Diaft-Full Version
Destiny Is a Funny Thing

Author: Adelaide
Disclaimer: Don't own them, wish I did, not doing it for money, blah, blah, blah. Oh, yeah, the tune, lyrics, and voices to the song "At the Beginning" belong to Lyinn Ahrens(Lyrics), Stephen Flaherty(Tune), and Richard Marx and Donna Lewis (Voices)
Rating:PG-13
Pairing: Ares/Gabrielle
Summary: No matter the circumstances, destiny is unavoidable
Authors Note: Okay, so this is my little timeline. Xena and Gabrielle still meet and all that, but let's say Gabrielle has never, ever met Ares. Xena has of course, that doesn't change, just Gabrielle hasn't. Sorry for the little bit of grotesques in the beginning. Oh and I named Gabrielle's Horse Handsome, since that's the only thing we heard her call him.
Feedback: Please.....Callygurl24@yahoo.com

We were strangers
Starting out on a journey
Never dreaming
What we'd have to go through
Now here we are
And I'm suddenly standing
At the beginning with you

Hopefully it was for the last time. She had tried twice before, but somehow she always ended up right back where she started.

"Gabrielle are you sure?" The dark prowess stared at her blonde friend with pleading eyes.

"Xena I think it's finally time. We both knew that one day it would come to this. It's for the best." Gabrielle tried hard not to back out of her decision. It was very difficult with Xena's eyes burning an invisible hole in her forehead.

A single tear escaped Xena's eye, but as soon as it came, it was wiped away.

"Until we meet again?" Gabrielle offered auspiciously, even though she knew it would only give little if any solace to her lifelong friend.

"Until then." At that she gave Gabrielle a tight hug and turned with Argo to the west, while Gabrielle took Handsome and slowly headed east.

The duo were officially no more. Gabrielle had called the split and it happened.

Where was she headed? She didn't know, exactly, but she just knew she couldn't live in Xena's shadow anymore. They had traveled together for ten years now, it was just time to go their separate ways.

Weeks went by. Gabrielle traveled around the countryside, alone and bored. Once she had decided she would go home and visit, but then decided against it for she knew her family would just get onto her case about how they were right and she was wrong about going with Xena in the first place.

One night she sat underneath a tree fidgeting with her white silk skirt, when suddenly she just burst into tears.

She was crying for everything. When she first joined Xena she thought that maybe they'd be together forever. Now, however she wished she had given a little more though to what she was going to do once she had left her.

Once Gabrielle finished crying, she immediately wished she had never started for she heard a low snicker of a large group of men.

Quickly getting on her feet, Gabrielle pulled out her staff.

"Who's there?" She asked weakly.

The snicker turned into a loud laugh, then.

"Show yourselves." This time her voice sounded with great force. Gabrielle hated being laughed at, that was what triggered her anger, and what triggered her mistake.

"Show your fat asses now or go away!"

Gabrielle soon regretted saying that when twenty huge burly men with swords slowly walked into the light.

Only one man stood out, though. His sword wasn't raised it rested weakly at his side. He was very handsome, dark, muscular, and tall. He didn't seem to be getting a big thrill out of picking a fight with Gabrielle.

Gabrielle noticed this, however, so she decide early on in the fight that running in his direction would be best.

The fighting began. Gabrielle executed her plan to perfection, except for overlooking one small detail; they had arrows.

She ran past the man who barely gave her a glance, jumped into the trees, silently thanked the Amazons for teaching her how to do that, then ran through the limbs.

She was pretty sure they were gone, that is until she felt a sharp pain by her right shoulder blade, then another one through her abdomen.

She fell ten feet to land face first in the dirt below.

That's when she first saw the arrows, and first felt the real pain they gave.

The men of course caught up to her and started to drag her bloody body back towards the spot she had originally sat.

They were stopped, however, by a low growl in the dark bushes.

Gabrielle was only conscious enough to see a huge dark form approach the group and hear her attackers scream in fear. Before giving into complete darkness she gathered up enough senses to feel a man lifting her tenderly from the ground. Then, everything was black.

No one told me
I was going to find you
Unexpected
What you did to my heart
When I lost hope
You were there to remind me
This is the start

He leaned over the poor girl. She was in bad shape. Her wounds were bleeding profusely and with each progressing minute the blood was getting darker. Not a good sign. Mere bandages would last only seconds with as much as she was hemorrhaging. He had to act quickly.

Placing his hands gently around the shaft of the first arrow, the man broke off the feathered end. He repeated the process with the other. Then, almost as if he was afraid she would break, he lifted her forward to pull the arrows out the other side. Once he did this, though, the bleeding only increased. With each passing second, the soft, beautiful woman before him was getting more and more pale. However, he did not seem worried. On the contrary, he just smiled and laid her back down.

Positioning one hand above each wound, he started to concentrate. Each one started to glow a bright blue. The blood started to slowly dry up and disappear, while the wounds seemed to be sewn by an invisible force greater than either participant could imagine.

When everything was closed up, the man collapsed forward with barely enough strength to stop himself from landing on the woman. Taking the opportunity of being just inches from her face, he leaned down and kissed her lightly on the forehead.

"Rest you will now have. Sleep well." He again kissed her, then left.

Seven days had to pass until Gabrielle finally awoke. Her body and mind felt more refreshed than they had ever before, but something was not right.

She rose up with a start. This was not her bed, she didn't even sleep in beds. Yet, here she was in one incredibly big, incredibly comfortable, bed.

Taking a look at her surroundings, Gabrielle could only assume it to be a bed chamber of a temple. But what temple and whose bed chamber, she had no idea.

She brought her hand to her stomach in surprise. What she felt there only surprised her more, no wound. Then, she felt her shoulder. That held the same results.

"Where am I?" She whispered, not really expecting an answer.

"You're in my Lord's temple."

The voice startled Gabrielle. So much, in fact, that she jumped out the bed frantically searching for some kind of weapon. When she found none she turned to face the man.

It was him, the man from the attack. Same curly black hair and goatee. But now, her seemed to be wearing black cloth pants and a royal blue tunic, the robes of a servant. He stood in a corner by a window. Gabrielle could only assume by the plate of food on the small along with the scroll and quill that he had been sent to watch over her and that he been doing it for quite some time now.

"Who are you?" Her voice was filled with such wonder. At first she thought this man a sleazy warrior, and he still could be, but now she wasn't so sure.

"My name is Alexander. I am a servant in this temple. If there is anything that you wish I am here to fulfill it. My master would like you to stay for a while. So, please stay and welcome yourself to anything." He bowed slightly as if to indicate his sincere intentions.

"And who exactly is this master of yours." She wasn't about to stay in a strange place without finding out a few things about it first.

"I am sorry mistress, but that is of information that I cannot divulge. I have only seen my master but once. He's very secretive, but very kind I assure you. You are free to leave if you are convinced otherwise." Gabrielle looked at his face. He seemed almost at loss at the thought of her going.

Gabrielle considered for a few moments. She was free to leave at anytime, so what could the harm be, right?

"All right, I'll stay."

A huge smile spread across Alexander's face.

"Oh I..I mean my master will be so pleased." He flushed slightly, then bowed and exited the room.

Gabrielle smirked at the man as he closed the door.

"What have I gotten myself into?" Gabrielle sighed, then gently slipped back under the covers. If she was going to be staying here why not make the most of it, starting with a nice long nap.

Life is a road
And I want to keep going
Love is a river
I wanna keep flowing
Live is a road
Now and forever
Wonderful journey

The first few days in the temple were a bit awkward for Gabrielle. For one thing, she really didn't enjoy seeing half naked priestesses running around all the time spouting their love for their master, one of which they'd never seen. And secondly, no one really seemed to care that she was there. Well, except maybe Alexander. But most of the other inhabitants rarely said anything to her. Not even a quick hello while passing in the hall. As the days went on she felt more like an outcast, than like a guest.

It was now Gabrielle's fifth day there and still not many people acknowledged that she existed. It was getting better, though, with Alexander. She really enjoyed talking with him on the nights he didn't have to work. It didn't happen very often, but it was probably the only reason she stayed around.

Tonight was one of those nights. Gabrielle excitedly entered the common living area. It was such a beautiful room. A huge stone fireplace stood in the center of the back wall. Age was very apparent on its features. Gabrielle loved to sit right on the edge of the fire. It reminded her of the days when she and Xena used to do the very same thing, but tonight she sat on the large plush couch in front of the hearth. The fabric was smooth to the touch, probably of the finest fabric, and the down-filled pillows were just right to snuggle up against. The only thing about this mysterious master that Gabrielle knew for certain ws that he was rich. It bothered her that that was all she knew about him, but as long as things were decent around here, then she didn't let it get to her too much.

Just as she sat down, she heard a slight cough behind her. Turning around, Gabrielle saw Alexander walk into the room. She stood up to greet him.

"Hey beautiful, miss me?" He grinned. It was such an inviting grin, that Gabrielle couldn't resist smiling back at him.

"Always." She gave him a quick hug, which wasn't too easy since he was at least ten inches taller than her.

Gabrielle sat back down on the couch, Alexander followed.

His eyes bore into her own. They were so alluring, such a rich chocolate brown. So alluring in fact that Gabrielle just wanted to drown in them forever.

"Is there something on your mind?" He smiled obviously sensing her thoughts.

Gabrielle blushed furiously.

"Actually, yes." She tried desperately to get her mind off him.

"Well..." He prompted.

"Well, I want to meet this master of yours. I've been staying here for almost a week and yet I know nothing about him, except that he's rich. I think at least I deserve the satisfaction of knowing his name. I'd even settle for a brief description of what he looks like. I'm not asking for much maybe what his favorite hobby is. What he does all day. Why he needs you to be a servant for days at a time. Come on, something, anything."

Alexander burst out laughing. Gabrielle couldn't understand it. She was pleading with him and he found it funny.

"Are you amused by something?"

"I'm sorry, you just remind me of someone." He tried to stifle his laughter.

''Who?" Okay, now she was curious.

"An old pupil of my master's. A woman like you. He would never let her see him or hear him and it drove her insane."

"Really? What was her name?" Gabrielle had to know. May be it would give her a clue to who his master was.

"Xe...She only said her name once to me, but I think it was Xenelia."

"Oh" Gabrielle was slightly disappointed. She had never heard of the woman before, so she was no closer to figuring out who the lord of this temple was.

"You know what?" He said with a genuine smile on his face.

"What?" She was tired of these games. If he made her think of anymore secrets and made her even more curious she would just have to leave.

"I will tell you a few things about him."

"Really?" She instantly sat straight up.

"Yes, really."

"Go ahead." Gabrielle couldn't wait.

"All I'll tell you is that when you were being attacked by those men a few weeks back, my master couldn't bear to see you die. So, he sent me to save you. He cares a great deal about you. Whether you know it or not, he is here in this temple and he does watch over you, just to make sure you're safe and having a good time, honestly. This is all that I can tell you. I have to go now. Good night." With that said he gently kissed her on her hand and walked out of the room, leaving a stupefied and very self conscience Gabrielle behind.

I'll be there
When the world stops turning
I'll be there
When the storm is through
In the end I wanna be standing
At the beginning with you

Gabrielle had woken up the next morning thinking nothing was out of the ordinary. But, as she opened her door, she found a small piece of parchment attached to it. It didn't say much, but it was from Alexander.

The note read:

Gabrielle,

My master is sending me away on a mission for a few weeks. Please come meet me in the common room after dark.

-Alexander

So, now she walked down the long hallway to the common room.

Why did he have to leave? What would she do for two weeks? Would he miss her? Questions flooded her head. Gabrielle had grown to really care for and had maybe even started to love Alexander. Now, just as she was starting to realize this, he was leaving. True it was only for a little while, but it still hurt to think about him away from her at all.

As she entered, Gabrielle saw him waiting, sadly stroking the fire.

"Why does it have to be you leaving?" She blurted out, only intending to think it.

Alexander looked up, sadness evident in his eyes.

"Come here." He gently commanded.

Gabrielle obeyed. She silently sat across from him, waiting patiently for his words to continue.

"Why so sad? I'll only be gone for two weeks. Besides when I come back, I'll spend all of my free time with you. I don't want to go either, but I have to." Alexander softly entwined their fingers.

"Two weeks seems like forever in this place." She sighed. She felt foolish for missing him so much.

"I'm sure you'll manage. Come on, how do you think I'll entertain myself without you. My master wants me to go check out some possible threats on the northern border. Now, you and I both know, there's nothing going on up there."

Gabrielle smirked at his comment. Then, she got an idea.

"Why don't I come with you?" As soon as she saw his face, her heart sank.

"I already asked my Lord, he forbid it since it's such a dangerous and "secret" mission."

Gabrielle lowered her eyes.

"Then, I guess I'll see you in two weeks, huh?"

"Yes, but we still have about one candle mark left. Do you mind if I tell you a story?" He smiled.

Gabrielle couldn't believe her ears.

"You're going to tell me a story? Me, the bard?"

"If that's not too hard to believe."

"No," Was all she had to reply.

He motioned for her to come sit next to him, but Gabrielle had better ideas. Slowly, she crawled up into his lap and snuggled her back against his chest.

Wrapping his arms around her waist, Alexander began.

"This is a tale about a lowly servant and a remarkable woman he was sent to rescue. The first time he set eyes on her, he knew that there was no way he could let her die..."

We were strangers
On a crazy adventure
Never dreaming
How our dreams would come true
Now here we stand
Unafraid of the future
At the beginning with you

Weeks would have to go by before she would be able to see Alexander again. That was the only thing Gabrielle had to look forward to.

Although, this did give her some time to make new "friends" and explore the temple grounds a bit. Gabrielle actually had grown to like the high priestess of the temple. Her name was Shianna and one of the reasons Gabrielle liked her was that she didn't wear revealing clothes and that she didn't talk about her master much. It was somewhat of a relief, really. They had started to spend time with each other after Shianna had found Gabrielle wandering the halls trying to find something to amuse herself with. After that, they started to talk more often, and soon, they would talk every day. It didn't matter what about. It was just nice to have someone to share things with. Of course, that would never replace her nights with Alexander. Which to Gabrielle, were almost as good as Solstice when she a little girl.

Today Shianna had come to Gabrielle's bed chamber. She naturally wanted to talk and Gabrielle couldn't refuse.

They walked down the small garden path together in silence. Both were quietly enjoying the peaceful scenery. Gabrielle had never seen such a beautiful courtyard. The moment she entered it, she was in awe of the well-loved and cared for place that was no doubt laid out, restored, and developed by generations of gardeners. She could just imagine coming through the antique iron gate in Spring and breathing in the scent of fresh honeysuckle, while idly walking through the aisles of Magnolias and Daffodils. Then, she would skip atop dozens of carefully placed stepping stones to sit underneath the timelessly old Birch tree and run her fingers through the sunken pond.

The sound of finches chirping in the distance brought Gabrielle out of her trance. She turned to Shianna and noticed she looked quite deep in thought.

"Something on your mind?" Gabrielle asked.

Shianna didn't respond for a moment.

"Gabrielle, have you ever been in love?" There was dreamy, distant look on her face.

Gabrielle thought about Alexander. Did she love him? She wasn't sure. She didn't think she had known him long enough, but it all felt so real.

Shianna noticed the emotions going across Gabrielle's face and smiled.

"You are now, aren't you?" Completely forgetting her own situation, Shianna sat them down next to the small fish pond.

"I don't know." She sighed.

Everything was happening so fast to Gabrielle. It seemed like just yesterday she had woken up and found him watching her.

"It's not that hard of a question. With love there is no in between. Either you love someone or you don't. So, do you or don't you?" Shianna was right. Gabrielle knew there was no kind-of love, or sometimes-love, there was only love.

"Yes, I do." She smiled in her realization, but then the smile faded knowing Alexander was going to be gone two more weeks before she could tell him.

"Who is it then. It has to be somebody here or you would've left already."

"Alright. You know everybody in the temple right, being the High Priestess and all?" Gabrielle questioned before she began pouring out her heart.

"Of course I do, everybody." Shianna urged her to continue.

"Well, then, it's Alexander. One of your master's personal servants. He's so handsome and his eyes, gods his eyes, they can just draw you in and refuse to let you go. Plus, he's smart, no brilliant. And he never makes me feel less than I am. If anything he makes me feel more than I am. He's just so wonderful. I have never met a man like him. I just..."

Shianna cautiously cut Gabrielle off.

"Um, Gabrielle?"

"Yes?"

"Who's Alexander?"

Life is a road
And I want to keep going
Love is a river
I wanna keep flowing
Live is a road
Now and forever
Wonderful journey

"What do you mean, who's Alexander?" Each word dripped out slowly as Gabrielle's eyes grew large. Shianna was the High Priestess. She had to know him.

Shianna looked straight into Gabrielle's emerald eyes.

"Gabrielle there has never been anyone at this temple named Alexander. Furthermore, my master does not have any personal servants. No one has seen him or talked to him, no one." She was quite offended that Gabrielle would think that her master would have anyone closer to him than herself, but Shianna brushed it off. It was a slight matter compared to what Gabrielle was saying now.

"What are you talking about. I saw him stand right next to you. You looked straight at him. You know, Alexander. 'Bout ten inches taller than me, nice curly black hair, brown eyes, any of this ring a bell?" She was desperate, Shianna could tell.

Shianna didn't reply, but lowered her eyes.

"Oh gods, I'm going insane aren't I?" Tears threatened to flood the brim of her eyes as she thought of everything she and Alexander had shared. It was a lie. All of it. No, it couldn't be. It was so real. Now, she had to wait two weeks until she would find out the truth. That alone was going to kill her.

"Gabrielle..." It was all Shianna had to say before the young muse burst from her sitting location and ran deeper into the garden.

"I'm sorry Gabrielle, but he's the one who has to tell you." She whispered as the crying figure disappeared among the thousands of tiny blossoming flowers.

*Two weeks later*

'Breath. come on just breath'

Gabrielle thought as she paced her bed-chamber. He sent word that he was going to be home any minute now. What was she going to say? How was she going to ask him? What would he say? It was such a mess. All Gabrielle could do to keep calm was fold and refold and refold the satiny sheets on her huge bed. In a few minutes he would be back and would be able to explain everything. It was probably just a mix up. Shianna didn't recall his face. Yes, that was it. She hoped.

The creaking of a door, her door, stopped her dead in her tracks. Footsteps softly padded on the floor behind her. She was afraid. Afraid to look, but also afraid to not look. Something that felt an awful lot like relief filled her body as she felt strong fingers trace her shoulders then gently slip down her arms and around her waist.

"Miss me?" He murmered against her neck.

Gabrielle softened. She had longed for that voice. That touch for so long.

But Alexander could sense something wasn't right.

"Gabrielle what's wrong?"

Finally, she turned to face the man she loved, but didn't know.

"Alexander,"She paused to find his eyes", we need to talk."

I knew there was somebody somewhere
Like me alone in the dark
Now I know my dream will live on
I've been waiting so long
Nothing's gonna tear us apart

Life is a road and I wanna keep going
Love is a river I wanna keep going on....
Starting out on a journey
Life is a road and I wanna going
Love is river I wanna keep flowing
In the end I wanna be standing
At the beginning with you.

"We need to talk?" Alexander's face crumbled in confusion. "What could we possibly need to talk about?"

"I think you know, Alexander, if that is in fact your real name." Gabrielle got out of his arms.

Suddenly, he looked very nervous. Sweat started to form at the brow of his head and his fists clenched.

Gabrielle looked straight at him , not wanting to lost the battle of stares. She could see his tension, and from that, knew the truth.

"So, you have nothing to say? Please just tell me the truth. It's all I'm looking for." Gabrielle hated to beg, but she was desperate.

Alexander took a deep breath and sighed. His features plainly showing his defeat. He was going to reveal everything.

Taking her hands, he set her down on the edge of the bed.

"Okay, Gabrielle, I'll tell you everything."

Gabrielle waited patiently for him to continue. She wanted to know so badly, yet still wanted to not know and live the wonderful dream she had been for two months.

"I am not a servant in this temple....." He paused waiting for her reaction, when he saw none he proceeded.

"...I'm the master. My name is Ares; the god of War." With those words said, Gabrielle let out the breath she had not even known she'd been holding.

"That I was not expecting." She let go of his hands and stood up. Too many thoughts intruded her brain at once. She had to think clearly, so she started to pace.

"Gabrielle..."

"No. No, you've been lying to me this whole time. How can I love someone when our whole relationship has been based on lies? Everything you've said, everything you've done, all lies?" Tears started to streak down her cheeks.

"Not everything was a lie. It's not a lie that I love you. I was going to tell you who I was sooner, but I was afraid this would happen and I would lose you. Please don't say that I've lost you." Ares walked over and cupped her face, tears threatening to flow.

Gabrielle looked into his sincere face. Her love had melted away the anger in her heart. Yes, she loved this man....er..god, because a name was only a name, she fell in love with the person.

No matter what; she loved him, and he loved her. It was going to be hard to accept, but she would do it.

Her thumb came up and wiped away the liquid from his eye.

"Did I make the god of War cry?" She smiled.

Ares smiled back.

"I guess you did, but don't tell anyone. It'd really put a damper on my reputation." Gabrielle laughed at the comment and he swooped her up into his arms.

"I truly do you love you, you know." He whispered before he leaned in and placed a soft kiss on her lips.

"I know, just as much as I love you."

"So, what happens now?" Gabrielle asked, as he carried her out of the room.

"We're standing at the beginning. Who knows what will happen next?"

He held her close as they walked out together. Both knew whatever would happen they would be just fine.