The Deal Part IV

by Paully Adams




{See previous parts for disclaimers}


Once crossing over the Amazonia's borders, Xena and Gabrielle were escorted to their hut by the royal guard. One of the young nurses was watching over Eve and Xena quickly made her way to the crib.

"How was she?" Xena asked as she picked up the little Amazon princess.

"She's been fine. A perfect angel in fact." The nurse turned to Gabrielle who was standing by the doorway watching. "My Queen, I'm truly sorry about your family and hometown." Gabrielle nodded and dismissed the nurse.

Xena could sense the tension as it filled the room. "Gabrielle, come here for a minute will you?" Gabrielle came closer, but she was still one arm's length away. "Come on, Eve won't bite."

Gabrielle moved closer. "What is it Xena?"

"I want you to hold Eve."

"Xena, I don't think it..."

"Nonsense." Without a moment's hesitation, Xena handed the little bundle to Gabrielle. Gabrielle swallowed hard as she held the baby. "Gabrielle, remember that promise that you made to me? You promised that you would be right by my side to raise her. You once told me that you loved her as much as if she was your own. Well, she is. You adopted her and now she is an Amazon princess. She needs you and so do I." Xena lifted up the bard's chin, "Don't you ever scare us like that again. Eve needs both of her mothers."

Tears well up in the bard's eyes as she smiled down at the little one in her arms, her little one. She was there to help Xena when the warrior was carrying the child in her womb and she was there to encourage Xena when the labor pains started. It was her that first held the baby and she had shared in the responsibility of taking care of Eve. In other words, she could not love Eve any more even if she was of the bard's own blood. How could Athena possibly think I could ever kill this child? "I'm sorry Xena. You and Eve are my family as well. And I will do anything to protect the two of you."

"I understand Gabrielle. But remember, if we are to get through this, we must work together." Xena took Eve and placed her back in the crib. "And since we must work together, there cannot be any secrets between us Gabrielle." She turned to face Gabrielle. "Gabrielle we need to talk. I know of your secrets."

"You do?"

Xena walked up to Gabrielle and lifted her hands. She then turned the gauntlets around. "I first noticed them when you arrived at the farm. Is this the reason that Ares intervened?"

"Xena, Athena was about to kill you. I did what I had to do, that’s all."

"I would rather have died, then to see you as his Chosen One."

"Well, luckily for you and Eve, it wasn't your decision to make." Gabrielle ran a hand through her hair. "Xena, Athena was about to kill you and the baby. It was our only chance."

"Gabrielle, I understand why, I just wish there was another way. Let's not talk about this now, okay? Let's deal with the second secret you've been keeping." Xena went to her saddlebag and pulled out the two pendants and the note. "Doria wanted me to give you these things." She handed the items to Gabrielle before continuing, "I know about you father Gabrielle."

Gabrielle looked at the pendants and read the note as Xena explained what Doria told her. "Gabrielle, why didn't you tell me?"

"Xena, I don't even know who my father is. According to mother, my father took away my memories and left my life in order to make sure that our family stayed happily together. For years, I didn't believe her, I just thought it was some tale she spun up. I figured he abandoned me, and as far as I was concerned, Herodotus was my father. That is, until Athena told me the same story. I ask Athena how did she know." She paused, seeing Athena smirk in front of her eyes. "She said that my father told her. She has my father Xena. Athena then told me she was willing to make a deal: my father's life for Eve's. And in addition, Hades would return my family to the living." Gabrielle shook her head. "I wanted to hurt her Xena, but I couldn't even get close. How am I suppose to fight a god?"

Xena walked up to Gabrielle and embraced her. "You can't, we can't," she pulled back and lifted up the sun pendant, "but another god can."


As they walked to the Temple of Artemis, Gabrielle turned to Xena. "Do you think this is a good idea?"

Xena shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know Gabrielle, but this might be the only way to save your father. If Athena has him, only another god will be able to tell us where he is being held."

"How about Ares?"

"No! I will not have you further in debt to him!"

"What else can he demand Xena? He already owns me."

"He does not!" She faced the bard before she continued, "You may be his new chosen one, but he does not control you. I don't want him digging his claws into you any deeper. The less we deal with him, the better."

"Fine, but don't be disappointed if he doesn't show up." Gabrielle went to pray at the altar. As she prayed, a white globe of light came into view. As the light dissipated, a figure, clothed in a hooded alb appeared. Gabrielle tried to see the figure's face, but couldn't; the hood hid every feature.

Apollo looked at his daughter and the memories flooded his mind. He wanted to embrace her, but knew he couldn't. "Gabrielle, Queen of the Amazons and Chosen One of Artemis, what is it that you want from me?"

Even though she was nervous, the sound of his voice helped sooth her. "Are you Apollo?"

"Yes, I am. Now, what is it that you seek?"

"My father. Athena has my father. She said he’ll die if Princess Eve lives. She wants me to kill her. I need your help in finding him."

He could feel his blood as it began to boil. So, Athena wants to play mind games, does she? Two can play at this game. "Don't worry, little one. Your father is safe, trust me. No harm will come to him. I will protect him." He looked at the two pendants that she wore around her neck. "I see that you are wearing his and Herodotus' marks. I know that they are proud of you."

Gabrielle smiled. "Thank you for protecting my father."

"No thanks necessary. I made a promise to be here for you whenever you needed me. I intend to fulfill that promise." Gabrielle nodded and began to walk away. "Gabrielle, wait. There are some other things I need to tell you." He watched as she turned back towards him. "I want you to know that not all the gods are aiming for Eve. There are gods who want to protect you and your family. Aphrodite, Hept, Artemis and myself are on your side. However, Athena, Hades and Poseidon want Eve dead. Ares is just looking out for himself. Don't trust him Gabrielle."

"I don't. But I did make a deal with him, a deal I must fulfill."

He nodded his understanding. "There is one more thing. You now believe the reasons why your father left you. The powers you have are great, in fact they are almost equal to your father's own. That makes you very powerful. Your father must remain hidden, but I can teach you to use your powers. Your body is strong enough now to handle them and you can use them to protect Xena and Eve, even from the gods themselves."

"What's the catch?"

"What do you mean by that?"

Gabrielle smirked. "Everyone has a price Apollo. Ares wanted my soul. Athena wanted me to kill Eve. What price are you asking for?"

Pain ripped through the god's heart as his daughter stood there. Because of the other gods, Gabrielle did not trust him. "Have Artemis ever asked you for anything?"

Gabrielle lowered her eyes. "No, she hasn't."

"Neither will I."

A sigh escaped from her lips. "Sorry about that Apollo, it's just that..."

"I know." If she could see his face, Gabrielle would have seen the smile that danced across his face. "Now, let's get started shall we?" He placed his hand on her shoulder. "It is going to hurt at first, but it will only last a few moments." A light glow emitted from his hand as he removed the power block from her.

The pain was like nothing she experienced before. Liquid fire ran through her veins and she struggled to breath. Every part of her felt like she was on fire. She collapsed as she screamed her agony.

Xena ran to her side. She had heard every word of their conversation, but she wasn't prepared to see her friend in this much pain. She reached out to the bard, but the heat from Gabrielle's body forced her back. "What have you done to her?"

"She will be alright, her body just needs to adjust."

Gabrielle swallowed large gulps of air, trying to force them into her lungs. "That hurts."

"I warned you." He reached down and pulled Gabrielle to her feet. "Now for your first lesson."


Apollo looked at his allies. Even with all four working together, he knew that Athena, Hades and Poseidon could still defeat them. "So are we all agreed that we will protect them from the other gods." Artemis, Aphrodite and Hept nodded, showing their agreement. "Good." He turned towards Hept. "Did you find them?"

"Sure did, and you were right Apollo. Someone else has been raiding Kronos tomb. There were only two ribs left. Someone is planning on killing some gods, and since none of us have the ribs, I think it is safe to assume that the other side has them."

"This is becoming a full blown war isn't it?" Artemis inquired. "If they would leave well enough alone..."

"But they won't Artemis. Which means we can't either."

"Man, this is a drag. I hate fighting!" Aphrodite looked down at her hands. "It just ruins my nails." She had hoped that her little attempt at humor would lighten the mood, but it didn't. She turned serious. "Okay, if they want a fight, they got one."

Apollo smiled as he saw the determination in their faces. "I just want to thank you. This isn't your fight. After all she is my daughter..."

"And my chosen one..."

"And my friend..."

"Besides Athena is just wrong. No child should ever have to die." Hept stated.

"Hept, can your fashion those two ribs into a single dagger?"

"Just one Apollo?"

"Yes, just one. Who ever has those bones, has to risk coming to you in order to form them as weapons. We know that they won't do that. Those bones can still hurt us, but if we have weapons made from the remaining ribs, our weapons will be stronger than just those bones. I'm giving the dagger to Gabrielle. Even with her powers, she will still need that weapon, just in case anything happens to the rest of us."

"And what about the bits and pieces left?"

"I want you to fashion them into arrowheads."

Hept eyes showed his confusion. "I didn't know Gabrielle used a bow."

"She doesn't, as far as I know. They're for me." His voice became threatening, "If Athena, Hades or Poseidon manage to harm my child or grandchild, I will make sure that their twilight will be swift and quite painfully."


She shot another fireball at the target. He smiled as the fireball hit dead center. "You are getting real good at control those fireballs."

"Thanks. But it still hurts a bit when I try to shoot a light beam."

"You need to relax the muscles in your fingers. It will always hurt a bit until your fingers get use to the focused energy flowing through them."

Gabrielle looked over at the god. He still wore the hood that covered his face. Always being the inquisitive sort she questioned him. "Why do you always wear that hood?"

"Why do you want to see my face? Let me guess, you need to describe what I look like for a story you are writing."

"No, just curious."

"The answer is simple. I’m a recluse Gabrielle. I like to keep to myself and ride in my chariot. I also like to shoot my arrows, sing, write poetry and play the lyre. But most of all, I like to keep myself hidden from prying eyes." He removed his bow and pulled out an arrow. "Anymore questions?"

"Just one." She waited until he released his shot. "What is my father like?"

"You don't have any memories of him, do you?"

"Not a one. I understand why he left, I just wished I could remember him. Tell me about him. When I get the chance to meet him, I don't want everything to be a total surprise."

Apollo wanted to tell her everything. They had come so far in their relationship and he knew that if she found out the truth now, it could end what they have, and there was still too much she needed to learn about her powers. But there were some things he couldn’t tell her. "Well, for starters, you look just like him." He turned towards the bard. "You have his eyes, his nose and even his color hair. You have his love for poetry and writing. However, you sense of adventure mostly definitely did not come from him. But your gentle spirit does."

Gabrielle laughed. "Next time you see Xena, can you tell her that please?"

"Why? Is something the matter?"

"Just her worrying."

"About what?"

Gabrielle looked over at the god. In few days' time, she had come to trust him with just about everything. "She is worried that I'm becoming too aggressive. She's been more worried ever since she found out about Ares and me."

"From the stories I've heard about you, it is understandable why Xena is a bit worried. Tell me Gabrielle, when you kill someone, what do you feel?"

Gabrielle frowned as she tried to remember her emotions behind each killing. "To tell you the truth, I feel nothing when I kill someone. In most situations, it is kill or be killed. I don't start feeling until after the fight is over. And each time, I relive the events in my mind, looking to see if there was another way, searching to see if I missed something. And each time I come to the conclusion that there was no other way, I feel sad."

He reached over and grabbed her hand. "Gabrielle, the moment you stop looking for another way, the moment you stop feeling sad about it, then you need to start worrying about yourself. And if you want, I will tell Xena she has nothing to worry about."

"Thanks Apollo. Who said gods don't make good friends?"

"Probably someone who tried to befriend Ares or Hera. Now, is there any more questions you want me to answer?"

"Tons, but I'll settle for one. What is my father? I mean, I know he is a priest of yours, at least that is what Doria told Xena. But where did his powers come from? At first I thought he was a wizard of some sort, but wizards use spells. If our powers are so similar, he can't be a wizard, so what is he?"

"Gabrielle, there are some questions that only he could answer. So when you finally find out who he is, you will have all the answers you desire. But for now, we need to return to practicing. Lets work on those light beams shall we?"


"Hey Apollo, you sure you don't want any wine? Amazon wine is the best."

"No thanks Xena, once you have had Ambrosia, everything else pales in comparison." Apollo looked at his daughter as she held Eve. The baby was beautiful and He felt a tug in his heart. He walked over and held out his arms. "May I?"

Gabrielle looked over his shoulder towards Xena. The warrior nodded. Gabrielle gentle lowered the babe in the god's arms. As he held her, tears welled up in his eyes and he shivered. Gabrielle noticed the shivering and placed a hand on His shoulder. "Are you okay?"

"Yes, just fine. I'm just remembering the days when I held my da.... child in my arms that’s all."

"I didn't know you had any children."

"I had a son. He was about 5 seasons younger than you. He died about two years ago in a chariot accident. You would had liked him Gabrielle." He thought about his son, the brother Gabrielle never knew she had. Apollo had many regrets when it came to his children and he was determined to make no more mistakes. "She is very beautiful Gabrielle and Xena. Both of you must be proud." It was then that Eve decided to test out her lungs as she let out a howl.

Xena arched her eyebrow. "It looks like Eve needs a diaper change Gabrielle."

"And what does that have to do with me Xena?"

"I feed, you clean, that was the deal."

"I don't remember making no such deal."

Xena smiled. "Remember, you said you would do anything for us. Anything does include changing diapers."

Gabrielle took the babe from Apollo's arms. "Fine. I just want you to remember this when I have a baby, okay?" She took Eve to the nursery to change her diaper.

Xena gazed at Apollo. The warrior was not one to trust the gods, but this one had earned her respect, especially since he can to their aid without asking for anything in return. She did not understand why, but she had an idea. "You must be real close to Gabrielle's father. I've never heard of a god pledging his help to a child of his priests. He must be something special."

"You know the saying, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Gabrielle is a pretty special apple."

"And her father must be a special tree. Especially to earn a pendant made out of diamond." Xena could sense the tension in the air. She decided to continue. "When I first saw the pendant, I assumed it was like other pendants that I've seen on your priests, except that it is heavier and slightly bigger. I thought that the center was made from glass, but then I saw how the light reflected off of it. You know, I’ve never see a diamond cut so smooth before. There is only one being I know that can cut a diamond like that."

"I have to go. Tell Gabrielle that I'll see her early in the morning. Thank you." Apollo quickly disappeared in a ball of light.

Gabrielle walked back to the main room. "Hey where did Apollo go?"

"He said He had something to do, but He will be here bright and early tomorrow morning for your training."

"Oh great. I hate mornings."


Gabrielle was training with Apollo when the sound of hooves was approaching fast. "My Queen, my Queen." The scout didn't wait for the horse to stop before jumping off. "I have a message for you. The border guards were patrolling the area when they found this." She handed the parchment to Gabrielle. Apollo looked over the Queen's shoulder.


The time has come. You must decide-- the baby or your father. Meet us at the high hill that is one candlemark from your border. Come with Xena and the baby. If you don't, the blood spilt will be on your head.

The god looked at the Bard. "What are you going to do Gabrielle?"

"Meet with them of course. As long as she thinks that I'm going to fall for her trick, we'll have them right where we want them, Apollo."

"Gabrielle, they can't hurt no one as long as everyone stays in the village."

"Apollo, many of the Amazons have family and friends who don't live here. If anyone tries to leave this village, they will be killed. If anyone tries to enter this village, they will die. I will not ask my Amazons to make that kind of sacrifice."

"So what are you proposing?"

"Can you and the other gods meet me at the hut? I'll tell you then."


"Okay, everyone have their parts straight?"

Apollo paced in front of the bard. "Gabrielle, I'm not sure it is such a good idea for me to be there."

"Apollo, you are the one I trust the most. I need you by my side. Artemis..." The goddess turned to face her chosen one, "Are you going to wear that mask the whole time? I mean, I know you can't see real well in that thing. I thought the mask was ceremonial."

"Gabrielle, this is my war mask. If they want a war, they got one." Apollo silently thanked his sister. Gabrielle never seen the goddess, but one look and Gabrielle would have been able to guess the truth.

"Fine. Hept and Aphrodite, I want you to stay here with Eve and the village. And Ares...." The God of War appeared by her side. "I also want you to stay behind."

"I don't see why I have to. Why not leave Artemis here? You need me down there. Let Artemis protect the village. I should be by your side, after all," he raised his hand and caressed her cheek, "you are my Chosen One."

Apollo grabbed his sister's arm, preventing her from attacking the God of War. Artemis had to settle with a verbal jab. "Ares, you have never beaten Athena. She has managed to kick you butt every single time. Its time to give someone else a shot, brother."

"Beside Ares, you promised me that you would protect the village and Eve. I’m holding you to your promise. Besides, if this works, I won't need you skills."

Ares smiled. "You know, I love it when you become devious. It is such a big turn on."

This time, Artemis grabbed Apollo's arm to keep him from Ares. Of course, that left Xena free and clear to make her thoughts known. "Ares, I know she's your chosen one. But that doesn't entitle you to anything. If you so much come near her, I'll make sure that your little soldiers won't be able to march, do I make myself clear?"

Ares took two steps away from the bard. "Perfectly clear."


"Look at the happy family." Athena, Hades and Poseidon watched as the four made their way towards them. "Too bad, we have to destroy them."

Hades turned to his niece. "Athena, I have no problem with getting rid of the warrior and her pesky bard. But you are talking about killing Artemis and Apollo."

"They chose to betray us. They chose their destiny. But remember that is the last resort. Hopefully after Gabrielle hears what I have to say, she will change her mind." The three gods eyed their enemies. "I see Xena, but where's the baby?"

"In the village Athena. Do you really think I would allow you to kill her? As I said before, I love Eve as if she was my own. And thanks to the laws of Amazonia, she is."


"So, you rather see your father die?"

"I know you are lying. Apollo has assured me that my father is safe and sound, and will remain so."

"That is not true, Gabrielle. Your father will die. I propose a test. Your father has the power to appear at anytime and anywhere he wants. If your father is safe, he will be able to appear right here, right before your eyes. If he doesn't appear, it will be because he can't, and you will know that Apollo is lying to you."

Apollo stared at his sister. "Athena, stop this now!"

"I will not. She deserves to know the truth! Tell her Apollo. Tell her now!"

Gabrielle turned to Apollo. "Please tell me you haven't been lying to me. I trusted you."

A smirked grew on Athena's face. "Gabrielle, in the future I suggest you be more careful in whom you trust. Go ahead Apollo, tell her the truth."

Apollo walked in front of Gabrielle; facing her as her did so. "Everything I told you about your father is true." He reached up and took down the hood.

A gasp broke free from her lips as she saw the face of Apollo for the first time, His green eyes screaming out the truth. "Your my father!"


Okay, I know that there wasn't much action in this one, but trust me, Part V will more than make up for it! And it won't have a happy ending. Stay tuned for chapter 5 of The Deal. Oh yeah, feed the bard please!

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