Disclaimer~ Yep, both of them are owned by MCA/Universal/Renaissance, but their souls dwell here in the realm of fanfic;}~~~Broken In Two by Silk
In all the dominions of the gods,
only Death allows no place for sweet hope.
The task has taken over a year and a dozen lives to complete. Stone and metal. Magic and hard toil. Now the work is finally finished and I stand in the center of Hephaestus' masterpiece. But I can feel no awe at the work he and his craftsmen have done. In fact, I feel nothing. Not that I don't want to, but I've suppressed it all, holding it back for this moment.
With a long drawn out sigh, I unlock the gate within me that has kept my emotions at bay these many months.
Rage. Grief. Anger. Sorrow.
All surge up in me and I am unable and unwilling, to control them now, for the time of reckoning has come.
Hot tears run down my face as I shake, my body trying, in vain, to withstand the torment of my soul. Throwing back my head, I scream his name. I call the one whom I hate above all others.
The howl is loud and comes from the deepest, darkest part of my wounded spirit. It is the sound of my soul crying. No animal should be made to suffer so. Any compassionate person would put it out of its misery. But I am human, if barely now, and besides, there is no one here to relieve my pain. I have sent them all away. This is between the war god and myself.
"Ares! God of War! Coward! Murderer! Come up from your stinking pit and face me, damn you!" I scream again, my voice quickly growing hoarse, sure that he will hear me wherever he is at the moment. Even Mt. Olympus isn't far enough for him to hide from my agony and rage.
I bare my teeth, in reflex, when a pale blue ball of light appears before me, rapidly expanding and forming into the dark, handsome, and smirking form of Ares. So damn sure of himself. I hate him and I know I can't help but show it.
"Ahh, I was wondering when you would finally break down and bellow for me." Ares' full lips smiled at me, full of mockery and amusement. "Feeling a little down are we?"
I can stand the pain no longer and I strike out, my fist connecting with his jaw. But the only one in pain is me and Ares' face just grows cold as he lifts his hand. A bright ball of light comes to life within it and I know he is not amused anymore. Ares has always had a bit of a temper. Poor baby.
Diving out of the way, I can feel the heat of the lightning gently caress my leg as it misses me and explodes against the wall. I take a quick look, pleased to see that it has only left a slight scorch mark, then I roll out of the way of another thrown bolt. I'm extremely thankful he doesn't have his father's power. Ares may be Zeus' son, but only the King of the Gods can throw a lightning bolt strong enough to flatten a mountain. Not that it matters. If Ares wants to kill me, he will. I just have to be quicker and smarter than him.
I dodge blast after blast of power until my breath is ragged and my body drenched with sweat. I cannot give up - not to him. I won't, damn it!
"Pathetic," Ares says, mocking me. Another ball of light hovers in his hand, waiting to be thrown. "You're getting old. You think you can defeat me? You can't even fight me anymore!"
The dark god makes to throw his lightning at me again and I leap out of the way, but I am too tired, or perhaps Ares is right and I am getting old. Either way, his bolt hits me dead on, sending me flying through the air to crash against the wall near the open door.
Blackness threatens to overwhelm me as I lie on the dirt floor, gasping for breath. I roll onto my knees, determined not to give up. Dark leather boots come into my view and a strong hand grabs my chin and pulls my face up. Ares looks down upon me and sneers in disgust at the pain that is evident in my face.
"So angry and yet you can't do anything about it." His white teeth flash in the torchlight as he grins at me evilly. "Shall I help you? Hmm? Shall I tell you how good it felt to have her blood flow thickly over my hand? How I shivered in ecstasy as the light died in her eyes?"
"Shut up!" Anger roils through me as I grab a fist full of dirt and throw it up into his face, driving him back several paces. I take the opportunity to stand up, my hand falling to my side and plucking the chakram from its place on my belt. With a smile I barely feel inside, I aim the weapon.
Ares looks at me through tearing eyes, but he shows no fear. I don't expect him to. I do not expect anything from him anymore.
"Please," he says with deep sarcasm, "just give up. It's all over. Your lover is dead. You can't hurt me. I'm a god."
My arm draws back and my fingers lightly hold the chakram in my hand. I pause for a moment and look into his eyes. He just doesn't understand. He never did. He is War and knows nothing of Love. "One thing I learned since I met her is, never give up. Never. She never let me give up, so how can I do it now?" I eye my target once more, then throw the chakram.
It flies from my hand almost with a life of its own, shrieking angrily. Made of rare metals caressed and shaped by a god's loving hands, life has surely been breathed into this beautiful weapon. It seems to know the task asked of it, as the bright ring flashes by Ares' cheek, leaving behind a thin red line.
Ares hisses in pain and wipes the blood off with his hand. "You missed."
The chakram hits the huge metal sculpture on the far wall and ricochets to hit another wall and come back to me. As it comes hurtling towards me, I consider letting it hit me for perhaps then the agony inside me will be gone. But I know my work isn't done here yet.
Almost absently, my hand comes up and grabs the chakram out of the air. My eyes meet Ares' and I let a slight smile come to my lips. It is almost done.
"I don't miss." My words seem to perplex Ares and he has nothing to say. Then a low rumbling noise breaks the momentary silence in the room and Ares' attention shifts and he looks past me. The light in the room is lessening as a thick slab of stone slowly descends behind me, shutting out the sun.
"What is the meaning of this?" he demands, looking at me again.
"What it means, is that your time is over. The world doesn't need you," I explain simply.
Ares' dark eyebrows lower in confusion. "You've gone insane. War will always be needed."
My shoulders lift slightly in a small shrug. "Perhaps," I answer, unsure which sentence I'm answering.
Gauging the time I have left before the door is fully shut, I gaze at Ares with an almost sad look. "You know...it's almost a shame really. You were so much a part of both of our lives. Why...why did you kill her?"
I wanted...no, needed an answer from him. Months ago, he'd torn my soul in two with a sword thrust to my lover's heart and I'd wondered ever since. Everything seems so senseless. War seems even more senseless to me now, but I still understand it. Rage feeds it. Hate makes it grow. Yet here I am, full of anger at the god who has taken away the one person who meant the whole world to me, who was the very breath of life within me.
I could if I wanted to. I have the small vial of Hind's blood that Callisto had long ago disappeared with into the vortex between worlds. It had taken me several months to track it down and find it while Hephaestus made this place. Perhaps Zeus and the others knew I had the vial, but they had not said a word about it. Instead, Hephaestus created Ares' tomb to my specifications. The gods owed my lover and me. After all, how many times had we saved them? Four? Five times?
But, no matter that I have the means to kill Ares, I knew I wouldn't do it. She wouldn't want me to.
A loud booming laugh escapes from Ares' lips and his dark eyes twinkle with delight. "Because I could," he answers.
"Good-bye, Ares." I give him a last look, strangely no longer feeling anything for this god who has ruined my life. I turn and dive at the last possible moment, sliding under the door, just a heartbeat before it slams down with finality.
Pushing myself onto my knees, I quiet my breathing, so I can listen. Ares should be realizing about now what I've done to him. My days will be filled with no one at my side, but at least I've made the world safer. There will still be wars, but the thirst for blood will be lessened without Ares' presence. The hunger to kill and hurt others will still be there, it always will, but with Ares trapped, it will be muted. It is all I can do.
As the silence settles around me, I believe I can hear the far off screams of Ares, barely heard from behind the thick, unyielding rock. I hear my name being cursed again and again as he futilely tries to escape his eternal prison. He has lost and I have won. But I don't feel triumphant.
"Bastard," I whisper, the last word in our fight. A stray tear falls from the corner of my eye as several long moments pass and I let the last of anger finally drift away from me. Once again I am empty, but this time there is nothing deep within me waiting to escape. No hatred. No anger. No rage. It's all gone...along with Ares.
I stand shakily and make my way up the stairs and into the light of another day's sunset. Out of the darkness, into the light. It feels so strange to me. Alien. It has never been the sun which has made my day bright. It has not been the sun that has warmed my skin on a cold day. It was always my other half.
Blinking back more tears, I hold the chakram in front of me, both of my hands now grasping it firmly. It takes hardly any strength to break it into two halves, just as Hephaestus promised. Now the deed is done and Ares sleeps, dreaming mortal dreams.
My arms fall to my side, one half of the chakram in each of my hands. Another day, on this new road I have been made to walk alone, has ended. No one will be there to meet me at the bottom of the hill to comfort me. No one to sleep next to me by the campfire and whisper her love to me. Only empty space will be my companion. A space that will never be filled until I join the other half of my soul in the Elysian Fields.
For surely, that is where Xena will be to meet me.
Two Halves of one whole
How do you mend a broken soul
Coldest nights are those spent alone
When a once warm heart is now hard stone
A circle perfect and complete
Unmarred by touch or white hot heat
Now damaged, now fractured in two parts
Just as shattered as your heart
You miss the touches and crave the sighs
Of a love so strong that the gods cry
Two halves of one whole
Who will mend your broken soul
"Broken In Two" by Silk 6/23/98
You could call this story a "prequel" to the episode "The Xena Scrolls" if you wish.
I actually came up with this idea several months ago, but never got around to it until this past weekend. It's very different than what I originally planned. At first, it was supposed to be about hundred pages long and centered on a completely different plot, but this hit me and I had to write this the way the Muse demanded me to. Anyway, I hope those of you out there that think I hate Gabrielle feel better;} hehe...she is the unlikely heroine in my story this time after all.
For those of you who have been asking..."Passage Into Darkness - Part 5" is being worked on. Give me a couple of weeks, I'm still on "vacation".
Have Katiepult. Will cast a boulder at Ares for a single dinar.
"Bard? Where? Go away before my icecream melts and I get really mad."
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