Disclaimers: Universal/Renaissance owns the Xenaverse, created by Rob Tapert.

No profit is being made from this writing. It is written for the enjoyment of those who wish to share it.

 Summary - Hades invites Xena to the Underworld for one last drink.

Author's note:  An alternate ending to "Looking Death in the Eye."

Rating PG - Drama






Celesta, safely back amongst the Gods, could not help but smile as her brother fussed over her like a mother hen. When he expressed anger at Xena, Celesta assured him, the warrior hadn't intended to harm her.

The Lord of the Underworld decided to meet with Xena one last time before the inevitable war between the Warrior Princess and the Gods.

Hades stood by his table and flicked his fingers. Next instant, a bewildered Xena appeared before him, though her disorientation did not last long before she ripped out her sword.

Hades calm expression did not change. "Relax, Xena. I haven't called you here for a fight."

"Called? Kidnapped more like. Is this about Celesta? I never intended to kill-"

Hades glared at her. "If you had, Xena, you, Eve and Gabrielle would all be burning in Tartarus."

"Is that a threat?"

"No. It's a fact." Hades continued after a pause. "The coming days will be difficult on all of us..."

"If you've 'called' me here to negotiate a surrender, Hades, you can-"

The Lord of the Underworld smiled and shook his head. "I can't expect you to surrender your baby, Xena, any more than you can expect me to surrender my wife and sister."

"So then, Hades, enlighten me. Why am I here?"

The God paced before he spoke. "I don't revel in what I must do, Xena. It gives me no pleasure to-"

"Oh...spare me, Hades."

Hades' features darkened momentarily. "You are one of few, whom I considered a friend, Xena, but you and I both know, in light of the recent circumstances, it's not possible for that friendship to continue ... And things will get worse. This is only the beginning."

Hades raised his hand. Xena backed off a little.

The Lord of the Dead and the Warrior Princess appeared in a meadow, above the Earth. In his hand, Hades held an elegant engraved pewter chalice.

"One last drink."

Xena looked sceptical.

"It's not poisoned. You have my word."

The Warrior Princess eyed the God and gave a nod. "At least I can still trust that."

She took the cup from him.

"A toast to the friendship we once had ... It won't be long before we have to become enemies again, Xena ... Just for a few moments, forget your troubles..."

Xena raised the cup to her mouth, a split second later, threw the water over him.

"Nice try, Hades."

The God looked angry for a moment, then disorientated as he collapsed to the grass, then looked up, his vision blurred at first.

"Where ... what ... I ... uhh ..." Hades looked rather bewildered.

"Didn't know the waters of Lethe effected Gods ..." Xena muttered.

Looking at Hades, the blank expression in his big blue eyes, he wasn't faking. "Who ... who are you?"

She helped him up. "Xena."

Hades stared at her. "The Warrior Princess?"

Xena sighed. "That's me. Sorry if I scare you."

Hades dusted himself off. "This may seem rather silly ... But I haven't a clue-"

"Who you are or where you are?"

Hades nodded. "How did you know?"

"You had a nasty bump to the head ..."

Hades took a breath as it sank in. "Will ... will I get my memory back?"

"In time."

"Do you know my name?"

The question threw Xena for a moment. Hades looked so innocent and vulnerable, though the Warrior Princess knew that would only last so long.

"Your name's Had... Haden and ... I'm here to ... help you."

Hades looked at himself as they started to walk. "These robes... This crown ... Am ... am I a king?"

Xena stifled a smile. "No ... you stole those."

"Who from? A king?" Hades looked concerned. "He could have me beheaded!..."

"No," Xena said simply. "You stole them from Hades."

Hades stopped and stared at her. "Please tell me you're joking."

Xena held back a smile. "No, I'm mot."

"*Hades* ... Lord of the *Dead!* ..." Hades pointed down to the Earth and breathed deeply. "Ohh my Gods ... **Ohh my Gods!!...** He's gonna send me to Tartarus!!..."

'Haden' steadied himself on a tree.

Xena struggled to hold back another smile. It was good to see Hades fret, she decided, but despite her momentary pleasure, she placed her hand on 'Haden's' shoulder.

"Relax ... Hades is one of the more understanding and friendlier Gods ..." //Most of the time...//

"Ya, like he's really gonna *understand* I pinched his clothes. What in the name of fornication was I *thinking?!*"

Xena calmed him again. "You come from a poor family, Haden. You have wife and three children. You stole the robe to keep them warm."

"And *this?*" He took off the crown. "I hardly need this to keep warm! Yeah, Hades is *really* gonna understand this..."

"You stole the crown to sell for-"

"So Hades is gonna understand I nicked his crown to pawn?"

"You were going to sell it to buy food for your family. Trust me, Hades understands and if he did get antsy, I'd talk to him. I know him personally."

"Thank you, Xena ... But just out of interest, how in the name of Zeus did I pilfer Hades' clothes?"

"He ... he was skinny dipping ... I've ... I've seen him a few times... Quite a bod for the Lord of the Dead."

'Haden' smiled and shook his head. "Can't believe I did it... I'll apologize to him if-"

"That won't be necessary ... He laughed and went back home... And told me to look after you. C'mon, we've got to get you back to your family."

"Do you know their names?"

"If I tell you, it won't mean anything," Xena said.

"It might trigger my memories."

"When I told you your name was Haden, did you remember it?"

Hades shook his head. "No ... Everything's still blank."

"Exactly ... So I think it's best that you try to remember them yourself."

Hades nodded. "I'll try."

Xena walked with 'Haden' to where Gabrielle had been hiding with Eve.

The Bard came out to greet her friend, her expression changing when she saw who Xena was with.

"Don't worry, Gabrielle. He's a friend." Xena turned to Hades. "She's a little wary of strangers."

Gabrielle looked puzzled, but judging be her friend's expression, she knew all was well, though there was something awfully strange about Hades, which she surmised Xena would tell her in private.

* * *

"He's lost his *memory?*"

"He tried to get me to drink water from the river of forgetfulness."

"Figures ... So what do we do with him?"

"Find somewhere to ditch him ... We need a village. I told him he's got a wife and three children. He's trying to remember them."

"Why don't you just make something up?"

"If I keep lying, one slip will arouse his suspicions and that's the last thing I need ... Pretend you don't know anything. You've never met him, while I help him get his 'memory' back."

* * *

The four sat by a fire that night, eating rabbit stew. Xena held Eve, gently rocking her.

"She's beautiful..." Hades looked at the baby, and gently touched her face.

Xena bashed him away. "Get away from her!"

Instantly she wished she hadn't, seeing Hades' bewildered, hurt expression.

"I ... I'm sorry, Haden ... So many people have tried to harm my baby ..."

Hades looked shocked. "Who ... who would harm a baby?"

His words were so innocent, Xena wanted to cry.

"Those who are against her," Gabrielle explained. "Warlords Xena once fought beside..."

"And there are those that have not forgiven me for my past deeds ... Sorry I hit you."

'Haden' rubbed his face. "I'll live."

Eve looked at Hades and smiled, the amnesiac God smiling back.

The child reached out and took one of his fingers.

"Her hands are so tiny ..."

Xena smiled as she allowed 'Haden' to hold her baby, confident his memory showed no signs of returning any time soon.

Gently Hades, held Eve. At first Gabrielle had been surprised that Xena would let him, though she trusted her friend's judgement.

* * *

'Haden' had been travelling with Xena and Gabrielle for three days now, dressed in a common white shirt and dark brown pants, and no crown, he felt more comfortable this way, he said, much to the two women's amusement and he had surprised them how helpful and personable a God could be.

"I haven't had a chance to really thank you, Xena. Without you I wouldn't even know I had a family."

Xena smiled. "And I'll take you to them. Your village is about half a day's ride from here."

"If there's anything I can ever do for you..."

//You *already* owe me...//

Xena smiled. "Don't mention it."

The four rode on in the horse drawn carriage, before stopping to rest a while.

'Haden' sat on the grass, Eve crawled over to him.

Gabrielle smiled. "She seems very taken by him..." She said quietly.

"She does ... " Xena said. "I wonder if he has this effect on all children..."

Gabrielle lead her friend away. "He's not going to be an amnesiac forever, Xena."

"I know ..."

"You can kill him, you know."

"I know ... But I can't, Gabrielle, look at him."

The Bard looked over to Hades gently holding Eve, playing with her.

Xena smiled. "He's fine with her for now."

In the distance, Eve was play biting Hades' fingers, the God smiling at her.

"When he gets his powers back, he'd just as soon be shoving a fireball in her mouth."

"I know," Xena said, "and I'll know when he gets his powers back."


"Gods have this aura of supremacy and omnipotence around them, like Ares did when his powers returned. Now, let's go find something to eat."

Hades looked up and watched them go, then turned back to Eve, still holding her, and spoke quietly.

"I really don't want to do this ..."

Eve looked up at him, her big blue eyes innocent, Hades could barely bring himself to look at her.

"But if I don't, my family will die ..."

Eve made baby noises, Hades closed his eyes.

"Am I right to kill you to save them?"

Eve curled her tiny hand around his finger. Hades looked at her, sadly.

"I promise I will not hurt you. You'll be safe in the Elysian Fields with your brother. No harm will ever come to you again. Didn't know you had a brother, did you? ..." Hades hated how hollow his words sounded as he gently placed his hand over Eve's chest. A tear splashed onto her baby face.

"I'm so sorry ..."

Hades hesitated, then gasped.

"Holy Mother of Zeus!" he exclaimed, Eve startled by his sudden jerk. "Incidentally, she's my mother too, beautiful woman."

He flicked his fingers, his helmet appearing in his hand. He gently placed it on Eve's head, and smiled as it covered the baby's entire face as she seemingly disappeared from view.

"Don't go anywhere. I'll be right back. No harm will come to you, I promise."

With that promise, Hades vanished.

The Warrior Princess placed a second dead rabbit down as Gabrielle went to look for some firewood.

Xena's head snapped up as he heard a loud crack, and her eyes widened as she saw a huge tree tethering on the edge and begin to fall. To her horror, she saw Gabrielle fall and twist her ankle and knew she could not get to her friend in time or divert the humungous tree. The Bard screamed, Xena stood, horrified and helpless.

Seemingly out of nowhere, a fireball collided with the tree, disintegrating it. Slowly Xena turned, blood draining from her face as she saw Hades, standing, his regal clothes immaculate. Part of her hoped against all hope that 'Haden' had just realised he was a God, but not who ... though Hades' expression dashed that hope.

"Where's Eve..." Xena tried to still her shaking body. "*Where's Eve?!*"

"Eve is safe," Hades started to say.

"Where?! IN THE ELYSIAN FIELDS, WITH SOLAN?!!" In a rage, Xena ripped out her sword and screamed as she rushed Hades, who swerved, his own sword clashing with hers as he backed off, back to the encampment.

Every time he tried to talk, Xena thrust her sword, not giving him the opportunity. Hades became frustrated and angry.

Near the carriage the cart now, Hades and Xena fought.

Through her rage and heartache, Xena thought she heard something ... Something that sounded like a baby ... Eve ... Again she thrust her sword against Hades'. The Lord of the Dead backed off a little. Xena heard it again.

Hades swirled and thrust his sword, an inch to the left would have killed her and Xena knew Hades had missed on purpose. The Lord of the Dead grabbed her, forcefully turning her toward the encampment.

"I told you, Eve was safe."

At first she saw nothing, although she heard her baby. There was no mistaking that 'Eve' noise. She saw a rustle, and Hades' helmet fell off the baby.


Forgetting the world, Xena rushed to her baby, realising Hades could have easily run her through the back.

Grateful he didn't, she picked up her child, and looked at him. "How long have you-"

"For about a day and a half now."

A cold shiver traversed Xena's body. "You could've..."

"Ridiculously easily, Xena."

Gabrielle, her ankle healed by Hades, came to them and looked relieved to see Eve safe in her mother's arms, though a tad confused.

A pause followed.

"Thank you," Gabrielle said to Hades.

"Don't mention it."

Another pause.

"What changed, Hades?" Xena asked.

"Xena, I never wanted to hurt you or your baby and I found another way ..."

"What do you mean?"

Hades looked t her. "I want to make a deal with you."

"A deal."

"You initiated the Twilight by giving Birth to Eve. So you have the have the power kill the Gods. You also have the power to protect them." A blue and gold snake like medallion appeared in Hades' hand.

"It's the Auryrn ... No God can touch it unless they are wearing the knitted mittens of Gaia. And I have the only pair of those." He wiggled his fingers in the dark green gloves. "No God's or Goddess' powers or their Priests' will effect you or those you love as long as your wear it. It's yours if you swear to protect Persephone, Celesta and myself from the Twilight."

"Knitted mittens of Gaia? What sort of fool do you take me for, Hades?"

The Lord of the Dead smiled. "Hey, who says the Earth Mother can't have a sense of humour?"

He tossed the medallion to Xena. "Don't believe me?"

Hades instantly hurled green firebolts at Xena and Gabrielle. The two stood unharmed, though felt by the force of the blasts they were far from stun fireballs.

Xena looked impressed. "Sorry I doubted you."

"I've never lied to you before, Xena, and despite the current situation, I'm not about to start now. I don't revel in betraying the others, but it's the only way I can save the ones I love and you can't blame me for that, can you?"

"No, Hades, I can't."

"So, do we have a deal?"

A silence followed.

"As easily as I gave it to you, Xena, I can take it back."

Hades reached out, the medallion flying into his hand.

"Yes, Hades, we have a deal."

The God tossed the medallion back to her.

"And, Xena, this remains between us."

The Warrior Princess nodded.

Hades felt a burden had been lifted, only to be replaced by another and to and hoped the other Gods never discovered what he had done, though his love for wife and sister outweighed his doubts.

"Thank you, Hades."

"Thank *you*, Xena."

The Warrior Princess looked a tad puzzled.

"I was helpless when I lost my memory and you could have easily killed me, but you didn't."

Xena gave a smile. "Looks like things worked out for all of us."

Hades nodded. "Just one more thing, Xena ... Have you really seen me skinny dipping?"

"Mm hmm."

The Lord of the Dead didn't know whether to feel flattered or embarrassed. A pause before he spoke again.

"If you ever want that drink, Xena, just ask."

Hades smiled, and in a bright rainbow flash, vanished back to his Realm leaving the Warrior Princess and Bard with a new found respect for the Sovereign of the Underworld.



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