Disclaimer: I do not own Xena: Warrior Princess.
"Zeus we have a son," Hera told him happily as she cradled her beautiful baby boy. Things had been rocky between Zeus and Hera lately. His brothers knew that it would only get worse it wasn't as if Zeus had won her romantically, but stolen her innocence from her. The fact they even got a long at all to some degree surprised them, but there was hope as they all peered down at the new Godling.
Zeus looked down at his new son with love, but also with disdain. His son opened his eyes naturally expecting to see the fatherly love he had sensed from even in the womb, but found cold eyes torn between love and hate. He zeroed in on the hate and the love became virtually nonexistent in his eyes.
"What are you going to name him?" Demeter asked picking him up from his black marble and silk cradle. They knew he would be a dark one as Hera had insisted he have nothing, but black during her pregnancy and her tendency for crueler past times.
"I was toying with the name Ares, what do you think little one?" Hera asked her son who gave her a winning smile, he would be gorgeous with his dark black hair and chocolate brown eyes that made you want to melt, so trusting and loving. No one would ever hurt her perfect son. Not like Zeus had done to her poor son Hephaestus.
Zeus had been upset that she would give birth to a son without his help, she was after all, his wife. Hera reasoned that he had brought it upon himself because of his affair with Metis, and than swallowing her because he feared that the daughter she carried would give birth to a son that would over throw him. Hera would not have been so hurt had he just killed Metis and her offspring all together. However Hera found she had nothing to worry about as the child had yet to appear as it should have by now.
Hera had been pleased with Hephaestus whatever his deformities because the fates had said he would grow to be a strong blacksmith and a great one at that, he had already created a statue in her likeness that stood in Argos and she loved him for it. Zeus however had been enraged at what she'd done as she didn't flaunt him until after his birth, and so he threw her first born son off Olympus to her horror and than decreed that she may not retrieve him. She was so happy to find he had survived and the people on an island were taking good care of him until he set up his forge.
Than there was Hebe her beautiful daughter, Zeus had diminished her to being a cup-bearer for the Gods to spite her for Hephaestus. She would have been an excellent Goddess of Childbirth for Hera really only cared to be the Goddess of Marriage, sometimes she couldn't stand all the screaming her worshippers did when it was time.
"Than it is settled we shall call him Ares," Hestia said taking her newest nephew and hoped to enjoy pleasures with him she had not with Hephaestus or with Hebe, who Zeus had forced to grow in a few days to spite Hera. Ares gave a little giggle and reached for his mother who was always hovering nearby. Hebe came forward to greet her brother, but was stopped by Zeus.
"Don't you have duties," Zeus told her. It was not a suggestion. Hera looked at her with a promise in her eyes and Hebe nodded her head and left. "No one is to go near him." Everyone looked shocked.
"Brother why do you act so towards your own son and nephew?" Poseidon asked. Hades also turned to him puzzled.
"Yes, you didn't act this way with the fates, Graces, muses, or the seasons. You didn't even have such disdain for Hebe."
"This child is a child of war. He will be the God of War. He can't love, and he will be cold and calculating. There's no point in showering him with all this love. You will all stay away from him or he will betray us." Ares started crying at that moment as Zeus started to storm off. They heard a terrible scream from their Grandfather and they all rushed to the edge of the mountain to see something fall in to the waters of the Aegean. Ares quieted down to watch as the sea foam churned. A huge shell appeared out of the water and a wave carried it towards a Greek coast. None of the Gods made any move to follow it, but the new God of War had other plans. He lifted his little hand a blue light surrounded him.
"Ares!" Hera exclaimed before immediately following her mischievous bundle of joy with Zeus telling everybody that Ares was already on a rampage. When Hera appeared she found herself in Cythera. She looked around for her baby and found him giggling next to a little blond baby sitting in a huge pink shell. Like Ares she was giggling happily at nothing at all when the others appeared.
"What's this, what's he done?" Zeus asked.
"He hasn't done a thing, this is what popped out of the shell we weren't going to pursue," Hera told him.
"She's beautiful." Zeus loved her immediately and it was clear how much he preferred her to his own new born son as he gave her gold ambulant with a ruby in the center that hung from a gold chain. "A daughter of love. She'll be the Goddess of Love and Beauty from the looks of things." The little girl giggled. Ares reached out of for her. "No you keep your evil hands away from her." He turned back to the girl as she began to cry, as did Ares.
"You're being horrid they're children and they like one another," Hestia told Zeus snatching the baby girl away. She put her back in her shell. "I will watch over her, not you." She left no room for argument. Ares jumped into the ether and deposited himself next to his new sister. Soon they all found themselves on Olympus seeing as mortals were around them witnessing it all in shock as they fell to their knees.
"What shall I name her?" Zeus thought out loud.
"Aphrodite!" Ares exclaimed.
"Ares!" Aphrodite exclaimed trying out each other's names out loud making everyone smile.
"Your wrong about Ares," They told him. From that day Zeus had a hell of a time separating the two. But instead of teaching his son humanity, peace, and love he showed him only hate, he separated him from his mother until such times, as he was an adult. And preoccupied Aphrodite as much as he could when he wasn't out being a man-whore as Hera called him. When he saw that Aphrodite was unusually beautiful even for a Goddess fearing a war, he married her off to Hephaestus his most undeserving son, but any hints of a war disappeared. Aphrodite, Hera, and Ares had been furious at first not because they didn't love Hephaestus, but because Aphrodite had wanted Ares. But than she learned to love him, but she still yearned for war. Yes, even love had a need for the bad side. Zeus was furious when Love and War had come together and to everyone's surprise it wasn't another war child, but a love child. The God of Love, Cupid and naturally Zeus made sure he was separated from him and Aphrodite as well eventually when he found out she was sneaking Cupid around Ares.
Ares became surlier by the centuries and felt like there was nothing good in his life except his ever-present sister. They were polar opposites, but somehow they were a good fit. However they had learned a long time ago after their son Cupid, that things would never get that heavy again much to his brother's relief. The tension that had stood in the way of their love was gone, and Cupid had become just his nephew. Ares distanced himself from his family. Zeus had brained-washed most of his siblings into regarding him with some disdain though they all had their personal opinions because of Zeus they never voiced them. Ares was forced into a box and never allowed to act any other way. And the one thing he wanted most of all he couldn't have. He was alone and Zeus made sure of that. However his mother and Aphrodite assured him there would come a time when he would love someone more than war and his family.
"Why have you come Ares?" the Fates asked.
"I wish to know who the best possible candidate is for my chosen, its time that I've got one, everyone else has had several. They think that no man would ever bind themselves to me."
"They are correct no man will bind themselves to you as a chosen will." Ares face was full of anger. He was absolutely livid and wished to run his sword through each fate's body, but restrained himself not in the mood to deal with the wrath of his father.
"You had better explain."
"There is one who will."
"Who?" He asked.
"You must find your own chosen Ares, we can not do that for you, now be gone." Ares stormed away angry he was no closer to finding his chosen and once again the fates had made no sense. He sighed and stepped into the ether to visit his favorite general. His name was Atrius.
"Oh Ares watch over me in battle and watch over my son Torres whose young life I will begin dedicating to becoming one of your best warriors and the child my wife carries, another son who shall also be dedicated to you. Tomorrow I shall slaughter thousands in your name oh Great God of war." He gave Ares a human sacrifice and the sacrifice made Ares skin tingle with a pleasure you could only get from a blood sacrifice. He rejoined Atrius the following morning watching him slaughter the innocent, pillage, and rape. His wife had no idea he ran the army, she merely thought he went off to fight in wars for Thrace, and in a way he did. Ares chuckled and went to view his other wars dispensing help if he felt like it, but not much unless they had his favor as Atrius did.
One day when Ares was bored he heard Atrius crying to him, but the words were mumbled curious as to why his favorite warlord had been reduced to tears he stepped into the ether and reappeared in Amphipolis. He hadn't been there in awhile just to watch the birth of Atrius son so that Ares would know that he would carry on his father's footsteps and be perhaps even greater.
"Oh God of War I beseech you take this thing that my wife has given birth to as a sacrifice and that she may give me a son next time if I decide to keep her." His wife could be heard sobbing somewhere outside of the temfple. A baby cried and from the sound he was shocked to realize that he knew it wanted its mother. Dark curls filled its head and its fists were balled up in agitation and anger just like her father. Ares realized she was unusually alert for a mortal child. Atrius placed her on the altar and took out his dagger. At that moment the child stopped crying as her mind sought for another way to force her return to her mother. Blue orbs looked at her father, but almost immediately drifted to the spot where Ares stood. She found his presence comforting. She smiled in his direction. Ares realized that she was too young too smile. Atrius didn't even take notice as he prayed with the dagger poised about his head. He brought it down, but instead found a doe in his daughter's place. Surprised he merely backed out of the temple wondering what had happened.
"You're going to stay with me forever." The child clapped her hands happily. Ares searched her for any presence of another God in her and found none, she was a unique and special mortal. And best of all she looked at him the way Aphrodite did when they first met, a look of pure love, and yet there was something else he couldn't place in them.
"Ares she's gorgeous, but if Daddy found out," Aphrodite told him.
"I know that's why she's staying here and out of his way. I just need to hide her long enough to get Ambrosia from Aunt Hestia. Once she's a Goddess he won't be able to do too much about it. I have a feeling even he couldn't take her from me." Aphrodite smiled at the devotion he was showing towards this infant child she held in her arms.
"What's her name?" Aphrodite asked. Ares gave her the rare smile, she never saw him smile so much, not for a long time and she missed it.
"I don't know, I think I'll find out what her mother wanted to name her, she does love her after all. Maybe one day she can visit her." Ares knew that he wouldn't keep the child from her mother not like Zeus did to him. Aphrodite nodded.
"You go get that Ambrosia I'll watch warrior babe." Ares chuckled at the child's new nickname. The child in turn had made a face and giggled showing she wasn't very fond of the nickname, but thought it was funny. Ares disappeared and was back in a flash. He and Aphrodite were just feeding the child when Zeus appeared in a fury. The bottle was burned in Ares hand making him snatch it away from the still mortal child in Aphrodite's arms. Aphrodite in turn naturally protected her.
"What do you think you two are doing?" Zeus yelled. He didn't give them time to explain. He just took the child away from them. "You are not interfere in the life of this mortal child, Ares."
"Father you don't understand she belongs with me," Ares told him angrily.
"No, she does not, you are meant to be alone in the halls of war, and you will not corrupt this mortal child as you do mortal men. You are bad for her Ares, all you can ever do for her is hurt her!" Zeus sent him a volley of those comments despite Aphrodite trying to defend him, but she was immediately silenced. "Do you want her to die?"
"No," the sullen answer came.
"Than you will return her to her mother this instant, and I better not catch you interfering with her life."
"Yes father." Ares disappeared into the ether with her knowing Zeus had his eye on him.
"Well at least I made you even more special." Ares disguised himself as a beggar and walked to the home of Atrius, he didn't like to live in his wife's tavern. His young two-year-old son Torres stood near his mother who was crying softly as she did every night when she wasn't busy and kept thinking of her infant daughter who had been sacrificed. Ares had kept her for three months.
"He'll never be a warrior of mine," Ares commented sizing Atrius first born up and knowing he didn't have that drive. Ares stopped short of opening the door and realized mortals didn't do that. He changed back into himself and stepped into the ether before appearing in the house at first only to Atrius and his wife didn't take notice when he perked up or spoke.
"Oh dark lord what brings you here?"
"I have come back with your daughter Atrius."
"But I killed her."
"No, you didn't I snatched her away, you remember the doe." Atrius nodded. "You shall not kill her if you don't wish another God to bring their wrath down on you. I have saved you."
"Thank you my lord."
"Give the child to your wife, I'm sure she's hungry." He nodded and took his daughter who he looked at her with the same disdain as Zeus had looked at him at his birth. He noticed that his little girl noted it as he had his father's, but all the same he could tell she sought his love and intended to get it.
"Xena!" his wife exclaimed happily seeing her daughter.
"Be thankful the God of war saw fit to spare her life, Cyrene." Cyrene nodded and prayed to him grateful for his mercy.
"Xena," Ares whispered loving the name immediately. It seemed so perfect for his little warrior babe, and he couldn't figure out why he had not thought of it. Zeus summoned him away from the little creature that just seemed to tug at his heart. And he never wanted to pull away from that feeling as he did others.