Be Carefull What You Wish For

BY : aeverett
Category: S through Z > Xena
Dragon prints: 2346
Disclaimer: I do not own Xena, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

AUTHOR NAME: Arianwen P.F. Everett


TITLE: Be Carefull What You Wish For: Part 1


Pairing: Xena: The Conqueror/Ares




SUMMARY: Ares finds himself in Xena: The Conqueror's
universe, a world where force of arms keeps the peace and one warrior queen rules,
everything he's always wanted.
Unfortunately for him, the old adage 'Be careful what you wish for; you
just might get it.' also applies to gods too.






Disclaimer: Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The
Legendary Journeys are owned by Renaissance Pictures and Universal Studios. I'm
just a poor fan with a sick mind.

This story is rated NC-17 for BDSM and sexual violence. It's pretty racy, even
for fan fiction. Be warned!!!

Authoress' Note: This story takes place after 'Chakram' but before 'Animal
Attraction', and also contains spoilers for 'Armageddon Now I & II', 'Ten
Little Warlords', 'Adventures in the Sin Trade I & 2', 'Between the Lines',
and 'Reunions'.


by Arianwen P.F. Everett

Ares struggled to his feet, wiping the tiny trickle of blood from the left side
of his mouth. He looked down at his hip and noticed his sword was missing. Damn
Zeus and his unoriginal punishments! He was human again, and possibly in an
alternate timeline as well. How was he ever going to get out of this one?

Xena. That's how he'd gotten out of so many scrapes recently. Her unerring
goodness wouldn't let her turn her back on him, and even if she could, as a
human he was still a formidable warrior. A few dozen hostages to save, and
she'd definitely do as he needed.

Ares looked around him, and groaned at his luck. This was Corinth. He hated
Corinth. Birthplace of his annoying bastard brother, Hercules. Had Hercules
never been born, life would be perfect. So much more war. Strife would be
alive. And best of all, Xena would be his Warrior Queen, killing all their
enemies in her wake. Ah, life would be sweet!

A blonde warrior woman walked by, and Ares grinned. At least he knew someone
here. This was the woman who helped Xena and Gabrielle defeat Agathon. Xena had
called her Glyphira.

Ares grabbed her by the bicep. "I'm looking for Xena, the Warrior Princess,"
Ares stated plainly. Surely this warrior woman would know something that would
help him find his chosen.

"You mean Xena, the Conqueror?" the woman replied, looking Ares over
appreciatively. He had that effect on women. He often used it to his advantage,
although he'd rarely encountered a woman brazen enough to ogle him so
unabashedly. Well, one could never tell with alternate universes, and he now
knew for certain that he was in an alternate universe. Xena, the Conqueror. He
liked it.

"Brave man. Foolish man. However, the Conqueror has eccentric tastes. She
will pay well for one such as you. Take him!" the Warrior Woman shouted.
Seven warriors suddenly jumped Ares. This was not unusual. He looked like he
was an unarmed warrior, ripe for the killing. What was unusual was the skill of
all these men. They were obviously trained by his favorite, and without his
Godhood, he was quickly subdued and brought unconscious.

* * *

When Ares awoke, he found himself in a dungeon of sorts. He also discovered that
he'd been bathed. His leat had had been polished, and his boots had been
shined. He felt like a prize goose being dressed for a feast. Perhaps that was
exactly what he was.

Ares waited, impatiently pacing the room. The only light came through a small window.
The bars were firmly in place, and even if they'd been loose, it was way too
small for him to squeeze through. The door was firm and bolted well shut. It
became painfully obvious that until or unless someone came to retrieim, im, he
was stuck right where he was.

About an hour after his waking, he was slightly startled when the sound of
three sets of footfalls made their way towards his prison door. He heard the
keys jingling and the lock being unlocked. His mind was still sharp, and Ares
pulled himself up behind the door.

The wooden door opened slightly. A few seconds had passed with nothing, when
all of a sudden, the large door swung fully inward, knocking Ares to the
ground, although leaving him conscious this time.

"Ah, someone likes to play games! Well that will indeed please the
Conqueror, because she likes to play games too! Of course, I doubt you'll enjoy
her kind of games! Ah, a man of few word. You really are a prize aren't you?
Come on Pretty Boy! Let's go meet your new Mistress!" Glyphira stated
menacingly as she stood confidently before him. She motioned for her two goons
to pick him up, and Ares went with no protest. They thought they had him, but
ultimately they were taking him just where he wanted to be.

Ares was lead down several darkened corridors, then into a grand hallway.
Before him lay two huge doors made of pure gold almost as big as those of
Zeus's palace on Olympus. They even had many of the same engravings on them
too. Ares was entranced, studying the detail, when suddenly the doors parted,
and as Ares looked up, he almost fainted. For there before him was the most
beautiful sight he'd ever seen. He allowed himself to be lead forward towards
the seven large steps that led to the golden throne, but it was the woman who
sat before him that ruled his heart, as she seemed to do everything in this
universe, Xena. His Conqueror.

"Glyphira, where did you find this one?" Xena inquired intensely, her
astonishment reaching her voice.

"Here in Corinth. He approached me, actually. Asked me where he might find
'the Warrior Princess'. Guess you could call it a win/win situation,"
Glyphira commented wryly. Men really were too easy.

Xena quickly descended her throne, grabbing Ares by the back of his head, and
twisting it painfully as to view every angle. She inspected his hands next,
then his arms, back, and buttocks.

Returning to face him, she looked him straight in the eyes, and her breath
caught slightly, as the truth settled into her brain.

"Leave us! All! Now!" Xena demanded, her steel blue eyes never
leaving his contented forest green ones.

"What about payment?" Glyphira, always first the businesswoman,

"You will receive twice your usual fee! Now GET OUT!" Xena commanded,
taking a step towards Glyphira, who backed away quickly, raising her hands in

"Fine. Good day, Xena," the blonde woman said perfunctorily, exiting
the throne room as fast as her legs would carry her.

Once the large doors had shut, Xena returned to stand before Ares, just staring
at him as if he were a great work of art.

"I know you can't be Ares! Ares is dead, so who are you?!" Xena
asked, grabbing a handful of black hair, and forcing him to his knees.

Ares felt his scalp ache, as the hair on his head was pulled harder and harder.
"I am Ares, just not the Ares you know!" he yelped, as Xena roughly
tossed him backwards.

"Alright, we do it the hard way!" Xena growled, her fingers shooting
out, catching Ares in her infamous 'pinch'. "You've got th..."

"I know, I know, thirty seconds to live! Look, Xena, I am Ares! I gave you
your Chakram! I know that you made your first kill when you were 16 and
Cortese's Army attacked your village! Your brother, Lyceus, was killed in that
battle, and before it was over, you had slain nine men!" Ares divulged,
praying to the Fates that she believed him.

Xena took the pinch off Ares, and he slumped at her feet, dragging in deep

"Alright! Enough! You obviously know things about me that no one but Ares
could know. So how did you come back from the dead? From what I hear, hind's
blood is a one way trip to oblivion?" Xena asked, her eyes boring into
Ares' soul.

"It is difficult to explain," Ares warned.

"Try very hard!" Xena growled, making the implicit threat for
noncompliance clear.

"Alright. You must think of life as a road with many forks in it. Each
time you make a choice, there are other choices that you discard, other roads
that you do not travel. However, despite the fact you do not travel them, those
roads still exist. To mortals they are usually irrelevant. The kindly Fates
make sure of that. But Gods are sometimes able to experience these other roads.
And sometimes we get trapped on a road we never took. That is how I got here.
On the road I traveled, you are not this Great Conqueror, though for all the
world I'd prefer you were," Ares explained, trying to simplify an idea he
barely understood himself. He hated parallel universes.

And he hated the fact that once the other gods realized he was gone, and the
mortals started going insane with violence, Zeus would drag him back to
Olympus. For as crazy as it was, even though it meant living only a few scant
decades rather than eternally, this was the reality he would choose for
himself. Now he didn't want to go.

Xena seemed to digest this information and his forlorn expression. Ares was a
manipulator, a deceiver of the first caliber, but truth be told, he was one of
the few people that had ever made her feel anything. That Bastard, Caesar, had
once said her ability to feel was her fatal flaw, but he'd been wrong. As
painful as her 'flaw' often was, her feelings, her intuition had given her an
edge over many an adversary.

Xena paused a few moments, stealing herself against the unfamiliar compassion
that was flooding her, before speaking again. "Am I dead on the road you
come from, as you are on mine?" Xena asked, wanting to know what horrible
fate this Ares perceived to be hers.

"No, much worse. You protect the weak and the worthless! You and your
annoying little Bard friend travel from village to village with barely a dinar
between the two of you, defending the masses of chattel, instead of taking all
that should be yours, all that you deserve! In my world, you are a hero!"
Ares spat out thnal nal word, as if it were the vilest curse in his vocabulary,
and Xena knew he knew many others.

"A hero? So the little blonde mercenary who stole the gemstone off my
scepter was right," Xena chuckled then broke into a full-blown laughing

Ares was in pure bliss, as he watched her shake with laughter, and he began to
laugh heartily as well. He had never been this happy before.

Suddenly he was tackled with lightning quick speed, and deliciously soft lips
sucked and nipped as his neck and chest. He could sense the predator in his
Chosen One, perhaps some residual empathic bond, despite his crossing realities
and loosing his sword.

A painful shock, as she pinched his nipples, letting her nails dig into his
mortal flesh, brought him out of his revelry. The following surge of pleasure
upon her release of his oh so mortal flesh, forced his hips to automatically
thrust upward towards his Conqueror's, instinctively seeking the warmth and
wetness he knew lay beyond the ornate silk.

So this was animal instinct? He'd never known this before, to be out of
control, at the demands of his body. Oh, he definitely knew sex and especially
passion. All his powers, beyond his physical self, were derived from passion.
He'd never feared passion before. It was his greatest ally, but before he'd
always been its master. Now he existed on the other side of the relationship.

This woman was doing exactly what he'd always wanted her to do, was EVERYTHING
he'd ever wanted her to be, and now she was beyond his control and capable of
controlling him. He was in love.

The desire Xena was inflicting upon him mingled with the pure love in his
heart, and he had to give her his best. It was time to stop sitting on the
sidelines and join the game already in progress.

With a growl of male virility, he flipped Xena onto her back, surprising her.
He pinned her hands above her head with one strong arm, and mounted her,
undoing his fly and freeing his manhood. He stroked its hard lengths, staring
Xena straight in the eye, letting her absorb her own helplessness. Tearing the
silken barriers aside, he swiftly buried his engorged cock deep inside the
woman beneath him, hearing her shout in shock, pain, and pleasure, all at once.
He knew the maddening sensations that threatened to remove him from control
could give her the few precious seconds it would take for her to regain the
upper hand in this romp, but her own responses kept her occupied, and he soon
regained his inner equilibrium.

Xena writhed underneath her lover, taking every forceful thrust, trying to
match them with her own grinding, but without much success.

Ares was able to use his superior weight and leverage better and kept her from
making all but the slightest of movements, giving her a lustful snarl and
crushing her pinioned wrists against the cold marble floor and each other. He
was demanding control, and where her mind told her not to accept domination,
especially from him, her heart would not give her the consensus of will she
needed to fight back. She felt small and powerless beneath this awesome,
grunting man, and her soul gloried in it.

When Ares fucked her this way, she felt so outstandingly erotic and womanly.
She was conquered, body and soul, and Ares was the only man or god worthy of
possessing her. She knew she loved him, but it was only in these hedonistic
moments that she could do so without mistrust or second- guessing.

As Ares rode Xena harder, he felt his control slipping away. His balls started
to tighten almost painfully, and he knew he was close. He was going to come,
filling his beloved with a warm pool of his seed, but he didn't want this to be
just an ordinary screwing for either of them. He yearned to watch her loose all
control, screaming and bucking beneath him, her own forceful climax tearing
away every last bit of control. Call it a throwback to their battle of wills,
but he couldn't surrender himself without knowing that she was surrendering as
well. He knew how much she liked rough trade, and he decided to give it to her.

"Take it! Take it all!" Ares growled, using his free hand to flick
Xena's clitoris, then suddenly, and without warning, he drove his cock deep
into her ass like he knew she enjoyed it most.

Xena howled as the painful delight of being anally penetrated, pushed her over
the edge, and she bayed in response, as her cunt spasmed with one of the most
intense orgasms she had ever experienced, while the god she adored responded in
kind, smiling his most devilish smile, as he allowed himself to cum inside her
nether hole, the shear perversity of it all driving them both along the waves
of oblivion.

After such a wild roll in the sack, Ares easily slipped out of his princess,
releasing her hands and roughly pulled her limp, sweating form against him. He
was exhausted, and quite satisfied, when Xena wrapped her arms around his
chest, and nuzzled him affectionately, virtually purring with the same
contentment. They lay like this in silence, gently stroking each other. Two
unbeatable warriors satiated and calm.

Ares smiled down at his Conqueror. She had taken all of him, just as he had
told her to. His cock. His cum. His life. Now he had to wonder what she planed
to do with him now that she had him.

* * *

At around mid-morning, Ares awoke from a peaceful slumber. The pure silk sheets
and warm furs of the Conqueror's bed were so much like his own back on Olympus.
He wondered if he'd ever see that bed again, and for the first time since he
and Xena had started their marathon of lovin', yesterday afternoon, he felt
uncertain. He definitely wanted to stay with this Xena, but not as a mortal. He
wanted to be a god again, which meant he'd have to find his dead counterpart's
sword and claim the power of this Olympus. Then he'd make Xena his wife, queen,
and goddess.

Odd, he'd never thought of marriage as an option for himself. His father had
engrained in him, when he was still at that age when a father's words and deeds
meant everything, that women, goddesses and mortals alike, were great,
fabulous, spectacular creatures, but mixing with them, beyond flirtation and
the sexual act, could only lead to unhappiness and grave disappointment. They,
like the swine or the dog, had to be ruled over, governed by men and gods. For
if they were not, their chaotic underbelly, which they kept hidden from both
men and themselves, would destroy everyone and everything.

But Xena was nothing if not ordered and disciplined, both the Xena of his own
universe and that of this one, respectively. He had never wondered, like most
male warlords did, why he often chose to favor female warriors over their male
counterparts. Male warlords were generally stronger, more vicious, and more
bloodthirsty, and Ares liked those qualities well enough, but female warriors
had a kind of long-term, hen pecking approach, to leading an army. It was rare
that a woman ever had enough warrior spirit to follow his path, to massacre and
pillage and move on, but when it happened it was a glorious site indeed. And
Xena was the very best at it. She would make an ideal wife, although he'd never
fully turn his back on her. Not Xena. He didn't want to take the chance his
father had been right. And the Xena from his native universe had betrayed him

The parting of the pure silver doors to Xena's bedchamber interrupted his
thoughts. He had asked her why she had chosen silver and she had said that a
shamaness had once told her that silver could be used as a barrier against
malicious spirits. It wasn't foolproof, but only the wisest and most determined
of dead enemies could pass through, not just any spirit seeking vengeance.
Xena, especially this Xena standing at the foot of her bed, had many deceased

"You're awake," the Conqueror commented, as she climbed, fully
dressed, into bed with Ares, planting a long, sensuous kiss on his hot mouth
and sighing with pleasure.

"Yes, although I'm surprised I survived last night. You've obviously
learned a lot since the last time we... I mean, since the last time the other
Xena... Oh to Tartarus with it! Sufficive to say, I had a monumental time last
night, my Conqueror," Ares commented, kissing the back of Xena's hand,
then turning it over to kiss her palm and wrist.

The Conqueror's brows creased in thought. "The other one, the hero, she
gave you up as a lover, when she turned, didn't she?" Xena asked, curious
that her counterpart would ever willingly give up such a beneficial ally and
fabulous lover as the God of War.

"My half brother, Hercules, brainwashed her into believing that I held no
value to anyone good," Ares grudgingly informed her.

"Hercules, I never heard of him. What was he god of?" the Conqueror
asked, trying to remember the Ares she'd known mentioning anyone by that name.

Ares laughed deeply. "Nothing, my Dear! He was simply the product of one
of Zeus' dalliances with a mortal woman. However, in this world, he was never
born and that fact is the fork in the road, as it were. It was his meddling in
your destiny that turned you from me. Your glorious reign as ruler of the
entire known world here is proof enough of that. As much as I hated him before,
I NEVER even GUESSED at all that he has cost me!" Ares explained, anger
building in him, as he gazed intently into Xena's lovely eyes.

"Well, you needn't worry about him any more! He doesn't even exist here,
after all!" the Conqueror stated firmly, hungrily kissing her god, wanting
to banish all the heartache this Hercules had caused him.

This compassion and burgeoning love were driving her crazy, and while she
feared her absorption in the man beneath her tender caresses, she knew she
couldn't fight it. So she flung herself headlong into his deepening kisses,
this time taking things slow, as close to making love as either of them had
ever gotten in their lives.

As they both came, holding fiercely on to each other's body, Xena swore to
herself that she'd find a way to make this work out, even if it meant
surrendering a part of her autonomy in the process. If he betrayed her, she'd
kill him, but she could no longer deceive herself into believing that she could
control how much she loved and needed him. She had lost him once, and had
believed herself condemned to bitter loneliness for the rest of her days. She
was NOT going to loose him again!

They lay entangled together for nearly an hour, neither speaking, when Ares
broke the silence, his previous thoughts again weighting heavily on him.
"As happy as I am with you, like this, neither of us would stay happy with
only mortality ahead of us. There is still much more to the universe to
conquer, you know? Olympus for starters. With you at my side, Old Zeus won't
know what hit him!" Ares chuckled, contentedly.

Xena nuzzled his bare chest and sighed. "Old Zeus won't know anything.
He's dead. All the gods are dead; those from other lands as well as your
family," Xena said, running a hand through Ares bangs as her words sank

"How?" Ares asked, a flurry of emotion, lead by shock, written in his

"I had the same thought you just did. That the known world wasn't enough,
that I should conquer the heavens as well. So I had a trained dog retrieve the
Chakram of Light, because an animal's soul is always pure, and I started in the
Norse Lands, working my way south, eliminating Gods as I went. I offered most
of your family a choice, to betray your father and follow me. You, Strife,
Apollo, and your mother joined me, and we defeated your father and the rest,
but not before your father escaped. He foune lae last of the golden hind, and
claimed her blood, then snuck into this fortress and killed Hera, Apollo, and
Strife in their sleep. He set his sites on you next, disguising himself as a
guard, but he never counted on me knowing all my guards personally. I weeded
him out and had him trapped. I decided to let you make the kill, since it was
you he had tried to murder, and stood back. He had an extra dagger hidden in
his vest. Neither of us knew it, but before you could strike, he had buried it
in your chest! I swear, I went crazy and hacked him to pieces with his own
sword, but it was too late! You were already dead!" Xena sobbed, burying
her head against Ares shoulder, as the painful memory assailed her.

Ares pulled Xena close, holding her against him. He felt numb, but he knew he
couldn't be angry with her. She was more family to him than his own had ever
been and he loved her. The knowledge that she had needed to avenge his death
filled him with euphoria, and he hugged her even tighter, running his fingers
through her hair, to comfort her. He let her continue to cry until she had worn
herself down to weeping softly against his bare shoulder. Then he placed his
large hands at the sides of her head, bringing her eyes to meet his.

"You are a warrior, a conqueror! Never loose sight of that, My Dearest,
and NEVER regret what you do for that power!" Ares counseled, the force of
his conviction stirring Xena almost at the cellular level. He kissed her salty
cheeks, trailing back to her now smiling lips. The look in her eyes almost made
him weep, and he would have been happy to never leave this bed again.

"Ares!" a commanding voice boomed through the vast bedroom, and both
Ares and Xena jumped, turning to look behind them.

"I thought I'd killed you, skewered you on a blade of Hind's blood! You
must really be a glutton for punishment!" Xena purred, then quickly
flipped off her bed, grabbing an item from underneath it. She raised her hand,
which held the Chakram of Light, and smiled at the weary expression on the King
of the God's face.

"I came to talk to my son," Zeus stated firmly, looking past Xena's
shoulder to where Ares sat up in her bed, smirking devilishly.

Xena was uncertain, her mind running through the myriad of potential situations
and consequences of his request. She didn't know this Zeus, but he was
obviously more centered and self-controlled than his deceased counterpart.
Finally she decided.

"So talk," Xena said, making it clear she had no intention of leaving
the two men alone or allowing Zeus near the bed where Ares sat. She watched the
King of the Gods intently, waiting for a sign he meant to attack.

"Xena, it's okay. My father and I may not be on the best of terms, but
we're not at the point of murdering each other just yet. It will be
alright," Ares offered, placing a hand on Xena's shoulder.

"This could be a trick, a trap to catch you vulnerable!" Xena
insisted, turning her head barely a fraction of an inch, never taking her eyes
of Zeus.

"Xena, Please. Zeus and the other Olympians of my world need me far too
much to do anything stupid. Besides, if he tries anything, I'll be ready this
time, and I ALWAYS have you to protect me," Ares jested, coming to stand
by her side and kissing her brow.

"I give you my word. I am not here to harm my son," Zeus stated,

With that, Xena sighed and nodded, fastening her golden robes around the
knee-length, black silk shift she'd been wearing, then silently left father and
son to talk.

"Charming woman," Zeus commented dryly, once Xena had left.

"She is a true goddess if I've ever met one!" Ares responded

"She is a mortal harlot, nothing more, and you do your sisters and cousins
very wrong in comparing that thing to them," Zeus rebuked, anerved that
his son would even say such a thing.

"You didn't come here to discuss Xena, whatever she may be. No, you're
here because your 'punishment' isn't going as you'd like. I'm not being
victimized or violated enough in your glorious opinion!" Ares growled at
his father.

"You've always been a smart boy, Ares. Now, if you're through playing
male-concubine for that bloodthirsty whore, you are welcome to return to our
own dimension. Your powers and your sword will be waiting for you. Call my name
when you're ready," Zeus stated, turning from his son.

"I regret to inform you that I will not be returning to that Tartarus you
call a home! I have found the life I want to lead, where I want to be, and with
whom I need to be with!" Ares stated, approaching his retreating father.

Zeus turned around, a deep laugh bubbling out. "Found your place? As a

Ares stood his ground. "Yes, although I don't plan on staying a mortal
very long," he stated, keeping his eyes on Zeus'.

"And what about your duty to the mortals of OUR world? What about your
duty to your family?!" Zeus raged, standing toe to toe with his wayward

"I'll make a new world, a new family, with Xena, and I will never forget
MY duty to MY family!" Ares rebutted, anger filling his heart. How dare
his father talk of family duty! He was never there for any of his children and
he betrayed his wife at the drop of a mortal woman's dress!

"You plan to make her immortal, to take her as wife? You must either be
insane or a first class fool! YOU trained her, molded her into what she is!
Can't you see what she's doing?! She's using you! She can't LOVE, especially
you! She sees a way to gain even more power, and you're just her means to that
end! She's beating you at your own game, Ares, and as far apart as we've grown,
even I won't relish watching you be brought low by that... woman!" Zeus
spat in shock. Ares in love? This was crazy and he had to be.

"Don't you think I've thought of that, Father? Give me some credit here!
As you said, it's my game! I invented it! Xena is using me, of that I have no
doubts! I can accept that, and I will never turn my back on her, but I also
know that she is capable of GREAT love, and this time around, I plan to be the
object of ALL her affections! She is my chosen, my piece of the mortal realm,
and she will devour the other planes of existence as she has devoured this one!
And we will be one conquering will!" Ares shouted, elated with the
possibilities ahead of him.

Zeus laughed heartily. In truth, he couldn't think of a better punishment, as the
one the Fates seemed to have set for his son. It was cruel, but judging from
Ares own words, it was just what he needed. Love never lasted forever, and its
sting was far more painful than that of a sword puncturing tender mortal flesh.
For a god, it was doubly agonizing, and Ares was plowing headlong into its
snare. Perhaps had he allowed him to fall in love as a godling, as most young
bucks did, he might have already learned that lesson with far less trouble. But
Zeus had learned millennia ago that regrets rarely got you anywhere, and
whatever the season, Ares would finally learn what he needed to.

"Alright, if you insist on pursuing this further, I can be generous. I'm
giving you a year of freedom, although I doubt you will need all of it. You
truly are a smart boy, Ares. Athena and Discord can continue to handle your
responsibilities at home until then. When you have quenched your appetite for
this temptress, call my name!" Zeus ordered, then nodded a goodbye to his
son and vanished.

* * *

Ares felt exhausted after 19 days on the road with barely any rest and being at
the Conqueror's beck and call. The woman was insatiable, and as a god,
accommodating her had been simple. Now, with a mortal body, Ares could only
hope Zeus was having a jolly good time laughing at his discomfort. Still, he
would die before showing weakness to Xena and he knew it was only another day
before they reached the mountains. Then they would retrieve his sword and he
could keep HER up all night.

As the noonday sun shone down directly above them, the caravan was stopped by a
young Amazon woman standing in the middle of the trail. While her dress and
demeanor appeared normal enough, one look in her eyes could tell you that
something was not right. There seemed to be no spark of life or consciousness
to her. When she spoke, Ares got a shiver down his spine.

"Welcome back Xena," a disturbing,py vpy voice issued from the young
woman. Ares recognized what was at play. He'd seen his mother pull this trick
hundreds of times before, but Hera was supposed to be dead on this dimensional
plane. Someone other than a god must be using the body of this recently dead
Amazon to deliver a message, the same someone who's voice issued from her lips,
but Ares had rarely seen anyone but a god pull off that trick and never very
well. Whoever this shamaness was that Xena had given his counterpart's sword
to, she must be one in a million.

"Alti? Are you in there? You've obviously changed my friend," Xena
commented, slightly confused but willing to play along. Alti had it good under
her reign. She was the most feared shamaness in the known world. She was an
ally, although Xena didn't exactly trust her. Xena the Conqueror didn't exactly
trust anybody. She had learned the hard way.

Alti. Ares had to take a deep breath at the mention of that name. He had done
his homework when it came to Xena's adventures outside of Greece, both before
and after she'd turned from him. He had been to the Fates many times and
watched her life play out in all the many exotic locals she had traveled. Alti
was a major figure in Xena's personal evolution. The witch was pure evil, and
while she had opened Xena's eyes to the mystical world, she also wanted to
steal Xena's soul, in this lifetime and forever after. Ares would NOT let that
happen! Butng mng mortal here and now he had to tread lightly.

Ares tapped Xena on the shoulder and pointed to the Amazon woman
"Zombie." he mouthed to his lover.

"What's a Zombie?" Xena asked, having never heard the word before.

"Very good, War God," the Amazon replied with it's disembodied voice.

"It's a parlor trick to the gods. You kill a mortal then insert your
spirit into the fresh corpse. It's kinda like controlling a mannequin. However
I have never seen anyone but a god do it so well," Ares complemented. A
little flattery couldn't hurt, particularly when he was addressing a woman.

"So Alti hasn't actually left her body then?" Xena asked. She had
assumed Alti had just switched bodies with someone.

"No My Love, although your friend is probably less than a mile from here,
as it's very difficult to control a zombie from long distances. Hera could do
it, but then again, Hera spent centuries practicing. She always got a kick out
of zombification! Good old Mom!" Ares laughed, reminiscing about the few
bright spots in his childhood when his mother would kill entire tribes and put
on plays for him with the bodies. He briefly wondered if he would ever see his
mother again now that she resided in the abyss of Tartarus. He did miss her.

"Right again," the voice said, only this time it came from directly
behind them. Swinging around, Ares was finally confronted with the shamaness
they had traveled so far to seek.

"Alti! It's good to see you!" Xena greeted, hopping off her pack mule
and embracing the woman who approached her.

"I know why you are here, Xena. I know you want the sword back to allow
Ares to regain its godhood. We are 3 days travel from where I have hidden it. I
will lead you," Alti stated, barely acknowledging the mortal God of War,
but looking Xena straight in the eye.

"Alright. Let's move on out!" the Conqueror commanded, returning to
her mule and informing her soldiers and her lover. Ares sighed. 3 more days
travel. 3 more days of mortality. And now he had to watch out for the witch as
well. Ares cursed under his breath and swore that once he was a god again, he
would never become mortal for any reason. Mortality was such a pain in the ass!

That night, Xena and Ares lay together in their bedroll, staring up at the
stars, in a clearing a small distance away from the rest of their party. They
had decided against using the tent. There seemed to be few insects and the sky
was perfectly clear, offering up a spectacular view. Xena had always enjoyed
looking up at the stars. Only recently she chose to share that experience with
her little bard friend instead of him. Ares shook his head. That was the other
Xena. This Xena loved him.

He looked over at his Love and sighed. No, she didn't love him, not with the
same intensity that she selflessly loved Gabrielle in the other universe.
Before he could morbidly dwell on the matter, he quickly reminded himself that
he had been here less than a month and that that Xena and Gabrielle had spent
nearly every moment of every day together for 5 years. He couldn't expect to
achieve that level of intimacy so soon. Besides, thanks to his deceased
counterpart, he already had a head start.

Without hesitation, Ares reached out and stroked Xena's cheek. He was drawn to
her like a moth to a flame. He kissed her deeply and pulled her forcefully to
him, devouring her mouth with his, while easing himself on top of his Love. She
seemed surprised at the intensity of his desire, but the way he was caressing
her told her he was feeling intense need of her right now and she couldn't help
but respond. She rarely just gave herself to a man, even before she became
ruler of the entire known world, but if Ares needed this release, she would do
anything he wanted tonight.

That night, as Ares and Xena were falling asleep after making love, Ares sensed
a watchful presence. He waited near a half hour for it to make a move, but
after that time, it merely walked away. It took Ares nearly two more hours to
fall asleep after that.

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