"Black Roses"

By Goddess Anex

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the following characters. If you choose to sue me, it is because you are a cold hearted, mean, rotten…Sorry, I was thinking about TPTB, I must have slipped.

Violence/Sex/Subtext: How can this be about Xena and have no violence? Do you watch the show? Sex; well nothing at all graphic, maybe a little hint. And please, don’t’ even mention the subtext Word, I am now an official member, treasurer to be exact of Kat’s IHG club, and proud of it. If you like Gabrielle, fear for her safety in my story.

I am dedicating this story to all my fellow shippers. You guys are the best!



The cool, refreshing water felt like silk against Xena’s skin. She thanked whatever god was listening that she had agreed to camp by the lake. They had been traveling since dawn, and Gabrielle had nearly collapsed onto her bedroll when they had finished making camp.

Xena decided it couldn’t hurt to leave Gabrielle alone and spend some time thinking. She submerged her head for just a moment, and when she surfaced she found none other than Ares sitting on the shore, watching her.

"What are you doing here?" she spat at him. She was annoyed with herself for not having sensed him earlier.

"Oh nothing, my dear. I wasn’t busy so I thought I’d drop in," he said as he smiled at her, "Why? Aren’t you happy to see me?" he mocked.

"I’m thrilled," she replied dryly. "Ares, don’t you have anything better to do than bother me?"

"No. Nothing that I can think of anyway." Ares watched intently as Xena swam closer to shore, stopping where the water still covered her. "It’s getting late Xena, don’t you think you should come out of there?"

"Not really, you’d like that too much." She retorted.

Ares produced a towel in his hand and walked down closer to the water. He tossed it to her and turned his back. Xena was genuinely surprised, to say the least. Why was he acting like this? He hadn’t once mentioned her joining him or coming back, and he seemed so, so…lonely? ‘No.’ she mused, ‘ I’m just imagining it.’ Xena walked to the water’s edge and wrapped the towel tightly around her tone form.

"You can turn around now Ares." She said as she tapped his shoulder. But Xena wasn’t quick enough, and before she knew it, Ares had turned around and grasped her hand firmly in his.

"How I’ve missed you, my sweet. " Ares said, barely audible, as he stepped closer to her. He slid an arm around her waist and put the other on the back of her neck, pulling her face closer to his. She was standing against him now, and she could feel his hard bodies pressed into hers, and smell the invigorating scent that was all Ares. He dove to her neck and pressed his soft lips against the sensitive flesh there. Xena wrapped her arms around his neck as he looked up at her. ‘Beautiful,’ he thought, ‘she’s absolutely beautiful.’

Ares leaned in closer and covered her mouth his. To his surprise, Xena pushed her tongue against his lips and he opened his, including his tongue in the battle. Neither noticed as they fell to the ground, still holding on to each other. Ares rolled on top of her and began to kiss the exposed skin above her breastplate. Suddenly Ares felt her hands pushing against his chest, pushing him away. He frowned, "What’s wrong?"

"Ares, I can’t do this."

"Why not, you seemed to want to just a minute ago." He said, staring into her eyes.

"I-I just can’t." she said, almost unsure of herself. Xena leaned up and gently kissed him before standing up and walking back towards camp.

_**~**_

The morning sun rose over the mountains and cast a gentle light on the earth below. Xena felt the warm rays hit her face and slowly opened her eyes. She turned her head and focused on Gabrielle. ‘Still sleeping, figures.’ She thought and smiled at the back of Gabrielle’s head. She’d let her sleep a little more before waking her for breakfast.

Xena got up and began to slowly dress. Her mind wandering back to last night by the lake. What had she done? Why? He just seemed to need her, and she needed him. What!?! Xena mentally slapped herself for thinking such things and started up the fire for breakfast.

"Gabrielle."

No response.

"Gabrielle, wake up." Gabrielle moaned a little and rolled over on the direction of Xena’s voice.

"Do I have to?" she complained.

"Yes, come on. Fish for breakfast. Yum."

"Xena! Not fish, please. That’s all we’ve been eating for the past week!" Gabrielle screamed.

Xena did not feel like arguing with the girl. "Gabrielle listen. The sooner you get up, the sooner we can get started and get to Amphipolis." This seemed to motivate the bard somewhat, and she got up and slumped onto the log across from Xena.

They ate in silence and packed up their belongings quickly. The day was looking overcast already, and Xena knew they had to hurry to escape the rain and make it to Amphipolis by nightfall.

_**~**_

"Oh thanks the gods!" Gabrielle shouted, as Cyrene’s tavern came into sight. They had been riding all day, and Gabrielle doubted she would walk straight ever again. Xena pulled Argo to a hault and dismounted, pulling Gabrielle down with her.

Xena turned to the bard, "You go on in and tell my mother we’re here. I’m going to go and settle Argo in for the night, okay?"

"Yeah no problem." Gabrielle said, and made her way toward the door.

Xena pulled the stable doors open and led Argo inside. She pulled off the saddle and bridle and hung them up before leading her beloved horse into an empty stall. "Night girl. Behave, alright?" Xena said and kissed the horse’s velvety nose. She gave Argo one last pat before closing the barn for the night.

_**~**_

Xena walked into the tavern and was immediately pulled into an embrace from her mother. "Xena! How I’ve missed you."

"It’s good to see you too mother. Hey, where is everyone? I thought I was getting a birthday party." Xena laughed at the sly expression on her mother’s face that turned into a wide grin. Suddenly, Gabrielle, followed by Hercules, Autolycus, Joxer, and Amarice, jumped up from behind the bar. "SURPRISE!!" They all shouted.

"Happy birthday dear. Now come one, the cake’s ready." Cyrene said good-naturedly and pulled Xena over to her friends.

_**~**_

The night was spent laughing, telling stories, and all round just having a good time. Everyone had gone to bed and Xena finally made her way to her bedroom to settle in for the night. She pushed open her bedroom door, and took in a sharp breath as she looked around.

The room was filled with bouquets of black roses, and there were petals all over the floor. ‘Ares must have been here.’ She said to herself. He was the only one who knew. The only one knew about the roses. Years ago, when she had followed him, he came to her one night while she was away from her army. It was the first time that they had made love, and before he left, he had given her a perfect black rose, telling her he would always feel this way about her. She had always thought that he’d just done it to win her over, and when she’d left him, she figured that the love they had was over. No more war, no more Ares.

Xena carefully stepped into the room and shut the door behind her. Turning towards her dresser, she noticed a black velvet box sitting in front of the mirror. She walked over and traced her fingers along the silky cover. As she sat down, she felt his presence in the room.

"Come out Ares." She said, no sign of emotion in her voice.

He appeared behind her, and reached for the box in her hands. As he opened it, Xena almost cried out, almost. In the box, there was a beautiful necklace of black pearls. Ares looked at Xena, and noticed a silent tear running down her cheek. He said nothing, and took the necklace out the box and placed it around her neck, fastening the hook in the back.

"There. It looks just as beautiful as I thought it would. There are thirty perfect pearls, one for every year that you have graced the world with your presence. Happy birthday Xena." Ares finished with a small smile and leaned down to her soft lips, gently sucking the bottom one between his own. He was pleased as Xena kissed him back. He pulled away and gazed into her azure eyes.

"Thank you Ares. I-I don’t know what to say." Xena whispered.

"Say nothing my sweet. Say nothing." And with that he was gone, leaving Xena to wrestle with her emotions.

_~*~_

Xena bolted upright in a cold sweat. Her eyes flashed open and surveyed her surroundings. She hadn’t been able to sleep all night; thoughts up Ares just kept creeping into her mind. But she couldn’t help but think of him- thoughts of his hard body pressed into hers, his warm arms holding her throughout the night, his lips…

She involuntarily pulled the covers closer to her body as she felt an all too familiar tingle run down the back of her neck. Before she even spoke his name, he appeared at her bedside, taking one of her soft hands in his own, and massaging her fingers. Xena still hadn’t looked up, she was afraid. For the first time in a long time she was unsure of herself, afraid of what she felt, felt about him.

Still not lifting her head, she found her voice, "Why are you here?"

Ares heard her voice waver and decided it best if just took things slow. Xena had been more open to him in the last twenty-four hours than she had in the past five years, and he didn’t want to ruin it, not this time-not when he was so close to getting her back. "I heard you thinking about me."

"You what?" Xena looked up at him, her face a mask of anger and pain. "How could you Ares?"

"Xena take it easy, they were so loud, I-I couldn’t help but hear them. Besides they-"

"No. No don’t you start defending yourself to me! How could you? I thought you at least respected my privacy and now I don’t even have that? Get out! Get out now!" By this time she was sobbing, angry with him for invading her thought, angry with herself for being vulnerable in front of him. She didn’t know what to do, or where to go, so with one last look towards his kneeling form she got out of the bed, stood naked before him and pulled her shift over her head.

"Xena where are you going? Can’t we at least talk about this?" Ares asked hurriedly. He didn’t want her storming out and doing something stupid. Xena strode to the door and reached for the handle, and Ares knew he had to take control of the situation-and fast.

He flashed to the door and pulled her into his arms tightly, not allowing her any room for movement. Try as she might, Xena couldn’t pull herself from his vice-like grip. Suddenly her struggling stopped, and Ares heard faint sobs and felt her jagged breaths against his chest. He knew what he did was wrong but was too proud to admit it, and now he held his grief-stricken princess against him, wishing he could take away her pain, comfort her somehow. But he knew she wouldn’t let him, she despised him. Yesterday had meant nothing at all to her, the roses, the pearls, and the kiss-oh how he yearned to kiss her sweet lips again. As her breathing slowed, he relaxed his grip, softly stroking the jet-black hair that fell across her back. ‘My Xena, how I love you.’ He knew he loved her, yet couldn’t find the words to tell her. If only she felt the same way it would be easier, but she didn’t, she never would again.

Xena looked up at him, eyes full of tears, pain, and hate. How could she ever trust him again? They once had something special, she knew that, but could they ever have it again? After all of the hurt, the lies, the torment and anger, was it possible he still cared about her? ‘Not that he ever did anyway,’ Xena reminded herself. Everyday she told herself it was all a lie, and she was starting to believe it too. The warm nights, the passionate kisses, the love; they were all things in the distant past, buried in her mind, and it was going to take something spectacular on his part to bring the memories to the surface.

Ares reached out a hand to wipe her tear-stained cheeks, but as soon as it reached her soft skin she slapped his hand away and pulled herself away from him. Xena pointed a finger at him, "Don’t you touch me, ever again."

"Fine." He shrugged. ‘Be that way, all I wanted to do was help and it doesn’t even register that I just want to care, I just want to be there Xena.’

And he disappeared.

Xena broke down in a fresh torrent of sobs, she couldn’t hold them back any longer. He’d just dismissed her with a thought and left, he felt nothing for her. His gifts, the roses, that kiss- mere attempts to win her back. Xena’s whole body ached at the thought, and her whole being ached for him. Consumed in her own inner turmoil, she fell into a fitful, dreamless sleep.

_**~**_

Hercules lazily opened his eyes. Gods, he hated mornings. He stretched his powerful muscles, and reached for his shirt he’d thrown on the floor the night before. The party had been a blast, Xena was as beautiful as usual, Gabrielle chatted the whole time- he still had a slight headache- and Autolycus was quite the charmer, especially when he’d stolen Herc’s pouch of dinars. Hercules chucked at the thoughts of his friends. What would he do without them?

Hercules grinned. He could do without Gab’s obsessive chitchat, but when he really thought about it, his friends painted the color on the dull-gray canvas that was his life.

The smell of bacon and eggs filled his nose.

‘Breakfast with Xena sounds nice,’ he thought.

Hercules walked down the hall and knocked on her door.

"Good-morning sunshine!" He said cheerfully as he pushed her door open, but Xena was no where in site, as he stepped into her room a little further, his eyes caught her still form on the side of the bed. Both horror at the thought of something happening to her, and disgust at himself for not getting here sooner, caused him to rush to her side with speed he didn’t think was possible.

Before he even touched her, something lying near her head, braided in her hair to be exact, caught his attention. A long stemmed black rose was entwined in Xena’s hair. Hercules reached for it and gently pulled it from the soft locks.

"PUT THAT BACK!" Ares fumed. He DID NOT want his pesky brother getting involved, he ruined things with Xena the last time he meddled in their affairs, and Ares refused to give up. When Hercules still held the flower in his hand, Ares raged once more, "I said PUT IT BACK! I left it for Her to find!"

"What are you doing here Ares? Xena wants nothing to do with you." Hercules stated.

"How would you know what Xena wants brother?" Ares voice was dripping with sarcasm at the last word. He was now thoroughly annoyed and was beginning to lose his patience.

Xena’s eyes flashed open at the sound of their argument. She looked up to find none other than Ares staring back adoringly at her. "I thought I told you to go away." She spat.

"I said the same thing." Came Hercules’ reply from behind her. Hercules gently took her arm and helped her to a standing position, seeing her having a hard time. "When a found you, this was tangled in your hair," he said, handing her the rose.

"Would you get it right?! It wasn’t tangled, it was braided. Do you have to make it sound like I’m always trying to start something?"

"You always are!" Hercules yelled.

By this time, Xena had had quite enough, "Just stop it the both of you! Hercules, you don’t always have to defend me; I can take care of myself you know. And you," she said, shifting her eyes to Ares, "Can’t you take a hint? I just want to be left alone. Now out, the both of you." Xena was exasperated.

Hercules stalked out the door. He knew she hadn’t meant to hurt him, but she did. He just automatically assumed she’d want his help. And Ares-that bastard, why couldn’t he just leave Xena in peace. He was probably up to something. He just couldn’t figure out what. Hercules looked back at Xena’s closed door, whatever it was, Ares would pay if he hurt her again.

_**~**_

Xena sat down on the bed, gently pulling the petals from the silky bloom.

"Xena, I-" Ares said, but stopped. As she looked up at him, he saw something new in her mask of emotions-hope? Did she want him to continue? He opened his mouth again, and stopped a second time, and watched as new tears fell down the paths of the old ones. Ares couldn’t stand it any longer and walked over beside her, but he made no move to touch her. Instead, he just waited for Xena to make the next move, whatever it may be.

When Xena saw him walk over, her body visibly stiffened. He had such and effect on her senses, she couldn’t think rationally with him this close. But as he stood there, just watching her, something about him, she couldn’t quite put her finger on it, changed. He seemed somehow softer, gentler than before. And she couldn’t help it; she reached out her hand and placed it in his. A small, almost undetectable smile creased her lips as Ares squeezed his fingers lovingly around hers. She didn’t know what made her do it. She’d said so many untrue things in the past, and felt obliged to make amends.

Ares was relieved. The simple gesture made his heart soar and he sat down beside her, engulfing her in his arms, trying to let his warmth comfort her. When she was settled against him, and no protest was emitted from her mouth, he took his fingers and hesitantly placed them under her chin, forcing her to look into her eyes. He leaned in closer, his lips a breath away, and stopped, waiting for a sign that it was all right to continue. Ares felt her gently squeeze his hand affectionately, as he had done before, and moved to her lips for a long-awaited kiss.

_**~**_

The soft, silky feel of her lips and the sweet taste of her mouth encouraged Ares to continue his loving ministrations. He pulled at the straps of her nightgown and slid them down over her shoulders, reveling in the feel of her smooth skin. Xena pulled back and looked into his eyes. All she found was love and adoration staring back at her.

“Xena, I…” he started, but she held a finger to his lips.

“Shhh, I know Ares.” And with that she leaned forward and captured his lips again.

Ares was in Elysia. He was finally going to make love to the woman of his dreams, and he was going to make sure he left a lasting impression. He pushed her back onto the blood-red sheets and removed the rest of their clothing with a thought. Now, with nothing preventing them from joining, Ares entered her, crying out her name as a wave of pleasure of finally being with his princess washed over him.

_**~**_

Xena awoke to someone knocking loudly on her bedroom door. She glanced at the man sleeping next to her and hurriedly shook him awake. “Ares. Ares you have to go.”

He looked up at her, still half-asleep, until the knocking broke his daze. “Who is it?” Ares asked. Xena opened her mouth to reply but was interrupted by a voice shouting from the other side of the door,

“Xena, let me in. I need to talk to you!” Hercules said, a little louder than was necessary.

“Hercules.” she breathed. Xena glanced over at Ares and he looked none too pleased. If Hercules came in she knew there’d be trouble. She had to do something now, but what? Her mind raced with possibilities, but the door crashed open. ‘Too late,’ she mused.

Hercules came in, barreling into the room, and stopped dead in his tracks. It couldn’t be, it just couldn’t, Xena…with Ares? ‘No!’ His mind was screaming, but his face was expressionless.

“Xena, how could you?” Hercules asked, finally finding his voice. Xena just looked up at him, and he saw the tears falling down her face. He also noticed Ares’ hand reaching out to take Xena’s.

“Hercules, you wouldn’t understand.” she simply stated.

“I WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND?!?” He screamed. “I think I understand just fine, let’s see, you were feeling a little lonely so you just up and decided to sleep with HIM?”

“Hercules, it’s none of your business who I chose to sleep with, and it just so happens that I was lonely. I have been lonely for longer than I can remember, and Ares takes it all away, he makes me forget.” Xena was crying furiously at this point but continued, “ I need him Hercules, I don’t want to be alone anymore.” As she finished, Ares moved over the bed and wrapped his arms around her shoulders.

Hercules realized he had to stop this now. “Xena, what about us? You and me, I thought that meant something.”

‘Oh that’s it!’ Ares thought and looked coldly at his half-breed, half-brother, “You listen to me Hercules, whatever it is you ‘thought’ you had with Xena is over, now get out of here.”

“Ares you-“ Hercules started.

“I SAID GET OUT!” Ares screamed. Without another word or glance at them, Hercules turned and stormed out the door. Xena quickly got out of her bed and pulled her nightgown over her head.

“You had to go and do that didn’t you! Now everyone’s going to find out, and I-I didn’t want it that way, not yet.” Tears were still falling from beneath her eyelids as she squeezed them shut, willing the tears to stop, but they still came. Ares disappeared, then re-appeared behind her, fully clothed, and took Xena into his arms. She wrapped hers arms around his waist and they just stood there, each trying to cope with the new thorn in their already weak relationship, and taking comfort in each other’s warmth.

_**~**_

Hercules stormed down the steps. He couldn’t wait to find the others. What would they think? What about Gabrielle, and Cyrene? Hercules suddenly stopped in mid-step. How could he hurt Xena like that? He cared about her, and he wouldn’t ever want anyone to think badly of her. He decided to let Cyrene know, after all, she was Xena’s mother and would know how to handle the situation best.

Upon entering the kitchen, Hercules was greeted by Gabrielle, who ushered him to his seat at the table, next to Autolycus and Amarice. Gab took her seat across from Hercules and a questioning look ran across her face, “Hercules, where’s Xena? I thought she’d be joining you for breakfast.”

Hercules didn’t know what to say. How could he tell them?

“Um, well…she just-“

“Had to freshen up a bit, morning mother.” Xena’s rich voice filled the small kitchen and everyone looked up, wide-eyed at the sight. Xena had come down in a thigh-high white shift, a brown belt adorning her slim waist, with matching brown boots that reached up to her mid-shin. Her hair was twisted up and secured at the top of her head, with soft curls falling across her cheeks and neck. Hercules stood up and walked over to her. He was truly in awe. He’d always thought of her as beautiful, but now she seemed to just shine, her eyes glistened, and her smile- her smile melted his heart. He turned back to the crowd at the table, “Um, excuse us, we’ll be right back.”

He reached out and took her hand, guiding her into the next room. Amarice giggled and Autolycus just closed his eyes, painting the dark-haired beauty in his mind.

_**~**_

As soon as they entered the living room, Xena snatched her hand away from Hercules. “Before you say anything, I just wanted to let you know that I’m sorry for what Ares said. Yes, we did have something Hercules, you helped me to realize that the life I was living was wrong, and that I could change, I just needed a little help. And you did just that. I had feelings for you for a very long time, but every time we met, you just ignored ‘us’ and went about the mission.”

“It was the right thing to do. How could we just let all those people down?” He asked, placing his hands on his hips.

“You’re right, but I always felt like you were pushing me away,” Xena paused, carefully choosing her next words, “I’m happy Hercules-with Ares. Don’t you want that for me?”

Why? Why did she have to be telling him this? Hercules let out a rough sigh. “Of course I want you to be happy, I just don’t see how happiness connects with Ares.”

“I do. I believe you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. And Ares has found that out. No one knows anything about Ares and I. We’ve kept it such a secret for so long, and I thought that when I left his ways it meant that I had to leave his love. We were enemies at war, fighting for a different cause, but even then, he’d come to me at night and hold me sometimes. He comforted me after incredibly hard days and I…” Xena turned her head for a moment, not knowing how to continue. When she looked back at Hercules, she found his face soft, and understanding. “I need him.”

Hercules, for his part, was putting on a brave front. His smiled at her, what else could he do? Support her love for another man, or denounce it? No, he’d just be there for her, even though he knew she was wrong. Ares could never be redeemed, or care about anyone but himself. “ So where does it go from here Xena?”

“I don’t know yet. I just want to take things slow for now. I suppose I’ll have to tell mother, and Gabrielle, and Argo.” She stated as she sat down upon a cushioned chair.

That was it, Hercules couldn’t keep it in any longer. He laughed. “Ar…Argo!”

Even Xena cracked a smile. “Don’t laugh, I tell her everything.”

“Come on. Let’s just let this go for awhile and have breakfast. I’m sure everyone’s already taken dibs on who comes back with a black eye.” Hercules smiled. Xena got up and led the way to the kitchen.

_**~**_

“Well it’s about time you two decided to join us.” Gab piped up as soon as they entered the room.

“We just had a little something to sort out.” Xena said. She walked over to her mother and helped her bring the trays over to the table. Cyrene smiled at her daughter. There was so much about her little girl she didn’t know and she wanted more than anything for Xena to share with her.

Once everyone was seated, eggs and bacon, toast and jam, and fresh-squeezed juice were passed around the table. Laughs and smiles were shared by everyone, except Xena- her mind was somewhere else, on someone else to be exact. Ares. She missed his touch already, her wild heart ached for him and he was the only one who could tame it. She felt so alone though friends surrounded her.

Xena got up abruptly from the table and walked out the door, shutting it behind her. The crowd in the kitchen was left speechless. What was causing Xena to act like this? -The same question was running through everyone’s head.

Xena stepped away from the house and noticed something on the ground in front of her. ‘ There they are again.’ she thought. Hundreds if black petals made there way to the barn. She followed and pushed open the door. She walked over to Argo and rubbed the mare’s nose gently. “Was he here girl?” Xena asked. Argo nickered softly and nudged her head against Xena’s shoulder. “What is it?” Xena looked around to see where the petals stopped-right in front of her saddlebags. She walked over to her smallest saddlebag, the flap was slightly ajar, and reached inside, feeling for anything unusual. She found it. Pulling her hand out revealed a jewel-laden ring. Beautiful diamonds, amethysts, ruby’s, and sapphires adorned the gold band. It was absolutely breathtaking. She slipped the ring on her finger and marveled at it. She reached her hand into the bag again, this time pulling around a ribbon-bound letter. It smelled of roses, and she opened it, proceeding to read the note:

~

Sweet,

I felt the sudden need apologize for my earlier actions. I should have thought before I spoke. You were always right, I am too rash sometimes. Besides, I knew you would love it.

I had some important matters to attend to at my temple in Gatthus, which is not far from Amphipolis, and I would be deeply honored if you’d join be for dinner, love.

Sincerely,

Well, If you don’t know by now, I’m not going to tell you.


~

Xena chuckled at the last sentence. It was just like him to make her laugh. She couldn’t help it; he was so charming.

Xena placed the letter back in the bag and stood up. Now all she had to do was explain this to her mother, and friends.

“What am I going to say? Hey guys, see you later, I’m off to dinner with your worst enemy?” she said aloud.

“Xena, what are you talking about?” Cyrene’s voice floated across the barn.

Xena turned around. She had to do this. She couldn’t hide from her mother any longer. Cyrene walked over to Xena and took her daughter into her arms. Cyrene sat down on a bale of hay, pulling Xena down with her, and gently rocked back and forth.

“Xena tell me what’s going on with you…please. You know how much I love you, and I just want to be there for you, you know that.”

“I’ve fallen in love, mother.” So simple, yet so meaningful, and Xena meant it. She didn’t know how else to explain it so she just said it.

Cyrene was shocked to say the least, and her heart jumped at the thought. “Oh Xena. And who is it that we’re talking about?”

“You’ll hate me if I tell you.”

“I could never hate you, and I’ll support your decision no matter what. Besides, how bad could it be? It’s not like you’ve gone and fallen in love with Ares, dear.” Cyrene smiled at her joke, but her smile quickly faded when she saw that Xena did not return her humor. In fact, Xena’s face visibly fell at the mention of the god.

“Oh Xena, not him. Tell me it’s not him.” Cyrene pleaded.

Xena looked up at her mother hopelessly. How could she have thought that her mother would have understood? Cyrene almost died because of one of Ares’ plots, and now she wanted her to just forgive him?

“I should have known better than to tell you. I should just keep things to myself mother, I’ve always gotten along better that way.” Xena said, getting slightly angry with herself.

“Now Xena, you know that’s not true. You need to let it out; it just came as a bit of a shock to me. Why don’t we talk about it? It will make both of us feel better, I promise.” Cyrene offered.

“Alright Mom.” Xena smiled and sat back down next to her mother. Cyrene took her daughter’s hand and listened patiently as Xena began to spill out the contents of her heart.

THE END

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