Disclaimer: The characters do not belong to me. They belong to whoever owns the rights to Xena:Warrior Princess.

What Is Love?

-Xena and Hercules are married. Gabrielle has no family left. She lives alone in a little house of her own.-

Chapter 1

The last thing that Gabrielle remembered was walking around the corner of her house. Then, something heavy fell on her, and pain, lots of pain...

"Gabrielle! Gabrielle!" She heard a voice calling her name, but her eyelids seemed too heavy to move. When she finally felt able to open her eyes, the first thing she saw was the familiar face of a concerned War God. He was sitting beside her on the ground, looking into her face. "Oh!" he exclaimed. "Thank Zeus, you're awake. I was worried," he finished quietly.

"Worried? Why would you worry?" Gabrielle asked. Ares looked hurt. "Of course I would worry, Gabrielle. You're a very special person."

"What happened to me? It felt like the sky fell on me," she said, looking up, as if she thought she would see a piece of the sky missing."

Ares looked sheepish as he said, "Ah, I guess that would be me. I fell on you when Zeus dropped me. I'm really sorry about that."

"Dropped you?"

Ares sighed, looked down at the ground, then back at Gabrielle. "Dad thinks that I need to learn what love is. I thought he'd drop me at Dite's, but I'm here and I'm a mortal until Dad decides that I've learned my lesson."

"He dropped you on top of me. Does that mean that you have to stay with me?" asked Gabrielle, starting to worry about what she might be facing.

"He told me, 'Stay where I put you, or you'll stay a mortal', so I guess I'm your new roommate," he said hopefully, trying out his puppy dog face on Gabrielle.

"Don't do that face!" protested Gabrielle. "Alright; but I don't want to fight with you. You have to behave. Will you sleep on the couch?" she asked, sitting up and putting her hands to her aching head.

"The couch? Oh... of course, the couch... Does your head hurt?" She nodded. "I'm sorry, Gabrielle, I don't have my powers to heal you, but I can tell you that you have a concussion. You'd better lie down," he said. She protested when he picked her up, but soon shut her eyes. He put her on her bed and covered her. "Don't worry, Gabrielle. You're safe with me." He gave her a soft kiss on the forehead and left her to rest.

Gabrielle felt a bit better when she woke up in the morning, and decided to get up. She started to rise and groaned. She hurt all over. 'It shouldn't surprise me,' she thought, 'Ares fell on me. I must be covered with bruises.' Hearing her groan, Ares rushed into the room. He was covered with flour, and his hair stood on end. "Gabrielle, are you alright? Are you in pain?" He looked very worried.

"I'm okay, Ares. I just ache. What happened to you?" she asked, referring to his disarray.

"Oh," he said. He hurried out of the room and came back in again with a tray. "The flour kinda got away from me," he grinned. "Here, I made breakfast for you." The tray contained a plate of delicious-looking pancakes and a mug of milk. There was also a bouquet of pretty wildflowers. Gabrielle was speechless, and just stared at the tray.

"Is there something wrong, Gabrielle? I could make something else," he said, anxiously awaiting her answer.

Gabrielle smiled at Ares. "It's perfect." She motioned for him to come closer to her, and she kissed his cheek. "I didn't know you could cook," she said.

"Oh... I ... When I was mortal the last time, I learned a few things, and discovered that I like to cook... so I ... did it for you." He stammered out the words, blushing beet-red.

"Thank you, Ares. It tastes wonderful, and I like the flowers too."

"You do? Good... I... I have to chop wood now. Good-bye." He backed away, bumping into a chair, and left the room in a hurry. Gabrielle looked mystified, but smiled, thinking, 'He's nicer than I thought,' then shut her eyes for another nap.