Xena, Gabrielle and any other characters featured in the actual TV series are copyrighted to MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures; just borrowing for this story. The rest of the story and other characters are mine. Please contact me before using any of my stuff. Thanks.
SPOILERS: Got this idea from reading some script pages on MaryDs Xena Aussie fan site, way back at the beginning of season 5. The script pages dealt with the baby arc in season 5. I got the idea to fill in the gaps that I found in the script pages. So this is my version of the whole baby arc/destruction of the gods storyline. Also spoiler for Succession.
This story depicts scenes of violence and/or their aftermath. Readers who are disturbed by or sensitive to this type of depiction may wish to read something other than this story.
"Are you asking me for my help?" Ares questioned with a sneer. "You of all people know how I feel about that." The God of War gazed right into her eyes as he crossed his arms over his leather-claded chest.
The former Destroyer of Nations was at her wits' end. "Ares, if there was any other way, I would do it. But you are my only hope," Xena pleaded. "Your sister..."
"Whatever. Athena wants to kill my baby." Xena's sky blue eyes started to tear up. "Please help me to protect my child."
Ares looked at the Warrior Princess and shook his head in pity. "You use to be strong Xena. I knew you had grown soft, but I didn't realize how soft until now. Let me make this easy for you-There is nothing you can offer me that would entice me to step..." He did not finish his sentence because a silver sai blade was pressed against his throat. Ares looked down at the petite blond attacker.
"You bastard. We are talking about an innocent child's life. Your selfish desires matter not." Gabrielle's green eyes flamed with anger as she pressed the sai harder. "Now, are you going to help us or not?"
Ares smirked. For years, he blinded himself to her potential. Morpheus told him about her warrior spirit, but to Ares she seemed weak-too eager to quench her spirit with ideas of peace, love and non-violence. It wasn't until she returned from the dead that he noticed the change in her attitude. That change peaked his interest and her skills held his attention. "It seems that I have underestimated you again. It also seems you have forgotten with whom you are dealing with. My dear, we both know that I could, at any moment, seriously hurt you. But I understand your fire, your passion, and I definitely love when you release both. So I'm going to take pity on you this once and not hurt you." He stared into her eyes as he continued, "But understand this, I meant what I said. There is nothing, absolutely nothing that Xena could offer me that will get me to stand against Athena."
"Come on Gabrielle; we are just wasting our time here. Thanks for nothing Ares." Xena turned and walked away.
Gabrielle slowly removed her sai from Ares' throat; the whole time Ares and Gabrielle looked at each other. She backed away two steps before turning and catching up with Xena. Ares watched at the two walked away. *Gotcha.*
Xena watched as Gabrielle gathering the wood into a pile for a fire. Even though her eyes were on her best friend, her mind was trying to find a solution to their predicament. "Maybe we need to try Artemis again."
Gabrielle looked up at her soulmate and sighed. "I don't know what good that will do Xena. I may be her Chosen One, but I have yet to hear one word from her directly. I doubt we will get any more information than what we already have. For some reason Athena believes that the baby is a threat to the gods."
"Well then, I guess we have no choice but to go to the source."
Xena nodded. "We got to find out why Athena feels like this."
"You know we will be walking right where she wants us to be; right on her territory." Gabrielle shook her head, "I don't like it Xena."
"Do you have any other ideas Gabrielle because if you do I'm all ears. Ares was our best shot. I had hope his hatred of Athena would force him to join with us. But that didn't work, so our only option is to go to Athens and to the temple."
"I guess we really don't have a choice here do we?" Gabrielle stood, walked over to their things and grabbed two empty water skins. "If we are going, I better fill these up."
"Want me to go with you?"
Gabrielle looked over at her pregnant friend. They had been going nonstop since Xena first found out about Athena's desire. "No, you need to rest. Besides, who knows, maybe Artemis will pop in and tell her Chosen One how to get out of this."
"Doing the sidekick thing again?"
Gabrielle refused to turn around, but instead continued to fill the water skins. "What do you want Ares?"
He walked up to her until he was barely touching her. "I think we both know the answer to that question."
"Xena has nothing to offer you," she turned to face him, "but I do, is that it?"
"You just don't get it, do you Gabrielle? You have nothing to offer me. We gods don't need any human permission to do what we want. You know that Xena never decided to be my Chosen One, I made her my Chosen One. Artemis didn't ask you to be her Chosen One. I'm not asking you to offer yourself to me as the heir, for you are already Xena's heir; you have no choice. The only thing you have to do is to acknowledge that fact. Then we can move on."
Gabrielle jaw tightened as she realized he spoke the truth. The gods never ask, the just demanded, cut deals or did things on the sly. "We humans may have no say in the decisions of the gods, but we can defy those decisions Ares."
"Are you going to reject your destiny? Look at Xena, she was destined to rule the world. Instead she is pregnant, don't know who the father is, and is about to fight a losing battle with the Goddess of War. You don't have to end up like her. Embrace your destiny Gabrielle."
"I make my own destiny Ares." She lifted the water skins, "And right now, my destiny is to go back to camp with this water." She walked past him and headed to the camp.
"I know what you want Gabrielle, and I can give it to you." Gabrielle stopped. "You want Xena and the child to be protected. Fine, but let me sweeten the deal for you. Not only will I protect the baby and Xena from Athena, but I will also protect them from all the gods, from warlords, raiders, what have you. I will also protect whatever town they decide to finally settle at. So the fate of hundreds even thousands may be in your hands. Think about it." With 3 bursts of light and smoke, he departed.
It took them three days travel to arrive at Athens. Apollo had barely begun his trip across the sky when they had arrived. Xena looked over at Gabrielle. "Gabrielle are you okay?"
"Why you ask?"
"You have been quiet since we began this trip. What's on your mind?"
"Just trying to find another way out of this mess."
Xena arched her eyebrow. "And?"
"I'll let you know when I come up with something." Gabrielle looked at the streets. Very few people were out this early in the morning, mostly merchants setting up shopping. "She already knows that we are here."
"Probably. That is why we are heading straight to the temple. That way she will have less time to set a trap for us."
The scent of incense hit them as they pushed open the cedar doors of the temple. The white marble floors echoed their footsteps to the marble ceiling above their heads. Dozens of lit beeswax candles stood on the altar and the rising, adding a sweet smell to the scent in the air; their lights danced to a piece of music that human ears could not hear. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, except the fact that there were no priestesses around. Xena withdrew her sword as Gabrielle readied her sais.
"Do you really think that you're a match for me?" A voice called out as a bright orb of light blazed from the alter. As the light dimmed, the goddess Athena appeared. The goddess was wearing a white silk gown that flowed to the floor. On top of her dark curls she wore a silver helmet and in her left hand was a spear. "Xena, this is your last chance. Let me take the child and you can go on with your life."
"Never Athena. I don't want to fight you. I came here to talk, but if you don't want to talk, then I'm prepare to fight."
"Very well then." She turned to Gabrielle. "This doesn't concern you Gabrielle. You don't need to be here."
"Yes, I do. If it concerns Xena or the baby, it concerns me as well."
"Gabrielle, you are one of my favored ones. Don't make me have to hurt you."
"Is this how you treat your favored ones, by threatening to kill and hurt the ones that they love. I would give my life to protect Xena and the baby. Tell me Athena, what is the difference between being favored by the gods or being cursed by them?"
"Let me show you." With a wave of her hand, Gabrielle's body lift off the floor, was thrown across the temple and slammed against the cedar doors. She screamed as her body slid down to the floor. "If you were cursed, you would be dead. But instead...," with another wave a steel gate came crashing down in the middle of the temple, "you are alive and can watch the battle from there." She turned to Xena. "Don't worry about her Xena, she will be fine. Are you ready?"
Gabrielle forced herself up from the floor, and ran to the gate. "If you hurt Xena or the baby, I promise you Athena, I will do everything in my power to destroy you."
"You want a fight Gabrielle. Fine." The cedar gates open and 15 soldiers came in. "That should keep you occupied."
The battles were on. Gabrielle had no problem dispatching twelve of the soldiers. She quickly looked up to see what was happening with Xena. Xena was able to hold her own, but Gabrielle could tell she was weakening. That pause cost her dearly as a soldier hit her from her blind side. As he lifted his sword to finish her off, she ran one of her sais through him. She quickly knocked out the next soldier. There was one more. From his leather and armor, she could tell he was the leader of the group. He circled around her and spoke, "You are good. Where does a bard learn to fight like that?"
A loud piercing scream distracted them both. Gabrielle turned around and gasped. Athena had managed to stab Xena in her right thigh. Her spear tip stuck out from the back of her leg. Athena pulled it out and Xena fell to the floor.
Time began to slow down to a crawl. The solider, no longer distracted, tried to take advantage of the situation and closed in on Gabrielle. Athena, seeing an opening, went for the kill, but Xena was able to block the fatal blow. As the soldier moved in, Gabrielle ducked, and with all her strength, buried her sai into his chest until only the hilt remained visible. Athena took her spear and engaged Xena's sword. Because of Xena's weakened state and position on the floor, Athena was able to remove the sword from Xena's grasp. "Good-bye Xena. You were a great warrior."
Gabrielle looked at the soldier. "I'm not a bard," she stated as she twisted the sai in his chest, "I'm the heir." She let the body slip off the sai and watched as the blood dripped off her weapon.
Athena raised her spear and began its downward descent, when three bright flashes lit up the temple. A sword blocked the spear. "Sorry, sister. Can't let you do this. She's under my protection." Ares swung his sword upward, throwing Athena off balance. He then threw an energy bolt at the gate and a hole was created. Gabrielle ran through, grabbed Xena's sword and gave it to her. She then stood by Ares' side.
Athena was not the goddess of war but also of wisdom, and prudence was telling her that she should leave. "Brother, I don't know why you interfere..." she stopped and looked at Gabrielle. Her shoulders dropped and a frown appeared on her face. "So you got what you want." She shook her head. "I'm sorry things had to be like this." She looked over at the Warrior Princess. "This isn't the end." In a bright light, she vanished.
Gabrielle ran to Xena. "We need to get you to a healer."
Xena gave Gabrielle a weak smile. "Hey, you don't look so good yourself. Looks like you got a goose egg growing from your head."
"Well, ladies, it is not safe for you to stay in this city. So I'm willing to transport you to where ever you want to go. But first," he reached down and touched Xena's leg.
Xena felt a burning sensation running throughout her leg. When Ares removed his hand, her wound was gone. Gabrielle helped her up. "Thanks Ares. I guess I owe you."
"You don't owe me a thing Xena." He looked at Gabrielle. "Let's go."
They arrived at the outskirts of Amazonia. "Ares, how did you know to take us here?"
"Does it really matter Xena? I know that you will be safe. Athena wouldn't dare attack you or the baby while you are here."
"Well, thanks Ares. Come on Xena, I'm starving." Gabrielle nudged Horse into a trot.
Xena looked at Gabrielle and shook her head. She turned back to say something to Ares, but he wasn't there. *That's weird. I usually can tell when Ares is near and when he is gone. I guess my questions can wait until next time.* She urged Argo to catch up with the bard and the two headed to the village.
Gabrielle leaned back in the large tub. The hot water worked its magic as her muscles released their tension. "There are definitely perks to being the Queen." Gabrielle quickly sat up as a tingling sensation ran down her neck.
"There are perks in being my Chosen One as well."
"Ares, go away. Can't you see that I'm busy?"
Ares gaze lower as he took in the sights. "Oh yes, I can see." A lecherous grin extended across his face.
Gabrielle rolled her eyes. "What do you want?"
"Well, first things first." He walked over and took a seat on the edge of the tub. "We need to find you an army..."
"No. I don't want an army."
"Every warlord has an army."
"I'm not becoming a warlord." She made sure that Ares was focused on what she was saying before she continued. "I'm not changing my mind. Remember when you told me that you were interested in me because I was different from Xena; that I knew when to fight and when not to? I know I can lead any army, I've done it before. But that method does not use my skills to their full potential."
"Okay, you have me curious. So what are you suggesting?"
"Give me six moons for me to do it my way. If it doesn't work, then I will do it your way. Trust me, there will be enough blood for you to wallow in and death to keep Hades busy. You have nothing to lose."
"What's your plan?"
"Let's just say it involves murder, chaos, and political intrigue."
Ares stood up. "Fine, well do it your way for now. Don't fail me."
If you would like me to continue with Part II of this story, you must feed the bard. Let me know! E-Mail me! Please! Otherwise, I will leave this to your imaginations.