Gabrielle relaxed on the log and gazed up at the night sky. She had just finished eating supper so her stomach was pleasantly filled. The sun was almost down all the way and the sky was a deep medium blue. The camp she shared with Xena was in a small valley surrounded by trees. It was late spring and the air was filled with the sweet scent of new green growth. The grass was thick under her boots like a green carpet and new light green leaves dotted the surrounding trees. The moon, heavy and full, hung in the night sky like a glowing pearl. It's light shone downward upon the bard and everything around her.
"Look at it, Xena. Isn't it beautiful?" Gabrielle asked her friend. "It's like a diamond nestled on velvet. Just looking at it inspires me to write. It's so peaceful."
Xena glanced up at the full moon and frowned. The Warrior Princess leaped to her feet and paced before their camp fire. She wrung her hands together as she paced.
"Xena. What's wrong?" Gabrielle asked.
"I feel nervous, jumpy." Xena explained as she finally stopped in front of the fire. The flickering light glistened on the metal sections of her breastplate and gauntlets. "It's that moon. It's doing something to me. It always does."
"But it's so peaceful and serene." Gabrielle replied, confused.
"I think I'm going to go out and kill something for breakfast." Xena picked her sword off a nearby rock and headed out into the dark forest.
"I said it was peaceful!" Gabrielle called after her friend's retreating back. The blonde bard shook her head in confusion. She had thought she had finally understood Xena. "How can something so beautiful make her so....so....bloodthirsty?"
White light flashed and Ares appeared next to her on the log. He glanced up at the moon and then at Gabrielle. "You never cease to amaze me, you know that?"
"What?" Gabrielle asked as she shifted on the log to look at Ares. She had to admit the silvery moonlight made him look good. It gently reflected off his earring and the metal studs on his black leather vest. And it gave his hair a soft glow. Gabrielle pointed up at the moon. "Just look how it hangs there, like a giant glowing pearl. Isn't it beautiful?"
"You think a big ball of rock is beautiful?" Ares asked, one eyebrow raised.
"It's not a big ball of rock!" Gabrielle said hotly. "Rocks don't glow."
"No, it's sunlight reflecting off a big ball of rock." Ares corrected.
"It can't be sunlight. The sun is almost down. It's getting darker every minute." Gabrielle glanced up at the moon again. "Look how its silvery light transforms this valley into an enchanted glade. I half expect a magical creature to step out of the woods."
"Like me?" Ares asked with a grin.
"I meant something like a unicorn." Gabrielle said. Ares was still sitting next to her on the log. What did he want anyway? She had a hard enough time trying to figure Xena out. Did she have to figure him out, too?
"Oh, come on, Gabrielle. What could be more magical that a God?" Ares smiled at her. His dark eyes focused on her blue ones. He reached out and took her hand into his own. His skin felt hot. "Did you realize you're sitting in the dark alone with me? Isn't that romantic? I mean, that's what you think the moon is, right? Romantic? With it's silvery light dusting us with its magic?"
Gabrielle's heart pounded like crazy in her chest as her mind whirled. How did she get into this? She had been admiring the moon's beauty and had felt inspired. She had planned to do some writing. But somehow she had ended up holding Ares' hand in the dark! Gabrielle tried to pull her hand away but Ares gripped it tightly.
"What are you doing?" She asked in a shaky voice.
"They say the moon has an odd effect on people, that it makes them do crazy things." Ares said as he leaned closer to her.
Gabrielle froze. She felt trapped, like there was an arrow flying right at her and she couldn't escape it. Worse yet, she didn't know if she wanted to. Before she could think anything else, Ares closed the distance between them and kissed her. A soft gentle kiss.
Ares pulled away and let her hand go. He stood up and backed away slightly.
She looked up at him, confusion in her blue eyes.
"Maybe the moon let's us do what we want to do, gives us an excuse to act crazy." Ares told her. "And maybe I wanted to kiss you for a long time and I just never had the guts to do it. Until tonight."
Gabrielle watched Ares wink out in a flash of light. "He wanted to kiss me for a long time?"
"Huh?" Gabrielle blinked her eyes and saw Xena standing in front of her. The Warrior Princess stared down at her with worried filled eyes. A rabbit dangled from one of her hands. "Oh, I was just thinking about something."
"For a moment there I was worried." Xena said.
"I guess the moon has an odd effect on all of us." Gabrielle explained as she peered up at the shining orb in the night sky. The sky now was totally black and filled with thousands of twinkling stars. The moon appeared to have a faint halo around it. Perhaps it was the magic dust Ares had mentioned. It was falling off the moon's surface as it floated down to the Earth, coating everything with its powerful powder. How would the moon look from up on Olympus? She decided she would have to ask Ares the next time she saw him. A smile crept across her lips at the thought. Still thinking of seeing him again, Gabrielle settled herself into her bedroll and drifted off to sleep.