Atropos' shears close.

And the world trembles—but does not end—as Zeus passes from it.  I am still here, and I am still War.

But you've left me all alone.  I spent fifty centuries hating you, father.  Whatever will I do now?  Is this how mortals feel in losing their parents?  That there's no longer anyone standing between them and death.

I close my fingers around the end of the thread.  But you had a good long run of it, didn't you?  Your thread weaves all through this tapestry, touching so many others.  There begins your connection with Hera, an endless tangle that makes the Gordian look like a cat's cradle.

But wait, I can't really say endless any more can I, mother?  He killed you with a kiss.  Appropriate.  How many others did he destroy that way?  With how many little deaths did those other kisses gift you?

Oh, and thank you, mother.  I'll always cherish that your last gesture to me was a fireball in the back.  To help Hercules of all people.

And here—so close to the end—is where his thread begins.  A short thread, but changing the weft and warp of so many others.  Including Xena's.  Another tiny thread, but so messy, almost as if she were trying to compress as many knots as Zeus twisted into a single mortal lifetime.

Xena, my Xena, I said once that you could change a man.  It seems even Hercules the great wasn't immune.  Hercules the patricide, now.  Who'd've thought it?  Zeus should have died by my hand.

But if you had, father, would you have said that you were proud of me?

I yank the thread, which does not budge.  Still no give in you, even now?  Five thousand years, and I never earned those words.  Yet Hercules somehow did it in less than fifty.  He made the people love him, you said.  But that's just what you never understood, father.  You can't make people love you.  Never in a thousand rapes did you find any love.  Fate, on the other hand, you make for yourself.

And you've immortality of a different sort now, woven through the lives you've bent, the new threads spinning off your own.  That's all of eternity mortals ever possess...  Is that why they love their children?  I let go.

The thread is severed, not gone.

 The End