The Newest God of Olympus
by L.M. Townsend
Summary: Ares asks the other gods to allow the actor who portrayed him to join them on Olympus. The gods discuss the TV series which has brought them back to the attention of mortals and try to decide if this is reason enough to reward the mortals who portrayed the characters in the show with a place in the sacred residence of the gods.
I hope no one takes offence at this offering - I mean it as a tribute to Mr. Smith - and perhaps a way of resolving this tragedy in my own mind. In no way do I mean to be hurtful, tactless, or frivolous in the face of this tragedy. I realise that many are sensitive about this right now. If it will bother you to read this, please don't.
The characters of Xena, Gabrielle, and Joxer belong to their creators and anyone else who has managed to obtain the legal rights to them. I have also used the names of real people in this story, specifically, Kevin Smith and "Alex", referring to the actress who plays Aphrodite.
Spoilers: Specifically, there are spoilers for "Is There a Doctor In the House?", "Deliverer", "Gabrielle's Hope", "Ides of March", "Amphipolis Under Siege" There are also references to other episodes, but I don't think any that give anything away in them.
Subtext: This story implies that Xena and Gabrielle are a couple in the romantic sense of the word, but there is certainly nothing explicit.
Feedback: Any feedback is welcome. You can e-mail me at QueenLaese1@aol.com
The former gods of Olympus were stunned. Zeus had called them all together in old Great Hall on Olympus, still hidden from mortal eyes by godly magic. Few of them had been there since they had receded from mortal minds aeons ago. Over the past five or six years, however, one by one, they were returning to their ancient - and favoured - home, settling back in. Now they were all here. Most had taken different names, as pantheons came and went, but all were still working "behind the scenes" as it were, still doing what they did best.
Ares was already there when the rest arrived, pacing in a most agitated way. "Ares," Zeus thundered, but not unkindly. "Desist."
Ares stood still, but the tension in his body was palpable, as was the general air of confusion. Hestia had started picking up the debris around the long-unused Hall, producing a broom and dusting cloth. In minutes the Great Hall of Olympus, although no longer sparkling with its former glory was at least tolerable.
"I have called you all here to announce some sad news in the world of mortals," said the king of the gods.
"Mortals," said Athena with a tinge of disgust.
"Shut up, Athena," said Ares with a growl.
"Stop bickering you two!" said Zeus, sternly. He turned to the rest of the gathering of gods. "The mortal, Kevin Smith is crossing over."
"No wonder you're so upset, Ares," said Aphrodite, kindly. "I'm sorry."
"He played me to perfection," said the god of war. "No, better than perfect - he actually made people <like> me. Even at the height of my power, no one really liked me."
"Surprise, surprise," muttered Athena. Ares began to move towards her menacingly, but Zeus put out a hand to stop him.
"Athena," he said, sharply. "That will be enough." Athena looked startled. As "Daddy's Girl", she wasn't accustomed to being scolded by Zeus.
"In a way, he <was> me," said Ares, quietly.
"Only better looking," chuckled Artemis. One look from Zeus was enough to quell the coming conflict between Ares and his other sister.
"What happened?" asked Demeter.
"I'm not sure of the details," said Ares, sadly. "The mortals have not been too forthcoming with information. All I know is that he took a pretty bad fall. I tried talking with the Fates, but ... well, you know how they are. Just go on about how there's a reason for everything, but they won't say what it is."
"Well, if the Fates are behind it, then there's really nothing we can do," said Persephone. Her time with Hades was nearly over, but she had already been thinking of searching through the Fields for this mortal after he crossed over and perhaps releasing him back to the earth above - if he wished it.
"That's true," said Hera, patting her distraught son's hand.
"So where were <you> when it happened?" asked Athena, still sulking after the rebuke from her father. "I thought all you 'Xenite' gods were watching over your mortals?"
"Oh, my!" said Aphrodite. "She's right! I need to go and check on Alex!"
"Never mind that," said Zeus, stopping the goddess of love. "I have stopped time on earth for a bit until we decide this matter."
"What matter?" asked Apollo, miffed that his father had interfered with his realm and didn't even let him know first.
"There has been a request that we bring Kevin here - to Olympus," said Zeus. All the assembled looked at Ares.
"Hey, it's not like the precedent hasn't been set," said the god of war.
"Yes and by <you>," said Athena, bitterly.
"What <does> Xena say about all this?" asked Hephaestus.
"Ah, you know how she is," said Ares, shrugging. "Gabrielle is crying her eyes out, but Xena just sits there, sharpening that sword of hers and says nothing. She's upset, but getting her to say so is like ... well, like getting the Fates to take this back - impossible."
"I think - " began Aphrodite.
"Hah! That's a first!" said Athena.
"Athena, will you please just stop it?" said Hestia.
"What is it, Aphrodite?" asked Poseidon. He wanted this meeting over; his skin was itching with all this dry air. More than that, the mortal scientists were encroaching on his best kept secrets below the deep. Already they were discovering the new species he had been creating down there. If mortals got a hold of those, he may have to begin again, since they always tended to destroy what they did not understand. He wasn't sure they meant to, but scientists were always picking things apart until the wonder and mystery were gone from them.
"Well," said Aphrodite. "I think we owe those mortals a place here. After all, they have brought us back into the minds of other mortals - why else have we been able to return to Olympus?"
Artemis sighed. "I have to agree," she said grudgingly. "Even though they haven't exactly portrayed <all> of us in the best light."
"Athena, in all fairness, the mortals have portrayed us with fair accuracy," said Hera, with a sigh. "Including our ... rehabilitation, in some instances."
"That's true, " said Hades, stroking his beard, thoughtfully. "It's almost as if someone were 'leaking' information to them."
The gods looked around at each other suspiciously. "Hey, who's that?" said Apollo, pointing to a cloaked figure, trying unsuccessfully to hide in a shadowy corner. The figure attempted a hasty retreat, but tripped over the hem of the cloak. With a loud, "Oof!" and a crash - as the cloaked person took a ceramic vase down with him - the eavesdropper was revealed. He jumped to his feet, clumsily, replacing the conical helmet to his head and grinned sheepishly.
"Hi, Guys!" said Joxer the Mighty. Then the would-be warrior gulped loudly and tried to run, but Ares was already there, grabbing his collar from behind and dragging him to the accompaniment of "Ouch!" and "Hey, not so rough!" to the middle of the gathering of gods.
"Aren't you supposed to be in the Elysian Fields?" asked Hades, surprised to see him.
"Beloved, his idea of Elysium was to be near the bard, Gabrielle," said Persephone. Demeter made a rude noise and rolled her eyes at the term of endearment.
"That should <never> have happened," muttered Cupid, shaking his blonde head.
"Well, don't look at me," said Aphrodite. "I did everything I could to bring the Warrior and Bard together. Not that it was all that difficult. In fact, they didn't even need <me>."
"Yes, and Gabrielle as an Amazon - and Queen - was <my> Chosen," said Artemis frowning at her sister. "You should never have interfered."
"Hey, I saw how well you were taking care of her," said Aphrodite, shaking her head. "First that Mitoan/Thessalian mess, then Dahak - and Hope - and not least of all, Caesar crucifying her. I had to step in and - "
"Enough!" said Zeus. "This is not the issue at hand. We are discussing the mortal Kevin Smith."
"This is just why we should allow no more mortals to trespass among us!" said Athena, poking Joxer in the chest with her sword. "What he has done - "
"Is a great service to all of Olympus," said Gabrielle. She and Xena strode up to the divine gathering. "<I> gave the scrolls to Joxer and asked him to ... um, 'distribute' them to anyone who could make the stories known."
"You did <what>!" cried Athena, whirling on the Bard. Xena stepped neatly between the irate goddess and her beloved Bard, sword drawn and her hand never straying from her deadly chakram.
"Gabrielle ... why?" asked Aphrodite, shocked.
"Because - the stories were meant to be known, to be heard," said the Bard, calmly. "That's why I wrote them - that's why I sent them to earth with Joxer."
"Hmm," said Zeus, looking thoughtfully at the Warrior and the Bard. For a moment, the Great Hall of Olympus was silent, all the gods waiting for their king to speak, to pronounce judgement. Then he threw back his head and laughed. "Well done!" he said at last.
There was a collective sigh of relief from the mortals and their patron gods. Only Athena continued to fume.
"I still say no," she said. Then she smiled coldly, drawing one last weapon from her arsenal. "I really must question the <wisdom> of allowing yet another mortal to ascend to Olympus. After all, where does it end? First we have the actual mortals, then the actors who portrayed them - and us, the writers, producers - what's next? Are we to offer godhood to the writers of fan fiction? As if one Bard isn't enough."
Xena growled menacingly and took a step towards the smug goddess, but was stopped by a gentle hand on her arm. She turned to see Gabrielle smiling sweetly at her. The Bard shook her head, silently telling her that it was alright.
"It was a package deal," snarled the warrior.
The gods looked at Athena soberly. As goddess of wisdom, she had the upper hand with that statement about wisdom. Only Zeus or Hera had "veto" power, but they had always been pretty much "hands off" when it came to interfering with an individual god's specific realm - unless it suited them to do otherwise, but that was rare.
"Athena, why do you hate mortals so much?" Gabrielle spoke up, breaking the momentary spell the goddess held over the assembly.
"Wh - what? I don't <hate> mortals," said the goddess, hesitantly.
"Well you sure seem to resent us," said Xena, arms crossed over her brass breastplate.
"Yes, Daughter," said Zeus. "I am not certain your judgement is clear in this matter."
"Oh, fine!" spat Athena. "Alright, you want to know why I resent you mortals so much? I'll tell you. You're the reason we gods are in the position we're in now. No one worships us, let alone even believes in us anymore."
"But don't you see?" said Gabrielle, gently. "The stories have changed all that. People <are> thinking of you again."
Athena looked surprised for a moment, then thoughtful.
"It's true," said Xena. "Just look ..." The warrior stepped aside and Athena saw figures on the wall behind the warrior start to move.
"Is that supposed to be me?" said the goddess, arching one eyebrow as she gazed at the scene unfolding before her. "They certainly chose someone ... attractive to play me." The goddess smiled at the dialogue as "Xena" told her she was the one god she respected. "Is that true?"
"Yes," said Xena, quietly, looking apologetically at the rest of the assembly.
"But the rest of it ... I would never have killed a child," said Athena, shaking her head.
"They started to run out of scrolls along about the fourth season," said Xena, rolling her eyes. "From there they had to 'punt'."
"'Punt'?" said Athena.
"Make it up as they went along," explained Gabrielle. "They took some of it from the scrolls and made up the rest."
"Ah," said Ares. "That would explain a lot."
"Indeed," said Athena. "Very well. I cannot argue against this any further."
"Shall we put it to a vote, then?" asked Zeus. The assembly nodded. "All in favour?"
It was unanimous; the gods of Olympus would welcome the mortal to their company.
Ares looked down at his mortal counterpart. It was only a matter of time, now. He felt Atropos's sharp <snip> and suddenly, the mortal's spirit sat up,invisible to mortal eyes, though the body remained still.
"Hey, I know you!" said the actor, grinning.
"Yeah, I know you, too," said Ares, darkly.
"Hey, look, um, I know how you gods can be - it was a <job>, okay? No hard feelings ... I hope," said the mortal. "I did the best I could to - "
"Are you kidding?" chuckled the god, holding out his hand. "Come on, Kevin - you have an appointment on Olympus."
"Oh, gods!" moaned the mortal.
"Oh, yeah - and are you gonna love 'em," laughed Ares. "At least I hope so. Come on, old friend - the family's waiting to meet the newest god of Olympus."