The Bride of Ceasar Chapter 2
by
Teris Xenite

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.

NOTE: All works remain the © copyright of the original author. These may not be republished without the author's consent.

Ares popped into the cell to find his beloved princess in a troubled, painful sleep. He had always wanted her to accept his help, but he had never wanted to see her this way. He hadnít wanted to see her broken or defeated. He lay a hand on her forehead and broadcast healing rays into her sleeping form. Her injuries began to heal and he smiled as the lines of pain and stress faded from her beautiful face.

He sat watching her sleep, and gathered his courage up. He moved over to her and cradled her head in his lap and stroked her hair. "Iím so sorry Xena, it was never supposed to be this way. I just wanted to love you."

Xenaís eyes slowly opened to look into Aresí face. For the first time in what seemed like an eternity there was no pain to greet her when she woke. When she found her back completely healed she knew that Ares was responsible. She saw him sitting there as she forced her eyes to focus in the darkness.

"Why Ares?" He knew that she meant Ďwhyí had he healed her, but he couldnít help fearing that one day she would look to him and ask why he had betrayed her in this way.
"Consider it a wedding present of sortsÖ."
"Wedding present???"
"Aphrodite is staging a wedding to stop your crucifixion."
"How is that going to help?"
"Well they can hardly execute you when youíre marring the imperial emperor, now can they?"

She swallowed resigning herself to her fate and biting back any pleas for other terms. Her eyes told another story though, and they seemed to scream to him Ďplease anything but thatí. Only the knowledge that it would be her life and his godhood should he not hold to his word kept him from granting her silent plea.

"Iím sorry my Princess, but this is the only way. Itís this or the cross."
"Well when you put it that way I donít really have much choice do I?"
"I promise you itís only a temporary solutionÖIíll find another way to spare you I swear it."

"I was prepared to accept any terms when I called you, this isnít any worse than what I expected." She looked over at Gabrielle and smiled ruefully. "You know, I could have dealt with being defeated, but I couldnít stand dying with the knowledge that I was taking her with me."

"What is it about her that makes you love her so much?"
"She is the only person to ever know me completely and still love me."

He looked at her in mute shock. Could it be that after all this time she still didnít know how he felt about her? But then how could she? Heíd never told her and had done very little to show her that he loved her. He opened his mouth to speak but she quickly silenced him.

"Donít say it Ares. I know you believe it, but just donít say it. I wonít let myself be hurt like that again. You may think that you love me, I even believed it was true for awhile, but now I know that you donít. You may love what I represent to you, or the person that you want me to be but you donít love me, not really. Deep down in your heart you know itís true, you donít love me, you never have loved me and you never will ."

"Youíd be suprised at how long never is Princess, and the things that can change in foreverÖ." He brought a hand up to caress her cheek and pressed his lips to her forehead. "Believe what you will about me Princess, but Iíve never lied to you. I do have feelings for you, and I never wanted things to be this way. That I swear to you."

He disappeared and left her to think about what heíd said in the erie silence. Could it be? Could Ares truly love her?