A Plan that Worked

Requiem for the Warrior Princess part II

by Kwipinky

Gabrielle faces an old enemy and realizes she  must work with him to save Xena from Ares' grasp.

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 story. I didn't write this for money.

Sex: Nope

Violence: Just like any episode.

Spoilers: Is There A Doctor In The House

This is a sequel you can find the first story here:

Requiem for the Warrior Princess: Part I

Timeline: Two days after the events of Requiem for the Warrior Princess

Thanks: To my bardic circle friends who made this be better than it was. Thanks Circlers!

To my readers: I hope you enjoy the read. I like writing and I like getting feedback even better. This will be my last Xena fan fiction. I really enjoyed the whole Xenaverse and its inspiration that led me back to writing. I thank you readers and all the friends I met because of the Warrior Princess and her Battling Bard.

To Lucy and Renee: I hope this story is worthy of Xena's realm, a wonderful place that you brought to life. If it is half as good as you guys are, well, it would be tremendous. Have a great life and thanks for the memories.

To all: Let me know what you think: kwp75@aol.com

A Plan that Worked

Requiem for the Warrior Princess Part II

By Kwipinky


Dust swirled. Gabrielle's vigorous sweeping kept the minute particles in motion. She wiped her forehead with a cleaning cloth she pulled from her waistband, and surveyed her work. Satisfied, she poured a cup of cold cider and drank it completely, poured another, and walked slowly to the furthermost table of the tavern. She sat with her back against the wall, put her feet on the opposite bench and sipped her cider. Hot and dirty she wiped at the dust on her neck and stretched her aching muscles. The pace of the past day was beginning to take its toll.

'I know I'll be sore,' she thought, 'but it beats the alternative‹missing Xena. '

Gabrielle bit her tongue trying to keep tears at bay. It didn't work as they left a trail in the dust on her face. She smeared the dirt as she wiped the wetness away when a customer entered.

A large man with a full beard and jingling spurs walked up to Gabrielle's table. He smiled a yellowed grin and reached into his tunic. "This is a tavern?"

She nodded.

"If you don't mind, I'd like a bottle of your cheapest wine." He seemed to be asking more than ordering.

Gabrielle looked him over. After working so hard she was tired and didn't get up right away.

Annoyed the man reached into his tunic and threw some dinars on Gabrielle's table. "I can pay."

She slowly got his wine and a glass, and set both in front of him.

"I won't need a glass." He opened the wine and took a long drink, and reached into his tunic again. He threw a padded metallic leather object and a length of rope on her tabletop.

Gabrielle instinctively reached for her staff, but came back with the broom she'd used. She didn't understand what his intentions were and eyed him sharply.

"You want to know what that is?" He finally asked.

"Not really, but I think you're going to tell me. Right?" The bard tried the leer that Xena did so well, and nearly achieved the effect.

The man stepped back and raised his hands. "Now don't get like that. I don't want to hurt you."

Gabrielle saw he was a big man, oily leather breeches adorned his long thick legs and a wool tunic covered his barrel thick chest. His hair was pulled harshly back and braided behind his head. Fractured yellow teeth completed his rugged look. Gabrielle was amazed with the fact that he was at least twice as big as she was, but he appeared worried about her.

"I don't want to hurt you either," the bard replied and a thin smile inadvertently spread across her lips, because she pictured the look on Xena's face at her fa?ade of daring.

"This is a little insurance brace. I make 'em and sell 'em just as quick as I do." He smiled proudly. "I call it life insurance."

Gabrielle picked up the object. It had a leather strap tied on both sides and each end was attached to a padded circle.

Seeing her confusion the man picked up the object and placed it around his neck and put the strap under each arm and around his collar. He threw the rope over a thick rafter and tied it to the wall. Gabrielle watched in shock as he fashioned a noose out of the other end. He quickly climbed on a chair, placed the noose around his neck, and kicked the chair away. His body swayed back and forth, and he emitted choking, gurgling sounds.

"Wait a minute!" After a moment of stunned disbelief, Gabrielle tried to pick the man up, but she couldn't lift his massive body.

Suddenly the man laughed and Gabrielle jumped back. He was clearly alive and laughing at her. Anger darkened her emerald eyes. "What the hell?"

"My own little creation, you like it?" The man laughed again, but it was more of nervous apprehension. He saw Gabrielle's perplexed expression. Plus, she was holding the broom in a defensive sort of way.

Gabrielle started to laugh, but didn't know why.

"You want to cut me down?" He asked a bit confused at her laughter.

"Why should I?"

"We could talk about a friend of ours."

"A friend?" Gabrielle motioned her finger to his chest and then to hers. Of ours? Who?"


Shocked, the bard sucked in her breath and struck the man with the broom handle. "That is not funny, you bastard!"

The man's face showed no reaction. "You want to cut me down?"

Gabrielle laid the broom gently against a table. Her heart pounded; a storm of emotions raged in her eyes. She wasn't sure she should, but after a moment passed, she pulled a chair and put her foot on it and retrieved Xena's breast dagger from her boot. She climbed on the chair, studied the man's face for a second and cut the rope.

The man pitched forward and lost his balance. He landed on the floor face down but rolled over quickly. "I meant to do that."

"Uh huh," Gabrielle said and got down. She felt light-headed, sick and angry; placing her head between her knees, she took in slow and deep breaths.

The man patted her back. "Hey, I didn't mean to scare you."

The bard didn't say anything.

"What's going on here?" Cyrene shouted as she entered the tavern. She ran to her daughter's soul-mate and kneeled. "Are you all right?"

Gabrielle lifted her head and tears coursed down her face. "Oh Cyrene! I miss Xena so. Gods!"

Cyrene hugged Gabrielle's shaking body and looked at the man with a confused expression. "Who are you?"

"Names Lykus ma'am. You must be Xena's mum."

"Yes, I'm Cyrene. What is going on here?"

"I was showing the little one a device I made. I was told to show her how it was used. I thought it was a joke. I don't think she thought it was very funny."

"Who told you?" Gabrielle raised her reddened-green eyes for his answer.

"Hippocrates. He told me to tell you a name. But I can't remember it. He said to tell you he would meet with you tomorrow. He had to stop at the temple first."

"Hippocrates?" Cyrene tried to remember the name.

"He is a healer Xena and I met in Thessaly."

"Oh yes. Why did he send you here? Surely he didn't want to hurt Gabrielle like that." Cyrene demanded.

"In all respect ma'am, he wasn't wanting to hurt her. He wanted her to know he was speaking the truth. He said you gotta to make sure Xena's body was still pliable. Whatever that means. Funny isn't it. I remembered that word."

"Please, try to think of the name, it must be important. You're sure Hippocrates said it was a name?" Gabrielle stood and looked into the man's eyes.

"Yes. I'm sure. Lemme see. Mellon, Melee." He scratched his head.


"Meleager? I think that's it, yes I'm sure of it. Meleager."

"Thank the gods." Gabrielle hugged the man. She then turned and hugged Cyrene tightly. She danced around Xena's mother. "This is good news! Xena's alive!"

Cyrene didn't understand but went with it.

Gabrielle sensed her uncertainty. "Do you remember when Xena and I had to prove a warrior innocent of murder? And that Xena didn't get back in time with the proof? And they hanged him?"

Cyrene nodded.

"It was Meleager!"

"I don't see."

"When they hanged him, Xena saved him, but she made it look like he had really been hanged. She must have figured out how to save herself too!"

"I don't know." Cyrene glanced at the man and then to the bard.

"It must be. I have to check Xena's body." Gabrielle nearly tripped over two benches as she ran out of the tavern.

Xena's mother smiled sadly and hoped the girl was right.


The sarcophagus was still sealed. Gabrielle hadn't considered she wouldn't be able to lift the heavy lid. She pushed but it would not budge. She searched the area for a lever and found nothing. After a few moments of frustration, the bard started to go for help when the man and Cyrene entered the crypt.

"Help me open the sarcophagus, hurry!" The bard went to the opposite side and when the man was ready they tried to lift the lid, but it only moved slightly. Exasperated Gabrielle scratched her forehead and then ran from the room. Cyrene shrugged her shoulders and started to follow after the anxious girl. After a moment Gabrielle came back with Argo in tow. She led the mare into the crypt and tied a length of thick rope to the lid and then placed a loop around the strong animals neck.

"Pull Argo!" she said as she tugged the horse's head.

The horse snorted and yanked her head out of the bard's hand and puffed air. She then stepped forward and the lid slid slowly off the sarcophagus. Gabrielle lit a torch and peered inside. Her eyes widened in shock.

"By the gods," Gabrielle said as she stepped back.

Cyrene looked inside too. The coffin was empty.


Gabrielle entered the tavern and sat down. The torch drooped in her hand and Cyrene took it from her. Lykus didn't know what to say or do, so he sat beside the young woman.

"I looked everywhere. I don't understand. Where could she be?" Gabrielle said. "Two days ago I watched her die and now, I've lost her body."

Xena's mother shook her head and Lykus did the same.

"I know she was there yesterday, because I placed her body carefully and covered her myself." A tear slid down her face and slipped into her mouth. Its salt flavored her anguish.

Cyrene stepped outside and threw the torch into a rain barrel and stepped back inside the tavern. Clearly confused she tried to understand what happened.

The door to the tavern opened and a warrior walked inside. He surveyed the room and then walked to the table where Gabrielle sat.

"You the bard?"

"I'm Gabrielle," the blonde said, she really didn't feel like telling any stories.

"The bard?" He insisted.

"Yes, but I'm not telling any..."

"I don't want to hear a story, geez. I got a message for you from some boy in Thessaly."

Gabrielle nearly tackled the man. "What is it?"

"He said to tell you to meet him where you died."

"Meet him where I died?"


"That's all?"


"I'd like a mead. I rode straight here."

"Sure," Cyrene said. She prepared the man a meal as well.

The bard pondered his message. "Cyrene," Gabrielle pulled Xena's mother away from the men in the room. "I'm leaving tonight. I cannot rest now, not 'til I know where Xena is..."

"By yourself?"

"Cyrene, I know where to go and some how I feel like I know where she is. I don't know how to describe the feeling I have. I know I'll find her."

"But alone, I don't know Gabrielle, the road is dangerous." Gabrielle smiled at Cyrene. "I guess you already know that."

"Yes, I do."

"Please let me know where you are and what you've discovered as quickly as possible."

"I will, no matter what, I'm going to bring her home, I promised her that much. I cannot believe I let someone steal her body. I should have guessed there were people out there who would steal Xena's body."

"Gabrielle, you did what you promised. Be careful."

"I will. I promise. Bye."

Cyrene watched the young girl run out of the tavern. She felt, oddly enough, sure the bard would find Xena, or maybe it was just a mother's hope. She'd heard Hercules was in the next town over. He would help‹if she needed him, but she hoped she wouldn't. At any rate, she was going to make sure Gabrielle was okay.



Gabrielle rode the mare for all she had, trees blurred, and the ground rumbled with the pounding of the Palomino's hooves. After a while Gabrielle stopped at a stream. They had covered a great distance in a short amount of time and she patted Argo's lathered chest. Sadness burrowed into her psyche, she wondered if she had gone too far with the mare.

Argo snorted and stamped her hoof. She nudged Gabrielle as if telling her to get on and let's go. Gabrielle rubbed the soft muzzle and said, "No, Xena would kill me if I let you run yourself to death. We'll walk for now."

Argo snorted and bathed Gabrielle with sweat and saliva.

"Back atcha!" Gabrielle smirked and slung the wetness at the mare.

The duo walked for a candle mark and stopped again to rest. Gabrielle's ankles were swollen from her running, but she decided to go on. She had to get to the temple; she had to for her own peace of mind. No matter what it took or how many candle marks, she decided she would give no less than her very best. Her best would require her to be rested; so she grudgingly she set up camp and kept trying to keep Argo from going on. The restless horse finally stopped after Gabrielle gathered some sweet grass to occupy the mare's time. Her efforts to start a campfire were abruptly changed when a spark popped. The hair on her neck rose and then Ares appeared. Is that how Xena sensed him, she wondered. Gabrielle sighed and took a long hard look at the God of War.

"I knew I'd encounter you, and I am a little disappointed," Ares said to the bard.

"Excuse me?" Gabrielle said sharply. "I don't need you or your meddling."

"I could say the same thing." Ares said with a bit of kindness to his tone. "But I know we want the same thing‹er, person."

"Leave me alone Ares. I have had enough of your games. Xena told me to watch out for you."

"I know that. I am a God." Ares said. His eyes flickered and he seemed to radiate a strange sensation.

"What's that?" Gabrielle asked when a glow outlined the God of War's body.

Ares laughed and extended his arms toward the heavens and struck a pose. "I call it: Unadulterated Ares."

Gabrielle laughed out loud.

The sparkle around Ares faded. "Enough! My how you have changed, Gabrielle. You're more like Xena the warlord, than you were ever like the little girl from Poteidaia."

Gabrielle considered what he said and shook her head. "The problem is Ares, I am not like her enough. If I could do what she did," Gabrielle hesitated for a second. "or rather what she does, I would be a better warrior. And the best part, the best part of all‹I could kick your ass." She sneered angrily.

"My, my, my, little girl. Such anger, such venom, such boring drivel. Let's stop this silly fighting and do what we both want to do." Ares opened a portal and images began appearing. Xena's body was lying on a rock slab, surrounded by guards. Ares watched Gabrielle's eyes. "Well?"

"I'm listening," Gabrielle relented.

"Xena's body is safe. I can get you there in no time at all, but you have to do something for me. There will come a time, when you will see that you have to act. You've never killed. But you will and when you do, you give me all the anger and I'll give you the way, the strength and the drive to succeed."

"I don't understand," Gabrielle shook her head. "I won't kill."

"You will, one day and when that day comes, give me all the rage and anger you have..." Ares tapped Gabrielle's chest. "...locked in there. Gabrielle, you shouldn't fear the dark. It's very empowering."

Suddenly Gabrielle grabbed Ares leather vest. "Take me to her!"

"So we have a deal then?"

Gabrielle nodded. "You do nothing unless you gain. Yes, we have a deal. Now, take me to her!"

Ares waved his hand and Gabrielle was found herself standing in thick fog. It started to burn off and after it disappeared Gabrielle found herself face to face with Hermodes.

"What the..." Hermodes looked around and then back to the bard. "You're Xena's little..."

"Friend," Gabrielle looked for Xena's body.

"What do you want?"

"My friend's body back," Gabrielle watched as two men worked their way around her.


"It doesn't matter why," the bard said and whirled. She kicked one man and flipped him into the other, and knocked them both out. She grabbed a sword.

"Vicious," Hermodes laughed. "I like that."

Gabrielle grabbed a dagger from one of the men. "I don't have time for this. Where is Xena's body!?"

Ares appeared. "I'm sorry I think I messed up."

"Ares," Gabrielle yelled.


"What in Tartarus are you doing?"

"Well, I don't really think you ought to know that just yet," Ares smiled.

Hermodes approached Gabrielle and reached out his grubby hand. "I think you should turn over your weapons."


"Yes, you see we have a little insurance for this situation," Hermodes whistled and two men dragged a hooded person into the room. A thick black robe prevented the bard from seeing who it was. "Now, give me what I want and I'll give you what you want."

"Xena?" Gabrielle asked the hooded person.

"Uhm, no," Hermodes taunted. He placed a blade into the body of his captive and looked back at Gabrielle. "Now."

Gabrielle glanced at the God of War and dropped her weapon. She watched and waited for Hermodes next move. "Okay."

The hood was pulled off the prisoner and Gabrielle recognized Hippocrates. "He has the ability to give what you desire."

Gabrielle watched him fiercely. "Desire? I just want to take Xena's body home."

"And raise her from the dead," The young man laughed a quiet laugh.

"Really," the bard said.

"Well, I realized there was a little conspiracy going on when my mother demanded to take Xena's last meal." Hermodes said with venom. "She was soft and I knew it then. My mother felt some kind of guilt because she knew who killed Marmax, and she had to know what Xena had in mind. Would she escape? My mother was so uneasy then and I think she knew I killed the general."

"You? Why?" Gabrielle stopped him.

"Xena made him weak. I had to stop his peace plans and found a way to get rid of Xena too. So, my mother wanted to help me, and she talked to Xena. She said she would help the Warrior Princess clear her name. But no, Xena had a better idea. She would fake her death and I could be institutionalized. But the joke was, and it was funny too, he was with me. He showed me the whole deal." Hermodes pointed to Ares. "Xena didn't tell you because she was afraid it might not work. Him and me, we knew it wasn't gonna work."

Gabrielle's thoughts whirled and she took in the surrounding a large cave with several exit possibilities. Hippocrates seemed to read her mind and nodded slightly toward the rear of the area. Gabrielle dropped her head and scratched absently as she looked at the way out.

"And so, well he and I made sure Xena wasn't killed," Hermodes continued.


"It is so good," Ares butted in. "I know that human's can go a certain time without breathing. It causes brain damage, makes the person kinda slow, and it's a good way of controlling Xena."

"What?" Gabrielle jumped at the God of War, surprised by Ares' revelation she felt a tremendous rage envelope her.

"Easy," Ares said and waved his finger in front of Gabrielle. "She will be much easier to manage. The healer is gonna help us bring her back. But, and it is a big but, you might be a problem. You always bring her back from the darkness. I don't think it is a good idea for you to be around right now."

Hermodes charged and screamed at Ares. "You said we would kill her!"

"I have other plans," Ares said and blew Hermodes back.

"I don't believe this," Gabrielle said to herself more than to anyone else.

Ares waved his arm and all disappeared except for Gabrielle and Hermodes. Ares had them chained at the wrist to each other.

"What in Tartarus are you doing!?" Hermodes yanked at the chain.

"You gotta get a hold on yourself there, Hermie." Ares laughed. "You're gonna love it."


Gabrielle found herself hanging by a chain attached to her wrist. She was surprised she didn't feel extremely uncomfortable while dangling from a rocky ledge. A sound startled her, and when she turned around, she found she was face to face with Hermodes, and he was staring angrily into her green eyes.

"I'm gonna kill you!" Hermodes screamed as he clamped his hand around Gabrielle's throat.

"Stop it!" Gabrielle slapped his hand away. "Idiot. You can't do that while hanging from this chain."

Stung by her name-calling, Hermodes slapped the bard. "I am not an idiot!"

Gabrielle caught her hand before it hit Hermodes' face, and shook her head sadly. "I'll give you that one. Now, we gotta figure out a way to get down. We have to work together."

"Have you looked down?"

Gabrielle looked. There was nothing but blackness beneath them. "By the Gods."

"Ares you mean." Hermodes said. He saw she was just another person he'd never really looked at before. He studied Gabrielle's face, and realized she was very pretty. "Why do you do Xena's bidding?"


"You follow her like a puppy. Why?"

Gabrielle shook her head. "Couldn't we discuss this when we're on solid ground?"

"You know where we could find it?"

Gabrielle studied the area. A beam of light shone from an opening at the end of the rocky ledge. "We can make to the light."

"Then what? We're locked in this, this cave or whatever!"

"Well, I'm going to try." Gabrielle thrust her body forward and back. Severe pain shot to her wrist.

Hermodes yelped too.

Stunned, Gabrielle stopped moving. She pulled the chain and felt more pain. She shoved Hermodes and there was no pain. "Obviously we have to try at the same time."


"When I say now, we work together. We'll rock towards the opening. Put your foot against mine and push slightly. That way we can try and yank the chain forward, okay?"

"Okay. I'll try, but if it hurts, forget it."

Gabrielle shook her head. She raised her foot and placed it against Hermodes boot. They pushed off each other and found there was no pain. They pivoted enough to take the weight off their binding. "Now!" Gabrielle yelled and yanked the chain about a foot toward the opening. "That's it!"

"Amazing!" Hermodes yelled.

After a half-candlemark, Gabrielle surveyed her surrounding and noticed a small opening on the ledge they dangled from. Below, a small outcropping of rock seemed sturdy enough to hold their weight.

"Hermodes, if you'll place your foot on those rocks," Gabrielle pointed to them. "And lift me up, I could swing the chain over the small opening and we could then climb out of this pit."

"Wait," Hermodes lifted the bard. No pain. "Okay. But first, what's out there?" He pointed to the opening.

Gabrielle leaned and saw rushing water. She sighed. "A river."

"Figures," Hermodes said. "Oh well. Let's do it." He lifted Gabrielle and she pulled the chain over several twigs and rocks. Finally she pulled firmly and the chain fell free. She lost her balance and fell.

Hermodes grabbed onto a tree limb just outside the opening when he saw Gabrielle pull at the chain. He was glad he did when she suddenly fell. He braced himself and held on. Gabrielle cried out when pain shot through her arm. Hermodes tried to pull her up but she stopped him.

"My arm, I think it's broken." Gabrielle said.


"My arm. Don't pull," Gabrielle cried out. "Please."

"What do I do now?"

"Let me grab the chain." Gabrielle yelped, gritted her teeth and caught the chain with her left hand. She pulled herself up and rested a moment. "Hermodes, pull me up. I'll step on the rocks to help."

Hermodes pulled the chain and slowly lifted the bard. After several long minutes they stood side by side. Gabrielle lay back against a slanted outcrop and sighed. Sweat beaded and slid down her face. She wondered what Ares had waiting for them outside the hole. He was cruel at times and delighted in pain. But she wasn't going to give him any hint of her suffering.

Hermodes studied Gabrielle. She was strong and brave, and he wished he could have been more like her. But she would not know, and besides she traveled with Xena. He shook his head and clenched his jaw. Always a flaw in the women he liked, always. He pushed the thought away and climbed to the hole to get a better look. A large whirlpool of water awaited them and he dreaded the coldness of water.


Ares stroked Xena's face. She would be his soon and he could feel the blood in his body pulsate harder. He knew he loved her from the first time he felt the feeling he was experiencing. She was all of seventeen when he noticed her development into a beautiful young woman and he relished her many, many skills.

"Oh Xena, if you could only see the real me," Ares thought. "I could give you the world, but it isn't me is it? I'm not your soul mate and to you that was all that mattered, wasn't it? I wonder if Gabrielle knew how lucky she was?"


Hippocrates stood face to face with Ares. "Yes."

"Kill her," Ares demanded.


"I said kill her, unless you want to take her place." Ares put the tip of his sword to Hippocrates chest.

The healer nodded and Ares lifted his blade.

Hippocrates opened Xena's mouth and leaned in to hear if she were breathing, and he discovered he didn't have to kill her. He slowly looked at the God of War. "She's dead."



Gabrielle yelped and swallowed a large mouthful of icy water. Pins of cold pierced her body. She tried desperately to swim, but her broken arm rebelled and failed her. An explosion of fear stunned her struggle, she went under after several attempts to save herself. The water beckoned her into its murky darkness, deeper and deeper. "Up!" screamed her brain. "Up!"

An arm wrapped around her throat, and her will to survive fought it. Thrashing about, the bard kept pulling Hermodes under water. He yanked the chain that held them both and grabbed the back of Gabrielle's neck. "Stop!"

Gabrielle heard his voice, and she willed her body to go limp. Hermodes cupped her chin and gently pulled her from the water. She rolled onto her back but the coughing and retching forced her to crawl onto her good arm and knees. She emptied her stomach and her throat burned with bile. Finally able to breathe, she gasped a thank you to her companion.

Hermodes nodded, "We made it."

"Yeah," Gabrielle's arm throbbed and she had a terrible headache, but she was very happy to be alive. A reflection in the water caught her eye. A small crystal orb seemed to glow in the light of the sun. "What's that?"

Hermodes followed her arm with his eyes and looked where she was pointing. "By the gods." He plucked the orb from the water and held it in his hand. A picture of Ares standing over Xena appeared.

Suddenly a fierce whirlwind spun them into its vortex. Gabrielle and Hermodes held onto each other and the bard closed her eyes. "I'm coming to you Xena!" Gabrielle thought. "We'll be together soon."

Ares turned as the two of them landed behind him. "What the Tartarus!"

Hermodes stood and helped Gabrielle do the same.

Ares began to laugh. "I love an audience, but this is ridiculous. Now Healer!"

Hippocrates stepped from the shadows and listened to Xena's chest. "She's dead. It's time."

Ares raised his sword and one of Zeus lightning bolts hit the blade. The current raced down and arced at the hilt. It jumped into Xena's chest and her body jerked. A moment later her arms rose from the table, but then fell back.

Hippocrates pumped Xena's chest and started to place his mouth over hers to push air into her lungs. Ares stepped in front of the healer and bent down over her face. He placed his mouth over Xena's and pinched her nose closed. He motioned for Hippocrates to keep pumping. They worked for several minutes until color began to show on Xena's white face.

Wide-eyed, Gabrielle whispered, "Come back to me, please, come back."

Hermodes rushed the God of War and was slammed back by Ares' huge forearm.

Hippocrates listened and smiled. "She's alive!"

Gabrielle nearly cried out in relief.

Ares blushed as a tear slid down his chiseled face. He quickly wiped it away and his heart swelled as Xena opened her eyes. He looked into the pools of blue and wanted to be a part of them. He kissed Xena and she bit his lip. Ares yelped and jumped back.

Xena flipped to her feet and backed away from the group. Her breathing was rapid and she seemed to fear the people with her.

Gabrielle stepped forward and held out her good hand. "Xena." She whispered. "It's Gabrielle."

"Gabrielle?" Xena said the name in a confused way. Her eyes pierced into the bard's. "Do I know you Gabrielle?"

The bard's heart sunk.

Ares had done what he set out to do, and he reveled in it. "Xena," he roared. "Come to me! You know me don't you?"

Xena looked at him hard, "Yes, I think I do. You're the God of War. My mentor."

"Yes," Ares said and emphasized the hiss sound. "That's right. Your mentor." He pointed to Gabrielle. "She is your enemy." And then he motioned at Hermodes, "And he had you hanged."

Ares expected a raging inferno, but Xena did not attack the bard or Hermodes. She blinked and tears slid. "Why do you hate me?" Xena said in a child like manner.

"Xena, I don't hate you. I'm your best friend. Xena, I love you," Gabrielle said gently. She reached her hand to the Warrior Princess.

Xena backed up and dropped her head. "I love you too, Gabrielle. But he," she pointed to Hermodes. "He hated me. I remember."

"It was a mistake," Gabrielle touched Xena's hand. Her heart raced with happiness as she felt the warmth of life coursing through Xena's hand. "I have missed you so."

Ares harrumphed. "Xena! Come to me!"

Xena jumped and ran behind Gabrielle. "Help me."

"Ares!" the bard yelled. "You're scaring her. Stop!"

"Xena! I said come to me!"

Hermodes rammed his sword through Ares body. Ares turned and faced him. "What are you thinking?"

"You lied to me! You said you were going to kill her, but no! You brought her back!" Hermodes yanked the blade and rammed it into Ares again.

"You're a fool! You can't kill me. Now, she's escaped. Get outta my way," Ares waved at Hermodes and he flew against the wall.

"No Ares! You cannot take her! She's not well!" Gabrielle said as she blocked the door.

"Oh Gabrielle, she's well enough." Ares grinned.

Hermodes charged at Ares again and the God of War plunged his hand into his attacker's chest. "This is your heart!" He laughed evilly. "This is your heart being compressed by the God of War!"

Hermodes gasped and looked at Gabrielle. She stopped in her tracks.

Ares pulled his bloody hand and looked at it. He then walked toward Gabrielle, "Next?"

Hippocrates ran back into the room and kneeled by the fallen Hermodes.

Gabrielle backed away.

"I've had it with you Gabrielle. You pulled and pushed Xena into the light. You've taken her away from me. Your light brightened her darkness, but not anymore. I want to see your heart, and I should have looked at it a long time ago. Besides, you won't need it on the other-side."

Gabrielle backed up and tripped. Like a lion circling his prey, Ares was upon her.

Hippocrates raced to help, but he was thrown back.

"Well, well, well," Ares said and laughed. "Let me see now."


The God of War turned to face Xena. "Wait."

"Now!" Xena said; her voice deepened.

He shook his head. "Wait a minute my dear."

"Get away from her! Now!"

"Oh Xena, we've been through this. She is the problem! She won't let you complete your destiny. She'll keep you away from me!" Ares grabbed Gabrielle's collar and pulled her to her feet. "But not anymore, because now, she dies."

"Sheeeee ya!" Xena flipped backwards, and landed the heel of her boot in the Ares' nose.

He yelped and grabbed his nose. He turned away from her and drew his fist back and struck Gabrielle in the jaw. She hit the ground unconscious.

Xena felt a rage envelope her being, and a fire consumed her heart. She jumped into the air and kicked Ares' behind. He lurched forward and landed on his face. She straddled his body and yanked his shoulder so he would face her. "I know something you don't, Ares!"

"Really!" Ares said angrily and tried to get away.

Xena put the pinch on him. She wasn't sure if it would work or not, and it held him briefly. He twisted his head and released it. "Xena, you disappoint me. What do you know?"

"Your plan didn't work!" Xena punched him in the nose. Blood flew and his mouth fell open in shock. "I'm back."

"You made me bleed!"Ares yelped. "How!"

"I have many skills," Xena said and kicked at the God of War.

"Why can't I ever have a plan that worked!" Ares jumped back and flickered away. "Coward! Take your leave, and don't come back!"

Hippocrates had set Gabrielle's arm and was working with her as Xena knelt beside her. "Gabrielle?"

The bard stirred and slowly opened her eyes. "Xena?"

"Yes," Xena smiled.

"Is it really you?" Gabrielle said and winced when she touched her jaw.

"Yeah. You're hurt."

"No, I'm okay. Thank the gods, you're here. You're really here!" Gabrielle said as she reached for Xena and locked her in a firm one-armed embrace.

Hippocrates sat back and smiled, "Nah it wasn't the Gods, it was Xena's doing. She taught me how to keep the heart pumping and the kiss of life to bring people back from the other side. Plus that little something extra didn't hurt. But that lightning bolt, you think maybe Zeus likes you well enough to bring you back?"

"Nah," Xena and Gabrielle said in unison.



"Goodbye, Hippocrates," Gabrielle hugged the healer. "Thanks for bringing her back to me. And fixing my arm."

"I did little, but you're welcome," Hippocrates waved at Xena and headed his horse towards Athens.

"Poor Hermodes," Gabrielle said as she lit his funeral pyre. "He was so afraid to believe in himself. I hope he has found peace."

"Life is harsh if you let darkness take you over. Hermodes struggled with the darkness, he saw it in me easily, but in himself he was blinded until it was almost too late."

"Xena, darkness is needed to make the balance, right?"

"Uh huh," Xena answered. "Finding the right amount of each is the hard part."

"We did it," Gabrielle said as she held Xena's hand.

"We did. Your light and my darkness evens out our lives, and spices up our love." Xena smiled and waggled her brows.

"Xena? How did you make Ares bleed?"

"I don't know, but I think it is because he made me what I was, and maybe the ambrosia Hippocrates put in my mouth helped too." Xena said and smiled.

"Are you a goddess?" Gabrielle asked excitedly.

"Nah, it was just a tiny bit, it's a big part of what brought me back. A handy thing to know, huh?"

"I'd say!"

"Well, we'd better go, there is a storm brewing." Xena said.


Meanwhile, at Mount Olympus:



"Have you stolen another bolt of lightning?"

"Moi?" Aphrodite said sweetly. "Search me. I don't have it."

"What caused that burn mark on your gown?"

"Daddy," Aphrodite batted her eyelids. "I am the Goddess of Love."

Ares walked in as Zeus disappeared.


"No Bro. It's cool. How'd the 'lectric shock do?"

"It worked. How'd you know?" Ares asked his sister.

"Well Ar, in the future there was this really cute heart doctor...."

The End
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