THE BETWEEN THE LINES SERIES
(or what happened between the episodes)
For Disclaimers, see "Looking for Trouble"
1.6 -- Until Next Time
(post "The Reckoning")ARES: "Well played, my dear. Your choice was totally wrong, of course, but -- even as an adversary, you are one of a kind."X: "I know my choice was the right one for me."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~X: "You coming back for me really meant a lot after what I didto you."G: "I trust you. I never thought for a moment you meant tohurt me."
- The Reckoning
She is mine.
She may think she's on a better path. She forgets one tiny detail. I am part of her. I'm in her blood. Every breath she takes. Me. Every heartbeat. Me. And when she draws her sword and uses it as only she can -- oh, yes. All me.
In battle, she is poetry in motion. In bed -- okay, so I haven't gotten there yet, but I know she wants me. It's just a matter of time.
I made her, and by the gods if she doesn't come back to me, I will destroy her. I can't believe I let her get away. One minute I was convinced she was going to kill my half-mortal bastard brother, and the next they are -- ugghhh! I can't even think about it, much less talk about it. That he could have that part of her makes my blood boil. If Hercules thought I hated him before, he ain't seen nothing yet.
Everything was going so well. That business with Cortese opened doors I could never have dreamed of. Who knew a teenager from the backwoods of Amphipolis had the potential to be the greatest warrior the world has ever known? And a woman no less! She is my queen. There can be no other for me. She's delicious on so many levels.
And she is great.
From the moment she first raised an army, along with it she raised my hopes like no one has in ages. Caesar was a fool. The places he could have gone with her by his side. Her tactical mind combined with his resources would have won him entire kingdoms in the blink of an eye. She's done so much in so little time, too.
Her slaughter of the northern Amazons -- a thing of beauty. Leaving Thalassa to the flesh-eaters -- cruelty at its best, not to mention what Thalassa went on to accomplish as a result of Xena's torture. Oh, and Ming Tien, now that was pure genius on my part. Her corruption of that little boy made him into yet another great warrior.
And wait until she gets a load of Callisto. That may be her single greatest accomplishment thus far. Yeah, yeah, she came close to conquering Greece, but what she created in Callisto -- wickedly evil. Yet Xena doesn't even know about her. Absolutely beautiful.
Oh, and then there's my father's Norse counterpart, Odin. By the gods, she even corrupted a god. What a sap! Odin had gotten soft, falling in love with one of his Valkyries and gaining a conscience for crying out loud. He was a shameful example of godhood, until Xena got a-hold of him. One round with her and boom! Odin forsook love and found what was left of his thin spine.
I should worship her for what she did to Grinhilda! I wish I could take credit for it. Okay, so I have taken credit for it now and then, but quite honestly, Xena pretty much did that all by her little self. I was busy and didn't keep an eye on her like I should have while she was in Valhalla.
Borias almost ruined her, but I put a stop to that real quick. The last thing I needed was for my greatest protégé to fall in love and have a kid. It wasn't easy orchestrating all of that, but by the time she gave up her son, any thought that she was anything other than a blood-thirsty warrior had been drained out of her like the last drop of water in the desert. The bitterness that followed did my heart good.
She was on track, and then along came my meddling nemesis, Daddy's precious son. I curse the day Alcmene was born. But I digress. Up until Hercules, I'd overcome every roadblock. When she thought to follow Cyane, Alti made her a better offer. When she started to fall for Lao Ma, Borias came in handy. And let's not forget M'Lila. Xena was just a pup of a warrior, but losing her precious M'Lila -- Mmmmm! Gives me good chills just thinking about the warrior that rose from those ashes.
And now look at her. All her do-gooding turns my stomach. It's not right for her. It's time to take her down a notch. I've done it before, and I can do it again. She's proud, and sometimes that has to be nipped in the bud. She fought the centaurs, but she never beat them. And she ran from the Horde. A little defeat every now and then was usually enough to get her re-focused, and deflate that fragile ego of hers.
I just can't believe how badly things have gone. She's so far from the path I set her on, I sometimes barely recognize her. Sure, I get a little thrill each time she fights, but it's not the same. That drive to kill and win and conquer has been buried, for now.
When she left Hercules, I breathed a sigh of relief. It's the one time I was grateful for Herc's little blonde buddy. Xena knew there was no room for three warriors in that mix, and she was right. I was certain the loneliness that followed would drive her back into my fold, but no!
She fell into the depths of despair and was about to off herself. I wanted to intervene, but when she picked up her sword again, I backed off, convinced that once she got a taste of fighting back in her system, it would only be a matter of time before she would cross back over to my side.
I never counted on the irritating little blonde.
The way she fawns over Xena makes me sick. The way they look at each other - uggghh! They may not see it, but it's obvious my sister has been poking her nose in where it doesn't belong. And once sis gets her sculptured nails into something, prying them loose usually takes an intervention from Zeus.
That kid is afraid of her own shadow. She's running away from herself. Don't think I don't see right through her. She's using Xena to escape. Worse, Xena's letting her. I never thought such a mighty warrior could sink so low. From conquering Greece, she's reduced to chasing a trouble-magnet across the countryside.
That kid foiled me at every turn this time. First she found my boot prints and thought she was going to use them as evidence in Xena's defense, but I took care of that. I thought for sure when Xena hit her in a blind rage that the kid would scamper away home, but no! She cried her eyes out, but she went running back again.
The thing is, her going back gave Xena hope, and I did not need that. Without the little blonde, I think Xena might have done things my way. I was so close to getting her back, and she chose to take off with the kid again instead. She could have had the world -- any army she wanted. She could even have had the kid on the side, for that matter. Give up the world to sleep on the ground with a mere scrap of girl across the fire? A girl that won't ever shut up, no less. What's up with that anyway?
"Aphrodite!" Time to cut my sister off at the knees.
"Hello? Ares!" I sneeze as sis appears in that tacky cloud of pink sparkles she always insists on using for her entrance. "Like, I was totally in the middle of a pedicure. This better be important!"
"Leave her alone." I cross my arms over my chest and give her my sternest expression. And she laughs at me. She laughs! That silly little high-pitched girly giggle that makes my skin crawl.
"Her, who?" She's toying with me, and I know it.
"You know who!" I move closer, but after ages of growing up together, I know she's not intimidated by me in the least. Dammit.
"The warrior babe? Oh, please." She brushes me off with a wave of her hand. "Lighten up. Everyone needs a little goddess of loooove in their life. Your home girl Xena is no different."
"Yeah, but she's supposed to have the love with me." I pace about the room, thoughts of where this is headed making my nostrils flair.
"Get out!" She laughs at me again and throws her head back, tossing those blonde curls, mocking me. "If this is all you called me here for, it is so totally time to bail. I have a whole foot still naked, see?" She wiggles her little toes at me, and I can see she has pink polish on only the right set of toenails.
"Aphrodite, I'm warning you." I shake my finger in her face and she giggles.
"Get over yourself and check the 'tude, Ares." She crosses her own arms, smirking at me. "When I see the warrior babe and her little friend together, it makes me tingle all over, in a good way. I think I'm onto something really big with those two."
"She mine!" My voice roars across the room and I hear thunder roll from up the mountain. Dad never did like it when we fight. "Mine," I hiss, inches from her face.
"In your dreams, bro. Later." She pats my cheek and with a shake of her head, she's gone in another sparkling cloud.
I watch her go and snarl in her general direction. The gloves are off now. She may have won this round, but this fight is far from over.
NEXT in the BTL Series - "The Virgin Goddess" (post "The Titans")
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