Ares hurried to the top of the hill, where he found a clearing. The full moon was high overhead, providing light for the battle to come. Ares just hoped Selene would be on his side this time, not the werewolf's. He was only going to have one chance at this, so he better do it right.

Taking the rope off his shoulder, he uncoiled it and quickly tied a loop on the end. With the rope in one hand and the silver dagger in the other, he waited for Gabrielle. The very next moment she came charging over the top of the hill and Ares' almost jumped from fright. The werewolf looked far worst than he had remembered!

Her eyes glowed an eerie red, her gaze locked right on his throat. Her beautiful face had changed into a long snout. Her mouth hung open part way, saliva dripping off her chin. The moonlight reflected off the dozens of razor sharp teeth in her mouth. Large ragged ears stood erect on her head, their hearing ability much more powerful than his own. Her body was strong and well muscled, much more heavily muscled in werewolf form than before. The muscles would make her faster and stronger. Each finger ended in sharp, black curved claws. A single scratch from one of them would inflict an eternal curse: to suffer lycanthrope. The hands themselves were slightly larger, the fingers twisted into curved claws. Gabrielle stood upright under the full moon staring at Ares.

Ares gulped. He was beginning think this had been a very bad idea, but it was too late to back out now. He readied his weapons, such as they were. He wanted to act like the old confident Ares, but right now he was scared witless. How in the world did Hercules fight these things?

Gabrielle growled, then charged. When she was just a few feet away, she leaped at him, her claws out and ready to rake.

Tossing the loop of rope at her, he dived out of the way. He landed hard on the ground and rolled. He was climbing back to his feet when he saw the end of the rope was empty! He had missed her. He searched the clearing but didn't see her anywhere. He turned to look behind him just in time to see claws coming right at him.

Ares raised the silver dagger, its sharp point aimed at her rapidly approaching chest.

Then she hit him. They went down in a tangle of arms and legs. Her snarling jaws were inches from his face. He grimaced at the putrid hot breath that washed over him. Ares wrapped one hand under her chin, pushing the jaws away from his neck. His other hand still held the hilt of the dagger, which was wet and sticky.

Gabrielle growled and thrashed atop him, then her whole body went limp.

Ares shoved her off himself onto the cold ground. He was breathing hard through his mouth, gasping for air. He held his right hand up to the moonlight and saw it was red with blood. Then his eyes shifted to the werewolf lying still on the ground next to him. Her eyes were closed. He remembered what Joxer said and reached for the dagger.

Suddenly her red eyes flew open and she jerked upward at him, her sharp claws reaching. A growl escaped her lips and pink tinged spittle flew everywhere. Ares screamed and threw himself backward, away from her. Scrambling like a crab, he backpedaled several feet away, then climbed to his feet. From there he watched her eyes close a second time and her body slumped back onto the ground.

Then she slowly began to change. The fur faded and disappeared back into her body, leaving only smooth pale skin behind. The snout sunk back into her face, the claws changing back into short dainty fingernails. After a few minutes, she was once again the woman he knew.

Ares hurried forward and pulled the dagger from her breast. He looked at the deep wound and gulped. He knew without doubt it was a fatale wound. Then he noticed she wasn't breathing. "Joxer, this better work..."

Reaching inside his vest, Ares pulled out the bottle of water, uncorked it and poured it onto the deep wound. "Will the Light please heal Gabrielle..."

Ares hadn't really expected anything to happen when he said the words, so he was surprised when a bright light appeared on her chest. It shone brighter than the sun for a moment and he was forced to cover his eyes with an arm. When the light faded, the wound was completely gone. He saw her chest rise and fall as she breathed. Then her green eyes opened.

"Ares?" Gabrielle slowly sat up, slightly dazed. She stared at the full moon riding high overhead, then her gaze went back to him. "You cured me. How did you do that? I thought the curse was unbreakable...."

"Let's just say I had a little divine help." Ares replied as he stood. Helping Gabrielle to her feet, he shrugged out of his leather vest. He helped her put it on. It wasn't much, but at least it helped cover her nakedness until they could find her clothes. Then he pulled her against his bare chest and kissed her. Pulling away, he smiled down at her. "I think we better get out of here before Xena returns. She won't be very pleased to discover I cured you."

"I know." Gabrielle followed Ares back down the hill towards the farmhouse. They were in luck that Xena hadn't returned from her night hunt yet. Gabrielle gathered her clothing and her sais. Taking a horse from the barn, they saddled it up. "Let's go."

Ares swung up onto the horse behind Gabrielle and they took off at a gallop, his arms around her waist. Gabrielle still wore his leather vest, so he was bare from the waist up. The cold wind ruffled his hair and he wondered absently why he didn't feel cold. His arm thumped rhythmically and he glanced at it, only to see a long jagged red scratch. As he stared at it in horror, the scratch vanished as if it had never been there.


Author's Note: I have a slight idea for a sequel to this story..