Xena was at her mother’s packing for a trip to her friend Areala’s wedding, Areala was marrying Prince Jacob of Corinth. Xena wasn’t really looking forward to this trip because Gabrielle wasn’t going to be there, Xena was no good at weddings, and Areala always insisted that Xena wear a dress when around her, Xena despised dresses! Cyrene was out for the moment and Xena was wondering what it was going to be like to see Areala grown up, Areala was a few years younger then Gabrielle and the last time they had met was about 8 years ago. Xena hoped that this Jacob was a nice man, Areala deserved the best, the only problem with Areala as far as Xena could see was her unnatural love of dresses.
Ares was cursing Zeus for his harsh punishments, 6 months as a mortal maybe a year, well at least Zeus had left him with all his powers except to be invisible, throw lighting bolts, throw fireballs, and he couldn’t use the aether! When he remembered that Xena was visiting her mother in Amphipolis and the annoying little bard was in the Amazon village, good he was near Amphipolis maybe Xena would let him travel with her until his punishment was over.
Gabrielle was mopping in the Amazon village when she heard two familiar male voices “Hercules, Iolaus!” Gabrielle exclaimed.
The two men saw her and said “Gabrielle, hello!”
Hercules stood there as Iolaus ran toward Gabrielle and said “Gods, look at you! What are you doing here?”
Gabrielle smiled and said “I’m the Amazon princess, remember? Hercules, Iolaus how are you? Hercules I know who your looking for, and no Xena’s not here, she’s in Amphipolis staying with her mother.”
Hercules smiled, relieved, and said “So queen Gabrielle, you look really bored just sitting here, would you like to meet some more royalty? We are going to Corinth.”
Gabrielle’s face lit up as she said “I’m not royalty, but I would just love to come with you two, if you don’t mind?”
Iolaus said “Mind, why would we mind? Herc just has some business to take care of here. Let’s leave tomorrow morning!”
“Oh...YOU GO AWAY, YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS HERE!” Cyrene quickly recovered from her shock at bumping into the God of War, she wasn’t going to let him anywhere near her daughter!
“Mom, what’s going on,” Xena said just seconds before coming outside upon seeing Ares she added “Ares, what do you want?”
Ares a bit happier with the results of trying to talk with Xena said “Xena, I’m not here to fight, I’d actually like to talk to you for a moment, please.”
Cyrene said “No, now go away and leave my daughter alone!”
Xena sensed that something was wrong so she said “Mom it’s okay, I can handle the mighty ‘god of war’, c’mon Ares I haven’t got all day, follow me.”
Much to Cyrene’s surprise Ares did as he was told and followed Xena. When they were out of earshot Xena said “Okay Ares what’s up?”
Ares stated “I’m mortal.”
Xena rolled her eyes “So someone stole your sword and you need my help, right?”
Ares explained “No, it’s not that easy Zeus decided it’s time that I stopped trying to kill Hercules, and made me mortal for six months, maybe a year.”
Xena looked a bit confused, so she said “What does this have to do with me?”
Ares smiled and said “You’re the only person that I trust won’t try to kill me now that I’m mortal, so I thought maybe if you don’t mind I could travel with you?”
Xena said “Ares whatever makes you think that I won’t try to kill you?” then as what he had just said sunk in she added “Oh never mind, fine you can travel with me, I’m going to my friends wedding and could use some company, though I’d hardly call you that, but just to make sure come here.”
Ares reluctantly did as he was told and walked over to Xena, she unhooked her Chakram and gently pressed it into his hand, a small drop of blood came out, “Alright,” Xena said “I’m convinced.”
Xena was not thrilled about having Ares traveling with her to say the least, but she put up with it and said “You probably won’t like Areala, she’s short, annoying, very good at getting all the information, and she loves to gossip!”
Ares asked “Then you are saying that you like that?”
Xena scowled at him then said “She’s nice, and very sheltered against war and things like that. Her main problem is that she always makes me wear dresses!!”
Ares tried not to......but couldn’t help it and burst out laughing, Xena fixed him with a stare and said “If you say ONE word!!!”
Ares didn’t say one word for a small fear that Xena would chop his head off if he did.
Gabrielle, Hercules, and Iolaus left the next day, Gabrielle was really excited, she said “How long have you two traveled together? This is the first time that me and Xena have taken separate vacations!”
Iolaus said “I know how you feel, I used to hate it when Herc here would try to leave me so that I’d ‘be safer’ when he really thought that he had to look out for me and wasn’t up to it! We’ve been traveling together for 4 years now.”
Gabrielle said “I know Xena’s always like ‘This is going to be dangerous, stay here it’ll be so much safer’ when I know she’s thinking that she doesn’t think I can handle it and doesn’t want to watch out for me!”
Iolaus said “I know Herc does the same thing!”
Hercules pointed out “You know sometimes we’re right…”
Xena and Ares reached the gates of Corinth the next day, the guard asked “Who are you, and why are you here?”
Xena said coolly “I am Xena, and this is Ares. I have been invited to the prince’s wedding, I am a good friend of the bride and I’m sure she won’t mind that I brought a.....friend”
Xena handed the guard her invitation, he seemed satisfied and let them though. When they were on they’re way to the castle Ares said “I never knew that you thought of me as a friend, you usually give the impression that you hate me…”
Xena gave him a warning look, and Ares put his hands up in a calming gesture.
Xena and Ares walked into the castle where they were greeted by Areala’s father Pentumos, who said. “Xena, how nice to see you! Who is your friend?”
Xena said “Nice to see you to. This is Ares, and we’re only acquaintances I hope you don’t mind him staying here?”
Pentumos said “Whatever you say Xena, nice to meet you Ares.”
Xena asked “Where is Areala?”
Pentumos said “Just upstairs, she was afraid that you wouldn’t come!”
Xena said “Ares I’m sure someone can show you to your room, don’t do anything that you’ll regret.”
Xena left to find Areala muttering something about how she should never have done this, the minute she was gone Ares whispered to Pentumos “She’s lying to herself you know…”
Then followed a servant to his room, leaving a smiling Pentumos muttering “It’s about time Xena settled down.”
Ares smiled as he left, Xena was going to kill him, but he couldn’t wait to see the look on her face.
Xena saw a servant scuttle past and grabbing her by the arm asked “Excuse me, could you tell me where I can find Areala?”
The woman said “She’s in her room getting fixed up by some ladies, it’s the next door to your right.”
Xena thanked the woman and let her on her way. Xena decided to surprise Areala so when she saw the room’s doors opened to the inside she said “Anyone home?”
And with that she kicked open the doors startling six ladies who were doing Areala’s makeup and such, Areala didn’t recognize Xena and asked cautiously “Who is it?”
Xena laughed “Why my dear Areala, don’t you recognize your old friend Xena?”
At hearing who it was Areala struggled though the ladies that were doing her makeup and hair and gave Xena a huge hug saying “Xena, wow you look so different! I suppose I look more different though I mean I was a little kid when you last saw me, oh do come sit down and get out of that ridiculous outfit!”
Areala stepped back and Xena was about to follow when Ares snuck up behind her, put his arms around her waist, picked Xena up and spun her around, Areala was laughing and Xena was a bit dazed she managed to say “Put me down, now!”
Ares obediently set Xena down and being careful to make sure she didn’t fall said “Of course, anything you say my dear..”
Xena hearing Ares’s voice spun around and said “YOU! I told you not to do anything you’d regret!!!!!”
Areala was in hysterics by now as Ares calmly smiled, put his hands up, took a step back and said “My dear Xena, This is entirely your own fault, if you hadn’t let me sneak up on you I would not have been able to do that.”
Xena took her sword out of it’s sheath but Areala jumped in “Xena no! No weapons are allowed, I don’t know how you got that in here but give your sword to the guard. You never told me that you had a boyfriend, what’s his name?”
Xena turned 5 different shades of red weather from anger or embarrassment no one knew, Ares immediately started laughing, finally Xena managed through clenched teeth to say “This is Ares, and he’s not my boyfriend, we’re just acquaintances…”
Ares stopped laughing long enough to say “Xena is always kidding herself like that.”
Xena had had enough she unhooked her Chakram which the Guard hadn’t noticed and let it fly in Ares’ general direction Ares yelped and ducked just in time to avoid being hit but he still grabbed it, Xena lunged for him and said “Ares!! Give that back!!!”
Ares shook his head, so Xena when she reached him did her ‘pinch’ and said “I said GIVE my Chakram BACK, now you know the drill 30 seconds you die, Hand it over!”
Ares immediately handed over her Chakram and Xena undid the ‘pinch’ Areala gasped, her lady’s had left already and she couldn’t believe what Xena had just done, Areala said “Xena, how mean, why did you do that? I guess the guard’s won’t be taking those two weapons, but that was just not nice!”
Ares said “I thought you hadn’t seen this girl for 8 years Xena, why does she think you are capable of being nice, you were still serving me then… Is there something that I missed?”
Xena explained “Remember when I took that 4 month retreat after.....well remember when I took that 4 month retreat? I met Areala then, after having a taste of being nice I got madder remember, all those pint up emotions…”
Ares nodded and Areala said “Xena? what did Ares mean ‘you were still serving me then’ and what did you mean ‘a taste of being nice’?”
Xena looked guilty and said “I’m tired, I bet Ares is to, I’ll talk to you tomorrow Areala..”
Xena grabbed Ares painfully by the arm and dragged him out.
Ares and Xena’s room were next to each other and Xena’s room was across from Areala’s room, Xena said “Ares the wedding is in a week, so I’ll probably help Areala tomorrow, you can do whatever you want, after the wedding nothing is planned so we can basically roam around or just sit…”
Ares said “Alright, do you want me to wait for you before going to lunch?”
Xena said “Oh, alright I’ll meet you in my room tomorrow at 4. Good night Ares.”
Ares said “Promise?”
Xena said “Promise”
Ares said “Good night Xena”
And they each walked into their room’s.
Xena looked into the closet in her room and found a light yellow nightgown, it had a tight bodice and a loose flowing skirt. Xena put the nightgown on and slipped into the bed, there were at least 12 pillows, Xena picked one to lie on and fell asleep at once.
Ares walked into his room, he wasn’t used to being mortal and having to sleep, so Ares walked around the whole room looking out the windows and into closets and chests, having searched the room from top to bottom Ares simply lay down and fell asleep.
When Xena woke up she momentarily let her guard down, A voice said “Good morning Xena, or should I say afternoon..”
Xena looked up, Ares was there, Xena said “What are you doing here.....Oh gods did you say afternoon? I was planning to help Areala! Go, I have to get dressed and see what I can still do!”
Ares moved off the bed and said “You promised that you would have lunch with me, I suspect Areala can wait, don’t give me that look, I made sure that she will wait for you she was actually happy about having a day without all those people swarming around her, or at least that’s what her father told me.”
Xena said “How long have you been here?”
Ares replied “Oh not long, it’s about 5, I came at 4.”
Xena didn’t look really thrilled but she only motioned for him to leave. When Ares was gone Xena went to the closet to look for her outfit, Areala wasn’t going to see her today so she didn’t have to wear a dress, When Xena was ready she left to find Ares and decide where they were going to eat.
Xena actually laughed with Ares, she tried to fight it but it was just soooooooo funny! Xena said through laughs “Zeus doesn’t like me, Now why is that?”
Ares leaned over and whispered to Xena “Because you are a strong independent woman, and Zeus has always made a point of saying that women can never be that.”
Xena was laughing again, but she did say “I’m not sure if I should be insulted for all women, happy that I’ve been singled out, or mad that I’ve been singled out! But I do know that you have a veeeery strange family.”
Ares joked “Now I think I should be insulted! You find my family’s problems funny?”
Xena was still trying to recover and said only “Yes!”
Ares sighed, this was like heaven! Well he wasn’t going to let an insult like that pass, Ares lunged and knocked Xena off her chair, Xena pushed him off stopped laughing and said “You want to fight?”
Ares said “Xena you insulted my family!”
Xena asked “Don’t you think that your family is insane most of the time?”
Ares replied “That has nothing to do with it!”
Xena put a hand over her mouth to keep from laughing again and said “Alright if that’s how you feel, then I’m sorry, now leave me alone I have to go see Areala. I bet people can hear us from inside the castle!”
Ares only shook his head and got out of Xena’s way, Xena walked into the castle and headed straight to her room.
Gabrielle was thrilled, they were almost at Corinth, She was looking forward to meeting King Fosteris and Prince Jacob, Hercules said that they were really nice. Gabrielle trusted Hercules with her life he had never given her any reason to doubt him in the fact that he would always be good, and Iolaus was so nice to Gabrielle that she almost thought of him as an older brother. Just as they were taking a break for lunch Cupid appeared and said “Hello uncle, granddad has decided that I don’t spend enough time learning about earth and wants me to travel with you, nice to see you Iolaus, Gabrielle!”
Hercules said “Cupid, nice to see you too, and I suppose you can travel with us. We are going to Corinth to see King Fosteris and Prince Jacob, and no I don’t want you to take us there Zeus wanted you to get a taste of life on earth not in a palace.”
Cupid nodded, and Gabrielle was thrilled as she thought to herself “Oh Cupid is soooooooo dreamy.”
Xena got to her room quickly, she changed into a Black dress, it had a high waist and low neck, with this she put on diamond earrings and necklace, and thought “What a selection of dresses and jewelry, Areala is really trying to make a point”
Xena brushed her hair again, and noted that every dress came in three colors, Red, Black and one other color. When Xena was done she heeded to Areala’s bedroom to talk.
Cupid was sure that this was love, Gabrielle was gorgeous and his mom had already said ‘that Amazon, Gabs isn’t it? would be a great member of the family she has the best hair’ Cupid smiled at the memory, Gabrielle was doing everything in her power to do everything with him! This would be perfect, if only Uncle Herc would stop giving him that warning look that said ‘stay away from her, I don’t want her to have a broken heart, or you’ all at once his mom showed up and said “Cupie I want you to come with me, major opportunity with Them and I need help for a calling spell!”
Cupid said “Sure mom, you didn’t do anything to Gabrielle did you, or me?”
‘Dite looked at him weird then said “No, oh is my Cupie in love? I know that dreamy look when I see it, you’ll have to tell mommy all about it, I’m so happy that you are finally over that whole bummer divorce leaving with Psyche thing, she was so mean about it. Now lets go!”
Cupid said “Uncle Herc? Major emergency, mom wants my help I’ll be right back.”
Areala was sitting in her bedroom thinking “I wonder why Xena has never gotten married? Oh well I love being a matchmaker and Xena and that guy......what was it.....Oh Ares, Xena and Ares will make the perfect couple!” All at once two figures shimmered into view, Areala gasped gods it had to be gods, this was really a spectacular day! Aphrodite said “Good luck honey, you want to get Xena and Ares together, that’s real sweat!”
Cupid said “Yeah, me and mom have been trying to get those two together for.....how long mom? It doesn’t matter, the point is they have been so close, but no, I have never heard of people that have such strong wills!”
Dite said “Oh Cupie I told you once that I never thought that we would even have a chance if true love came Ares’ way, and I think it’s time to bring in some mortal reinforcements. Areala isn’t it? Look babe, me and Cupie here have been trying to get those two together for ages, if you want to try be my guest, all I have to tell you is don’t let them know what your trying to do, this really special that Ares is mortal and Xena is willing to let him hang around and I don’t want you to screw it up, If either of them think that you are trying to set them up they will freak! Anyway when you think that they might be willing to let this work say ‘one and one two to be, Dite come and help me’ got that? And before I forget I’ll do that blessing thing for you with true happiness with Jacob for helping me!”
Areala spoke for the first time since the gods had appeared and said “Of course, anything that you want I am honored that you would ask this of me!”
‘Dite’ smiled and her and ‘Cupie’ left Areala with her thoughts and plans.
Xena a knocked at Areala’s door, she had made her big entrance once and wasn’t in the mood to do it again, she was so confused about Ares, he had been so nice and open with her about almost everything, and they hadn’t talked about war once. Areala said “Come in!”
And Xena pushed open the door, her head pounded and she new that she was going to get a headache soon, well she came to talk to Areala and that was what she was going to do, Xena said “Areala?”
Areala jumped up and said “You owe me an explanation Xena, you said last night that you were going to tell me today and that’s what you are going to do!”
Xena smiled and said “You sure have changed, I don’t remember knowing such a bossy girl. Yes I do owe you an explanation, first I want to make something clear, Ares is Ares God of War, I really have no idea why more people can’t recognize him I never forgot how he looked or his voice after I first met him.”
Areala looked a little shy as she said “Xena, most people have never met any gods, we pray and all that but most of them never give us much heed, you must have been a very devoted priestess to see any god!”
Xena felt a little shocked, but of course nobody could see that on her face, she said “I didn’t know that, and I wasn’t a priestess, I was a warlord I never thought I was anyone special just a girl that had a really short, bad temper, and a lot of bad things happened to, I never prayed to Ares or any other god for that matter and I still don’t, I have no use for gods, now let me see I was about 15 when a warlord named Cortese attacked my village, me and some other kids struck back and won, I guess, my younger brother Lycues was killed in that battle and when I got home my mother was a mix of horrified that her baby boy had died and mad at me for fighting, I never did take anyone being mad at me very well so I left, I wasn’t a very nice person after that and like I said I have a veeeeeeeeeeeeeery short and bad temper, I don’t want to scare you so I’ll just say that for a long time after that I did things that would make you sick for days on end when I had the whim, I guess my ruthlessness is what attracted Ares. All I can say is that I never killed women and children, but I did kill a lot of other people or ordered them killed..”
Areala was a bit shocked she had spent her time after meeting Xena trying to be just like the good, kind, healer and now she had just found out that that person had just been an act, well Xena was obviously still a healer it was a gift that no one ever lost and sure she was good now, but she hadn’t been then! Areala said “I understand a bit now, and I forgive you at least you never killed women and children.......do you have anything that you want to talk about, anything at all? I promise I won’t judge you and I’ll listen even if I don’t fully understand..”
Xena smiled and said “Sure, I would love to talk to someone, I’ve talked to my friend Gabrielle before, but she is just so unbelieving and she always wants to make me tell her about things that hurt, or I am trying to forget. I want to tell you a secret, you can’t tell anyone okay? I have a son, his name is Solan and he is 10.”
Areala looked absolutely thrilled as she said “How nice, I have always loooooved children, where is he?”
Xena said only “He is in a safe place, I don’t want any of my enemies going after him. Have you ever been outside of the castle here and your hometown?”
Areala now looked guilty as she said “Uh....no.”
Xena chuckled then said “You know everybody finds my smile scary, but I suppose that’s because most times that they see it I’m in the middle of fighting them, what do you think is my smile scary?”
Areala said “No, but if I was fighting someone I would be pretty scared if they smiled, I mean most people don’t smile in a fight, do they?”
Xena said “No one that I’ve seen, except Ares, he’s as bad as me, we both smile and sometimes chuckle when we are fighting someone that we know has no chance, though I don’t kill people when I beat them anymore, unless I have to.”
Areala said “That seems fair to me, although I’ve never been a fight, and I’ve certainly never killed someone, so I have no idea what is fair and not.”
Xena said “Sorry. You know even after all that he’s done that’s what I miss most about Ares, I could always talk to him about a fight and he would laugh at how silly the particular person was for trying to fight me, or him, and when I wanted to fight someone that would actually be a challenge Ares was the one, we fought almost like equals, though I’m sure that if he wanted he could kill me fairly easily.”
Areala said “It’s always nice to talk to someone who understands you, I think you like Ares, you two look really cute together and he seems to be able to talk to you and get you to laugh from what I heard today, you really must tell me what he said.”
Xena shook her head a little sadly and said “No, it would never work, and you don’t know Ares, pray you never do, he has a blood lust like only the god of war could have. He was telling me about his insane family, you have gotta hear this, you think that Aphrodite is an Idiot now, you should have seen her then, apparently she had to have everything that everybody else had, Ares said that once she tried to name his horse sparkles.............”
They talked about the totally crazy Olympian gods for awhile then Xena left to take a bath and try to do something about the headache that was still threatening.
Cupid got back to see everybody had just finished lunch and were packing up, Gabrielle came running up to him and said “Cupid hi, What did Aphrodite want?”
Cupid said “Oh nothing just help with a calling spell, mom can never get it right probably because you have to mix it up then spread it on a piece of paper, Mom is not good at doing anything without her powers.”
Gabrielle giggled and said “Hey that’s funny, know anything funny about Ares?”
Cupid said “I really shouldn’t, Zeus would kill me, but I will say that When Ares was a baby he used to have a stuffed bear named snuggles, and you think........nope that’s all I can say..”
Gabrielle laughed herself into a fit then calmed down and said “Snuggles! I would never have guessed, why are you afraid of Ares, Cupid?”
Cupid said “I think you spend to much time with Xena, she’s the only person that isn’t scared of Ares, actually I think she has him tied around her little finger!”
Gabrielle said “If she did then Xena could get him to leave her alone! So are you telling me that Ares is really powerful?”
Cupid said “You sure have a lot of questions, Zeus, Hades, and Hera are the most powerful, but of all my uncles, aunts, and my mom, Ares is the most powerful”
Gabrielle looked a bit scared and said “Oh that’s not good, Ares really doesn’t like me, I think that he would kill me if Xena didn’t care about me as a friend so much!”
Cupid nodded and they talked for the rest of the day, while ahead of them Hercules and Iolaus were wondering what had gotten into Gabrielle and Cupid.
Xena went straight to bed, she wasn’t sure what to think “Ares acting so nice, it has to be a trick. But he has always been nice to me. So? What are you going to do about it then? I really better get my act together, this is Ares I mean I don’t want to look like a fool. Maybe if I just give him a chance, the party is tomorrow after that it’s get ready for the wedding with Areala, then there’s nothing planned, maybe me and Ares could do some stuff then. What?? I mean really planning to stay so long, what about Gabrielle? I think that she’ll be okay.”
Xena wondered why she could never be completely sure about things, “Oh well it must be that I’m a warrior, all those instincts, I better sleep on this!”
Xena went into the closet, found the dress she had worn the night before in black, and put it on.
The next morning Hercules, Iolaus, Cupid, and Gabrielle got to Corinth, the castle guard asked “What are you doing here and who are you?”
Hercules said “I am Hercules, these are my Friends Gabrielle queen of the Amazons, Iolaus, and my Nephew Cupid. We are here to visit the king.”
The Guard looked a bit mad at himself and said “Of course, I have to say that to everyone you know.”
Hercules nodded and they went into the castle.
Areala yelled “Xena come on! We are going to be late for the party!!”
Xena ran down the stairs to Areala, and said “How do I look, Oh! Areala you look like, well you look like a fairy tale princess!”
Xena smiled and Areala blushed, Xena had on a red long sleeved dress that was tight to the knees then spread out like a skirt and at the wrist the sleeves became loose, Her hair was lose except for a small piece that was braided to the side, Areala was wearing a Brown dress that looked great with her red hair, with a tight bodice and lose skirt, it was winter so she was wearing long sleeves, and lots of decorative designs on the front for fun, her hair was up in a bun with a few pieces let to hang where they would. Areala said “You look as good as I do!”
And her and Xena started laughing, just then Xena sensed that they were being watched and said “Come out, I know your there!”
Ares and Jacob peaked out from behind a curtain, Ares said “You never disappoint me Xena, but for once couldn’t you be surprised?”
Jacob said “I don’t know how you knew we were there but I really think that wasn’t fair, all we were going to do was sneak up on you two!”
Xena said only “I have many skills. For future reference sneaking up on anybody while I’m in the room is a bad idea.”
Ares said “It wasn’t my Idea! I will admit I wanted to see how you’d react seeing as you didn’t know I was there last time I snuck up on you!”
Xena gave Ares a scowl then said to Jacob “I see you’ve met Ares already, but I haven’t met you yet Jacob so I suppose you don't recognize me or else you would never have tried this, It is nice to meet you Prince Jacob of Corinth, I am Xena, I trust the name rings a bell?”
Jacob gasped, and said “Xena? Oh I’m sooooo sorry I should never have thought to sneak up on you it was all my fault!”
Xena said “It’s okay I’m sure you didn’t mean any harm, and don’t take the blame off Ares I’m sure he assured you it was all right, and besides he can take care of himself.”
Ares said “Excuse me Xena but I like the reaction you got from the boy, If everybody treated you like this you could still be good and rule the world!”
Xena said “You just had to go into that didn’t you, we were having such a nice time, I don’t feel like going to a party now, this is all your fault Ares! I’m sorry Areala!”
Xena looked fairly hurt, Ares looked sorry and said “Xena I’m sorry, I was joking, Xena!”
Xena had fled up the stairs, Ares headed after her saying “Sorry!” under his breath.
Xena went to her room,“What an Idiot I’ve been, I can’t believe that I actually thought that he wouldn’t say anything! I must be losing it, but that was not fair!”
“Xena, I’m sorry!” Ares had come to the other side of the door,
Xena forced a smile and said “What for? I thought I had gotten rid of you!”
Ares was reduced to begging and said “Look Xena, be mad at me if you want, but don’t hide up here, go to the party, please.”
Xena relaxed he was so cute when he was worried, she said “Come in if you want to talk to me, I’ll come down to the party in a minute, you can never ever tell anybody this but It was sort of funny!”
Ares came in sat down in a chair and said “You think me chasing you up here is funny? I know what’s wrong with you, you need a fight!”
Xena said “You got it in one Ares, I need a fight, but not now Areala is waiting for us.”
Ares smiled and said “Us? Are you saying that there is an us?”
Xena through a pillow at Ares and said “I mean us and in Areala is waiting for you and she is waiting for me, and stop smiling!”
Hercules and Iolaus walked into the castle, Iolaus said “C’mon Gabrielle, Cupid we’re here!”
Gabrielle walked up with Cupid just in time to see a girl and boy tackle Hercules and Iolaus, Gabrielle said “Is there somebody here I should meet?”
Hercules said “This is Areala and her fiancee Prince Jacob, Areala, Jacob this is Gabrielle, and Cupid.”
Areala said “Gabrielle, do you know Xena?”
Iolaus said “She’s her best friend, why?”
Jacob said “Xena is here…”
Gabrielle looked ready to burst as she said “Xena is here, XENA IS HERE???”
Areala nodded, and Gabrielle was about to ask where when Xena said “Is this a private party or can anyone join in?”
Then Xena saw who was there, Hercules, Iolaus, Gabrielle, and Cupid, Xena thought “Hercules, Iolaus, great and here I am with Ares! I should have worn a more movable dress, oh well here goes” she said “Hercules, Iolaus, Gabrielle, nice to see you, Cupid what are you doing here? I’m here for Areala’s wedding… you’ll just love Areala Gabrielle. Umm Hercules I want you to promise me to be nice!”
Hercules said “Of course, why?”
Ares stepped out from the shadows and said “Hi brother, nephew.”
Hercules screamed “WHAT...”
Gabrielle finished “IS HE DOING HERE????”
Xena looked a little annoyed as she said “Ares is visiting me, do any of you have a problem with that?”
Gabrielle said “You have got to be kidding!”
Hercules said “This is not a good joke.”
Iolaus said “Umm, I don’t want to fight…”
Cupid said “Hi Uncle....you didn’t tell me that you were going to be here!”
Areala said “Is there something that I should know here?”
And Jacob said “There is not going to be a fight in the palace!”
Xena said “Oh don’t worry, there isn’t going to be any fight, everyone, this is Areala’s wedding week, can we please get along for a little while and talk later?”
Ares just stood there smiling at the confused looks on Hercules Gabrielle and Iolaus’ faces until Xena whispered “You are NOT helping!”
Ares then stopped smiling but didn’t move to say anything. Areala said “Gabrielle, I have some dresses for you to wear, I just can’t stand it when women don’t wear dresses, come with me. Jacob tell everybody that we will be a few minutes.”
As Areala led Gabrielle past Xena, Gabrielle said “Come with me!”
Xena said “I can’t, I don’t trust Ares or Hercules not to have a fight.”
Ares said “I am going to think of that as a compliment, hello bard--Gabrielle…”
Xena smiled a bit of an approving smile and then looked down to Hercules, Iolaus and Cupid. Cupid ever the wuss when his uncles were concerned said “I think I’ll go help mom for a little while, I’ll be back soon!”
Xena nodded and grabbed Ares by the arm pulling him after her as she went down the stairs, when she reached the bottom she said “Now Iolaus, you said you don’t want to fight, good. Hercules, Ares, you both promised me that you wouldn’t fight, so we are going to have a nice time at the party for Areala’s sake, after that we can work this out, but I warn you I will not stand for any fighting so if any of you do I will hit you with my Chakram, have I made my self clear? No talking!”
There was no way that Gabrielle was going to wear a dress, but Areala was determined that she would if it was the last thing she did, and it very will might have if Xena hadn’t dragged Ares and Hercules to the room to try to help sort things out, Xena said “Gabrielle I’m wearing a dress, and you know how I feel about them so please do this for me!”
Gabrielle said “If you did then I suppose I can to…”
Xena smiled and said “Good, Ares, Hercules let’s go so Gabrielle can change and we all can go to the party before I get a headache and can’t come, and I DON’T WANT TO HEAR A WORD FROM ANY OF YOU!”
Xena took Ares and Hercules and left, Gabrielle let Areala fix her dress and do her hair until she looked like royalty.
Once out of Areala’s room Xena said “I HAVE A VERY BIG HEADACHE, AND I DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO STOP YOU TWO FROM BICKERING SO ONE MEAN WORD, JUST ONE AND I SWEAR YOU WON’T KNOW WHAT HIT YOU! JUST GIVE ME AN EXCUSE AND I WILL KILL YOU, THERE HAVE BEEN NO GOOD EXCUSES TO KILL ANYBODY FOR A COUPLE OF MONTHS AND ALL I NEED IS A REASON! SO ARE WE GOING TO CUT THE BROTHERLY LOVE AND ACTUALLY BE NICE OR DO I GET TO KILL BOTH OF YOU?”
Ares and Hercules hugged and said how sorry they were for all the bad things they had done to each other then Ares said “Xena you would be surprised at the change you can create in a man or god!”
Hercules nodded and Xena said “Good, now Ares you can take me to the party, Hercules you can go explain everything to Iolaus and then drag him to the party, who knows maybe you will meet someone.”
Ares said “Just a minute I want to say something to Hercules…”
Xena smiled and walked away, Ares said “I think maybe I should never have gone near Xena, she’s to dangerous for me!”
Hercules said “You see brother, now have fun!”
Hercules muffled a laugh, poor Ares having to stay around Xena in her current mood!
Xena said “Ares you scare Cupid, you should be nicer to him, I think Cupid and Gabrielle like each other.”
Ares said “It’s not my fault that Cupid is a scared little God-ling! You mean like us?”
Xena sighed and said “Oh gods, I hope if they ever have a relationship that it is nothing like ours!”
Ares said “So you are finally admitting that we have a relationship?”
Xena looked Ares in the eyes and said “You see this is what I mean, look I’m still not felling well, I will argue this over with you tomorrow, ok?”
Ares stopped smiling and said “Sorry, you are so grouchy when you don’t feel well!”
Xena scowled at him but didn’t say anything just to prove her point.
By the time Hercules and Iolaus got to the party everybody else was already there, Xena looked like she had been steadily sipping the wine and was talking to Areala. Ares looked like him and Xena had already gotten into a few fights and was scowling at everybody. Gabrielle looked like she was going to be sick and was stumbling all over the place, and prince Jacob was not looking very well and was flirting with all the ladies. Jacob walked over to Xena’s table and sat down, Xena who had stopped talking to Areala and was sitting down again said “What a choice! This seat is being saved, thank you for leaving!”
Jacob said “Now you don’t really want me to leave do you?”
Ares walked over having spotted someone sitting with Xena, and said “Did you want something, or are you leaving?”
Xena said “I can take care of this myself, thank you, Ares.”
Hercules having seen the groom come and sit next to Xena walked over and said “Is there a problem?”
Xena flashed an evil smile in the direction of Hercules and Ares and said “No, thank you Hercules, everything is fine, now would the two of you please leave?”
They nodded and left, though Ares kept fairly close. Jacob said “So uh you want to dance pretty lady?”
Xena’s eyes flashed and before anyone knew what was happening Xena had flipped Jacob over and onto his back, she said “Let me make this perfectly clear, N.O. in other words no.”
Xena put her foot on Jacobs neck and started pressing down, Ares moved a touch closer, he loved to see Xena mad! Areala came running over and screamed “Xena! Stop it, Stop it RIGHT NOW, let Jacob go!”
Xena removed her foot from Jacobs throat, bent down and said “You are drunk, I highly suggest that you never have another drink as long as you live, otherwise I’ll come back and finish the job!”
Ares clapped and said “Marvelously done my dear, by the way how heavy people can you throw?”
Xena smiled and said “Thank you Ares, how sweet! Oh and I can easily throw you if that’s what you’re asking...”
Ares sighed but said nothing. Servants came out and drug Prince Jacob to his room. Xena stretched and yawned, she had had no idea that this was supposed to be an all night party! Ares and Hercules had given up on trying to avoid each other and were sitting at a table talking, Gabrielle looked at Xena from where she was sitting with Cupid and walked over, Xena said “Don’t tell me....you and Cupid actually get along?”
Gabrielle smiled and said “And what’s wrong with that? I happen to think that Cupid is very handsome!”
Areala asked “Are not all gods handsome? Maybe the people here should be planning two more weddings?”
Gabrielle blushed, Xena rolled her eyes and said “Please! Are you trying to make me sick? Gabrielle you liking Cupid is just one more sign that we are opposites!”
Areala giggled and Gabrielle said “I think that we are only opposites in some things, and that that’s why we are best friends!”
Xena gave Areala a half smile and said “Can you believe her? I leave for a couple of weeks and Gabrielle here falls in love with a god! So tell me, what do we have in common?”
Gabrielle said “We... uh.... we both love adventure!”
Xena said “Nope, I could care less for the adventure.”
Gabrielle said “Okay, we both...are mothers, and you can’t say that we are different on that!”
Xena’s smile disappeared leaving an uncaring look in her eyes, Xena said “You're right we're both mothers, and we do have a fair amount of things in common. I believe that Cupid is waiting for you, I have a headache again and am going to bed, good night Gabrielle, good night Areala.”
Xena then made a rather hasty exit to her room, Ares seeing her leave so quickly left too.
Ares watched Xena go into her room, waited a few minutes then knocked, Xena said from inside her room “Go away!”
Ares said “Xena, can I come in?”
Xena opened the door, she almost looked like she had been crying. Xena said “What is it? I was planning to go to bed, so say what you came to say and go.”
Ares walked in and said “I want to know what is wrong.”
Xena said “Nothing is wrong, goodbye.”
Ares caught her hands and said “Tell me that face, to face.”
Xena sighed and said “It’s nothing, Gabrielle just hit an old buried nerve, don’t worry about it. Now, let me GO!”
Ares let Xena go, then left. Xena looked through the closet until she found the nightgown in blue, put it on and went to sleep.
Gabrielle decided that she should find out what she had said that made Xena leave, so she asked “Areala, do you know if I said something to upset Xena?”
Areala said “I really don’t know Xena very well, so I couldn’t say, she stayed with me and my family for four months. We would talk and Xena gave me advice, but whenever her past came up the subject was changed. I did find out though that she was in a relationship, and was taking a break from whatever her job was. What about you? I’m sure we can figure out a lot more if we combined knowledge!”
Gabrielle said “I didn’t know that Xena was in a relationship then, but I know that she was still a warlord. Let’s see eight years ago, I really don’t know much about then, except you must have had a very secluded village if nobody knew of her!”
Areala said “Yes, nobody knew of the village that didn’t live in it, so I’m not really sure how Xena found us. I know that Xena was on some type of vacation, she didn’t do much...I mean Xena did lot’s of things...it just seemed to me that she was capable of doing so much more. Xena stayed in the village the whole time, and the only thing that she ever did that suggested to me that Xena was a warrior, was when a messenger came right before she left, he was very nice, then he saw Xena and got a scared look of his face, Xena took a sword and some other weapon with her when she went to meet him. After that Xena started packing and left a few days later.”
Gabrielle’s interest was peaked, so she asked “What did the messenger look like? Was the other weapon round?”
Areala said “Yes the weapon was round, why? The messenger looked like he was from some type of army, his horse was pitch black with red brown eyes, and didn’t seem to know the rider very well.”
Gabrielle said “The weapon is called a Chakram, Xena still has it, I really didn’t think that Xena had had it that long. That’s strange I’ve never seen a horse like that, we should ask Xena!”
Areala asked “Won’t she mind?”
Gabrielle responded “I can get Xena to talk about anything and I have a feeling that you are good at that too, so let’s ask her in the morning. I’m going to bed, good night!”
Gabrielle then got up and left, a little while Areala went to bed to, everybody else was already asleep.
Xena sat up in her bed and said to herself “Who could be up now, it’s to early for Areala, or Gabrielle.”
Xena got out of bed, brushed her hair quickly and called “Who is it?”
From the other side of the door Gabrielle answered “It’s me, and Areala. Xena, will you please let us in?”
Xena was fine with letting Gabrielle and Areala in, she opened the door and after Areala and Gabrielle had come in asked “What do you want? We all had a late night, I thought you wouldn’t be up for hours yet.”
Gabrielle got a bit sidetracked and said “Xena, you look great in blue, you should wear it more often! Areala and I were wondering if you are in the mood to answer some questions?”
Xena looked her friends over, they were in nightgowns too and looked like they were still asleep. Xena said “Alright, what do you want to know? Sit down, it’s still early so let’s make it quick.”
Areala asked “Xena, remember when you came to my village?”
Xena answered cautiously “Yes…”
Areala said “Well I’ve always wondered some things. How did you find my village? I didn’t think anybody outside of it knew where we were.”
Xena stated “I have many skills.”
Gabrielle threatened “XENA! You better answer the question, or I’ll think up twice as many question as we had before!”
Xena leaned back, thought for a second, then said “I don’t really like where this will go, but... Ares found Areala’s village for me, I told him I wanted to take a break for a couple of months where nobody knew me, and Areala’s village was perfect for that.”
Gabrielle said “Why would you ever trust him?”
Xena said “Things were different then, now was that all you were planning to ask me, or was there something else?”
Areala said “Xena, once when we were talking you said that you were in a relationship, who was that with?”
Xena got up, stood to her full height and said “I don’t feel like answering anymore questions. I am going to get dressed and talk to Areala about wedding plans, meet me in the garden in an hour, bye.”
Before Gabrielle and Areala could complain they had been hurried out the door.
Hercules knocked on Iolaus’s door, a sleepy eyed Iolaus looked at Hercules and said “We are in a castle, and have a rare chance to sleep in, and you are up even earlier, and after a late night! So what are we doing?”
Hercules smiled a little and said “Iolaus, you should have seen the night I had! I had so many nightmares that I had to get up. Do you know that Xena forced Ares and me into forgiving each other and talking! I’m starting to wonder if Xena has ever not got her way!! Last night was a nightmare in itself, but I came here to ask it you’ve seen Cupid, I went to his room earlier, and he wasn’t there.”
Iolaus said “Doesn’t he still have to help Aphrodite or something? You’re supposed to be the one telling me these things. Why are you looking for him anyway?”
Hercules answered “I’m looking for Cupid so I can talk to him about Gabrielle, you’re right, I’m going back to my room, good morning Iolaus.”
With that Hercules left.
Gabrielle and Areala had returned to their rooms to get ready, Gabrielle was trying to figure out what to wear, seeing as Areala had made it clear that she wouldn't put up with any woman being near her if they weren’t in a dress. Gabrielle rummaged through her closet, where she found a fairly plain dark green dress that had long sleeves and a matching wrap, Gabrielle put the dress on, fixed her hair up into a twisted bun, and dug around in her stuff until she found one of her Amazon necklaces, then put that on. When she was ready Gabrielle stopped to look in the mirror before heading out to the Garden, she gasped and said to herself “Oh my, Areala put out such fancy grownup clothes for me!”
Gabrielle took a minute to practice looking royal, then left.
Xena looked through her closet, where she found a purple dress, it had tight long sleeves that were bloused just above the wrist then tight down to the wrist, the rest of the dress was loose with a high waist that turned into a partway over cover that was attached, and a low back. Xena put it on, along with a choker necklace, in the center of the necklace there was a blue stone shaped like a diamond, and little diamond earrings, then she twisted her hair up and held it in place with diamond hairpins. After she finished getting dressed, Xena commented to herself “Areala may be doing this to make a point, but still!”
Then left to go to the gardens.
Areala put on a green long sleeved dress, that looked great with her red hair, with that she put on a diamond tiara, earrings, and necklace. When this was done, Areala fixed her make-up, told Jacob and the servants where she would be and that she was not to be disturbed, and had three guards posted in the garden where they couldn’t be seen, but could warn the ladies of intruders. After all that was finished Areala left.
Ares heard someone knocking on his door, he got up and opened it to find Xena, looking gorgeous and actually smiling at him. Ares smiled back and said most of what he was thinking “You look gorgeous!”
Xena said “Flattery will get you nowhere with me, but thank you. I’m going to the garden to talk with Gabrielle and Areala, you can do what ever you want for the day, as long as you stay out of the Garden.”
Ares replied, “Alright, see you this evening then,”
Xena nodded and left.
Areala said “I want you both to be my bridesmaids, it will be so much fun! with the two of you dressed in the pink bridesmaid dresses I picked out. Xena, the color of your dress will look just great with your eyes!”
Xena forced a smile, Gabrielle said “That just sounds lovely, but will pink look alright with my hair?”
Areala gasped and said “Oh, I hadn’t thought of that, of course pink will never do! What about green? Green look’s just lovely with your eyes, Gabrielle!”
Gabrielle blushed, Xena on the other hand said “No offense Areala, but I really don’t think green will look that well on me.”
Areala frowned, but said “Why you are right, now let’s see, purple won’t work, neither will blue, orange just won’t do, what about a maroon?”
Xena sighed, she was not fussy for any color of red, but she hated maroon the most. Gabrielle’s eye’s lit up as she said “I have never worn maroon!! Oh, and it will look just fabulous on Xena and me. Areala you are a genius!”
Areala blushed, then said “So it’s decided? You both will be in maroon dresses, I will wear a cream one, the wedding will be held outside, I will wear a wreath of cream colored roses in my hair, oh Jacob will be so happy that everything is planned. Now we should go inside and eat something, we’ve been out here for hours!”
Xena nodded, Gabrielle’s stomach growled and they all laughed, then went inside to eat.
“Cupid I don’t think you understand, I’m not trying to be mean, I’m trying to avoid heartbreak!” Hercules said,
Cupid screamed “You don’t understand uncle!!! I won’t break her heart!”
Hercules said “Cupid, I am asking nicely.”
Cupid responded “No, I’m not leaving, and that’s that. Now would you kindly leave my room?”
Hercules said “Someday you’ll understand” then left.
Xena leaned on the balcony next to Ares, Xena smiled and said “You know, I really wasn’t looking forward to this trip, but it’s turned out all right. Gabrielle showed up, you and I are getting to spend some time together, and I ended the feud between you and Hercules.”
Ares said “You’re right this has been a great trip so far, and quite a nice punishment.”
Xena giggled, then said “Won’t Zeus be mad when he finds out that you’ve actually enjoyed being mortal!”
Ares frowned and said “I’m just glad he doesn’t know, now how did the wedding plans go?”
Xena said “Well, I was forced into talking, otherwise the whole thing would have been one fancy dress ball, ugghh. The wedding is going to be outside, and the bridesmaid dresses are not going to be pink, they are going to be maroon.”
Ares asked “I thought you hated all red dresses?”
Xena nodded and answered “I do, it was just slightly better than orange!”
Ares tried his best to hide it, but he thought that that was funny. Xena glared at him and said “You find me having to wear a color that I hate all day long funny?”
Ares defended “No, I find you having to discuss a wedding funny!”
Xena smiled and said “That’s okay then. I should go to bed, it’s late and Areala wants to be up early explaining everything to the servants, Good night, Ares.”
Ares said “Good night, Xena. If you want to escape tomorrow, just let me know and I’ll get you out.”
Xena nodded happily, and left.
Zeus roared “WHAT do YOU mean, son?”
Hercules said “Just what I said, Cupid is doing no good down on earth, he keeps having to leave, because Aphrodite can’t handle the job herself, and he is tearing up a friend of mine’s heart. Ares is enjoying his punishment greatly, he has tricked Xena into thinking he cares, and is very close to getting her back.”
Zeus said “This bothers me Hercules, but you have always told me the truth, I shall go and make the arrangements so that Ares, and Cupid can return to Olympus. now I will send you home.”
With a wave of his hand Hercules disappeared, leaving a very displeased Zeus to change his decrees.
Cupid said “Gabrielle I love you, let’s get married, I’ll become mortal, if you won’t be a Goddess!”
Gabrielle gasped then said “Oh, Cupid, you’d really become mortal for me? Of course I’ll marry you!”
“YOU WILL DO NO SUCH THING, CUPID” Zeus thundered, as he appeared, “YOU WILL RETURN HOME TO OLYMPUS, NOW THIS MATTER IS CLOSED. Mortal, you should go home too, and forget this ever happened!”
Cupid gasped, but there was no way he could challenge his Grandfather. Cupid said “I’m sorry, Gabrielle, but you better do as Zeus says.” then left.
Gabrielle screamed “Zeus, why are you doing this, we love each other!”
Zeus said “He doesn’t love you, just forget that this ever happened!”
And then he left Gabrielle to cry in peace.
Zeus appeared next to Xena, and Ares who were talking, and said “Ares, your punishment is over, come here and collect your sword.”
Ares walked over and retrieved his sword. “NOW,” Zeus said “Go To Olympus!”
Ares asked “Why?”
Zeus said “NOW!”
Ares didn’t trust his father, and said “NO, what are you going to do, punish me to be mortal and live on earth?”
Xena frowned, “this doesn’t look good” she thought, Zeus smiled and said “NO, you are right, Ares, I will punish you, you will stay on Olympus for two years, the only time you will leave is when something is threatening your plans, then you will come straight back. Now GO!”
Ares said “Goodbye, Xena!” and left.
Xena asked in her sugary sweet voice “Zeus, can we talk?”
Zeus asked “What?”
Xena said “Oh, I was just wondering why you did that, ‘cause now I have a personal problem with you, and anyone that I have a problem with doesn’t live that long after earning that title.”
Zeus stated “Your threats are useless mortal, now go home, and forget this ever happened. It will do you no good to protest!”
Having accomplished what he came to do, Zeus left. Xena was in shock, she wasn’t really sure what had happened, except that her and Ares were officially enemies again, she sighed then left to talk to Gabrielle.
“I don’t understand, how can you leave before the wedding!” Areala sobbed,
Xena said “We are not feeling well, Gabrielle has a sore throat and can’t talk, I have a head cold, and we don’t want you to be sick for your wedding. You can write us a scroll telling all about it, I’m sure Gabrielle would love that. It’s been nice seeing you again, Areala, goodbye!”
Xena forced a smile, and gave Areala a hug, then she left with Gabrielle.
Gabrielle looked up to Xena and asked “What do we do? this whole mess is just awful!”
Xena said “I suggest we do as Zeus said, and try to forget this ever happened!”.