Welcome to Dragon & Tiger

Title and Chapter Number: Paybacks 1/1
Fandom: Xena/Ares Temple
Rating: NC17
Disclaimer: Xena, Ares, and other Herc/Xenaverse Characters are owned by their respective creators and they retain all rights. Priestesses own themselves. Fireheart and other OC's are owned by me.
Special Warning: None
Beta: None
Cast: Ares' Temple Priestesses, Warlords
Timeline: AU
Spoiler: Not really, since this never happened
Summary: Practical jokes get out of hand.
Notes: Strangeness endues.

"HEY! Nymph, Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?"

"I think so Fire, but a codpiece made from a real fish would get smelly after awhile wouldn't it?"

Fire lurked about the Temple for days, avoiding contact, and watching Derex and Vanquisher with an evil eye.

There was a plan forming in her brain, but she would need help. Who could keep a secret? Even through Derex's infamous tickle torture? Ahhh...the only one who has ever survived it, Nymph. An evil smile crossed her face just as Van entered the room.

"Wa'cha doin'?" he asked. She was starting to give him the creeps.

"Contemplating your afterlife."

This was getting to be too much. Had the glue fumes gotten to her brain? Van backed out of the room. She had something evil up her sleeve, and Derex should be warned.

"Hey Nymph, got any plans for tomorrow night?"

"Why Fire? What are we going to do tomorrow night?"

"Try to take ov--er, I mean, get revenge on Van and Derex. I have a plan...But first we'll need Dragonflyer's help..."

"OK, you know what you're supposed to do?" Fire asked.


"Good hunting!"

Nymph crept around the Temple quiet as a mouse, gently cradling one of the little purple bottles she and Fire had wrangled out of Jenni. Fire was on a similar mission to find Van and deliver their surprise. Where could he be? she asked herself. Not in his room, not in the kitchen, not on the practice field, not in the armory... "A-HA!" the STABLE!

As Nymph came to the doorway of the stable, she heard voices inside.

Meanwhile... Vanquisher found Derex in the stable, where he was grooming his warhorse...

"Derex, I think we may have a bigger problem than we thought."

"Why's that?"

"Fire just told me that she was 'contemplating' my 'afterlife'."

"You shouldn't let her spook you like that, she's just trying to fake you out. Nothing's going to happen."

"Hello boys." Nymph said, leaning on the doorway. Uh-ho. Got to get rid of Van, I don't have enough for 2. "Can I join? Or is this conversation just for big, strong, sexy Warlords like yourselves?" she asked, looking meaningfully at Derex.

Van rolled his eyes. "We were just finishing," he said, motioning to Derex over Nymph's head. Lets get out of here! he mouthed.

But Derex was concentrating on Nymph, who had placed herself firmly between the Warlords, gazing up into Derex's eyes, drawing a finger down Derex's chest...

"Aawwww...did I miss all the fun?" Nymph drawled. She leaned closer (if that was possible) to Derex. Gently she started to draw out the purple bottle.

Derex panicked. He tried to push past Nymph to make his escape, but the stall was cramped, what with a warhorse, a Warlord, and a Priestess in it, and Van blocking the doorway. In the ensuing bustle, Nymph's bottle got crushed between the three humans, spilling on them all, with the majority actually hitting it's mark. All three ended up in a pile on the floor.

Fire entered the stable just in time to see them all fall and realize what had happened. Quickly she covered her face with her sleeve and ducked back around the corner, just peeking to see the results.

Van was the first to recover. "Poit! What happened?" He sat up and shook his head, rubbed his eyes. "This is a pain which is going to linger."

It was all Fire could do not to fall hysterically to the ground.

Then Nymph came to. "Egad. Derex! Are you all right?" She got up and started to shake him.

Derex shook his head, trying to clear the cobwebs. What was going on? An earthquake? "Stop shaking me!" He tried to stand, but with no luck. Then he rolled over and crawled to his horse's leg, to use it as a crutch. Bored with stupid humans, the horse turned its head to look at it's master, just as Derex looked up into its big brown eyes. "Naaaarrrrrfff...Your head looks like a really clean carrot."

"Derex? What in Tartarus are you talking about?" Van asked, incredulous. He picked up a shard of the purple bottle from the floor and read the label. "Love Potion #10!!!"

Fire couldn't take any more. Derex making eyes at his horse, Nymph goo-gooing over Derex, and Van sneezing, falling down, and making strange noises. This was not my plan. "Nymph! There you are, I've been looking everywhere for you. Why, look at the time, we really have to get going."

"Not so fast! I should have known you'd have something to do with this."

"Who? Me?" Fire put on her best innocent look, but Van wasn't buying it. She grabbed a still stunned Nymph's arm, and tried to make an exit, but Van blocked her way. Or he tried to. The doorway just happened to be right where he was walking, and he met it with a thud. "Yes! This pain will definitely be with me." Fire and Nymph made good their get-away while Van was still sitting on the floor.

"Derex? Are you pondering what I'm pondering?"

"Uh, I think so Van, but this time, you wear the tutu."

"If I could reach you, I would hurt you."

Safe in her room, "Nymph, what happened?" Fire asked.

"Happened? What do you mean?" Her eyes were still glazed from the LP#10.

"Derex, Van, the horse? You were just supposed to let him sniff it, not Van, and especially not you! They were going to be our love slaves!"

"Yes, love, that's it. I love Derex."

"Egad! The workings of your mind are a mystery to me Nymph. Sit tight, I'm going to go get Jenni."

Van was having similar problems with Derex, who'd been hit much harder with the LP#10 than Van himself had.

"Ya know Derex, I think Nymph likes you."

"But I've already got a girlfriend."

"Derex, you are a Warlord. That is a horse."

"Oh Van, don't start that again."

"You should really go see Destine. She did wonders for me. Seems I'm allergic to Love Potion #10, and that's what's been making me walk into walls and say stupid things. Zort!"

Derex raised an eyebrow. "And?"

"Oh, it will just have to work its way out of my system."

"How long will that take?"

"A couple of months. You should talk to her."

"I did."

"What did she say?"

"I'm not sure, I told her what happened, and she just said, 'Ou ee ou ah ah, bing bang, walla walla bing bang. Ou ee ou ah ah, bing bang, walla walla bang bang.'"

"I finally got her to go to sleep. I locked her in her room. I hope she stays there, she's got it bad for Derex. How long does this stuff last?" Fire asked.

"As far as I can tell, Nymph should be OK in a couple of days." Jenni said.

"What about Van?"

"He seems to have been spared the love part of the potion, but he's allergic to it, he's been walking into stuff and saying strange things... it's weird. He should be ok too, eventually."

"Great, how's Derex?"

"Um, well, Destine tells me that he got a big dose. And he's got the hots for his horse." Jenni rolled her eyes and grinned wickedly.

"Yeah, I know, but how long will he be that way?"

Jenni shrugged, "Months?"

"Months?! Can't we do anything? I'm beginning to think this wasn't such a good idea."

"Well, do you still have the other bottle? Give him another dose, but make sure he falls for something better this time."

"Jenni, you're a saint! I'll catch you latter!"

"Where are you going?"

But Fire was already gone....


Fire waited outside Derex's door. She heard someone inside. Vanquisher threw open the door. "YOU! Just what I need, another crazy female."

"Another?" Fire tried to look around Vanquisher, and saw Nymph sitting on the bed with Derex, who looked totally miserable. She snuck past Van while he was distracted. "Girl, how did you get out?"

"My secret. I had to see Derex, he's so sad..." Nymph made puppy-dog eyes at him, but he didn't even notice.

Fire turned back to Van, "Van, I have a plan."

He looked at Fire with disbelief all over his face. "Isn't that what started this?"

"Squeeze me? I started this? I don't think so!"

"Oh, come on, it was just a gag. It wasn't even supposed to be your room. Can't you take a joke?"

"I am not devoid of humor."

"Brilliant, Fire! Oh, no, wait. What if we want to use a plan that works?"

"Do you have a better idea?"

"Hmmm... let me think..."

"Don't hurt yourself, Van. Nymph, we need your help, how do you feel?"

"Ok. So we just give him a little dose, and make sure he looks in the mirror? You sure this is going to work?" Nymph asked.

"Right. He's going to be impossible to live with, but it saves his poor horse. Promise me something, guys. Never breed."

I feel cleansed.

Tell you what Van, to avoid any future confusion, come on over, and I'll give you something to feel...

You guys are getting off easy, I had a nice little revenge planned involving superglue, bellybuttons, and "morning wood", but Nymph talked me out of it.