Love and Life

Love and Life

By Emily

Disclaimer: None of these characters are mine (except Bad Guys and Kiara). They are all owned by the producers of the show and Fox Kids.

The sun shone brightly into the thick and green forest and a light breeze gently rustled the leaves on the trees. The sudden laughter of three young men, Hercules, Iolus, and Jason, broke the stillness.

“No, I think you are mistaken, Herc. My horse won that race fair and square,” Iolus said, laughing and patting his sweating horse as they walked their horses back to the Academy.

“I don’t think so,” Hercules answered back. “My horse was way in front before yours even came close.”

“How can any of you tell?” Jason interrupted them. “It looked like a tie from where I was.”

“Yeah, behind us,” Iolus laughed, quickly trotting his horse away from Jason, who tried to swipe a playful punch at him. “Hey, why don’t we go to Corinth tonight to celebrate my win?”

“I don’t know guys,” Hercules said.

“Ah, come on Herc. Maybe you can meet some cool chick there. Have some fun.”

“That’s the problem, Iolus,” Jason said. “Hercules doesn’t want to meet any girls. Why is that, Hercules?”

Hercules sighed. “I don’t know, I just don’t get along with any girl I meet. Look you guys just go without me, OK?”

The guys shook their heads, but remained quiet.

Suddenly a “LOOK OUT!” was screamed at the three boys and someone on a white horse burst out of the bushes, nearly missing them in his headlong flight toward the woods. “What the heck was that?” Iolus shouted, reining in his nervous horse.

“I don’t know,” Hercules said, looking back where the stranger had disappeared.

There was a yell and suddenly several guys appeared, barely missing the young men again, and they too disappeared into the woods where the stranger had gone.

“But I do believe that he needs our help.” Hercules said, taking off after the men.

“We’d better help him,” Jason muttered turning his horse around and following Hercules with Iolus behind him.

As Hercules galloped through the woods, he could hear the shouts of the men and laughter as he drew closer. When he caught up with the group, Hercules dismounted and snuck behind some bushes. The men had the stranger on the ground and they were circling him like wolves around a wounded animal. Hercules couldn’t see the stranger’s face, for it was hidden behind a cloak. He heard Iolus and Jason dismount and kneel beside him. “We have to help him.” Jason whispered.

“Ok, let’s split up and circle them, then all together we’ll make our move.”

“Um, Herc...” Iolus muttered. “There is seven of them and only three of us.”

Hercules shrugged. “I’ll do it anyway even without your help.”

“No. We are together on this.” Iolus said. “Let’s do it.”

The three young men split up and silently circled the laughing men. The tallest man, the leader, grabbed the stranger’s arm and yanked him off of the ground. “ I’ll teach you some manners you little bug.” the leader growled.

“I don’t need any from you,” the stranger said, suddenly kicking out and hitting the leader in the groin. The leader doubled over in pain as his men came after the stranger. That’s when Iolus, Hercules, and Jason lept out of the bushes and attacked the men. The stranger helped them and before long most of the men were laying on the ground unconscious, others had fled in fear.

“That was some good foot work,” Iolus said, coming up to the stranger.

“Thanks,” came the reply and suddenly the stranger removed the hooded cloak, revealing long, blond hair and the bluest eyes Hercules had ever seen.

“Oh,’re a girl?” Iolus said in astonishment.

“You have a problem with that?” She said in defense, frowning.

“No, no, no problem,” Iolus stammered.

“Well, I’m Hercules and these are my friends, Jason and Iolus. What’s your name?” Hercules asked, trying to break the awkwardness of the situation.

“Kiara. And I want to thank you for coming to my rescue. Those men got the better of me.”

“Why were they after you?” Hercules asked.

Kiara sighed and shook her head. “I... can we talk about this later? Right now I am starving for some food. Do you know of a place close by?”

A little while later, the four of them were sitting in Kora’s. After their food arrived and they all had eaten, Kiara sighed and Hercules could tell that she was sad about something. “Hey, Kiara,” Hercules said, pushing his empty plate away. “It is getting late and you can’t travel anymore tonight. Why don’t you come to the Academy with us and Cheiron will surely let you stay for the night.”

“I don’t know. I could use the rest, but I really need to get going.”

“Oh come on Kiara, there’s no harm done if you stay and sleep for one night.” Iolus said. Kiara smiled.

“Thanks guys.” She said, smiling and her eyes met Hercules’. They held there for a moment until Jason and Iolus stood up.

“We’ll meet you at the Academy,” Jason said and they left, leaving Hercules and Kiara alone.

Hercules smiled. “Come on, I’ll escort you to our Academy.” Kiara smiled and let Hercules take her hand and lead her out to the Academy.

Cheiron had no problem letting Kiara stay and the half-man half-horse showed Kiara to the women’s sleeping quarters, leaving Hercules to go back to his. Hercules smiled to himself as he walked back to the men’s quarters. Kiara was unlike any girl he had ever met. She held herself with a confidence that seemed as strong as bronze.
Hercules had trouble getting to sleep that night. All he had on his mind was Kiara’s blue eyes looking deep into his.

Morning came quicker then Hercules thought and Kiara met them at the breakfast table early that morning. She smiled when she saw Hercules and sat across from him.

“How did you sleep?” Hercules asked, smiling back.

“Great. Beats sleeping on the ground that is for sure. Your teacher, Cheiron, sure is nice, just to let strangers come into this Academy and sleep.”

“Yeah he is a great teacher, but can be strong in his ways. Most centaurs are.”

They ate and when the students started to disperse, Hercules came up to Kiara, as she gathered her cloak. “Are you leaving already?”

“I have to get going...” she muttered without looking up.

“Well, let me show you to the barns.” Hercules said and together they left toward where the barns were located.

Hercules watched Kiara’s every movement as she saddled and bridled her white horse. “Why don’t you stay a little longer?”

Kiara sighed. “ I would like to but every minute I am here I put you in danger...” suddenly she stopped short and stared into Hercules’ eyes with a frightened look.

“What? Why...?” But before Hercules could say anything more, Kiara turned her back on him and ran off into the woods that bordered the Academy. “Kiara! Wait!” Hercules shouted after her.

He finally found her sitting down on a fallen trunk, trying to stiffle back sobs.

“Kiara? Please, tell me what is going on? Why were you being chased?” Hercules whispered to her, sitting down next to her on the log.

Kiara remained quiet for several moments. Then she looked up to face Hercules. “I... I grew up with my family on a little farm. We were poor but my dad made sure we would survive another year. One year we were especially lucky so daddy gave me Stardust, my horse.” Kiara smiled, remembering that day. But her smile faded. “Then last year, a band of men came to our farm. Their leader, Bandolis, demanded pay or they would burn our home and everything we had. My dad refused. Bandolis...he killed him, my mom, and my brother. They decided to keep me as property. Burning our house and barns down anyway, they took me away. I finally was able to escape Bandolis and his ruthless band yesterday, and that is when I ran into you.” Kiara closed her eyes and bowed her head. “They will find me, that is why I have to leave here as soon as possible, so nobody else gets hurt on my behalf.”

“No, Kiara, no. It was not your fault. Nothing is your fault.” Hercules whispered, putting his arm around Kiara’s shoulder. “Those men will never harm you again.”

Kiara looked up at him threw her tears. “I can’t let you put yourself in harm’s way because of me.”

Hercules put his hand up to her face and gently wiped away the tears. “Ever since I first saw you, I was hooked. Your attitude and your courage, they are amazing. You have kept too many things locked inside, and you need to let it all out. Stay with me at the Academy. Cheiron can teach you lots and you will find a home here. I want you to stay because if you leave, my heart will go with you.”

Kiara looked deep into Hercules’ blue and caring eyes and smiled. “You don’t even know me. How can you care so much for me?”

“Because, you are the girl I have always wanted to find. You care for people just like I do. I love you for everything you are.”

“I love you too Hercules.” Their lips met. Hercules could feel her silky hair under his hands as he combed his hand threw it and he drew her closer. Kiara leaned closer to Hercules’ strong body, drinking in his warmth and love he gave to her. Their kiss was strong and when it ended, both of the young people smiled at each other.

“Come on Kiara, let’s get back and unsaddle Stardust. We have work to do.”

Walking hand in hand, Hercules and Kiara walked back toward the Academy.

“Where did you guys go?” Iolous asked. “I’ve been looking for you Herc. We have practice in five minutes.”

Hercules smiled and looked down at Kiara. “Iolus always wants me to be his fighting buddy because I go easy on him.”

“That is not true!” Iolus said in defense, turning around and walking off. Kiara laughed and felt Hercules hand grasp hers. She looked up at him and smiled.

“Let’s go, maybe you can teach me some of that footwork you performed yesterday.”

As the day went by, Kiara began to feel more at home at the Academy. Hercules taught her how to bring down Iolus, which did not please Iolus any, and after lunch they sat under a tree and Kiara helped Hercules and Iolus on their homework. Hercules was surprised how much she knew from not going to school but she explained that she still remembered some things her father and mother had taught her. Iolus didn’t care where she had gotten all of her knowledge, he was happy just to have the basics of the lesson explained. “Man, I’m finally gonna pass this next test after all. Thanks Kiara.”

“No problem, Iolus, just remember to go over all that you learned before that test date comes around.”

Iolus laughed and left the two of them alone. “You really helped Iolus. I have never seen him understand all of this crap before.” Hercules said, rolling up the math scroll.

“He just needs to be taught and have someone understand him. He has a bright mind, but he has never been properly taught how to use it.”

Hercules smiled and shook his head. “You are amazing. Look at all that you have been through and yet you are still willing to help others.”

“I guess I help others to get my mind off of my own problems.” Kiara shrugged, leaning against Hercules’ side. Hercules put his arm around her and they sat there in silence until the dinner bell was called.

Little did they know that they were being watched. Bandolis’ tall frame was bent behind some bushes grinned evilly. “I see you have a new boy now, my pretty one. But you will be mine very soon. Oh so very soon.”

The next morning was bright and beautiful as Kiara made her way to the stables to see to Stardust. She felt like a weight had been lifted off of her shoulders. She loved the Academy and last night she and Hercules had gone to talk to Cheiron about her staying at the Academy. He had agreed and told her that she could help with chores around the Academy for tuition money. Hercules had hugged her and congratulated her. Kiara smiled thinking of that moment. Just being near Hercules brightened her and helped her forget all of the pain and sadness that she had been through. Stardust nickered a greeting, thrusting her white head out of the stall. “Yes girl, I am finally here.” Kiara laughed.

Grabbing some brushes, she began to groom the tall mare, her thoughts wondering to Hercules. He was so gentle and understanding. She had never known a guy to be that way before. It was almost like he was part god or something. She smiled and shook her head. That was ridiculous. Hercules was just a nice guy, one of the few men that were like that.

“Oh, Star, I have never felt this was about a guy before. I love him.” Star turned her head to look at her owner. Kiara laughed and bent to put the brushes away.

A shadow suddenly appeared over her. Expecting Hercules, she turned to look up at the young man and was shocked to find Bandolis hovering over her!

“Well, well. I see you have finally reappeared my sweet,” he growled, and quickly grabbing her arm ruffly, he yanked her from the stall and outside where the rest of his men where waiting for him.

“Let go of me! I don’t want to stay with you anymore!” Kiara shouted, trying to break Bandolis’ strong grasp on her arm.

“No you don’t want to stay with me because you found another, isn’t that right?” Bandolis said, yanking her closer to him. “Well you might as well forget about him because you will never see him again.”

Kiara suddenly spit in Bandolis’ face. Bandolis screamed in anger, and with his other hand slapped her across the face, knocking her hard on the ground. “I am not going to put up with this anymore you little worm. I will teach you some lessons when we get back to camp. Now mount up!”

Kiara had tears running down her face from anger and the stinging cheek. “I told you that I will not go with you.” Bandolis’ face grew red in anger.

“I will not be disobeyed.” Looking toward his men, Bandolis pointed to Kiara on the ground. “Grab her and let’s go.”

The men yanked her up and Kiara tried to fight, kicking one of the men in the knee. But their grips were too strong. “Let me go!” Kiara screamed, trying to attract some attention. But the stable yard looked empty.

“Hey!” came a shout, and all of the men and Kiara looked up to see Hercules striding up to them. “Let her go now!”

Bandolis laughed and drew his sword. “What? Will the little boyfriend stop me all by himself? You forget boy, I own her. Now turn around and leave before I hurt you.”

Hercules looked at Kiara’s frightened face and turned back to Bandolis. “I told you to let her go.”

Bandolis frowned. “Guess I’ll just have to hurt you then.” Suddenly he swung the sword at Hercules’ head but Hercules neatly dodged the sword. Bandolis yelled and swung again, but again Hercules dodged the swinging blade, this time rolling under the blade and kicking out , hitting Bandolis in the chest. Bandolis was knocked back. “You little...I’ll cut you to pieces.”

Hercules got up on his feet just as Bandolis lept toward him again. Hercules kicked out, knocking the sword from Brandolis’ hand, then with his other leg, kicked Bandolis in the chest again, knocking him to the ground. Bandolis steamed as he got up.

“Grab him, you idiots. Am I alone over here?”

Two of Bandolis’ men ran over and attacked Hercules. Hercules was able to knock one of them away form him, but the other attacked on the other side and punched Hercules in the face, knocking him to the ground. Hercules tried to rid the stars that clouded his vision as Bandolis laughed and hovered over him with his sword. “I’ll teach you not to mess with me.”

Suddenly he raised the sword and was about to stab it into Hercules when Hercules quickly rolled out of the way, jumping to his feet. Grabbing a pole that was lying near the barn, Hercules blocked Bandolis’ swing. When Bandolis swung again, Hercules slammed the pole into Bandolis’ hand, knocking the sword out of his hands. Bandolis screamed in pain, kneeling to the ground, clutching his broken hand. Hercules glanced at Bandolis’ group of men who had just dropped Kiara and were running toward the woods.

“Get back here you fools!” Bandolis yelled angrily, but Hercules stopped him short, as he grabbed the sword and pointed it at Bandolis’ throat.

“I want you to leave this place, and never come back.” Hercules growled. “If you even show your stinkin face anywhere near this city, I will come and defeat you again, this time with more broken bones then just your hand.”

Bandolis glared at Hercules but didn’t say anything as he stood up and marched off to where his men left.

Hercules sighed heavily, dropping the sword and going to help Kiara up. She hugged Hercules tightly, crying against him. “It’s OK, Kiara. Everything is going to be fine. He’s gone for good.”

“Oh, Hercules,” Kiara said, lifting her head up to look at him. “You could have been killed. Why did you endanger your life like that?”

“Because I love you, Kiara. And nobody can take you away from me.”

Kiara smiled and hugging him tighter, bringing her lips to meet his. Their kiss was broken by Iolus and Jason’s whooping as they entered the stable yard. Hercules and Kiara looked up to see the two guys walking up to them laughing.

“Well, we underestimated Zeus’ son. Hercules finally found a girl.”

Kiara starred at the two boys and then turned to see Hercules face turn away from her. “You really are a god?”

Hercules looked at her and nodded slowly. “I’m only half-god actually.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Kiara said in shock.
“Because I guess I wanted you to like me for who I am , not because I am Zeus’ son and all.”

Jason and Iolus kept silent, knowing that they probably just now ruined Hercules one chance for a girlfriend.

“I meant to tell you...” Hercules said, with sadness in his eyes.

Kiara looked away. She felt shock that the man, whom she had grown to love and trust, was actually a son of the great god Zeus. Then she remembered the good times she had had with Hercules. All he wanted was for her to like him for the person he was, and she did. Smiling, Kiara looked up into Hercules eyes. “I still love you. Even though you are a son of a god.”

Laughing, Kiara and Hercules kissed, with Iolus and Jason shooting ‘I told you so’ looks at each other.

“Well, I’m ready for a workout. Jason, would you come and be my partner for the pair-ups?” Iolus asked.

“I sure will.” The two young men walked off, leaving Hercules and Kiara embraced in each others arms.

The End

Read the sequel: "Loyalty"

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