Title: Sleigh Ride
Archive: Yes, please. Let me know if you take it, OK?
Teaser: Ares borrows someone's sleigh and takes Gabrielle for a ride!
Disclaimer: The characters are not mine. They belong to Studios USA or
Whoever owns the Rights to Xena: Warrior Princess.
Gabrielle opened the Inn's front door and stepped out into the cold air. It
felt good to be outside, out of the too hot and stuff inn. Stopping a few
feet from the Inn's front door, Gabrielle looked around in amazement.
During the short time she and Xena had been indoors eating, a soft blanket
of snow had covered the ground. Everything around her was now pure white,
the earth looking clean, pure and new. Thick clumps of snow clung to tree
branches and steep piles gathered around everyday objects like fence posts.
Her breath puffing out as white smoke, Gabrielle walkee further to see what
other wonders nature had to offer her this night.
Spotting a steep hill, Gabrielle climbed it. Her boots slid in the slippery
white snow and soon her bare legs were covered with the stuff. She dug her
Amazon staff in to help her and soon she reached the top. She had only
intended to come out for a moment, to cool off, but now she was beginning
to feel the cold. Folding her arms across her chest, Gabrielle stared out
into the night sky. It was black velvet sprinkled with sparkling diamonds.
One star seemed to shine brighter and stronger than all the rest. "It's
beautiful!" Gabrielle breathed. "Surely something magical will happen on a
night like this!"
A second later she heard the faint sound of bells. Not loud, clear temple
bells but tiny sleigh bells. Oddly enough, the sound appeared to be coming
from the night sky itself! She peered up at the sky and soon spotted a
moving object! It was a huge sleigh being pulled by some odd animals, but
what was it doing flying? Before Gabrielle could utter a single word, the
sleigh turned in her direction and came in for a landing. Once it had
stopped moving, Gabrielle approached the sleigh. And sitting in the
driver's seat holding the reins was none other than the God of War himself!
"So, what do you think of my new ride? Like it?" Ares asked, a bright red
stocking cap on his head. Other than the cap, he was still dressed in his
usual black leather. His dark eyes scanned Gabrielle up and down, noting
her bare midriff, the snow on her now red legs, the white frost gathering
on her eyelashes. "You know, you're going to get yourself sick being
dressed like that in this weather."
"Ares, where did you get this thing? And what are those?" Gabrielle
examined the huge sleigh. It was red with gold swirly patterns on it. Very
eloborate. And the animals! Since she had started traveling with Xena three
years ago, she had never seen anything like them. They had huge antlers on
their head and big, beautiful eyes. Why, one even had a glowing red nose!
Gabrielle sneezed then, and realized Ares was right! If she didn't go back
in soon she would catch her death out here.
"I borrowed this rig from an uncle I got. He only uses it one night a year,
if you can believe that!" Ares produced a fine red coat trimmed with white
fur and handed it to Gabrielle. It even had a hood. "And the animals are
reindeer. My uncle gets them from Lapland. With a touch of magic, they can
fly. Really freaks them out at first but they quickly adjust. He takes good
care of them but they need more practice pulling the sleigh for the Big
Night coming up. Unk is too busy at the moment with other stuff, so he
asked me to take them out on a practice run. Why don't you come with me?"
"Me?" Gabrielle asked, surprised. She had never expected Ares to ask her to
go sleigh riding with him!
"Yeah, you. Why not? Surely you don't believe all those things Xena says
about me, do you? So why don't you get in here and we'll go for a ride."
Ares patted the empty seat next to him. "Hey, this is a rare oppurtunity,
you know! Come along and I'll tell you all about my uncle that owns this
sleigh. You can write it all down later if you want. He's not very famous,
as Gods go, and most mortals never even heard of him."
Gabrielle turned and glanced back at the Inn with its cheery yellow-lighted
windows. Soon Xena would come looking for her. She would have to decide
quickly, because once Xena showed up it would be NO to riding in sleighs
with Ares! Wearing her new coat, Gabrielle felt snug and warm so the
weather would not be a problem. And she did want to hear that story! Just
think, a Greek God no one had ever heard of! And one of Zeus' brothers,
"How long could one sleigh ride take, anyway?" Gabrielle said quitely to
herself. She walked around to the other side of the sleigh and got in,
sitting next to Ares. It sort of reminded her of sitting up front on a
wagon. Then she remembered this sled could fly! She started searching for
something to hold onto but could find nothing. There was just the seat.
"Umm...Ares? Exactly what do I ...."
Before Gabrielle could finish her sentence, Ares flickered the reins and
the reindeer took flight. Gabrielle was thrown back in her seat as the
entire sleigh quickly climbed up into the night sky. The sleighbells on the
reins and harnesses jingled merrily as they traveled along at an incredible
speed. The night seemed darker up here and the stars brighter. In fact, the
stars looked so close Gabrielle imagined she could almost touch them. But
of course she couldn't. She settled back, confident she couldn't fall out,
and listened as Ares told her about his mysterious uncle that lived at the
Hours passed and Gabrielle lost track of time. She saw places she had never
knew existed. In fact, they had traveled around the entire world in a
single night. It seemed impossible to Gabrielle but Ares assured her it was
so, and thus she believed him. The sun was starting to peek over the
horizon when Ares landed the sleigh on the snowy hilltop. Gabrielle hopped
out, her head still spinning with everything that she had saw. She just
wished she could see all those places during the day, talk to the people
that lived there!
"Ares, that was the most incredible experience of my life!" Gabrielle told
him as she moved to stand next to his side of the sleigh. "Although I still
don't understand why you asked me to go with you."
"Well, things in life are more meaningful when you share them with someone,
so I thought I'd share this magical night with you. It's not often my uncle
lets me borrow this thing, you know!" Ares replied. He gazed into
Gabrielle's eyes and grinned. "Besides, you see me for who I am. Xena sees
only what she wants to see. I admire your honesty, Gabrielle, even if we
don't see eye to eye on everything. And maybe I like you."
"You do?" Gabrielle asked, amazed. She was even more startled when Ares
leaned forward and kissed her. Then, in the blink of an eye, he and the
sleigh were gone. And not a moment too soon!
"Gabrielle!" Xena called loudly as she charged up the hill. "Thank Zeus I
found you! I searched and searched for you all night! Your footprints just
ended on this hill and there were some other odd prints, too. Are you all
"I'm fine, Xena. I just went on a little trip." Gabrielle explained as she
started to make her way back down the hill towards the Inn. The sun was
fully up in the sky now and the snow glowed brightly with reflected light.
The excitement from the ride was beginning to fade and she was beginning to
feel the affects of being up all night.
Xena glared at her suspiciously, eying the bright red coat with the white
fur trim. She had never seen anything like it before...ever. "Where did you
get that coat from? Who were you with and where did you go?"
Gabrielle fended off Xena's questions, saying she was too tired. Locking
the door to the room, Gabrielle pulled out a fresh scroll she had been
saving for a special occasion. She wanted to get the story of Ares' unknown
uncle down while it was still fresh in her mind. If she waited too long,
she would forget important details. She hoped a few people might read it
and get to like the story. She started to write:
"Twas the Night before Christmas..."