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GENERAL COPYRIGHT/DISCLAIMER: Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle, Argo and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers and copyright notices.

Subtext Warning: There is no subtext. As far as i know Xena and Gabrielle are just friends.

Violence Warning: There is very little violence in it.

I would like to give most of my thanks to XeniteSupreme.. Please realize that this is my second ever story and I would love to here from you the people who like it. This story is based on nothing but imangination hic who knows it might even be true. Thanks. Here is my e-mail:

Dreaming of Solstice Past

by Coolchristina

"Xena, why don’t we do something different?" Gabrielle asked.

"Like what?" Xena replied.

"How about instead of going to the tavern for winter solstice, we go to the festival? It’s going to be fun Xena!"

"So, where is this winter festival Gabrielle, and what is there to do there?" Xena asked, knowing that she was going to kind of regret what she had just said.

"Well, first of all there's a bards convention, and then you sing Solstice carols. Then you exchange gifts."

Xena nodded. "I’ll sing one song, but you'll have to wait for your present until later." The warrior smiled, then looked down and gave her friend a warm hug.

"What was that for?" Gabrielle asked, not that she was complaining. It was still rare that Xena expressed herself that way, phsyically, even after all of this time.

"What, I can’t give you a hug without you questioning it?" Xena shook her head. "Besides, I'm already thankful, that I have such a good friend with me on Winter Solstice." She smiled.

Gabrielle brushed slightly at that, but could only smile.

The two friends walked and talked for hours, each reminiscing about their memories of childhood Winter Solstices. Eventually, they reached the festival in Athens. It was one of the largest in all of Greece, with a wide variety of decorations, music, and food.

Gabrielle ran ahead so she wouldn’t miss a group of children singing some Solstice carols, while Xena stayed a distance behind, still thinking about a Winter Solstice in Amphipolis.

Before long, her concentration was broken Gabrielle came walking up and touched her arm. "Xena, I was just thinking. Do the gods have holidays? Like Ares, for example. Do you think he celebrates Solstic?"

"Somehow, I doubt it Gabrielle. But, it's an interesting thought."

"Ares is such a grinch!" The bard giggled.

Xena was about to respond, when she felt a strange tingling sensation in the back of her mind. It was as if she was hearing a voice that wasn't there at all. Ares' voice. "So, you miss your childhood?"

"Gabrielle, wait here. I'll be right back." She walked off into the trees outside the city, and waited for the familar stench she knew too well. Then, when nothing happened she raised her head. "Ares! Show yourself!" He did not appear. "I know you're here, I can smell you!"

Xena turned, her eyes narrowing, as the leather-clad God of War appeared nearby. "Calling me on Winter Solstice? I’m touched."

"Enough games, Ares. What did you mean by my missing my childhood?" She gave the arrogant Olympian a look that said 'don't try messing with my mind or else', and he frowned.

"Fine. But I'm not going to just give you all the answers, Xena. You will have to figure it out for yourself."

Xena gritted her teeth. "Gabrielle was right, Ares. You really are quite a grinch, aren't you?"

The God of War shook his head. "Now, thats not all true Xena. I’m not just a grinch on Winter Solstice!" He smiled. "Oh, by the way, I hope have a very young Winter Solstice."

Just as soon as he had appeared, he was gone.

Xena remained where she was for quite a long time. Eventually, she went back to the festival, and found Gabrielle doing her best to teach a group of young girls how to dance.

As she approached the bard, something came over her. She felt a rush that made her head spin, and when she came down again, her body language was that of a young woman--perhaps even a child.

"Hey Gabby, can we go open the presents? Can we, huh? Huh? Huh?."

Gabrielle's face fell. "Xena? What's the matter with you?" She watched as her friend began to skip in place, much to the delight of the other children around her. "Xena?" But the warrior did not respond, she just gestured to the other girls and they all got up to skip with her.

Gabrielle shook her head. "This doesn't make any sense. Something must've happened to her, but..." She paused, suddenly remembering back to the look on Xena's face just before she wandered off. Not to mention the subject they had been discussing. "Oh no. Ares! This was just the sort of thing the God of War would do to mess with Xena's mind!"

She looked around, and saw some people gathering around a small stage. "I have to do something to keep Xena busy, until I can figure out what's going on around here." She walked over to the warrior, and took her arm. "Xena, would you do something for me?"

Xena stuck out her tongue at the other girls, who returned the favor, and then nodded. "What, Gabby?"

Gabrielle ignored the use of her nickname, and shook her head. "Can you go over there..." She nodded toward the stage. "...and listen to the bards while I go take care of something.?"

Xena nodded. "Sure, Gabby. Whatever you say." She gave Gabrielle a big hug and then ran over to a seat by the stage.

Gabrielle bit her lip. "Oh, Xena. What am I going to do?" She frowned."I guess I'm just going to have to find Ares, and try to get him to change you back."

Athens was a large city, and there were temples to almost all of the gods located there. It did not take Gabrielle long to find one dedicated to Ares, and she stormed inside.

"Ares! I know you can hear me! I need to talk to you!"

"Why?" His voice filled the room before the god himself ever appeared, his body sprawled across an ornate throne. "What could you possibly have to say to me, little bard?"

Gabrielle crossed her arms. "You know very well why I'm here. What did you do to Xena, Ares?"

Ares shrugged his shoulders. "Nothing much. I just gave her what she said she wanted at the time. Poor little bard, you don’t understand, do you? Xena wanted to be a child again, back when her life was safe and boring. I gave it to her, to show her how wrong she was."

Gabrielle frowned. "How long will she be like this?"

"Depends. If I let it run it's course, fourteen hours or so. Otherwise, I could keep it going indefinitely." Chuckling, he strode over to the nearest full length mirror--Ares' collection rivaled that of Aphrodite'--and stroked his beard and moustache, admiring himself.

Something within Gabrielle just snapped at that moment. She charged at the seemingly oblivious god, and swung her staff. At the last moment, Ares turned and easily caught the weapon.

"Now, now, you should know better than to attack me. Especially here." The God of War smirked. "Besides, isn't there someone you should be watching over about now? Someone who can't really defend herself?" He laughed, the sound of his voice carrying even after he disappeared.

"Gods! Xena!" The bard raced back to the festivael, looking for her young- at-heart, and now mind, friend. She found Xena surrounded by a group of mean, dirty-looking thugs. The Warrior Princess was cowering in a corner, which was enough to make the men laugh all the harder. "No!"

Gabrielle rushed into the middle of the men, and batted several of them in the head with her staff. Finally, they got the message and took off, leaving her to breath a sigh of relief.

Xena stood up and stomped her feet. "Gabby, I had those guys just where I wanted them."

Gabrielle nodded. "I know, but I though you could use a little help. Don't be too upset, okay?"

She was trying to think of some way to help Xena, to get rid of the spell faster than Ares said. Something occured to her, and she put her hand on the child-like warrior's shoulder.

"Hey, Xena. Want to go for a walk? There's a temple near here I'd love you to see."

Xena nodded. "Okay."

Gabrielle led Xena to the temple of Artemis, matron goddess of the Amazon Nation. She left the warrior-child to admire one of the statues, while she performed a ceremony to invoke the Goddess of the Hunt. When Artemis finally did appear before her, she sighed.

"Oh, great Artemis, can you please help my friend Xena? She's under one of Ares' spells, and I'm afraid for her."

The golden-clad goddess shook her head. "I’m sorry. You may be my favorite Amazon Queen, but there are rules even I must follow. I can not undo what has been done by another god, even my brother. But you might want to ask Ares. If you try this..."

Gabrielle listened to the goddesses advice, then thanked her and led Xena to the God of War's temple.

"Ares!" she said as they walked inside. "We're here! You want Xena to stay like this? Fine! You'll have to deal with her too!" She knew Ares could hear her, he was just choosing not to appear.

Gabrielle whispered something to Xena, who giggled, then turned and walked out of the temple.

Xena walked over to a rack of swords, and tried to grab one. But, she only succeeded in bringing the whole thing down with a crash. "Whoops!" She looked around, afraid she was going to get in trouble, but since there wasn't anyone there she smiled.

Leaving the pile of weapons alone for the time being, she went to look at a tapestry on the far wall. It depicted a great battle between the God of War and some of the legendary Titans. But that part of the temple was darker than the rest, and the warrior-child frowned.

"I can't see! I need light!" Xena found a torchstand nearby, and pushed it closer to the tapestry so she could read. She pushed too hard though, and the stand fell over, setting the tapestry on fire.

"Ooops! Gabby's gonna be mad!" Xena turned to run, until to run face-first into a tall, muscular, leather-clad figure.

Ares looked furious. "You little brat!" He waved his hand, putting out the fire, but the tapestry was already ruined. "By the Styx! Do you have any idea how long I've had that thing?!"

Xena began to cry. "I'm sorry, mister! I didn't mean it!"

The God of War shook his head. "This is pathetic. I can't stand to see the Warrior Princess like this!"

"Why not, Ares?" Gabrielle stepped out from behind a statue, with a smile on her face. "I thought you liked her this way."

Ares frowned. "All right, you've made your point." He snapped his fingers, and Xena's entire body shuddered.

Gabrielle saw the change in her friend. "That's it?"

"What, you expected a big show?" Shaking his head, Ares disappeared.

Xena put a hand to her head. "Gabrielle? What happened?"

Gabrielle put a hand around her friend's waist, and shook her head. "It's a long story, Xena."

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