This is my first ffn so please be nice. Unfortunately, I don't own any of the characters used (though I'd love to own Ares!). They belong to their rightful owners. Anyway, enjoy and please R&R! :D

"Come on, Xena," Joxer whined "why can't we stop by Achilles' statue?"

"Because, Joxer," Xena replied for the fiftieth time "we don't have enough time to stop by Achilles' statue. We have to get Palonius by nightfall."

"Fine." he pouted. Gods, Xena thought to herself, he's such a child sometimes.

The trio continued on their journey to Palonius after walking all day; Xena on Argo, of course. Xena sighed- there was no pleasing Joxer but she knew that there had to be something that she could do to cheer him up slightly so, thinking on her leather-sandaled feet she turned to face his rather unpleasant, goofy-looking face.

"Tell you what, Joxer," she began "because we've been travelling all day, you can-"

"I wouldn't do that, if I were you." The familiar voice of the War God never ceased to amaze her.

"What do you want, Ares?" Xena sighed, rolling her eyes and turning round again to lean forward on Argo.

"Can't I just drop in for a chat?" he looked hurt- good, Xena thought.

"You never just 'drop in for a chat', Ares- now what's up?"

The God of War inhaled, not sure of how to say it as the Warrior Princess always managed to a) take his breath away and b) make him lose focus enough that he almost always forgets what he has to say.

"There have been… disappearances. Not that I'm complaining, mind you, but it's been bugging the others and frankly- they're getting annoying. Constantly going on and on about how "mysterious" it all is and how we should do something before whatever's behind this- or whoever, for that matter- does it again."

The Bard frowned. This type of thing rarely happened and she knew that Xena wouldn't allow it to happen again. Also, the War God was getting on her nerves. He always did when he was around her. She cut him off mid-ramble. "What sort of disappearances?"

"I don't know, do I? I'm the God of War, not my bloody half-wit sister, Athena, am I?"

"Could've had me fooled." She replied under her breath, smirking.

"What was that?" he was beginning to get angry and when he got angry, there was no stopping him… except when Xena was involved.

"Easy, Ares. Gabrielle, say sorry." She said, quickly before things got way out of hand and someone got hurt. And when the God of War was involved, someone always got hurt.

"Sorry, Ares." She mumbled. Ares nodded once and turned round to exhale a couple of times, trying to calm down. The blonde story teller always got on his nerves and he still didn't see what Xena saw in her.

"Right," Xena said, taking charge again "Ares, are you going to give us some information about these disappearances or are we going to have to take it up with your 'half-wit sister, Athena'?"

Ares sighed. "All I know is that civilians of Palonius have been disappearing and then reappearing a few days later."

"Maybe they just left for a couple of days for a journey of self-discovery?" Joxer said, putting his two dinars in.

"No. Let me finish," Ares stopped him "they have been reappearing… but only their bodies. They come back dead, Xena."

Her blue eyes widened at that comment; then furrowed in confusion. "How dead?"

"All the blood has been drained from their bodies," Ares sighed, putting it into Layman's terms for them "that kinda dead. Is that enough information for ya, O mighty Xena?"

His sarcasm didn't settle well with the Warrior Princess. He gave a sly smirk as she wriggled uncomfortably on the saddle.

Good, he thought, payback.

"We're fine now, Ares," she said through gritted teeth "thank you."

He nodded once more before he disappeared back to Mount Olympus.

"Seems we're going to have to get to Palonius faster than we thought." Gabby muttered. Joxer resumed pouting as he realised, following behind Xena and Gabrielle as they resumed their journey, he'd never be able to find out what Xena had planned for him.