Ares and Strife reappeared inside Discord's bedroom. She was sitting at her desk wearing granny-style eyeglasses, and reading The Olympian Gazette. "Oh," she said, turning red. She pulled off her glasses and tried to hide them. "Oh, come on, Mom," protested Strife. "Everybody knows about your glasses." Discord scowled. "Well, I wouldn't have to wear them if Apollo would heal my eyes."
Ares chuckled. "You know he would if you'd go out with him."
"What-ev-er!" exclaimed Discord. "Hey, how do you like that expression? People are going to say that in the future."
"I'm not sure, sis, but Strife has something to tell you."
"What is it" asked Discord, looking at a downcast Strife.
"Uh... You know that thing you gave Unc for his birthday? I... uh... borrowed it without asking... and lost it."
"Oh, you did?" asked Discord. "Well, you shouldn't have done that... Not when Ares is so good to you... Well, fortunately I can fix that."
"How?" asked Ares and Strife, in chorus.
"I put a spell on it, of course. You know you're always losing your stuff one way or another, Ares. The spell causes the finder to put an advertisement up. The ad appears in our paper. See?"
Discord showed Ares and Strife the advertisement section in the newspaper that she had been reading.
"Look, Unc! It says that Gabrielle found it. She is staying at the inn in Corinth if the owner wants it. Hey Mom, what if someone else says it belongs to them?"
"Silly boy," said his mother fondly, ruffling his hair. "You know that things appear in our paper before mortals see them. Ares will get there first."
"Okay, thanks sis. I'm off to Corinth then." Ares disappeared in a column of blue light. And then he reappeared and grabbed the newspaper. "I'd better show this to Gabrielle for proof."
At this time, Gabrielle had just finished writing her advertisement. She was sitting beside the inn in Corinth when Ares appeared standing beside her, wearing his usual black leather. "Hi Gabrielle," he said, with a big smile.
Gabrielle was surprised to see him, and said, "Oh... Xena isn't here... she's with..."
"With Hercules," finished Ares. "I know."
"You know... and you're okay with it?" asked Gabrielle cautiously, waiting for him to blow up.
"Sure," said Ares. "Hercules and I... We're working some things out... and Xena... well... we make better friends than anything else."
"I'm glad," said Gabrielle. "It's nice to see you happy for them. But, I don't understand... Why are you here, then?"
"I'm here because you found something that belongs to me. See..." he said. "In the Olympian paper, ads appear before mortals see them."
"Wow," said Gabrielle. "I just finished writing that." She pulled out the item that Ares was looking for. "I must say, this isn't something that I would expect you to have." She passed it to Ares, and he thanked her. He bent down and whispered, "There's a lot you don't know about me, Gabrielle. Maybe someday soon, I'll tell you about something else," he said with a wink. He gently kissed her cheek, and disappeared, leaving Gabrielle speechless.
Gabrielle walked back into the woods, and found the pretty little stream once again. 'I wonder,' she thought, 'if Ares will lose anything else.' She stared into the stream, her hand touching her cheek, seemingly spellbound by the motion of the water. It was nighttime now, and even the stars knew what she was really thinking about....
A handsome God... and a kiss...
Ares appeared inside his bedroom, and walked into the adjoining bathroom. He got out his favorite black towel and prepared for a bath. He stood there, and said to himself, 'That Gabrielle is sure cute. I think I'll get Heph to make something for her. Maybe... ' He looked at the black item sitting on the edge of the tub. 'Maybe something like this... Of course, a girl would like a pretty color. Maybe yellow... Yeah, I bet she'd like a yellow one.' He squeezed his black rubber ducky, making it squeak. He growled, 'Strife won't get you again, little one, I'll make sure of that.'
A door slammed...
A key turned...