Gabrielle sat near the campfire archiving the events that had taken place over the last few months. From hiding Ares out on a farm to that blasted reporter who was determined to get a story by making Xena out to be a bad person. Then there was the fact that Aphrodite and Ares both had their godhood back. She was happy for them, they were both miserable as mortals, and the world definitely needed love and war to maintain the balance of life, but there was one aspect that saddened her. Ares was once again a god, back to his old tricks, which meant that any chance of them getting together went right out the window.
She knew she had feelings for the dark god; she has had them ever since Dite placed that spell on her scrolls. She had seen a side of him that few people saw or even tried to see. Her feelings turned into love after the events of the twilight had taken place. He had given up his immortality to save her life, talked with her when they were in hiding, and held her close when they faced up to that mad god in Rome. She trembled at the memories of being so close to him. Thinking what it would be like to be with him, feeling those strong arms around her, waking up with him every morning. They had even shared a night of passion at the farm. But she knew he was in love with Xena. That would never change, so she kept her feelings hidden hoping that one day he would come around to her. For a moment it seemed that he would, but she knew she had to stop it for Xena.
Ares sat in a tree nearby watching Gabrielle fighting an inner battle with her feelings for him. He knew that she loved him and that he loved her in return, but he never got the chance to tell her. After that night at the farm, she had left before he could make his feelings known to her. She was alone now; it was time that she knew. He had told her once in Rome. He tried to tell her that he had buried her out of love for her; he wanted to protect her from the gods. But she didn't believe him, she was convinced that he loved Xena and she was just an afterthought like always. It was time to change that he decided, as he transported himself in front of Gabrielle.
Gabrielle was so deep in thought she didn't even notice Ares appear in front of her.
Gabrielle jumped, "Ares, what's wrong? Why are you here?"
Ares smiled, "I came to see you, I think it is time we had a talk, don't you?"
Gabrielle put the scroll down and walked up to him, "We have nothing to talk about Ares, you have your godhood back, you're back to your old tricks again, and life goes on."
She was about ready to walk past him when he stopped her; he grabbed her arm and turned her to face him. "I may have my godhood back, but I don't have the one thing I want and that is you Gabrielle. Are you angry with me for some reason?"
"No, Ares I'm not angry with you," she spouted, adding under her breath, "I am angry with myself." Gabrielle was in no mood to play games with Ares, she pulled out of his grasp and sat back down, "Leave me Ares, I have nothing to say to you."
Ares was hurt by her animosity, he decided to acknowledge her request, "I will leave Gabrielle but there is something you need to know, I love you, I have for sometime. I told you that once when we were in Rome, but you didn't believe me. I wanted to tell you back at the farm. You left before I could, so I am telling you now. I love you." With that he pulled her up, lifted her face to meet his, and kissed her with the tenderness and passion that he had always held for her. Then he vanished.
Gabrielle opened her eyes to find that Ares had gone. She sat back down; the memory of his kiss still lingered in her mind. "Did he just say that he loved me?" she thought. It couldn't be possible. This had been the second time he had professed his love for her. Could he be telling her the truth? She decided to lie down, she would think about this in the morning. Xena would be back soon and Gabby didn't want Xena to see her like this. Xena would be like a mother hen and would let it be until it was out in the open.
She couldn't let her know until she was sure. She tried to sleep but was unable to; her thoughts kept drifting back to Ares. She chuckled to herself as she remembered him chasing down the chickens at the farm. Feathers completely covered him from head to toe, and when they were together, what a mess they made with all the food. But he did throw a mean food fight. She laughed. Then her thoughts turned to their night of passion. Never before had she been loved like that by anyone, not even Perdicus had displayed such passion and tenderness that Ares had showed for her. So confusing, he claimed to have love for her, yet he declared his love for Xena. Try as she might, the more she thought about it the more confused she became. Finally she was able to sleep.
Then next morning Gabrielle was still lost in thought.
"Gabrielle, Gabrielle, earth to Gabrielle." Xena said as she tried to get her attention, but to no avail. She was so lost in thought she couldn't even hear Xena calling her. Xena reached over and shook her, "Gabrielle are you ok?"
"Huh? Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were talking to me."
"Are you ok, you have been sort of out of it all morning?" Xena was very concerned by her friend's distant behavior.
"Yes Xena I'm ok, just some information came to me last night and I need to sort things out."
"Anything I can help with?"
"No, this is something that I need..." before she could continue they were attacked by some bandits.
Xena reached for her sword as Gabrielle got her sais. They both fought fiercely against the bandits. But it seems to be an army of them that kept coming at the duo. During the battle the two got separated. While Xena was holding more then her own, Gabrielle was being pounded by 5 of the bandits. Before she knew it one of them made an unexpected move, disarming her and knocking her to the ground. Xena watched the scene in horror, she knew she had to help but she was to far away and there be to many bandits that she was fighting to help. She had no way to get to her friend.
Unknown to any of them Ares was watching the battle from his throne room on Olympus. Just as the bandits were moving in on Gabrielle, Ares appeared in front of her, pulling her up behind him, he grabbed one of the bandit's sword and ran him through. The other four grew angry at being denied their kill and moved in on the couple. Ares quickly disposed of them, turning to Gabrielle, he looked her over to make sure she was ok. As he was doing that one of the remaining bandits came at them, "Just who do you think you are? Hercules?"
Ares face darkened as he approached the man, "I am Ares, God of War. She is my chosen and any one who lays a finger on her dies."
The man made a lunge at her, which was a big mistake, for Ares had disintegrated him before he could make his next move. Ares once again turned to Gabrielle. "Are you alright? They didn't hurt you did they?"
"No, Ares I'm ok. Did I just hear you call me your chosen one?"
"Yes, love you did. I told you; you are my love, my chosen, my Amazon Queen. You always will be."
Gabrielle was speechless. He really did love her, "By the Gods, I don't know what to say."
Ares kissed her gently, "Don't say anything, just meet me at the temple tonight and we will talk all this out."
"I will, but you had better go, I have a lot of explaing to do to Xena. I just hope she will understand."
"I know she will Gabrielle don't worry about that. You mean more to her then life, and she will want nothing more then for you to be happy." Ares kissed her again and turned to leave.
"Yes, my sweet?"
"I love you too," she said with a big grin on her face. Ares smiled back at her then vanished in his fashionable style.
Meanwhile Xena had taken care of the bandits on her end and was getting ready to help her friend, when she stopped dead in her tracks, as she saw Ares appear. Not only did he not bother her friend, but also he was defending her, as well as claiming her as his chosen.
She gaped as she saw the couple kiss, she quietly waited until Ares was gone, and then start to walk toward Gabrielle. They both reached the campsite at the same time. Gabrielle sat on her bedroll and waited for the questions she knew would come. Xena sat next to her, "So you want to tell me what is going on?"
"I don't know where to start."
"How about from the beginning." Xena said as she put a comforting arm around her friend giving the indication for her to continue.
"I'm in love with Ares, and what is more surprising is he is in love with me as well."
Xena looked a bit startled, "Well that is a start all right." She told Gabrielle to continue.
Gabrielle took a deep breath and began to tell her friend the whole story; from the time she first had feelings for the god to the events that had taken place that day. She included their meeting at the farm. When she was finished she looked at Xena anxiously for a response.
"That was an interesting story."
"You're not angry with me are you Xena? I couldn't help myself, ever since the scrolls I saw a different side to him and I fell in love with that man. Even more so when he gave up so much so I could live."
Xena hugged her friend, "If you had told me this years ago, I would have told you that you were out of your mind. But after seeing the change that has taken place in him since the twilight, especially his heroics today, I couldn't be happier for you. If anyone would be a great influence on him it would be you."
"You mean that?"
"Of course I do, look how you changed me. I do have to admit I am a bit jealous?"
"Jealous? Of me?"
"Yes, just a bit, you have accomplished what no one else could, you have made Ares have a change of heart, and you have tamed the big bad God of War." She said with a big smile.
Gabrielle blushed, "So you are sure that everything is ok with you?"
"Of course, if fact if you to decide to get married you have my blessing. Just let me know when the wedding is."
Gabrielle was ecstatic, she nodded and wrapped her arms around her friend, hugging her tightly, she said goodbye and gathered her things to meet with Ares. She told Xena she would meet up with her later. Xena just smiled as she watched Gabrielle ride off to be with her love. "Well if someone had to do it I'm glad it was her." Xena thought as she settled in for the long wait.
Gabrielle arrived at the temple to Ares' waiting arms. She ran to him, nearly knocking him down as she hugged and kissed him fiercely. Ares laughed, "I take it all went well with our warrior princess."
"More then well, she has given us her blessing, and if we ever get married she wants an invitation."
"She will be, and what do you mean if, you should be saying when, my love."
Gabrielle hugged him again, "Yes, when. Well then we better get started if we are going to have a big wedding."
"Yes we should, but first thing's first." Ares picked up Gabrielle and disappeared in the bedroom where they began the first part of their life together. Gabrielle never regretted her decision.