Be Carefull What You Wish For

BY : aeverett
Category: S through Z > Xena
Dragon prints: 2389
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 2

 

Pairing: Xena: The Conqueror/Ares

 

RATING: NC-17

 

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.

 

EMAIL: aeverett@angelfire.com

 

MY WEBSITE: http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Atlantis/4354

 

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'.


BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR: Part 2

by Arianwen P.F. Everett

The next morning, at sun up, they were on the move again. Ares hadn't even
bothered complaining, just went with the flow. 2 more days and he'd be a god
again, a god with a goddess by his side and an eternity to savor her supple
body in various and debauched ways. Ares eyes drifted to her swaying bottom as
she rode her pack mule directly in front of him and he imagined spanking her
and nipping her sweet, reddened, ass cheeks, not to mention fucking her from
behind and making her howl like all the collective of souls in Tartarus. Gods
she made him horny! And yet it was like nothing he'd ever felt before. He'd
definitely been amorous with many, many women over the ions, but after sleeping
with them a hand full of times, he always grew bored and restless. This time
things were different. But with Xena, things were always different. It was
probably the reason she turned him on in the first place, that and her superior
ass.

"I'd keep your eyes on the road, Ares. You're mortal now and a fall down
this mountain side could kill you," Xena stated plainly with only a tiny hint
of amusement in her voice. She hadn't even turned around but had felt his eyes
rake over her. It was a common enough phenomenon; she was a beautiful woman,
but with Ares it stirred something inside her and she had to say something.

Ares smirked and did as he was told. The woman commanded him in all things, at
least until he had his godhood back. Even then, she would always have an equal
hand in their relationship. He adored her; always had, always would. Her soul
might be tied to the irritating blondes', but it was also tied to his own.
Mortals had some weird notion that ones soul could only have 2 halves. A soul
could have dozens of permanent connections t. Xe. Xena's soul was also tied to
Joxer's, Alti's, Caesar's, Hercules' and Callisto's. Lifetime after lifetime
they would all find her and be in her life. It was both a comforting and
disturbing thought.

He took a deep breath and tried to concentrate on the scenery. According to the
mortals, it was breathtakingly beautiful. Ares didn't see it, but Xena had said
something to that effect when one of her personal guard had mentioned it
yesterday. If Xena could look in the mirror every morning and yet still call
something else in this world beautiful, than it had to be exceptionally so.

As the sun continued its journey west, Alti's mule sped up and came into step
beside Ares'. "War God, I think we have things we need to discuss."

"I can't speak for Xena, but I doubt she'd have a problem with you
watching like you were last night. If that's what gets you off, so be it,"
Ares jibed, but still, his heartbeat had sped up. This witch could do Xena a
lot of harm, already had if what he'd discovered about this universe was true.

"I was just confirming my suspicions. She loves you, you know?" Alti
said simply, and Ares, though he tried not to be, was drawn into the
conversation. Alti could instantaneously see into the souls of mortals, so
hiding his feelings was out of the question. He HATED feeling so powerless to
protect the woman he loved. Still, he didn't have to give Alti the pleasure of
hearing him express his feelings out loud.

"I hope so," was all Ares said in reply.

"Relax. We are on the same side. We both want what we know is best for
Xena, what she was always meant to be, and that was not what she became where
you come from," Alti stated, letting her words sink in and watching the
now mortal God of War for his reaction to them.

"And it's all my fault that she became what she did, is that it?"
Ares responded sarcastically. How many times had he blamed his early fumbling
on the rift created between himself and Xena, and Alti just pulled that
self-doubt out of thin air to hurl in his face.

"Not all your fault, War God. There were several OTHERS involved in that
Xena's downfall," Alti admitted. Ares, God of War, always was the master
manipulator in any dimension he inhabited. He might be temporarily mortal but
that didn't dull his mind and she sensed that, in his own universe, he'd been
mortal sometime before. The Ares she had known, before Zeus had killed him, had
been too open for that. This Ares was guarded like most mortals were. He may
not be its champion now, but he knew how to play the game.

"So, who is the little blonde woman?" Alti asked honestly.

"Little blonde woman? I think you must mean, Gabrielle," Ares
answered once he understood what he was being asked.

The name sounded right. Alti had only discovered snippets of the other Xena's
life after several grueling trances she's taken herself into these past 4
nights. The blonde was the predominant figure, but the War God was there often
enough to make Alti realize his significance in that Xena's life. And the War
God did not like the little blonde woman, Gabrielle, nor she him. That fact had
been made abundantly clear in her visions. They were bitter enemies in a war
for that Xena's soul and they each had much to loose. The little blonde, who
was a great force of goodness and generosity of spirit, had even taken to
enjoying cruelty whenever she and that Xena bested Ares as they often did.
While Alti could respect that cruelty, that mocking of the powerfulty wty who
was so besotted by Xena in any universe, she was far too wise a Shamaness to
get greedy and try to turn such a spirit as this Gabrielle. The rewards would
be almost infinite, but so would the energy expended and the risk in dealing
with such an independently strong spirit. Turning the girl would take more from
anyone than they'd ever receive. A wise human knew when it was time to cut your
losses, kill your opponent quickly, and move on. The gods enjoyed the drama too
much.

"She is powerful in her own way. She is a threat to the Xena we both...
admire so much," Alti admitted.

Ares chuckled. "Figure that out by yourself, did you? Well, you're right.
She can fight well enough. She is an Amazon Queen after all, although she
rarely resides with her tribe. She is so small and so relatively unskilled and
yet she has this power over Xena. that Xena anyway," Ares finished,
bitterness creeping into his voi
&
"An Amazon Queen. Interesting," Alti commented, deep in thought.

"Yeah. If I remember my Xena history well enough, you were an Amazon once
weren't you?" Ares asked, knowing the answer. He could teach a course in
Xena he knew her life history and those who were close to her so well.

"A long time ago. I was young and na´ve," Alti replied
noncommittally.

"Then you and Gabrielle have more in common than just Xena," Ares
said offhand.

"You know this Gabrielle better than I. What tribe was she born to? Who
were her parents? Does she have any more children, other than that demon girl
you bedded? If I am going to find this little nuisances' counterpart in this
universe and keep her away from Xena, I need to know more about her," Alti
admitted, hating to admit he weaknesses, but needing the information.

"You don't need to worry about her. Gabrielle is dead in this universe.
Xena had her crucified for trying to start a rebellion in Corinth just over two
years ago. She even had her legs broken, as an example to anyone else who might
be considering a rebellion against Xena: The Conqueror!" Ares informed the
witch, perverse glee written all over his face.

Alti sighed with concern. This girl was Xena's primary attachment in any
lifetime, what most people called a soulmate. That she had meant so little in the
Conqueror's destiny was impossible. There had to be some connection that she
was not seeing and Alti did not like surprises. She preferred life to be
predictable, like the War God's arrival. She had felt the power of his father
put him here and once she had learned whom he was, she had known immediately
that he and possibly Xena would come looking for his sword. This girl was
dangerous to begin with. Alti had to find out what role she was meant to play
to the Conqueror or all their dreams could go up in smoke.

"How did your Xena first loose her way and become a self righteous do-
gooder? I recall a tall, muscular, dark blonde man was involved. I sensed he
was part god, but I have never seen him before, and he isn't part of this
universe," Alti said, trying to sound more confident than she felt.

This man had also perplexed her. He had stood out in her visions. He wasn't as
near or important to Xena as this Gabrielle or the War God, but Alti could tell
he was not meant to be on this dimensional plane, yet he was meant to be in
Xena's life. Paradoxes always meant the most grave trouble. Every Shamaness
knew that.

"Ah, Hercules, my favorite bastard half-brother! You needn't worry about
him either, Alti. His never being born is what makes this world so glorious!"
Ares shouted, euphoric at realizing how wonderful this world was.

Alti couldn't help but chuckle as the whole caravan turned their heads in
confusion. When his eyes met Xena's slightly annoyed ones, he blushed and shook
his head. Despite the temporary amusement what she was learning was not good at
all. She suddenly got a horrid thought.

"This universe was created artificially wasn't it? Someone went back in
time from your world and tampered with your brother's birth, didn't they?"
Alti suddenly deduced in horror.

"Yes, 2 psycho goddesses, Callisto and that demon daughter of Gabrielle's
you saw, Hope. Finally those two did something right for a change," Ares
explained.

"Don't get so cocky, War God! While it may seem advantageous on the
surface, it will ultimately be the destruction of this entire universe and a
general collapse of most others. Only one dimension could survive and that
dimension would only continue by being devoid of magic or any other divine
elements. In essence, we'd ALL loose our powers. We'd probably never even exist
in such a world. We'd be lucky if we become the stuff of myth and legend!"
Alti explained with urgency bordering on desperation, letting the morbidity of
her prophecy be absorbed.

"Then, when I get my powers back, we shall have to do something about it.
I can't really do much in this mortal body!" Ares informed, rolling his
eyes.
s eas earlier feeling of helplessness had returned. He remembered asking Xena,
when she was trapped in Callisto's body, a few years back, how mortals got from
day to day with so many life threatening dangers popping up every minute. Now
he was back to asking that question and no closer to the answers than he was
when he was swinging over the fire pit with walls of razor sharp spikes closing
around him.

Once he was a god again, he and Xena would figure out something. They always
did. That gave Ares the comfort he needed to get away from the Witch and her
prophesies of doom. They would still have to deal with it when the immediate
crisis was over, but then Xena and Ares, the King and Queen of the Gods, would
figure out something with or without Shamaness Alti's help.

That figured out, Ares unceremoniously kicked his mule into a faster gate and
went to catch up with his beloved. He needed to be near her again, to gain
support after such ominous warnings. As much as he had promised he wouldn't let
her do so, Alti had rattled him.

As he settled his animal into step beside Xena she barely looked over at him,
but a smile still came to her face. "So, have a good chat with Alti?"

"Yes and no, but that is how all chats Sha Shamans and their like go. If
she had given me a direct answer, then I would have had to worry," Ares
replied with a lightheartedness he did not feel. The end of the universe as he
knew it was a heady topic for anyone to digest.

Xena chuckled, but could feel the unease radiating from the god she loved. She
remembered back to her first meeting with Alti and figured the woman had yet to
learn tact and discretion. She really had to talk with the Shamaness about
that. She slowed her mule and Ares did the same as to afford them more privacy.
They looked into each other's eyes. "So, I guess she told you about the
baby?"

Ares was thrown for a loop. "What baby?"

The Conqueror's hand strayed to her flat belly and Ares' eyes bulged, right
before he fell from his ass onto his ass. The whole caravan stopped, laughter
filling the canyon they traveled. The great God of War couldn't stay on a
donkey!

"You're pregnant?!!!" was all Ares could squawk, both stunned and
hopeful. Perhaps they had already started on the new pantheon of gods. If she
confirmed what she had just alluded to, it would be icing on the cake for Ares.

"Yep," Xena said proudly, again patting her stomach happily, as Ares
got up and pulled her in for a major kiss. The universe really was perfect now!

* * *

While Ares was ecstatically happy, he knew that he now had to be more vigilant
than ever. The idea of becoming Xena's husband had been solely pleasurable, for
even though he knew he'd always have to watch his back for a double-cross, that
was second nature to him after all his centuries on Olympus. But Xena could
take care of herself in a fight. A baby could not. Now he was going to be not
only a husband but a father as well. He had to make sure nothing terrible
happened to his little family and that history didn't repeat itself. He still
had oard ard to play, and he meant to play it, as he entered Alti's tent.

Alti could feel the protective instinct and buried fear twisting in Ares gut
and she took a minute to breath deeply and savor the feeling. "You wish to
speak with me War God?"

"Actually, it's more like a warning. Keep away from Xena and our
child!" Ares threatened in his most intimidating voice. Warlords kissed
their butts goodbye to that tone. The Witch didn't even flinch.

"Why would I want to harm Xena or your daughter-to-be, Xena's heir and
very much her mother's daughter?" Alti replied, watching the joy flicker
in Ares eyes.

He'd tried to hide it, but he had been hoping for a daughter, one who was as
merciless and brutal, yet loving and compassionate, all in the same breath, as
her beautiful mother could be.

She was trying to distract him. Focus. For his family he had to focus. "I
don't know why you'd want to harm my child or the woman I plan to make my wife,
but I don't know why you felt a need to curse Solan the way you did. It sure
didn't keep Xena on her true path in my world, now did it?" Ares remarked
bitterly.

"Ah, so you know about that? And the Conqueror, does she know?"

"No. What good would it do to tell her? You are a powerful alley. If she
found out you cursed her son before his birth, she'd kill you as surely as she
killed you in my world, and you are not the type to go down without a fight.
You'd find some way to wreak havoc with our family, even from beyond the
grave," Ares remarked matter of factly, sitting down at the small table in
Alti's tent. He felt no bitterness or betrayal in the fact. It was just Alti's
nature to backstab, as it was his nature to dominate and command.

Alti smiled. She had been thinking the same thing.

"However, I will make Xena fully aware of what you did if you even attempt
to harm us or our child and when I get myers ers back, I will search the globe
to find another Shaman or Shamaness to make sure you NEVER place any kind of
hex on us, else you will find yourself in the deepest, darkest pit of Tartarus.
I will make you immortal and you will remain in that pit forever, never to be
reincarnated or escape. Do I make myself clear?!" Ares growled
threateningly.

"Perfectly. However, you should be thanking me for getting rid of the boy
for you. If it wasn't for his death, Xena would never have allowed herself to
become attached to your counart art in this universe and thus you," Alti
explained, bemused that this powerless god thought he could threaten her.

At that moment, Ares felt torn in two directions. Half of him wanted to do just
what Alti had said, thank her for taking one of the major influences to Xena
becoming a hero out of his way. The other wanted to rip the witch apart limb by
limb, slowly, painfully, for her having hurt his Love so deeply. While she was
probably right and it had been Solan's death that had set his counterpart and
The Conqueror down the road from basic lust to true love, he had also learned
from Xena's ladies in waiting exactly how Solan had died in this universe,
trying to protect his wounded guardian, Kaleipus in the final battle which had
eradicated the Centaur Nation. Xena had been so radiantly happy that morning
before the battle, as she was finally going to be able to reclaim her child
after 11 years apart from him and bring an heir to her newly completed Empire.
And then, when the old Centaur had fallen, Solan had rushed to his side and one
of Xena's own men had run him through. Ares shuddered to think how Xena had
disposed of this soldier. Both this Xena and the Xena from his own universe
were masters in the art of torture, but if this man had killed his Beloved's
child, he deserved every moment of pain and suffering he'd experienced and far
more.

"That may be, but I've said my peace and I swey thy the River Styx, I will
honor it! YOU will not harm one hair on the heads of MY family or you'll suffer
the same fate, or worse, that you suffered in my dimension, and I believe you
already know what that is!" Ares swore with tightly controlled anger. He
then turned on his heels to exit the tent.

"I have no intention of hurting your family, War God. I know what you
think of me, but I am far more like you than you care to admit. We should work
together. We have to if we are to survive!" Alti returned directly. She
wanted to smack the former god upside the head for his posturing and assuming
he knew what went on inside her complex mind, but she knew that would do more
harm than good. He didn't know the first thing about evil. He knew greed and
hate and vengeance and spite, but true evil he couldn't even begin to
comprehend. But his understanding wasn't necessary. He had his own motives, but
his desired end result was similar to her own. However, she now remembered why
she had joined the Amazons so long ago; no male egos to contend with.

Ares continued stalking out of the tent and didn't look back.

When he entered his own tent, he was forced to the ground and had his hands
chained behind his back. A smile spread across his face. Xena wanted to play!
Then another thought hit him, something he'd rarely encountered, a doubt.
"Xena, the baby?"

"Will be fine. I've been pregnant before, you know? I know how far I can go,"
she reassured him, biting his right earlobe, and running her hands down his
muscular arms and giving the binding chains a tug.

Right then, he said the only thing he could say "Yes Mistress."

Xena flipped him onto his back and straddled his hips. She looked deep into his
eyes he thought he would die from lack of oxygen. She was perfection, and he
couldn't breathe from awe of her. That was until she slipped her hand down his
pants and gave him a gentle squeeze. Then he was breathing hard and fast, his eyes
rolling back into his head. He could feel her building the excitement in him,
stroking his hardening member, while slowly removing his clothes, and he
believed he must be in paradise.

Just when he thought he would come just from her touch alone, she stopped,
standing before him and smiling wickedly. She removed her armor and leathers
and unpinned her hair. She caressed her breasts, and ran her hands down her
soft, remarkably scar-free body. Ares sighed, watching her. She then climbed on
top of him, his face between her legs. He could smell her musky scent and
breathed her in deeply. He knew what she wanted. She wanted him to tongue her
to orgasm, to lick and suck her off, and she liked the idea that he could in no
way satisfy himself till she dained to administer to his needs. She was greedy
and power hungry, probably seeking to reassert herself in their relationship
after last night's mutual lovemaking, but he didn't care. He loved 'The
Conqueror' in her. And he loved to eat her out and watch her shriek with
pleasure.

Licking the outer folds of her, he set to work teasing her. He knew it would
drive her crazy, but he wanted her to know that he wasn't just going to be her
willing puppy dog. If she thought that, she'd eventually grow tired of him and
he didn't want to wind up like his mother, watching the person he was totally
in love with screw every available member of the opposite sex century after
century, while being unable to do anything about it. Just the thought of Hera
and sharing her fate took some of the ardor out of him, which was a good thing.
He might not have lasted much longer with his Xena moaning like she was at his
tongue's ationsions. The sound alone was turning him on.

He slowly began to circle Xena's clit and she hissed in erotic agony, grinding
her hips against his face to encourage his movements toward the swollen little
button of her pleasure. He then moved his mouth down to her sweet hole and
started lapping up her juices, frustrating her. She had been extremely close
and they both knew it. Now he was retreating to her annoyance. He tongued her
opening, and started fucking her orally and she started riding his mouth and
keening with pleasure again, making Ares smile against her pussy. He loved to
make her go nonverbal. Finally he planted on final kiss on her opening, and
took her sweet clit into his mouth, sucking deeply on it and occasionally
flicking his tongue against it. She came like a stampede of wild horses and
Ares continued licking at hlit,lit, wanting her pleasure to last as long as
possible.

Xena collapsed against Ares, moving her body back down his own until her brow
was against his hard, muscled chest, and holding him tightly. His hands were
still bound behind him, but he didn't mind the extra pressure on them. Xena was
clinging to him, having cried out his name when she came. Life was good. But it
wboutbout to get better.

Xena began kissing his chest, biting his nipple, and making him shout in
pleasure. Her cool hands rubbed his hips and her lips trailed down his stomach
to his groin. She kissed her way up the inside of his left thigh, and Ares
could feel his member straining for the feel of her mouth. Xena laughed
throatily at his expression, but Ares was too concentrated on intense
sensations as her tongue began systematically licking his balls. The woman
could tease him out of his mind! It was one of the things he loved about her.

"Xena, Please!" Ares ground out as Xena sucked one of his testicles
partially into her mouth and sucked hard till Ares eyes rolled up into his head
with pleasure and a little pain mixed in.

"Please what?" Xena asked deviously. She wanted him to beg and he
knew she'd never give him what he wanted till he did. He knew from experience
that she could keep a man on the edge for days, teasing and pulling him back
hour after hour till he said the words she wanted to here.

"Suck me! Suck me off!" Ares grunted, his cock feeling so engorged
that he feared he would explode.

"Whatever you say," was all he heard as her warm, wet mouth descended
on him, gliding down his shaft, inch by inch, until he was all the way down her
throat. He'd never had a woman take all of him till he'd met Xena. She
definitely had more skills in the bedroll than she even had outside of it, and
Ares sat straight up with the force of his ardor.

He watched, fascinated as she pumped her mouth up and down while still
maintaining a nice suction. Gods she was good!

Her sucking became more forceful and Ares knew he wouldn't last much longer. He
could feel his load pooling in his tightening balls and when he felt her teeth
begin to gently graze along the head of his cock, his hips bucked twice and he
came with a loud growl, shooting his cum deep into her mouth. When he finally
came down off the ceiling and looked in her eyes again, she swallowed, licked
her lips, and winked at him playfully, before scurrying away to a table in the
corner of the tent and retrieving the key to the lock on the chains.

The Conqueror unbound Ares and he pulled her into his arms, hugging the woman
who held his heart. Both satisfied and blissfully happy, they had nearly fallen
asleep right there on the command tent's rug, when Ares instinctively murmured,
"I love you, Xena."

And they both shot up instantaneously in shock.

Ares could not believe he had said it! How could have been so stupid? Now it
was too late to take it back! Xena didn't love himitheither the Xena of his own
universe or the Xena of this one! He had just tipped his hand in a moment of
bliss! He never did that! He was terrified of the mocking remark that was sure
to follow.

But it never came. Instead, the silence between them stretched on, until Xena
reached out and cupped his face in her hands and kissed him gently, yet
passionately, on the lips.

"I never truly believed I could love anyone, except maybe my family when I
was young, but. I love you too, Ares," she said nervously.

And then they fell into each other's arms without another word. They kissed
over and over, each feeling so in love with the other that they thought they
might cry with joy. Ares finally broke the kiss, looking Xena in the eyes,
needing to tell her more of what was in his heart.

"I've never told anyone I loved them before, but I love you! You are
everything I've ever wished for or wanted in a woman! You are my life! I want
to spend eternity loving you and raising children with you, and even should our
children overthrow us like Zeus did the Titans or Chronos did Uranos, dieing
beside you! I love you more than you can possibly imagine, and I want you to be
my wife! Will you marry me?" Ares asked, tears forming in hies. es.

"Yes, I'll marry you! I'll be your wife!" The Conqueror insisted,
nodding with tears springing to her own eyes. She had thought she would never
have the luxury of love, but now she was overflowing with it. She wanted
nothing more than to bind herself to this man, to spend eternity with him, to
be everything he had promised they'd be and more.

Again, Ares pulled her into his arms, and they made love again, only this time
there were no games or power struggles. There was only complete love and
complete trust and Ares and Xena knew it would remain that way forever.

* * *

The next morning, Ares awoke before his fiancÚ and smirked. His fiancÚ; he
liked the sound of that. He liked the sound of 'his wife' better, but that
would come soon enough. Depending on how far they had to travel, possibly even
today. Well, he guess he should start doing all those sappy things men in love
were supposed to do. He thought about it and finally remembered hearing
Aphrodite mention at the last family breakfast how Hephestus often brought her
breakfast in bed. Well, it was worth a shot. He knew Xena well enough not to
bother with flowers or candy. She hated flowers and even if he could get a hold
of some candy out here in the middle of nowhere, he also knew her well enough
to know she didn't eat sweets while campaigning. So it would have to be
breakfast in bed.

He left the tent and made his way to the cooking fire. The men were swarming
about at this early hour, preparing to leave when ordered. The younger men
mostly bowed respectfully, but one or two he had seen before in Xena's camp
back when Xena had been a warlord gave him knowing looks. He realized that he
and Xena had been a little loud last night, and he shook his head, waving to
them as he passed.

When he got to the cooking fire, he smiled at the middle aged woman they had
brought with them to prepare their meals and she blushed furiously, whether
from her own attraction to him or because she too had heard them last night, he
did not know. Either way, it was best to get down to business. "Two plates
and don't be skimpy, one of them is for The Conqueror."

&;Ah,;Ah, keepin' the Mistress up all night, were ye? No need to worry. Her
babe will be healthy and strong, and that evil witch won't be getting her hands
on your little lass. I'll be making sure of that. No need to worry at
all," the woman promised in a strong brogue he recognized as the accent of
the people of Eire.

"Are you a Shamaness? What are you doing as a lowly cook?" Ares asked
astounded. If this woman had enough power to thwart Alti, she could easily be
free herself.

"I go where I'm needed, God of War, Sir, even between the roads, as you
put it. Where ever those like that witch seek too much power. I almost had to pay
a visit to you a couple of times, like the recent one that your father sent you
here for in the first place. That was quite naughty of you! You should not have
tried to steal the Chakram of Light. It was not meant for one such as
you," the middle-aged woman warned Ares, her eyes glowing, one pure white
and one blacker than obsidian. Ares felt the immense power of this woman, even
more powerful than Zeus, and he stepped back in fear.

"Whoa! I've learned my lesson! No more naughty plans to eliminate the other
gods. Gotcha," Ares assured the woman, raising his hands in surrender, and
giving her his most disarming smile he could muster.

The woman laughed deeply at this, her eyes alight with tears. "Oh, you do
an old woman's heart good, God of War. No, I do not wish you to stop trying,
Dear. You might as well ask the sun not to shine or the eagle not to fly. Your
quest for power is part of who you are. I would not deny anyone that, not even
the evil witch herself. But by the same right, I would not let her destroy all
that is. I am just assuring you that whatever happens today, your baby girl
will be fine, and such a pretty little one too. She will drive them boys wild!
But be careful, I fear she'll have her mother's dangerous taste in men when she
grows up," the old cook informed, clapping her hands together with
certainty.

Ares looked at the woman and rubbed his beard trying to discover just what she
was. He wracked his brain for all the beings he'd ever learned about that would
have such abilities as this one possessed. He particularly concentrated on the
land of Eire, but nothing came to him, except possibly those mysterious Druid
Spirits, but no one on Olympus really knew anything much about them, and while
they were ancient, they seemed to prefer to keep to themselves, unlike most
gods did.

"Don't even try to figure it out, God of War. Just remember my words. And
as for your earlier request, here. Piping hot," tomanoman said, handing
him two steaming, full dishes and utensils.

"Thanks," Ares responded, uneasily. He definitely had to do some
research when he made it back to Olympus, his Olympus that was, his and Xena's.
A smile spread across his face as he thought of their plans.

"Like I said, you might as well ask the sun not to shine. Now go back to
your Lady Love before the food gets cold," the woman teased, shaking her
head.

Ares gave the woman one more quick inspection trying to place her, but after
failing, he nodded and did as he was told.

As he neared the tent, he heard a familiar war cry and dropped the dishes,
running as fast as he could.

"Guards!" Xena's voice rang out from inside the tent and her men
joined Ares in his run.

Just as he approached the tent, he saw an all too familiar mop of blonde hair
exit from the back entrance and take to the trees. He considered giving chase
but saw two archers start shooting at the fleeing figure. If it was who he
thought it was, he should have nothing to fear. Gabrielle couldn't hurt Xena in
any universe, could she? Then he remembered what Xena: The Conqueror had done
to this world's Gabrielle and his heart beat erratically as he finally entered
the tent.

And then it stopped. Everything stopped. Ares would never figure out why this
came to mind, but he suddenly remembered something Callisto had once said
"And everybody died that day."

And Ares felt as if he himself was dieing, as he held the bleeding Xena in his
arms. She had been stabbed in the upper part of her stomach, and he could tell
the wound would be fatal if no one intervened. He suddenly thought of the
cooking woman.

"I'm going to get help. Don't you die on me, Xena! Don't you die on me!
Just hang in there for a few more minutes! I'm getting help!" Ares
frantically ordered as he gently placed her into the hands of one of her
generals and went outside. The cooking woman was no where to be found, but he
did see Alti approaching with a wounded Gabrielle in tow, an arrow sticking out
of her shoulder precariously close to her jugular vein.

"So, the little blonde bitch is dead, is she? She looks quite well for
someone who was crucified two years ago!" Alti accused, throwing Gabrielle
at Ares, who caught her in a murderous grip.

"If she dies, you die!" Ares swore, looking straight into Gabrielle's
eyes. They were so hard and cold that Ares became even more infuriated. He had
not wanted to believe it, but it was obvious the way she smirked that she had
been the attacker.

"I came here knowing I would probably die, but at least I'm taking that
monster with me! I and my Amazon sisters will be avenged!" Gabrielle spat,
actually spitting in Xena's direction.

Alti looked Xena over and then used pressure points on Xena's side and chest.
"There. That will slow the bleeding and ease the pain, but I can't save
her. She has maybe a half hour now, unless you can do something God of
War."

"The cook woman, the one with the accent from Eire, where is she?"
Ares asked excitedly, then exited the tent, looking towards the fire. The woman
was still nowhere to be seen.

"What are you talking about? What does it matter where the cooking servant
is? Xena was stabbed, not poisoned!" Alti asked, frustrated.

"Because she's not just a cook woman. She's some kind of powerful,
dimension-crossing, Shamaness or force of destiny or something. She knew about
the baby and the reasons behind my exile in this universe. Now where is
she?" Ares asked, insistently.

"That could be what woke me up. I felt a powerful force outside, but then
it disappeared. If it was her, she's gone, and we don't have time to wait on
her. What about your family? Could they help?" Alti asked, trying to think
about alternative ways to save Xena. Her mind was blank. This was the way of
bloodshed, and she was a Shamaness. She could feed off the pain inflicted but
she could not stop it or cure it's cause.

Ares considered this, then quickly straitened himself up. He'd have to humble
himself, but Xena was worth it. "Zeus! Zeus!"

A moment later the King of the Gods appeared, and looked around him, then
looked at his wayward son. He could smell the desperation in him.

"Zeus, Father, please help me! I'll give you anything you ask, just please
save Xena! An assassin stabbed her and as a mortal I can't help her. Please
heal her! Please!" Ares begged, falling to his knees and grabbing the hem
of his father's long robes.

Zeus looked at his son and his own heart was breaking. As much as he and his
son had grown apart, Zeus could not completely banish all feeling towards any
of his children, even this one. But a good parent sometimes had to let their
child know pain, to suffer, in order to learn a vital lesson. This was one of
those times. This was the lesson of love, weakness and dependency, and War
could not afford either. Ares would bounce back in time, stronger and darker
than ever. It was his destiny, but for now, they would both suffer, Ares for
his loss of this woman, and Zeus for his child being ravaged by the agonies of
heartbreak. "m som sorry Ares, but I can't heal her. She is mortal. She must
die. I can't spare you this pain without causing you irreparable harm, without
shielding you from the truth, and I will not do that."

Suddenly three other flashes of light appeared, and Aphrodite, Cupid, and
Athena stood at the entrance of the tent.

"Cut the life lessons crap, Daddy! The woman Ar majorly loves is DYING!
You've got to like save her!" Aphrodite defended, stomping her pink
slipper and scrunching her face up.

"I agree, Father. It would do Ares good to have this Xena by his side. He
might learn something from her," Athena stated, eyeing her brother with
sympathy. While this Xena was not the Xena of her universe, whom Athena admired
for her path to redemption, she was a good leader and soldier. She may have
been Ares pupil but even here she had never lost her compassion. She had
commissioned public hospitals and mandatory public schooling for all children.
She had set up training programs for widows and those out of work. She had and
was in the process of building better roads all over her empire, and fixing and
founding municipal services. While brutal and absolute in her governing, she
was the wisest mortal leader either dimensional plane had ever seen, and if she
continued in this capacity, Athena truly believed that she would lead her world
to peace and enormous prosperity.

Ares looked at his siblings and his nephew with gratitude.

"No, I can't allow this woman to be healed and that is final. Anyone who
does so I will personally throw into the abyss of Tartarus where you can keep
your mother company. When this harlot is dead, I will return your powers Ares,
but not before! You might try to save her at the expense of your immortality
and I cannot allow that either. Our world needs a God of War," Zeus stated
with finality. Then, just as quickly a'd 'd appeared, he disappeared.

"NO! Come back! Please, FATHER!!!" Ares screamed in primal agony. He
couldn't believe what was happening. It all seemed so surreal. He had finally
found, after 11,000 years of existence, the love of his life and his father
would just let her die? He hated the bastard more now than he ever had before
and he renewed a vow he had made 7,000 years ago to live to see him dead,
preferably as Zeus had seen Chronos dead!

"By the gods, what am I going to do?" Ares asked, as Athena,
Aphrodite, and Cupid came to kneel down beside the God of War.

"You'll survive, Ares. I know you will," Athena stated, patting his
back supportively. She was a warrior like him, and while she could see
Aphrodite and Cupid itching to hug and cuddle Ares, she knew he wouldn't
appreciate it.

"Yeah Bro, you'll be okay. It's gonna hurt lots, but you always have me
and Cupie and Hephy. Remember that okay? Don't try to handle this alone,"
Aphrodite offered, tears formin her her own beautiful eyes.

"I'm sorry I'll not become your wife or have our baby," Xena said,
her voice little more than a whisper.

When Lyseus had died, Xena had come to realize the closeness of death and
unlike most warriors, she accepted her. She'd even spared Celesta when she
massacred the gods. She wasn't afraid of death, and death was often her closest
companion. She just wished she could have given life to her child with Ares.
She hated that her baby would die with her, but there was nothing that could be
done.

"There maybe a way to remedy both situations," Alti broke into the
calm that had begun to form over the sad gathering.

"He doesn't need your council, Witch!" Athena responded curtly.

Ares hated when Athena tried to run his life. He knew she meant well, but he
wanted to know what Alti meant. They both had investments here. Her advice
might be worth something, and it couldn't hurt to listen. "I'll be the
judge of that. Go on."

"Well, it takes an unborn child at the stage Xena's is in fifteen to
twenty minutes to die inside of a dead mother. If you call your father
immediately after she dies, get your powers back, then get rid of him quickly
enough, you can save the child using your powers. You can make a place inside
yourself to store the child till you can find a woman willing to carry her to
term," Alti offered, seeing the light spring to Xena's eyes at the hope
this provided her.

"Yes, Ares. Do it. Save our baby, please!" Xena begged, her eyes
imploring the man she loved to save her child. She prayed for the first time in
20 years that his love for her would make him do as she asked.

"Ofcourse my love. Anything. I'll take her and raise her to be strong like
her mother. I promise you!" Ares swore, nodding as tears began to fall.

"And as for the marriage, you can marry her now, before she dies. If the
blonde assassin, Gabrielle, performs the ceremony and gives her blessing to
your union, then your soul and Xena's will be knitted together for eternity, in
all universes. She will be as conjoined to you in every future life as she is
to her primary soulmate," Alti informed, smiling sinisterly. It would be good
to have an ally in every future lifetime in keep Xena dark and ruthless. Ares
would provide that and protect Xena from Gabrielle's influence. Then Alti would
always have a stronger sway over Xena. Yes, this would work in her favor.

"Ares, don't do it! That Witch has something up her sleeve. Just look at
her!" Athena pleaded. She knew enough about metaphysics to understand
Alti's logic. Her brothowevowever wouldn't care about Alti's motives in future
incarnations. He'd believe himself strong enough to handle her and protect
Xena. Gods, Athena despised her herher's ego. She knew he'd go along with the
plan, but she had to at least try to make him see reason, even if it fell on
deaf ears.

Ares smiled sadly at the woman he had wanted to share eternity with as husband
and wife and who'd maybe see 5 minutes in that bond. "Xena, Love, will you
marry me now?"

"Yes," Xena said, smiling as brightly as she could.

"Aphrodite, we'll need a wedding bracelet and rings. I want to have rings
like Zeus and Hera had," Ares insisted, smiling comfortingly at his dieing
Queen of the Gods.

"Anything for you Bro. Oh, this is so beautiful!" Aphrodite said,
using her power to materialize the items requested. As the Goddess of Love and
the wife of Hephestus, she had an all access pass to wedding items. This set
was specially made by her husband himself for a couple she favored who were
supposed to get married tomorrow. She'd have to have Hephy make another set in
time. He'd probably have to stay up half the night, but once he heard the
reason behind the rush job, she knew he wouldn't complain or be mad at her at
all.

"Bring the girl back in!" Alti barked the order, as two guards led
the still wounded Gabrielle back into the tent.

Cupid shook his head sadly while Aphrodite gasped in horror when they saw the
Conqueror's killer. Neither could believe Gabby could kill Xena in cold blood,
not any Gabby!

Ares stood before the young blonde Amazon and gave her his most intimidating
sneer. "You will be performing a wedding, Amazon! If you do not, you will
be executed. If you do well, and give the Conqueror and myself your blessing,
the Conqueror will spare your life as her last official act. Do you
understand?"

Gabrielle looked at him shocked, but then shook her head. "Whatever you say.
It's your business if you want to marry that Murderer!"

"Look who's talking, a cowardly assassin! Now do your job!" Ares
demanded, pushing Gabrielle into view of Xena, while Aphrodite raised the
Conqueror to look at her.

Xena laughed bitterly. "I thought I had crucified you little girl."

"You did, but I had Amazon friends who took me dowat nat night and saved
me. You were once crucified in the same way, by Caesar, were you not?"
Gabrielle asked noncommittally.

Ares couldn't believe it. Xena crucifies the Bitch. The Bitch stabs Xena to
death, and in the last few moments of life, they're getting along again. The
Fates must really hate him. "Gabrielle, start the ceremony!"

"How did you know my name?" Gabrielle asked.

"That's not important. Do you want to live or do I execute you right
here?" Ares questioned threateningly.

"We have all been called here today to witness this union between Ares:
God of War and Xena: The Conqueror. Marriage isommiommitment of ones soul and
should not be entered into lightly. If there is anyone present who can give
reason why these two shall not be joined together, speak now or be forever
silent," Gabrielle paused.

After looking around for a moment, she continued. &qAresAres: God of War, in
the name of your father, Zeus, do you take this woman for your wife?"

"Yes, I do," Ares stated with more certainty than he'd ever said
anything else in his life.

"And Xena, in the name of the Goddess Hera, Mother to us all, do you take
this god to be your husband?" Gabrielle asked, for the first time in over
two years looking Xena in the eye. The person there was different than she had
been and Gabrielle cursed her soft heart. The Conqueror had murdered thousands
of her Amazon sisters, and yet part of her regretted having stabbed her. She felt
connected to this woman, the Conqueror, somehow, and always had. When she had
ruthlessly condemned her to crucifixion, Gabrielle had felt deeply, if
unfairly, betrayed somehow. She knew it was crazy, but it was how she felt. She
had done what had to be done, and she refused to continue this line of thinking
and give herself regrets. She had another chance, once this wedding was
completed and she would not blow it.

"I do. I love you, Ares," Xena affirmed, smiling up at the man she
loved.

"Ares, place the wedding bracelet on Xena's wrist," Gabrielle
instructed. Ares did so, holding his loves hand tightly. He also places his
ring upon her finger and she, with Aphrodite's help placed hers on his. Ares
rubbed the living metal of Hephestus and whispered a prayer of thanks to his
deformed brother, then looked at Gabrielle to continue.

"Then, by the powers granted to me as Queen of the Amazon Na and and with
my eternal blessing, I pronounce you husband and wife. You must now seal your
union with a kiss," Gabrielle concluded, smiling despite herself. As the
God of War leaned in and kissed the Conqueror, Gabrielle suddenly felt an odd
sensation in her heart. It felt like a part of her was being torn away, like
she had somehow betrayed herself, although she could not for the life of her,
figure out how. Shaking her head, she stood, but continued to watch the couple
intently.

When their lips parted, Ares smiled at his wife, feeling completed and
comforted. Even when she died, he'd not loose her permanently. He'd have her
again in another lifetime, and next time, he'd watch her like a hawk and not
let her out of his sight. This would not happen again.

Xena smiled up at her husband and she could not keep the tears out of her eyes.
She had just found him again and now they would loose each other all over. But
she could not focus on that. She already felt the cold seeping up her body and
she had things to say to him about their baby. Things she wanted her child to
know. "Ares, about our child."

"Our daughter, my Sweet. I have it on good authority that we will have a
little girl," Ares corrected, his arms gently around his wife. She was
already bningning to fade. He could feel it, but he knew that another warm body
could keep her there a moment or two longer and he wanted to spend as long as
he could with her to hold onto each precious second, to share a lifetime of
endearments in just a few minutes.

"Make our daughter strong and powerful. Teach her to fight. I made the
mistake of trying to shield Solan from the violence of my life and it got him
killed. I don't want her to share her brother's fate. Make sure she can defend
herself, but don't force her to become a warrior, Ares. Give her a choice.
Please, I know you are the God of War, but let her learn other things as well.
Let her learn history and medicine and art and other things along with combat
and strategy. Make her truly wise, Ares!" Xena pleaded, feeling each
moment she lived moving her closer to death. She could begin to see the flicker
of the flame on Celesta's candle and the outline of a woman's figure holding
it.

Athena knew she should not be so astounded. The Xena she had seen in her own
universe was very wise and Athena respected this one for her wisdom in leading
her empire. But this was truly remarkable!
Very few mortals, even ones who had spent their entire lives in her
service, would ask this, and Athena knew what she had to do. "Xena, I will
help Ares raise your little girl, if you wish it. She will know all the things
you asked and more. I so swear by the River Styx."

"Thank you. I would like that, Athena" Xena stated, smiling at her
sister in law.

"And don't you worry, Conqueror Babe, I'll make sure the little one knows
how to love and to love others in return. I'll keep an eye on her and me and
Cupie will help find her a good man when she gets older. I too swear on the
River Styx," Aphrodite stated seriously, patting Xena's hand, while tears
streamed down her lovely face.

Xena just smiled at Aphrodite, closing her eyes for a moment. When she reopened
them, Celesta was there, completely visible and kneeling down beside her.

"Ares, I have to go now. Love my child and tell her about me. Tell her I
loved her with all my heart and that I will always be with her in spirit,"
Xena told her husband, gripping his hand tightly, one last time.

Ares, as a mortal, could not see Celesta, but after working with her for so
long, he knew she was near.

"Ofcourse, my Love, ofcourse! I love you, Xena! I love you!" Ares
swore, his own face awash in tears.

"I love you too, Ares!" Xena whispered with the last of her life
force, then slowly exhaled one last time. Ares kissed her in that moment as her
eyes drooped shut and her spirit passed onto the next life.

"She's gone," Alti stated, receiving a scathing look from Athena.

Ares continued crying for a moment, holding his love close, knowing that now he
could not hurt her by hugging her so hard.

Suddenly he felt a firm grip on his shoulder. Looking up he saw the sympathetic
blue eyes of the Goddess of Wisdom, Warfare, and Weaving. "I don't mean to
be pushy here, but if you're going to do this, I suggest you call Dad now.
He'll doubtlessly pontificate some and you have maybe 15 minutes to get that
baby out of her."

"You're right. Zeus!!!" Ares shouted at the top of his lungs. He had
a show to put on.

"Is she dead?" he asked as he appeared, looking down at the body his
son held. Indeed, the woman was dead, and it took every ounce of strength not
to kneel down beside his son. But he had to be King of the Gods first and a
father second. That would always be his curse.

"She's dead; thanks to you!" Ares gave the expected reply, with
genuine bitterness in his tone. If he had accepted his powers back too easily
and too quickly, Zeus would think he was up to something and drag it out.

"I'm truly sorry, my son, but it you needed to learn about love and its
disappointments. You couldn't have continued to do your job appropriately if
you had been saddled with a wife you were besotted with. She would have ruled
you, not the other way around," Zeus explained.

"I don't want your sympathy or your pathetic explanations! Nothing you can
say can ease my pain! Just give me my sword back, so I may loose this mortal
heart!" Ares cried out in fury.

"Becoming a god again won't stomp out this pain. I know from experience
with your mother. But that was the deal. You'd get your sword and your godhood
back upon this woman's death, and so you shall," Zeus stated, making Ares
sword appear in his hands. He gave it to his son, and watched as Ares claimed
its power once more.

Once the blue light had faded, Ares gently kissed his wife's cold lips one more
time, then laid her body down on the bedding, standing up.

"I will return to Olympus within the hour. I have things to take care of
here first, people to talk to and the like," Ares said, not looking Zeus
in the eye. He feared he might attack his father if he looked and he actually
saw the expected calm there, while his own life was turned upside down.

"Very well. I will see you then," Zeus stated with finality. He so
wanted to say more, but he knew anything else would sound pedantic and half
hearted to Ares mourning ears. His son had a long road ahead of him, but Zeus
had faith in the boy. He'd survive, and he'd learn. Eventually, he'd come to
accept his destiny. Nodding to his other children, the King of the Gods
vanished.

A moment later, once they knew he was gone, Ares fell to his knees, heaving
several long sighs of relief. He opened his leather vest, exposing his chest
and abdomen, and placed his hands on the body of his Beloved. Slowly his hands
began to glow, and he reached into her cold womb, feeling around carefully for
that little grain of life that should still beat. After a few minutes of
searching, he found it and gently pulled it out, immediately pressing it inside
his own body. He held his breath for a moment, then released it as he felt the
life clinging to his own, securely. She was alive. His beautiful daughter would
live, just like the being who posed as the army's cook had foretold. Again
tears sprung to his eyes and this time, Aphrodite hugged her brother tightly,
as Athena stood and patted her brother on the shoulder once more.

"I will go now. We don't want Father to get suspicious," She stated
resolutely, although her mind was already working a mile a minute on her new
responsibilities as an Aunt. There were preparations to be made, even with 8
more months before the little girls birth. Athena disappeared in golden
sparkles.

"Don't you worry, Ar. Dite's gonna be with you every breath you take.
Every move you make. I ain't going anywhere! Oh, my poor Bro!!!" Aphrodite
whined, squeezing her brother even harder till it almost hurt! If he'd been
mortal, his bones would be dust.

"I'm fine, Dite. Really. You can be there for me tomorrow. I'd just like
to be alone for the rest of the day. I will stop by your place tomorrow. I
promise," Ares said, hoping to get rid of his sister. He had things to do
that he couldn't let her see.

"Come on, Mom," Cupid said firmly, lifting his Mother to her feet. He
loved her dearly, but he was a guy and knew his Uncle Ares needed the space
right now. The fact that he'd be by tomorrow was as much as he could give, and
Cupid saw this. Aphrodite didn't.

"I'll see you tomorrow, my favorite Studmuffin of War!" Aphrodite
said, blowing a kiss as she and her son winked home in pink and white light.

Finally he was alone with Alti and he turned to her with a dangerous gleam in
his eye. "I know I told you before, but I am going to say it again! You
are to keep out of my child's life! If I have to, I will sic the Xena of my
universe on you if you even think of contacting my daughter or working some of
your hocus pocus on her! Do you understand, Witch?!"

"I understand completely. Believe me. I have no interest our our brat now
that Xena is dead," Alti said, looking Ares in the eye. It was a lie
ofcourse. They both knew it. This child was part of Xena and a god. It would be
powerful. Power always interested Alti.

Ares eyes fell on the Conqueror's shell, and though he knew she was dead and
gone, he also knew some rituals in black magic used a deceased body. He
couldn't let Alti use the corpse of the woman he had loved in any of her
spells. Extending his hand towards the body, he sent out a ball of energy that
turned the body into ash, then collected that ash in an urn he made appear in
his other hand. He'd take them with him for safekeeping and to show his
daughter someday.

Foldins ars arms across his chest, Ares gave Alti one final cautioning look
then disappeared in a flash of blue light.

Ares had to retrieve the two chakram of this universe, to keep them from the
witch. He realized that the Xena of his own universe had been right in
neutralizing the weapons. He would do so also. He would give the unified
chakram to his daughter someday, when he felt she was ready, as a legacy from
her mother. He'd also collect some other mementos for her, including her
mother's sword. That he would hang on the wall in one of his temple armories.

Xena: The Conqueror deserved a place of honor there. She had Conquered this universe's entire known world, and more
importantly, the heart of the God of War.

 


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