Are You Man Enough

NOTE: This storyline is meant as a comedic offering, and not meant in any way as an insult to males the world over. Honest. : )

PART ONE By Leonie

"So Hercules and Xena take a walk and.. " The joke was cut off by the actual Xena walking into the room. Ares even had the decency to blush ever so slightly. (A simple trick of raising his temperature and quickening his 'godly' bloodflow.) "Xena! Hey good to see you again." Ares raised his drink to the Warrior Princess as she gave him a second eyebrow raised glance on her way to the Stables.

"I heard you Ares, and you know what I"ll do if you finish that joke." Xena warned from outside the Inn door.

Ares took a deep drink of his ale and winked a sparkling eye at Joxer. "It's not a lie. I heard it from a witness himself!" He told Joxer.

"Nu uh, no way. Xena and Gabrielle have been together forever." Joxer shook his jar of fizzy water at Ares. The concoction was a new one that Salimounius had dropped off a few weeks back. It made a fuzzy racket inside the jar and then proceeded to explode over the top. Making a mess of the table and Joxer's hand.

PART TWO By Xena

Xena groaned and rolled her eyes, grabbing a dishtowel and tossing it at her friend. "Not *that* stuff!" She took a mug and handed it to Joxer, poring the rest of the concoction into it for him.

"So anyway..." Ares tried to continue and Xena shot him a look that effectively silenced him. The God of War shrugged. "Fine, you tell it then."

"The short version is that yes, Hercules and I had a thing for about two seconds, end of story." she shot another look at Ares. "Satisfied?" she stomped off, not in one of her better moods.

"Geez!" Joxer hiccupped as the fizzy water began bubbling in his throat, "What her problem?"

"She's a woman." Ares shrugged again, taking a swig of his port. "Unpredictable, but such fun when properly..OWTCH!"

Aphrodite had appeared, and grabbed her brother's ear for emphasis. "What was that,'bro?" she asked.

"Fun when properly shown what wonderful creatures they are!" Ares finished.

"Yeah...right. You behave!" The Goddess of blew a kiss to Joxer and then glared at her brother.

Ares arranged his features in a confused expression, "I have no idea what that was all about...do you?"

Joxer simply hiccupped again and pored some more water into his mug.

PART THREE By Leonie

"Ares you should watch your mouth around the women folk." Kha's husband warned. "They can be extra sensitive in certain issue's around certain times of the month."

Joxer hiccupped again, oblivious to the veiled comment of Sennedjem.

Ares narrowed his eye's at the Egyptian. "What you saying? It's not that 'time' right now." The God quickly flicked his eye's to Xena, checking closely her skin and nails. "No scaly skin, and nix on the nasty manicure too." Sennedjem only chuckled to himself and continued to brew himself a coffee and an extra cup of hot water with a bit of loose tea on the side.

"I'm just saying. I have been around women for much of my adult life. And now we have a very good mix of all different women under our roof, so to speak."

Joxer's ears perked up as he realized what Sennedjem was speaking off. "Oh! You mean Kha, that she's pregnant so she'll act all sorts of crazy! Right!"

The two men fair leaped over the table to stifle their friends blatant comment.

Ares' spoke first. "Do you think she heard it?"

"We had better hope not." Chuckled Sennedjem.

PART FOUR By Xena

Cyrene entered the room and smiled understandingly at the men gathered at the table. "Woman trouble?" she asked with a slight smile as she refilled their mugs.

"We're not sure," Ares returned. "There shouldn't be any trouble and yet somehow we've managed to tick off a couple of them without even trying."

"Hey, Cyrene! You used to be a girl, what do you think it is?" Joxer asked, then immediately felt like he had said something wrong.

Fortunately, Cyrene had an excellent sense of humor, and understood he hadn't meant any harm in his question. So she shrugged and answered, "Every woman is different...but I will tell you boys this...if it *does* have to do with hormones, women tend to 'cycle' at the same time when they live in the same area with each other."

"Wait a minute," Sennedjem said, his face arranged in a look of pure shock. "Are you telling us that possibly Kha, Alex, Xena, Gabrielle, Kicking Horse, Mateksi and possibly even Aphrodite could all have their Cycle at the same time?"

"Mood swings and all?" gulped Joxer.

"Mood swings and all," Cyrene finished, and patted Joxer's cheek. "Now if you gentlemen will excuse me, there's a pot roast calling me from the kitchen that needs some more vegetables added."

Ares looked around the table at his male friends and let out a deep sigh. "All of them at once..."

"Mood swings." Joxer glumly added.

"At the same time." Sennedjem shook his head slowly, disbelieving.

From the second floor came the plaintive cry of, "Xena? Where are the stomach herbs? I'm starting to get some cramps..."

"AHHHHHH!!!!" All the men got up and ran from the Tavern, leaving only a dirty table in their wake.

PART FIVE By Ephiny

Salmoneous was nearly trampled by the fleeing cluster of men. "Hey wait! You gotta see my latest business!" He threw his arms back down to his sides and sighed loudly. "You never can find the right kind of customers when you want them."

He looked up at the porch and stepped up to knock. He carefully checked his goods (which were stashed in the folds of his large cloak) and smoothed back his salt and pepper hair. Carefully making his best smile, he took in a deep breath and was about to rap on the door when the door suddenly opened.

"Lo and behold it's Xena's mother!!" Salmoneous greeted the tavern owner with great enthusiasm.

"If you'll excuse me a moment.." Cyrene placed her hands on Sal's shoulders and yelled over to the side. "It's only cramps! It will go away in a few days!" The men had ducked behind bushes nearby and were whispering loudly amongst themselves. Cyrene laughed softly and turned her attention back to the entrepreneurial peddler. "Yes, Salmoneous? You come for a visit? Xena's just inside."

At the word 'cramps', Salmoneous' face had gone white. Xena's cycle was legendary. "No really. I can come again when you women aren't ... well... being women."

"Come on, dear. It's not that bad, I promise. Come on in" Cyrene tugged on the sleeve and pulled the now terrified man inside the tavern. Salmoneous looked back to the other men who were desperately trying not to be seen.

"But I'm sure I saw Autolycus out there. Joxer? Someone?"

"They'll be back for dinner. Come on." Cyrene shut the door behind them.

PART SIX By Kha

Watching the door shut, behind Salmoneous, Sennedjem winced "He is not capable of surviving them all. We should go in and rescue him." Autolycus looked at his big friend "I sir, and fond of my bones unbroken and my skin intact. GO ahead if you want too, We'll put on some great funeral games for ya."

Ares sighed "I suppose it will be up to me to pull you fellas out of this mess, what damage can they do to me.I am a god after all."

Sennedjem eyed him "With 'Dite in there, I could imagine a great deal of damage could be done. But if you go in, I'll go with you." Autolycus flashed a look at Joxer and Joxer summoned his courage and vowed "If you two go, I will too. I can watch your backs." Autolycus grunted "Well I am not too proud to admit I am afraid to go in. Even a pregnant woman has mood swings and I have seen Kha in action during her normal mood swings my big Egyptian friend. I fear for your life at those times."

Sennedjem scowled at him, and asked in a hissing whisper "Do you wanna live forever Autolycus.show some backbone King of Thieves.You don't sound like the man who bragged he could sneak into the king of Egypt's throne room and get his jeweled scepter before he knew you were even there."

Ares grinned listening, amused by the mortals fear of their womenfolk. Autolycus declared "There is a saying, discretion is the better part of valor."The group of fiercely whispering men failed to see a stealthy figure emerge from around the corner of the tavern, but all turned around on hearing Joxer's piecemeal armor rattle for a brief second.

Standing in back on them, her arms folded across chest, was Kha, her eyebrow arched and her foot tapping.

Conclusion By Xena

Behind her stood Xena...and Gabrielle...and Ephiny...and Kicking Horse...and Mateksi and Alex.

"And right now, my valor is full of all kinds of discretion!" Autolycus finished, and turned tail and ran. Ares paled under his swarthy complexion and disappeared from the room. Sennedjem stepped forward as if to placate his wife by some sweet romantic words, but his courage failed him, too, and he bolted from the room, Salmoneus hot on his heels.

Joxer simply fainted.

Suddenly the women broke out into peals of laughter. Kha was laughing so hard she had to wipe the tears from her eyes, "By all the Gods that ever were,"she exclaimed, "Did you see the look on my husband's face?"

"They all looked at us like we were all a band of murderous harpies!" Alex doubled over, grabbing her stomach in glee.

Kicking Horse grunted, but her eyes were dancing and her expression one of humor, "I've seen buffalo run faster...but not by much!"

The women enjoyed the small amount of power they held over the males for only a short time more...it was unsporting to go on taunting them, and they had had their fun. Kha went and found Sennedjem hiding out in the stable seeking the friendship of Toby, and whispered something in his ear in their native language. Sennedjem's eyes widened and a grin spread over his face...he willingly followed her back to the tavern and up to their room.

Joxer eventually woke up from his fainting spell and found Cyrene standing over him with a bowl of his favorite soup and all was good in his world again...

The others wandered back in one by one, even Salmoneus and his wares, and when they saw the atmosphere had returned to one of joviality and camaraderie they relaxed a little....until Autolycus noticed a small scaly red patch near Xena's ear and tiny bumps on the top of her head...

But that's another tale.

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