Xena was taken to another building for her check-up. The building itself seemed cold, maybe because of the stone walls and stone table used for nursing the patients. She could see multiple herbs and potions on the shelves. Daylight was coming through the windows behind her. She had been there before, several times after her training with Ares. Back then she was not so skilled and Ares' sword managed to cut her through. Luckily, never too deeply.

She sat on this low stone table and remembered that one time when was waiting for the doctor Ares appeared behind her, put his hand on her shoulder and said that she had done very well that day. She was so young back then.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the door which cracked open. She saw a familiar face next to it. "Oh, lord Ares was too brutal with you again, young lady?", the old man asked her.

"You still remember me?" - Xena asked with surprise. It's been a while since she was here.

"Of course, of course - my lord's favorite", - he smiled and started his work.

Ares was sitting on his throne when the doctor who looked slightly frightened entered the room. He wasn't used to communicating with his god directly, god's presence and the circumstances of their conversation were scaring him greatly. He was afraid that his report or, worse, his wrong diagnosis will cost him his life.

"Any breaks?" - Ares casually asked when he looked at him.

"No, my lord."

"Good good…" - he said while sipping the glass of wine and turning his attention back to the portal which was showing some war happening somewhere. It was obvious however that he wasn't very interested in what was happening in that field. The doctor wasn't prepared for such short conversation. He chose to give his god more information.

"However, her right ankle is slightly twisted, I bandaged it, nothing too serious", - Ares showed no reaction - "and she might have experienced few cracks in the ribs, - the look in Ares' eyes made him regret his decision instantly, - which are minimal... if they exist at all... it's impossible to see or feel at this stage and the warrioress demands to leave as soon as possible… But if they exist, they will heal themselves, no treatment, except maybe for the corset she is wearing anyway, is necessary. - he added thanking the gods that god's gaze softened a bit.

-Fine, she's free to leave then. - Ares said taking another sip and turning his gaze to the portal again. He was still thinking about her as his best protege and not his enemy who had just ruined his opportunity to dominate this earth.

It was way after the sunset. Xena watched her friend sleep on the other side of the fireplace. She felt relieved that she had enough medicine to disinfect Gabrielle's wounds but felt so responsible for her injuries. It was her who told Gabrielle to put the boxes with pieces of map among explosion testing materials. She shouldn't have included Gabrielle in her plan at all.

She carefully touched her hurting ribs suspecting that a huge purple bruise had already formed there.

Suddenly she felt him. Ares didn't bother to play with her by staying invisible as usual, he instantly appeared. Xena grabbed her sword and got up. She was leaning against the tree before so she felt somehow pressed between it and Ares.

"I'm not here to fight", - he gestured her to drop the sword. She didn't obey of course but lowered her hand.

"So why are you here? To admire your dirty work?", - Xena glanced at sleeping Gabrielle.

"Oh, common, you know perfectly well, that I couldn't care less about the bard, be happy I haven't killed her … yet". He glanced at the bard quickly and then back to his warrior princess who raised her sword again. He could perfectly see that she was not happy with this response, so he took her sword by the blade itself and used his force to lower it again. He used his chance to come closer to her and looked into her blue eyes again.

"I'm so glad, I didn't have to do that to you", - he said, obviously meaning whip and softly touched her hair. She felt a strange heat spreading through her body and her heart beat stronger and stronger as she looked at his brown orbs. It was so weird to feel attracted to him after the things he had done so recently. He came even closer without breaking their eye contact, she stepped back just a bit only to feel the tree behind her back and Ares kissing her. She felt instant warmth in her body, concentrating on her ribs and right ankle, making the pain go away. After few seconds he broke the kiss, looked at his beautiful warrior and said: "Good night, my sweet, I hope you'll come to your senses someday". After that, he disappeared.

He couldn't understand himself why he wanted her to feel well again or why he healed her. Maybe it was because he knew what Ceasar had done to her and he didn't want her to relate himself to the similar pain in her mind. That would certainly prevent her from coming back to him.