Disclaimer: I do not own the characters from Xena: Warrior Princess. The characters belong to Renaissance Pictures and Universal Studios. Please don't sue me. I'm a poor college student who's just trying to spread the Xena love!
Written by Ashley
The sun had set an hour ago, and as her blonde companion stoked the fire with more kindling, the dark-haired warrior stretched out, wiggling her bare toes and stretching out in the bedroll. It wasn't very often she had the chance to lie down and relax, but it had been a fairly easy day, and tomorrow looked to be just as easy. But then again, Xena knew to always expect the unexpected. That's why her sword and chakram lay right beside her, tucked away just close enough for her to reach in case an intruder decided to happen upon them in the middle of the night. It had happened many times before, and Xena was sure it would happen again.
"Hmm?" Xena opened one eye and turned her head to glance at her soul mate.
"You wouldn't mind picking up Eve at your mother's without me, would you?" Gabrielle asked, glancing over at her friend. "I'd like to visit my family in Potidaea. Lila's due any day now, and I'd like to be there. You can come too, of course, but I'm sure you're anxious to see Eve."
"It's been a while since I've had some time alone with Eve," Xena said with a smile. "You go on to Potidaea. Eve and I'll catch up in a few days."
"I'll head out at first light. You're sure you don't mind?"
"Gabrielle, Eve and I'll be fine."
"Alright," Gabrielle said, half-convinced. Ever since Eve's birth, the gods had been throwing everything they had at them to try to stop the prophecy of the Twilight from occurring. Eve's birth had not brought about any gods' deaths, except for Hera, killed by her own husband, and Zeus, killed by his own son. Eve was nearing her first birthday, and she grew stronger and happier by the day. Thankfully, the gods had backed off, and Eve was safe, for now.
"Don't worry," Xena replied. "If anything should happen, it's nothing I can't handle."
Xena woke in a cold sweat, her body shaking furiously. She sat up quickly, running her fingers through her hair, her breath coming in quick gasps. Tears filled her eyes, diluting her normally stoic gaze. She glanced over at the bedroll next to hers, finding Gabrielle fast asleep next to her.
"Eve," she breathed. Her stomach felt queasy now, and she rushed away from the campsite, bending down in some thick bushes to throw up. A few minutes later, she stood shakily, a chill running through her body. She closed her eyes, sensing him near. "What do you want?"
A blazing blue flash illuminated the darkness for a moment, before Ares appeared before her. His eyes were dark, sad. He had not a hint of intention behind that gaze she was so used to sneering at.
"I was checking on you."
"Do it someplace else, will you? I'd rather not see your face." Her eyes were cast low. She only briefly made eye contact long enough to see that he genuinely looked to be concerned. But she wasn't in the mood to figure him out right now.
"Xena, I told you I had no control over…"
"Don't give me that," Xena spat. "You knew they wanted her dead. You should have known what they were going to—"
"I didn't, alright? I don't know how many ways I can tell you that I did not know."
"Please," Xena murmured, turning her back on him.
"They knew how I felt about you, Xena. I guess they thought I'd be a liability. They had no intentions of letting me in on it, because they knew I'd stop them."
"You wanted her dead," Xena replied. "So you could live."
"Xena, I've lived for thousands of years. And I told you once that I would gladly die in your arms than live without you in mine. I still mean that, and that means that I would have died protecting your daughter if I could have. But I wasn't there. I was in Thrace overseeing a war. You know that."
"I don't care. That won't bring my daughter back."
"What if I can?" Xena turned to him, her eyes first full of hope, but then full of anger.
"What game are you playing, Ares? Eve is dead! She's dead, and you're even more of a bastard than I think you are if you…"
"Xena, I can bring her back!" Ares replied, taking hold of her shoulders.
"What are you talking about?"
"Hades. Eve was an innocent, Xena. Even though the prophecy declared that she would bring about the end of the Gods, she was still your daughter, and still a Greek. She would have gone to the Elysian Fields." Xena shook her head.
"Hades won't bring her back. He couldn't do anything about Solan, and Solan was never a threat to his life." Ares stepped in closer.
"Eve is a different story. Solan was killed by a force that was more powerful than Hades could have imagined. But the Olympians took Eve's life, Xena. They can restore it."
"Don't," Xena said quickly. "Don't play games with me." She reached for her chakram. "I'm not a well woman right now." Her lip curled up. "My daughter's at peace."
"And she could be at peace…in your arms."
"You don't care about anybody but your own self, Ares. You tried to use my daughter's life as a bargaining chip to give you a child of your own. You tried to…"
"Ok, ok, you don't have to throw that in my face. Xena, I love you." Her steely-blue eyes snapped up to meet his. "I said it, alright? I love you, and I might not make the right choices, and I might not approve of this new greater good kick your on, but I do know you're not the same woman you were before your daughter died."
"Have you been reading Athena's books on the human mind, Ares? Don't even attempt to try to convince me that you'd want to bring Eve back from the Elysian Fields."
"If the prophecy is true…"
"The prophecy was shattered the moment Eve took her last breath. I don't see why Hades wouldn't do you this favor. You've done so many for him in the past." He stepped closer to her, placing his hand upon her cheek. She closed her eyes for a moment before pulling away.
"Think about it," he murmured, before disappearing into the night.
"Xena?" Gabrielle came rushing into the thicket. "Xena, I heard voices. Are you…" She realized how upset Xena looked, and she put an arm around her.
"I was dreaming about her, Gabrielle," Xena whispered. "About the night before I went to pick her up in Amphipolis." Gabrielle frowned sadly.
"Xena, let's go back to bed."
"Ares came to me, Gabrielle. He said he can bring her back."
"What?" She and Xena began walking back to camp, all the while Xena explained the conversation she'd just had with Ares.
"Xena, are you sure you can trust him?" Gabrielle asked, as they settled back down.
"I didn't see any ulterior motives, Gabrielle. He seemed genuine."
"My question is, what's in it for him?" Gabrielle asked.
"I don't know," Xena replied, shaking her head. "I don't know. But Gabrielle, I have the chance to bring my daughter back. I can't pass that up. But…what if it's better this way? What if she's at peace, and I…"
"What are you going to do?"
"There's only one thing I can do," Xena whispered. "I have to see her, Gabrielle. I have to hold my daughter in my arms." She looked away, into the fire. "First thing tomorrow, I'm going to visit Hades."
To Be Continued...