Disclaimer: I have used the chorus from the song 'Love Is For Giving'. It does not belong to me. It was written by Robert Ellis Orrall and David Tyson. The song has not been used for profit; only for fun.
Gabrielle suddenly became aware of strong arms surrounding her, and a voice speaking soothing words. "Shhh, shhh... Its okay, Gabby. It's just a bad dream." She opened her eyes to see Ares' dark eyes looking down at her. "Hi there, little one; I heard you scream and I was afraid you were in trouble. I ...hope you don't mind that I..." Gabrielle put her hand up to cover his mouth. "It's okay. No one has ever rescued me from my nightmares. Not even Xena. Thank you, Ares."
"You're welcome. Do you feel better? Can you sleep now?"
"I think so. Good night, Ares."
"'Night, Gabrielle. Sweet dreams."
Gabrielle shut her eyes and quickly went back to sleep. Ares remained seated beside the bed, prepared to rescue her from the demons of the night...
The next day, Gabrielle was very shy with Ares, because of what had passed the night before. He noticed this and asked her what was wrong. "I'm sorry for bothering you last night," she said, nervously chewing on her bottom lip.
"Hey, hey! Don't say that. You aren't a bother. You could never be that. It is an honor for me to be allowed to look after you. I care for you too much, to want you hurt," he said quietly. Gabrielle looked at Ares in wonderment. "You think it's an honor... You like me?"
"Yes, it's an honor. And no, I didn't say I liked you."
"Oh, of course not... I didn't really think that." Gabrielle felt like sinking into the floor for what she'd thought.
Ares took her hands in his, and looked down at her fondly. "I don't just like you... I'm in love with you. Are you willing to give me a chance to prove that I've changed from the old Ares? Will you give me time to become more worthy of you?"
Gabrielle wasn't sure what to say, but then she said, "I already know that you are a better man and God than the old Ares. The old Ares would never have taken care of me the way you have. The old Ares wouldn't have sat up with me all night," she smiled, "just to chase away my bad dreams. You didn't ask me for anything. You just took care of me. You have been so nice to me. How can I be worthy of you?"
Before Ares could reply, a bright light filled the room, and Zeus appeared in front of them. "Father," said Ares. "Why are you here?" Zeus laughed. "Don't you remember why you're here, Ares?"
"Yes, of course, Father. But I haven't had time to learn what love is. I've been taking care of Gabrielle," he said, putting his arm around her shoulders.
"Oh, son," laughed Zeus. "You've already learned what love is, without even realizing it. I knew you were lonely, son, and I knew that Gabrielle was the only one who could help you. I think Gabrielle knows what I mean. Tell him, child," he told her kindly.
Ares looked confused, but looked at Gabrielle expectantly. Gabrielle stepped up closer to Ares, smiled at Zeus, and then looked at Ares again. "Ares," she said. "Love is giving up your sleep for someone else's nightmares; cooking breakfast; hugs; kisses; listening; and caring. It is doing all this, and more, without expecting anything in return. That's love."
"It is? But I would... and I always will take care of you even if you can't love me..." Ares said, with anxious eyes.
"As I said, 'that's love'. And Ares..."
"I do love you. Very much. I just thought that you would never see me that way... That you would never get over Xena."
"I've always seen you, my beautiful Gabrielle. And it's you that I will never get over, and I would never want to..." he said, kissing her fears away.
While Ares kissed Gabrielle, Zeus smiled at the two people in love; he gave Ares back his Godhood and disappeared into a burst of light. Ares and Gabrielle didn't even notice what had happened. All they could see was each other. When Ares raised his head and looked into her eyes, Ares' eyes told Gabrielle all she needed to know.
You taught me how to love again
You wrapped me in your angel wings
Look at me now, I'm finally home
You showed me my life is for living
And love (oh, love) is for giving.