Title: A Pain in the Neck

Title: A Pain in the Neck

Author: Smenzer

Rating: PG

Pairing: Ares/Gabrielle

Archive: Yes, please. Let me know if you take it, OK?

Teaser: The original characters are vampires. Comedy

Disclaimer: The characters are not mine. They belong to Studios USA or

Who ever owns the Rights to Xena: Warrior Princess. This is just for fun.

NOTE: This story takes place right after the Xena: WP episode "In Sickness and in Hell".

Ares studied himself in the mirror. He knew vampires weren't supposed to see themselves in mirrors, but he could. After all, he was more God than vampire. When he had ran across a vampire last night, he had decided to let the undead creature bite him. After all, why not? After living for thousands of years as a God, finding a truly new experience was rare. Here, at least, was something he had not tried before.

He looked almost the same, except for the pair of long fangs growing out of his mouth. He pressed one of his fingers against a fang tip and tasted his own salty blood. "Well, enough of that. Time to break these babies in."

He popped out and appeared in front of Xena. He smiled at her to show off his new fangs. "Xena, care to join me for a bite to eat?"

Xena stared at him with a grouchy expression. Then she socked him in the face with her fist. "I don't have time to play your games, Ares. I have to go fishing."

"Hey! Watch out for my teeth!" He yelled after her. Ares picked himself off the ground. He touched his teeth to make sure they were OK. "Stupid Xena. Why can't she be nice to me for a change? Well, maybe I can still try out my new teeth."

Ares strolled through the forest looking for Gabrielle. He found her scratching her back on a tree. He called her name to get her attention. Then he grinned at her so she could see his fangs. "Can I bite you?"

"What?" Gabrielle stopped scratching her back on the tree and gave Ares a funny look. "Will you scratch my back? It's so itchy!"

"Did I hear right? You want me to scratch your back? ME?" Ares asked her in surprise. He never expected the little blonde bard would let him get so close!

"Yeah! My back is driving me crazy!" Gabrielle turned around so Ares could reach her back. She sighed as she felt his hands touch her. "It's Xena's fault! She dragged me through some stupid swamp for days and days. She gave me some stuff to cure it, but the itching came back!"

"How's this?" he asked as he leaned closer.

"Scratch harder!" ordered Gabrielle. "And what's wrong with your teeth? They look like they belong to a dog or something."

"I'm a vampire, you idiot!" Ares protested as he scratched harder on her back. He didn't want to use too much of his Godly strength. He might hurt her. "Those are my fangs! I use them to bite people. People like...YOU!"

Ares leaned forward and sunk his fangs into Gabrielle's neck. His mouth filled with hot blood and he swallowed. Before he could drink another delicious mouthful, Gabrielle wrapped her fingers in his hair. She yanked his head away from her throat. Then she grabbed his nose and twisted.

"I said SCRATCH!"

"Oow!" He cried as he pulled his nose free. It was still tender from Xena's punch. He lifted his hands and stared at them. His skin took on a greenish tint at what he saw: loose pieces of Gabrielle's skin. The dried bits of skin hung from his fingers and was stuck under his nails. "What the heck...?"

"It's Foot Rot Fungus." Gabrielle explained. "I told you Xena dragged me through too many swamps."

"Aaaahhh!" Ares took off and ran through the trees. He did NOT want to experience Foot Rot Fungus!

"Come back here you coward! We had a deal!" Gabrielle ran after him through the woods. She felt something in her mouth. She ran her tongue over it and realized she had fangs. "And I want to bite you!"

Remembering he was a God, Ares popped off to the safety of his temple. A few hours later, his temple doors flew open and Xena stormed in. Gabrielle was right behind her.

She marched straight up to him and stopped.

"Well, now you did it!" Xena snarled at him. "You turned Gabrielle into a vampire and she bit me! And it's all your fault!" Xena dropped a pile of fish on the floor and began to dig in her saddle bag.

"Hey!" Ares yelled and pointed at his fish. "Why did you bring those in here? They're going to stink up the place."

"Well, we're vampires now. We need a place to stay. Since you're the one that made us vampires, it's going to be your place. And I need to cook my fish." Xena went back outside and brought in a pile of sticks. She began to arrange them on a pile in the center of his floor.

"Hey! You can't do that here! This is my temple!" Ares roared at her.

"Xena! There's a fireplace over here!" Gabrielle called from the back of the temple. "And there's some fruit, too. It should taste great with the fish!"

"OK!" Xena picked up the firewood and the fish. Then she headed toward the back. Ares followed her. When they got into the room, which just happened to be Ares' bedroom, Ares stopped dead in his tracks. He had left his sword lying on the bed and now Gabrielle was using it to scratch her back!

"That's my Sword of Power! It's not for scratching backs!" Ares hurried over to the blonde bard and snatched his sword back. He held it far away from him. The blade had long pieces of loose skin hanging off it. "You contaminated it! Besides, you're a vampire now. Your fungus should be gone."

"But it's still itchy!" Gabrielle complained to Ares. She stepped closer to him and waved a finger in his face. The skin on her finger was peeling, too. If one wouldn't know any better, they might think she had a bad case of sunburn. "We had a deal!"

Ares backed away from Gabrielle's peeling skin. "What deal?"

"You were going to scratch my back!" Gabrielle told him. "Scratching the back in exchange for biting me."

"Yeah. And I DID scratch your back." Ares told her. He was trying to watch both Xena and Gabrielle at the same time. Xena now had a fire going in the fireplace. She pulled out her dagger and began to clean the fish. "Hey! Don't do that in here! People got to live here, you know! Go do it outside!"

"Can't. Sun's up." Xena told Ares as she worked on the fish. "And I'm hungry."

"What has that got to do with anything?" Ares asked the Warrior Princess.

"Sun destroys vampires." Xena explained to him. "We were just lucky to get here OK. It wasn't easy, either. Good thing this particular temple is in a forest. A thick, shady forest."

"Ares!" Gabrielle called loudly. "My back is still itchy! You better keep your end of the deal!"

"Well, how long am I supposed to scratch your back?" Ares asked.

"Until it's not itchy anymore!" Gabrielle told him.

"But you're a vampire now. You're immortal!" Ares protested. "I can't scratch your back day and night for all eternity! I have a job to do."

"That's your problem, Ares. Now SCRATCH!"

Ares started to scratch Gabrielle's back and heard her sigh in relief. He had to think of a way to get out of this mess. Maybe if he just cured them? Hmmm...but Xena had said they were going to stay with him. And he liked that idea. Just him and two beautiful woman. And he had to admit he enjoyed touching the bard's back. If only she didn't have the fungus. But if she didn't have the fungus, no touching her back. Ouch. He was beginning to give himself a headache!

The front door to his temple flew open and Joxer stumbled inside. "Xena! Gabby! Are you in here? Why did you two take off like that? Gee, I already said I was sorry for making you sick and all."

"We're back here, Joxer." Xena told him. She had the fish all clean. "Gabrielle, come and cook the fish."

"All right." Gabrielle moved over to the fireplace and sat on a soft furry animal skin. She began to season the fish with herbs and freshly squeezed lemon juice. When she had them ready, she put them on to cook. Soon the delicious aroma of frying fish filled the air. She glared at Ares and he quickly moved to sit behind her on the animal skin. He began to rub her back. He grinned when he saw Xena giving him a nasty look.

Joxer walked into the room and stopped. His mouth dropped open when he saw Ares rubbing Gabrielle's back in front of the fire. He raised a hand in the air. "Ah...you know she has Foot Rot Fungus, right?"

"Yeah. I know." Ares said as he continued to rub on Gabrielle's back. "But in case you forgot, I'm the God of War. I'm not scared of Foot Rot Fungus."

Gabrielle began to snicker. She hid her face against her arm and her whole body shook. Her giggling filled the room. Ares face grew dark and he dug his nails into Gabrielle's back. But being a vampire, it didn't bother her any. She just laughed harder.

Xena watched her sidekick and shook her head. "Come on, Joxer. Let's throw these fish scraps outside." Xena got to her feet and left the room. Joxer followed her. A moment later Gabrielle and Ares heard Joxer cry out.

"Oow! Why did you do that for? That HURTED!"

Xena came back into the room licking her lips. "Sorry Joxer, but I was thirsty."

"But you didn't have to bite me!" Joxer came back into the room and stood still. A confused expression appeared on his face. His lips and cheeks moved, as if he was twirling his tongue around inside his mouth. "Say, there's something inside my mouth!"

"Yeah. Fangs." Xena told him. She sat down on a chair and relaxed, stretching her legs out in front of her.

"Say, they got long!" Joxer felt at his teeth with his hand. He saw the mirror over Ares' dresser and started to head in that direction. First he had to move past Ares and Gabrielle. His feet got tangled in the edge of the animal skin and he tripped. He crashed to the floor right behind the War God. "Ooof! I'f gof mif teef stuff in mif arf!"

"What?" Ares turned around to look at Joxer. Joxer had rolled over on his back. His head was now hidden under the bed. One of his arms was under there, too. Only moaning drifted out.

"He said he gots his teeth stuck in his arm." Xena translated for Joxer.

Joxer tried to sit up and banged his head on the underside of the bed. "Oooff!"

"Of all the stupid things!" Ares grabbed Joxer and yanked him out. His arm was over his mouth. A thin stream of blood was dripping down the arm. Ares gripped Joxer's arm and pulled. Nothing happened. "What the...?"

Ares knelt besides Joxer and closely examined the position of the arm. "He must have his fangs stuck in the bone. Can I get some help over hear?"

Gabrielle crawled over next to Joxer. She glanced up at Ares. "What do you want me to do?"

"Hang onto his head while I pull the arm loose." Ares told her.

Joxer's eyes got wide as he saw Gabrielle reaching for his head. "Noof! Noof! Foongis!"

Gabrielle securely gripped Joxer's head on either side. Ares wrapped his strong hands around Joxer's arm and pulled. After a few long minutes, the arm popped free.

"OW!" Joxer watched in amazement as his puncture wound closed up and disappeared. He looked up at Ares. "Did you heal my wound?"

"No. You did." Ares explained as he sat back down on the animal skin. Gabrielle sat in front of him and tended to the fish.

"But...but, I can't do that! I'm a mortal." Joxer said as he stared at his arm. Then his eyes shifted to Xena. "You! You bit me. Why did you do that for anyway?"

"Look. We're all vampires here, more or less." Xena said as she pulled her sword out. Running a piece of flint along the blade, she began to sharpen it.

"Vampires?" asked Joxer. "What do you mean vampires? I can't be a vampire! I don't want to be a vampire!"

"Well, you are, so get over it." Xena said.

"Xena, don't be so mean." Gabrielle said to her friend. "We were vampires before, but Joxer wasn't. So he doesn't have any experience like we do. I'm sure it must be awfully shocking to him. Just think, Joxer. All your wounds will close up like your arm did."

"Really? So I can't get hurt anymore?" Joxer stood up straighter and a big goofy grin spread across his face. But then the grin vanished. "But don't vampires have to bite people?"

"That's right, Joxer." Xena said with a grin. "It's not so bad. You'll get used to it in no time."

"But I don't know how to bite." Joxer hung his head down. His hat should have covered his eyes, but his head was bare. "Say, where's my hat? How can I be a fearless, unkillable super-hero warrior without my hat? People might not recognize me. And if they don't recognize me, how can they sing my song?"

"Xena, I think you created a monster!" Gabrielle laughed as she poked at the fish. Ares was once again busy rubbing her itchy back. Now he was sitting a bit closer to her.

"Maybe it rolled under the bed." Joxer got down on his hands and knees and crawled under Ares' bed. His armor clanked loudly and he squirmed deeper under the bed. His hand settled on something. He felt the object. It was too soft and fuzzy to be his hat. So he tossed it out from under the bed. The object flew over Ares and Gabrielle's head to land in the fireplace. Gabrielle screamed as the fire flared up and she leaped backward onto Ares' lap. The two fell over backward. A terrible stink filled the room. Gabrielle covered her nose with her hands and raced out into the temple.

"Hey! That was my fuzzy slipper!" Ares yelled as he leaped to his feet. He grabbed Joxer's legs and started to pull him out from under the bed.

"Wait!" Joxer cried. "I think I found my hat!"

"My FISH!" Xena leaped out of the chair and ran to the fireplace. She was forced to cover her nose with one hand. The smell this close was unbearable. She rescued the fish and escaped with them into the other room.

"You're in for it now!" Ares yanked on Joxer. Joxer slid backward until his armor got caught on the bottom of the bed. Ares continued to pull on Joxer and the whole bed began to drag across the floor. "What the...how in Tartarus do you do these things?"

"I don't know! They just happen to me!" Joxer cried from under the bed. "What...what are you going to do to me?"

Ares formed a fireball in his hand, but let it dissipate. Fireballing Joxer wouldn't do any good. He had to get him unhooked from under the bed. To do that he had to find out what he was caught on. He raised his hand and pointed it at the bed. The bed slowly floated upward. When it was high enough, he freed Joxer and pulled him out from underneath it. Then he set Joxer on the ground. "Now don't go underneath my bed any more! If you do, you will suffer my wrath!"

"Sorry." Joxer scrunched up his nose and sniffed the air. "Boy! Something really stinks in here! I'm going to go in the other room for some air."

Ares eyes turned blood red as he stared at Joxer's retreating back. "He makes me so...ANGRY!" He took deep breaths to calm himself, but started choking on the horrible smell. Coughing, he followed Joxer into the temple.

Xena had placed the fish on a table and had passed it out to her friends. The Warrior Princess frowned at her share. "I can't eat this. It's got that awful smell on it."

"Me either. Phew!" Gabrielle picked her share up and placed it on Ares' altar. "Now don't say I never gave you a donation, Ares."

"Gee, thanks! Like I want stinky fish." Ares walked up to Gabrielle and grabbed her around the waist. He hauled her backward and sat down on his throne. Then he pulled Gabrielle onto his lap. "Now let me scratch your fungus."

Gabrielle blushed. Somehow it seemed different now that he wanted to scratch her back. And sitting on his lap! What would Xena think?

"Say," said Joxer as he stood in the center of the floor. "You didn't explain to me yet how to bite. If I'm a vampire, I have to learn how."

"Look, Joxer." Xena said from where she was examining weapons on Ares' wall. "It's really easy. You just go up to someone and bite them. That's it."

"But what if I get my teeth stuck again?" Joxer asked. "And where do I bite them? How? I never did this before."

"Ares is the Head Vampire. He'll teach you." Xena grinned at Ares. One point for the Warrior Princess!

"Great. Just Great." Ares stated. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the smooth skin under his hands. So what if it was peeling a bit from some fungus? He had Gabrielle to himself. And he was beginning to like it!

Lightning flashed across the sky. They could see it through the temple windows. A few seconds later a deafening BOOM exploded right above their heads. The temple itself seemed to shake from the noise. The thunder had frightened Gabrielle and she leaped closer to Ares. He wrapped his arms around her waist and whispered in her ear.

The temple doors flew open and rain poured inside. Three figures hurried inside and forced the doors shut. Xena, with her sword drawn, went to meet the three newcomers.

"Xena?" one of the figures asked.


"Yeah." Hercules said as he pushed his wet hair out of his eyes. "Iolaus and Autolycus are with me. Normally we wouldn't come in here, but we need shelter from the storm. It's like a hurricane out there!"

"Well, come warm yourselves by the fire." Xena told the big hero. "We got some cooked fish if you want them."

"That would be great!" Iolaus cried as he hurried over to the table with the food. "I'm starving! Hmmm, this is some great tasting fish! Has an unusual scent though."

Hercules frowned as he saw Ares' arms wrapped around Gabrielle's waist. He marched up to the throne and put his hands on his hips. "Let go of her, Ares! I don't know what you're planning, but just forget it! Xena, how can you let him hang onto her like that?"

"It's Ok, Hercules. I can explain." Gabrielle slid off Ares' lap and led Hercules into the back room.

"Was he hurting you? Because if he was..." Hercules hands tightened into fists.

"I enjoy being close to Ares. He's not really as bad as you or Xena think he is." Gabrielle explained as she stepped closer to the demi-god. "I tend to see a different side of him than the rest of you do. You once saw the good in Xena. Why can't you see the good in your own brother?"

"I don't believe this!" Hercules threw his arms up in the air and began to pace the room. "He has you under some spell. This is all one of his plots. He's pretending to care about you for some reason. I don't know what it is, but I'm going to find out!"

Gabrielle grabbed Hercules' arm and stopped him from leaving the room. "Just listen to me! I think I'm in love with Ares. I think I've been for a long time. Ever since I turned him into a mortal with my scroll. We seemed to just...connect. That's the first time I saw the part of him that he keeps locked away. I liked it. And he seemed to like me, too. He even admitted we were warming up to each other. Traveling with Xena I don't get to spend much time with Ares. I want to take this opportunity to get to know him better, to continue what we began before. So far it's been going nice. So please don't ruin this for us."

Hercules sighed. "Do you really love my brother?"

"Yes, I do." Gabrielle felt a weight lift off her chest. There. She had finally admitted it to herself. She did love Ares. And she had told someone. It made her feel a lot better, more sure of herself.

"All right. But if he hurts you in any way just let me know." Hercules relaxed a bit. "So, why are you and Xena at his temple? I mean, I know how she hates Ares."

"I can explain that, too." Gabrielle said as she leaned closer. She leaped at Hercules and sunk her fangs into his neck. The big hero crashed to the floor with the tiny bard on top of him. She pulled her teeth out and stood up, straigtening her skirt. "See, we're vampires."

Hercules shook his head and put a hand to his mouth. He grinned. "You know, suddenly I'm very thirsty!"

The two returned to the main part of the temple. Ares held Iolaus above the floor by the back of his shirt. Iolaus kicked his feet and pulled at Ares' arm but it did no good. He couldn't free himself of the laughing War God. As he laughed, Hercules could see his long glistening fangs. Joxer stood nearby and watched.

Xena had Autolycus cornered. The thief looked scared to death. His face was pale and sweat poured down his face. He was blabbering to the Warrior Princess in a mindless stream. "You know, I'm sure we can work something out. I mean, no reason to bite me. I got bad blood. Yeah, that's it. Bad blood. You don't want my blood. Wouldn't you prefer if I stole something for you? Anything! Just name it and it's yours! Free of charge, of course. Hee-hee. I mean, I'll do it for the challenge, you know?"

"Shut up! You're getting on my nerves!" Xena hissed at him. "And believe me, you don't want me angry when I bite you."

"Of course not!" Autolycus frowned as he pressed himself tighter against the cold stone wall. "Anything but that. But bite is such a strong word."

"Yeah, but I like it." Xena reached out for the thief.

"Hercules! HELP!" Autolycus called as he spotted him. "She's a vampire!"

"Xena, don't you dare bite him! Ares, let Iolaus go!" Hercules didn't know where to run first. Should he save Iolaus or Autolycus first?

"All right." Xena said slyly. "But I'm going to watch him, make sure he doesn't get away. I already fed tonight, so I'm not that thirsty. Yet."

Since Autolycus was safe for the moment, Hercules went after Ares. "Put him down, Ares!"

Ares laughed. "He's not for you, little brother. He's for Joxer. The little warrior needs someone to practice on and your buddy here is perfect for the job!"

"Give him to me, Ares! He's my best friend. I should be the one to bite him!" Hercules stepped closer and reached for Iolaus.

"You're a darn vampire, too!" Iolaus cried as he kicked at Hercules with a foot. "How could you? Here I thought we were best friends and you only want my blood!"

"Sorry, buddy, but I'm thirsty." Hercules let Iolaus kick him in the stomach. He barely felt the impact. "Ares!"

"No. Joxer needs to feed. And believe it or not but I take care of my...family. And this little...scoundrel is perfect for Joxer." Ares shook Iolaus for emphasis. "Go bite the thief."

"Hey! Don't talk about me like I'm not here!" Iolaus complained. "I have rights, too! And I choose not to get bit by any of you!"

"Sorry. That's not an option." Ares said. He grinned as Gabrielle came to stand next to him. She placed her arms around Ares' waist. "Ask her if it hurts."

"What?" Iolaus said as his eyes grew wide. "You and HIM? He's a monster! Look what he's doing to me!"

"Oh, Iolaus! Don't be such a sissy!" Gabrielle closed her eyes and sighed. Ares was scratching her back with his free hand. "Ares bit me and it didn't hurt at all! Just be glad you don't have this stupid Foot Rot Fungus! Now that's REAL torture!"

"Foot Rot Fungus?" Iolaus cried in terror. "Keep her away from me! That stuff is contagious! Do you know what the cure for that is?"

"No." Ares stated dryly.

"Believe me, you don't want to know! It's terrible!" Iolaus froze in Ares' grip. He raised a hand and pointed it at Hercules. "Wait a minute. Who bit you? You weren't a vampire when we came in here."

"Gabrielle did." Hercules told him. "Why?"

"Did she touch you?" Iolaus asked.

"Well, yeah. Of course she did. She bit me. How could she bite me without touching me?" Hercules stared at Iolaus, a confused look on his face.

"She has FOOT ROT FUNGUS!" Iolaus screamed at the big hero. "Do you have all muscles and no brains? That stuff is catching!"

"Oh." Hercules replied. "So, what has that got to do with anything?"

Iolaus sighed and went limp in Ares' grasp. He lifted his head and looked at Joxer. "Joxer, did you touch her?"

"Are you kidding? Of course not!" Joxer laughed. "She has Foot Rot Fungus. Even I'm not that stupid. HE'S the one that was scratching her fungus ALL DAY!"

Iolaus looked at Ares and screamed. "Aaahhh! Put me down! I'll let Joxer bite me! I'll do anything! Just don't give me the fungus!"

"What is the big deal about this fungus?" Ares asked as he lowered Iolaus to the floor. He still hung on to his shirt though. "I have to admit it...surprised me when I first saw the peeling skin on my hands, but.."

"That hand?" Iolaus interrupted. "The one hanging onto me?"

"Yeah," Ares said. "What do you think? That I got a third hand hidden inside my clothes?"

"Well, You are a God. I mean, I suppose you could." Iolaus glanced up at Ares. "I was just hoping it was a different hand, you know?"

"This is stupid." Hercules finally said. "You want to play games, Iolaus, fine. I'll go bite Auto."

Iolaus watched the demi-god walk away and let out his breath. "Whew! That was close! Who knows how much of that fungus he has on him? You know, Ares, I hope you know what you're doing."

"Of course I know what I'm doing! I'm the God of War!" Ares clung to Iolaus tightly. "Joxer, get over here and bite him."

"Ummm...OK." Joxer stepped in front of Iolaus and glanced at him nervously. "Ummm...I never did this before. I mean, I might not do it right the first time. Actually, I don't know what I'm doing."

"Great. Just great." Iolaus mumbled to himself. Then he laughed loudly. "That's OK, Jox. Just take your time. I'm sure I'm not going anywhere anyway."

"Now don't try anything sneaky, like escaping." Ares let go of Iolaus and returned to his throne. Gabrielle curled up on his lap. The skin on her legs were peeling. Big hunks of loose skin rubbed off onto his black pants. Ares didn't seem to notice. He just gazed into Gabrielle's blue eyes and kissed her.

"Boy, she has that fungus bad!" Iolaus whispered to Joxer. "Look at those white patches on his pants!"

"Yeah." Joxer agreed sadly. He still loved Gabrielle, so it was hard to watch her with Ares. But he wanted her to be happy, too. And if Ares made her happy, then he guessed that was OK. Besides, Ares was his God. He was a warrior and warriors worshipped Ares. "I just hope he doesn't catch it from her. He should really cure her, you know. It would be the right thing to do."

"But maybe War Gods can't heal." Iolaus said. "I think that's more Apollo's area, isn't it?"

"I don't know." Joxer admitted. "I really don't know very much about the other Gods. Are you sure you don't mind I bite you? I mean, if you'd rather not..."

Iolaus understood now why Ares wanted Joxer to bite him. It was sheer torture. Anyone else would bite him quickly and it would be over. But not Joxer. Joxer was going to drag it out. First he had to work up the nerve to actually bite him! And who knew how long that would take? No doubt Ares was getting his revenge for all the wars he had stopped. "Look, can't you just bite me? Get it over with before the big guy comes back?"

"OK." Joxer said as he stepped up to Iolaus. He leaned in close and stuck his fangs into his neck. He began to suck. Then he stepped back, a big goofy grin on his face. "Hey! I did it! And I didn't get my fangs stuck, either."

Iolaus rubbed his tongue over his new fangs. He wasn't even going to ask Joxer about the stuck fangs. He didn't want to know. Not really. He was about to turn to see how Hercules was doing when he heard an odd sound. It was coming from Ares and Gabrielle. The two were still kissing. But it looked as if they were trying to pull apart and not getting anywhere. Iolaus wondered over and watched them for a moment and scratched his head.

"Say," Joxer said as he came to stand next to Iolaus. "I bet they got their teeth stuck together. I mean, I don't think vampires are supposed to kiss each other."

Iolaus thought about it for a moment. "You know, I think you're right. Vampires don't kiss."

Hercules, Autolycus and Xena came over to look at the kissing couple, too. The thief now sported a shiny new pair of fangs.

"That serves you right for kissing with my friend." Xena snarled at Ares. Then she wondered off to go examine the weapons some more.

Ares groaned loudly and waved his arm to get their attention. He pointed at their locked lips. Gabrielle had her hands on his chest and was pulling her head back. She wasn't getting anywhere though. They could hear a higher pitch sound coming from her.

"What are we going to do?" Joxer asked.

"Well, I'm not going to touch them!" Iolaus exclaimed. "Both of them are covered in Foot Rot Fungus!"

Ares eyes turned bright red as he glared angrily at Iolaus.

"Ah, just let them be." Hercules swung his hand at the trapped couple. "If Ares really wanted to free himself, he could. All he has to do is cure both himself and Gabrielle of being vampires. Or he can wait till morning. When the sun comes up, the fangs will disappear all by themselves. It's night now, so they have a long wait."

Joxer watched Hercules and Iolaus walk away. He shrugged his shoulders and followed them. There wasn't anything he could do.

Ares fumed. It was so humiliating to be trapped like this! And to have the others know about it was even worse! Especially Hercules. He knew his little brother would be laughing about it for months. Every time they got into a spat he would be sure to bring it up. Well, he can fix this problem himself! He lifted his arm and white sparkles floated over their bodies. The vampire teeth vanished, both his and Gabrielle's. Their lips popped apart and Gabrielle gasped for air.

Gabrielle leaned against Ares broad chest. She could sense she wasn't a vampire anymore. Ares had cured her. She looked out toward her friends and only saw five pairs of glowing red eyes. The eyes moved closer. Lightning flashed again and reflected off long white fangs. Gabrielle's heart sped up and she moved closer to Ares for protection. "Umm...Ares? I think we have another problem."

The War God glanced up and saw the hissing vampires. "No one bites my girlfriend but me!" Ares clung tightly to Gabrielle and they both popped out. The vampires leaped at them but landed on the empty throne. They hissed in rage.

Xena lifted her head and sniffed the air. She pointed toward the bedroom where they had cooked the fish. "They're in there!"

"Girlfriend?" Gabrielle asked him. "Am I really your girlfriend?"

"Yeah." Ares realized he really liked the bard a lot. He enjoyed being close to her. She didn't judge him the way the others did. They only saw him as the God of War. But Gabrielle looked past all that. She saw him as a man. And his powers didn't seem to frighten her at all. No one had ever dared pull on his nose the way she did! Nor was she scared to tell him if she thought he was doing something wrong. Like having that warlord attack the village in that scroll incident. He decided he wanted to spend more time with Gabrielle. And if Xena didn't like that, too bad! "That is, if you want to be my girlfriend."

"Oh, Ares!" Gabrielle threw her arms around Ares' neck and kissed him. "I'd love to be your girlfriend! I love you."

The bedroom door flew open and five hungry vampires rushed in.

"Hey! We're having a special moment here!" Ares lifted his hand and shook it. A fireball formed and he threw it at them. The fireball hit the clump of blood-suckers and sent them flying. "I'm getting really ANNOYED!"

Hercules sat up slowly and rubbed his aching head. He had hit it on something when he had landed, perhaps the floor. He felt in his mouth and discovered his fangs were gone. Ares had cured him. The big hero got to his feet and helped the others up. All of them were cured of being vampires.

Xena marched up to the doorway and watched the happy couple. Ares was kissing Gabrielle and scratching his arm. Little flakes of skin were slowly drifting to the floor. His hand moved to his chest. He reached into the opening of his black vest and scratched. Gabrielle was scratching at one of her legs with her boot. There was already a considerable pile of skin around her feet.

"Oh oh." Said Iolaus. "I think he caught it."

"Yeah. I think so." Xena agreed. "Ares. I have something to tell you."

A while later Ares sat in a large hot tub with Gabrielle. They were both covered in some black goop. Xena sat on a chair in the corner of the room to supervise. She didn't trust Ares enough to leave him alone with Gabrielle. She was sharpening her sword again with the piece of flint.

"Tell me again why I'm here?" Ares asked Gabrielle. The War God frowned as he poked at the stuff covering his body. "This stuff is disgusting! It stinks!"

"You have Foot Rot Fungus." Gabrielle told him. "Xena says this stuff will cure it."

"But I'm a God! I can't get Foot Rot Fungus!" Ares protested. "I think Xena created this...torture because she's angry! She's mad that we love each other."

Gabrielle smiled. Ares had said he loved her! It was worth being changed into a vampire for a day, as it brought the two of them together. Gabrielle patted him on his shoulder. "It's OK, Ares. It's OK to admit you have Foot Rot Fungus. We both have it. And as for Xena, I think she's taking it very well."

Ares twisted his head to look at Xena. She was still sharpening her sword. His nose twisted. "What the heck is this stuff anyway?"

"Dog poop." Gabrielle said quietly.