Usual disclaimers apply. Spanking of a minor character will be a part of this story. If that bugs you, stop reading now. If it doesn't bother you. Please enjoy.

Chapter 1

Sam smiled as she surveyed the open field in front of her, nudging her horse with her knees; she muttered a hearty "Yah!" and felt the wind surround her as they galloped toward home. She hadn't exactly told her moms that she was going to go riding today and wanted to be back before she was missed.

Entering the paddock, Sam dismounted and began to lead her horse toward the barn walking him slowly to cool him down. The gelding's black coat shone in the sunlight and the copper in his main seemed more pronounced. Smiling, Sam stopped short and frowned as she heard her name being called.

"Samina Ephiny Bardos!" My raven haired mother's voice echoed across the paddock. I watched as her tall figure approached, entered the paddock and then cringed as ice blue eyes glared down at me. "Where have you been young lady?" She demanded.

"I took Mavri for a ride in the west pasture."

"Are you supposed to ride him that far alone?"

"No."

"Did you tell anyone that you were going to ride that far today or that you were going for a ride at all?"

"No." I scuffed my boot on the ground. "I just wanted to be able to give him his lead, I love the freedom of riding, Mama, and you know that." I tried to defend my actions knowing that it wouldn't work, but having to try.

"Put Mavri up and then come into the kitchen, we need to have a little chat young lady." Two fast swats to my backside landed before she headed back to the house.

Sighing, I led Mavri to his stall and took as long as I could brushing him out before making sure his water and feed were good. Patting him one last time I turned to leave. "Wish me luck boy." I whispered receiving a loud whinny in return.

Entering the kitchen, I sat slowly at the table waiting. My mama was sitting across from me, her long fingers drumming the table while my mom slammed a pan down before adding the chicken and vegetables for tonight's dinner. Throwing it all into the oven, she turned and sat next to me. Mom may be shorter than Mama, but she was formidable in her own right and I ducked my head as her green eyes bored into me.

"Tell me where you were Samina." She asked evenly.

I gulped. "I took Mavri for a ride in the west pasture."

"I see," she looked at Mama for a moment. "Did you tell your mama or me that you were going to do that?"

"No Mom."

"Did you ask if it was okay to go that far on Mavri?"

"No."

"What's the rule about riding Samina?" Mama asked quietly.

I looked up at her and sighed. "No riding that far from the house without someone with me and no riding at all if I haven't told you I'm going for a ride."

I looked down at my fingers as my mom passed judgment. "Two weeks, no riding at all," she stated.

"You can't!" I jumped from my seat. "That's not fair, I'm a good rider and two weeks is too long to not ride." I protested. "It's not like I got hurt or anything!"

"Sit down." My mama's voice had turned cold and I knew not to disobey.

Slowly sitting down, I gulped and stared at the worn tablecloth. "You now have three weeks off Mavri." She stated. "You are only ten next week Sam, and what we say goes. The rules are there for a reason."

I felt the tear leave my eye unasked for as I ran from my chair up to my room, shutting the door rather than slamming it, I threw myself on my bed and cried for my loss. I may not yet be ten I thought, but I'm one hell of a rider and they both know that.

Green eyes looked into blue as hands intertwined. "Well Xena, nobody said raising your daughter was going to be easy."

"My daughter? Why is when she's in trouble she's my daughter, but when she's good as gold she's your daughter or our daughter?" Blue eyes teased.

"Because I know I never gave my parents this rough a time and Cyrene told me plenty of stories about you warrior."

Laughing, Xena shook her head. "Oh I don't know about that my bard, you were nothing but trouble for a while when you first started traveling with me."

"I don't know what you mean."

"Oh let's see, the Titans."

"Just a misunderstanding."

"Morpheus's bride."

"Not my fault."

"Terraius."

"Hey, not everyone gets to become an Amazon Princess so suddenly."

"The nut bread incident."

"It's not my fault that it was spiked with henbane, and you know how much I love nut bread." Gabrielle laughed too as she moved to sit in her lover's lap. "Oh Xena, do you ever miss it?" She asked laying her head on the woman's shoulder.

"Miss what? Trying to survive on the road, interference from the gods, dying more times that I care to remember, the constant fights…." Xena trailed off. "Yeah, sometimes I do miss it."

"Me too." The blonde acknowledged as they sat in silence for a while before turning to their before dinner duties.

I entered the kitchen to find my parents putting the finishing touches on dinner. The radio played quietly as my mama sang along to some jazz song by Nina Simone and my mom danced around her. I smiled despite being angry at them for grounding me; I'd seen enough of my friend's families to know that mine was something special.

Walking to the cupboard I grabbed the plates and silently started to set the table. Finishing up quickly, I sat down as Mom put the food on the table as Mama turned off the radio.

"So, how was school today?" Mom asked.

I shrugged. "It was school, we sat, we listened, and I was bored."

Mama smirked, "So learn anything new?"

I shook my head. "Nope, but we're starting the unit on Greek gods next week, I just hope nobody in the class goes crazy over Ares or Aphrodite. Geesh, it's hard enough to read that people think they were a myth let alone having to study what they were supposed to be like."

Mama snorted. "Exactly what are you going to be doing for this unit?"

"Picking one of the gods and doing research on him or her. Writing a paper, making a diorama. We read about the Trojan War today and it took all of my self-control not to correct the teacher on it." I paused as my mothers gave each other a look. "Oh and then the teacher had to bring out your children's book "Greeks Bearing Gifts" to use as an example of how Greek mythology has adapted."

Mom grinned as Mama chuckled. "If only they knew."

"Yeah, like I can tell Mrs. Penway that Mom's story is the real version." I moved my carrots around my plate. "So which god should I chose? I'm thinking Uncle Ares."

"Don't you dare," Mama's voice was almost a growl. "You will not be calling in Ares to help you with your project.

I grinned, "I was only teasing, and I know how much you two love him. Actually I've already signed up to do a project on Aphrodite. I figure it's the least I can do since she's the reason I'm here."

Mom looked at me hard, "You do know that you're going to have to modify your project right? You won't be able to share what Aphrodite is really like."

I nodded. "Like anyone would believe me that the goddess of love talks like a valley girl and wears a pink bikini. Give me a break, I may not be ten yet, but I'm not dumb."

I finished my meal and sat back. "I do have a question for you though."

Both women nodded at me and I took a big breath before continuing. "Why are Auntie Dite and Uncle Ares the only gods left? Why aren't there other Olympians anymore? Auntie Dite told me they'd died. What happened to them?"

They looked at each other and then back to me. "I don't think you need to know that yet." Mom said.

"But I want to know, come on, why are there only two gods now? I know the Olympians existed. You told me that Hercules killed Zeus and that Zeus killed Hera. So what happened to the rest of them?"

Mom looked at Mama before Mama spoke, "When you're older Sam. You're just too young to know now."

"Why won't you tell me?" I demanded, my curiosity was peaked now and I wanted answers.

Mama shook her head. "Not yet little one. We'll tell you one day, but not today."

I knew by the tone in her voice that there would be no point in arguing. I nodded and stood taking my plate to the sink. "I have homework." I told them quietly before heading up to my room to be alone with my thoughts.

I had avoided my parents all evening and finally found myself being tucked in bed. Even though I was nearly ten I enjoyed the nightly ritual that found my mom telling me one of her stories and my mama singing me a song. Mom came in and sat on the edge of my bed. Pushing the dark hair from my eyes, she smiled at me. "Any requests tonight Sam?"

I nodded. "Yeah, the first time you met Mama."

She grinned and laid down beside me, "It all began when my sister Lila and I were at the river…." I closed my eyes to listen the familiar story and hugged her close at the ending.

"I'm glad you stuck around and didn't take no for an answer." I said.

Standing, she kissed my forehead. "Me too Sammy, me too."

"What are you glad your mom stuck around for?" Mama's voice came from the doorway and I smiled. "For sticking it out with you despite the pain you were when you first met." I teased.

"Me, a pain?" Mama took her place on the edge of my bed as Mom watched from the door. "If I remember right I'm not the one who kept having all those misadventures."

"That's not how I've heard it told," I winked at Mom.

"Oh really?" Blue eyes twinkled. "Well maybe somebody isn't telling it right. I mean, really, how on earth can almost being eaten by a Cyclops not be trouble?"

"The opportune word is almost," I giggled. "Mom did manage to talk her way out it."

"Uh-huh." Mama winked at me and began to hum cutting off my retort. I felt my eyes close against my will as she began a lullaby learned from her mother so long ago.

Closing her daughter's bedroom door, Xena put her arm over Gabrielle's shoulders and pulled her close as they walked back downstairs to the comfortable couch in front of the fire.

Gabrielle snuggled into Xena and sighed. "When are we going to tell her about the gods Xena?"

"Not until she's older, she's not ready to handle it yet, prophecy or not." The older woman kissed the blonde on the top of the head. You leave next Thursday, right?" She asked changing subjects.

"Yes, Xena. I have to be in New York for that book signing on Friday, then Boston on Saturday. I'll be home Sunday evening." The blonde sighed. "It was so much easier just traveling and telling my stories, these book signings and promotions are a pain."

Xena smirked. "Yeah, but now you're in the spotlight instead of me."

Gabrielle chuckled. "Yeah, I guess that's true warrior. I'm thinking nobody would believe me if I said my children's series was based on fact."

"Probably not. So are we all set for Sam's party this weekend?"

"Yup, so what do you think possessed her to go riding like that this afternoon?"

"Exactly what she told me in the paddock Gabrielle, she wanted to give Mavri his lead. I know exactly what she means, and I'm sure I did the same thing a time or two when I was around her age."

"Uh-huh, and you don't think you were too hard on her? I mean what would your mother have done in the same situation?"

"Was I too hard on her? You're the one who grounded her."

"For two weeks Xena, you made it three."

"She disrespected you Gabrielle, and no, three weeks isn't too hard. She has to learn. As for my mother, let's just say that wooden spoon of hers wasn't just used in the kitchen."

Laughing Gabrielle stretched upwards and kissed her lover on the lips. "I can only imagine the workout you gave Cyrene and that spoon."

"You have no idea."

I woke up before my alarm the next morning to the smell of my mom's famous nut bread. I think I love the stuff almost as much as she does. Sighing, I turned off the alarm before it could blare and got out of bed. Getting dressed, I combed my long hair and pulled it back into an easy pony tail. Looking into the mirror, I often wondered who I looked like more. I had my Mama's dark hair and coloring, but my nose was definitely my mom's. My eyes were the same blue as Mama's and I wondered who I would take after in the height department. Turning away from the mirror, I headed downstairs to the sound of three voices rather than two.

"We aren't telling her Ares, so give it a rest." I heard Mama's voice as I stepped over the step that squeaks.

"Oh come on Xena, she's plenty old enough to find out what happened to my old man and most of my siblings."

"No Ares, no way in Tartarus." This time it was my mom who spoke, her voice icy.

"You know, you are still the most annoying blonde I know." I chuckled at my uncle's words.

"Sam, stop eavesdropping and get in here right now, I don't want you late for school." Mama commanded.

"Damn." I muttered.

"Language young lady." Mom admonished.

Sitting at the kitchen table, I tucked into my nut bread like a starving hyena. "Mom, this is great." I sighed.

"Hey uncle Ares, can ya start a war in the school yard for me. I don't want to go today."

"Sam!" Mama gave me one of her looks.

"I'd love to my little warrior, but no can do; the godly powers aren't quite up to snuff lately."

"How come?"

"Never mind." Mama interrupted. "Say goodbye to Ares and give your mom a kiss, I'll drop you off this morning."

Grabbing my backpack, I waved to uncle Ares and gave my mom a kiss on the cheek. "Do you really have to drop me off Mama? I'd rather spend the day at the dojo with you."

Mama chuckled. "You, young lady, are going to school, now move it. I'll meet you in the truck."

"Not a word Ares." I heard Mama hiss before the door closed behind us.

I looked out the window as we headed into town. "What did uncle Ares mean about his godly powers not being up to snuff?"

"It's not your concern Sam, let it go."

"Why won't you tell me? I'm not a baby you know." I huffed.

"I am aware that you aren't a baby, but you also are not old enough to know what he meant. Besides, it's ancient history." Mama answered.

"You mean like real ancient history back when you were in Greece?"

"Yes. Now drop it."

Mama stopped the truck in front of my school and I groaned. "Come on Mama, one day at the dojo, it would be a great mental health day."

Laughing Mama kissed me on the cheek before pushing me out of the truck. "Come to the dojo right after school today, we'll spar."

"Okay." I waved as she drove off wondering what on earth was going on with Ares.

Entering my classroom, I hung my bag up and was relieved to find Mom had already packed my lunch bag. The last thing I wanted today was to eat a school lunch. Taking my seat, I began to doodle in my notebook. The bell rang and everyone scrambled as Mrs. Penway entered the room.

Mrs. Penway passed out a paper we had written the previous week right after the bell rang. She stopped at my desk and grimaced.

"Sam, what exactly is this?" She asked handing back my story on the Titans.

"It's the story you wanted us to write. It's about the Titans." I answered. "Why don't I have a grade on it?" I asked innocently.

"Because I can't read it!" She answered. "I am assuming this is Greek, yes?"

I nodded. "Not my fault you can't read it."

Mrs. Penway sighed as I smiled at her. "Okay Sam, then why don't you read us your story instead?"

I shrugged and walked to the front of the classroom. Jumping up to sit on the teacher's desk I took in my audience before beginning. "I sing a song of the three sleeping Titans…."

Putting up my hands at the applause, I looked at my teacher's frustrated face. I had to have fun somehow and she made it so easy sometimes.

"So, do I get a grade now?" I asked returning to my seat.

"If you can get it back to me by Friday, in English, I'll grade it.

"Okay," I acknowledged as I shoved my paper into my writing folder. Half the papers in the folder were in Greek and I smirked at the horrified look on Mrs. Penway's face when she noticed that.

"Hold it let me see your folder." Taking my folder from me she sighed again. "Who do you want me to call this time?"

"Who was here last time?" I asked.

"Xena."

"It's mom's turn, she's home writing all day today." I answered unconcerned. I mean it's not like I wasn't doing the assignments, I was just doing them in another language. It's not like Mrs. Penway never told me I couldn't write them in ancient Greek.

Keeping my folder Mrs. Penway returned to the front of the room to start our reading lesson. Oh the gods, another story from ancient Greece. I was ready to throw myself on my boot dagger as the author waxed poetic about Hercules and one of his many labors.

I snorted as the story of Theseus and Minotaur began. I heard Mrs. Penway sigh again. "Do you have something to say Samina?" She asked.

"Nope, not one thing about Theseus. Thanks anyway." I answered finding myself drifting off into my thoughts about Uncle Ares visit yet again. I know Mama had told me to let it go, and I knew Ares wouldn't say anything to me, but maybe Auntie Dite would slip up and I could get her tell me what was going on.

"Sam, Sam!" I felt a nudge to my shoulder as my best friend Rhys continued to poke me with his pencil.

"What?" I hissed back.

"Mrs. Penway just asked you a question."

I smiled sheepishly at my teacher. "Sorry Mrs. Penway, I didn't quite hear your question." I said as the class erupted in laughter.

"So I gathered Sam. I asked you if you thought Theseus would defeat the Minotaur."

This time it was my turn to sigh. "Well, considering the story has Hercules as the hero, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that he defeated the Minotaur, rescued the girls, and managed to tell his father off all in the same day." I watched as she rubbed the bridge of her nose. "Though that idea with the ball of string was genius, didn't know he had it in him." The class tried to contain their laughter this time, but was unsuccessful. Pulling out her cell phone Mrs. Penway looked at me and hit speed dial.

The day had gone downhill from there. I calmly explained to Mrs. Penway that the idea of Theseus and the Minotaur was a common misconception because Hercules wasn't a big bragger about his many good deeds. To say she wasn't amused is an understatement.

I suppose smarting off to her the rest of the day wasn't among my brightest moves but there's only so much boredom a person can take and answering the math questions in Roman numerals probably didn't help matters any either. Still, she's an educator; she should know the difference between M and C. I thought everyone knew that. Just because it makes algebra a little more challenging is no reason to hold it against me, I was bored and was doing my best to alleviate that symptom.

Finding myself waving to Rhys as he headed home after school, I took my seat and waited until I heard Mom's footsteps in the hallway. She looked at me and sighed.

"What is it now?" She asked in Greek.

"My teacher has no sense of humor." I answered her the same way.

Turning, she smiled at Mrs. Penway.

"Gabrielle, I'm so sorry to tear you away from your writing, but we need to talk, again."

Mrs. Penway pointed and Mom took the chair offered her.

Handing Mom my writing folder she watched as Mom looked through it. Finishing, Mom motioned for me to come stand by her. "You wrote all that?"

I nodded and was surprised when she smiled at me. "You are going to be a great story teller someday." She told me in Greek.

Turning to Mrs. Penway, she sighed. "I imagine your problem is all the work Sam's doing in Greek?"

Mrs. Penway nodded. "Yes, she handed this in the other day and I couldn't grade it. I had her tell the story today and it was wonderful, but I can't grade something I can't read."

"Not my fault you can't read Greek." I muttered.

"So you've told me." Mrs. Penway answered.

"Sam, that's enough." Mom's voice was soft but I knew that tone. "You will redo all of these in English and turn them back in, do you understand me?"

I nodded. "Can I go to the dojo now?"

Mom looked at Mrs. Penway and I groaned as the woman passed her my math paper.

"Roman numerals Sam?" She asked ignoring my question about the dojo.

I nodded. "I thought everyone over the age of thirty knew Roman numerals."

"You know how your mother and I feel about the Romans." Mom muttered under her breath. Catching herself she looked at my teacher. "Sally, I assure you that Xena and I will have a nice chat with Sam tonight. Let us know if things don't improve."

Mrs. Penway smiled and nodded as I shuffled my feet. "Mom, the dojo, can I please go now?"

Mom nodded and I grabbed my bag escaping to the outside as fast as I could. Running, I reached the dojo in a short amount of time only to find my other mother waiting for me, eyebrow raised.

"Want to tell me about it?" She asked.

"Nope." I raced past her and to the back. "Let me change and then we can spar."

I quickly changed into my workout gear and met Mama on the mat. She handed me my staff and nodded as I got into the ready position. We began circling as we spared.

"So tell me why you're late," Mama instructed as I blocked one of her moves.

"Mrs. Penway has no sense of humor." I answered trying to unsuccessfully to get a strike on her torso.

"In what way?" Mama asked as I landed hard on my backside from a sweep of her staff.

Standing I resumed circling. "I did some of my writing papers in Greek, she wasn't amused." I admitted. "She called Mom and we had an after school discussion about my recent classroom activities."

I found myself once again on my backside after my admission.

"Anything else?"

"I might have done some math problems in Roman numerals."

"You know how your mom and I feel about the Romans." Mama muttered hitting my backside hard with the staff before once again dumping me on it.

"It's not like Julius Cesar invented Roman numerals," I muttered feeling another solid thwack across my backside. At least this time I avoided getting dumped on it.

"So, care to tell me why you're doing these things?" Mama asked as I once again found myself on the mat.

I accepted her hand up and sighed. "It's not like I'm not doing the work Mama, I'm just finding more creative ways in which to do it. You know, like in a fight. You have to be flexible it comes with the job."

I heard the next strike before my backside felt it. "Hey!" I protested rubbing my bottom, "What's with the staff whacking?"

My Mama smirked as she looked at me. "You are so your mother's daughter." She said with a grin. I didn't know if she was talking about herself or Mom, but I took it as a compliment either way.

I scowled at her and her laughter caused my scowl to deepen. "So when did Mom call you?"

"Right after Mrs. Penway called her." Mama grinned as she helped me back up from what seemed to be my millionth time on the mat today. "So, it's been quite the day for you, hasn't it?"

I nodded holding onto my staff. "You have no idea."

Mama grinned and motioned for me to get ready again. "Okay little one, let's go at this again."