Disclaimers: Universal/Renaissance owns the Xenaverse. crated 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: Reluctantly, Xena picks up a new travelling companion who is dealing with his new found humanity.

Author’s Notes: Sequel to my "IMMORTAL LOVE" - Archangel Gabriel not to be confused with Gabrielle.

Saierra pronounced - Say-e-rra

Rating PG - Drama





He lay in bed, not wishing to rise, although eternally grateful he’d recovered from a rather horrendous ordeal.

He had no idea a stomach ache could be so excruciatingly painful...

And this day in particular he had no desire to leave the dim room in which stayed, when he heard who was travelling through the small town ... And he hope they left quickly so he could be sick in peace.

* * *

Xena and Gabrielle approached Lisya, the Bard grateful for a chance to rest for a little while and get some ‘real’ food and Xena grateful for a change of pace, though she said nothing.

"Welcome to our humble village, Xena. I am Lorya. You and your companion may stay as long as you wish."

Xena smiled. "Thank you, though we’ll not stay too long. Can you direct me to your blacksmith?"

"Certainly, turn left at the fruit stall, and he’s just around the corner. Is there anything else you require?"

"Thanks, just some water and supplies."

Lorya smiled. "Would you like me to-"

"You’re very kind, but I’ll manage."

And the Warrior Princess went to find the blacksmith, whilst Gabrielle stocked up on supplies.

Seeing the blacksmith’s apprehensive look when she drew her sword, Xena smiled. "Relax, I need it fixed. It’s a little ... wonky..."

The blacksmith relaxed and smiled back. "No need to be embarrassed, this ain’t the first wonky sword I’ve seen." He took the metal shard from her and examined it. "Don’t worry, she’ll be fine."

Xena smiled. "I thought I was the only one who understood her."

In his room, he heard her by the blacksmith, just across the way, and hoped to Hades she stayed there.

The smith began work on Xena’s sword, pouring a little molten metal into the hilt, then placed it into the cooling water, smoke evaporating as the water sizzled.

Gabrielle approached Xena, a large satchel full of supplies.

"A friend of yours is living here," the blacksmith said to Xena as he shook the sword gently in the water.

"A friend?" Xena said, intrigued, raising an eyebrow.

//Oh no ... *Oh no...*// He sank into his bed covers, hearing the voices through his open window which he closed.

"He lives over there," the blacksmith pointed.

//Ohh Gods no ... Why ... *Why ...*//

"What did he say his name was?" Xena asked, curious.


"I don’t know any ... Ohh *Haden*..." Xena smiled. "By the Gods, he’s living here now?... I haven’t seen him in years!"

The blacksmith smiled. "Hope you two can catch up."

"I think I will." Xena paid the blacksmith and retrieved her sword, sheathing it.

Gabrielle followed Xena as she approached the abode.

"Haden? You never told me you had a friend called Haden."

"I don’t."

"Well my next question was going to be how far you two go back... So who is he?"

"I haven’t the foggiest ... I didn’t want to alarm the blacksmith. These are simple people. Now let’s find this Haden..."

"Xena, he’s probably just some schmo, trying to impress people, pretending that he knows you."

He became a tad offended, but hoped it lead Xena off his trail.

"Well I’d be interested to meet this ‘schmo,’" Xena said, sensing something.

//Oh shite... Ohh fornication...//

Xena entered the house, and was greeted by the keeper.

"I’m here to see Haden," she said.

"Room four," she said, "though he’s ill and won’t be in the mood for visitors."

"Trust me, he’ll be very interested to see me."

"And, I might add, he’s a month behind in the rent!"

He couldn’t escape, so he lay in bed, facing away from the door, grateful it was locked, though somehow, he knew it wouldn’t be an obstacle for Xena.

First she knocked, introducing herself.

"Perhaps he’s not home," Gabrielle suggested, wondering why Xena seemed so obsessed with this ‘friend.’

He didn’t have to wait long for the door to come crashing down and pretended he was asleep. With any luck Xena might even think he was dead. Xena’s eyes instantly found the bed, at the end of the room, surrounded by mess. A half eaten apple stood on the table.

"Haden, it’s Xena! How’ve you been, ol’ buddy?"

He knew it would be no use to pretend. "Zee... Zeena ... Oh..." he coughed. "I look like shite." He coughed again. "Can yer come back tomorrow? Lemme get myself cleaned up, ol’ gal." He hoped the Warrior Princess didn’t recognise his voice, though he altered it considerably.

"I leave town this afternoon," she said, ripping the covers from him. Still she could not recognise her ‘friend’ whom coughed into his pillow.

"You really should see a herbalist."

"She gave me some stuff," he said. "Smells worse than the Aegean stables..."

Without warning, Xena placed her hand under his chin, forcefully turning him around and stared.

"Hades ..."

He stared up at her as she drew her sword.

"NO!" he exclaimed, sounding more frightened than he would have liked. Hades swallowed and held his hands in front of his face, his breathing rapid. "Please, Xena..."

Xena stared at him. "You’re ... you’re *mortal...*"

He nodded. Much to Hades’ relief, Xena sheathed her sword.

Gabrielle looked equally bewildered.

"You’re right, Hades," Xena said.

"About what?"

"You really do look like shit."

Hades glared at her, despite knowing how right she was.

"You’re coming with us," Xena said.

Hades knew he daren’t argue as he reluctantly stood. The threesome left the establishment. Xena threw the patron a sac of coins, paying Hades’ arrears and a little extra to clean the room and fix the door, as they exited the building.

Xena glared at him. "You owe me, Hades."

"What about that time I saved your village?" he shot back.


"When!? When you were in Callisto’s body."

"As I recall, you took some convincing."

"What did you expect? ... And if I hadn’t’ve granted you time above to sort things out, Callisto would have killed your mother and burned Amphipolis to the ground to avenge Cirra."

"Oh that ... " Xena smiled. "Okay, I give you that one Hades, but there’s also the time I rescued Celesta."

"And the time you kidnapped her."

"*And* the time I got your helmet back."

"*And* the time you tried to steal it ... and then destroyed it ..."

Xena glared at him menacingly.

"All right ... all right ..." Hades said, resigned. "So where to now? I can’t exactly go back home to the Underworld."

"You call that place home?"

Hades smiled. "You get used to it. Now," he demanded, "where are we going?"

"I could just as easily leave you here, Hades."

"Well why don’t you? I was doing fine until my ‘friend’ decided to come and visit."

"Fine, ah? Four weeks behind in the rent, you look terrible, barely enough food in the place to feed a mouse and you’ve been sick as dog."

Hades said nothing as he left with Xena and Gabrielle.

"If you want to know where we’re going, ‘Haden’, to Amphipolis to pick up Eve. My mother’s been looking after her."

Hades nodded, though said nothing. Xena glared into his eyes.

"If you're even thinking of harming one hair on her head, I swear I’ll *kill* you."

Hades didn’t have to be a Fate to know she meant it. "That wasn’t on my agenda, Xena."

"Just what is on your ‘agenda,’ Hades?"

"What do you think? I want my bloody powers back and I want to go home."

"If you’re going to sulk, I’ll let you off here."

"I’m not sulking," Hades protested.

Xena paused and regarded him again. "I’m warning you, Hades, if you’re planning anything-"

"I already told you, Xena," Hades said, annoyed, "I’m not. I don’t have anything against you or your baby. I fought to protect my family as you did. We both fought for the same thing on opposite sides."

Impressed with Hades’ insight, although Xena said nothing as she rode on.

* * *

Hades waited in the carriage while Xena retrieved Eve, and caught up with her mother. He had felt somewhat guilty about attacking a mother and her child, though it seemed at the time, that it was the only thing he could do to save those he loved.

* * *

That evening, Hades sat with Xena and Gabrielle, eating rabbit stew the Bard had made.

"Hungry, Hades?" Xena asked, as he finished his portion before she and Gabrielle had gotten halfway.

The ex-God smiled. "Ravenous, actually, I haven’t had a decent meal in months," he admitted. "And I never knew rabbit tasted so good."

"You’ve never eaten rabbit before?" Gabrielle asked, surprised.

"I see so much death everyday, I’d rather not cause more of it."

"You’re vegetarian?" Xena asked, incredulous.


"Learn something new every day. So is there anything else you’re not telling us, Hades?"

"That’s for you to find out, Xena," he said with a smile.

Xena came to Hades later that night.

"I’m sorry about Celesta," she said softly. "She was one of the few Gods I liked."

Hades smiled. "That’s nice to know, Xena, and I thank you for your sentiments, but my sister is fine."

Xena looked puzzled.

Hades held up his hands. "How do you think I became mortal?"

The Warrior Princess stared at him. "You gave up your Godhood for her?"

"And I would have given more, Xena. That surprises you?"

After a pause the Xena spoke. "I suppose it shouldn’t. I know how much you love her and Persephone, but like most guys, you ... just don’t show your feelings."

Hades gave her a look, but she only smiled.

The former God of the Underworld was none to happy about having to sleep outside on nothing more than a blanket, though he said nothing, having no desire to be left out here on his own.

* * *

On the morrow, the foursome rode on. Hades and Gabrielle sat in the back of the cart, the Bard holding Eve, whilst Xena rode Argo.

"We’re on our way to Aelin," she said, more to Hades than Gabrielle, who already knew. "I need a place to raise Eve. She needs a stable home and it seemed best."

"Fair enough," Hades said, not that he had any say in the matter and not that he really cared.

* * *

With the ingredients they had, Xena made some soup. She went to feed Argo, while Hades and Gabrielle sat and ate. The former God could barely swallow one mouthful of the vile, salty, burning substance.

"You all right, Hades?" Gabrielle asked, as he coughed and she held back a smile.

He held up the cup. "I believe I’ve found something else that can kill a God."

"I heard that, Hades," Xena said, trying to sound annoyed. "If you don’t like it you can starve."

"It’s fine, Xena," Hades called back, as he shut his eyes, held his nose and finished the near lethal concoction.

* * *

Hades shivered the next morning, as he bathed in the lake. Xena, of course had no sympathy.

"Cold enough for you?"

"A ... f...few degrees b...below ... and it’ll be f...fine."

Xena smiled as she watched him.

"Do you mind?" Hades snapped.


"Of course if I watched you, you’d have my balls for breakfast," he huffed.

"Probably," Xena said with a smile, leaving Hades alone to bathe and wash his clothes.

Despite the cold, Hades was happy feel fresh and clean, and after a while he realised his body had become used to the frigid water and it was quite invigorating.

"Frozen off yet, Hades?" Xena said, checking on him.

"No, they’re still there," Hades said, managing a smile, swimming a little closer to the bank. "The water’s actually quite nice once you get used to it."

"I had my bath." Xena pointed to a steaming metal tub.

Hades glared at her. Xena smiled.

"Have another," he said, splashing her.

The Warrior Princess glared at him. "I’ll kill you!"

Hades grinned. "Come on in, Xena, the water’s fine."

* * *

The foursome stopped for lunch. Xena saw Hades looking annoyed.

"If you don’t like it, Hades..."

"It tastes fine, Xena, I’m not used to eating so much."

"Gods eat, don’t they?" Gabrielle asked.

"Well yes, but we don’t need to eat everyday."

"Don’t worry, Hades," Xena said, "you won’t get fat."

He gave her a humourless smile.

"It’s ... annoying ..." he said, "though I guess I’ll have to get used to it."

"I guess you will, Hades."

Xena rested Argo for a while before they were to set off again. Whilst it seemed Xena’s attention was elsewhere, Hades left and walked into the woods. When he felt he was far enough away, he stopped. No sooner did he relax, he felt a hand on his shoulder.

"Going somewhere, Hades?"

He gasped, jerked then looked at Xena, annoyed.

"To relieve myself, I trust you don't mind! This mortal body has certain functions, or didn’t you know?"

Xena gave a smile and apologised as she left Hades be, confident he would return.

"Gods don’t need to relieve themselves?" Gabrielle asked, curious, when Hades returned.

"Not through the back end," Hades said, embarrassed. "How do you put up with that every day? It’s disgusting!"

"Well excuuuuse us!" Xena snapped.

"I’m sorry," Hades said, "there are a few things I’ve yet to get used to."

Xena did not look like her patience would hold out that long.

* * *

A few more days into the journey, Xena went to obtain some herbs whilst Hades looked after Gabrielle, sick with a violent stomach ache, vomiting like there was no tomorrow.

"Trust me," he said, "I know what this feels like."

Xena returned to find him looking rather concerned at Gabrielle’s groaning.

"She’s not going to die," Xena said.

"Wanna bet?" Gabrielle croaked as she hurled over the side of the cart.

Hades helped her back in. "Damn well feels like you’re dying, doesn’t it?"

Gabrielle nodded, glad for Hades’ sympathy.

"You’d never been sick before had you?" Xena asked him.


The Warrior Princess became intrigued.

"The first battle site I saw, first day on the job as it were, having to direct the souls to the Underworld and suffice it to say, the site was... well, not pretty."

Xena chuckled. "And the God of Death lost his lunch."

Hades looked annoyed, then he smiled. "Yeah, I did."

* * *

By now, Hades had gotten used to sleeping under the night sky and didn’t mind it so much, as he lay and watched the stars.

"Enjoying yourself, Uncle?"

Hades sat bolt upright as Ares appeared.

"What do you want?" Hades snapped, hiding his nervousness.

Ares smiled. "Maybe nothing. Maybe I just came to say hello."

Hades looked over to Xena, Gabrielle and Eve, lying down.

"Oh, don't worry about them. I made sure they’re sound asleep. They won’t hear you scream."

"What do you want, Ares?" Hades asked, hoping the latter half of the sentence was just a sick jest.

"Something I’ve been wanting to give you for a long time."

Ares opened his hand, revealing a blue fireball.

Hades stared at him, mouth open. "You wouldn’t ... you couldn’t..."

Ares smirked. "Ohh, I could ... And why not, Uncle? Give me one reason."

Hades looked bewildered. "What in Tartarus have I ever done to you?"

"How many times did I ask you to give me Strife back? And how many of my armies and soldiers are burning in Tartarus?" Ares tossed the fireball up and caught it again.

"You know I can’t release them," Hades said.

"You gave Iolaus back, Zeus knows how many times! You may as well have given him a fornicating return pass! ‘See you later, Iolaus, please come again.’" Ares put on Hades’ accent.

"That was different!" the former God of the Dead snapped.

"Oh of course, you have you rules and you break them whenever they suit you." Ares blasted the fireball near him.

Hades jerked, though his expression darkened. "Ares you know that isn’t true. Yes the rules need to be bent or broken on occasion, but-"

"Give it a rest, Hades."

Ares came closer, Hades backed off a little. He hoped Ares didn’t see him swallow as he backed off. The God of War grabbed his throat.

"You know I could make this quick and painless or slow and painful. Since you’re my favourite Uncle, I’ll let you choose."

Roughly, he released Hades.

The former God winced slightly. "Ares, you don’t have to do this."

The God of War smiled. "Oh, but I really, really want to. Just think of it as your going away present, and I dunno, tell Strife I miss him. Sweet dreams, Uncle."

Ares created another fireball. Hades stared at his nephew, his eyes pleading.

"Ares," Hades said softly, despite himself, "please don’t..."

The God of War smiled. "Hades, you are such a tool."

Annoyed, although terrified, that was the last thing Hades remembered as Ares hurled his fireball.

* * *

"Who are you?" Xena demanded, holding a knife to Hades’ throat.

It took a moment for the former Lord of the Underworld to awaken. "Xena?!" he exclaimed, then gratefully realised he was alive, though genuinely puzzled why the Warrior Princess pressed knife to his neck.

"Who the hell are you?"

"What’s gotten into you ... Xe...Xena ..." Hades’ voice somehow sounded different. He looked down and stared in disbelief.


The God of War’s voice sounded seemingly from nowhere. "Good morning Uncle, or should I say Auntie..."

Beyond furious, Hades screamed.

Xena and Gabrielle tried not to smile.

"Don’t worry, Hades," Xena said, bringing him coverings, "Ares’ pranks don't usually last long."

Hades grunted. "And what if he plans to leave me like this?"

"Being a woman isn’t all bad you know," Xena smiled.

"No offence, Warrior Princess," Hades said, humourless.

"None taken, Hades. I guess I’d feel the same if I woke up with a penis."

Hades glared at her. Xena smiled.

"Who knows, if you play your cards right, Ares might even be able to give your Godhood back," she said.

"Wonderful. Hades, Goddess of the Dead."

Xena couldn’t help but smile.

"And I guess that would make Persephone my husband," Hades huffed, then he smiled wistfully.

"You miss her, don’t you?"

Hades nodded. "I love her, Xena, and I will return to her."

* * *

"Xena," Gabrielle said, "you have to talk to Hades."

"What is it? What did he do?"

"Nothing, he’s by the lake."

"*He*, you mean he-"

"No ... no ... He’s still a she and he ... or she’s rather upset."

"I’ll go," Xena sighed.

She arrived to find Hades unclothed, washing his body and she saw the blood. Slowly she approached Hades, whom hid his female face from her. It didn’t take a genius to see that he was crying.

Xena crouched by a rock and spoke gently. "Hades, it’s perfectly natural," she said, her voice calming. "Every month women bleed."

Hades glared at her. "Do you think I was born yesterday, Xena? I know what a woman’s cycle is!"

"Then what is it?"

Hades paused before he spoke. "I .. I have no control over this body ... I ... I feel so helpless... insecure ... I..."

Despite herself, Xena pitied him.

Hades continued. "One moment I feel calm, at peace, the next I want to tear someone’s head off and rip out their innards."

Xena laughed. "Welcome to the mortal world."

Hades managed a smile. "So it’s normal to want to rip someone’s guts out for saying ‘how do you feel’?"


Hades smiled, feeling a little better.

"I’ll get you some rags," Xena said.

Hades thanked her as he climbed from the lake, his long blonde hair covering his feminine attributes.

"Gabrielle, about this morning, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to yell at you like that."

The Bard smiled. "Just wait until it’s *my* time, Hades."

He smiled back at her. "Should I be scared?"

"Be afraid, be very, afraid..." Xena warned.

* * *

An interesting experience, Hades thought, though he was glad when his cycle had come to an end.

"Thank you for your help, Xena, I don’t know who I would have managed ... Being a woman is interesting, I’ll admit, despite the initial shock."

"Glad you enjoyed yourself." Ares’ voice.

In an instant, Xena’s sword was drawn. The God of War appeared.

"Lovely to see you again too, Xena."

"What do you want?"

"Don’t flatter yourself, Sweeite, I’m not here to see you."

"I’m crushed."

Ares turned to Hades.

"Should *I* be flattered?" Hades asked, his sarcasm not lost on his nephew.

"So you liked being a woman?"

"It was ... interesting," Hades said, curt.

Ares smiled. "So glad you liked my gift."

Hades looked puzzled. "Gift?"

Ares spoke as he disappeared. "You didn’t think I forgot my favourite uncle’s birthday just because he was mortal did you?"

In a sparkle, Ares was gone, and in a flash Hades was restored to his natural self. Quickly, he grabbed the nearest robe, bewildered, also relieved to be himself again.

"Hades!" Xena said, "you never told me it was your birthday."

Still quite dazed, he looked at her. "I forgot."

"You forgot your own birthday?" Gabrielle said, astounded.

Hades sat on a rock and shook his head. "So much going on ... The Twilight, Eve ... Celesta ... Becoming mortal... I just... forgot."

Xena placed her hand on Hades’ shoulder. "Well happy birthday, Hades. Just how old are you?"

The God smiled. "Now that really would be telling." He held up two fingers, a peace sign, though he felt far from peaceful.

"You mean two hundred?" Gabrielle said. "... Hang on you’ve been around for longer than... Ohh you mean two *thousand.*"

"You mean three thousand."

"Shut up, Ares!"

"And you don’t look a day over thirty," Xena said.

Hades managed a smile. "I wish I felt thirty."

* * *

It was late that afternoon before Xena and company finally arrived in Aelin, and were greeted by Saierra.

"Xena, we were starting to get worried."

The Warrior Princess smiled. "We had quite and adventure."

"I am sorry I could not inform you about the main track being inundated."

"No harm done."

"I will show you to your abode, the young woman said. "I am sorry, it was left in a quite a state by the previous owners and it has not been cleaned. They fled almost a year ago now, something about tax evasion?"

Xena gave smile. "That’ll do it all right."

Saierra opened the door. ‘State’ didn’t begin to describe the place.

Broken pots, glass and all sorts of weird and not so wonderful things lay strewn, across the floor, the stove covered in grease. Filthy ripped curtains hung, and dust it seemed had taken up permanent residence.

Xena said nothing.

"Again I am sorry for the state the cottage is in, though once it is cleaned up, I’m sure it will be lovely. It will seem larger as well, more than enough room for the four of you."

Xena smiled as she and Gabrielle unloaded their things into the dusty cottage.


The Warrior Princess returned to her new, rather untidy home and addressed Hades.

"Tomorrow, Gabrielle and I will be leaving before dawn to hunt for food. By the time we return, I want this place spotless."

"What?" Hades could scarcely believe his ears.

"Do I have to repeat myself?"

"You have got to be joking ..."

Xena’s stare was enough to tell Hades she most certainly wasn’t and he became annoyed.

"While I’m grateful for your help Xena, I’m not your fornicating slave."

Xena slapped him. "Don’t swear in front of my child!"

"She can’t even speak yet," Hades said, annoyed.

"And I do not want that to be her first word."

"Well excuse me," Hades huffed. "I’m not your housemaid."

"Get out, Hades."

Hades looked confused.

"Out! And don’t bother coming back."

"Xena ..." Hades looked shocked, than became worried.

The Warrior Princess drew her sword. "*Out!*"

"... I’m ... I’m sorry, Xena, I-"

"I said get out!"

"Xena ... I’ve got nowhere else to go."

"You should’ve thought of that, Hades. Out!"



With a shove, Xena pushed him outside and slammed the dusty door.

"Xena ..." Gabrielle said, "he’s not used to this ..."

"That’s too bad. Hades, have you gone yet?"

"Xena, I’m sorry ... Please."

"You’d better be on your way by the time I open that door."

Xena opened the door. "What are you still doing here?"

"Xena, please ... I have nowhere else to go. I’m sorry."

"Hades, I told you-"

"Xena, two months ago, I was a God, ruling an entire realm and now I look like I went ten rounds with Typhon and lost and I smell worse."


"Please, Xena ..." He gave his best puppy dog eyes and added quietly. "I’ll clean the damn house."


"I said I’ll clean the damned house, happy?!"

Xena smiled and sighed. "All right, Hades, but I want it spotless."

"Whatever." Hades stepped inside, hiding just how grateful he was.

"And Hades..."

He turned around.

"You smell fine."

Despite himself, he smiled.

Xena asked Saierra to look after Eve until they could clean the place, fearing the dust would harm her baby.

All three awoke very early that morning, the dust not doing any of them any good.

Xena lit a large candle, illuminating the cottage somewhat. She and Gabrielle gathered the tools and weapons they needed.

"Remember, Hades, spotless."

"Yes, Sir."

Xena gave him a look before she left with Gabrielle.

When he was sure she was out of earshot, Hades kicked one of the broken pots, obliterating it. "What in Tartarus does she think I am? Bitch! Just when she was beginning to be nice ... When I get to be a God again, I’ll make her scrub Tartarus!"

A subtle ripple of light, and Archangel Gabriel stood before Hades.

The God jerked. "I didn’t really mean that," he said quickly.

The Archangel smiled. "I know ... I am here to tell you that your Godhood will be restored, Hades."

Hades stared at the Angel. "It will?"

Gabriel nodded. "Yes, though it will only be due to an act of supreme selflessness."

Hades allowed this to sink in. "Well I am about to tidy this hideous place," he said with a smile, which Gabriel returned.

"Though, Hades, I’m afraid it will take more than that."

"Somehow I figured that. Don’t suppose you could flap your wings and have this place spotless in an instant?"

Gabriel smiled once more. "I could, although this is your learning."

The former God smiled. "Somehow I knew you would say that."

"I bid thee farewell, Hades."

"Gabriel," Hades said before he left, "thank you."

The Archangel gave a warm smiled before he vanished in a ripple of white light.

Hades sighed to himself. He liked the Angel, despite the fact their kind may bring the end to his own, he couldn’t help thinking that there might’ve been a peaceful way, but right now he had a Tartarus of a cottage to clean.

He pondered what Gabriel had said. Up until now he hadn’t been entirely sure that his powers would be restored. He hoped they would and now he knew they would, but what did the Angel mean by supreme sacrifice?

He decided to start with the junk on the floor and began to gather the broken pots, pans and vases, smashed ornaments and a decrepit rug and placed them in a large wooden box he found. He was quite amazed at how many burnt out candles he found, most useless, the wicks had either broken or disappeared, and he threw them into the box, placing it outside, salvaging one green candle with a slightly visible wick, which he lit, giving him some light before the sun rose.

The ex-God took down the awful curtains and opened the windows. The dust was incredible and another thing he hadn’t counted on – cockroaches. Hades grimaced at the vile creatures scurrying about. A rat darted out, but before Hades chased it out, he saw it was happy to dine on the cockroaches and was content to let it be for now as he swept the dust out of the cottage, taking longer than he would have liked to thoroughly sweep three bedrooms, a dining room, kitchen and bathroom, and he had to grab some fresh air.

Although the dust had been swept from the floors, they still looked pretty awful and Hades groaned, knowing he would have to scrub them.

He brought buckets and buckets of water back from the lake, and began the daunting task.

He lost count of how many times he’d been down to the river for fresh water, not just for the floors, but the walls, benches, ledges and windows. Mercifully the ceiling wasn’t too bad. Though Hades realised he would have to clean the outside of the cottage and groaned .... And the thatch roof was fine, much to his relief.

He sat down to rest for a short while after he had finished, and made a mental list of things they needed.

Saierra poked her head inside the cottage. "You look like you’re having fun," she observed with a smile. "The place is looking better already."

Hades smiled. "You think so?"

She nodded. "Would you like some help?"

He was about to snap ‘no’ when he stopped. The girl only wanted to help.

"Only if you want to," he said. He would not have Xena accusing him of forcing her.

"You are a good husband," Saierra observed. "Most men would not touch a broom, even if it was a sure fire way to get them into the Elysian Fields."

Hades chuckled. "You don't have to help if you don’t want to."

Saierra smiled back at him. "I’d like to. Is there anything you would like me to do?"

While Hades thought, Saierra suggested sewing the curtains. He helped her take them down and shook them outside, the dust like a storm. Saierra went to fetch some strong twine.

Hades smiled, it wasn’t often one encountered a kind, helpful person.

Whilst Saierra was gone, an elderly woman visited him.

"Wares, have you any wares?"

She examined the boxes of broken pots and the like and indicated.

"You want those?" Hades asked.

The woman showed Hades a cart of things. "Trade?"

"For that?" Hades asked, incredulous.

"One man’s junk is another woman’s treasure."

The former God smiled as the woman indicated to her wares.

Hades picked out some things on his list, obtaining two pots, some fruit and vegetables.

The woman smiled. "Is that all you want? Take, take."

Hades smiled as he took a half burnt candle.

"Do you have a marketplace?" he asked.

The woman nodded. "Turn left into the street and follow it down. You can’t miss it."


The elderly woman left, pushing her cart of new found junk.

Saierra returned with a friend, Ella and sat to sew the curtains.

"Thanks," Hades said.

The young women smiled as they began to sew.

The task didn’t take them too long and they helped Hades remove the mattresses from the beds to air them outside, and rid yet more dust.

Saierra and Ella helped Hades wash the curtains in the lake.

"Whoever thought they were white?" Saierra asked with a smile, which Hades returned, still uncomfortable about the whole mortal thing, though grateful they didn’t know who he really was.

He swept the place again, and cleaned the windows and window sills, still quite bedazzled at how hard and unpleasant housework was. He only hoped Xena didn’t return before he had finished.

Saierra was happy to help him clean the outside of the cottage, while Hades took the money Xena had left him and went to the market place. A nice change from cleaning, he thought.

Although he had seen them, he’d never been to the markets before and was quite intrigued at what the stalls had to offer and he purchased the things he needed. An oil lamp, some large candles, a few bowls and cutlery, a very nice colourful rug, two cakes of cinnamon and clove soap, a large bottle of sandalwood and rose oil, and some vegetables. He also obtained very large jar, containing a powdered herbal substance, the stall holder promised would expel cockroaches, ants, rats and dust mites and other pests. He was tempted to ask if it would get rid of Xena’s ...

And Hades returned home, to find Saierra had finished cleaning the outside of the cottage.

"Thank you," he said.

"My pleasure. Is there anything else you-"

He smiled. "No, you’ve done quite enough. Here."

He gave her a bag of fruit. "It’s not much, but-"

She smiled. "Thank you, Haden, you’re very kind."

Hades smiled as he entered the cottage. It was getting late and he mused that Xena and Gabrielle would be back soon and he began to prepare dinner and grimaced when he saw the stove and sighed and spent another hour cleaning it ... and then the kitchen cupboards.

"Does this ever end ..." he scowled, making another trip to the lake, filling two buckets with water and returning to scrub.

He realised this also meant scrubbing the cupboards in the bedrooms and sighed, grinned and bore it.

Two hours later, he was ready to start cooking, another chore he wasn’t at all fond of, as he cooked some of the vegetables, and placed them in bowls. He ate his share, and drank a large mug of water.

Xena and Gabrielle still hadn’t returned, though Hades knew they’d return sooner or later, and he wasn’t about to wait up as he entered one of the bedrooms, flopped onto the dust free mattress and fell asleep in an instant.

A few hours later, Xena and Gabrielle returned from their long, though successful hunting expedition.

Xena frowned as she entered the cottage. "Is this the right place?"

Gabrielle nodded. "Look."

A note lay by the bowls of cooked vegetables.

‘Xena, hope you like the house

and the hunting went well.

Sorry, couldn’t wait up.

~ Hades."

The Warrior Princess smiled. "I don’t believe it ... He actually..."

"You did say spotless."

"I did."

Xena peered around the bedroom door and saw Hades fast asleep.

"He’s exhausted."

"He’s not used to this," Gabrielle said. "And besides, I think anyone’d be exhausted after this."

Xena smiled, as she and Gabrielle ate the lukewarm vegies.

"I’ll get Eve from Saierra tomorrow," Xena said, as she and Gabrielle retired for the night.

* * *

The girls awoke before Hades the following morning.

"Place looks great, Hades, but you missed a spot." Xena pointed to a blotch on one of the cupboards.

"So sorry."

Xena smiled as she gave the ex-god a piece of honeydew melon.


"The place really does look wonderful, Hades."

"I’m glad." He finished his sweet green melon.

* * *

Hades sat alone by the river.


He turned. "Persephone!"

He stood and embraced his beloved in a second and kissed her.

"I didn’t think you were permitted to see me."

"I’m not."

Hades took her hand.

Persephone smiled. "Don’t worry about me ... I miss you so much."

"And I you, my beloved."

The two shared another kiss.

Persephone held him gently. "Ohh, Hades ... you care so much ... what you did for Celesta was truly magnificent."

"I miss you both."

"There will come a time when you can return to us," the Goddess said.

"I hope it is soon."

"As do I. I must leave you now, My Love."

Hades kissed his wife again before she vanished back to the Underworld.

Sadly, the ex Lord of the Dead made his way back to the house, hoping he would not have to keep up this charade for much longer.

* * *

Hades, Xena, Gabrielle and Eve stayed in the village for many months, the ex-God getting used to family life, though he yearned to return home. Both he and Xena were surprised to find that Eve rather liked him. Hades wondered if he would ever have a child of his own.

"This place is a pigsty, Hades," Xena complained.

"Don’t blame me, that child of yours leaves everything about."

"Are you blaming Eve?"

"Don’t expect me to clean up after your child, Xena."

The warrior woman gave Hades a look and began to pick up Eve’s toys and things she had left about. "Saierra’s coming over to collect Eve. Gabrielle and I have been called away."

"And you don’t trust me with her."

"You don’t feel comfortable with her, and mind Saierra. She has a ... thing for you."

"I know."

"And no one can know that we’re not ... It would complicate things. If things were different, then..."

"I am still married, Xena, though not to you."

"Thank the Gods."

"My pleasure!"

Hades stormed into the next room.

Saierra came to the door. "I’m sorry, did I come at a bad time?"

"No, lover’s tiff, that’s all."

The young woman smiled. "Seen many of those in my time."

Xena gave Eve to Saierra who took the babe to her abode to look after.

Hades came out. "So where are you and Gabrielle headed?"

"I’ve heard rumours that there’s a warlord, Tor attacking villages not too far form here. If it’s true we’ll have to fight him."

"What about me? Am I just supposed to sit at home while my ‘wife’ goes into battle?"

"Hades, you’re mortal now."

"And so are you and Gabrielle. I’ve lost my powers, Xena, not my balls."

The warrior Princess smiled. "You realise if you die you may never-"

"I realise that, Xena and I am ready to fight."

"Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that."

"I’m touched."

"Hades, do you think I like to fight? Sure I used to, but-"

"I know now you fight for a better world, Xena."

"I still hate fighting."

"I know."

* * *

Xena returned to find the house empty.


No answer. Somewhat anxious, she went to retrieve Eve from Saierra.


"Eve became ill this morning," the young woman said. "Haden took her to the river."

Xena became cold. "To the river?..."

"Yes, but he should be back soon."

Xena left with Gabrielle in a hurry.

"Xena, you don’t think he..."

"I don’t know ... " She drew her sword. "If he’s so much as harmed *one* ..."

Xena looked down by the lake and saw Hades bathing the small babe.

"There you go ... Lunch didn’t agree with you, ah?" Hades looked around and saw the two women coming to him.

"Hello, Xena. Eve was ill this morning, but she’s fine now. I thought some fresh

air and water would do her some good."

Xena took a breath of fresh air herself.

Hades looked at her. "I don't believe this! You thought I would-"

"Can you blame me?"

Hades looked hurt. "I guess not ..." he said after a while. "I regret my past actions, Xena."

"I’m sorry, Hades."

"Forgiven," he sighed as Xena took her baby from him.

They began to walk back to the house. "I’m afraid the rumours were true."

"So Tor’s-"

"Afraid so and he’s closer than we thought."


And Tor’s army moved quicker than Xena had thought. By morning, they were incredibly close to the village.

Hades, Xena and Gabrielle were woken by distant wailing.

"It’s Saierra," Hades said.

Concerned, the three approached the distraught woman. Her best friend Ella had been murdered by Tor’s men when she was returning to the village.

"I’ll stay with her," Hades said. Saierra placed her arms around him, still crying.

"I loved her so much .... We’ve known each other since we were children..."

Saierra wept more.

"Do you suppose Hades will take care of her?"

The question threw Hades for a second. "’Yes, he will. He’ll take her to the Elysian Fields."

"They say it’s nice there ... but I miss her so much and I’ve only just lost her..."

Gently, Hades held the weeping woman.

* * *

Hades and Tor clashed swords.

"Don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure," Tor said, through blackened teeth. "But I’ll have the pleasure to send you to Hades."

"Don’t bet on it."

The swords clashed again. Xena glanced over at Hades quickly, he was doing fine on his own. Both she and Gabrielle had their hands full with Tor’s men.

Tor’s large frame made it a little harder form him to swing a sword. Hades didn’t have that problem. He sliced Tor’s side. The warlord roared and fling his blade, Hades narrowly missing his innards being spilt all over the grass. He composed himself and continued to fight, slamming his sword against his opponent’s. Tor lost grip on his weapon and Hades wasted no time in running him through.

"See you in Tartarus."

Xena and Gabrielle polished off Tor’s men, the ones that didn’t flee.


Xena spoke to the village.

"War is a tragedy. I know because I once was like Tor. I have atoned for the sins of my past, but that does not mean I like to fight. I do not. I fight for a better world. The best we can do is prepare and get on with our lives. There may come a time when the village has to be defended again. Let us hope that is not soon."

Saierra came to Hades. "Are you all right?"

"Yes. Been a long while since I fought."

"You were incredible, but I was so worried."

Hades smiled warmly.

"I don’t know what you must think of me, you are a married man after all."

"And you have just lost your closest friend. These are trying times for all of us."

The bodies of the villagers and soldiers were burnt upon a funeral pyre and Saierra paid her last respects to Ella. Hades stayed with her through the night.

* * *

Village life began to return to normal, though the villagers would not soon forget the bloody battle.

Soon, the markets flooded with life again, villagers, travellers and the like.

Hades purchased some candles and began to walk back to the house.


The ex-god turned to see Aphrodite.

"What in the name of Zeus are you doing here?"

"Well, If you must know, I live here and the name’s Haden."

"You live here? So it’s true about you being mortal and all?"

Hades nodded.

"Tough break, huh?"

"Well it’s been an interesting experience to say the least."

Aphrodite sighed. "You gave your Godhood to save your sister ..."

Hades smiled. "I would have given more."

"You’re *so* sentimental."

"Is there a point to your visit here?"

"So touchy. May I remind you I am a goddess and you are a mere mortal."

Hades smiled. "Thanks for reminding me."

Aphrodite sighed. "Nice to see the village returning to normal after that awful mess. Ares should keep his warlords on a leash."

"Someone should keep Ares on a leash."

"Don’t let him hear you say that."

Aphrodite indicated a couple in love.

"There, that’s what life’s all about. Love."

Hades smiled. "I know ... Tell Persephone and Celesta that I-"

"I will, babe. Catch ya ‘round."

The Goddess of Love disappeared.

* * *

It had taken many months for the village to truly return to high spirits. Saierra still missed Ella and would until the day she joined her in the Elysian Fields, though Hades was happy to see her back to her bubbly self again.

He, Xena, Gabrielle, Eve and Saierra were out this one sunny day. Xena had placed Eve under an overhanging. Hades watched her while she and Gabrielle walked.

"I’m going to miss this place when I leave," Xena said.

"Why not stay?"

"I will until Eve has grown, but I’ve never been known to stick in one place for long."

"Since I met you, neither have I."

Xena smiled.

A rumble shook the Earth. The warrior and bard steadied themselves. Xena’s head shot around to where her baby was sitting, and to her horror. Saw the overhanging start to fall. She screamed her baby’s name. Hades had already started to bolt toward the child and pushed her out of harms way, but there was not enough time to save himself as the overhanging came crashing down upon him. Xena and Gabrielle screamed his name.

They both rushed to him and Eve. The babe cried and not because she was hurt.

"Hades!" Xena yelled, almost not bearing to look, but she forced herself to, then shut her eyes tight.

Saierra rushed to them. Xena wouldn’t let her close.

"No! ..." the young woman wailed.

Xena wiped a tear from her own cheek. Gabrielle supported her, tears adorning her own pale cheeks.

Seemingly from the heavens, a white light appeared in the sky, and came down to Earth. Light illuminated the spot where Hades had saved Eve’s life.

Archangel Gabriel appeared and held his arm out to the illuminated spot and Hades arose, bewildered, but unscathed. He stood in his regal red robe.

"Your Godhood had been restored, Hades, lord of the Dead," he said. "You sacrificed your life to save the child who would have brought an end to the Olympian Order. That act alone has saved the Gods."

Hades looked at the Archangel, a loss for words at first. "Thank you..." he managed.

Gabriel gave Hades a warm smile as he returned to the light.

Saierra stared. "You .... you ... you’re a God? ..." She knelt down.

"Please," Hades said, uncomfortable. "That’s not necessary ...I’m sorry for my deception, it was necessary."

"I understand, Lord Hades."

"Please, just Hades."

"I’m sorry if I offended you in any way, I-"

Hades smiled. "You didn’t."

Gently, he kissed her. "I assure you, Ella is fine."

Saierra embraced him.


The Lord of the Dead turned to see his loving Persephone.

"My beloved."

The renewed God turned to Xena and Gabrielle.

"Thank you."

"Thank you, Hades."

"What for?"

"For teaching me forgiveness."

He smiled. "My pleasure, Xena, but I must return home now."

"I’ll miss you."

"Yes, you and Gabby’ll have to clean the house all by yourselves now."

The Warrior Princess chuckled as she embraced the God.

"Friends again?"

"Of course."

And he left with Persephone.

"I can’t believe how much I missed this place," he said, flopping down on his own bed.

Cerberus burst onto the room and jumped on him.

"Gods above and below, I’ve missed you too!" Affectionately, he stroked his pooch.

And stood.

"Glad to have you back, Master."

Hades kissed his ferryman.

"Glad to be back, Charon."

Persephone and the boatman smiled.

"Being mortal wasn’t all bad," he said. "It was rather interesting ... and trying at times..."

"Hades, I can’t thank you enough..." Celesta floated him, her candle subtly flickering.

"And I’d do it again."

"As I would for you, my dear brother."

Gently, Hades shared an embrace, with his beloved and his sister, the Lord of the Underworld, grateful to be back home with those he loved.





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