Disclaimer: I don't own them. It would be fun but I don't.....so yes, I will put them back where they belong. Maybe....<smile>

Violence: Nope.

Subtext: Oh yeah........nothing too graphic, though.

A Final Note About The Story: I wrote this one after watching "Old Ares Had A Farm" way too many times...and look what happened. <smile> It is not a funny piece, though. Just thought I let you know.

Let me know if you liked it (or didn't like it) gritjahning@hotmail.com

 

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When The Night...

By

Grit Jahning

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....One of us is crying

One of us is lying

In a lonely bed

Staring at the ceiling

Wishing they were

Somewhere else instead

One of us is lonely

One of us is only

Waiting for a call

....feeling stupid

Feeling small....

*"One of us" written by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus

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A soft breeze was rifling through sleeping leaves. Stirring them for the briefest of moments before moving on. Massive limbs swaying to an ancient music. Sighing softly. Up above, stars were twinkling in curious abandon.

A full moon shone brightly. Highlighting a peacefully asleep countryside. Its silvery light swallowing any colour.....painting everything in innocent grey. Caressing swaying blades of grass. Brushing along the worn wood of a porch; old chairs....broken pottery.

Peeking through the half-open shutters of a window. Tickling a sleeping face framed by a beard. Dishevelled dark locks. A slight frown on handsome features.

Ares groaned and moved yet again. Trying to find a comfortable position. His entire body one aching muscle.

"I'm in Tartarus." A pitiful squeak.

Dark eyes opened and blinked at the ceiling. Able to make out the cheerful twinkling of stars embedded in black velvet. He narrowed his eyes at them and then slowly sat up.

Looking around, he suddenly became aware that he was alone in the small room.

"Huh?" Neither Xena nor Gabrielle anywhere to be seen.

He got up. Suppressing another groan. Gods, I just hate that!

Stumbling out of the small bedroom, he looked into the main room. The fireplace was still crackling softly. Just the barest hint of embers visible. But no trace of the two women.

"Mmh."

Grabbing an apple from a nearby porch, he stepped onto the porch.

The heat of the day had given way to a comfortable chill and he took a deep breath. "Well, that's nice.", he grudgingly admitted.

The quiet of the night had settled like a soft blanket on the valley. Any sound magnified by it. He was even able to make out the soft murmuring of the river nearby.

But it was another sound that caused him to straighten up in pure instinct. Reaching for his sword, he realised that he had left it in the small bedroom. Deciding against going back, he tried to figure out where the sound had come from.

Turning around one corner of the rundown hut - he froze.

The apple dropping from his hand. Hitting the ground with a soft thud.

They were snuggled up together in a patch of grass. Xena's arms wrapped tightly around Gabrielle's waist. Her dark head buried in the small blonde's neck. A soft, contented humming audible.

And the sound that had alerted him, was a soft moan that escaped Gabrielle as she slowly tilted her head back to allow Xena better access.

Ares swallowed.

Unable to turn away, he watched as Xena's hands moved up to work on the top the bard was wearing. A gentle smile playing on her lips as she dropped it to the ground. Her hands cupping soft flesh.

She whispered something into Gabrielle's ear. Earning an impossibly tender smile and a soft kiss. Without breaking their kiss, the taller woman moved out from behind Gabrielle and slowly - ever so slowly lowered the small frame to the ground. On of her hands rubbing the trembling skin of Gabrielle's belly.

When they finally had to come up for air, they simply looked at each other. Bathed in silvery light that seemed to enclose them in a halo of light.

Small hands reached up and freed Xena from her own clothes. Caressing newly revealed skin with the softest of touches. Sitting up a little, Gabrielle kissed a conveniently close breastbone. Making her way up to Xena's jaw. To finally touch soft lips in another kiss.

Ares felt his legs give out under him and he had to lean against the wall of the hut. He wanted to turn away. He didn't want to see this. Didn't want to see what his sister had always told him.

But he couldn't.

And the strange part was - it was nothing sexual that held him back. That rooted him to his spot. He was aroused. No doubt about that...but no, what kept him frozen in place was the incredible gentleness and love so obvious on both their faces.

Their slow movements so in tune with each other. Every touch reaching place far beyond physical needs.

His throat felt dry and he swallowed again. His dark eyes following Xena's slow descend on the small frame underneath her. Heard the low chuckle as Gabrielle's body arched as she tickled a very sensitive navel. Steadily moving downwards....

The air was filled with soft sighs and moans. Gentle whispers that drifted to him.

And then he did move.

Taking the few steps that would bring him back to the porch of the hut. He was breathing hard. Trying to get his churning insides under control again, he took a few deep breaths.

The wind carrying a soft cry to him.

His jaw worked and he grabbed the back of the chair in an almost desperate grip. Probably for the first time hit by the reality that Xena truly loved Gabrielle.

The worn wood beneath his fingers protested - and then snapped in helpless surrender. Echoing eerily loud through the quiet.

Ares bit his lower lip and stumbled back into the house. Feeling strangely hollow. A never known pain tightening his chest.

He fell onto the bed and took a deep breath.

Recognising the scent that was Xena. And Gabrielle.

He turned onto his side. Facing the side that only hours ago had been occupied by the small bard. He touched the pillow she had slept on.

His dark head shaking in a slow motion.

"....Xena...." The soft cry drifted all the way into the small bedroom and he buried his face into the pillow. Not wanting to hear it.

Not wanting to accept the truth.

From somewhere an owl voiced its loneliness. Its eerie cry echoing through the quiet valley. And his heart....

Leaving it empty.

And hurting....

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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The End

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