Disclaimer: Xena Warrior Princess and that world of hers, including Gabrielle and all of the others, do not belong to me. They are RENPIC's. I guess, though I don't really know. I won't make any dollars, dinars, drachmas, lira, (or insert your monetary unit) on this. I didn't write this for money. So, I hope you enjoy it. Let me know: kwp75@aol.com

Sex: Nope

Spoiler: Motherhood

Violence: No

In the Game of Love

By Kwipinky

Ares walked along the sandy beaches Zeus had made for his children. Between Mt. Olympus and the mortal realm, Zeus made the water perfect and the sand pure as snow. Ares strolled, much on his mind, leaving deep footprints in his father's gift.

His life permanently changed, was he still the God of War? He pondered his fate, and felt for the first time in his life, fear.

Where would he go? What would he do? Why doesn't she care?

He'd given it all up for her; all of it, his godhood, his family, his future, ...and what did she give back?

"Thank you," she said. That was it. Two words and nothing more.

She just scooped up her family, called his sister's name, and Aphrodite sparkled them to the beachfront.

As he drew near he heard their voices and then he saw them on the hillside, Eve with something in her hand, Xena beaming, and Gabrielle watching them.

His heart hurt, and he didn't know if it was because he was mortal now or because that's the way love felt to mortals. Love, he couldn't help but feel stupid. The God of War in love! How pathetic.

He fell to his knees; his body wracked with sobs. He couldn't stop the tears and he cried like a motherless child.

His sister appeared beside him and pulled him to her chest.› "Hey Ar. Don't cry bro," Aphrodite said. "I know you're hurtin' Žcause I'm hurtin' too. Y'know?"

Ares lifted red tear filled eyes to her and shook his head. "I never wanted to hurt like this. I never knew it felt so bad."

"Love hurts, Ar. I tried to make it easier for everyone but I guess I'm just not cut out for stoppin' pain. I didn't mean for it to hurt," Aphrodite said.

"Huh?" Ares said with a choked voice.

"I thought if you could feel love you wouldn't be so mean," Aphrodite said pulling her gaze from her brother.

Ares ran his hand through his hair. He looked out at the horizon and tried to fathom what his sister had told him. He looked at her and felt anger rising. "You made me love Xena?"

"Kind of," she said with a touch of fear, and she didn't know why.

"I don't understand, I've loved Xena from the moment I laid eyes on her. You couldn't have had any part in that," Ares said breathily.

"Oh Ar, I knew how good love felt. I just wanted you to feel it too."

Ares got to his feet. He looked up and down the shoreline, and rubbed his bristled chin. He pulled his hand away and looked at it, and then rubbed his face again. Surprised at the growth of his beard he'd always controlled before, he scrunched his face and looked at his sister.

"When I wanted my face to look a certain way I just thought it, and it was done. Now, I have to rub a super sharp blade across my chin. I know I'll cut my own throat, and you know why?"

"Huh?" Aphrodite asked, unsure of what he was talking about.

"Because, dear sister, I love Xena.› Because you made me love her. I wouldn't have given up everything if I weren't under your spell. Love! Hah! As stupid as it was to give up everything, I did it! For love!" Ares boomed.

"Ares, I didn't make you do what you did. I had nothing..." Aphrodite's voice quivered.

"You didn't make me do anything? No?"

"No. Ares, what you did was from your own feelings. Love doesn't make people do anything...." Aphrodite said beginning to cry.

"Don't tell me what love does. I know what it did to me! I know what it did to my family! I know I'm going to die because of love!" Ares yelled and felt better getting it off his heavy heart. "I don't understand you, why didn't you tell me you had me under your spell before I gave up my life? Why!"

"Ares, it isn't a spell, I ...didn't do anything ...but let you see someone... someone with your dark light...someone you'd appreciate... Xena needed...needs...to be loved too. I thought... you'd make... a good couple... I didn't mean... to hurt you," Aphrodite said sobs pouring over her. "Don't blame me! I did what I did because I love you! You idiot!"

Ares' heart softened. Aphrodite, his favorite sister, had tried to make him happy. He wasn't mad at her, he was mad at his unknown future. He stooped down and hugged. "I'm sorry, Aphrodite, I needed to blame someone. I don't know where I'm going from here," Ares said softly.

"Me too bro," Aphrodite said hugging him tightly. "What are we going to do?"

"Get a job?" Ares laughed.

"Doing what?" Aphrodite laughed with him.

"Ex-god stuff?"

"What's that?" Aphrodite said confused.

"I dunno, uhm, we can't raise the dead. We can't turn water to wine. We can't make it rain. We can do consultations," Ares said waggling his brows.

"Huh?"

"You know, like talk to bards about what we did as gods, how it was to be a god, the things we had to deal with, what it was like living with bunch of other gods. Stuff like that," Ares smiled.

"What stories we could tell," Aphrodite stood up and Ares joined her.

"Yeah, whew! I got stories that could curl you hair," Ares said as he started walking down the beach.

"Ar, my hair is perfectly curled already," Aphrodite said as she ran after her big brother. "But yours could use a perm."

"I don't think so," Ares said.

"Well, I'm still a god you know," Aphrodite said and looked over her shoulder at Xena and family. She waved her hand behind Ares back and black curls bounced down his back with each step. Aphrodite smiled an evil grin. They disappeared amidst a cloud of blue sparks.

The end for now....


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