Title: Writers Block

Author: Smenzer

Email: Smenzerberranzan@aol.com

Rating: PG

Pairing: Ares/Gabrielle

Archive: Yes, please. Let me know if you take it, OK?

Teaser: Gabrielle has writer's block and only Ares can solve it! Set in the Third Season.

Disclaimer: The characters are not mine. They belong to Studios USA or

Whoever owns the Rights to Xena: Warrior Princess.

Gabrielle stepped down from the stage with a big smile on her face. She held a shiny golden trophy in her hands, the top part shaped like an open scroll. Out of all the bards there, Gabrielle couldn't believe she had won this prestigious award! She enjoyed writing about the adventures she shared with Xena, but she had no idea her stories had became so popular so quickly! Searching the crowd for her friend, she spotted Xena way in the back. The Warrior Princess knew this was Gabrielle's moment and didn't want to steal the spotlight. The crowd parted before her and she started off towards her friend, her heart bubbling with pure joy. All the terrible things that she had seen in the last three years was worth it now, just for this moment. She had almost reached Xena when a woman stepped in front of her, an angry expression on her face. Gabrielle recognized her as one of the bards from the competition.

"Why did you have to win for?" The woman asked angrily. She had long dark hair and wore a simple white toga. She waved a bag of scrolls in front of Gabrielle's face. "I spent years working on these and I didn't get anything! You travel with that murderous warlord and you win! It's not fair!"

"I didn't expect to win at all. I just mainly came here to share in the fun." Gabrielle explained to her, hoping to ward off an argument. "And Xena changed. She's not like that anymore."

"So you say!" The woman snorted, a look of disgust on her face. "It still doesn't change what she did...or that you won! Mass murderers should not be changed into heroes!"

"Look, I don't want to argue." Gabrielle told her and moved to step around her. She could see this person wasn't going to change her mind. She could talk herself blue in the face and get no where at all. Besides, she was tired from being out in the hot sun all day, reading from her scrolls and sitting up on that stage. All the excitement of winning had faded with this accusation. The only thing she wanted to do now was to get Xena and go get something to eat. "If you'll excuse me."

When Gabrielle reached Xena, she turned around and looked behind her. The woman was still staring at her.

"Anything wrong?" Xena asked, her blue eyes seeing everything.

"Just a sore loser, I guess. It's nothing." Gabrielle told her best friend as she pulled Xena towards one of the local restaurants. "Let's go eat! I'm starving!"

Long after the two had disappeared into the restaurant and the crowd faded from around the stage, the woman still stood there alone. Until Discord appeared in a flash of blue light. The Goddess wore strips of black leather with bits of red, her long black hair trailing straight down her back. Her nails were long, painted black and as sharp as daggers. Discord was full flung into the gothic vampire mode and even sported black lipstick.

"Oh, did that nasty Gabrielle upset you? Why don't you let me help? I'll be glad to!" Discord crooned in a sweet voice that turned hard at the end. Her black eyes sparkled with mischief...and something a bit more.

"Who..who are you?" The startled woman asked, her eyes filled with fear. She nervously clutched her bag of scrolls, her fingers twitching. Although she had worshipped the Olympians her entire life, she had never seen one before. She had always pictured them in beautiful gowns, like a princess or queen would wear. This creature in leather did not fit her idea at all. Surely she could not be a Goddess?

"Why, Ludiana, I'm the Goddess Discord!" Discord said with a wide grin. "And I know just how to help you. I'll tell you what to do so that pesky blonde won't ever write another word, ever! That's what you want, isn't it?"

Ludiana thought about it. She was still angry at Gabrielle. That trophy should have been hers! She had worked years on perfecting this epic story, often staying up nights just to get it done in time for the contest. Then it had been cruelly snatched from her fingers, handed over to someone else. But yet she did not want Gabrielle killed or anything like that. Yet something in Discord tugged at her, bringing out a morbid fascination. "What would you do to her?"

"Hmmm....I have the perfect plan!" Discord leaned in closer to Ludiana until she could whisper in her ear. "We'll just give her a permanent case of writer's block unless she can do a very embarrassing task! A task that involves my brother Ares. And trust me, that little blonde pest would never do it!"

"Are you sure?" Ludiana asked.

"Positive!" Discord laughed gleefully. With a little help from this mortal, her plan to annoy both Xena and Ares was falling into place. She was sick of Ares behavior and how he was always punishing her for her great ideas. After all, it wasn't her fault if a few of her plans went bad, because of Xena! That stupid Warrior Princess was always interfering! Discord knew she couldn't take on Xena and win, so she'd mess with her sidekick, instead. Better yet, this plan would be untraceable. There was no way Xena could figure out it was her who had placed it on Gabrielle. She had snatched this special stone from Zeus that scrambled her signature. The old coot never used it anyway. She'd just put it back after the spell was on the bard and no one would be the wiser. And the way Ares had been moping about lately, this love-stricken expression on his face was making her sick. More than once she had caught him watching Xena on his God TV. That behavior had to stop!

"Why would you do this for me?" Ludiana asked the Goddess. She knew very little of Discord and only knew she was Ares sister.

"Because your story is so much better than that garbage she wrote!" Discord told her and from Discord's viewpoint, it was. The Goddess loved all the sordid details in Ludiana's epic: the betrayals, incest, murders and all that other stuff Discord brought to the world. It was a story right up her alley! Of course, none of it was believable and it was poorly written but no reason to tell Ludiana that. Discord was doing this for herself, not the Bard Want To Be. "Who wants to read about Xena? People want *fiction* not fact!"

Ludiana's confidence was growing with every word. "What do I do?"

Discord whispered the instructions into Ludiana's ears and the woman nodded her understanding. Then Discord made herself invisible. From a high vantage spot atop a nearby building, Discord watched Ludiana approach the restaurant. Just as she neared the door, it opened. The Warrior Princess emerged into the bright afternoon sunlight, her friend trailing behind. Gabrielle stopped, surprised at seeing Ludiana was still there. After all that time had passed, Gabrielle had thought she would have gone home by now!

Before Gabrielle could utter a word, Ludiana spoke in a clear voice. "I curse you, Gabrielle! You will not write a single word until you kiss War in Love's temple and walk War's dog!"

Just after the curse was spoken, Discord zapped Gabrielle with an invisible ray of red light. No one could see it except Gods and she was the only one in the entire city. The blonde bard did not feel a thing, except a slight chill down her back. Discord leaned back and laughed.

"What?" Gabrielle blurted in confusion. "What are you talking about?"

Ludiana did not reply but darted down a narrow alley and soon disappeared from sight.

Gabrielle turned to Xena in concern. "Did you understand that?"

Xena wrapped an arm around Gabrielle's shoulder. "Don't worry about it. She's just some kook blowing off steam with that nonsense. Probably took her all the time we were eating to think that up. Just forget about it."

Still gazing down the alley where Ludiana had disappeared, Gabrielle couldn't help but think about it. How could Xena expect her to forget getting cursed? And what did she mean, kissing War and walking his dog?

Gabrielle's face paled. Surely Ludiana didn't mean Ares, did she?

That night Gabrielle rested on her blanket near the camp fire. Her thoughts were in turmoil. They kept going around and around, tumbling out of control like a maelstrom. No matter what she did, she just couldn't forget what had happened. Reaching into her bag, Gabrielle pulled out her scroll and quill. Writing had always calmed her and she hoped it would work this night when she desperately needed it. But as soon as she placed the ink filled nib against the paper, all words flew from her mind. Oh, she knew what she wanted to say, she just couldn't decide how to say it. She thought of one opening sentence, discarded it and thought of a new one. Nothing was any good! And so the scroll remained blank.

With a sudden revelation Gabrielle knew it was the curse. "Xena! We have to do something! That curse is really on me. I can't write a single word!"

Xena rolled over in her bed roll and sat up. She could tell by Gabrielle's tone of voice that her friend was really upset. "You're just upset. Just forget about it for a few days and I'm sure your muse will come back better than ever."

"But I can always write when I'm upset and now nothing. I just stare at the blank scroll and can't decide how to word things. My thoughts just go around and around and around! Oh, Xena, this is terrible! I can't live like this, not being able to write!" Gabrielle bowed her head, her long blonde hair hiding the tears in her blue eyes. When she lifted her head to look at Xena, her face was wet. "How could she do this to me? What did I ever do to her?"

"That woman has no power to put a real curse on anyone, let alone you." Xena told her as she moved to sit by Gabrielle's side. "You're letting her words influence you. Because you believe them, you're letting them come true. That's all it is."

"Are you sure?" Gabrielle asked, her face brightening a bit with hope.

"Of course. Try to get some sleep." Xena sat next to Gabrielle until her friend fell into an uneasy slumber. She knew she would have to sit up all night with her again. Gabrielle was prone to having nightmares, one of the bad side affects from traveling with her. Xena tried to protect her from seeing things, but it always didn't work. Her heart broke every time Gabrielle suffered something because of her, which was happening more and more often it seemed.

Xena, of course, did not express the possibility that it *was* a real curse put there by some God. She knew if it was Ares, she would have felt his presence. Still, she had managed to annoy lots of the Gods lately and any of them could be taking their rage out on her innocent friend. The Warrior Princess stared into the fire, a sour look on her face. "Who are you?"

Days passed and Gabrielle didn't feel any better. Every night she tried to write and accomplished nothing. She knew she was doing all the proper things. She was in a quite spot with nothing to disturb her, she set a daily schedule and kept to it. But nothing helped. In fact, it was getting worse.

"Xena, we have to do something about this curse!" Gabrielle blurted out that night to her friend. She threw the empty scroll and quill onto the ground far away from herself. For the last few days she suffered from mood swings. She seemed to only have two emotions: the deepest of despair and intense anger. She was beginning to hate herself and felt guilty every time she threw something but yet did it again the next time. She guessed since she couldn't express herself in writing, her emotions had to find a different outlet. "This curse is really destroying me from the inside out! I have to do something about it before I do something I regret. I feel frustrated and there's no relief in sight. Before, when this curse just started, I could at least think what I wanted to write. I just couldn't put it on paper. Now I can't even do that."

Xena knew Gabrielle was right. She had watched her usually calm friend deteriorate into a stranger and she hated to watch it. "How did that curse go again?"

Gabrielle blushed and concentrated on her hands in her lap. She mumbled something that was incoherent.

"What?" Xena asked, confused. Why in the world was Gabrielle blushing for? Xena kicked herself for not paying more attention when that woman had uttered the curse! Instead, she had been thinking of the meal they had just finished. Things had been calm and peaceful, so she had not expected any trouble. Certainly not the type of trouble when you had to remember curses. She usually dealt with problems involving swords or fists. "I can't understand what you said, Gabrielle. You have to speak up."

Gabrielle took in a deep breath, filling her lungs with the cool night air. She gazed up at the stars in the night sky for a moment, asking them to grant her peace. She had no idea how to explain this to Xena. It was so embarrassing! Worse, she knew that Xena hated Ares. "I have to kiss Ares! And walk his dog. I didn't even know he had a dog! Are you happy now, Xena?"

"Kiss Ares? Ares, as in the God of War Ares?" Xena asked, shocked. "I don't remember that woman mentioning Ares."

"She didn't use his name, Xena. She said War. War is Ares!" Gabrielle brushed her long hair away from her face and twisted it into a cord. She let it go and it instantly released itself into a thick wave of gold. She climbed to her feet and started to pace around their small campfire. Her stomach was a tight mass of fluttering butterfly wings. "I can't kiss Ares! He's a God! He'd probably just laugh at me. How in the world would I explain this mess to him?"

"Look, I'll just call him down here and explain it for you." Xena offered. "I know how to deal with Ares. But walking the dog would be a lot harder."

"Why?" Gabrielle asked. "Does he have a dog?"

"I wouldn't call the thing a dog but Ares thought it was." Xena explained to her friend as she remembered the great ugly beast. "It was this huge ugly lizard thing, some monster. It was called the Dog of War. That is, until Hercules killed it. I was there when the thing died. It ate one of my ex lieutenants named Darfus. Darfus had been brought back from the dead to kill me and when the dog ate him, it destroyed both of them. That was years ago, before I met you."

"So how can I walk it if its dead?" Gabrielle moaned. She slumped against a nearby tree and sunk to the ground, her knees pressed against her chest. "This is terrible, Xena! I'll never get free of this curse now!"

"Well, you can still do the first part." Xena told her. She didn't like the idea of Ares kissing Gabrielle, but if it would lift the curse than she would go along with it. She would just have to keep a close eye on that scoundrel, that he didn't get any other ideas. She knew for a fact that kissing gave men, especially Ares, ideas. She also knew Gabrielle had very little experience with men in that area. She figured that's what was causing Gabrielle to be so nervous. "Look, just walk up to him and kiss him one."

"I can't do that!" Gabrielle said wide-eyed. "Besides, it's not that simple. I have to kiss him in Aphrodite's temple."

"Hmmm...." Xena said as she rubbed her chin in thought. This was getting more and more complicated by the minute. "Anything else?"

"No, that's it." Gabrielle sighed. "Isn't that enough?"

From what Xena had heard of the woman's terrible plot, she knew that Ludiana had not thought up this curse by herself. "I think some other God is involved in this. I just wish I knew who so I could go smack em one."

"Xena," Gabrielle sat up straight and looked her friend in the eyes. "I don't want you telling Ares about this curse. The two of you just don't get along and I need him to cooperate. I can handle this on my own."

The Warrior Princess frowned. She didn't like the sound of this at all. She certainly didn't want Gabrielle to be alone with the War God. Who knew what he might do? "What are you planning?"

"I was thinking of going to Ares temple, try to explain this somehow. There's one near here. You could wait just outside." Gabrielle said quietly. She didn't look forward to seeing Ares. No, that wasn't right. She *did* look forward to seeing him, it was explaining this thing she had to do that she did not look forward to. She knew a simple thing like kissing him shouldn't have her so frazzled. But it did. And maybe it wasn't because he was a God, either. Maybe it was something else entirely, something she didn't want to examine too closely because she was scared of what she might discover.

"Fine." Xena agreed with a worried expression glued to her face. "But if you get in over your head or if he tries anything, you call for me right away!"

"Don't worry, I will!" Gabrielle promised.

The next day Gabrielle arrived at Ares' temple. It was a gray stone affair with a big round dome. Wide stairs led up to the double doors and the shapes of crossed swords were etched into the stone just above the doors.

"You sure you want to do this by yourself?" Xena asked her again, hoping her friend would change her mind. She didn't like the idea of Gabrielle going in there by herself. Who knew what Ares would do!

"Yes, Xena. I feel this is something I have to do on my own. So would you wait out here for me?" Gabrielle patted the thick stone railing that lined the steps. At the top of the steps it was flat and wide, perfect for sitting on. She watched Xena climb the steps and hop onto the perch. "Thank you, Xena. I know how you feel about Ares, but I don't need those mixed feelings right now. I have enough trouble with my own right now!"

"I'll be right here." Xena assured her with a smile.

Gabrielle pulled open the heavy temple doors and stepped inside. She had never been inside of one of Ares' temples before so she didn't know what to expect. She soon discovered the place was dark and lit with flickering torches. Swords and other various weapons decorated the walls, which made sense to Gabrielle. It would be odd for a temple of the War God not to have weapons! Near the door she spotted a statue made of marble. examining it more closely, Gabrielle saw that it was a fair likeness of the God of War and she wondered briefly if he had posed for it in the past. Her boots clicking loudly on the marble floor, Gabrielle headed towards the front of the temple. There she found his altar, made of black basalt. And past it, his empty throne. A light beam from a nearby window shone directly on the chair's seat. Gabrielle was glad that the temple was deserted. She didn't want a bunch of nosy warlords knowing about her problem!

"Ares!" Gabrielle called, not knowing if he would answer her or not. She was pleased when he appeared with a flash of blue light.

"My, this is a surprise!" Ares said as he saw Gabrielle standing before his throne. "I don't suppose you changed your mind about peace and want to become a warrior, do you?"

"No, Ares. It's....something else." Gabrielle replied. Now that she had his attention, she didn't know how she would ever find the courage to tell him. It had seemed like a good idea last night, but now it was a different matter. But she had no choice. "See, last week I was at this meeting of bards and someone had put a curse on me so I can't write anything at all."

"And you want me to remove the curse, I presume? Well, my dear, I'm sorry to say only the God who put the curse on you can remove it." Ares held out his hand and made a white ball of power appear in the air. It floated towards Gabrielle and went around her body. The War God studied what he saw there and frowned. Waving his hand, the white energy vanished. "Well, it seems as if someone from my demented family has put a curse on you. Unfortunately, they covered their tracks so I can't tell who did it."

"Um, actually, there's a bit more." Gabrielle added. She studied Ares as he stood before her, dressed in his tight black leather. The upper part of his leather vest was open, revealing a tantalizing piece of his well muscled hairy chest. His silky long wavy hair was neatly combed and his facial hair trimmed. With her heart pounding just looking at him, she thought what it would be like to kiss him! Her face felt hot just thinking about it.

"Really?" Ares asked, intrigued. He slowly strolled around Gabrielle, looking her over. "And that would be?"

"Well, according to how the curse was worded..."

"Yes?" Ares asked.

"I have to kiss you." Gabrielle finally blurted out. Then she quickly added the rest. "But not here. In Aphrodite's temple."

"Hmmm, if you didn't actually have a curse on you, I'd say this was just a story you made up so we could kiss!" Ares teased her. He could see Gabrielle was a bundle of nerves and that she was clearly attracted to him. And he had to admit, she looked pretty good herself. Perhaps he was wasting time mooning over Xena when the innocent bard was clearly excited by him. And he had certainly been fascinated by those three naked Gabrielles in that enchanted scroll mishap. Perhaps this curse was a blessing in disguise, if it got him a lover! "Trust me, Gabrielle. I don't bite. Let's go see Dite and see if I can get this curse off you. I think I'm going to really enjoy this!"

"Bite? Wait, what do you mean, bite?" Gabrielle asked but it was too late. Ares had already wrapped her tight in his strong arms, pressing her against his wide chest. Then her stomach felt funny and she realized he had popped them out already.

A few seconds later they appeared in Aphrodite's temple. Everything was pink. Bright pink. The Goddess of Love relaxed on a curved armless sofa, sipping some kind of frothy white drink in a tall shaped glass. A small table was within easy reach and held dozens of tasty treats, like squares of assorted fruits drizzled in chocolate sauce. Aphrodite glanced up at the two in surprise. "Hey Ar, Gabrielle! I certainly didn't expect to see the two of you show up here together! Separately, yeah, but not together. So, what can I do for you? Wait! Don't tell me. You're in love!"

"Um, not exactly, Aphrodite." Gabrielle said when her stomach returned to its normal spot. She wasn't exactly used to traveling like a God and it seemed to not agree with her stomach. For some odd reason, Ares still held her tightly to his chest. Perhaps he was scared that if he let her go, she might decide to live with the curse instead of kissing him. "We're here to cure a curse that's on me."

"A curse! Who would put a curse on you?" Aphrodite was up instantly, her big eyes sad. "Why, you're one of my favorite mortals! Do you know who it was?"

"Some mortal said the curse but a God was behind it actually working." Ares explained further. "One of our siblings, but they scrambled their signature so I can't tell who it is."

"Oh, I bet it was that Discord!" Aphrodite said as she thought of their other sister. "She just loves causing all sorts of problems, for both mortals and other Gods!"

"Tell me about it! I keep blasting her but it doesn't do any good. She never learns." Ares lifted Gabrielle's chin and stared into her blue eyes. "But looks like she goofed this time. Apparently all I got to do in order to remove the curse is kiss her in your temple."

"Ar, I wouldn't do that if I were you!" Aphrodite said quickly as she reached in between them to stop the kiss. She quickly pulled Gabrielle away from Ares. "It's a very serious thing for two mortals to kiss here. It's even more serious if one of them is a God!"

"How serious?" Gabrielle asked, confused.

"Very serious!" Aphrodite explained. "People who are deeply, truly in love come here for that something extra only magic can provide: a connection between their souls. Only a very few brave couples dare do it. It's permanent. Sometimes unknowing couples come in here to neck and get the shock of their lives! Its sad, too, because their not meant for each other at all! And with one of you a full God, who knows what would happen? You both better consider this very seriously!"