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The Great Wall
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess belong to MCA/Renaissance. I belong to myself, I think. Do I?
Violence/Language: Humanoids and nonhumanoids get smooshed, kicked, obliterated, and insulted in this story. (Insults can be kind of violent, you know.) There is a lot of foul language in this story. Someone has a potty mouth! (Not me! Never!)
Subtext: Yeah, sure, I'll have some of that!! Just put it on my tab, ok?
Hettext: Yes. Don't worry, it shocked me, too. If the idea of Xena and Ares together grosses you out, bring your barf bag to your computer, and spare your keyboard the humiliation of being spewed on.
Insensitive Jerk Disclaimer: I am one.
Drugs/Alcohol: There is a lot of drug use in this story; also, a lot of alcohol consumption. [clink] Cheers!
Insults Hurt/Insults Comfort: This pretty much overrides the hurt/comfort category.
Spoilers: Too many to count. If you haven't seen all of season two, three and four, and don't want to be spoiled, skip this.
Timeline: After "Revelations" on Hercules and before "The Ides of March" on Xena. (There are still slight spoilers for that episode on this though.)
|Part 1 2|
Xena dropped her bucket none-to-gently to the ground. The clang that came with it was more than satisfying. She stared at the pile of square rocks in front of her. How did he get such square rocks? Were these pre-cut?
Nebula was assigned to work with her. Neither woman was very happy with the arrangement, and both walked around their assigned work area huffing and puffing with pride. A lot of Xena's huffing and puffing had to do more with anger than with pride. She still wasn't over the mud ball incident.
Xena continually slapped guacamole on the rocks, and ignored Nebula. It was getting on the pirate's nerves. She may be the warrior princess, but she doesn't scare me. Nebula thought, smacking her guacamole with equal force onto a rock.
Xena looked at Nebula with anger when she stepped into her "personal space."
"You're in my personal space." Xena said quietly.
"What?" Nebula asked, totally lost.
Xena drew imaginary lines around herself. "In order to have a happy Xena, we must have a Xena with a lot of personal space. Do not cross the imaginary lines."
"Have you been hitting the mead again?"
Xena didn't answer, choosing instead to continue coating her rock in silence. When Nebula's attention went back to her work, Xena dipped her hands into her guacamole pail. Holding a nice glob of the pasty substance, she created a nice, smooth ball from it and threw it at the back of Nebula's head. She watched with a satisfied smirk as the pirate fell backwards to the ground. Dragging Nebula under a shady tree, she left her there, glad to have had her revenge, even if no one else saw it. No one hits me with a mud ball and gets away with it.
Hercules set a new pail of the pasty, yet edible stuff on the ground next to Xena's first pail. Glancing at Nebula, who looked to be sleeping contently under a tree, he asked, "What's with her?"
"Oh she's indisposed at the moment. She should wake up in about a half an hour."
He looked Xena in the eye and glared at her. "Please tell me you didn't."
Trying her best to maintain her innocent look she asked, "Didn't what?"
"You didn't knock her out with the wall building paste, did you?"
"No, she's just really tired. She was up all night with Iolaus, you know."
"Yeah, we all know."
"She's just taking a breather." Xena assured him again.
"Good. I'll be back in a little while. I'm still expecting more helpers."
Xena grabbed him by the throat. "Who? Who else did you invite?"
Peeling her hands off of his throat, he answered, "You'll see."
With those words Hercules continued on his journey through the littered rocks, replenishing much needed supplies of pasty guacamole.
Cyrene waved the wagon driver off. Friggen three dinar tip, it shouldn't have been such a bumpy ride. She walked to the front of the castle, and stared at a guard.
"Where's Hercules?" she asked.
Lexus, one of the guards of King Iphicles' castle, shrugged. "Building a wall, south of here. Got a bunch of people with him. Rocks everywhere."
"No problem." he watched as the woman began walking south. He turned to look at his fellow guard, and friend, Mercedes. "That was the most work I had to do all day. I should get paid extra for that."
Mercedes laughed. "No kidding! The other day I had to get King Iphicles a cup of wine. I mean, what was that about? Do I get paid to be a servant? No!"
"What do we get paid for?"
Cyrene stumbled down the hill, stopping once or twice along the way to make sure her dress was tattered enough on its sleeves. Tatters are so in right now. I wish Xena would wear normal dresses so she could tatter the sleeves like the rest of us normal people.
She spotted Hercules right away from his description in her message. Tall, good looking, future candidate for my daughter's marriage. Yes, that has to be him. She winked at him when she got into winking range. "Hi, I'm Xena's mother, Cyrene."
He hugged her briefly, making her blush. "Hi Cyrene. Xena's over there." he said pointing at the warrior woman, who was too busy giving her "look" to an inanimate rock, to notice anyone staring at her. "And this is my mother, Alcmene." Hercules introduced the two women to one another.
Cyrene looked at Alcmene. What a low-life, no tatters on her dress sleeves! Where was she born, Potedia? Cyrene noticed Alcmene had a helmet on her head, and was giving out orders like there was no tomorrow.
Looking up from her itinerary that she had scrawled out on an old piece of chamber pot papyrus, Alcmene studied the woman standing across from her. "And who is this?" she asked her son. Who is this....low-life who looks like she was born in the bowels of Potedia?
"This is Xena's mother, Cyrene." Hercules said.
"Ooh, you mean the skank over there ogling the rock and doing nothing. You actually spewed that thing out of you?"
Cyrene dug into her purse and whipped out her trusty ax. Waving it around Hercules and pointing it at Alcmene ,she asked, "Yeah, I did spew that thing out of me. You got a problem with it?"
The holier than thou look that Alcmene had been sporting vanished in an instant. "No, no problems here. I meant that darling young lady."
Cyrene pointed the ax at Alcmene one final time before she put it back in her purse. "Good. I hate problems. They're so much work. You have to chop them up, find some place to hide them, and lie about them for years on end." she laughed insanely. "And who wants to spend that much time on a problem? No one!"
Xena looked up as she heard a familiar psychotic laugh. Oh shit! Mom's here! She wiped her hands on her pants, adjusted her chainmail, and prepared to meet her maker.
Cyrene looked her daughter up and down, noticing everything about her. Her pasty white pallor, the dark circles under her eyes, and the bruises on her ears. "Who did this?" No one answered her. "Who did this to my daughter? Who abused my baby by pinching her ears?! Only I do that!" she engulfed Xena in a bear hug so tight, she nearly suffocated her. "How are you, little one?"
"Mother, what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be at home running the inn?" Xena asked.
"Toris is there, dear. I trust him to screw up completely. I just couldn't resist the chance to meet so many famous people. I feel like I'm in Athenswood."
"Hercules sent you a scroll to come and help him?"
"Yes, dear. He's a cutie." Cyrene pulled Xena's ear close to her mouth. "I would've done him too, hon." she whispered.
Xena blushed. "Mother."
"No, don't be embarrassed. I heard it from a bard. I don't remember which one, but still. Where's Gabrielle?"
"I don't know."
Iphicles walked by Xena and smacked her on the ass. "What's up, Xe?"
Xena blushed again, something she wasn't used to doing. "King Iphicles, meet my mom, Cyrene."
Cyrene grabbed Iphicles by the ear. "Don't you touch my daughter inappropriately ever again until you put a wedding bracelet on her wrist, do you hear me, mister?"
"Yes!" Iphicles squealed, not expecting the attack from someone else's mother.
"Yes, Cyrene. I understand!"
Alcmene, seeing what was happening to her son, rushed over to grab Xena's ear in a vice like grip.
"Don't put your ass in my son's hand ever again, do you hear me?!" Alcmene screeched.
Cyrene stared at Alcmene, while still having a firm grasp on Iphicles' ear. She pinched harder. "I don't care if you're a King, you don't go around smacking people hello on the ass!"
"Yes ma'am." Iphicles said pathetically.
The two mothers glared at each other with anger. At the same moment they let go of the ears they were holding and went for each other's ears. Hercules thankfully butted into the fight, and held each women's hand in his own. Lightly he kissed Cyrene's. Then he kissed Alcmene's.
"Ladies, please. No need for violence on a day like today."
Xena, held her injured ear in her hand, trying not to cry. Iphicles looked to be in the same state as she was. Nebula was still blissfully passed out under the tree. No need for violence indeed.
"I'm sorry." Alcmene said sweetly to Cyrene.
"No, I am. I shouldn't have grabbed your son's ear."
"Yes, I shouldn't have grabbed your daughter's ear either. Want to go sit in the shade, and watch the children work with me?"
"Sure, that sounds great." Cyrene said. She hugged Xena briefly and pinched her cheek.
Walking toward the shade with Alcmene she gave Xena some motherly advice, "Keep your nose clean and your ass untouched!"
Gabrielle sat in the shade, hands up, fingers pinching thin air, doing what she was best at--nothing. She had been sitting there for two hours, doing nothing. She was so into doing nothing that she never noticed when Eli sat down across from her. For forty-five minutes they sat across from each other, doing absolutely nothing.
Gabrielle cracked an eye open, wondering if anyone had noticed she wasn't doing any work on the wall yet. She yelped when she noticed Eli.
"Shit! What are you doing here? When did you get here?"
Eli opened his eyes and smiled. "I've been here for forty-five minutes. How come you didn't notice?"
"I was doing nothing."
Eli wasn't surprised. "That's fantastic!" he said enthusiastically. "I've been doing nothing since I got here."
"We're very good at doing nothing." Gab said, scratching her head.
"I don't know, do you think we should help them build that wall?"
"Walls are bad for everyone Eli. Surely you know this? Walls keep things in, and keep other things out. Totally bad for our karma, not to mention the grass the wall will kill when it covers it."
"I know, it's just, they all seem to think it's a good idea. That's why Hercules messaged me."
"He messaged you?" Gabrielle asked, handing Eli a fresh loaf of henbane laced nutbread.
Taking the loaf from her hand, he nodded his head. "Yes."
"I didn't even know he knew you."
"I didn't either, but apparently he does!"
"You want to go into the forest and hug a tree?"
Eli thought about it for a moment, before answering, "Fine, but only if we're back here in time for lunch. I hate missing lunch."
Eli and Gabrielle clasped hands and skipped into the forest.
Iphicles decided if he had to work on the wall, he would work with Xena. He dragged Nebula to a tree twenty feet away, next to Iolaus' work station, and left her there. He walked back to Xena. The woman was sweating profusely. It was so sexy!
"Want me to take off that chainmail for you?" he asked her. "I know it must be incredibly heavy on such a scorcher of a day."
"Yeah, that would be great."
Iphicles' fingers tugged at the leather tie that held her chainmail to her body. He gently unraveled it, and pulled the chainmail off of her lithe form. Oh gods, mother's looking at me, she's going to kill me. Must not touch wanton strumpet! Iphicles held the chain mail to him a moment, before hanging it off of a branch.
"Do you give massages?"
"What? You want a massage?"
"Xena, I can't. Both our mothers are watching and I don't know about you, but my ears are fucking killing me!"
Xena nodded her head sadly. "Yes, mine are too. You're right. Maybe some other time then."
"Count on it!"
Hercules handed a rock to Iolaus. It was ten times bigger then the hunter's body weight, but the man somehow managed to place it on top of another rock.
"I tell you, Iolaus. It's been nice meeting up with everyone again. But something's just not right."
"What do you mean?"
"I don't know."
"Where's Morrigan?" Iolaus asked suddenly, wondering where the woman went.
"I'm not sure. I'll try to find her. Hopefully I'll find her before lunch."
Iolaus watched Hercules run to the castle. Godsdamn, anything to get out of building the wall, huh?
The guards were no use to Hercules. They didn't feel like talking, and merely shrugged their shoulders and said, "What?" whenever questioned. He finally found Morrigan sitting in the tub by herself.
"Can I join you?" he asked, his attitude always on PLAYER.
"Nah, I don't think so. I'm kind of basy teakin a bath."
"Aren't you going to help me build the wall?"
"You're a demi-god, ya 'ave the strength of tan martals. Can't ya build a fraygan wall on your own?"
"Oh, I get it, this is about us going separate ways, isn't it? I said no to your marriage proposal and now you're the spurned lover, who takes a bath while everyone else gets slow baked in the sun?"
"That's th' most ya 'ave ever said ta me in our entire rela...." it took Morrigan a few seconds before she could finish the word, "...tionship."
"So, can I take a bath with you?" he asked, always hopeful.
She glared at him. "No."
Hercules gave up. "Fine. I'm going back to the wall."
True to his word, he went back to his mother's beloved wall. He hated the wall. Hated it like he hated Hera, only more. Hera at least was bearable, but the wall was a force in its own right. A force which dominated his visits to his mother's house. How many walls had the woman knowingly knocked down, just to get him to come home again? How many times would he stand half-naked in the sun, sweat pouring down him, as he smacked some more pasty stuff on the rocks? Never again. He vowed. Never again will I make another wall. This will be the most durable wall ever. It won't break, it won't be knocked down with mortal force. It will be the great wall. Indestructible. He glared at the rock littered yard. At least, it damn well better be or I won't be coming home for Solstice.
Iolaus was now passed out next to Nebula, who had thrown an apple at his head. She didn't know she had been moved and thought she was hitting Xena. She was curled up with Curly under the shade of the tree, and was now sleeping peacefully.
Gabrielle and Eli were nowhere to be found. (Not that anyone was looking.)
Xena, Jason and Iphicles, Hercules realized, were in a tree taking tokes off of an opium pipe. Figures that their side of the wall has the most done on it. It was their safe place.
Cyrene and Alcmene were sipping on some lemonade, and discussing Corinthian fashion. Alcmene noticed some of her helper's weren't there or were off doing other things, she was just having too much of a good time with Cyrene to bother yelling at anyone. Pinching their ears was always an option for later.
Hercules stood at the base of the tree Xena, Iphicles and Jason were in. "Guys, can I come up?"
"No." Jason said, throwing what was either an acorn, or a dried out present from a squirrel, at him.
"Hercules," Iphicles took a toke, inhaling the mind altering substance, "you are much too good of a person to sit in a tree with three of your closest friend's and do drugs."
"But I want to!" Hercules whined.
"Get lost!" Jason said. Having already taken his toke, he handed the pipe back to Xena.
"That's some good stuff, warrior princess."
Xena yawned. "I know."
Eli clutched a fistful of Gabrielle's red-gold-dorito colored hair. He lifted her eye-lid with a finger to see if she was just faking it. She had taken hugging a tree to a new level. Eli was the only witness to Gabrielle's rampage of revenge against a poor, innocent poplar tree.
Not heeding his cries, Gabrielle had taken a rock to the bark of the tree, and began to beat on it. "NO!" he had cried, "Don't do it, Gabrielle! Violence is not the way!" She heard his plea, yet continued to beat on the tree anyway.
"It's a compulsion." she exclaimed, as she rammed the rock against the tree, "I can't help it! I must hurt this tree for even existing!"
Eli paused for a moment, as the words sunk in. "Isn't that what you hang around Xena for?"
With those words the bard had dropped the rock, "Eli, you're right. What have I been doing to these trees all this time?" But it had been too late. A small bird had fallen out of the tree, dead. It fell dramatically, landing on the forest floor with a small thud, making a bunch of dead leaves lift up into the air and then fall back to the ground beside it.
Gabrielle covered her mouth in shock, then fell to the ground to lay in the exact position the bird was laying in.
Her eyes were closed now, Eli noted, but she hadn't fainted.
The bird's wing shook violently.
"Gabrielle." Eli said softly. "Gabrielle, you didn't kill the bird. It's not dead. You can stop pretending to care now."
She opened an eye. "What? What do you mean it's not dead? I hit that tree hard!"
"And the tree is thoroughly hurt, I assure you. But the bird...well, it's not dead."
Gabrielle sat up and looked at the bird. It wasn't dead. It's moving. What the Hades is its problem? It dawned on her why it wasn't dead a moment later. "Eli," she tugged on his sleeve for emphasis, "Eli, that bird...it's stoned!"
"Yes, and you know what else? It has a way, too! It's the way of the bird. Its mission in life is to be peaceful and loving to all the other birds."
"How did it get stoned?" Eli asked.
"It must've delved into our nutbread crumbs."
"As weird as that sounds, it makes sense!"
The bird tried to fly, but was unsuccessful. Damn humans and their damn drugged bread. the bird thought to itself. Makes me wish I hadn't been so damn lazy. I could've hunted down a nice, plump worm, but oh no!! I just had to go and eat that delightfully tasty treat. I should've known something was wrong with them when they kept hugging that damn tree.
"Bowl head." Eli said.
"What?" Gab asked, looking up.
"I said, bowl head. I was calling you that, I'm sorry. I shouldn't be like that."
"Why would you call me that?"
"Okay, if I tell you something do you promise not to tell any other devi's?" Gab asked him in a whisper.
"Xena cut my hair with her chakram, and then she stuck a bowl on my head and cut the rest off. I tried to fight her, but she's so strong."
"Gabrielle, you really should tell the truth."
"What? Hey, you try telling everyone that you stuck your head in a bee hive trying to get another lick of honey!"
Eli snickered, then made himself levitate in the air. "That's what you get for being gluttonous."
"Hey, I was hungry for something sweet. I just wish it hadn't gone all in my hair. I got stung a lot, too."
"That's what...." Eli trailed off as he fell into a light slumber in the air. Gabrielle threw a rock at him, nailing him on the chest and waking him up. He continued "...for beating up trees. Hug, Gabrielle. Hug the tree, don't attack it. Also, you realize sticking your head in a lived in bee hive is pretty friggen stupid."
Gabrielle chose to ignore that remark. "I'm still kind of pissed you won't teach me how to levitate."
Jason slurped loudly from his wine gourd.
"Aren't you supposed to sip wine politely, and not slurp?" Iphicles asked.
"I'm an alcoholic, Iphicles. We have no shame." Jason told the King. "And stop talking to me like that, if it wasn't for me, and for Hercules refusing to be, you wouldn't be King!"
Iphicles snarled. "I hate when you tell me that story. Stop!"
Jason laughed. "I can't help it, Iphicles. You got dealt a crappy hand in the poker game of life. You may be a King, but you've got a younger brother who's the son of Zeus, and a mother who needs to be committed."
"You married her." Iphicles retorted.
"Not by choice." Jason slurred. "Oh wait, I guess it was by choice. This tree branch is looking pretty damn attractive to me at the moment."
"That's my arm." Xena said. She tried to yank her arm from his touch, but she just didn't have the energy.
"Oops. It's attractive."
"Stop touching it, you lush."
"You're both one to talk." Iphicles butted in. "If last night was anything to judge by, we're all alcoholic junkies!"
"Speak for yourself!" Xena shouted. She looked away from both men, guilty, as she gulped from the wine gourd.
Cyrene stood at the base of the tree. "You all should come down here now, and get cracking on that wall."
"But mom!!!" Xena whined, "We're comfortable up here! It's nice and shady!"
"You're drunk!" Cyrene almost couldn't believe it.
"Just a little." Xena belched.
Iphicles stared at her passionately. "I find belching so attractive in a woman. Want to go to the theater with me this weekend?"
"Maybe." Xena answered him, considering it.
"Come down out of that tree now!" Alcmene hollered from her seat across the yard.
"Ugh. Now we're really not coming down." Jason said, covering his ears. "All this yelling is getting on our nerves!"
"That's it." Cyrene said, her hand delving into her purse. "I really didn't want to resort to this, but if I must, I must." Brandishing her ax, she began chopping at the tree.
"Mom! We'll come down, don't kill the tree on our account! I wouldn't want you to have another episode." Xena said, while expertly flipping from the tree to land on the ground beside her mother. Jason and Iphicles began to climb down the tree.
"I thought we agreed," Cyrene narrowed her eyes, "that we would never discuss those episodes again. I was just a little stressed, Xena."
"Yeah, I got stressed a few times in my life, too." Xena said plucking a leaf out of her hair. "I call those times my warlord years."
Sensual Shelly stood in front of Alcmene, waiting for the woman to say something.
"I said," she giggled, "I'm here to help build the wall."
Alcmene continued to stare at her. "How did you know my son was building a wall?"
"Um," she giggled again, "He was at the strip-tavern yesterday, and he um, told me to come and help him. I said okay."
"A strip-tavern? My Hercules wouldn't be at a strip-tavern."
"He was last night." Shelly said, twirling her hair.
"But he was saving a village last night." Alcmene was desperately trying to avoid the fact that her son had lied to her. "He couldn't have possibly been there."
"He was. He gave me a ten dinar tip when I swallowed a kielbasa."
Alcmene pinched Shelly's ear. It was just out of moral obligation, really. "Don't use that kind of language young lady. And find another line of work. Now get the hell out of my yard."
"No butts, get out!" Alcmene said, "Before I get Cyrene over here with her ax."
Shelly spared a glance at the woman that had to be Cyrene, because she was attempting to chop down a tree. "Okay, I'll leave...sheesh! I didn't like him that much."
Jason waved to Shelly as she left the yard. "See you around Shelly!"
She risked a wave to him. "See ya, Jason!"
"Jason, there's a giant rock over there that has your name on it. Go and pick it up please." Alcmene said in a pleasant tone of voice.
"I'll do that, hon." Jason said, not bothering to argue. Though he stumbled a bit on the way to the rock, he regained his balance in time to pass out on it.
Xena chortled, then abruptly looked anywhere that wasn't in Alcmene's line of vision. She didn't need any more abuse of any kind whatsoever.
Iolaus woke-up in time to see what was going on. He started building the wall again. "What do you even need this wall for?" he dared to ask Alcmene.
"For all the thugs, raiders and deviant people that are always trying to get into my house."
"Alcmene, I haven't seen anyone around here today except for us."
"I never said it was a daily thing."
As the words came tumbling out of Alcmene's mouth, a band of thugs came running into the yard. Some of them had to jump over the rocks that littered the yard, but none of them were winded yet. The thugs weren't in the same class as the guards or soldiers that manned Iphicles' castle; these were real thugs with a capital T.
Everyone began fighting at once.
Eli and Gabrielle strolled into the yard from the forest. Seeing a fight in progress they both immediately sat down and began to do nothing. No need to dirty their hands when they were on the way of love.
Xena punched out a thug who had tried to sneak up behind her.
"Oh yeah, Xena. Hit him like that!" Ares yelled as he materialized into the space that used to be air, beside her.
Xena spared him a glance as she threw a dagger at another thug, nailing him in the shoulder.
"Oooh, that was perfect." the God of War crooned. He loved watched Xena fight, it invigorated him in ways that he never thought he could be. Mmnn, I love the way she kicks. So much force...mnn, that's right Xena, crack his head! Grab your sword, grab a reed and make a slurpee out of that guy!
"Violence is bad!" Eli yelped as a thug flew above his head, and landed in a pile of horse manure. "That smell is bad."
Hercules threw another thug in the opposite direction of his mother. "Stay." He kicked another. "Out." Another flew by Gabrielle's head. "Of. My. Mom's. Yard."
When the fight was over there were three unconscious men laying on slabs of rock, one of them being Jason, the other two were just thugs.
"Xena, I'm here for lunch." Ares said smiling devilishly.
"Ares, Ares, why does that name sound familiar?" Cyrene wondered, pacing back and forth while swinging her ax in circles around her.
"I might've made your daughter crazy a few years ago."
"Oh yeah. Just wondering. You're not her father are you?" Cyrene asked, squinting up at the God of War. "I don't think you look like her or anything, it's just...those kind of situations are so hard to remember. Do you even know who your father was, Xena?"
"I think it was this blond guy I met while trying to be a dancer in Thebes. Yeah, his name was Opius, he snorted pure Olympian blow while drinking a barrel of mead. It was amazing. I've never met anyone with such tolerance. Besides you, honey." Cyrene said, patting Xena on the shoulder with affection.
Ares glowered, he hated being ignored. "Xena, I chose today to have our lunch for a reason." He snapped his fingers and a dog appeared in his arms. It was buff in color, with chocolate brown eyes; a long ear hung over each side of the dog's head. It licked Ares lightly on the face before looking at its surroundings. Whether it was really bored, or really excited, no one could tell.
Placing the dog in her arms, he kissed her on the cheek lightly and said, "Happy birthday."
That drew a blank stare from Cyrene. "It's her birthday? How come I didn't know that?"
Xena looked at the dog. She studied it. She did not want it! "Thanks but no thanks! I couldn't keep a kid, you think I want a dog?" Uh-oh. "You didn't hear that mom."
"You had a kid? I was a grandma and you never told me?!" Cyrene's face turned five different shades of color before staying on a nice shade of blue.
"He's dead. It's a long painful story, but you can pretend you didn't hear it from me, and ask Gabrielle about it later. I'm sure she'd love to tell you how it happened." Xena informed her. She ran her hand along the dog's coat, feeling how soft it felt. "I can't keep this dog." she told Ares.
"Sure you can. C'mon, let's go eat lunch." Ares held her hand, shot a new version of his glare at Hercules, and then together they disappeared.
Hercules threw an apple at where they had been standing. "It's Xena's birthday?" he asked Cyrene.
"Yeah, surprised the Tartarus out of me, too!"
"Lunch break!" Nebula exclaimed while running to the castle, Iolaus following behind her.
Alcmene sighed and gave into the inevitable. Lunch was bound to happen one way or another, and it wasn't as if any of them had even accomplished anything since morning. Xena, Jason and Iphicles had done the most on the wall so far. Their side of the wall was six rocks long and three rocks high. All of her other helpers assigned stations were lacking, and the work done on them inefficient. She would have to have a talk with them when they came back from lunch. Especially with Gabrielle, that Eli fellow, and Morrigan. She couldn't even find Morrigan, and Eli and Gabrielle were just sitting there, like they had been all morning. Lousy good for nothing freaks are doing nothing. Except for that Morrigan girl, she's probably killing one of the servants and stuffing them in the feed bin the pigs eat out of. I wouldn't put anything past that strange girl.
Xena took in the sights around her. As romantic as a potato sack, the God of War had set up a birthday picnic on the same cliff she had almost thrown herself off of two years ago. As soon as she had defeated him, she knew that she wasn't his daughter. Not because it would have been majorly gross considering their relationship, but because she had Aphrodite, Artemis and Zeus himself perform a paternity test to make sure he wasn't.
Not the father. Not the father. Eeew, like that would've been totally gnarly. I'm like, totally glad that my bro Are, isn't like, your dad.
She sat down on the blanket that he had spread out on the ground, and set the dog down beside her. "So, what's with the dog?"
"Her name is Torrence. I just call her Tory."
"Okay, so you named her after The Battle of Torrence. My battle. Why? And why did you give her to me?"
"The Battle of Torrence was one of your most awesome battles. Even you have to admit that."
Xena nodded her head in agreement. It had been a day full of violence and killing; she had gone back to camp with gore in her hair, something she always hated. The Battle of Torrence was something she would rather forget, but it was a reminder of just how good she had been as a military leader. (Even if she had been just a warrior, and not a General.)
"So, why the dog?"
"As I was saying," he said as he poured her a cup of wine, "Tory is a dog that Zeus bought for me. He got her while he was in Britannia. Apparently she's a Britannic Cockerspaniel." He handed her the cup of wine, watching with anticipation as she brought the cup to her lips.
"Did you poison this? You're not pulling a Gabrielle-Hope thing on me, are you?"
She sniffed at the wine. Not smelling anything foul she took a sip, surprised at how good it tasted.
"Anyway, Zeus bought her for me. He told me that I had to learn responsibility, and needed to learn to love something. He also told me that I had to give her away after we had bonded, so that I could feel the pain mortals feel when they lose something." Angry now, Ares stared at the sky while waving a fist at Zeus' name. "I'VE LOST WARS! I KNOW WHAT LOSING FEELS LIKE!" He shot a ball of fire at a small, beautiful butterfly, obliterating it completely. After calming down a bit, he continued. "I want to share Tory with you. You're the only person I trust with her completely. Will you take her, Xena?"
Both Ares and Tory looked at her with puppy dog eyes. "I guess so."
Xena wondered what she should do now. "How old is Tory?"
Ares shrugged. "She's about a thousand."
"A thousand years old? This dog is a thousand years old?"
"She's an immortal, Xena. And I hated the little bugger at first. Look, she's almost white. Might I remind you all of my wardrobe, all of my carpeting and blankets, all of it...it's all black! Hair everywhere! It took me twenty years before I forgave her for peeing on my throne in the Halls of War. Thirty more before I forgave her for biting a hole in a very indelicate part of my favorite leather pants!"
Xena tried to stifle a laugh, but found that she couldn't.
Ares smiled, a genuine smile at the sound of her laughter. He liked it. I wish I could listen to that all day. What am I talking about? When I'm not near her I'm watching her on my GodTV. I know she'll treat Tory well.
"What did you bring us for lunch? You are going to eat, aren't you? I know you're not mortal, but it won't kill you."
"I brought your favorite."
Xena opened the picnic basket, and saw that Ares had indeed brought her favorite. Mashed potato's and a nice steak. Mmnnn, I haven't seen something so mouth watering since the last time I looked at Ares. Stop reading my mind, Ares. Stop it. No, seriously, stop it. No birthday kiss later, if you keep it up.
"Thank you. This is really nice of you. Are you sick or something?"
"No, I just..." Ares was interrupted as a flash of light, and then an angry goddess appeared.
Discord stood on their blanket seating. "What do you think you're doing consorting with this two dinar ho?"
"Don't go there Discord." Xena warned.
Tory, who had been sprawled out on the blanket, out to the world just a moment before, sprang into action. Barking in a tone a lot deeper than what Xena had thought possible, the dog circled around Discord and bit at her leather boots.
"Oh yeah," Ares said, "I also trained Tory to bite Discord's clothes whenever she comes around to bother me."
"Stupid animal!" Discord said, disappearing.
Ares sighed. "Well, I should go." He leaned in to kiss her lightly. Xena surprised herself by allowing him to.
"Thank you. I mean that." she said.
"No hard feelings about Gab taking the plunge for you?"
"Not upset with that whole Hope thing?"
"It wasn't my kid you were boinking."
"Spend tonight with me?" he pleaded, hoping she'd just go with the flow of whatever chill pill she was on.
"I'll consider it."
"Good enough for me. See you around midnight!" He stood up, and pointed at her. "Enjoy the steak, and take good care of that dog." Wiping at what looked to be a tear in his eye, he growled out, "Damn flying dust particles!" before disappearing.
Xena ate her steak, and drank her wine; sharing both with her new immortal dog. At least you can't die. I don't have to worry about any of my enemies killing you and such.
Staring into Tory's eyes, Xena said, "Since you can't die, you must promise not to do what everyone else in my life does to me. So, come on, put your paw up."
To Xena's surprise the dog lifted a paw. Xena had to swear the dog in, with a speech she wished she had given Gabrielle when they first met. "I, Torrence, solemnly swear, that I will never betray Xena like she's been betrayed so many times before."
Xena blinked. "You won't right?"
Tory growled again.
"Oh, come on! Just promise!"
Tory barked and licked Xena's hand.
"That's a good girl, Tory. I'm really glad you made the decision to agree with me. I didn't want to make another trip to the Centaur village."
Finished now with her birthday lunch, she called out Ares' name, to hitch a ride back to Alcmene's. Stupid wall. Stupid, stupid, stupid wall. She wants a wall, she should make it herself.
Callisto was perched on a rock when Satan approached her. With goat-like features, he did nothing for her in the fear department. Tormenting thoughts and delusions of Xena were something she was used to living with; his new Xena tortures were old news to her. Boring!
With a brow highly arched, yet again reminding her of Xena, she snarled, "What do you want?"
Satan thought about looking offended at her tone of voice, and realized it would have no effect on Callisto. How many times have I made her have hallucinations of Xena locking lips with Gabrielle down here, making her insanely jealous, and yet it still has no effect?! I hate that I can't find a suitable torture. Maybe I should stick her in a cavern with those little Hansonius boys. That might do her in. Nah.
"I have a mission for you." he replied in his best, I-AM-THE-RULER-OF-HELL voice.
"What kind of mission?" she asked idly.
"Hercules and all of his little pals, including your beloved Xena, are building his mother a wall."
"And I want you to ruin it. I have waited long enough for my love, and I won't wait any longer."
"What?" Callisto asked, completely confused.
"You're in love with Hercules' mother?"
"I have been for years. Damn that Zeus for meeting her before me!" Satan huffed. "I offer you a chance of revenge against Xena, but you must succeed in getting Alcmene to agree to a date with me, or at the very least get her to do something that will send her to my realm."
"What's the catch?"
"You can't eat anything."
"Nothing? Not even a small slice of Roman pizza?"
"Nothing." Satan's eyes glowed bright red. "So, is it a deal? Are you going to go to Alcmene's house, and try to get me a date?"
"I'll try. We have a history though. It might be hard. Especially with that not eating anything."
"Especially Xena." Satan said, his glowing eyes looking anywhere but at Callisto.
Completely innocent. "Oh nothing."
"Yeah, I want out of here. Let me out."
He handed her a small card. "Go on, get out."
"Did you fart?" Callisto asked, sniffing the air.
"Well, I did eat some baked beans and a few kind souls for lunch. Excuse me."
Callisto waved at the air in front of her face. "You should turn that into one of your torture techniques, I'm sure it will work wonders."
Satan smiled; his goat-like features twisted into something even more grotesque. "Thanks for the tip!"
Callisto was instantly transported to Alcmene's yard. With a yawn, she trudged the few feet it would take her to reach Alcmene.
"Hi, Alcmene, you might not remember me, but--"
Alcmene interrupted her. "Aren't you the girl who poisoned us all with that xanthalian phenem crap?"
Callisto rolled her eyes. "Oh, come on! Was it not...like...only the best punch you have ever tasted?"
Alcmene clucked her tongue. "It wasn't bad. But it was on my Hercules' birthday. Not very nice of you."
"What about you? You bought him another pair of those leather pants. Get some fashion sense!"
"Oh, like that's an outfit."
Callisto ingnored the remark and set to work. "How are you doing in the romance department? Need a date?"
"No, I have Jason."
"Well I know a...um...thing, that really has the hots for you. I just know he'd love to date you."
"No, Jason is good enough for me."
"Okay, well in that case you wouldn't want to like, go on a tour with me massacre a few thousand people, would you?"
"Tempting as it is, I must supervise the building of my enormous wall here."
"Oh, come on. How about just killing Xena? Don't you want to do that?"
"Even more tempting, but I'm afraid I can't. Xena's a very good wall builder." Alcmene snorted, hating to have to compliment Xena in any way.
"Yes, Hercules told me she built a lot of walls with him, if you know what I mean." Callisto whispered in Alcmene's ear.
"I knew she was a harlot."
Cyrene happened to see that Callisto was there. Advancing toward her, she said, "You're that little Cirrian chick that tried to burn me alive!"
"Your daughter killed my family first. I was just trying to return the favor." Callisto snarled.
Xena appeared out of thin air, standing on the highest rock there was on the wall; her new small dog sat obediently behind her.
Callisto clapped her hands together and giggled insanely. "Ooh Xena, is that what Gabrielle looks like now? Boy she hasn't changed much."
Gabrielle, previously doing nothing, opened her eyes at that remark. "Did you bleach your hair again, Callisto? You're looking a little frizzy." She shrugged her shoulders, grunting with the enormous effort it took. "Maybe it's just the humidity."
Xena snorted. "I thought you were in oblivion? Where did you go when I stabbed you?"
"I went to this place called Hell. It's just like Tartarus. I think they just copied it or something. It was so boring. Anyway, I got a 'Get out of Hell Free,' card, good for one use to get out of Hell. Kind of neat, huh?"
"So, you used your 'Get Out Of Hell' card to help Hercules build his wall?"
"Actually, I used it to do this..." Callisto moved near the wall. It started trembling, before breaking apart completely. Xena flipped off of it, to land safely on the ground; the small dog behind her did the same. The individual rocks began to levitate in the air, before flying straight at Callisto, landing on top of her. She pushed the rocks off of her with a small laugh. Brushing dust off of her leather top, she said, "See? Job well done! Every time you sheep attempt to build that wall I will stand near it and it will fall on top of me. Law of averages."
"Gods, she's ruining everything! That side of the wall had the most built on it! Now it's all gone!" Alcmene sobbed. She ran to Callisto's side and attempted to grab hold of an ear. Unfortunately, Callisto had some sort of shield up around her. I'll get that ear yet, if it's the last thing I do.
"Happy Birthday, Xena!" Callisto screeched, running at Xena with her sword.
"Hey! Come on! I just want to build the wall!" Xena said, drawing her sword deftly. "Thanks for remembering my birthday though. You're swell."
Callisto blew a kiss at Xena, before thrusting her sword down at her head.
Xena blocked the blow easily. "You're getting rusty and you smell positively putrid. Did you take a bath in rotting flesh? Or did you change your perfume to Le Stench of Death?"
"If I wasn't a raving psycho I'd almost resent that, Xena." Callisto replied, while kicking her in the stomach.
"Oof." Xena's eyes widened with fear as Callisto suddenly turned and thrust her sword downward into Tory, who had been biting at her boots.
"That'll do." Callisto said, placing her sword back in its sheath.
"Noo!" Xena yelled, falling to her feet near the dog.
Gabrielle sighed. This looks eerily familiar in a way. Didn't Perdicus die like that? Hey, I should look at Xena like I'm really guilty and could've done something. Serves her right.
To everyone's amazement (even Xena, who knew Tory was an immortal), the dog stood up, and continued to bite at Callisto's boots.
"An immortal dog, Xena?" Callisto arched a brow, then booked it toward Gabrielle, she drew her sword on the way, but didn't expect the puff of pure Olympian blow the bard blew in her face when she got there.
Callisto sobered up immediately; the blow having the opposite effect it normally had. Where it would make a normally sane person go nuts for a little while, it made the insane normal for a while.
Callisto sat down on the ground beside Eli and Gabrielle. Pulling at her hair with her fingers, she whined, "My life sucks!"
Gabrielle, always peaceful at heart, handed Callisto a chunk of nutbread. "Want to do nothing with me and Eli while everyone else builds that stupid wall?"
The psychotic blonde snatched the offered piece of bread and thew it back at Gabrielle. "I can't eat anything, and Xena....you suck!"
"I've heard that before." Xena said, smoothing down guacamole paste on the same rock she had that morning.
Hercules snickered. "It's written on Tavern walls from here to the Aegean. Why do you think I had her..." He cleared his throat. "I mean...um, mother, when's dinner?"
Xena put down her guacamole smoother, and tackled Hercules.
Alcmene and Cyrene got in the middle of their fight and started pinching some ears; it didn't worked. Xena still had Hercules in a head lock five minutes later, refusing to let him go until he apologized for speaking so poorly of her.
"Hold him in that headlock, hon! I'll go grab my ax!" Cyrene grabbed her purse off of Alcmene's patio set, and held out her ax. "Tell me when, Xena, and I'll chop anything off of him you want!"
Xena thought about what Hercules would miss the most. "Aim the ax between his legs, mother."
Hercules looked at Cyrene and tried to decipher if she would do it or not; he realized that Xena's mother meant business. "Okay, I'm sorry! Just don't cut it off!" he squealed.
Cyrene smiled, and pinched his cheek. "I wouldn't do that to you sweetie. If I was going to off you, I would've done it nice and swift. You don't kill a few people and not learn these things."
"All right everyone, the show is over. Get back to working on the wall. Especially you, Iolaus. Swab those rocks, cabin boy." Alcmene said.
Salmoneus' cart rumbled slightly as he pushed it up the path to the King's Castle. He knew he would get a lot of money off of this little mission of his. Xena, Gabrielle, Hercules and Iolaus, all in the same place. It was his money making wet dream!
He bypassed the guards, recognizing them for what the were--decoration. He didn't bother with knocking on the door; he went straight into the living room and set up camp. It was like his own little store in the middle of the King's house. It was great.
The exhausted group came through the door like Minotaurs: grumbling, dirty, angry, and tired. No one was in the mood for a sales session from Salmoneus, not after having built half of the wall. Something that was expected to take two to three weeks, and not a half a day.
Morrigan had already been talking to him for an hour. She was now the proud owner of a salt and pepper shaker set that came in the shape of Cupid's butt. Holding up a pork chop she had cooked herself, she shook some pepper over it. Looking at Xena she asked, "Do ya want me ta shake Cupad's ass for ya?"
"No thanks, I've seen it." Xena replied, clearly not impressed.
Salmoneus held up a dress. "Xena it's so you!"
Xena frowned. The dress was an ugly green color. "I don't think so. Ask Gabrielle, she likes ugly green things. It's why she married Perdicus."
"And that's why she likes Ares." Gabrielle piped up.
"I don't like Ares." Xena said, "I tolerate him. Like I do you."
"Ladies, please." Iphicles said, trying to break some of the ice he felt forming in the room.
"King Iphicles," Salmoneus put his arm around King Iphicles' shoulder, "How would you like to own, 'Some Great Kings Got Their Crown By The Hand Me Down' by some obscure author known as Kimberlian Krycekius?"
"No." Iphicles grumbled.
"What? You're featured in chapter seven!" the well dressed merchant exclaimed.
Iphicles drew his sword and jammed it not-so-softly, into Salmoneus' neck. "I said NO. Is that so hard to understand?"
Salmoneus had been held at sword point before. With all the professionalism he could muster, he said, "Absolutely. No. I've got you. You are not interested in the book." Clearing his throat, he added, "I completely understand and will not bug you any longer." When the sword point didn't move, he used his old tactics. "Uh...Xeee-nah."
"Iphicles let him go, huh? Let's go take a bath." Xena said.
"Oooh can I go?" Salmoneus asked, risking everything since the sword had not moved from his throat.
"No." Xena said.
Iphicles weighed his choices. Hmm, killing an annoying little salesman...a second bath with the warrior princess. Yeah, as if this is a decision!
"I'll get the drugs, you just show up."
"In that case," Jason said, stretching his arms, "I'll be joining you. I don't know about the rest of you, but my friggen back is killing me!"
"I'll take a bath." Gabrielle said, grabbing Eli by the hand. "Eli will, too."
"Me too. I stink." Callisto sniffed delicately at her armpits.
"I'll take one when all you weirdo's are done." Nebula said.
"Yeah, I'm just going to go take a dip in the river." Hercules informed them.
Iphicles finally removed his sword from Salmoneus' neck. "You're lucky little man, I chose today to be a lenient ruler."
Salmoneus touched his throat where the sword had rested; his hand came away with a droplet of blood. "Yeah, I'm lucky!"
Xena, Callisto, Jason, Iphicles, Gabrielle and Eli all left the living room for their bath, leaving Salmoneus with only a small consumer market. So not fair! He had spotted something that he was sure to make some money with though. They all had red ears; it could only mean one thing--there was an ear pincher in this household!
Salmoneus made eye-contact with Alcmene. "Did you ever feel as though you couldn't get a good enough grip on something? Like something made your grip slip, even though you just wanted to grip harder?" He had Nebula, Morrigan and Alcmene all in awe with the sound of his voice.
Yeah, Nebula thought. I never can get a good enough grip.
Sometimes whan I go pig chasin' th' wee lattle things squirm out of my hay-nds like I was made out of grayse. Morrigan thought.
Ears, those damn ears! I can never get a strong hold on 'em! Alcmene fumed.
"I'm offering this rare cave dust for only five dinars ladies, it's guaranteed to make your grip stronger on those sweaty days."
Salmoneus smiled. Oh yeah, I have them. Dinars, come to poppa.
The bath had gone a lot quicker than the last one. Xena, Iphicles and Jason got drunk rather quickly. (Though they had never sobered up from their first bout of Opium and Wine.)
Gabrielle and Eli, who both stated they wanted a bath, sat in the tub and did absolutely nothing. Yeah, that's a bath. Callisto thought. She had taken the time in the tub to scrub every inch of Hell smell off of her body and from her hair.
Xena was still sitting in the tub, pruning, as everyone else got out. "Where are you all going? This is Elysia!" Not realizing it, Xena yelled, "Where's Lao Ma when ya need her?"
That infuriated Gabrielle, who yelled, "I hate you. And I hate you even more because me hating you requires me to do something, and I hate having to do something!"
Callisto threw a towel at Xena and said, "She's a freak, how do you manage?"
Standing up and drying off Xena said, "Drugs. Lots of drugs." She laughed. "And she gives really great back massages, and well, she brings in a good amount of dinars when it rains."
"You suck." Callisto growled, knowing she couldn't possibly compete with that. Not to mention she still hated, or pretended to hate, Xena for her offing her family and all.
Callisto sat across from Alcmene, studying her short nails by the light of the moon. At least they aren't grungy anymore. Sitting at Alcmene's patio set and discussing the guy who had a crush on her, was not Callisto's idea of a good time. What could she do though? Satan rules all in Hell.
"Look, Alcmene, just give him a chance, I know you'll love him."
"I don't think so."
"You'll like him a little." Callisto reasoned.
"I doubt it."
"You'll like him or you'll die a horrible death!" Callisto screamed at the older woman.
"I will find a way to pinch your ears. Count on it." Alcmene replied, wiping at some nonexistent dirt on the table.
"Maybe he'll be good for you." Cyrene butted in. "And if not, you can always take an ax to him."
Callisto smiled, thrilled with how much she and Cyrene thought alike. "Now see, that's excellent advice! Why can't you be more open to chopping people up, like Cyrene is?"
"Because I'm okay in the head, unlike some people."
Cyrene tried not to be hurt by the comment. Not all people could understand her ax fetish, especially Atrius. Boy he learned the hard way just why I liked my ax.
"Okay. Let's try this another way." Callisto paused, thinking her next words through. "Say someone had stolen Iphicles away from you. Someone who was now his Queen. Wouldn't you want to do more then pinch her ears?"
"You mean like poison her? Kill her?"
"Yes, that's exactly what I mean."
"I don't think so. I'd just resort to ear pinching and Zeus' Olympian belt."
Callisto sighed in irritation. "Didn't you ever look at a burning village and think, 'Gods, I wish I'd caused that?'"
So engrossed in their conversation, the three women never noticed The Wall growing bigger in the moonlight.
"Is that big enough?" Ares whispered to Xena.
"No, much bigger. I have to say, at this size, this wall doesn't impress me much."
Ares made the wall bigger. "How about now?"
"It looks okay, but it's not really satisfying."
Ares made the wall even bigger, and surrounded it with metal plating. "How about now?"
"That's peeerrrrefect." Xena purred.
Callisto, still not aware of the monumental heights of The Wall, continued her discussion with Alcmene.
"Come on, you simply cannot convince me you have never looked at a peasant and wished them away!"
"I haven't. I swear by Zeus." The ground rumbled. "Okay, just that once, but Gods, is it too much of a crime to ask them to dress in something other than hemp or wool? I mean, they're disgusting!" Alcmene said bitterly. "Oh please miss, could you spare me a dinar or two for my starving children? No! Get a job!" she continued.
"Whoa." Cyrene said, watching the woman fume about peasants.
"Don't you want to wipe them all out of the city? Or maybe, just go on a date with a guy who looks a lot like a goat?" Callisto asked.
"Stop asking! I said no."
"I still say you could go for the ax technique." Cyrene said, taking a sip of her iced tea. "For the peasants or the date."
Callisto lit a small flame off of the end of her finger, illuminating the yard.
"My wall!" Alcmene yelled, "It's gotten bigger! It's perfect!"
The wall suddenly being done didn't surprise Callisto, nothing did.
A low, drawn out moan filled the air; it sounded like a moan of carnal pleasure. Someone was enjoying something a bit too much!
"You chicken-eating hussy, where are you?" Alcmene asked, jumping out of her chair.
"What are you talking about?" Cyrene questioned.
"You're daughter is around here somewhere eating some chicken with the God of War. I do not want to end up back in the servants closet!"
Another moan followed a few moments later. A manly moan.
Always naive, Alcmene said, "And the God of War is eating chicken, too!" She slapped her forehead in frustration.
Callisto lit her fingertip again, and moved her flame along The Wall. She giggled loudly. "Alcmene, Xena and the God of War are being naughty on your wall!"
Alcmene narrowed her eyes. "Impossible. Even she's not that much of a hussy."
"Look for yourself." Callisto said pointing her flame at the wall.
"Eew!! Eeew! You two indecent things come down from that wall! You two are so going to build this over when you're done! And the belt would be too good of a punishment! Just you wait..."
"Do you mind?!" Ares said, "This is not a public spectacle."
"Xena, how many times must I tell you not to put out until you get a wedding bracelet, a mansion and a six-horse-gold-plated-chariot?! You're never going to find a husband like that!"
Hercules groggily walked out into the yard. "What's all the fuss about? You all woke me up with your yelling!!" Noticing The Wall was built already, he nearly cried with relief, until of course, Callisto's finger spot light showed him something that didn't belong on The Wall.
"What are you two doing up there?!" Herc asked, already knowing the answer.
Another moan filled the air. "We're just talking." Ares said.
"Yeah, about war, politics and all that stuff." Xena said.
"You are sick, Xena! Sick! I'm...like...so sorry I reformed you!"
"Jealous!" Xena said.
Hercules frowned. She may be right, but damn it that's my mother's wall! Not wanting to see the display, he went back into the house. Not.Fair.Not.Fair.Not.Fair.
Cyrene began to mutter and swing her ax back in forth in bizarre patterns. Callisto and Alcmene decided to go into the house and continue their discussion; they dragged a very disturbed Cyrene with them.
Xena laughed. "Do you think they're mad?"
"Nah, they're just...who cares?!" Ares replied.
"That's what I like about you."
The morning sun was so bright it was blinding. Xena was not happy about waking up to that. No one likes bright and sunny, except Gabrielle. Hmph, Zeus must be on her side today. After Ares left last night she had sprawled out on Alcmene's patio chair and had fallen asleep.
Morrigan cautiously approached the patio set, and sat down beside Xena.
"Um, I was wonderin' if maybe ya wanted yer dog back." Morrigan said, placing Tory on the ground beside her.
"Listen, it's totally uncharacteristic of me to ask you a personal question, but I've felt odd the last few days. So, here I go...I've been having a really weird dream lately..."
"Small leprechaun wit' hair lake the sun that has a halo of yallow around eet? Sappho's pride flag, puke gran color, and a pot of gold??"
Xena felt her mouth drop. "How did you know?"
"I saw yer bard frand stoned last night with that fallow Eli. She was drassed in a gran top and a rast colored skart. They ware dancin' with the Sappho's prade flag. They ware in th' hallway! Dinars are all ov' th' floor!"
"I knew it had to be her!"
An hour later, everyone came outside to admire the finished wall. The wall that Ares and I baptized in a whole new way. There's no way that thing can be taken down.
Nebula whistled at the monstrous sight The Wall made. "It looks like a fortress! The King's Castle doesn't have this kind of defense!"
"No kidding!" Iphicles said, glaring at The Wall.
Iolaus snickered when he looked at Xena. "On a wall?"
Gabrielle threw a scroll she was holding at Iolaus. "Obviously you've never heard about Borias." The bard turned her attention to Xena. "And with Ares? What were you desperate?"
Xena chose to ignore her.
"This wall has to go!" Alcmene screamed.
Cyrene handed her trusty ax to Alcmene. "Go for it."
Alcmene walked to The Wall, and hit it with as much force as she could; the wall didn't budge.
Xena gathered Tory on her lap, and began to brush her out with Gabrielle's spare comb. Not that Gab will notice.
"This wall is going! It's done for! I hate it!" Alcmene ranted.
Callisto chose to make this opportunity to work for her. "Alcmene, what do you say? A date with the Big S?"
"Fine. I'm so out of here. Xena, I'll kiss or kill you later. See you around bardic wonder! Hercules, I'll make sure I try to poison your family at least once a year. Nebula, I don't know you, but I'll try to kill you soon. Iolaus, suck it up, and start swabbing. Eli, go do nothing. Cyrene, don't forget to ax someone in my name. Salmoneus, no, I don't want any of what you're selling. See ya." she turned toward Alcmene, and touched the wall lightly.
"Take cover!" Xena yelled, warning them all. They all huddled underneath the patio table, leaving poor Alcmene to wonder what all the fuss was about.
"You're coming with me, Alcmene!" Callisto screamed.
The Wall, indestructible, or so they all thought, began to tremble slightly. The metal plates started to bend and twist, before popping off of the wall completely and flying in all directions. Rocks that had been stacked with a God's power caved inward, and landed in a huge pile on top of Alcmene and Callisto.
When they thought enough time had passed, they crawled out from underneath the table one by one. Hercules immediately set into hero mode, and picked up rocks and threw them to the other side of the yard. By the time he had found his mother, she was dead. Callisto was nowhere to be found.
"She killed my mother!" he sniffled.
"Excuse me for saying this," Iphicles walked around the crumbled rocks, "but godsdamn I feel great!" He jumped up and down once or twice, before calming down enough to run to his castle.
Xena rubbed her mother's arm affectionately. "See mom, I told you Callisto liked you. That whole, 'She hates me, she wants to burn me alive' thing was so overrated."
"She was kind of nice." Cyrene agreed.
Xena walked to Hercules with Tory still in her arms. Giving his arm a squeeze, she said, "Them thar are the breaks, big guy. Catch you later. Sorry about the wall and your mother. I'm off for home."
"You mean it?!" Cyrene asked.
"Yeah, Gab, go home. I'll see you there in about a month. And for godssakes stop dancing in the middle of the night with the Sappho flag!"
Gabrielle blushed. "I'll get you warrior princess! And your little dog, too!" Grabbing Eli by the arm, together they set off for her home village.
"Nice meeting you, Nebula. From a former pirate to a damn good one!"
"Thanks." Nebula replied with a smile. Despite it all, she had enjoyed this little trip.
"Morrigan, if I'm ever in Eire...hide all the valuables and kill the peasants before I get there, because it'll probably be a business trip. I'm out of here." With those words, Xena went to retrieve her horse, with Cyrene following behind her, still gripping her ax with white-knuckled fingers.
Seeing that everyone had left him, Hercules shook a fist, and screamed up at the sky, "I'll get you Hera!"
A peacock feather flew gently in the breeze to land on the ground beside his feet. Lightning flew fast and furious to the ground around him. Two green eyes stared down from the Heavens to look down at him. "Can't blame this one on me." Hera said dramatically, before disappearing from the sky.
Hercules heard a beep; someone started to talk. "Hera is not available at this time. If you would like to leave her a message of worship or to tell her who you have killed in her honor, please leave a message. If you want her help for something evil say the special word. If you're Hercules, screw off, it wasn't her fault."
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