It's just a silly little piece of fluff between Gabrielle and Ares. It follows the other little shorties I've written:
Don't own the characters. But I do owe gravitystar a big thank you for beta-ing (though you've prolly forgot this story by now) .
Many months ago I had thrown away my staff. I had watched as it slowly floated down the river, out of my view, and life. I contemplated repeating the action with the weapons now in my hands, knowing that if I threw my sais they would quickly sink to the bottom of the murky river. A metaphor that was entirely too fitting for my comfort.
I brought out the rag and began cleaning the blood off of the metal blades. I kneeled down next to the river dipping the bloody rag in the cold water. I watched the crimson gore dissolve and create pink whirls in the otherwise grey water. I leaned back remaining in a crouching position, my eyes focused on some undetermined point not quite in the present and not quite in the past.
Strong fingers caressed my bare shoulder, sending goose bumps down my arm and brought me out of my reverie. I looked up into his face, not at all surprised. After every kill he showed up, to tease, to taunt.
"Number five," he said as the hand fell from my shoulder.
I growled and gritted my teeth in frustration, he chuckled.
"Cute," he said as he sat down on a rock next to me, a rock that minutes ago had not been there.
I looked back out over the river, doing my best to ignore his presence. Unfortunately there was no way one could ignore, or deny, a God. A fact learned through experience.
"Want to tell me how you feel?" he wondered with fake concern. All of a sudden I couldn't help wonder whether or not Gods felt. Still sitting down on the yellow grass by the river bed I looked over my shoulder up at him. Did he ever feel anything? What did he feel for Xena? Did he love her? Was his heart as dead as mine when she was not near?
I knew I was getting closer to her. I looked into her eyes and smiled as I knew the blood of her latest kill still clouded her vision and had the adrenaline coursing through her body. Ah, that sweet anger bubbling inside of her, the lust. I licked my lips.
"Do you feel?" she wondered, her face an expressionless mask. Her tone briefly throwing me off my game as another question echoed through my mind; Do you have a soul, God?
I hid my slight discomfort by getting up and stepped closer to her. My fingers once again trailed along a firm arm and came to rest on a slightly twitching shoulder.
"Do you feel?" I asked her, pleased with myself as I saw her small body shiver under my touch.
"I'm mortal," she replied and looked away from me. My fingers continued to rest on her shoulder. "Are you afraid of answering me?" she wondered with her eyes still on the water.
I laughed before I replied, "I'm the God of War." My hand once again fell from her shoulder as I walked around her and came to a stop on her other side. I let my eyes wander over the scenery, not seeing anything of interest or importance. I looked down at her again. Unlike me she must have found something of interest as those deep green eyes focused diligently. I looked back out. Still unable to see what caught her attention.
A small smile briefly touched her face as she said, "You still haven't answered my question."
"Why should I?" I said as my hand rested on the hilt of my sword.
"No. Gods seldom answer to mortals," she said in a low voice and I knew the words were more for her benefit than mine.
I don't know why it suddenly mattered to me, but I wanted to know. I let my hand caress the dying grass underneath me as thoughts twirled in my head. I knew he was still there, I could feel him next to me. I wondered if my contemplative mood would chase him off, somehow I doubted it. Part of me realised I didn't want him to leave, I wanted an answer. Yes, he kept causing confusion.
"Do you love her?" I asked in an attempt to understand him. "And don't answer with a question," I warned him as I looked up at him with my eyes narrowed. I knew there was nothing I could do to him that would affect him, that did not stop me from threatening.
His dark brown eyes looked into mine and I felt a shiver run down my spine, again. Time passed us by and still there was no answer from him.
"Well, are you going to answer me?" I pushed, he kept quiet. "You show up just so you can stand next to me and ignore me?" I grumbled into the air not expecting an answer.
"What does it matter to you? If I say I do, will you listen to me?" he wondered.
Surprised I looked up at him, my thighs had begun to protest my position and I stood up. His impressive build towered over me, but I realised he no longer frightened me. Had he ever? Xena had always been my buffer, I don't think I ever truly feared him. I looked up into his face, the well-trimmed goatee covering his strong jaw, dark short hair complementing his facial features. He was impressive yes, but did he invoke fear in me? I let my eyes trail over the muscular arms down to the sword resting in its scabbard. I guess it didn't matter, when one has nothing left to lose, fear is irrelevant.
"You don't want me to listen. You want me to obey," I said.
"Is there a difference?" he wondered.
She chuckled, I didn't see the comedy.
"Perhaps not to you," she replied with a head tilt.
The setting sun disappeared behind a cloud and I saw her body respond, the small hairs on her arms standing to attention. I guessed the changing of the seasons was upon us. A flash of my own spell of mortality swept through my mind and sent a shiver through my own body. Most unpleasant.
I frowned, I no longer felt the intensity of her beating heart. The adrenaline had left her. I still detected faint traces of fire in her, and the passion simmered just beneath the surface, but I knew I had lost her. This time. There would be a next. I was sure of it. Her skills as a warrior had improved, and every kill brought me pleasure. It was those moments she was closest to me, most vulnerable. When her mind was draped in a fiery veil of victory I knew she was ripe. It was only a matter of time before I would convince her. She was, and will always be my best weapon to get to Xena.
"Together we could get her back," I stated with the confidence I felt.
She shook her head before replying, "No."
"We could," I insisted.
She looked into my eyes. Those eyes held a surprising amount of intensity for a human. "But we won't," she stated.
"And why is that?"
"You said it yourself. This child will destroy all the ties you had to her," she stated. I clenched my jaw in anger. I opened my mouth to retort, but she continued before I had a chance to. "Is this what we will do for the rest of our lives? Or for the rest of my life?" she wondered defeated.
I knew I should leave, I was not making progress. She had slipped out of my grasp. I should leave. Return next time. "I will not give up on Xena," I stated in a moment of honesty that surprised even myself.
"I don't think anyone expects anything else," I replied. No, I knew he'd never stop. I wished he would realise that I was not the way to Xena. My soul felt dead inside of me, and I knew I would never be close to Xena again. There was nothing I could do. I had tried to be a better person. Despite all her faults Xena still was a good person. I on the other hand… "I'm not your way to Xena," I frankly told him.
He laughed. "If you say so," he said. I looked back out over the water and did not give him a second look as I heard him move besides me. The silence occupied the space between us.
I closed my eyes, suddenly very tired. A hot breath caressed my neck and ear, my eyes immediately opened wide. "But we both know that is not the truth," he whispered in my ear.
I felt him close to me, not the bodyheat one would feel from another human being. No, I felt the humming electricity of divine power and as my breath caught in my chest I couldn't help to acknowledge the intoxicating feeling surging through me. My heart was beating faster, my breathing more erratic.
To my satisfaction her body responded to my presence. Her heart once again fiercely beating, passion running through her like a current. I smiled. It was most pleasurable. My hand reached up and I let my fingers run along her jaw, feeling the smooth skin. I leisurely let them trail down her neck, revelling in the strongly beating pulse beneath them.
"Together we could win back the Xena we've lost," he said, his breath once again hot against my skin. His hand traced my collar bones. It would have been so easy to accept at that point. The boiling blood in my veins screamed at me to accept. Part of my soul even wanted to accept, if for no other reason that he made me feel alive again. It didn't matter that the life he filled me with was one of destruction, it felt better than the grey emptiness that I now usually bore inside of me. Part of me found humour in the fact that it took a god of make me feel human.
As I finally grasped the feelings inside of me, I came to a conclusion. "No, I could never win her back."
He must have sensed the truth to my statement, because he moved away from me as if my touch had stung him. I turned around to face him.
"It's not over," he stated.