OK, this is the THIRD time I'm trying to post this part! Aaahhhh! I hope it posts this time! Stupid thing!
The characters are not mine. Belong to Studios USA.
After finishing their meal, the three retired to the bedroom for the night. Piling all the blankets on the bed kept them warm. The next morning Gabrielle was the first one to wake up, bright sunlight shining on her face. She carefully crept out of bed and moved over to the nearby window. Peering out, she was amazed! The blizzard had finally stopped and everything was covered by a thick blanket of clean white snow. It was so beautiful!
And there amid the thick field of snow was the answer she had been looking for.
"It's perfect!" she breathed.
Gabrielle turned around and looked at Ares sleeping in the bed. If her idea was going to work, she would need his help. Walking back to the bed, Gabrielle decided to wake him up. She reached out and shook his shoulder. "Ares, get up!"
Ares opened one eye and peered at her. "What?"
"I got an idea and you're going to help me with it." Gabrielle explained as she tried to pull him out of bed. Of course, her tugging on his arm did little good. He was just too heavy to move! "Now get up!"
"Can't it wait until later?" he yawned and rubbed his eyes. "It's nice and warm here in bed. I think I'm going to stay here all day. Yeah, that's a good idea!"
"Ares, you are NOT going to stay in bed all day! That's not good for you, trust me." Gabrielle told him. "You'll feel much better after you get outside and the cool air clears your sleep-filled head."
"OUTSIDE? I'm not going out there!" Ares yelled and promptly threw the blanket over his head.
"What?" Xena screamed, awakened instantly by Ares' loud protest. The Warrior Princess reached for her sword on the nearby nightstand, missed and tumbled out of bed onto the floor. She landed with a huge crash, taking the blankets with her.
"Hey! Give those back!" Ares complained as he glared angrily in Xena's direction. "Stop hogging all the blankets. A man can freeze to death in this place."
"Well, since your blankets are gone, why don't you come outside with me, Ares?" Gabrielle asked. "It'll be fun!"
Ares glanced at Gabrielle suspiciously. "What do you want me to do?"
"Just chop down a tree and bring it into the house." She told him with a big smile. She thought her idea was great! Xena and Ares were bound to love it!
"What?" Xena's head appeared above the bed and looked in Gabrielle's direction. She rubbed the back of her head and winced. "Don't forget to tell him to chop it up into firewood first."
"No, Xena. This tree isn't going to be for firewood! It's to brighten up the place!" Gabrielle explained happily. "It's our new project! We'll chop it down, bring it inside and then decorate it! We'll put candles and ribbons and stuff on it. It'll look great!"
Ares rolled his eyes. "And to think I'm stuck here with you."
Gabrielle went into the closet and pulled out Ares' black hooded cloak. She held it out to him.
"All right, I'll get up but you owe me for this." The ex God rolled out of bed and put his cloak on. Then he followed Gabrielle to the door. He paused and glanced back at Xena. "Why doesn't she have to go outside?"
"Because Xena has to figure out how to make the tree stand up!" Gabrielle told him as she pushed the outer door open. It took all of her strength, as a deep snow drift was just on the other side. But she managed and they squeezed out. They closed the door behind them, leaving a startled Xena by herself.
"How the heck am I going to do that?" Xena asked the empty room.
Gabrielle trudged through the knee deep snow until she reached the barn. Going in and checking on the animals, she pulled a big ax from its resting spot. Handing it to Ares, she led him over to the tree she had seen from the bedroom window. It was a pine tree, just a few feet taller than Ares. Its trunk was not too thick yet, so she thought he would be able to chop it down easily. She knew the hard part would be dragging it back through the deep snow.
Ares looked at the tree and then at Gabrielle. "You're serious? You really want me to chop this tree down and take it into the house? Then we're going to decorate it?"
"YES!" Gabrielle grinned at him. She looked around and realized it really wasn't too bad out here after all. It was cold, yes, but the severe cold they had earlier was gone. There was now just the deep snow. And everything looked very pretty, especially how the snow stuck to all the trees.
"This is the most craziest thing I ever heard of!" Ares told her. "And I suppose next you'll want to be tying Xena's chakrom to the top of the tree as a decoration!"
"That's a very good idea! Thank you, Ares!" Gabrielle patted him on his muscled arm. "See? You're getting this decorating idea already!"
"Stand out of the way." After waiting for her to move, Ares swung the ax at the tree trunk. He was surprised it was so hard and tough. Hmm....it had always looked so easy when that half-brother of his had chopped down trees this way. He knew if Hercules could do it he could do it, too. So he kept at it until the tree crashed to the snow. Of course, by that time all the snow that had been piled on the tree's branches was on top of Ares! He brushed snow off his hair and turned to face Gabrielle. "You satisfied now?"
Gabrielle giggled. She thought Ares was cute all covered in snow! It even clung to his dark lashes. She walked over to him and brushed snow off his shoulders. "Come on, lets drag this tree into the house!"
The two each grabbed a part of the trunk and started to drag it through the deep snow. It was slow moving, as it was hard walking in the deep snow, but they made it. Ares pushed the door open wide and they hauled it inside. They saw Xena had cobbled together some strange contraption and Ares placed the tree in the middle of it. They held their breath for a moment but the thing worked and the tree stayed upright. After a few minor adjustments, Ares had the tree standing straight. He felt rather proud of himself and he stepped back to admire his handiwork.
"So, there's a pine tree in the house." Xena stated as she stared at it. Her blue eyes followed the wet trail from the tree to the outer door. "And snow all over the floor."
"Now we decorate it!" Gabrielle proclaimed as she hurried into the kitchen and came back with candles and candlestick holders. "We'll tie these to the tree!"
Each person took several of the candlesticks and tied them to the rich green boughs of the tree. Then the candles were inserted into the metal holders. Next Gabrielle pulled out some red ribbons from a dresser drawer and they tied those on. They were, of course, tied in big bows! Gabrielle then eyed the shiny chakrom at Xena's hip and Ares snickered. He knew what was coming next and wanted to see how Gabrielle would persuade Xena to part with her favorite toy!
Xena sensed it and glanced from Ares to Gabrielle. "What? You two cook up some scheme while you were outside?"
"We just thought your chakrom would make a nice topper for the tree." Gabrielle told her bravely as she inched a tad closer to Ares, just in case.
"You want to hang my chakrom on the tree?" Xena said, amazed. "That's the most craziest thing I ever heard. Besides having a tree in my living room, that is."
"Oh, come on Xena!" Ares walked up to her and held out his hand. "The silver and gold colors will look nice on the tree! Besides, no one can't get through all that snow. Trust me! People will just have to stay where ever they are until it all melts. We'll be safe enough here."
"Yeah, I suppose you're right." Xena unhooked the chakrom from her belt and handed it to Ares. "But you better not loose it!"
"Geez, Xena! It'll be right here on the tree!" Gabrielle took the chakrom Ares handed her and got some rope ready. She figured she could just tie the chakrom's wavy centerpiece to the tree's top. She stood on her tip toes and stretched her arms out but the tree was just too tall! Suddenly strong arms wrapped around her waist and lifted her up higher and higher. Before she knew it, she found herself sitting way up on Ares' shoulders with a perfect view of the tree top. She carefully reached out and tied the chakrom in place. She clung to Ares' hair and hoped she wouldn't fall!
"Hmm....I got to admit that does look pretty good." Xena said as she started to light the candles on the tree. Soon the room was aglow from the dozens of candles on the tree and it was just in time, too, as the sun had already set for the day. The wind started to howl and soon new flakes of snow was striking against the window panes. "It gives the room a nice cheery glow."
Gabrielle watched Xena relax in the chair. The Warrior Princess munched on a bowl of roasted nuts as she admired the tree, totally ignoring her best friend. Gabrielle clung to her precarious perch, fingers wrapped in black hair. "Umm....Xena? How do I get down from here?"
"Not my problem." Xena muttered through a mouthful of nuts.
Now why did Gabrielle think Ares had not been referring to the tree?