Chapter Twelve

Xena sighed as she finished speaking with the doctor, Michelle would live and thankfully there would be no physical repercussions to the attack. Kiyoshi was released against the doctor's wishes, but he was already healing quickly.

"He's stopped his assault," Eve commented as Xena looked over Kiyoshi. She put a blanket around him as he rested beside them looking very pale.

"Good, but keep an eye on it." Eve nodded. She looked at Sovann and Sovanara resting side by side in their stroller It was like pushing around a little crib. They had remained safe at the house, but Xena had wanted them closer and to take care of their needs as well as look after Michelle and Kiyoshi.

"When do you think he'll stop this game of cat and mouse?" Eve asked as a nurse came out of the double doors towards them.

"It's hard to say Evie, we can only do our best to trap him." Eve nodded.

"Excuse me ma'am your daughter is being taken up to Room 4A ICU." Xena nodded.

"Thank you we will head straight there." Eve helped Kiyoshi while Xena took care of the stroller. They used the elevator to get to the ICU. Xena wasn't allowed to take the children inside.

"I will take them back home," Eve told her. Xena nodded.

"Go to the Museum it's less room for him to hide if he got through or any of his minions. If Aphrodite arrives give her the usual third degree just to be safe." Eve nodded before Xena kissed them all. They disappeared in a gold shower before she went to Michelle's side. She stroked her hand giving her small amounts of energy she shouldn't have given her to help her heal faster and better

"Xena help!" Xena jumped up startled looking around before she realized the call had come in her mind. It was Hercules he was in trouble. A pain shot through her heart, as she felt him become injured. Xena rubbed her chest and took deep breathes.

"Xena!" He cried. She rubbed Michelle's hand before going into the nurse's camera's blind spot and disappearing. She appeared and found Hercules fighting some dirt warriors Ares had sent after him, but he was just punching the last one to dust when arrived. She looked at him angrily as he turned ready for a fight before realizing it was her.

"Why did you call for me so frantically if you had this under control, you knew I was with Michelle!" Xena yelled at him. She was angry not only because her help was not needed when her children needed her and she was already torn up about not being at home with Kiyoshi nursing him or the twins as well. And Eve she still had her own demons concerning Ares and herself, she wanted to be by her side every moment showing her that Ares couldn't come between them despite their past. And he had scared her to near death making her think he was hurt so badly.

"What?" Hercules asked confused. Before Xena could reply another pain shot through her.

"MOTHER!" Eve cried. Xena disappeared in pain to Eve. Hercules followed seeing her look of pain. Xena arrived at their apartment above the museum first and found it was on fire, beams were falling down and the fire was hot.

"Eve!" Xena yelled. Xena didn't care or even think about the artifacts downstairs ninety percent would be in the vault and therefore survive. The other ten percent had a good chance of making it through their cases. Her only concern was her children, Immortal some might be, but that did not stop her heart from racing, pounding as she searched for her family. "Kiyoshi!"

"Mother!" Xena kicked in the door to the bedroom. Eve was trapped under three burning beams and Kiyoshi lay on the floor next to her too weak to move. She looked around and didn't see the twins.

"He took them," Eve cried as Xena looked for something to lift the beams up with. She spotted a spear on their wall and quickly grabbed it and went back into the room. She used a small stool to help her leverage first one beam and moved it off and then another. The fire licked at her clothes and skin burning it same as Eve and Kiyoshi.

"Xena!" Hercules called. It had taken him a moment to figure out where she had gone.

"In here!" Xena called as fire jumped on Kiyoshi. He cried out and she grabbed a blanket patting the fire out as Eve cried. She had burns down her back and her legs were still trapped under the last beam. Hercules rushed in and he helped her to remove the last beam. Xena slid her out and Hercules dropped the beam as he was burned. He went to Kiyoshi and lifted him up.

"Where are the twins?" He asked them.

"Ares," Eve told them as she coughed. "I don't know how he got in, but he did and he set the whole place on fire." She coughed hard some more and gasped for air. "Couldn't teleport out." They tried to teleport out then, but found they could not.

"Stairs," Xena told him. She lifted her daughter up over her shoulder and carried her. Hercules led the way, the stairs were on fire, there was no way down, they would die in the elevator shaft.

"I've got an idea." They went to the window and bust them open as fire trucks were pulling up.

"We'll have to jump down on the tarp." The firemen were already spraying the building as they busted her beautiful windows. She dropped Eve down first after warning her. They caught her easily enough and put her in an ambulance. Kiyoshi was next and he too got in an ambulance, and next was Xena before Hercules followed a minute later as an explosion occurred on the top floor.

"Gas pipe," Xena muttered as she watched them for a moment trying to save her museum.

"Years of work gone in minutes," Xena commented before getting in the ambulance with Eve and Kiyoshi. She allowed the hospital to treat her wounds, but knew they would be healed on the surface by tomorrow, the pain of injuries tended to linger these days.

"How're they?" Hercules had stayed at the scene to make sure the fire got put out, because he wasn't hurt as badly.

"Fine as they can be, Eve will be out for a couple of days at least, and even when we take her home its gonna be a few days until the burns heal. Kiyoshi is going to take him a few weeks, and I can't get a hold of Aphrodite, she would have answered by now. Cupid says he hasn't heard from her so he's going to look, she was suppose to be on her way to our place to sit with Kiyoshi, she never made it.

"Ares you think?" Xena nodded.

"Definitely and now he's got Sovann and Sovanara he won't give them up easily they are his bargaining chip." He nodded. Xena paced her heart split in four different directions. "You stay here, I'm going to see if I can't secure a group room for Eve, Kiyoshi, and Michelle, I can't be on two different sides of the hospital and fight Ares" She left out before he could say anything.

"Michelle's recovery is remarkable, I mean her vitals should be much worse," The nurse commented as she walked with her back to Michelle's room. "I told the doctor that she wasn't critical that someone else whose life hangs in the balance could take her place. Xena nodded. They entered the room to find the bed empty.

"What the hell is going on here?" Xena asked. "Where is my daughter?" the nurse rushed in and looked in the bathroom and down the hall in the opposite direction they had walked.

"This is impossible, she was just here when I looked at the monitor when you had come in and again when you approached me about her moving after speaking with the head nurse and doctor!" She was practically hysterical as the entire hospital looked for Michelle but there was no trace of her. The police were called and they had to deal with them before a scroll appeared.

"Of course," Xena commented. "He tricked me, that's why you weren't hurt when I came to help you, it was him all along tricking me to get at Michelle."

"You can't blame yourself, you thought I was hurt, and he knew you would do anything to protect your family." Hercules hugged her close as she allowed a few tears to fall.

"This is all some sick game he's playing, he wants us to find the children, he says we've got two weeks to find Michelle or he will kill her. Sick bastard even healed her enough so she's aware of what's going on. He wants us to know she's in pain."

"Where could he have hidden her." Xena shrugged.

"Multiple places really, at any number of his secret training grounds, hidden temples that no mortal could reach without a god's help." Xena shook her head. "For all we know they could all be on Olympus and he'll just watch laughing at us as we chase phantoms all the while they're with him scared and alone."

"I'll look for them, but you have to stay with Eve and Kiyoshi, they need your nurturing care, I can run around like a chicken with his head cut off." Xena shook her head.

"No, I have to find my children."

"And I will find them, but right now you have to be here, something about you stops him from touching the children, as soon as you're gone he makes a move." Xena growled a little in anger and broke away from Hercules she paced knowing he was correct, Ares didn't make a move unless she was otherwise preoccupied.

"Fine I will protect them, you just make sure you find them immediately, those training grounds are horrible places, it forces you to fight to grow up beyond your years. Two weeks is as good as two years there. Hercules nodded and Xena told them the locations, but he couldn't transport there, he had to go the mortal way or he would never make it.

"Mom…"Eve whispered. Xena was by her side immediately, they had kept Eve sedated because of the pain it had also slowed down her healing process by about a week.

"I'm here," Xena told her.

"Where am I?" Eve asked.

"You're at the hospital," Xena told her. Kiyoshi was sleeping he had woken up several times and although he was conscious he was weak and nauseas.

"Why aren't you with Michelle or searching for the twins?" Eve asked as she helped her to sit up. Xena looked pained.

"Ares has Michelle too," She whispered. Eve looked alarmed.

"You have to find her."

"Hercules is looking, but I had to protect you two, he doesn't attack when I'm around, I've had a few instances where he's played a few tricks, but otherwise we're fine, and Hercules is making good progress, he just broke through to the first training ground.

"Training ground, why, why would Michelle be there."

"He's sending us on a wild goose chase, I half expect neither Michelle or the twins to be in any of his training grounds or old temples that might be standing. It's taken him two weeks to get to one without my guidance but I have to see you two are all right and aren't defenseless.

"As soon as I'm healed you have to go too, I can protect Kiyoshi, he won't harm anyone else in our family further."

"No, I hope not, he's got Dite as well, he hasn't said so but I know he's got her, she would never disappear like this, she's braver than anyone has ever given her credit for." Eve didn't speak as a nurse came in giving an injection to Kiyoshi whose entire body was covered in burns and bullet wounds. She also changed Eve's bandages on her legs. She gasped at the rate of healing, but a spell from Xena helped her.

"Why aren't I healed further, I should just have pain."

"The drugs you've been out two weeks so far, I had them taper you off for the last few days, and your rate of healing has been increasing every few hours. I estimate two more days you'll operate at peak efficiency." Eve nodded.

"When can we get out of here?" Eve asked.

"Two days till I take you to the mansion. I've already had Heinz closing off whole sections making sure we have everything we need in a confined area. In that area the protections will be the strongest within the protections. The house is more fortified than the museum and I can only assume that any of Aphrodite's spells and Cupid's even have been compromised."

"How did he break through the ones on the Museum?" Eve asked.

"Hercules and I hadn't renewed them, the ones on the mansion are stronger than ever after he burned our home in America. The museum's spells are decades old as well, but we didn't assess it as a point of attack. And that was a mistake I regret deeply." Eve touched her mother's arm.

"Mother don't beat yourself up, you're are not perfect."

"Oh thanks." Eve gave her a small smile that Xena returned.

"You know what I mean, you try so hard to reach perfection and you can't. You can't be everywhere at once and you can't always thinking of everything to cover your ass, things slip by that's life and sometimes bad things happen."

"But this is the absolute worse, all my children are hurt."

"And we'll heal," Eve told her. "Nothing like a good fire to keep the blood flowing."

"More like boil it."

"Tomato, tomatoe it's all the same."

"By your standards, stay right here, I'll see about discharge, Kiyoshi is well enough to recuperate at home." Eve nodded. Xena soon came back and by one in the afternoon, she was taking them home. She arrived and strengthed the protections on the house a little more. Ares wasn't putting so much as a toe on her lawn without her knowing about it.