!" he grabbed his bag and was about to leave the room.
"Don't forget to hide before they beam you up!" she yelled at him before he left.
Just as he closed the door Xena changed her expression back to an angry frustrated look.
"Xena, are you alright?" Gabrielle asked as they were finally alone.
"Yeh, it's nothing, it just annoys me how simple questions about religious can make these people sound so... arrogant. As if they know what they believe it true".
"That's the way religions are, Xena" Gabrielle said and held her lover's hand. "But you know the truth, so why do you even pay attention to what they say?"
"I donno, Gabrielle, but in the past two thousand years millions over millions of people died in the name of religions both you and I know are not true".
"You sometimes wish you could give them an answer, don't you..." Gabrielle said and wondered about something, as suddenly Xena raised her face in surprise.
"What is it?" Gabrielle asked.
"That's exactly what Ar..." she started, and realized it was too late to stop now.
"That's exactly what Ares said to me when we were on vacation" she said.
"Ares?" Gabrielle said with surprise.
"Yeh, he wanted me to join him in another one of these ridiculous plans of his".
Gabrielle stopped herself from asking 'Did you agree'. She knew she trusted Xena, however the fact that she felt the need to ask made her uncomfortable.
"Don't worry about it though," Xena said. "You know him and his plans".
"Yeh" Gabrielle said. "But what does giving the human kind an answer has to do with it?"
"Nothing you should worry about" Xena said and kissed Gabrielle's hand. "Now let's go punch out and go home".
Gabrielle didn't know what Xena was hiding, but she knew she could trust her. After all these years, she came to learn that even when Xena holds something back from her, it's for her own good. It took a couple of centuries to come to accept that, but once she did the trust issues between the two were merely over.
On the southern
side of the big LA Base, were the living quarters of the high ranked officers
and their families. Just like a neighborhood, the people who lived there would
go to work, in this case the military in the morning, and come back home in
the evening. Thus, most of the people who got to have homes in the living neighborhood
were people with desk jobs, but exceptions were made. Xena and Gabrielle, being
combat training instructors, got an apartment of their own. Nobody ever asked
why they lived together, but if they did, Xena and Gabrielle would just answer
that they've been closest friends ever since kindergarten, and thus they're
like family. But there were a couple of secrets no one knew. Maybe two or three
people knew they were lovers, but absolutely no one even thought they're actually
ancient Greek warriors who became immortal some two thousand years earlier.
Xena took the identity of Joanna Best, while Gabrielle enjoyed the fact her name was still common in some places in the world, and took the identity of Gabrielle DePadro.
They have three cats named Joxar, Autolycous and Iolus, and a bitch called Callisto. The pets pretty soon lived up to their names: Joxar would knock over things all the time, Autolycous would steal food from the neighbors, and Iolus would.... Well, Iolus would do nothing but eat and sleep, being the only one not to live up for his name. And as for Callisto, she would hunt the three miserable cats all day long. She knew well enough she couldn't hurt any of them, but she still enjoyed the chase.
As for the names of the pets, it was a long on going tradition they had. Gabrielle's first horse after they got their immortality she called Joxar, to make sure the memory of her friend doesn't die with him. So every time they had a new horse, they'd call him after one of their old friends. They both were very nostalgic, yet the usually joked about it. For example, they had both Xena's Chakram and Gabrielle's swords hung in the living room above the fireplace. They would tell everyone these are replicas of ancient Chinese weapons, and that they're not sharp enough to cut anything, when the truth was that they sharpened these as often as they could.
In the last two millenniums, Xena and Gabrielle had many friends, some better friends then others. Some of them even knew the truth about their immortality and their life history, before people stopped believing in these things. But no matter what, Xena and Gabrielle never forgot about their first friends, especially Joxar. Sometimes they'd meet up with Hercules (Who nowadays called himself Kevin Sorbo) when he wasn't busy playing his role as "Superman" in the most famous syndicated show ever, Luis and Clark. Whenever the two would meet with him, they'd sit over a beer and bring up old memories of their old friends, family and adventures. Although sometimes, Gabrielle would have periods of deep depression whenever a memory would come up. It'd start with her thinking about the old times. Mostly after that, she would recall of Joxar, and then she would just forget all about it, not think about it at all until that very night, on which she'd dream about the adventures they had, and would recall of all of their friends. Then would come the depression of generally being immortal. Knowing you can't stay in one place for more than ten or twenty years (which seemed like nothing), knowing that the friends you have you're going to one day lose, knowing you will live to see eternity... At least she comforted herself with the fact they'd always have each other. It spared her the heartbreak of falling in love in a mortal, just so that one-day she'd have to see him go. And so whenever Gabrielle got one of those depressions, Xena would take her on a vacation to nature, to get away from the city, from work, from modern life... On the one hand it only made Gabrielle think even more about the old days. But on the other hand, this was a chance for Gabrielle to enjoy the simple life she loves and missed so much, and was also a chance for her to take everything out and deal with her sorrow.
When Xena and Gabrielle
got home, it was already raining. They couldn't believe they were relaxing in
the warm sun just a couple of days earlier. After they changed clothes Xena
went down to the living room and sat down to read her novel, while Gabrielle
went into the kitchen and cooked. Xena was reading a novel called "Contact"
by Carl Sagen. A novel she couldn't quite define. On the one hand, it was science
fiction; SETI radio astronomers receiving a radio signal from outer space with
a huge message containing what seems to be the construction plans of a huge
machine. On the other hand, the novel itself is not about the scientific aspects
of the story, rather the social aspects; The main story is about society's obsession
with claiming on to religion as the most important value, and describes cases
of religious superiority such as considering the elimination of the new interplanetary
project because they are not sure if the aliens believe in God or not, governmental
discrimination against someone for being an atheist, and so on. Xena was always
upset about what religion makes people do. This book criticized it all, and
was the essence of the typical religious human behavior that brought Xena's
frustration so much. Even though, Gabrielle herself didn't like the book very
much. To her it was just a plain science fiction story with shallow ideas and
a misguided perception.
Just as Xena was about to finish the chapter she was in, a lightning struck the skies and all of the electricity went off, including of course the lights.
"Agh, Zeus!" Gabrielle muttered from the kitchen.
"He's dead, Gabrielle... you can't blame him for the weather anymore!" Xena closed her book and placed it on the sofa.
"I'm just lucky food's ready" Gabrielle said, and lit a candle with a match she happened to have next to her. "Five minutes earlier and we would have ordered in".
Xena went into the kitchen and took out some matched. "Well, I guess we're eating to candle light" she said and smiled at the bard, whose face was softly lightened by the small dancing flame.
They set up the table and placed several candles in the middle, placing the whine in a bucket of ice next to the table.
"All we need now is some music," Xena said to Gabrielle as they sat down. The started eating, and Xena finished eating first. She moved her plate aside, and with her elbows on the table, she rested her head on her hands and looked at the bard eat.
When Gabrielle finished the meal, she moved her plate aside, and took another sip from her whine. She too looked at Xena, and found herself lost in the blue eyes that seemed to shimmer and shine in the sparkling dim candlelight. Xena rose a little, moving her head close to the bard. Gabrielle closed her eyes and moved her chin up slightly, awaiting the soft touch of her lover's lips. And just as the warrior princess was about to press her lips against Gabrielle's, suddenly, just like in the old days, Joxar jumped in and knocked over the whine. Xena and Gabrielle both quickly grabbed to bottle so more whine won't be poured out, and found their hands lying on each other's. They both turned their heads back to each other, and just then the panicked Joxar ran off the table, dragging the tablecloth after him, and with it the candles that immediately fell to the ground and were extinguished.
Darkness fell upon them.
And as a lightning struck in the distance and lit the room with an instant white, one could see the shadowy figures of the two women, kissing.
It was raining
hard when the head priest of the Nazareth chapel woke up to the screaming outside.
He ran outside and saw everyone looking up to the skies. Running into the rain,
he raised his head to the skies and saw it. It was a human form of some sort...
Flying around in circles with his.... Wings....
Immediately he fell to his knees and with a crucifying movement blessed the Father, the son, and the Holy Ghost. He looked up at the skies, and saw the angel suddenly stopped, looked down at him, and started descending. Ares lowered himself low enough for everyone to see his face, before he suddenly disappeared, leaving everyone with expectance.
Xena and Gabrielle,
or for that matter Joanna and Gabrielle, arrived to the office every morning
at 5:00 AM, and would have their first class of cadets at 6:00 AM. Thus this
morning, they were both tired for not getting much sleep that night.
"Good morning, Majors" said Commander Luke Hammil when they arrived.
"Good morning, sir" they replied in unison. The commander was a friend of theirs, although not a very close one. He didn't know any of their secrets, neither have he known them well personally. However there was not a friendlier person on the base.
"I scheduled a training exercise with DeFalco on the beach this morning, so you have a break after the training exercise for units one and two".
"Thanks" Xena said and sipped on the coffee she made herself. Gabrielle was sitting in her chair, sipping from a cup of her own, yet she wore an angry detached face.
"Cookies?" he offered them a plate just as he was about to leave.
"No thanks" Xena smiled at him and went back to her newspaper.
"You?" he offered the plate to Gabrielle, who just turned her head to him, asking "huh?".
"Hehe" he giggled. "Still not a morning person, is she?" he smiled at Jo who replied with a smile of her own.
Units one and two
were really easy to deal with. When cadets wake up in the morning they're still
stunned from the fact they're not home sleeping, so they just do whatever they're
told like a bunch of stoned zombies. Right after the exercise, all units went
out for a beach exercise with DeFalco and Hammil, and so Xena and Gabrielle
were left alone in the compound, and the building was literally empty. They
showered and changed back to their civvies for a couple of hours, until they
need to continue working.
When they got back to the staff room, Gabrielle fell back to her chair, still wearing a dissatisfied look. "Gabrielle, what's the matter?"
"It's nothing, I'm just a little tired, that's all" she replied.
Xena has seen Gabrielle tired before. She's seen Gabrielle cranky in the morning, and she's seen her angry at the entire world just because she wanted to sleep. But this wasn't one of these cases. Something was bothering her.
"Gabrielle, you're lying to a woman who's known you for over two thousand years" she said. "What is it?"
"Well" Gabrielle hesitated. "It's Ares".
"Ares?" Xena sounded more surprised than Gabrielle had expected her to. "Did he come to you too?"
"No, it's.... it's you" she replied and lowered her head. It came to Xena as a big surprise. She thought Gabrielle has gone over the trust issue. "Oh, Gabrielle" she said and moved to seat next to her. "You know I never agree to his offerings".
"Yeh, but..." Gabrielle pondered. "What if one day he'd offer you a good plan, something that you would agree to do"?
"You know I'd consult with you first" she took the bard's hand and kissed it's back.
"And besides" she looked into Gabrielle's eyes. "No matter how good his ideas are, and no matter what happens, I would never leave you".
Gabrielle seemed as if she got her answer, but still there was a vest of storming emotions in her, just dying to break out. One of them was loosened in a tear, slowly marching towards it's shattered destiny down Gabrielle's cheek.
Xena moved her head closer the bard's, and their mouths opened for a kiss. Xena put her hand behind Gabrielle's head, turning it a little to the side, and then came the kiss, relaxing and comforting, bringing Gabrielle to the verge of an emotional breakout of passion. Xena herself got caught in the kiss, falling for her own trap. And as the kiss got more and more passionate, the two women slowly stood up from their seats next to the table, and walked towards one of the sofas. Falling down on the green sofa, the two kept kissing in each other's hand. Xena slowly opened Gabrielle's jacket and pulled it down, revealing her bra and shoulders. Gabrielle took her hands out of the sleeves, letting the jacket fall down, and wrapped her hands around her lover, drawing her closer, feeling the emotional and sexual tension and lust burning inside her. Slowly her hands moved up Xena's back, pulling up her shirt. Xena raised her hands and Gabrielle pulled the shirt off her, throwing it aside, leaving Xena only in her underwear as well. The two kept kissing, each feeling the warmth and comfort of the other's skin. Gabrielle sent her hands behind Xena's back, and slowly moved her hands to open the warrior's bra, as suddenly the door opened. The two instinctively detached their lips and looked at the door. Standing in the entrance, they found the shocked face of Private Lee Darnell, staring at the two as if they just fell from the moon.
"Private Darnell" Xena yelled. "What are you doing here?" she immediately pulled the first thing she saw, Gabrielle's jacket, to cover herself, and Gabrielle, who could find nothing to cover herself with, hid behind Xena's back with only her face popping out behind of the warrior's back.
"I was... I..." he was too confused to put out a straight sentence.
"Why aren't you at the training exercise?" Gabrielle asked again.
"I was told to stay here and clean the place up" he said, and kept his mouth open.
"Didn't your mommy ever teach you it was rude to stare?" Gabrielle said and did her best to keep herself behind of Xena's body.
"Ha? Oh, sorry" he said and turned his head aside. "I'll.... I'll be back... Later..." he mumbled.
Xena look at Gabrielle who just replied with a worried look. They both knew what that meant. In no more than 24 hours, the entire base would already know.
The next morning
when Xena and Gabrielle arrived to base, it seemed as if their fear was justified.
In every single corridor they walked through, people stared at them and grinned.
Gabrielle looked up at Xena with tear-flashing eyes, and the warrior just didn't
know what to do. It was the first time such a big amount of people knew the
truth about them, but the despising looks, their fearful faces and their mocking
small comments were far too much. What surprised, or maybe upset them the most,
was the fact that some of these people used to be their friends.
Commander Hammil has summoned the two to his office, and so they were on their way to there. When they arrived, the commander was sitting in his chair, head up, and his left hand holding the bottom of his chin.
"Joanna, Gabrielle, please, be seated," he said when he saw them. Whenever he called them by their first names that meant he either had bad news or simply wanted to sound friendlier than usual. The two exchanged looks and sat at the armchairs in front of his desk.
"I assume you already know of the rumor that's been going on in the past 24 hours, and as your superior I want to..."
"Know if it's true, sir?" Gabrielle interrupted him.
"Like I care!" he said back and the girls seemed a little uncomfortable with his answer.
"Don't get me wrong," he continued. "I'd be really happy for any of my staff members should they find love, but true or not, whether you two are a couple or not is really none of my God damn business!"
"Oh" Gabrielle said. "Well, thank you sir".
"So, why ARE we here?" Xena asked.
"Well Joanna," he continued, "I assume some other people, staff and cadets, would try to stick their noses in your personal life. And if it is true, they probably wouldn't react as well as I di... would have, I mean, had it been... true".
"Well, it kinda already started" Xena said with half a smile.
"Well," he said, "should anyone from the staff bother you more than you'd like to, you have my direct order to send him straight to me for a reprimanding!"
"Yes sir" Gabrielle said.
"And should it be a cadet, you have my authorization to reprimand and punish him as you see fitting".
The two nodded and Commander Hammil smiled. "Dismissed" they exchanged salutes, and the girls left his office and headed to the staff room.
We are here at
the Church of Annunciation in Nazareth - Israel, where local priests, residents
and tourists claim to have seen a real living angel, flying above them last
Sunday. The head priest of the church claims that the so-called 'Angel' was
in the form of a man, wearing silver and gold armor, with long white wings.
Behind us you can see the entrance to the Church of Annunciation, and right
next to the right side of the entrance you can see a small area restricted by
ropes, and this is where the priests of the church claim that the angel descended
down to them, and hovered a couple of feet above them using nothing but his
wings to levitate.
The worldwide extremist Christian religious clan, the "Children of Jesus" has formed an emergency meeting here in Nazareth with representatives from all over the world, to discuss the needed preparations for the third returning of Jesus Christ. According to their leader, the revelation of the angel over this Christian holy place is the sign of God coming back to men kind after a thousand of years. The clan, mostly known for their worldwide racist acts of terrorism in the last 6 months, has announced that they will retaliate against any person or body that will be an obstacle for redemption.
On the other hand, scientists all over the world claim that the incident could have easily been a prank or a practical joke of some kind. Presenting all kinds of theories, the most popular of those is the hang-glider theory, saying merely that a single person could have easily masked up a glider to make it look like the angel's wing. Weather logs from last Sunday support that theory, by indicating that the wind at that time of the day was optimal for hang-gliding.
Israeli government on the other hand gave to comment on the incident, claiming it has nothing to do with local authorities.
When we come back after a short commercial break, we will ask the flight administrator of the Ben Gurion airport in Israel about the preparations being made for the thousands of people to come to Israel to the Church of Annunciation.
Natalie" Xena said to the secretary as they arrived to the base the next morning.
"Good morning, Major" Natalie answered. "Commander Hammil wants to see you in his office. Again".
"Oh-oh" Gabrielle had a bad feeling about this.
"Thanks" Xena said and turned to Gabrielle. "Come" she told her and the two walked to the office of the commander.
"Come in, please" his door was open when they came.
"Thank you, sir" Xena said and entered. Gabrielle shut the door behind her and sat down next to Xena.
"Joanna, Gabrielle... I have some bad news" he started.
Xena's face changed to a serious stare and Gabrielle's to a worried one.
"I got an order from upstairs" he said. "It goes very high in the chain of command. So high I couldn't track it's exact source, but my superiors told me their superiors told them their superiors told them, etc."
"What is it?" Gabrielle asked.
"I've got an order to separate you two," he said.
"What?" Gabrielle exploded. "They can't do this!"
"Unfortunately, they can" he said. "There are some unwritten policies about lovers serving together in the same squad".
"But we're instructors!" Gabrielle protested, and looked at Xena who hasn't said a word yet seemed to have been thinking. What amazed her the most is that whoever gave the command didn't' even bother to check if they were really lovers.
"Between us" Luke said. "It's not the fact you're on the same squad that bothers them. Someone up there is just very conservative, and doesn't want...."
"So that's what it's all about?" Gabrielle spoke loudly.
"Gabrielle, you must understand, I..."
"Say it! The reason they want to separate us is because we're lesbians!"
"In my opinion, yes!" he said. "But opinions have nothing to do here! Legally, they can separate you if they want easily. One of you is going to be transferred to another base".
"Joanna, aren't you going to say anything?" she turned to Xena.
"When is the order to be executed?" Xena asked.
"In 48 hours they will send in a transfer order, to be executed within 24 hours of its arrival" he said.
"Thank you, Luke" Xena said and stood to her feet.
"Don't do anything silly, Joanna!" he yelled as she turned away. "You both are to stay in your home until then!"
"Thank you" Gabrielle said to him in an almost sarcastic voice, and rose to her feet as well, following Xena out the office.
are we going to do?" Gabrielle asked her as they both walked towards their car.
"We're going to do what we always do when things get crazy".
"Where are we gonna move this time, Xena? England? Greece again?"
"Gabrielle, we don't need to leave the states," Xena said.
"Oh? And switch identities again?" Gabrielle asked. "What this time?"
"Gabrielle, we're immortal! We have no other choice! Or do you rather they separate us?"
Gabrielle sighed. "It's just..." they arrived to the car and Gabrielle sat in the passenger's seat.
"I'm sorry" she turned her face to Xena who sat in the driver's seat. "You know how I get when these things happen to us".
"I know" Xena said and held the bard's head in her left hand. "But we'll work it out. We always do".
"I guess you're right" Gabrielle smiled. Xena leaned down and kissed the tear on Gabrielle's cheek, immediately followed by a kiss on her soft lips.
Over the years Gabrielle has grown more and more emotional. It must have been either the result or the cause of her mental problems. Gabrielle even spent a month or two in a mental hospital back in the 1980s. Of course the biggest problem was that she couldn't tell anyone the truth about her past, her origins or what made her have these moments of detachment from reality, or the unexplainable overreactions or emotional responses. Xena's non-cooperation with the doctors didn't help much either. Even had they known, the doctors probably wouldn't know how to treat any mental problem caused by immortality anyhow, so instead of helping her with the problem itself, they taught her new ways to deal with her pain, and taught her how to control excessive emotional outbursts that appeared more than once in the form of an extreme depression, sometimes even sickness. Of course as an immortal, Gabrielle was hardly ever sick, but when she had those depression attacks sometimes she'd have such a fever that it would have killed her had she not been immortal.
Ever since she got out of the mental hospital though, she's been quite all right. From time to time she'd get depressed, but Xena helped her out most of these times. The other times would just go away eventually. Now however, Gabrielle was sitting in the car more shocked than depressed. She had no reason to be depressed, because she knew she and Xena can not be separated, yet she felt a depression coming, like a storm in the distance sending it's first waves of wind and coldness towards her.
And when the storm arrives, Gabrielle would lock herself behind her wall, and let nobody see her but her beloved Xena, who'll come climbing up past the wall and into her heart once again.
up?" Xena asked Gabrielle as they finished loading everything they had onto
"Everything but Iolus" she replied. Callisto was already sitting in the back seat, when Joxar and Autolycous were both asleep on the driver's seat. "He's probably in the kitchen. I'll go get him".
"Good" Xena smiled and turned back to the car to watch the pets weren't escaping.
"Ironic isn't it?" she suddenly asked.
"What is?" out of nowhere suddenly appeared Ares.
"I'm watching them so they won't run away when I myself am doing just that"
Ares leaned on the car's window with his elbow and Callisto roared at him.
"Oh" he said. "Always said Callisto was a bitch".
"Ares, if this is about your plan..."
"No, it isn't. I'm here to help," he said.
"Just like that?" she asked and sat in the front seat, putting the two cats on the passenger seat.
"Yes" he said. "Believe it or not, I'm on your side".
"My side of what, Ares? This isn't a war. They try to separate us, we can't win, and so we leave. It's as simple as that".
"That's what I'm here to tell you, Xena. It isn't"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean they're guarding the exits from the base. They have an extra force of officers just waiting for you".
"You're probably saying that just so we'd stay, and then once they do separate us you'll use that to make me join you".
"You know, you really should give me some more credit. I offered you my services. You refused. Listen to me Xena; you'll need me here. Either you let me help you here and now, or you don't and I won't be able to help you later".
"Goodbye, Ares" Xena said coldly and shut the door close.
Ares shrugged and disappeared, just as Gabrielle came back, sat in, and they went on their way into the unknown, once again.
Xena and Gabrielle
drove lightly towards the exit from the base's premises, and were stopped by
an armed guard on the exit. "What could he want?" Gabrielle asked. "They
never stop us at the exit".
Xena didn't reply.
"Major Best, Major DePadro" the guard saluted.
"What is it sergeant?"
"I'm afraid I can't let you leave the base maam," he said. "Please turn back your vehicle and head back to your quarters".
"Sergeant, why can't we leave base?" Gabrielle asked.
"Maam, You are restrained to base until further orders come in about which one of you would be transferred away, maam".
The two looked at each other, and Xena looked back straight ahead, as suddenly the Explorer jumped forward, and raced through the roadblock. Immediately the guard jumped into a jeep with some other guards and started to chase the Ford, alerting in the radio of their escape and of the pursuit. Xena drove as fast as she could without losing track, and someone from the jeep shouted using a megaphone "Stop the vehicle! Stop now, or you will be fired upon!"
"Xena..." Gabrielle started
"Don't worry, Gabrielle" Xena calmed her and drove faster.
"Xena, they'll shoot us!"
"They won't harm us, Gabrielle. They'll shoot to miss in order to scare us to stop"
"We're not terrorists, Xena! We can talk our way out of this".
"We lost our ability to talk our way out of situations the minute we became immortal!" Xena snapped back, which caught Gabrielle by shock.
The jeep behind them raced faster, and the gunner shot a couple of warning shots.
"Stop now!" another shot was heard.
"Xena!" Gabrielle pleaded.
Xena did not reply and just kept on driving, moving from side to side to make it harder for the gunners at the back to aim.
The gunner then shot straight at their tire, making the vehicle spin and go off track. Xena immediately stepped on the breaks, and after a couple of spins and slides that took about ten seconds, the car came to a stop.
Gabrielle looked at Xena and waited for a reaction, but Xena just sat there, staring outside the craft at the soldiers approaching them with their guns in the air, pointed straight at them
reason you're here," said Commander Hammil, "is so that you won't try to
"What makes you think we're that stupid?" Gabrielle asked from behind the bars of the prison cell.
"I don't think you are" Luke replied. "I know you won't escape. My superiors however... Anyhow, once the order as of who transfers where comes in, and God willing neither of you will, they'll let me release you."
"What about our things?" Xena asked.
"They have all been sent back to your apartment, and I personally fed your pets", he replied.
"Thanks" Gabrielle said and sat next to Xena.
"I have to go now, but I'll be back to give you updates" he said and left the room.
"Xena, how do we get through this?" Gabrielle asked when they were alone.
Xena held Gabrielle in her arms and said nothing.
"Once we will be released, they'll watch over us with guns and guards until either one of us gets on the plane. Can this be bigger than us?"
"No!" Xena said. "It can't be. We always came through, and we can do it this time as well".
"But how?" Gabrielle asked.
"Well..." Xena let go of Gabrielle and stood to her feet, walking to the bars.
"There is one way," she continued, her back still facing Gabrielle who was sitting on the bed.
"Well, according to law, If we... See... There is a way... They couldn't separate us no matter what..."
"Xena?" Gabrielle asked. She wasn't used of seeing Xena so confused and difficult with words.
"Gabrielle," she turned to the bard, and looking straight into her eyes, Xena got down on her knees right next to her.
"Will you marry me?"
Part 2: Consequences
are you sure that's wise?"
"Doctor, may I remind you that our president has a..."
"No, that's ok, Steve" said the President of the United States, Paul Patine.
"Mr. President, I do not see why we have to waste the public's money on science fiction and..."
"Doctor McNeil, the space program is one of America's most popular foundations. More than sixty three percent of the American public believes that further investments should be made in space technology and research! You can't ignore the statistics!"
"The space program has been running for years now, and it really contributed almost nothing to man kind, not to mention the United States!"
"What are you talking about???" the minister of science yelled from across the table. "The Mercury missions, Apollo 11, one giant leap for man kind, any of this ring a bell? Don't these things mean anything to you?"
"So we landed on the moon, and we'll probably land on Mars as well in the next 20 years or so! Did it give us anything?"
"Gentleman! Please!" the President's assistant yelled. "You're in a presidential meeting! Show some respect".
"I apologize, Mr. President," said the minister of science. The president nodded and started talking.
"I have discussed this with both the minister of science, NASA high command and..."
Suddenly the president's words were cut off, this time by something else. On the far side of the room, suddenly a huge flame appeared. Everybody started running to the exits, while the security officers yelled panicked words into their radios. The president looked up at the smoke detectors-fire extinguishers and wondered how come they didn't detect the fire. Then it suddenly occurred to him that the flame didn't produce any smoke. The security officer tried opening the door, but it was locked. They all were.
"What the hell is going on here?" yelled someone in the mess.
"Oh my...." Someone started saying when the flame slowly died, and in the middle of the fire a figure could be seen standing.
The man was tall and dark, wearing a golden-silvered armor, with... Wings.... Extended from his back...
It took some time before everyone realized what he or she was watching. Half of them dropped to their knees and crossed themselves, the other half just stood there stunned.
Ares kept his expression solid and firm, and stood high and proud, waiting for someone to make the 'first move'.
Naturally, it was President Paul Patine who was first to speak.
"I am Paul Patine, President of the United States of America," he said.
"I know," said Ares.
The president hesitated. "Who, or what... are you?"
"I am a messenger of what or whom you may refer to as - 'God'". People in the room started whispering
"Come on!" Someone across the room shouted. "This is a trick!"
Ares raised his hand, and the man suddenly hovered in air, and flew towards Ares.
"Is that a trick as well?" Ares asked, with a hostile tone.
"Now, ahm... Who or whatever you are, please, don't hurt him".
"I am not here to hurt anyone," Ares said. "Nor do I take orders".
"Understood" the president nodded, and the man, who happened to be the secretary of defense, slowly descended until he hit ground.
"I am here, for the revelation is soon to come upon the world," Ares announced.
"Revelation of God" Ares smiled. "He will soon return to the world, to bring his order and.... Peace".
Some of the people in the room smiled, the others were still too shocked to react.
"So why come to us?"
"I am here to take control over this government," answered Ares. "I am here to run the world's most powerful nation, and to bring God's order to the government".
The president leaned to his advisor and whispered in his ears "we don't have any laws or regulations regarding God or angels coming and demanding to take over the government. How are we expected to deal with this?"
"Sir, we do have our alien policy..."
"You want to negotiate a treaty with God? Are you insane?"
Ares waited for the two to finish their discussions, and after some more advising with some other people, the president stepped forward.
"An emergency secret meeting will be held in three hours with the presence of all ministers and advisors. There we will determine weather it is possible or agreeable to pass over the government to you, or any other divine source. You are of course summoned as well".
'WHAT'? Ares thought. 'YOU OFFER THEM DIVINE SALVATION AND THEY WANT TO PUT IT UP FOR A DISCUSSION?'
"Very well" he said, still shocked by the hypocrisy. "I shall be here" he nodded, and disappeared with a huge blue flame.
The tears of joy
in Gabrielle's eyes were more of an answer to Xena than anything else in the
Still, she waited for Gabrielle's reaction. She looked up at the bard's eyes, waiting for the execution of either her heart of her marital status...
"Ga..." Xena started
"I..." Gabrielle started and Xena froze.
"I... I will!" she replied.
Xena let out a sigh of relief, and with her smile widening she went up on her feet and grabbed Gabrielle, hugging her close. She pulled back a little, looked into the glowing happy face of her fiancée, and kissed her lips with happiness like she have never felt before.
Never in her mortal or immortal life did she imagine herself having a fiancée. Even when she and Gabrielle became lovers, the issue of marriage was just never an issue neither of them has even considered. Maybe that was the reason they were both suddenly so... Happy. Must have been the fact that they can stay together.
And so with another hug and another kiss, Xena called for a guard to get Commander Hammil.
he sat at the chairman's seat.
Everybody nodded and sat down as well.
"I am Mr. B, and as you all know, with chairman A's departure to the worldwide convention at Nazareth, I shall be sitting today at his place" he looked around at the table and recognized some of the faces, however not all.
"I am sorry to say, that due to an unexpected occurrence, operation Apostle has failed," he announced.
"That can not be!" L said. "I gave the order myself, they could have never..."
"You did well, Mr. L," said Mr. B. "The order went down the chain of command very well. But seems as if the two soldiers found a way out of it"
Mr. L. leaned back in his chair, obviously relieved that his job was well done; yet still disturbed by the news itself.
"The subjects, Major Joanna Best and Major Gabrielle DePadro, are getting married."
"Married?" people around the table exclaimed, and Mr. B immediately silenced them.
"Best and DePadro are to be married within a week if they want to stay together"
"What are we going to do about it?" asked Mr. K.
"The only thing we can do" answered B. "Make sure the wedding, does not take place".
"You can't bomb a wedding just because of two sinners, there would be other people in there, innocent true to God...."
"Anyone who participates in this kind of a wedding is a sinner himself, Mr. P" B noted. "However, I have a better way in mind. A way better fitting, of the Children of Jesus"
"Let me be
the first to congratulate you!" Commander Hammil smiled at the two in his office.
"Thanks" they both nodded with a smile.
"However, I have some other news as well" he added with a different tone.
"What, is... is it not enough?" Gabrielle asked.
"Ha? Ho, no, according to the law if you're engaged they can't order your separation. But even before they couldn't"
"What?" Xena and Gabrielle asked at once.
"The order was fake," he said.
"Fake? But who, how?" Gabrielle asked.
"We don't know, we're still tracking it down," he answered. "But the good news is that you can maintain your current positions".
"Who'd want to..."? Gabrielle started.
"Gabrielle," Xena stopped her and looked into her eyes.
"Do you have any," Commander Hammil started. "Enemies? Someone who'd want to hurt you in any way?"
"I..." Gabrielle started and looked at Xena.
"Not that I know of" Xena said, although it was obvious that both of them were thinking 'Ares'. Xena knew it probably wasn't him, though. It wasn't his style. Besides, he never really wanted to harm them. He just did so in the process of doing other things that were more important to him.
"Well, that's it, I guess" he said. "When's the wedding?"
"Next month" Xena smiled. "We don't have many relatives, so it's going to be a small party, probably".
"Good. I'll start thinking of a present" he smiled at them. "Dismissed."
They both saluted and left the room.
"You think it's him?" Gabrielle asked.
"Ares?" she asked, and Gabrielle nodded. "I doubt it. It's not his style".
Then Xena remembered her talk with Ares in the forest.
'If you cooperate with me you can only gain' he said to her. 'Any other way would only hurt you'.
"I'm quite sure it wasn't him," Xena said. "I am however sure he can give us some answers" she drew her gun and pointed to her side, where Ares suddenly appeared.
"Still haven't lost it," he said with a smile.
"Neither have you," she answered.
"Wow" Ares looked at her gun. "That's an improvement" he pushed it aside.
"I still keep the sword and Chakram at home, if you feel suddenly nostalgic".
"I'll leave the games and toys for you and Gabrielle" he answered, looking at the blushing bard.
"What's the matter, Ares, jealous?" Xena said and put back the gun into her belt.
"To the point" he said. "I had nothing to do with it, mind you".
"But..." Xena continued.
"But as I warned you before, this is a consequence of my plan, and your choice not to join me".
"What are you saying?" she asked. "The command was real?"
"It was real," he said. "It just wasn't authentic".
Gabrielle was confused. So was Xena.
"I have to go, now" he said. "I have a meeting at the white house. If you change your mind, though..."
Xena kept her expression solid.
"Oh well," he stepped back and was about to disappear.
"Oh, and by the way," he added. "Congratulations".
Ares appeared in
his angelic form at the meeting room of the white house, about five minutes
after the meeting started.
"You're late," said the ministry of defense.
"I'm God's messenger, I can be as late as I want to" he replied.
"That is one of the things we wanted to discuss with you" said the President. "Regarding our final decision. You must understand, Mr..... Whatever, that the United States of America prides itself with being a democracy. You can't just walk in and demand that we give the government over to you"
'What the?' Ares thought but remained still.
"And while we can not make neither you nor God president, we accept your natural right for representation in the government, and thus you shall be given an honorary appointment in the..."
"But I am the God of w..." Ares started.
"The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we know" the minister of defense said. "You can be the God of war for all the law cares, it still doesn't put you above it."
Ares rose in anger and sent his hand in the air towards the minister, but at the last minute sat back down, controlling his anger. First they make him the queen of England, now they make him a Godling.
"I'm sorry, but that's how it is. Your new appointment should be just about fitting. You'll be one of the most powerful... beings... on this political system. Still, we'll keep it quiet for now. We don't need the press knowing this for the time being".
Ares sighed. Whatever it was, he still was God's representative.
"Hey-ya, big guy!"
"Joanna, so good to hear your voice again!"
He called her Joanna. That means he was with someone.
"Oh, Yeh, you too... Kevin" she said.
"Just wait one second," he said and Xena could hear him saying good-bye to a woman.
"Hey Xena, sorry, I had Terry over for lunch".
"What is going on with you and Ms. Lane?" Xena asked with a little smile.
"We're just friends" he said innocently.
"Oh come on!" she said. "I've seen your show, and I've seen you two kiss! Nobody's that good of an actor!"
"I said we were only friends... How are you and Gabrielle doing, you sound suspiciously happy"
"Right-o" she said. "Don't know 'bout you and Terry, but Gabrielle and I are getting married!"
"Wow!" he screamed with surprise and smiled widely. "It's about time, congratulations!"
"Thanks. The invitation to the party's in the mail of course. The wedding is going to be on the ninth of April".
"Wow, thanks, that's so great! Something big?"
"Nah, a small one for our friends. We don't have any family left, so..."
"Yeh, I know what you mean" he said. "Well, you can expect to see me there".
"Sure, I'll see ya there, then"
"You mind if I come with Terry as well?"
"Just friends ha? Sure, I'd love to meet her, and Gabrielle has always been a fan of hers"
"Uh oh" Hercules said.
"Ha? Oh, never mind, little joke. Say, is Gabrielle there?"
"Ah, no, she went out for some groceries, I'll tell her you said Hi."
"Oh, ok, thanks" he said.
"Well, I'll see you there!"
"Sure, can't wait".
Xena smiled and thought 'as if I can...'
out of the grocery store with nylon bags in her hands and her car keys in her
mouth. She placed one of the bags on the car's roof, and as she tried to take
the keys in her hands, they fell to the ground.
"Ah, Zeus" she said and put the other bag on the roof, ducking for the keys. As she rose, she saw a man leaning on her car.
"Ms. DePadro?" he asked.
The man suddenly pulled out a gun and pointed at her.
"Put the groceries in the trunk and get in the car" he said quickly.
She nodded with fear in her eyes and did as he said. She entered the car and the man sat next to her in the passenger seat. She reached her hand to her pocket and the man pointed the gun closer to her.
"Ah, ah" he said. "Slowly..."
She pulled out a pair of sunglasses. "I need them to drive," she said.
"Alright" he said, not knowing that while her hand was in her pocket she also pressed the "redial" keypad on her cell phone, which dialed right back to Xena's cellular.
answered her cell phone.
"Drive!" she heard a male voice she couldn't recognize.
"What?" She asked. "Speak up, I can't hear you".
"Where are you taking me?" she heard Gabrielle ask.
"Just follow my instructions," the man said again.
"Hello? Gabrielle? Who is this?" Xena asked.
Then she realized something had happened to Gabrielle and she managed to phone her from her cell phone.
"I told you there'd be consequences" Ares suddenly appeared in next to Xena. "These are the consequences for not joining me".
"You!" Xena said. "What's happened to her?"
"Let's just say, that it's something that wouldn't have happened if you would have did it my way".
"Let her go!" Xena said.
"Oh, I'm afraid I have nothing to do with that" he said. "Not directly, at least. But I can however stop them".
"So..." she started.
"Oh, no" he said. "That would be just too easy".
"What do you want?" she asked with anger.
"Join me, Xena," he said. "My plan is working. Tomorrow I'll be appointed.... Ahm... something strong! I'll rule this world, and you can either join me, or let your precious little Gabrielle fall into the hands of those religious zealots".
'Religious zealots?' she wondered. 'That's why he can stop them.... Then again, so can I. But why did they kidnap her of all people?'.
"Get lost, Ares," she said.
"As I said, that would just be too easy" he answered.
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"Well, I couldn't just let you two get away, could I?"
"Ares, if you have anything to..." she started.
"You're no longer immortal" he smiled.
"I took your immortality away last night when you were asleep. See, when you're vulnerable, it's easier to..."
"You couldn't..." Xena muttered.
"I did," he laughed. "I'm the strongest god left, so naturally, I have the power to... Huh, anyhow, either you join me and I help you rescue Gabrielle, AND give you your immortality back, or...."
"Go to Tartarus" she said.
"They never learn", he sighed and disappeared again.
"This is going to take a while," she heard Gabrielle through the phone again. "This exit to the right from New-Bakers Street is quite difficult with all this traffic".
"Clever girl!" Xena said to herself (about Gabrielle, of course). .
"Shut up" the man said to Gabrielle. "And take the next turn to the right".
Xena grabbed her car keys, a piece of paper and a pan, and started writing everything they said regarding directions.
"All right, now second turn to the left" he said, and Xena wrote down, running to her car.
"Why are you doing this, anyway?" Gabrielle asked, and in her voice Xena detected a fair amount of fear, and noticed she was as well crying.
"You'll find out when we get there, you homosexual-scum!"
'WHAT THE?' Xena thought. 'THEY KIDNAPPED HER FOR BEING A LESBIAN?'
Xena, now already in her car, could almost hear Gabrielle trying hard not to reply with anger. Swallowing her tears, the latter asked, "So this is what this is all about?"
"Yes. So was the command to transfer you from your squad," he said. "Next turn to the left".
"And who are you, that you have the power to give commands so high in the chain of command?"
"You ask too many questions," he said. "Just drive!"
"You're from the Children of Jesus organization, aren't you?"
The man didn't answer. "Drive!"
"You have to be," she said, almost teasing him. "Only terrorists would dedicate their lives to separating lovers just because they're..."
"What we're doing is holy work, child!" he said.
'Huh,' Xena thought. 'Not only did he fall for her trap; he also called her a child. Gabrielle has been talking people out hundreds of years before he was even born.
"Oh, I'm sure it is" Gabrielle said. "And I'm the devil, right?"
"Shut up, we're there!"
Who would have thought that Ares, God of War, would end up as a bureaucrat?
He's been given a title; he couldn't even remember what it was. He was the head something of this or that office. It didn't matter, anyhow. His political power was equivalent to that of a secretary.
"Mr. Angel, sir?" his secretary entered the room. "I have some papers I need you to sign"
"What are they, Nina?" he asked in a bored voice.
"They use your power of authority to allow the importation of Greek statues to the US in direct obedience of section 23.5G to 23.6D in the regulations for importation of foreign valuables".
'How ironic' he thought. 'This has GOT to end! NOW!'
Ares jumped out of his chair and stormed out of his office. There he stopped. "What am I doing?" he asked, and with a sigh disappeared in a blue cloud of Godhood.
"Ooh, Mr. President!"
the girl giggled.
"President Patine" suddenly Ares appeared in the president's office.
"Agh!" the girl screamed and moved to another sofa, and the president stood up on his feet.
"Is this a bad time?" Ares asked cynically.
"As a matter of fact, it is, mind coming back later? You can set an appointment with my secreta..."
"Listen to me, you stupid mortal!" Ares jumped on him. "I am God's messenger! Doesn't that mean anything to you?"
"We've been through this before, the US government does not officially recognize God as a person or as an organization. For this reason..."
"So why not make it part of the law? Make new regulations?"
"Come on, you know how serious would it be if we exposed you to the public?" the president said.
"You know how serious would Armageddon be?" Ares sounded threatening.
"Is that a threat?" the president asked.
"Yes! Upset me, you upset God. You upset God, he erases you off the face of the earth".
"In that case, the US does not negotiate with terrorists!"
"What the.... I AM GOD, DAMN IT!"
"Didn't you say you were god's messenger?"
"Oh, so now you're a liar as well" the president said.
Ares swallowed his disgust. He raised his fist above the man's face and then pulled back a little. And if he kills him, he thought. What then? Then the world would see him as a vicious murderer and would never allow him to gain power. And with all his powers, he still can't really bring an apocalypse.
"Damn you!" he said and disappeared again. He couldn't believe that a mortal defeated him, ARES, the GOD OF WAR. And POLITICALLY, nonetheless! Xena was right. Mortals pray for divine redemption all the time, buy they just aren't ready for it. They're just too damned stupid.
Xena drove according
to the instructions she wrote on the piece of paper, and arrived to a deserted
warehouse in the outskirts of the city. She stopped the car and loaded her gun.
In her other hand, she took out the Chakram from the glove compartment. In her
boots she tucked Gabrielle's swords.
She studied the building. It wasn't deserted after all; it had full oil tanks all over. It was probably just a storing facility. She had to be extremely careful. Now that she wasn't immortal anymore, anything could kill her. She saw two entrances, and chose to enter the upper level, since Gabrielle was most probably being held on the lower one, and she wanted to be able to inspect the place before she makes her move.
The inside of the warehouse was filled with oil tanks as well. That rules out gunfire, since if you miss a little, what sometimes happens, you'll make one of the tanks explode. And with so many oil tanks around, that would cause the entire warehouse to explode.
She slowly put away the gun and took out her Chakram. She walked to the edge of the corridor and looked down at the ground level. In the middle there was a large table, and next to it stood a couple of people in suits. Gabrielle was tied down to a chair next to the table, blindfolded, a tape shutting her mouth, and her hands tied up behind the chair's back.
Xena snuck down the stairs and in the shadows crawled to Gabrielle.
"Hey" she whispered to her. "It's me".
Gabrielle stayed silent.
"I brought your swords, here" she put her swords in her hands. "Now untie yourself, and don't move until I give you the mark. Be careful not to cut yourself, though, you're not immortal anymore".
Gabrielle was surprised, yet she only nodded.
Xena looked around. There were a couple of suits talking among themselves, and about a dozen guards all around the perimeter, patrolling and looking for intruders. Xena walked slowly along the stacks of oil tanks, lurking between the shadows, and just as she was about to jump one of the suited men, one of the guards from the upper level noticed her.
"Hey, you!" he shouted and shot at her, missing of course.
"What the?" she jumped aside. She looked back, and saw the tanks still in tact, however they were holed and oil was spilling out. 'Either these tanks are made of really solid thick metal, or these guns are very weak', Xena thought, 'Or both'.
She stood up on her feet and started running to take cover from the gunfire. She had to keep reminding herself she was MORTAL. The floor was flooded with oil, and the smell of gasoline started to annoy Xena's breath.
"CEASE FIRE!" yelled one of the suits, which now drew his own gun and pointed at Gabrielle's head. So did his friends "You'll set off one of the canisters!"
Xena jumped into the shadows and the man in charge yelled in the air. "I'm guessing it's you, miss Best," he said. "Come out with your hands up in the air".
No answer. Gabrielle in the meanwhile was cutting through the rope around her hands.
"I'm going to count to three," he said.
Gabrielle was almost there.
She cut it loose!
"Th..." he started, but suddenly his gun was knocked out of his hand as if it was shot, so did the guns of everyone else.
"What the?" he turned his back at Gabrielle, looking around, as suddenly Gabrielle jumped him and grabbed him from behind, putting her swords crossed under his neck. The rest of his friends reached for their guns but Gabrielle said "Ah, ah.... Touch them and this one looses his head".
A guard snuck on behind her, but he was knocked down be Xena who came out of the shadows with her Chakram in her hand.
"Good work" Xena said and smiled. "Thanks" Gabrielle looked at her, taking her eyes off the suited gang, as suddenly one of them drew an extra gun and shot the man Gabrielle was holding hostage.
"Jump!" Xena yelled, and they both ran to different direction.
"Don't shot!" yelled one of the suits. "Use your commando knives".
'He has to be stupid' Xena thought. 'You never tell on your weapon'.
One of the guards jumped on Gabrielle, but the latter ducked and sent her sword at his sleeve, and then to the wall, nailing him down. She kicked him in the groin, and as he ducked kicked him again in the face and took out her sword. He fell back unconscious, and Gabrielle jumped on yet another soldier.
Xena took off a guard herself, and another attacked her. She used the Chakram to hold off his knife, and kicked him in the chest, sending him backwards. He flew back, hit his head on a pipe, and fell down. Xena looked around and started running towards the exit. They couldn't win, but that's not why they were there on the first place. All she cared about was escaping, safe, with Gabrielle. She just hoped Gabrielle was thinking the same thing.
Gabrielle ran to the exit as well, and met Xena on her way.
"They're behind us" said Gabrielle.
"Good, let's go" Xena said and they both ran out the door. By the time both guards from both sides arrived, the door already shut close, and thinking they saw the intruders, they shot each other. Xena heard the gunfire and smiled. Her trap worked. Xena arrived first to the car and opened the door, but as she reached it and opened the door, out of it came a suit with a shotgun in has hand, aiming it directly at her face. From the passenger seat came out another suit with a shotgun as well, and pointed it at Gabrielle. From behind, came two other guards, and pointed their guns and the two as well.
"Drop it, Miss Best," the man in front of her said.
Xena dropped her gun and her Chakram, and Gabrielle dropped her swords.
"Nice weapons" he said and picked up the Chakram. "I think I'll keep this one".
"Why you..." Xena jumped forward but was held back and kicked by a guard.
"Watch it!" the man raised his shotgun at her. "You want to become a corpse?"
She had to again remind herself she was mortal.
"Take them back inside," said the man to the guards. "They'll pay for this, the scum".
"These are the
consequences of your betrayal in your god," said the man as both Xena and Gabrielle
were tied down to a pole.
'Huh' Xena thought. 'The irony, that's what Ares would say'
"Gabrielle DePadro, Joanna Best, you are hereby charged guilty on the crime of sexual contact and engagement of holy matrimony with members of the same sex. This cannot pass. You are sentenced to death to uphold god's law".
"This is not law, this is madness!" said Xena.
"And who made you god's representative?" Gabrielle added.
"Silence!" said the man. "Do you have any last requests?"
"Burn in Tar.... Hell!" Gabrielle said.
"Oh but you will, my dear. Ready!" he yelled and two guards raised their guns, each at every of the women.
"Gabrielle," Xena said.
"Aim!" he yelled and the two guards put their fingers on the trigger.
"I love you, Xena" Gabrielle said and looked at Xena.
Xena looked deep into her lover's eyes. The bard's eyes were flooded with tears. So were Xena's.
"I love you too, Gabrielle"
"What the?" said the main suit and looked back. Up on the corridor above them, was a huge fire, without smoke, and a large bearded face on the flames.
"Thou shall not kill," said the face in the fire.
"Oh my go..." he started, and then fell to the ground, his face at the floor, his eyes covering his eyes. The rest of the guards lay down as well.
"What you are doing, is wrong," said the voice.
"Yes, my lord!" said the man.
"The punishment for falsely speaking in my name, is death"
"Yes, my lord"
"However, since you have always been loyal to me, I pardon you and your men. Run out of here, now. You shall no longer commit terror acts in my name. You shall serve me in churches and in peace only".
"Yes my lord, thank you my lord!" he said and got up on his feet, trying not to look at the flames, running out of the building with his men.
Xena and Gabrielle looked up at the corridors, as the flames died, and out of them came Ares.
"Ares?" Gabrielle asked and looked at Xena. Xena turned her look back at Ares who jumped down next to them and untied them.
"Thank you" Xena said.
"The least I can do" he said. "After all, you were right".
"So your plan to take over the world failed?" Xena grinned.
"Oh no, I was sure to have it. But, I've decided to pass," he said. "Mankind is dumb and useless".
"Here I have to agree" Gabrielle said.
"What about the Children of Jesus?" Xena asked. "You really think they'll stop their terrorism acts?"
"Yes" Ares grinned. "Because just before I quit my position in the white house, I made sure the police set up a road block to all directions two miles from here. They won't get far".
Gabrielle looked at Xena and then at Ares, feeling ashamed. He actually did something good.
"Well, I'd love to stay" he said after the tense little moment of silent. "I'm just not used to this... doing good stuff for others".
"Don't you enjoy this even a little bit, Ares?" Gabrielle asked with a face saying 'typical'.
"Ahm... No" he said, and the look he got from Xena made him change it to "Well, a little bit. Yes, yes, it feels good, sheeh" he sighed and disappeared into the darkness, embarrassed.
And in other news,
the leaders and most of the members of the Children of Jesus organization
have been caught this afternoon, fleeing what they claimed was the wrath of
god. The suspects will be judged next week, and will most probably be sent for
prison with a life sentence.
And on the same subject, Israeli Air Force claims that the so-called 'Angel' seen in Nazareth was merely a paratrooper in a routine exercise, which got carried away by the wind.
This is Lucy Ryan, CNN. Stay tuned for more worldwide news, right after the break.
"Do you, Xena,
take Gabrielle to be your beloved wide, to always stand by her, to support her
and to love her, to wherever fate may carry you?" Hercules, or Kevin, asked.
"I didn't know Joanna's first name was really Xena," Commander Luke Hammil asked someone next to him.
"Ahm, yes, well, she's Russian," answered Ares.
"I do," Xena answered,
holding Gabrielle's hands.
Hercules smiled and looked at Gabrielle.
"And do you, Gabrielle, take Xena to be your beloved wide, to always stand by her, to support her and to love her, to wherever fate may carry you?"
"I do" Gabrielle answered, and looking at Xena's eyes she blushed.
"Very well then, I now pronounce you..." Hercules stalled. "Wife, and.... Wife" he giggled. "You may kiss the bri... Ahm.... Each other!"
Xena leaned forward. "I love you," they both said at the same time. Xena smiled. So did Gabrielle. And with that, the two kissed, and the music started.
They stepped down and Ares stepped forward to speak to them. "Congratulations" he said.
"Thank you, Ares, that's very kind" Gabrielle smiled at him, Xena's arm around her shoulder.
"Yeh, thank you" Xena added.
"And of course, as you might know already, my present to you is restoring your immortality. You can now live forever, again" he tried to repress a smile.
"Thank you" they both said, and after kissing him, went on to talk to the other guests. Ares sighed. This was not like him! Saving lives, helping others, attending at weddings, giving gifts! This entire social-butterfly thingie was starting to get on his nerves.
"My name's Luke, by the way" Commander Hammil turned to Ares and sent his hand forward. "I'm the girls' commander".
"Smithy" Ares smiled and shook Luke's hand. "I'm Herc's... I mean, Kevin's, brother".
"Nice to meet you, Smithy" Luke smiled. "So, when and how did you get to know the girls?"
"Oh, that was long, long ago" Ares smiled.
"Long, long ago"
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