Ares' Gift

by Lena

Disclaimers: These characters, Xena, Gabrielle, Toris, Lilla, Solan and Cyrene, do not belong to me. They belong to MCA, Universal and Renaissance Pictures. The story, however, is mine alone. Please refrain from plagiarizing.

I have not received, nor will I be receiving any financial gain from the writing of this story. No plagiarism is intended on my part.

WARNING: This story contains scenes of sexual violence and may be traumatizing to some sensitive readers.

RATING: (Alternative fan fiction. Rated NC17) There are explicit scenes of passionate love between two consenting adult women that I, deeply, enjoyed writing and I hope you enjoy reading. However, if you are under age or if material of this type is illegal in your neck of the woods, THEN .................... SCAT.

You can email me at, thanks, Lena

Part 2

Something awoke her. She couldn't quite recognize what it was. Careful not to disturb her soulmate, she crawled out of their bed to the family room. "Toris, what in tartarus are you doing at this hour? What is all that racket?"

Toris smiled up at a groggy Gabrielle. "Go get me Xena's chamber pot."

"What? Have you lost your mind?" Gabrielle thought she must be having some weird dream.

"Just go get it….., cleaned, please." Gabrielle did as she was bid. Looking at her exhausted brother-in-law in amazement, she watched him slip the chamber pot into a hole he had made in the seat of a wide chair.

"Perfect fit. Let's see her try to tip over on this." Toris beamed with pride at his creation. It was a chair Xena could sit in and hold onto the sides of while using the chamber pot, no assistance necessary.

"Oh, Toris, she will appreciate this more than you know. And I appreciate it even more." Gabrielle said, a look of awe on her sleepy features.

"It's all yours. I'm going to bed." With that he handed the potty chair to Gabrielle and kissed her cheek. "You get some sleep too, half-pint."


"Gabrielle? Gabrielle, wake up. Come on, I need to use the pot really bad." Gabrielle groaned and turned away from the irritating noise. "Gabrielle, I need you to help me to the pot!" Xena said with much frustration at having to ask for help. But Gabrielle and her mother made her promise that, from now on, she'd ask for assistance before falling on her buttocks.

"No you don't." Was Gabrielle's shocking response.

"What?" Xena was flabbergasted.

"Look to your left. Toris made you a potty chair. I'm gonna help you to use it this time, but after that you're on your own." Xena looked at her brother's creation like it just might bite her.

"Ok, now, sit up slowly." Xena followed her bard's instructions and slowly sat up on the side of the pallet with both hands holding on tightly to her partner's. "Now, slowly turn toward the window and place your hands on the sill to pull yourself up." Xena was surprised at the thrill of accomplishment she felt when standing on her own two feet. She took slow deep breaths to ward off some dizziness.

"You OK?" Gabrielle kept a steadying hand against her partner's back.

"Yea, I'll be even better after you teach me how to sit down." Xena grimaced with the strain.

"Good. Now I'm going to push the potty chair so it is right behind you. Bend your knees and reach back with your right hand, grab the seat of the chair and sit."

Following Gabrielle's instructions to the letter, her weakened Consort crashed down onto the seat with a resounding thud. "Mission accomplished." Xena growled.

"By the gods, Xe, are you alright?" Gabrielle was alarmed.

Xena took deep breaths and closed her eyes trying to curb the onslaught of dizziness and nausea. Her sex was aching like Tartarus, but she was very content. "Yea, I'm a little sore and the room is spinning a bit. But I'm OK. How's about a little privacy? I promise I won't try to get up without you." Xena gave her best innocent look and Gabrielle relented.

"I'll be right outside. Just call me when you're through."

Xena was true to her word and, after returning to bed, with Gabrielle's guidance, was sure she'd be able to perform the potty transfer on her own next time. "I have to thank that brother of mine. This was a great idea."


Several days passed in the same manner. With Xena learning how to do more for her self as she healed.

The healer was sent for to remove the warrior's myriad of stitches. And, when Xena anxiously inquired about the special herbs, informed her that they had not yet arrived. "I want you to bring them to me the moment they come."

Alena nodded her assurance.

In two weeks time, Xena was walking around the farmhouse, sitting without assistance, albeit gingerly, and passing the time with cleaning and polishing her armor. The third week was spent tooling her leathers and sharpening her sword. She avoided any conversation about what had happened to her and preferred to concentrate on the upcoming harvest and the need to hire some of the village's young people to help out.

"You could do the bard thing at Mom's tavern for a few evenings a week to raise the dinars to pay them." Xena looked over to Gabrielle with a smile that never reached her eyes. Gabrielle nodded, but was suspicious. Something was going on behind those ice blues and she was gonna find out what.

"When do you want me to start." Gabrielle asked nonchalantly.

"Oh, next week will be soon enough and, then maybe the following two weeks. That should bring enough dinars to pay two or three field hands." Xena avoided her soulmate's penetrating gaze, knowing she'd recognize the ruse. Gabrielle knew her too well.

"I'm tired. I think I'll turn in." Xena had been going to bed before Gabrielle since she was able to traverse their farm on her own. Gabrielle realized her stoic partner had effectively avoided having a private conversation with her by falling asleep before Gabrielle crawled into bed every single night. 'Well not this night.' The younger woman decided.

"I think I'll join you. I'm pretty bushed myself." Gabrielle walked up to Xena and took her hand. "Goodnight all." Gabrielle said to the rest of their family, talking around the dining table. Cyrene still spent several nights at her children's home hoping her stubborn daughter would decide to share some of the burden she was so obviously carrying.

"Xena, can we talk?" Gabrielle softly implored. Xena just walked to the basin and washed up for bed. "Come on, talk to me. Something is eating at you. All of us see it. You avoid talking about what happened like the plague. You just sit in front of that fireplace and polish your armor or sharpen your sword like you are going into battle. You even go to bed early so you can avoid me and now you're sending me away. That hurts, Xe. Cause I love you more than my life and you are hurting and won't let me in"...<<< Tears brimming in her sad green eyes >>>….. "You blame me. Don't you?" With that Xena spun around, dumfounded... "You do. It was my fault. If I hadn't been so damned lazy, I'd have been there to cover your back and none of this nightmare would have happened." Gabrielle stifled a sob.

"No! By the gods, is that what you really think?" Xena crossed the room and took her lover into her arms. Gabrielle was sobbing so that she could not respond except to nod her short blond head. "None of this was your fault. Do you hear me? None of it. This is all on Ares' head. I don't know why he orchestrated it. But, I do know for certain that he did and, by the gods, I won't let him hurt us again."

Xena placed her cheek on her lover's head and took a deep breath of her intoxicating scent. It had been nearly a moon since she touched her partner, since she was able to show her just how much she loved her.

Taking Gabrielle's face gently in her hands, Xena gazed longingly into gentle green eyes. "Gabrielle, please believe me. None of this was your fault. Nor was it mine. It's part of some sick plan of Ares'. Now come on to bed love and let me hold you." Xena took Gabrielle's hand and led her to their pallet. They cuddled up with Gabrielle's head nestled on her warrior's shoulder, the familiarity a balm to both women's pain.

Rubbing her hand in gentle circles across Xena's abdomen then down to her pubic mound, Gabrielle subtly let her lover know that she was interested in more than a cuddle. Xena's breath caught at the delicious warmth building in her core.

"Xena?" Gabrielle whispered.

"Hmmm?" Xena responded contentedly.

"I want to make love with you." Gabrielle tilted her head so she could look into her lover's eyes. "But, I don't want to hurt you. Do you think you are ready?" Gabrielle asked hopefully.

"I don't know, but I guess it's as good a time as any to find out." With that said, Xena rolled onto her side, almost covering the smaller bard. Gazing longingly into green pools full of passion, she gently touched the face she loved. Then, ever so tenderly, like the wings of a butterfly, Xena traced the bard's jaw line, ears, neck, throat, down between her full breasts, then, untying her tunic, spread it open to feast upon what she soon would lavish with loving kisses.

Cupping Gabrielle's left breast, Xena licked the nipple, then blew on it, enjoying the way the areola shriveled and the nipple came to attention. Gabrielle gave out a deep groan, further inflaming her warrior. Taking the nipple into her warm mouth, Xena suckled as if for nourishment, sending Gabrielle into a frenzy of desire denied too long.

Gabrielle cupped Xena's right breast through the fabric of her tunic and squeezed the erect nipple, causing an electric current from the nipple to Xena's clit. The aroused warrior bit down harder than she had intended on Gabrielle's sensitive nipple, causing the bard to moan loudly and raise her left knee to stimulate her lover's sex. "Oh, gods, Gabrielle." Xena moaned as she began to pump her sex against her lover. Xena completely mounted the smaller woman pressing her thigh against Gabrielle's steaming core. Gabrielle bit Xena's shoulder to stifle a scream at the jolt of pleasure her lover gave her. Caressing both buttocks, lovingly in her small, but powerful, hands, Gabrielle pushed Xena harder into her sex as Xena massaged her lover's firm breasts and kissed Gabrielle deeply.

"I need to taste you, Gabrielle, let me love you with my mouth."

Gabrielle let go of Xena's buns and let her lover lavish her with kisses and licks down her body to her sex.

"You smell so good." Xena moaned as she breathed deeply of her lover's musk, making her mouth water and her clitoris throb. Xena placed gentle kisses in Gabrielle's golden curls and along her upper thighs, then spreading her lips with long elegant fingers she licked along her opening, enjoying the tangy taste of her arousal.

"Oh, gods, Xena, please don't stop."

The warrior princess grinned at the absurdity of that plea. 'Like I could possibly stop now. I can't get enough of this sweet woman. My soul belongs to you, my love. Let me pleasure you.' With that thought Xena gently entered her lover's sex with two long fingers and sucked the engorged clit into her hungry mouth.

In ecstasy, the smaller woman clamped her lover's head between her quivering thighs. Xena reached up to grasp her lover's hand in her free hand as Gabrielle arched her back and screamed out her orgasm to the heavens.

Scooting up to lay beside her sated lover, Xena watched the rise and fall of Gabrielle's breasts as she tried to catch her breath. Her unquenched desire burning in her belly, she licked her lover's essence from her fingers slowly, savoring each finger as if it were the finest venison.

Watching her lover slowly licking her digits, which had just sent her to the heavens, roused the bard to action. Pushing Xena back on the bed, she mounted her hips and proceeded to strip her of her tunic. The sight of Xena's soft, round breasts and dark aroused nipples covered with yellowing bruises brought tears to the gentle bard's eyes.

Seeing the distress on her lover's face, Xena took small hands and placed them gently upon her bruised bosom. "The bruises don't hurt anymore. Honest Gabrielle. Touch me, please, I need to feel you still desire me. I need you, Gabrielle. I need you to love me. Please, don't be afraid to."

"If I do something that hurts you, you'll tell me won't you?" Gabrielle asked, wiping her tears away.

"I will tell you. I promise." Xena said as she reached up and gently rubbed her lover's erect nipples against her palms. Gabrielle closed her eyes relishing the sensation.

Locking her gaze with her lover's, Gabrielle slowly leaned into a gentle, yet passionate, kiss. She licked first Xena's upper lip, then the lower, then perused her teeth and gums, as if she were trying to memorize the terrain. Xena let out a small squeak as she struggled to control her desire and enjoy the slow, painstaking advances of her lover. Just when she thought Gabrielle was going to ravish her mouth in a deep kiss, she felt her nipple being sucked deeply into said cavity and melted at the sensation of the bards gifted tongue lavishing the sensitive flesh. Her mouth was not left unattended for long, though as Gabrielle attached her warm mouth to Xena's other breast, her fingers were offered to pacify the warrior's oral fixation. The bard's other hand found purchase in the slick, wet folds of Xena's overheated sex, causing the warrior to nearly suck in her lover's fingers moaning loudly. 'By the gods, that feels so good.'

Gabrielle gently rubbed her lover's clit, sending her to new heights of arousal. Xena's trembling and her uneven breathing told her lover she was on the brink of ecstasy. As was Xena's usual desire, Gabrielle shoved three fingers into her dripping sex. Xena let loose a scream of pleasure and pain. 'By the gods, that feels so incredible. Oh Hera, but that hurts like Tartarus, but it feels so good.'

"Oh, gods, YES!..…OH, GODS….. STOP!!... STOP!!!….. GABRIELLE!!!!!" Gabrielle jumped off Xena as her lover curled into a ball, rocking herself, trying to control the pain.

"By the gods, Xena, are you alright? Did I hurt you? Of course, I hurt you." Gabrielle sat on her heels, waiting for her lover to regain the power of speech.

"Woh Zeus….., I have never had a painful orgasm before….. but, if I don't pass out….., it was pretty incredible….." Xena gasped out trying to breathe through the pain.

"Gabrielle, sweetheart, make me a cup of that herb tea, please." Xena panted more into the linens then to her lover.

Gabrielle jumped up off the bed to fetch the tea. Xena gingerly stretched her body out on the pallet and checked for bleeding. There was no blood, but the swollen, puffy and bruised flesh of her sex was definitely not ready for the likes of her lover.

The aching warrior struggled to the wash basin and dampened a rag in the cool water. Laying back down she gently pressed it against her painfully throbbing sex. Reaching for her discarded tunic, Xena wiped away the beads of sweat that had popped out on her brow and breasts.

Gabrielle came back with the tea. "Here, Xe. Are you OK? I am so sorry. I knew I shouldn't have forced you to have sex this soon after your injuries. Are you bleeding? Do we need to call the healer?" Gabrielle rattled on terribly upset by the whole thing.

"Gabrielle, calm down. I'm fine." Then Xena started to giggle and then laugh so hard she could hardly catch her breath. Gabrielle found herself caught up in the contagious laughter. "That was the most intense orgasm I have ever experienced." Xena was able to blurt out in between guffaws.

"You mean, that was an orgasm?" Gabrielle said in astonishment, wiping the tears from her eyes.

"Yea, well, not just an orgasm. There was a large dose of intense pain too. What a combination! I do think we will need to wait a few more days before trying that again. Come here." Xena pulled her soulmate into her arms and rubbed her back soothingly. "I'm sorry I frightened you. I'm really OK." Gabrielle reached down for the blanket and covered their bare skin. "And you did not force me to have sex with you. That, my love, has been and always will be my pleasure." Xena kissed the top of her bard's blonde head, reached over and doused the candle's flame. "Sweet dreams, my love.


Xena was more attentive for the next few days, but still avoided talking about what was bothering her. After five weeks had passed with no sign of her moonly cycle, Xena sent Toris for the healer. While helping her brother to saddle his horse, careful to be out of ear shot of her partner, Xena said, "Toris, tell Alena not to forget the herbs we had discussed. She'll know which one's I mean." Toris nodded at his sister and headed toward town.

"Good morning, love." Gabrielle said as she wrapped her soul mate in her arms. "Where's your brother off to this early?" Running her hand soothingly over her lover's back and rubbing her cheek against the soft skin of her shoulder.

Xena admitted in a resigned voice, "To get the healer."

Gabrielle looked up into Xena's pained eyes and felt her stomach clench. "Why? Xe, are you feeling poorly?"

"No. No. I feel alright." Xena responded and looked away from her bard, not wanting to see the look on her face when she told her the truth. "Gabrielle, I have skipped by moonly cycle. I think I may be with-child."

Gabrielle stood staring at her lover's back. A whirlwind of emotions raced through her being. Fetching her staff, she took Xena's hand, "Xena, let's take a walk. We need to discuss this. We may have a decision to make and we are going to make it together." Xena allowed herself to be led to a patch of lush green grass at the top of a peaceful little knoll. Directing Xena to sit against a large rock, Gabrielle crawled between her legs and rested her shoulders against the warrior's soft breasts.

Taking her partners hands, she wrapped them tightly around her waist and sighed, "Talk to me. Tell me how you feel about carrying this child."

Xena tried to pull her hands away, but Gabrielle held them firmly against her bare midriff.

"Please don't shut me out. Whatever happens to you, happens to us both. I have been your partner, your lover and your best friend for the past 12 winters and will be until I draw my last breath. A child shouldn't be made to pay for the sins of its father. I can accept this child as our own, if you can." Gabrielle stated softly but with all the conviction she could muster.

Xena sat dumfounded. It had never occurred to her to keep the child. She had concentrated all her energies on facing the task of ridding her body of the interloper. She'd never even thought of it as an innocent life.

"I don't know if I can do that, Gabrielle. I'm afraid every time I look upon that child, I'd think of the act that brought it into the world." Xena rested her cheek on her lover's head.

"We have both lost a child, Xena. We both know what the pain of that loss did to us, what we did to each other. Here we have a second chance. This nightmare could become our greatest blessing, if we let it. I know how much you love Lycea. I watch you watching her sleep and see the longing in your eyes. You missed the opportunity to be a mother to Solan. Just think about it, before you miss that chance again."

Gabrielle felt Xena's head nod and felt the tear that dropped upon her ear. Turning in her soul mate's arms, she pulled the sobbing woman to her breast and, cooing words of love and encouragement, rocked her til she fell into an exhausted sleep.


"Well, you were right. I'd say six weeks on." Xena released the breath she was holding as Alena removed her hand from the warrior's still tender sex. Gabrielle took Xena's trembling hand in her own.

"Did you bring the herb I asked for?" Xena inquired of the healer.

Looking at the gentle bard and back to the warrior, the healer nodded in affirmation.

"Do you know how to use this?" The healer tentatively asked.

"Yes. I do." Xena took the herb pouch without looking at it, her sad eyes locked with her soulmate's.

"Xena, think long and hard before you do this. But, if you must," the healer turned her attention to Gabrielle, "don't do it alone. This will make you very ill. You will need someone to care for you for a few days." Gabrielle nodded and the healer left them alone.

Xena was the first to speak. "Gabrielle, I am leaving in the morning. There is something I need to do. You can keep the herbs here. I promise I won't make any decisions without you."

The bard stared at her dumfounded. "What do you mean you are leaving? Where are you going and, why now? For Zeus' sake, Xena, we have a family crisis here and you want to just take off to parts unknown." The bard's face was red with exasperation.

Xena pulled her soulmate onto the pallet with her and held her gently, making shushing noises and kissing her hands. "Sweetheart, I have to do something in order to make my decision about rearing this child. I have been remembering bits and pieces about that day."

"What have you remembered?" Gabrielle got up on her elbow so she could look into Xena's eyes and rubbed her arm gently, offering her support.

Xena let out a puff of air, lying on her back she stared up at the ceiling.

"I remember bathing in the stream with Lycea and getting soap in every orifice of my body." Xena chuckled and smiled at the memory. "While I was rinsing the soap out of my eyes, I heard or sensed Lycea's screams. I saw the scum that had been at Mom's tavern the night before, and one was holding Lycea. He had a dagger and he made sure I saw it. They said they had a gift for me, a gift from Ares and they would release Lycea unharmed if I cooperated... (Xena took a shaky breath and tried to keep her chin from quivering.) I had no choice, Gabrielle... They would have killed her right there in front of my eyes, if I didn't... let them... I'm so sorry." Tears slid down into the sad woman's ears.

Gabrielle brought Xena's hand to her lips and softly kissed it with her own tears. "You have nothing to be sorry for. You did nothing wrong. Go on, love, what happened next?" Gabrielle encouraged Xena to continue her story.

"They shackled me to that tree. When I realized what they intended to do, I asked that they blindfold Lycea. They showed me that one kindness, before they..., but, there was something else I remember. Something I couldn't quite figure out til you held me as I slept this morning."

Wiping at her own tears, Gabrielle kissed Xena's hand again and squeezed it gently. "What was that, love?"

"Not one of them planted their seed in me. It was as if that was forbidden."

"But, Xena, you must be mistaken. When I bathed you in the stream, after I found you, I washed away a very large amount of semen. And, you are pregnant."

"I know. That's what I couldn't understand. I remember something really strange. I remember their leader saying he had to give me Ares' gift as he reached behind his back, then seeing the sun shine off of something, like the glint of the sun on metal, then intense pain and everything went black." Xena shuddered with the memory. Xena looked at her lover, searching her eyes for some hint of what she was thinking.

"So, you think the semen was in the metal object." Gabrielle said.

"Yes, in fact, I am sure of it now. I remember something else that the head scumbag said to me. It was something about Ares wanting a part of me to lead his army, to be his legacy... Gabrielle, I believe I am carrying the child of the God of War."

Gabrielle got up and paced the room as Xena remained lying on her back, one arm draped over her blood shot eyes. "But why? Xena, why would he go through all that trouble to impregnate you and then let those scumbags beat you to death?"

"I don't think that was part of the plan. The leader of his welcoming committee didn't like me very much. He actually seemed to resent me. Like being Ares' Chosen is some great honor. Jeez, I'd bestow that noose around his dirty neck in a heartbeat if I could." Xena grinned at her vain attempt at levity.

"So, let me guess, you are going to confront the God of War and tell him what?" Gabrielle said, incredulously.

"I am going to tell him that we intend to keep this child and raise it as our own. That if he interferes in any way ever in this child's life, his father will be told the entire story of its conception and of how he broke his Olympian oath to not interfere in our lives and not to harm you in any way."

Gabrielle burst into joyful tears at this admission and dived on top of Xena, showering her with tears and kisses. "Do you mean it, Xe? We really are going to have a baby?"

"Yes, your majesty, we are going to have a little princess, or prince I suppose, for the Amazon Nation." Xena laughed out loud. "Won't the Amazon's have a grand time trying to figure this one out. They already think you can accomplish anything." Gabrielle swatted her Consort's arm, then pulled her into a passionate kiss. An hour later the Warrior Princess and the Amazon Queen emerged from the bed chamber smiling and completely sated.


"Xena, we need to tell the family what is going on before we leave tomorrow." Gabrielle said.

"You can tell the family at your leisure, cause you are not going." Xena avoided her lover's glare as she busied herself packing her saddle bags for the journey.

"Oh, no, Warrior Princess, this is my kid too, so where you go, I go. You got that?" The little Amazon Queen squared her shoulders at the much larger warrior.

Xena raised her left eyebrow, giving Gabrielle "the look". Realizing it wasn't having the desired effect, she blew a lung full of hot air out of her pursed lips. "There isn't anything I can say or do to convince you to wait here, is there?" Xena stated resignedly.

"Not a thing." Gabrielle smiled, enjoying her victory.

"Then, lets go tell Mom and Toris. And I'd like to spend some time with Lycea before we leave. I haven't really been comfortable around her since this happened and I want her to know that none of this was her fault and" Xena hesitated, clearing the emotion from her throat, "that I still love her, very much." Gabrielle gently rubbed Xena's cheek with her warm hand, brushing away the errant tear that escaped from her ice blue eyes.

"I think that's a great idea, love. Everyone is at the Inn. Why don't we take Argo out for a spin. We'll eat with our family and maybe I'll tell a story or two. We can always use the extra dinars on the road."

Arriving at her mother's tavern, Xena told Gabrielle to join the family while she stabled Argo and fed her some oats and hay. Gabrielle could see the signs of stress and apprehension in Xena's speech and the slump of her strong shoulders. Instead of proceeding into the tavern, she followed her soulmate into the barn.

"Um, Xe, if you don't mind, I think it might be better if I tell everyone about Ares and the baby and all that. Why don't you take Lycea upstairs and spend some time with her. She shouldn't hear what I have to tell the family. It would only frighten and confuse her. If that's alright with you, of course." Gabrielle laid the sincerity on thick. 'After all, I do the sensitive chats.' She thought.

"If you think it would be best." Xena smiled shyly, feigning a deep fascination in Argo's oats, so Gabrielle couldn't see the great relief on her face.

"Good. Now, I'm starving. Let's go eat." Gabrielle took Xena's hand and led her toward the inn.

The change in the ex-warlord's demeanor upon entering the tavern was stark. Xena stepped in front of her partner, shoulders squared, a look of intense alertness in her eyes, searching the patrons for anyone who might pose a threat. Understanding her soulmate's caution, Gabrielle patiently waited for Xena to proceed to the table where their family gathered for the evening meal.

"Hello, everyone." Gabrielle said, sitting in a vacant chair.

"Well, hello. I am so glad you were feeling up to joining us." Cyrene approached her daughter, who had made no effort to sit with them.

Xena gave her mother a wan smile and a little hug. "It's good to be out, Mother." Then looking at her partner for direction.

"Has Lycea eaten yet? I know it's almost her bed time." Gabrielle asked, quietly, of her sister.

"Yes, I fed her about a candle mark ago. Why do you ask?"

"Xena would like to spend some time with her." Gabrielle said.

"Oh, she'd really love that." Lilla responded.

"Good. Where would I find the scamp?" Xena asked.

"Terrorizing a kitten in my room." Cyrene smiled remembering the excitement and fascination in her granddaughter's blue eyes, when she surprised her with the little bundle of fur.

"A kitten?" Xena asked.

"Yes. The poor little fellow just walked into the tavern this morning and made himself to home. I figured he'd keep the mice away from the food cellar and give Lycea a playmate." Cyrene explained.

Xena smiled at her mother and retorted under her breath, "You old softy."

With Xena gone to play with her niece and a certain kitten, Gabrielle proceeded to explain to their family about her partner's pregnancy and Ares' probable paternity.

Xena's mother brought her hand to her mouth, eyes wide in shock. "Oh, my poor little one. What will she do? I know that there are herbs to terminate pregnancy. Has she thought about that, yet? Oh my, a child of Ares'. Hasn't she been through enough? Why? Why would he do this?" Gabrielle sat next to her mother-in-law and put a comforting arm around her shoulders.

"Mom, Xena and I have decided we want to keep the child and raise it as our own." Gabrielle stated, smiling hopefully, awaiting the older woman's reaction. Toris and Lilla looked at each other but thought it best not to get involved.

"You mean it. You really want to, I mean, well, uh, she really wants to, have the baby?" Cyrene asked, her heart full of joy.

"Yes. But first we must confront Ares. He must never be allowed to interfere in our lives again or the life of our child. Xena and I are going to pay him a call and make him an offer he can't refuse. We'll be leaving in the morning." Gabrielle held Cyrene's trembling hand in her own.

"You will protect each other, won't you." Cyrene pleaded, quietly.

"Don't we always. Now, don't worry about us. We'll only be gone a couple of weeks. I don't think Ares will dare try to harm us." Gabrielle smiled at Cyrene and patted her hand reassuringly.

"I'll go fix you up a bit of food for your journey. I have some dried meat, olives, green onions and parsley. You can put it in a stew." Cyrene left to busy herself in the kitchen.

"Wow, Gab, your gonna be a ....uh....father?" Lilla looked at her sister puzzled as to what her role in the child's life would be.

"We haven't discussed what the child will call me, but I am not a man and therefore not a father. This situation occurs quite often with the Amazons and both parents are referred to as the child's mothers. Usually one will be called mother and the other mom or something like that. We'll work out the details later. But I guess you could say I am going to be a mommy." Gabrielle grinned broadly and let out a contented sigh.

"Gabrielle?" Xena called from a safe distance.

"You can come out now. I've told them everything and Mom is fixing us a to go package for the road."

"How did she take it?" Xena sat next to her partner, taking her small hand in her own larger one.

"She is worried for us. About Ares, that is. About the baby, she is thrilled at the prospect of being a grandma again. I think you should go talk to her Xe, she's in the kitchen." Gabrielle encouraged.

"Yea, I will. Excuse me." Xena nodded to her brother and sister-in-law.

Xena entered the kitchen, closing the door silently behind her. "Mom?"

"Oh, daughter, I didn't hear you come in. I'm almost done putting a few things together for you and Gabrielle to take on your trip." Cyrene's hands were shaking again as she tried to keep a tight reign on her emotions.

Xena pulled her mother into her arms and kissed her graying head. "Mom, please try not to worry. I hold all the cards in this game. I'm just going to tell Ares that, if he tries to take my child away from us or hurt my family in any way, his father and all Olympia will know that he broke his vow and he will suffer the consequences."

"What were the consequences to be?" Cyrene asked.

"The permanent loss of his godhood. And, to be replaced as the God of War for eternity." The women looked into each other's blue eyes.

"So, you see, we will be fine. And, as a little insurance, Gabrielle and I will pay a visit to the Amazons and inform Artemis of our plans."

"I am relieved. Gabrielle is Artemis' Chosen. I am sure she will protect her and you." Cyrene hugged her daughter one last time and handed her the parcel of treats.

"I love you, Mom. You know that, don't you?" Xena asked.

"I know. And I love you, little one. Now you'd better take Gabrielle home and get some rest." Cyrene shooed her daughter out of the kitchen, turned around and offered a prayer of her own to Artemis.

Continued in Part 3

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