This is a real brief AU G/A pondering taking place before the show. Unfortunately I once again did not manage to stay away from adding traces of X/G.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Warnings: Gore involved. And not the environmental crusader.
She knew he wasn't to be trusted. Part of her even knew the glory and strength he offered his followers was not real. And she most definitely knew what she was doing was wrong, yet…there she stood, her hands covered in the warm blood of a freshly killed hen. It wasn't the first time blood was on her hands, but it was the first time blood was on her hands and her heart sang out to Ares, the God of War.
He laughed at her, the pitiful young girl in front of him. That was what she was; a girl, not even close to being a woman.
"Ares?" she asked with a baited breath as the air grew thicker, a menacing presence hovering.
Ares contemplated leaving, wondering why he had answered her call to begin with, but something made him stay. Something made him answer. "Yes".
"I've summoned you," she said, her voice breaking due to her nervousness.
Ares slowly circled her, sizing her up. Seeing the innocent peasant, but with a look into those fierce green eyes seeing something more. Beneath the good heart he saw something, something very familiar. He saw himself. This slip of a girl carried his passion inside of her, buried deep, but also floating on the surface. Perhaps it was in the disguise of curiosity she had stepped into his temple, but there was a depth to the connection she had sought.
"I don't think you understand," he came to a standstill in front of her, "what that entails".
"Sure I do," she countered, sounding and appearing much like the teenager she was.
"No, you don't." His voice cold and final.
She opened her mouth preparing to speak, and once again he saw a facet of himself reflected in her. It was an equally fascinating and troubling image. So much goodness, such a true heart, yet in her every movement, every word, every look was laced with one aspect of his being. If he would give in to curiosity he would have to explore. To bring out the warrior in her. To take those kernels of hope and glory, righteousness and determination, and make her his.
"I am the God of War," he began, but was quickly interrupted by the young blonde.
"I know. I'm not here summoning Hestia," she quipped.
Amusement flared in his chest at her mindless interruption and lack of respect in the face of a God. Without showing his true response he quickly donned a mask of wrath and took an intimidating step closer to the young girl.
With the God of War towering over her she suddenly realised the severity of the situation and cowered. Defiant eyes suddenly lowered to her shoes, previously proud shoulders sagged with fear. Ares smiled at her reaction, subconsciously letting his thumb play along his beard.
"And as the God of War--" he continued on, ignoring her quick retort. "I am the fiery passion of flowing blood. The delicious nature of ultimate subordination through domination. I am glory, death and chaos," he paused his speech to looked at her. Taking another step closer to the blonde hr placed his hand on her shoulder. Strong fingers wrapped around the frail joint causing the girl to shiver violently. "You dear, don't even know the definition, much less comprehend it."
The air shimmered as they were transported from the temple into the middle of a battlefield. The tranquility and cool exchanged for the heat of battle and desperate cries of dying men. Around them chaos reigned, but in the middle surrounded by a deadly calm Ares stood behind the young girl, his hands firmly enclosed around her slender shoulders, at the same time protecting and domineering her. He leaned close to her and in a whisper that overrode the alarm of the ongoing battle he said, "This is me".
Green eyes painfully wide open took in the display around them. One man thrusting a sword through the stomach of another, opening up his flesh and enabling his gut to snake out of him. One man slicing his sword at another's throat, the skin breaking and blood gushing, covering both the dying man and his killer. One man chopping his sword at another's hand, with a powerful cut tearing flesh, skin and bone apart and leaving the man with a profusely bleeding lump where once a hand existed.
"This is me." His hands were still on her now trembling shoulders. "To be mine. To feel my glory. This is what you must be."
She turned around to look at him, tears visible in her inexperienced eyes, one drop escaping and slowly trailing down her cheek. Impulsively Ares reached up and removed the tear with his thumb. Never removing his gaze from hers, he continued, "This glory is the glory that will be yours". As suddenly as they had appeared in the midst of battle, they were now back in the sanctity of his temple.
Laying his hand over her heart he let her taste his power. "The righteousness can be yours," he paused. "All I will take in return is your heart." He took a step away from her, but kept eye contact. "Do you still think summoning me was a good idea?" he asked, his lips curling into a ruthless smile.
Stunned she looked down at her copper coloured palms, this time acutely aware of her own inexperience and wishing for nothing but oblivion. "No," she replied, unable, unwilling to meet his eyes.
He laughed, a rich melodic sound rumbling through his wide chest. The sound terrifying the young girl more than the strangled cries of the dying men she had just witnessed.
"Too bad." He laughed again. "Unfortunately for you there is no altering of the past. And as I am a God of honour." He snorted at his own comment. "You summoned me, and that I will honour that call by making you mine, Gabrielle."
His words still rung in her ears as the God of War disappeared leaving his threat and promise stamped on her soul. Standing shock still the girl felt shivers run up and down her spine, fear clutching at her heart making her entire being tremble. Desperately she wished she had never left her home for this fool-hearted quest of independence and adventure.
She had summoned the God of War. He now threatened to take her, claim her soul. Suddenly the reality and severity of her actions came crashing down on her. Panic rose inside of her like a tidal wave. What had she done?
Ares materialised behind an intricate though crude throne made out of leather and animal bones. Its occupant jumped out of her seat and with a growl turned around, sword in hand.
"Xena," he greeted her with a smile. "You always know how to make me feel welcomed."
"Ares," she acknowledged with a sour smile. "Why are you here?" she wondered scowling.
"I have a proposal."
"What kind?" she asked suspiciously, sword still held high.
"Potedeia," he replied without any traces of emotion on his face.
"What's in Potedeia?" Xena inquired slowly lowering her weapon, but keeping her vigilance.
"A challenge," the God of War replied, a cruel but brilliant smile lighting up his face.