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This story takes place sometime after 'Motherhood.'
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Please Forgive Me
Xena, Gabrielle and Eve were walking into the woods with the silence as their companion. None of them were saying anything. They were all thinking and remembering all of what happened on Mt. Olympus.
Strangely, Gabrielle didn't remember a single thing. Well, she just remembered emotions. She missed Joxer, she felt guilty for the death of Hope and for trying to kill Eve.... But the strongest one was a big impression of Love. Like somebody has given her Love. It was warm and it comforted her.
Xena, with worry in her eyes, was looking at Gabrielle. She knew Gabrielle didn't remember what happened but didn't want to make her suffer by telling it to her.
Xena wanted to go back to Amphipolis to show her village to her daughter. Strangely, Gabrielle decided to go on her own way. She wanted to be alone. Xena agreed and they went their separate ways after having hugged tenderly. Gabrielle didn't head for her village as Xena thought. She wanted, she needed to go back to Olympus. She needed answers. And Xena wouldn't give them to her.
All that Gabrielle remembered was that she tried to kill Eve and how it was painful when Xena's chakram hurt her. The pain! That's all she remembered, the incredible pain and anger. What could have possibly led her to do such a thing? How could she ever have thought of killing Eve? She was like her own daughter. 'What is it with me and killing daughters?' she asked herself in a sarcastic way.
She felt suddenly really tired. 'I'm not in a hurry. I can take time to rest,' she thought as she lay down and fell asleep.
She didn't hear the familiar laugh...
When she awoke, she was not on the ground anymore. She was in a bed, and a very comfortable one. "How did I get here? And where is this 'here'?"
She got up and looked for someone. This place was wonderful and she felt like she had been there before. Was she on...Mt Olympus? But where were the gods? Did Xena kill them all? Artemis, Aphrodite, and even Ares??? That can't be....The silence was driving her crazy.
"Hello? Is there someone here? Where am I and why?"
"Hi, little one!"
"DITE ! ! !" Gabrielle was so happy to see Aphrodite that she hugged her strongly.
"Hey, be careful, sweet thing. You will ruin my nails."
"I was afraid that you were dead."
"If I was... who would have brought you here?"
"You did? Are you the only god alive, Dite?"
"Unfortunately, I am the only immortal still on Olympus..."
"So, all your family is dead?"
"Nope! I have a brother who is still alive!"
"Yeah. Hercules. I should have guessed, but I'm talking about real gods!"
"Come with me, sweety, and you'll see."
Gabrielle followed Aphrodite down the hall to a somber bedroom. Aphrodite opened the door and let Gabrielle in. After a clear laugh she disappeared saying, "Love business."
Gabrielle was nervous. She didn't know what to expect. Who was in there? She was kinda afraid to find an enemy that would go after Xena and Eve once again. She could tell it was a man.
'Very bright, Gabrielle. Dite already told you that.'
He was sleeping and having nightmares. As she approached, she was starting to recognize the man. Is it? Can it be? Her heart started beating faster when she finally recognized Ares, God of War, lying on the bed. She touched his forehead and realized he had a high fever. How can gods be sick? But the healer in Gabrielle was stronger than the bard, so she went for some water to cool the fever down.
Ares was really sick. He was delirious in his sleep. Gabrielle felt sorry for him and wondered how he arrived at this situation. She held his hand to calm him down. That seemed to work. She tried to tell stories of his glory to give him reasons to wake up. Maybe he would be able to tell her what happened to him and, most important, to her.
In his sleep Ares was calling for someone. Gabrielle could not say whom exactly, but she suspected it was Xena. The thought of it was like a stab in her heart. 'Why is that? Am I jealous?' Hopefully the fever was gone now and Ares started to sleep peacefully. She heard him talking again. She came closer to him to know whom he was talking about. Beth! That's what he said. Beth! Who was she? He really seemed to care about the girl. She felt hurt once again. 'Am I falling in love with Ares?'
Suddenly Ares opened his eyes and stared at Gabrielle with a gentle smile. "Are you a dream or an angel?"
"Ares! I'm Gabrielle. You were sick. I healed you."
"I see you felt like you owed me something after I saved your life. That's the only reason you are here. Thank you..."
Gabrielle could see anger building in Ares' eyes. She didn't understand why, neither what he was talking about.
"You saved my life? When did you? Hey, are you aware of anything about my sudden heal after the Twilight?"
"The Twilight! Don't ever say that word in front of me again! It cost me everything! You hear that? EVERYTHING! I've got nothing left. Except Aphrodite..."
"Ares... I...I'm sorry for your family...But you're still the god of war..."
"Yeah, right! You didn't get anything did you? I told you I lost everything. I gave up my immortality."
"You?! How could you do such a thing? Oh! I see you did this to save Xena from Athena, right?"
"You are foolish, Gabrielle! You still see me as an evil...I did this to save you and Eve."
"What? And why did you do such a thing? You only do things for your own advantage."
"Well, believe it or not...I don't really know. It felt right and I couldn't let you die. You HAVE to stay alive..."
Gabrielle was speechless. Ares seemed so sure and proud by the fact that she had to stay alive.
"Gabrielle, I don't want to lose you... I...mean...I..."
Gabrielle was dying to know what he was about to say.
"Hum! Hum! Am I interrupting something?" Aphrodite asked with delight.
"No! Of course, Ares is healed now. But, can you tell me something Dite? Did Ares really lose his immortality?"
Ares groaned as he sat up and left the room. 'See? She will never trust me. I am out of here!"
Aphrodite bit her upper lip. "Gabby, be nice to Ares. He is dealing with a lot. He lost almost everything and being mortal is really hard for him. And don't forget he lost everything because he saved you!"
"That's what I don't get! Why did he save me? To get to Xena? I'd hardly believe that. I suspect that there is a lot more to the story. Tell me, Aphrodite. Please! You won't? Then I have nothing to do here anymore..."
"Gabrielle! Wait! I'll tell you Ares' secret. But promise me you won't tell him, ok?"
"Alright, I promise. Tell me first, who is Beth?"
"THAT I can't tell you, Gabrielle. How did you hear of her?"
"Ares was talking in his sleep. He seems to care a lot for her..."
"He would give his life to save her."
Once again, Gabrielle felt jealous. Aphrodite laughed.
"Why are you jealous, Gabrielle? Do you have feelings for my brother? Don't be jealous of Beth, sweety. Ask Ares about her and if he's ready he'll tell you his story. I think you are the only one that he can trust."
"Why me? Why am I so important right now? Why would he give up everything for me instead of Xena?
Aphrodite looked surprised. "You haven't guessed yet? But Gabrielle, it's obvious! Ares is completely in love with you !"
"Oops! I'm out of here! See ya, little one!"
Gabrielle was alone again with Ares. He sighed loudly.
"Okay, you wanna know about Beth? I'll take you to her. But don't be mad at me. You're about to be shocked." He grabbed her and kissed her as they disappeared.
"What was that kiss for?"
"I...I couldn't stop myself....Sorry."
"Don't be sorry," she said with a delicious smile, "I liked it - pretty much. Besides, I thought you didn't have your powers anymore. How did we get here?"
"I still have some of my powers. But as a mortal..."
"Hey! Isn't this an Amazon camp?"
"You got it right, sweetheart. Follow me!"
A crowd of Amazons was battling not far away and they all stopped when they saw Ares.
"Take me to Queen Beth!"
A small group of Amazons followed them. They lead them to the hut of the Queen.
"Come on in. You might be surprised though..."
"I'm not afraid. Let's see your Beth."
They went in. Beth was busy practicing some moves. Ares smiled proudly. "Betty! Come here. I've got someone I want you to know." As she faced them, Gabrielle put a hand on her mouth to stop a scream. The young woman was her portrait...
"Hey! Daddy! It's been a long time. I'm glad to see you."
Beth came to Ares and gave him a big kiss on the cheek and hugged him. Beth was a total look alike to Gabrielle, except for her long black hair. Gabrielle was unable to say a word.
"Gabrielle, I'd like you to meet my daughter, Beth, Queen of the Amazons. The west tribe, of course. The better one. No offense, Gabby?"
Gabrielle waved her hand to reduce him to silence. She couldn't take her eyes off of the girl. Beth smiled.
"Gabrielle? Like the most unforgettable Queen of the Amazons? I've been reading scrolls about how you ruled..."
"Hum, yes that's me! Could you excuse us? I need to talk to your...Dad."
Ares couldn't stop laughing as Gabrielle's rage increased.....
"Ares, I don't think this is funny, so stop laughing!"
"I'm sorry, but the expression on your face, it's too much..."
"Who is this girl?"
"I told you, she's my daughter and the Queen of the Amazons."
"But how could she be so like me? Even my own sister doesn't look like me this much. She could be my twin or my daughter... Ares! NO! Don't tell me it's Hope! You Bastard! What did you..." She tried to hit him but he quickly grabbed her wrists.
"Easy, little girl, easy," he said with a soft tone. "This is not Hope. Don't underestimate me that much. But, you're right about one thing. She is part of your family. Chut! Don't argue with me and listen to what I have to say. A long time ago, I got your daughter pregnant and I know it was a dumb thing to do but, hey, I was the God of War and I had to save my life from that evil....Anyway, when she was about time to have her child, she threw me out of her life, she wanted revenge on Xena by her child. I only had to make her pregnant. It was my task. But I kept watching on her until she gave birth. I wanted to see my son, the Destroyer. Well, you saw him, you can understand I was a bit... disappointed when I saw him. But to my surprise and Hope's, she was giving birth to a second child. I couldn't believe my eyes. In her arms was lying the most beautiful baby in the world. She was so, so perfect! But her perfection was also her loss. Hope could feel that the baby was perfect and pure. And the fact that she looks just like you helped Hope decide that this child must die. I saved her just in time. I think that Hope never knew that Beth was alive. She is my daughter - not hers."
"I...I...don't know what to say, Ares. Who would have thought you could be a loving daddy? So, she is my...grand-daughter?"
"Yes, by blood, sweet Gabrielle. So, you won't be jealous of her anymore I guess?"
"What? Who told you?"
"I heard you talking with Aphrodite. That's why I took you here to meet Beth. I knew I could trust you. Maybe it's because of my feelings..."
"Feelings? You have feelings for me? What kind?"
"Oh! Gabby, you know perfectly well!" He tenderly put one of his hands on her cheek. She closed her eyes and sighed. He slowly took her in his arms and held her close to him. When he released her he could see a tear running down her face.
"Hey! Daddy! Queen Gabrielle! Aren't you gonna join us for dinner?"
Gabrielle smiled at Beth and tried to stop herself from hugging her. "You don't have to call me Queen here, Beth. You're the only Queen in your tribe."
"I know, but since I've been little, Daddy has been telling me stories about you and your friend Xena. You will always be the Greatest Queen the Amazons have ever known. It's an honor to finally meet ya."
Gabrielle was blushing so Ares told his daughter about Gabrielle's modesty. "She will always try to deny her acts, claiming it was natural or that she did nothing. The problem with Gabrielle, sweetheart, is that she doesn't see herself at her full potential."
Breaking the peace between them, Gabrielle felt her anger for him once again. It was definitely a Love & Hate relationship that was going on between the two of them...
"Come with me, Gabrielle! We gotta get prepared for the ceremony. See you later, Daddy!"
"A ceremony? What ceremony?"
"You will be my guest of honor... Come..."
"I don't think I..."
"Cut off the protestations! This is an order from your Queen... Sorry I'm not used to that behavior!"
Beth and Gabrielle both laughed. Gabrielle was amazed to see what a wonderful job Ares did when he raised his daughter.
Gabrielle was helping Beth with her hair when she realized that the young girl was obviously staring at her. "What is it Beth? Is there something wrong?"
"No! I'm just trying to figure out why Daddy brought you here. Not that I'm not happy... He has never brought anyone here. And he has certainly never said to anyone that I am his daughter. Maybe now it's safe to tell it. Or he only wants to make me happy by finally meeting you. Yeah! That's probably it."
"You know that you have a wonderful hair, Beth? I used to have a similar style - instead of THIS!"
"OH! But I love your hair. You don't always have it in your eyes, and during battles it bothers to have hair like mine. Do you have regrets?"
"Regrets? About what?"
"Having your hair cut."
"Sometimes.... But there was no choice then."
"Yup! And between you and me, it's more sexy short, don't you think?"
"Well...I...never thought about it. But with long hair you can do whatever you want with it. Let me show you."
Quickly Beth jumped in Gabrielle's arms. She gave her a long hug. Beth looked at Gabrielle, puzzled. "I feel so comfortable with you. I feel like I've known you for a long, long time. But it's not possible, is it? I guess it's because I've never been close to a woman. It's probably how it feels to have a mother..."
"That's really a nice thing to say. You remind me of my daughter, you know..."
"You have a daughter? Dad never told me that. What is she like?"
"Hum...Few people knew about her because she died when she was really young. She was a lot like you. As I said, you remind me of her, but not in a painful way. You remind me of the joy of being a mother.... How you can be proud."
"Tell me more about her please. I'd like to know her name and..."
"I'm so sorry, Beth, but it's still painful to talk about her. She was my Hope.... And I lost her.... Tell me about your mother. I didn't know Ares had a wife and kids..."
"Don't try to fool me, Gabrielle, you know who my mother is..." Beth became really calm and almost angry...
"Me? Your mother? I didn't even know Ares had a daughter, so..."
"Really? Then I'm really sorry. But...I'm sure I know you from somewhere... And why would Daddy bring you here and reveal his secret? I have to find out. I'll talk to him later. Let's just forget to talk about the ones who rest in peace for tonight, ok?"
"You got yourself a deal, little Queen."
Gabrielle felt relieved. She didn't want to talk about Hope right now. With this new event, this was too much to deal with. She felt like she needed to be alone. But she couldn't be for now. Beth was so happy to be with her.
They got changed and Ares joined them a while after.
"Wow! You two look amazing. You really are two Queens."
But Ares hadn't looked at Beth. His eyes were fully on Gabrielle. Both of them were wearing a Queen's long dress. And the green one of Gabrielle was making her eyes sparkle even more than the stars in the sky.
Gabrielle saw all of that in Ares' eyes. She felt incredibly alive. She wasn't able to take her eyes off of him too.
They went for the dinner. Ares sat between his girls. They had a wonderful dinner except that it seemed that every Amazon present thought like Beth, that Gabrielle was a kind of Hero. She tried to deny it but she was outnumbered. She laughed and told them to believe what they wanted.
Ares fought all the evening against the desire to be alone with Gabrielle, somewhere. Gabrielle met his eyes and smiled tenderly at him. At this right moment, he knew he couldn't deny it anymore. He was incredibly in love with this girl. How ironic! He had to tell her fast. He wanted her to marry him and bear his child. And everything else involved in a marriage.
On her side, Gabrielle felt more puzzled with each passing minute. She really needed time alone to think about all that.
After the dinner she went for a long walk, alone. But not for long. She quickly felt Ares' presence by her side. He didn't say a word and they looked at each other for a long time.
They never knew who made the first step but, they found themselves kissing passionately. Ares transported them into his bedroom and they spent the night together.
When she woke up the next morning Gabrielle reached for Ares and, to her surprise, found herself alone in the big bed. Where was he? At least she would have time to think. She had come up here for answers and she found even more questions. And of course she found herself in love with Ares.
'What am I going to do?'
With pink flashes and sparkles, Aphrodite appeared sitting on the bed. "Hello Gabrielle! I think you need my help or what?"
"Hum....Maybe. I think I'm in love with Ares."
"I knew it! Where is the problem, sweety?"
"I'm not sure if he loves me back, Dite. He always has been trying to catch Xena and now he is in love with me? It's kinda hard to believe. Do you see my point? I don't wanna be hurt again."
"Gabrielle, trust me, I know these things. Ares is totally devoted to you. He would give his life for you. Well, he did this already. As if, you two should talk and decide on what to do. Either you should marry or never see each other again."
Aphrodite laughed when she saw the panic in Gabrielle's face. "Can't stand the thought of not seeing him again, huh? You know what you have to do. Go for it, little one. Gotta go. Love business!"
Yes, she knew. But first she had to find Ares. She dressed and went looking for him.
Ares was thinking too. And, without the help of his sister, he came to the same conclusion as his beloved...
It has been quite a shock for Ares to discover that he really wanted to marry Gabrielle. He knew that if he only asked her to stay with him, she wouldn't. She would think he wasn't serious and didn't love her. Well, he did. And he was ready to do anything to prove it to her. Now that he was a mortal, he wasn't afraid anymore to be in love with a woman. He wouldn't have to see her grow old and eventually die. He wouldn't be left all alone, heartbroken. They would grow old together, with their family.
Ares was totally day-dreaming, so much thinking about the future that he didn't hear Gabrielle calling for him. She touched his arm and he came back to reality. They shared a delicious smile, happy to be reunited.
She gave him a kiss on the cheek. His heart started beating faster. He held her close to him and pressed his lips against hers, tenderly. She smiled at him in a way that made him feel so powerful, just like if he had his powers back. She made him feel special.
"I think we need to talk, Ares."
"I guess you're right." He sighed and hoped she wasn't going to leave.
"I really need to know what you are up to. No, don't be afraid, I don't think I'm part of a plan of yours or something. But I need to know what I really mean to you and what we're gonna do. We cannot continue like this. And I can't stay here. I wanna live elsewhere than on Mt. Olympus. I wanna see my friends and family. You get my point?"
"Yes, I do. As long as you're willing to stay with me, everything could be arranged. You wanna live elsewhere, that's alright, you can choose wherever you want. What you mean to me? That's quite simple, beautiful. I love you. More than I ever loved anybody, if I ever really loved someone before you. Maybe its the fact that I'm mortal now that gives me the possibility to feel things that much, I don't know and I don't care. I'm perfectly happy when I'm with you. The solution is simple, I don't wanna lose you ever." He knelt down in front of her and took her hand in his. "Gabrielle, would you make me the happiest man on earth by agreeing to become my wife?"
Gabrielle gasped and a tear ran down her face. Ares smiled at her and put his hand in his pocket. He opened his hand to reveal a ring. The most beautiful jewel Gabrielle ever saw. A delicate gold ring with a little red rose on top. It was shining like it was magic. Ares stood up and erased her tears with his hand. He looked at her, waiting for an answer.
She slowly looked at him. She finally whispered, "Yes!"
Ares put the ring on her finger. She suddenly felt different. He smiled at her. "Gabrielle! You don't have any idea how happy I am right now. You couldn't please me more. We're gonna live a long, long life of happiness together."
"Yes. We were meant to be together. That's why you saved me and that you couldn't hurt me too much in the past. That's why you are the father of my Grand-Daughter, too."
"Oh, Oh. I don't know how to announce this to Beth. How is she gonna react? She's gonna be fine, she already likes you. She'll be pleased to know that you will be her new mother."
"I'm not so sure about that, Ares. When we met, I was only your friend and hers. Now I'm about to become your wife. She may see me as a danger. She could think that I will be some kind of competition for your affection."
"No. Betty's not like that. She's perfect, just like you. She will be happy for us."
"You know her more than I do. You should be right, I hope."
"I am always right, little girl! Have faith in me. Now, what about spending some time in our bedroom to celebrate?"
"I will have to refuse that. I wanna wait until we are really married."
"Want me to get Cupid? He could marry us in minutes."
"No, Ares. I want a real wedding with my friends. Not today, not tomorrow. I wanna have time to prepare."
"Oh Gosh! I should have asked you later then."
"Stop teasing me! That's not funny. A wedding is serious."
"I know, I know."
They started fighting, for fun, of course. They were fighting until they fell on the ground. They quickly found each other's mouths. They kissed, kissed and kissed, until they ran out of air. Gabrielle thought that she must be by herself for a while or she wouldn't be able to refuse his favors. Not that she didn't want to sleep with him, but she felt like it was better to wait until the wedding.
"So, you're really leaving, sweety?"
"I have to. I need some time alone, and, by the way, I'll catch up with Beth. I wanna be the one to tell her. Don't you agree?"
"Maybe. But I'd better be with you when you tell her. But do as you wish. I trust you. If things get rough with my daughter I'll come to help you."
"No, Ares. I don't want you to watch over me. If I need your help I will call for you, ok? Can I have your word on this? You won't watch over me?"
"Ok, I won't..."
"Promise me, Ares.... I won't believe you if you don't."
"Alright, I give you my word. You can trust me, baby..."
"I always knew I could. I'm gonna miss you."
"I'll miss you too. Why don't you stay?"
"I have to go right now or I'll never be able to leave..."
She gave him a sweet but short good-bye kiss, and she left. Ares watched her go and stood alone in the main hall of Mt. Olympus...
It took Gabrielle an entire day to arrive at Beth's Amazon camp. She was exhausted when she finally arrived. Sure to be a warm welcome, she directly headed for the Queen's hut. Without knocking she entered, wanting to surprise the girl. She did more than she wanted to. As she entered she quickly saw someone escaping by the rear door, and a little Beth blushing and trying to make order in her clothes and hair. Gabrielle laughed and Beth began to blush harder.
Gabrielle stopped laughing and stared at the young embarrassed girl in front of her. She nodded her head with an amused smile. "I'm sorry, Beth. I should have knocked. I would now, but I never thought you wouldn't be alone in here..."
"Oh, that's alright. I'm lucky it wasn't dad. You won't tell him, will you?"
"Tell him what? That your hair was not in order? He doesn't really care about female details like that, you know."
"Thank you, Gabrielle. I owe you one, I guess. What brings you here, and especially without Daddy?"
"I came for a visit. I wanted to have a conversation with you."
"Well, it seems important. Gimme a minute or two, I'll be right back."
"Take your time..."
Gabrielle smiled and thought that even the Queen Beth herself was afraid of her father finding out that she has a boy-friend. Things never changed. And she really doubted that Ares would be a very angry father trying to protect her daughter. She also wondered how a man could be welcome in an Amazon camp, and where did Beth meet him? But the most important thing, who was he? But first things first, she needed to announce the wedding to Beth.
"Ok, I'm ready Gabrielle. What do you wanna talk about?"
"Well, it's about your father and me..." Gabrielle started explaining how she fell in love with Ares and how he fell for her. She hoped she was finding the right words. At first Beth was listening to her with a smile, but with more she was hearing, her expression started to change. Her eyes sparkled with anger and she wasn't smiling anymore. Gabrielle tried to calm her but all she said didn't seem to work.
"Get out of my camp immediately."
"I know you might be upset by this, Beth. I can perfectly understand and I wanted you to know that your father will always love you and..."
"Didn't you hear me? I said get out of this camp and don't ever come back until I say so."
"Beth, I'm sorry..."
"GET OUT OF HERE!"
As she screamed, Gabrielle saw lightening in the sky and she heard thunder not far away. She got out and the rain began to fall at the same time Beth started crying...
Aphrodite appeared beside Ares and she took his arm and held it tightly.
"You felt it too, sis. Huh?"
"I know I felt something, but what was it? I don't like this."
"I don't like this either. But the fact is that I felt this before, but I can't seem to remember when. I just hope Gabby's alright."
"Believe me, big bro, it will take more than that to stop Gabrielle, and it felt like a god thing anyway. And by the way, because you love her, you will feel it if something happens to her. It's the only power that the mortals have, to know when something happens to their loved ones."
"You like reminding me that I'm mortal don't you?"
"Sorry, I only wanted to comfort you... Anyway, gotta go..."
Gabrielle walked a long time in the rain and she finally decided on where to make camp. She looked for some dry wood to make a fire. She sat in front of the fire and tried to understand Beth's reaction. She had expected that she would be upset, but never like this. 'It will be a long time before the three of us make a happy family.'
At least she was right and Ares wrong. Beth was upset. She sighed and made a little sad smile. But she stood up and got prepared for battle when she heard steps coming beside her. She faced a young blond man.
"Don't move or I'll hurt you."
"I won't move, Miss. I just came here because I smelled fire and I'm wet. So, I was wondering if you're willing to share it with me. I can give you my sword to prove I'm not dangerous."
Gabrielle smiled at him and sat down. "The fire has been given by the gods for all humans. Of course I'll share it with you, and you don't need to give me your sword. Just put it on the ground where I can keep an eye on it. That is until I trust you."
"Thank you. May I ask why a pretty woman like you is traveling alone in this tempest?"
"It's not a tempest anymore. But I love to be alone..."
"I understand. I used to, some time ago, too. But I fell in love and now it's painful to be alone."
"What's your name? Mine is Gabrielle."
"Gabrielle? Like the Queen of the Amazons? I heard a lot about you. My name is Nathaniel."
"That's a nice name. Are you from around here?"
"Not really. But I will stay here when I'm married."
"You really look like someone who is really in love, Nathaniel."
"Yes, I am. And with the prettiest girl in the whole world. No offense? But, you really DO look like my beloved. How come? Maybe you know her or something? Her name is..."
"Lemme guess. Beth?"
"So you really know her?"
"I'm about to marry her father. So let's just say that I know her."
"You're the one who came in the hut earlier?"
"I'm sorry about that. I should've knocked before. It was rude."
"My dad never knocked at doors. He always said that traveling with Hercules made him forget all gentlemen's things..."
"Hercules? Your dad knew Hercules? He is a good friend of mine."
"Oh yeah! Xena, right? She is your best friend, so you became friends with Hercules. Then it's possible you knew my dad too. He was Hercules' best friend in the whole world."
"Iolaus is your dad? You're not kidding me right?"
"Yes, Iolaus was my dad. The greatest dad..."
"Why was.... Is he?"
"Yes, unfortunately. My dad is dead..."
"Nathaniel, your dad was the dearest friend you could have. I'm sure he was a very good dad and good husband."
"He certainly was a good dad. Good husband? That's another story. He always talked to me about an angel he fell in love with, so perfect he never had the courage to tell her his true feelings..."
When Gabrielle realized that the young man was talking about her, she let go of the tears that she had held for so long. She cried over Iolaus, Nathaniel, Beth and herself. Maybe a little for Hope too. She fell asleep knowing that she could truly trust Nathaniel.
When Gabrielle woke up, the sun was shining high in the sky. That meant she overslept. She looked for Nathaniel but he wasn't there anymore. Had he left?
"Good morning Gabrielle!"
"Nathaniel? Where are you?"
"I'm coming, wait a minute."
Nathaniel came out of the woods with a basket full of strawberries and raspberries.
"I was looking for something to eat. Unfortunately, this is all I could find. I didn't want to go too far in the woods."
"That will be just perfect. I just LOVE strawberries!"
"Beth is crazy about them too. Are you sure you're not related to her somehow?"
"Except that I will marry her father, no."
"Who is her father exactly? She never introduced me to him. I think he's an important man but I never saw him."
"You mean you don't know who her father is?"
"No, I don't. Why? He really is someone important? He must be, because Beth became Queen really young, so he must have helped her."
"I can't answer you, Nathaniel. If Beth hasn't told you it's because she had her own reasons. She will tell you someday. But you can ask her."
"Please, tell me Gabrielle!"
"No, I can't. Beth is already mad at me. I don't want to make things worse."
"Alright! I will ask her later."
"Yes, go to her today. I know she is upset and will need someone to talk to. Besides that, I think that you really look like your dad. He must have been really proud of you, Nathaniel."
"Yeah. I guess he was. But I miss him."
"Of course you miss him. Iolaus was a lovely man, loved by everyone around him, he made people laugh too. He truly was a wonderful man."
Both of them had tears in their eyes, so they changed the subject. Nathaniel decided to go ask if he could see Beth. They had to separate but they knew they would meet again. Of course. Gabrielle was marrying the father of the woman he loved. They hugged. Nathaniel left, and Gabrielle started packing her stuff. Dite appeared.
"That's so sad!!! Iolaus dead!! That's incredible and I didn't even know."
"Aphrodite! What are you doing here? Are you watching over me?"
"Yup, sometimes I look up to see how you're doing and I saw this cutey young man. I couldn't help myself. I listened to your conversation. Now I see why he is so cute, it's from his daddy."
"But I've got other things in mind than thinking about my dead friend. I'll mourn him later. Now I've got to concentrate on Beth."
"Things didn't work out the way you excepted them to?"
"Not really. She is so angry with me. I don't know why. Do you think I should tell her who was her mother?"
"I don't know, sweety. It's a tough question. You are the only one who knows what to do. You always did. Ok, gotta go, see ya later..."
Gabrielle decided that she would try again to talk to Beth. If she didn't succeed, she'd call for Ares and he'd decide what to do next. So, she began to walk to the Amazon camp. She hoped that she would be warmly welcomed. She was thinking and she didn't see the hole in front of her. It looked like a trap. And she fell right in.
'Stupid me! How am I gonna get out of this?'
She tried to get up and noticed her ankle was painful, she wasn't able to get up. She was trapped. She fell unconscious, thinking that she should call Ares...
When Gabby woke up, her ankle was still hurting but someone had put a bandage around it. She looked around her to see where she was. She was in a little jail or dungeon, she wasn't sure about it. The only thing she was sure of, was that it was in an Amazon's camp. Probably Beth's camp. She knocked at the door to talk to the guard.
"What do you want?"
"Who is the Queen of this camp?"
"Our Queen is Beth the greatest one, you didn't know THAT?"
"Take me to her, please."
"You're kidding right? We found you in our territory without permission. The Queen has nothing to do with that."
"I said, take me to your Queen, if you won't, I'll go by myself and you'll regret it, believe me."
"Let me laugh, ok? HAHAHA! How's a little thing like you gonna escape from here?"
"Watch it, I'll show you..."
The guard looked at her, with a big smile meaning she didn't believe in Gabrielle's strength. Gabrielle dropped a big kick on the door with a wonderful flip, and the door fell. The guard just stood there, speechless. Before she could call for others, Gabby put a hand on her mouth.
"You got any other questions, girl? Take me to your Queen, I really need a chat with her."
The guard did as Gabrielle told and took her to the Queen's hut. The guard went first to announce a visitor to her Queen.
"Someone wants to see you, my Queen."
"I don't want to be disturbed by anyone!"
"But she really insisted on seeing you quickly."
"She?" repeated Beth suspiciously. "Who is this she? An Amazon from my tribe?"
"I don't think so, my Queen. But she looks like a warrior, maybe she is from another tribe far from here."
"I don't care about what you think. I don't wanna see her."
"But you have to listen to what I have to say, Beth. Believe me."
"Gabrielle! You here! How could you dare? Leave us alone. Get back to your post in the dungeon."
"I know you said you didn't want to see me until you said so, but I really want things to work out between us. We'll be seeing each other often since I'm marrying your father. Besides, I thought we were friends."
"My friend?!? You only pretended to be my friend to please Daddy. You never liked me. You used me to get to my dad."
"You're right on one thing, Beth. I never liked you. Because the first minute I saw you, I loved you. Yes, I really care about you. Like I would have loved my own daughter and more than your mother would have been able to."
"You don't know that! You don't know a single thing about my mother."
"I know more than you think I do, Beth. I know more than everyone. I guess it's time to tell you the truth, I know your mother."
"What are you saying? It's IMPOSSIBLE! You said you didn't know her. You lied to me?"
"I had too. At first I didn't know your were her daughter, but Ares finally told me."
Beth started crying and the rain began to fall outside. Gabrielle noticed something was strange but didn't know what. She saw Nathaniel coming from the rear door. He just stood there until Gabrielle slowly called his name. He ran to Beth and carried her in his arms.
"Daddy! Ares, God of War, I want you here immediately!"
As she screamed her anger, they all heard thunder outside. Ares quickly appeared beside her. Nathaniel was totally surprised by this apparition. Aphrodite followed Ares.
"Here was where those strange feelings came from. Ares, your daughter has something special..."
"I knew it! Every time she cries, rain falls. When she screams it's thundering. Don't you see? Beth is a God just like her parents. How is it possible that you didn't sense her powers before, Ares?"
"Don't accuse me, my love. When she was young I blocked her powers. I didn't want her to be different from others and, I admit it, I was a little afraid of her using her powers for bad like her mother. I totally forgot about them until now."
"That's why she is so full of anger. We have to release her powers or it will drive her crazy. She was so sweet before. She has to be again. Let's help her," answered Aphrodite.
Aphrodite knelt down beside her niece and made her glow. Beth grimaced in pain and lifted up from the ground. Aphrodite looked surprised and Beth opened her eyes and came back to the ground.
"Ok, I, I, have to go. Ares, come and see me tonight. We really need to talk."
"Oh! Ares, do something for her eyes, please. They were so pretty before."
"My eyes? What's wrong with my eyes?"
"Nothing, sweety. Let me get them back to normal. At least I can still do THAT."
Beth stands up, looking more beautiful than before, if that's possible. Her powers released were giving her something more. But Gabrielle couldn't tell what. Ares looked at Nathaniel.
"Who are you? What are you doing here?"
"I'm Nathaniel... Sir, it's an honor to meet you, sir."
"Explain this to me, Beth! Who is this young man?"
"I'm in love with him, dad. I don't have to explain anything else. You and Gabrielle, on the other hand, have a lot to tell me."
"Later. I wanna know more about this man. You are in love with my daughter? I'm warning you to treat her right. Who is your dad? I hope he is a great warrior or you're good enough for my daughter."
"Ares! That's enough! Beth can decide herself who is good enough for her. And if you want to know, yes, Nathaniel's father was a great warrior. You actually knew him well. His father's name was Iolaus. Does that remind you of someone?"
"Iolaus, like Hercules' best friend?"
"Yes, darling. What it is?"
"I want you out of here. I need to talk with Gabrielle alone. Maybe she will explain a lot to me. Go see aunty. Nathaniel, you too. You must go. But don't go too far. I'll rejoin you after my speaking with Gabrielle."
"Alright, sweetheart. Gabrielle, I'll catch up with you later. Don't you think it's time for us to plan our wedding?"
With a charming smile, Ares disappeared. Nathaniel gave a little kiss to Beth and left the two girls alone.
"Now we can talk heart to heart, Gabrielle. Or should I say mommy?"
"I know everything, Gabrielle. Didn't you miss me, MOTHER?"
"NO! That can't be! Hope? Is that you?"
Beth looked at Gabrielle and started to laugh, but not with Beth's laugh, with an evil laugh. Gabrielle looked for a way to escape, but Beth - Hope just looked at the doors and they all closed...
"Hope? Where is Beth? How can you be there?"
"Gabrielle, help me please. I don't know what's going on with me."
Gabrielle finally noticed that Beth's eyes never came back to normal. Hope was taking over her daughter to have her body and her powers.
"I won't let you win this battle, Hope. You took my daughter from me once, you won't this time."
"She is not your daughter, she is mine!"
"You never loved her. Ares did and he took care of her. And I will now."
"You never loved me. How can you love her? You tried to kill me so many times. I won't let you control her and all her powers."
"I loved you, Hope. That's why I had to stop you. I still love you, you're my daughter. But spare Beth, she is like your sister in my heart. I love you both."
Hope suddenly fell on the ground and seemed to be battling against herself. Gabrielle had a vision in the same time. She saw Michael, the archangel. He said that the other gods had to fall so that the only god of love could rule. The god of love, could it be Beth? Finally, Gabrielle saw something coming out from the body on the floor. She ran to her.
"Beth! Beth! Are you alright, sweetheart?"
Beth slowly opened her eyes. Gabrielle had her wonderful smile. Beth's eyes were green again. She hugged her tight.
"I love you Beth, I really do."
"I know. That's why I came back. I couldn't let her hurt you. That's all she wanted. Who was she? Was she your daughter?? Why was she after me?"
"Yes, this was Hope, my daughter. You don't know why she was there? Hope is your mother, Beth."
"I knew. I heard you two talking. But I couldn't believe it. My mother was a monster like that? So, that means you're my grandmother? That's so strange."
"You'll get used to it. Just like I did..."
During the same time, Ares went to see his sister.
"What it is, Dite?"
"Something's wrong with Beth! She became too powerful when I released her powers. Her anger didn't disappear, it increased. She wasn't herself anymore."
"What are you talking about? I let Gabby alone with her? Do you think she is in trouble?"
"I don't know, Ares. And I don't like it."
"Come on! Just take a look at what they're doing."
That's what they did. They saw Beth on the floor and Gabrielle holding her and trying to wipe her tears. The scene was touching. They seemed so close, just like Gabrielle with Xena but in a different way. Just like Beth was her daughter of blood. It was almost that.
At least, Beth was now enjoying the fact of them getting married. They would only have to announce it to Xena. And Ares had to go talk to that guy, Nathaniel. He had to know what were his intentions with his daughter. He said good-bye to his sister and appeared beside Nathaniel who was fishing. The young man didn't expect Ares beside him. He was so surprised, he fell into the lake. Ares couldn't stop laughing. Maybe he was going to like the young man after all...
A HAPPY ENDING.....
Several weeks later...
It was a sunny day in the calm village. A tall dark hair woman was outside the house and was looking to the sky. She sighed. She needed to be alone for a time. Today was the wedding's day and still, Xena hadn't fully understood or gotten used to Ares and Gabrielle being in love. This was tough to swallow.
When she had to watch Gabrielle go away with Perdicus it hurt, but she agreed. But Ares! Since Gabrielle had come to Amphipolis to announce her wedding, amazing events and announcements hadn't stopped. First, Ares had a lovely daughter, who was actually Gabrielle's grand-daughter. And this same young woman was in love with Iolaus' son. It was enough to drive someone crazy.
They were lucky, though, that everyone liked each other. Gabrielle had insisted on the fact that there wouldn't be any fighting, physical or verbal, in her house. It seemed all perfect, except for Xena's feelings and the competition between Beth and Eve. Strangely, the two girls didn't get along at all. First, Eve seemed to like Nathaniel, and everything went wrong between them since. Xena sighed again deeply and she felt a hand on her shoulder.
"Ares, what do you want?"
"Are you alright? I could feel your worry from my room."
"How can I be alright? My whole world is upside down once again because of you!"
"Don't be mad at me, Xena. I understand how you feel, but remember that we didn't plan anything. We fell deeply in love, that's all. And no one is suffering by my fault. I'm a new man!"
"I guess you're right! I just have to get used to it. It's hard but I'll deal with it. Hey! You know me! With reflections, I think it's a good thing. You probably belong together, somehow..."
"It's nice of you to say that, Xena!"
"The only thing I'll never get used to, is this look alike Gabrielle (Beth) calling you Daddy! Hey, when are they going to get married? Nathaniel and your daughter, I mean."
"I don't know. Actually, I don't think this young man has the nerve to ask for her hand. She could have had a prince, a king, someone important..."
"But Beth is in love with Nathaniel and you'll have to accept that fact."
"I know, I know. Gabrielle is always saying this. What do you want? I want the best for her. She deserves the best."
"Don't you think the best for her is to be with the one she loves? Anyway, she doesn't need your permission. She is more powerful than you, my dear Ares."
"Oh! Shut it up, would you? You don't need to remind me, ok?"
The two of them laughed as Gabrielle went outside looking for Xena. She saw them together, laughing like old friends. She should have been happy to see that they finally got along but she felt jealous. She nodded her head. She trusted Xena and Ares - and they both loved her. She put a smile on her face and went to them to talk.
They'd been looking for their old friends for a long time, but finally concluded that they were all dead. Aphrodite was still looking for them. It was easier for her, and she took Beth with her, to teach her how to control her powers. Aphrodite's lessons had been good on Beth, she was a true goddess now.
The two goddesses would be back in time for the ceremony. They were expecting Virgil anytime; Lila and Xena's mother were already there. And Xena was secretly hoping that Hercules would not look too old. Cupid was going to celebrate the wedding.
Xena and Gabrielle decided to go prepare the last details on Gabrielle's dress. Eve joined them. Aphrodite appeared with Beth. Both were smiling.
"Hey, sweety! Guess who we found? Your friend the thief!"
"Autolycus? You mean he is alive?"
"An old man, but alive. He is talking outside with Daddy and Hercules. I can't wait to meet Hercules. He is my uncle, right?"
"Yup, Beth. You will have everyone who's alive of your family with you for the wedding."
"Alright everyone! My dress is all ready. The ceremony will be perfect. Let's go see our friends because soon I will not be allowed to see them."
They all agreed and went outside to meet the group. There was Ares, Hercules, Autolycus, Virgil, Lila and Xena's mother. They were all happy to see each other again.
"Autolycus, I'm so happy you could make it. My wedding wouldn't have been the same without you..."
"I really believed the rumors when they said you and Xena were dead. I can't believe you're here and about to marry Ares?" Gabrielle hugged him and he finally noticed Beth. "Gabrielle! You didn't tell me you had a daughter. She looks just like you. I'm pleased to meet you, young lady."
"Well, she's more Ares' daughter than mine, but I'm about to become her mother. Right Betty?"
"Hercules! I'm so happy to see you. I see that time hasn't been too cruel to you, my friend."
"Gabrielle! It's good to see you too. Introduce me to my niece, I'd really like to know her. Xena? Is that pretty girl Eve?"
"Yup, that's my daughter."
"You must be really proud of her."
"Don't worry, I am."
Gabrielle noticed that Virgil and Nathaniel were talking together not far from the group. "Virgil! How have I missed you!" She took them by the hands and said, "You two must come with me. You have to meet everyone. There are a lot of friends of your fathers here. They will be glad to meet you. Nathaniel, you will meet Hercules."
Hercules was pretty touched when he saw Nathaniel and Virgil. He had no idea Joxer was dead. Autolycus was glad too. Cyrene invited everyone to take a refreshment inside the house. Ares took Gabrielle by the arm just before she reached the door.
"Wait a minute! Soon I won't be allowed to see you. Can't I have a few minutes alone with you?"
"All the time you want, my love. I'm all yours."
They kissed tenderly for a few moments. Ares noticed Virgil standing there looking at them. He decided to go inside to let them talk.
"Virgil! Come here and give me a hug. What's wrong with you?"
"It's kinda strange to see you with Ares. All my life I've heard my dad saying he hasn't been special enough for you. I wonder what he would have said of this. But if you're happy, he would have been too. I just hope Ares knows how lucky he is to have you, Gabrielle."
"I think he does. That's nice to say that, Virgil. I wish things could have been different between your dad and me or...between you and me.... Let's go join the others, ok? Or soon I'll be crying."
Inside the house, everyone was chatting. It was strange to see Ares getting along with them. The loss of his godhood had been a good thing after all. Gabrielle looked at her friends, one after all. She loved them so much. She was glad they were all here for this special day.
Soon the girls had to go upstairs in Gabrielle's room to get prepared. Gabrielle's wedding dress was magnificent. Aphrodite had helped with it and provided a pretty dress for Beth too. Once Gabrielle was dressed everyone wanted to hug her.
"Ok, I'd like to say a few words before we go in the garden. Each of you is special to me and I love you all. Xena, you know you've been everything to me for these past years, I'll always love you. Aphrodite, you are a great friend, you've help me often, and you are about to become my sister. Lila, I know you are my real sister and I love you so much. Eve, I consider you like my daughter and I'll continue to love you like this even when I'll be a mother too. And Beth, you're like a part of me. You really are my daughter..."
Gabrielle's eyes were filled with tears so she stopped before starting to cry.
"The time has come, Gabrielle. Let's go."
Everyone was sitting in the garden. It was beautiful. There was flowers everywhere. Ares was standing beside Cupid, looking nervous. Gabrielle slowly walked down the aisle to go to Ares. The couple had decide to make their own vows.
"Gabrielle, you changed my life and made me a new man. For that I will be forever thankful. You gave me a pure gift, you offered me your heart. So, with no hesitation, today I make you my wife and I promise to love and cherish you everyday of my life until death do us part."
"Ares, you gave up your immortality to save my life. You showed me that love can really change everything in someone and that you could find it in the strangest places. You gave me a daughter so far, and I will give you many more children. I promise my love for you will stay as strong as it is today for all my life."
"You're married now. You can kiss your wife, Ares, now!"
Everyone applauded as Ares kissed Gabrielle. They could all see their joy. Their eyes were sparkling. Who could have thought this man was the God of War?
They went for dinner. Virgil accidentally bumped into Beth. He met her eyes and stayed speechless. They were exactly like Gabrielle's. They kept staring at each other for a long time. Gabrielle smiled as she saw them. But she got a little worried too. Wasn't Beth in love with Nathaniel? Before she could get really worried, she noticed Eve and Nathaniel laughing together. Maybe Eve and Beth would be able to make peace after all. Xena noticed Eve and Beth too. She smiled at her friend. Gabrielle hoped that Joxer was seeing this from heaven. 'His son with my girl.' It was kind of ironic, but it made it all worthwhile.
Another couple caught Gabrielle's attention: Xena and Hercules. The chemistry between them was as strong as before. Gabrielle was happy, things were working out for her loved ones too.
"It will be time now, my little one."
"So soon? Alright, let's go."
It was time for the happy couple to leave their friends for their honeymoon. As usual, Gabrielle had a hard time saying Good-Bye to everyone. And she would miss her little house too.
"Behave yourself while your parents aren't home Betty!"
"Alright, Mom. I won't have any parties."
Beth was taking care of the house since Ares and Gabrielle would be gone. She had invited any guest to stay as long as they wanted. Her second was taking care of the tribe for her. They all waved at the couple while they were going away. Xena sighed and Hercules put his arm around her shoulders. She laid her head on his chest...
A month later, Gabrielle and Ares finally got back. They found only Lila in their house.
"What's goin on Lila? Where is everybody?"
"Beth had to go to her camp. Her help was needed for something. Autolycus only stayed a few days. Xena is somewhere outside with Hercules. And the young ones have gone for a walk. Did you two have a good time? I can see you've been keeping yourself busy, sis!"
"Is that so obvious?"
"No, not that much. Congratulations!"
"Gabrielle! You're back!"
Xena entered the house with her pack, followed by Hercules.
"Why do you have everything packed, Xena? Are you leaving?"
"Yes, come with me. I have a lot to tell you."
"Is Hercules coming with you, Xena?"
"Yes, he will travel with us."
"What about Eve?"
"She is coming too. And that's not all. Nathaniel will be traveling with us for a while."
"What? Nathaniel? What about Beth? Is she angry?"
"I don't think so. See, Beth and Nathaniel both decided that they weren't made for each other after all."
"And Eve has always liked him so they decided to be together. Let me guess, Virgil is still here right? My little Beth and him really appreciate each other and he will be staying not far from here."
"Yes, you can say it like that. Everything worked fine."
"My daughter with Joxer's son and your girl traveling with Hercules and Iolaus's son. Life is ironic, don't you think?"
"Yes, Gabrielle. But, gods, don't we love it?"
"You're right, Xena. You're right..."
(Thanks for reading it.... milou; 0p)