Loving War

By

Lady Razeli

Disclaimer: I do not own Xena...

Chapter One

"Hang on!" Xena yelled to the crew. She was traveling on a boat back to Greece where Gabrielle waited for her. She had recently come from chasing a man all across the Greek continent and into Egypt. Tracking him was harder than she had expected, but she finally caught him. He would pay for the rape of one of her friends. She had personal vendetta against him, but her friend had asked her to keep him alive, she wanted to see him hang to be sure she was safe again. Xena decided not to deny her that.

"Look out!" A huge wave was coming towards them as the smaller waves tossed them from side to side. Xena like the others had tied themselves down. She ducked down and waited for the wave to hit her. The wave was taller than any Cyclops as it loomed over them for half a second before plunging the ship into the very depths of the sea. Xena doubted her prisoner would survive in his cage just as the sailors perished around her. She pulled out her dagger and cut at the rope. She made for the surface hoping that she was tossed ashore somewhere.

"Wake up!" Water was thrown on her face and Xena sat up in shock. The sun was shining overhead and she was lying on a beach. Above her stood several armed men. The most noticeable was the blond haired angel. He looked stronger than all the rest and a fierce warrior in battle. His eyes were blue and his face serious. "Who are you?"

"Xena of Amphipolis, daughter of Cyrene," Xena answered as her hands groped for her sword or chakram nearby.

"Well daughter who does not honor her father, we moved your weapons so stop looking. Where did you come from?" Xena stopped and thought it best cooperate while she still needed to regain her strength.

"I was taking a rapist back to justice in Amphipolis, my companion and I had been chasing him for weeks when he ran to Egypt. I lost my companion in Cornith, but I caught him in Alexandria, we were on our way back when the storm hit. Next thing I know I find myself at sword point. Who may I ask are you?"

"Achilles, you may have heard of me."

"I may have," Xena replied with a smile. "Are you so hospitable that you would not take me to your home allow me food, water, and shelter." Achilles nodded.

"You may take part in all these pleasures while you recover, you've got some injuries, I don't think you're going anywhere." Xena nodded. Achilles bent down and gently lifted her in his strong arms before she could protest. Once safely in his arms she also found she had no wish to protest.

"After today I ask that you not pick me up like this again unless asked."

"Understood loud and clear," He said. "But as long as you're injured I shall carry you like this to ensure a faster recovery." Xena laughed a little.

"Have anymore survivors washed ashore?" Xena asked as they walked up the beach.

"Several of the men washed ashore including your prisoner and not one lived long enough to tell me anything. As far as we know you're the only survivor besides your prisoner he passed out." Xena nodded.

"Please have him locked up I can't have him running again. I have little patience left for tracking him."

"Put him in the prison," Achilles ordered. They dragged his body away. She was taken safely to his home and given his bed since it was the only room in the house. He had someone take care of injuries. She had a very small fractured rib and two gashes on her leg and side.

"Achilles," Xena said. "You've kill many men in battle."

"Your reputation also travels farther than you, you have also killed many people on the battle field."

"Yes, in senseless war that meant nothing but I've changed now."

"You no longer wage war?" Achilles asked.

"No, I join them from time to time joining a war to save lots of lives. I stop misguided Greeks from waging war." He nodded. He didn't often participate in wars between Greeks themselves unless it was particularly large battle that would bring him Glory.

"It is a shame such a beauty as you is little better than a warlord." Xena looked a little taken aback that he had voiced that thought.

"You're the first to voice that thought, but I am not all bad. Its true once upon a time I was little better than any other warlord or small ambitious King. My only mercy was that I did not slaughter women and children. You're right that only made me a little better for even sparing their lives."

"Yes, but we both know survivors of war suffer far greater than the ones that die."

"Yes, but I'm a woman, while being merciful I must be ten times worse as a warlord. Most men don't understand to live is to suffer to die is to join your brothers in welcome."

"Its understandable a woman in your line of work would have to be ten times more feared than a male warlord. To defeat your enemies you have to be underestimated."

"You take that back, I am very good warrior and I won't have you diminishing that by saying all the men I've defeated underestimated me and that was the only reason I won." He smiled a little but bowed his head.

"Forgive me, I didn't realize you came with a warrior's pride."

"It's not pride that makes me lash out at you right now. My redemption lies in my battles where yes a lot of very stupid men do underestimate me despite all the stories…"

"Because in the end you're just a woman, and they think you've been lucky so far." Xena nodded.

"In the end yes I'm just a woman a very lethal one. But there are those who would never dare underestimate me just as they would never underestimate you. There only problem is they assume victory too early arrogant with all their other victories."

"Sounds like Greeks." Xena nodded as food was brought in and wine rather then water she had earlier.

"I hope you like pheasant my lady," The soldier who brought it in told her. Xena nodded and offered him a sort of half smile. He smiled and hurried out.

"I think you have bewitched my men."

"That tends to happen, but they weren't the ones I was hoping to bewitch," Xena told him as her hand light brushed against his reaching for some fruit. Achilles watched her for a moment.

"Why redemption?" Achilles asked.

"Being a warlord was a career chosen through the hate that often rages through men. I wanted to grow up to be Hero never a warlord until I let hate consume me. I started when I was very young by the time I was a teenager a God had just finished creating me as his puppet now all he needed to do was create the strings of hate and I didn't even know it."

"Ares." Xena nodded.

"But one day after several pushes in the right direction I broke free of my puppet strings. Now I fight for the greater good, saving rather than destroying. Now I'm ten times more nicer and no less bitchier." Achilles laughed, as did Xena. He found her laugh was like music to his ears.

"Wine?" He asked.

"Is it watered down, first night in a strange place I don't want to be drunk." He laughed but nodded tasting the wine first himself.

"It is too strong for your tastes at the moment, how strong you like your wine remains to be seen." Xena nodded and watched him water it down until it was little more than grape juice in her opinion.

"Thank you," She said accepting a cup their hands meeting as they stared into each other's eyes. There was a connection that Xena didn't miss and scared Achilles. He removed his hand. She drank from her wine cup. They finished their meal before he brought Xena scroll and paper.

"You'll want to write to your family." Xena nodded. She wrote quickly and easily.

"Have your messenger take it to Cyrene in Amphipolis." He took the scroll as she took a drink from her goblet.

"So tell me your parentage is your mother a nymph what?" Achilles asked. Xena stopped drinking to look at him.

"You see right through my mortality."

"I sense you're like me."

"I was never bathed in the river styx except for my ankle. If I were you I'd get that ankle checked."

"What for as long as no one knows."

"You want to die, well yes dying is better than living for eternity. But my mother is a Siren cursed to be a mortal woman for all her days until she of course dies. I inherited my mother's lovely voice, but that's about it."

"You forgot enchanting beauty."

"Yes, I did, didn't I," Xena laughed.

"The first woman who's not overly vain congratulations."

"Thank you."

"You know you haven't answered my question, half mortal I get that, but you're still nearly as immortal as I."

"Well the usual rumors say that Ares fathered me."

"Is that true?" Achilles asked.

"No, Hades, so you see I had a special talent for death all along. Daddy was never too happy that I often flooded his Kingdom with new guests and not one with a single coin to pay the boatman. Use to have things backed up for weeks." They laughed.

"You're quite amusing."

"So are you," Xena told him.

"I should let you rest and deliver this message."

"Wake me for dinner." He nodded.

"I had the women start on a dress for you to wear, your armor was in bad condition I'm having them repaired."

"Thank you." He nodded and left out. Xena moved the ink off his bed along with the quill. She never would have thought that one day she would actually be lying in the bed of Achilles injured or otherwise. It was rumored that he did not take women into his bed focused only on fighting and killing. Xena was interested, but a man so resolute in his ways would not change overnight. She suspected she'd need time she didn't have to tame him. Xena got comfortable and soon she was fast asleep.