Xena, Gabrielle, Argo, Joxer and gang belong to MCA, yada, yada, yada
BUT I wrote this baby. This story contains violence, scantily-clad women (pity
this is *just* a story and not a movie), and is SUBTEXT galore- whoppie!! If
this sorta thing icks you out then I recommend that you don't read this story,
Afterall, I'm not gonna twist your leg or attempt cutting off the flow of blood
to your brain. Really. (I'll just take a shot at my "round killing thingie"). ;)

This story marks my 3rd attempt at writing fanfic so do be kind. If I
wanted hard-core critism I would've sent it to some gruffy publisher already.<g>
Thanks to those guys who've helped me out one way or other, may Lucy visit you
in your dreams... >;D Please feel free to visit our Xenites Anonymous website
at Sign our guestbook! Check
out our pages! Say hi! Just come!!

Aggy, even tho' we'd just met like a month ago, we've had so much fun
together. This one's for you. You've been a wonderful friend. *HUGS*

Do feel free to email me what you think about my story(ies). I would
really like hearing from you. Just write to Thanx a
bunch and battle on Xeeeeenites!!

Amazon Moon

Hard, cold hazel eyes flashing with insanity stared into mine. I thrashed
about wildly, painfully choking for air. The more I struggled, the more she
tightened her hold on my throat. I knew I would die if I didn't surrender. This
chick wasn't playing... she was for real.

"I'm getting really tired of this game now, Chrissy baby," Callisto cooed,
her smooth face looking so sickening sweet and cheerful. This woman was crazy,
I told myself. Now look what you've gotten yourself into- a whole sh*tty mess,
I chided myself as I attempted kicking around, my feet at least three inches
off the ground.

"All right, okay- you win,"I gasped when I felt a foot stepping into Hades'
domain already. Instantly I felt her let go of my aching throat, making me fall
unto the ground in a heap. I glared up at her, anger burning in my dark eyes.
Bitch, I swore under my breath.

Callisto swooped down beside me, brushing away a lock of damp flaming
red hair off my forehead almost lovingly as she gently stroked the side of my
flushed face. She was insane- she had just tried killing me just two seconds
ago and now she was behaving like some *highly* affectionate friend. Creepy.

She had approached me at the tarven I had been in and sat at my table
drinking port. I didn't mind, really. But I was wary. I must've drunk more than
I had intended, agreeing to wrestle her. The wages were high. If I won, she
would pay me 500 dinars. If I lost, I would be under her hire. She knew who I
was, and not many people did. I am known as Chriss, although to some I am called
"Young Blade". It's a silly moniker, really. But I'm the last disciple of the
great assassin, Lord Millicent, otherwise known as the Dark Shadow. He died three
years ago, from a heart attack one dead stormy night.

I was a poor, dirt-ragged orphan not more than seven years old when he
picked me up from the dump. He never married, and treated me good. He was like
a father to me. He trained me, taught me, fed me, loved me. I would never forget
that. Then on the night of my thirteenth birthday, he passed away. Unlucky thirteen.
People would probably think of him as a bloody bastard who would do any job
as long as it paid well. But I knew him. I was afterall his daughter.

I was never really a born-fighter, I was a klutz. And I always admired his
two students, Adelpho and Eubule, who trained intensively under him. They were
just so... slick. But Eubule came down with a high fever one day that killed him.
As for Adelpho, I heard he got beheaded six months back for a failed assaination
on some king. I guess he was really down on his luck that night.

"You've got nice hair,"Callisto remarked as she helped me to my seat,
casually pouring some of the strong port for the both of us. I flinched uneasily as
I took the cup from her. People that cheerful had to have some problem up there.
She was just too... happy.

"All right, Missy,"I started, putting my cup down on the table as I looked
at her smiling face,"I'm at your service. You know me, you know who I am, you
know what I do. So who do you want me to kill?" I frowned inwardly. The Dark
Shadow may have been my father, my teacher, but I never felt that I lived up
to his standards. I wasn't *that* good.

Callisto took a long sip of her port, sighing contentedly as she pressed
the cup against her smooth cheek. She looked me straight in the eye, a twisted
smile on her lips. Her dark, insane eyes twinkled as she bent closer to face me.
"I want you to kill Xena's friend...Gabrielle."


"Isn't this place great, Xena?" the Amazon bard asked cheerfully as
she walked beside her bestfriend, a strong warrior woman dressed in black leather.
They were in the town of Gaia, definately the friendliest place in all of Greece.
The town was pleasant and cheery, full of amiable people who were very helpful.
The wares (not whores >;P) there were sold at a steal and there was peace and
harmony all around.

"Yeah, it's nice," Xena remarked as she lead Argo behind her, casually
observing the buzz which was going on around. They had been on the hard, dusty road for a
long time now. And she knew Gabrielle was pretty much looking forward to sleeping
in a real bed and eatting *real* food.

"Let's stop here," Xena nodded at the direction of a homely looking tarven
simply called "The Tarven". The place looked decent and comfortable even. It
would be a nice change, Xena decided as she noted Gabrielle's delighted grin
on her sunny face.

"Sounds great," the young bard nodded eagerly as she headed towards the
tarven,"I could sure use a hot meal and a *real* bed." Gabrielle's stomach rumbled
suddenly, at the thought of a nice warm meal.

Xena chuckled fondly as she handed Argo's reins to a helper before following
her bestfriend inside. She could use a real meal herself. And her supply of port
was running low.


"G-Gabrielle?" I swallowed as I stared at Callisto's smiling face," You
must be kidding, she's Xena's bestfriend!" My face turned a shade paler as sweat
started forming on my brow. This was not good. Not good at all.

"Why? Think you can't handle it?" Callisto purred sweetly as she unsheathed
her sword, casually examining it's sharp blade. She looked up at me with a
sudden jerk of her head, the tip of the blade moving towards me. I anticipated
that move and swerved to my left, swinging out my right leg and catching her
in the stomach, causing her to drop her sword at the sudden unexpected blow and
stumble a few steps back.

"I CAN do it,"I replied hotly, insulted by her remark,"My teacher was
*the* invincible Dark Shadow... I won't let you down." I grunted, my slim fingers
on the hilt of my sword. It had belonged to my father.

Callisto picked herself off the ground forlornly. She was beautiful,
really. It was a pity she was just so unstable and obsessed. She replaced her
sword quietly, as if thoughtfully.

"Well then," the blonde warrior said sweetly, a dark smile on her red
lips,"...good luck, Chriss." And with that, she left the tarven, her group of
rascally-looking men following behind.

I gripped the edge of the wooden table as I sat down. Great, I shut my
green eyes in frustration, I had just agreed Callisto to kill Gabrielle. Either
way, if I fail, Xena or Callisto would get me. I was doomed. Oh, bummer.


"The water's great, Xena," Gabrielle called out joyfully as she soaked
herself in the hottub, splashing around gleefully. The hot water was theraphic
for her tensed, aching muscles after all that long journeying. Gabrielle looked
over at her friend undressing,"Quick, c'mon in!"

Xena smiled at her friend having fun, she was definately enjoying herself.
She slipped out of her leathers, placing them in a neat pile before heading to
the inviting hottub. Xena paused for a while. Was it really Gabrielle who was
making it inviting?

Stop it, Xena chided herself as she stepped inside the tub. She had been
having wonderfully erotic dreams of her bard and herself for many nights now,
and the thought of Gabrielle and her together as a couple made her uneasy.
Besides, it was not as if Gabrielle was in love with her or something. She had to
get her thoughts straight. Gabrielle was the marrying kind, Xena believed, she won't
want to be stuck with me for the rest of her life. And besides, *if* Gabrielle
became her lover, she would be in greater danger than she already is.

Beside her, Gabrielle made a loud satisfied sound that sounded close to
...something that made Xena feel a bit of heat getting in between her legs. And it
was *not* the hot water.

"Glad you're enjoying yourself,"Xena remarked as casually sounding as she
could watching her friend relax by the side of the tub, her eyes closed. She
could see the top of her firm, young breasts those beautiful, round moulds
of flesh... Stop it, Xena!, she screamed inside her head. Gurl, you really are
going bananas, Xena decided as she shut her eyes momentarily, disgusted with her
pervertness. But her eyes flew open at Gabrielle's soothing voice.

"I'll rub your back for you, Xena, then you can rub mine," Gabrielle
headed over to the warrior princess, sponge in hand,"C'ere."

Xena was about to protest but at Gabrielle's touch, she decided to
stay. Heck, she smiled, it wasn't all that bad. And she was glad Gabrielle offered
to do her back, she rather enjoyed it. She felt the young bard's confident,
circular strokes. It was wonderful. It was like the Elysian Fields. Then suddenly,
the warrior woman stiffened.

"Sorry about that," Gabrielle apologised sheepishly,"I, uh, I guess I
slipped." She then took her hand away from Xena's breast. Damn, the Amazon bard
sighed inwardly, why doesn't Xena ever say anything? Gabrielle fumed. She had
feelings for this wet, naked woman before her. But how was she going to tell
her the feelings she had inside? What if Xena doesn't feel the same way and
what if she left her? She swallowed. No, she couldn't risk it. She couldn't
bear the thought of losing Xena.

Xena's heart fluttered. Gabrielle's hand had "slipped" and touched her
sensitive flesh. She turned around, looking into gay green eyes. Looking into
those soft green pools, Xena started,"Gabrielle, I-"

Xena paused. No, it must have been an accident. She probably doesn't
feel the same way. Gabrielle was so innocent, so unassuming. And the marrying
kind. She's not going to stick with her forever. One day she'll find another
Perdicas and...

"...I think I'll go downstairs and order some food for us," Xena finished
as she pulled herself out of the steam-tub. A part of her wanted to kick herself,
and another felt like staying with Gabrielle. It was just too complex.She hurriedly
placed on her leathers, towelling dry quickly before heading downstairs.

Gabrielle bit her lip as she silently watched her friend leave. "This is
just great," she grunted in frustration," Gabrielle, look what you've done!"
She wasn't in the mood anymore. Pulling herself out, she towelled dry and dresses
before heading downstairs for food.


I heard news that Xena and her companion were at the town of Gaia. Of all
places, Gaia, I sighed. The place was really pretty and never had any murders before.
I would have to make it look like some tragic accident.

The journey to Gaia took four hours on horseback. I hadn't killed for
the horse. I merely borrowed it. Really. As soon as I neared the town, I got
off the borrowed mare and slapped her behind, making her head back to her owner.
I only kill when I really have to.

I breezed through the welcoming gates of the merry town, and was welcomed
almost immediately by a number of its residents. The people there all seemed
so nice and genuine. And that made me feel rotten for coming to pollute its land
by killing in cold blood.

"Hello," I stopped a jolly looking man who was holding two fat, pink piglets
under his big burly arms,"I was just wondering if you've seen Xena?... And her
friend Gabrielle?" I'm considered slight, being just a little over 5"3. But my
leather outfit and weapons made up for it. But somehow this guy saw me as a kid.
How revolting.

"Xena, eh?" the big burly jolly guy grinned,"So you're a fan of hers, eh?
Well, girlie, me saw her go into me friend Rob's tarven up ahead, me tried selling
her little friend one of me little, cuddly piggies.."

I felt my stomach churn. This guy kinda reminded me of Millicent's elder
brother. He was supposed to be an "uncle" and he certainly behaved like an annoying
one... just like this Pig Guy. I squeezed my eyes shut and pushed the welcoming
thought of killing him out of my head.

"...But would you like one of me little pigs?" I snapped my eyes open and
saw a pig's snout barely an inch away from my face. "...Only for three dinars," the
Pig Guy chirped. That was it. It was either I kill him now and end my pain or run
away screaming. I chose the latter.


"Xena, this lamb is great," Gabrielle spoke between mouthfuls, waving
her fork in the air,"...try some, it's good." She extended some lamb on her
fork towards her friend seated opposite her.

The warrior woman looked up from wrestling with her extremely well done
steak and saw Gabrielle's willing offer. It looked pretty soggy and everything
but still... What the heck, Xena smirked as she opened her mouth, tasting the

"Well?" Gabrielle asked as she slowly pulled her fork out of Xena's mouth,
admiring her red lips,"Is it good?"

Xena smiled as she licked her lips,"Yeah, tastes great." But it wasn't
the lamb she really wanted to taste. Oh well, too bad you weren't born male, 'ole
gurl, Xena sighed as she continued wrestling with her beef.


I found the tarven quite easily, it being the *only* tarven around. It
was a nice place, with nice people. It had a homely feel, it was like I was a
kid again, living in a farming village and living with my real family. That kind
of warm feeling. Something I vaguely remember. But it wasn't as if my father,
Millicent, hadn't treated me well. It's just that things aren't the same.

I walked in and spotted the bard and her warrior almost immediately. Good,
there was an empty table near theirs. I headed over to it, keeping a low profile.
The last thing I needed was attention.

I sat down and ordered some strong port, soup and nutbread. I was
pretty famished and besides, I've had this constant craving for nutbread ever
since I was a kid. It must run in the family or something. Everyone, I remember,
have this thing for nutbread- uncles, aunts, even cousins.

From where I sat, I observed the two tucking away. Xena was obviously
having a battle with her piece of steak while Gabrielle was rapidly munching
away on her ...meat. What was on her plate, I had no idea. It didn't resemble
any animal to me.

My food soon came and I tucked in greedily as I watched. They were really
good friends, you could tell. And there was this trust thing between them, but
somehow, I could sense that both were hiding something. It wasn't all that hard
to figure, I suppose (I mean, just see the looks they both give each other when
the other isn't looking!). They were hiding their real feelings from each other.
Probably feelings of love.

The soup was a tad too bland but the nutbread was okay. Not as well as I
would have liked but passable. Looking over, I saw Gabrielle's order of nutbread
and Xena's port arrive at their table. So she liked nutbread too.

I was watching them when the bard suddenly looked over and we made eye
contact. I was initally startled but quickly calmed myself and picked up my cup,
casually toasting to her as I gave a tight smile. She had caught me looking.

Gabrielle smiled warmly before turning to speak a few words to Xena. I
felt my skin crawl... what was she telling the warrior princess? I blinked as
I watched her get up from her table and head towards me. Xena was watching
cautiously from the table, keeping an eye as she sipped her port. Now was not the
time for any tricks. Not just yet.

"Hi, I'm Gabrielle," the young blonde greeted me as she extended her
hand,"...and that's my friend Xena." I looked over and saw Xena watching us.
The warrior princess offered a toast, a warm smile on her face.

"Hello, I'm Chriss," I shook her hand,"...good to meet you."

"Are you waiting for someone?" Gabrielle asked me,"Because if you aren't,
you can join us at our table. You'll be very welcomed."

I was stunned, maybe even dazzled by her smile and goodness. I was
speechless for a while. She reminded me so much of one of those folks from my
old village. Like family.

"C'mon," she told me as she took me by the arm, towards her table. I grabbed
my port before following the determined blonde lass.

She sat me down beside her and introduced me to Xena. Xena did seem a
tad intimidating upfront but I quickly got used to it. She wasn't that blood-
thirsty warlord anymore. She was reformed... changed by this woman beside me.
The one Callisto wanted me to kill.

"Pleased to meet you, my name is Chriss," I shook the warrior princess'
hand, slightly amazed by her firm grip. The warrior princess smiled warmly before
taking her hand back,"Charmed to meet you, Chriss."

"So what are you doing here in Gaia all alone?" Gabrielle asked as she
offered me some nutbread from the basket. Xena looked at me as she sipped at her
port. Great, now I had to lie. But hey, I was pretty good at telling stories.

"Well, I, ah,"I shrugged a little as I sipped on my strong port,"...I
was just passing through. Was visiting an old friend for a couple of weeks and
now, I'm heading home. But I couldn't pass by Gaia without going in. It's a great place."

"Since you're travelling alone you could come with us," Gabrielle offered
generously. I looked over at Xena, rising my eyebrows gently in a questioning manner.
"Absolutely," Xena smiled as she gave me a light slap on the shoulder.

"Thanks for the offer then," I was touched. These people were *so* nice.
Maybe I could just hide out in the mountains until Callisto forgot all about me or
until she died or something. I really would hate to kill Gabrielle. I never really
liked killing in the first place.

I was contemplating the idea when I spotted a man spying on us. He had
to be one of Callisto's spies. He was sent to make sure that I did my job.
Great. I guess I might have to finish him off or something.

"...But you'll have to get your own room here, of course," Xena broke my
train of thought as she swirled her remaining port thoughtfully,"...we won't have
enough space in ours for another person. Sorry about that."

"Hey no problem at all,"I reassured them," I'll just get a room beside
yours or something." I must look really docile and harmless to them, for Xena
to have so much trust in me. But I really am an assassin. Even though I'm just sixteen.
"I'll go make arrangements right now." I got up and headed towards the barkeeper.

As I walked away, I noticed Callisto's man leave his spot and follow me.
He was armed with a bulky sword strapped to his waist, spotting numerous tatoos-
one which could have been a mark that signified that he belonged to Callisto.

I made arrangements with the bar-keep then walked outside as if for a
breadth of fresh air. I plucked a flower and playfully tucked it behind my ear,
waiting for him to catch up with me. I walked to a deserted spot behind the tarven
and waited. I could distinctly hear his heavy footsteps.

"Hey girl," a raspy male voice called out behind me. It was him, I know.
I turned around slowly, toying with the flower. It was him all right. He was
a huge man, definately over six feet in height. He was heavy-set and was badly
scarred,"Callisto sent me to tell you something."

"Yeah, I guessed as much," I sighed as I threw the flower aside, walking
slowly towards him,"...what does she what?" I eyed him carefully. He had bad
teeth. Really bad teeth.

"She reminds you of your responsibilities," the henchman dutifully reported
as he folded his huge arms across his beefy chest,"...and she says she wants
Gabrielle's head... in a week's time."

"What?" I snarled, my patience wearing thin,"She dares to make such shitty
requests? Does she know who I am?" I unsheathed my sword and swung it under his
nose,"You tell her that I'm *not* going to obey her bratty instructons. I'm NOT
killing Gabrielle- you got that?"

"Yeah, I got that," Callisto's spy drew his sword and made a menacing-
looking arc with it,"... you're gonna die- Callisto's orders." He ran towards me,
sword in hand, charging blindly. I waited until he was near enough before scooting
downwards and tripping him, making him land on his stomach.

"Pal, you really asked for this," I spat as I landed a punch in his oily
face. The punch didn't knock him out but it stunned him for awhile. I could've
killed him then, but I didn't. But I should've. The he wouldn't have bitten me.

He was quick. I felt a sudden pain in my left hand and realised he had
taken a bite at my hand. He must've been famished or something. I killed him
immediately, jabbing him hard in a vunerable spot just behind the ear. I'd been
trained to use pressure points and that always came in handy. The guy dropped
dead within seconds.

As I took my hand out of his mouth, I grimmaced. The colour of the wound
didn't look good. There was a tinge of blue to the wound and it smelt of poison.
I noticed a piece of parcment sticking out of the big (dead) guy's belt and took
it out. It was probably a note from Callisto. And it was.

I had been poisoned all right. And I only had a week to kill Gabrielle
and send her head to Callisto or I'll die. It's either Gabrielle lives and I die
or Gabrielle's head gets sent to Callisto's quarters and I get my antidote. And
all I've got is a week. Wonderful. I screwed up again. Major bummer!

The wound was tinged with blue- the poison was spreading, I could tell.
I sighed as I positioned the corpse in such a way that it seemed he died of a
heart attack before heading back to the tarven.


"What made you invite her over to our table?" Xena asked her friend as
she picked on some nutbread crumbs. Gabrielle shrugged he shoulders innocently,
chewing on the last of the nutbread,"I don't know Xena, I just thought she was
lonely and I asked her to join us."

Xena raised an eyebrow questioningly, as if unsatisfied. There had to
be something more to this, she figured. Gabrielle caught that look Xena was giving
and sighed. "All right," the bard pushed away the basket,"I don't know why but...
but she just reminded me of this cousin of mine who died ten years ago."

"Your cousin?" Xena asked as she frowned slightly.

"Yeah, I know it's dumb, Xena. But there's just something about Chriss
that reminds me of my cousin Kristabelle. We were like sisters... then her family
got wiped out. But that was a long time ago," Gabrielle's green eyes misted as
she looked into Xena's own blue ones,"...she's got to be dead now. It's been

"C'mon," Xena clasped her friend's shaking hands into her own warm ones
as she wiped away her tears,"I'm sure Kristabelle's probably happy in the Elysian
Fields." But she just couldn't shake off this funny feeling growing inside.


"Damn," I cursed as I bandaged my wound with a strip of cloth I'd torn
from Callisto's spy's shirt. I had been poisoned by Boresek, a fatal poison used
by important spies of long ago. The poison was fitted inside the mouth and once
the victim got bitten, he would only have a week to live. The antidote, the grass
root of the Colturk tree, was rare and only skilled physicians would know how
to treat the infected victim with it.

I had to come up with a believeable story. Xena would definately ask
about the hand. I would just have to make up another story, make the full use
of whatever bardy talent I possessed.

I saunteered in the tarven and casually slid back into my seat. Xena had
ordered another round of port and was pretty much enjoying herself. I smiled
broadly as I faced them,"Yup, everything's arranged, I'll be staying just next

"Wonderful," Xena jerked her head towards my bandaged left hand,"But
what happened to your hand?" I knew it. I knew she would ask. Gabrielle gasped,
shocked,"Chriss, you're hurt!" She started fussing over me like I was a little
six year old who grazed her knee. Reeeally.

"Some farmer's...uh, 'lil pig got a tad nasty and bit me when I tried
patting it. It's nothing, really,"I told Xena earnestly,"I'll live." Yeah, all
I've got is just a week. One week. Seven days. How many hours?

"Pig bite?" Xena asked incredously, eyeing me,"Are you telling me you
got bitten by a pig?" She didn't believe.

"Yeah," I replied indignant,"It was a pregnant pig!" I kept my cool,
keeping eye contact with her even though I felt my blood freeze under the
warrior princess' stare. My hand started to feel numb and I slowly felt the
energy of the fingers of my left hand deminish. The poison acted quick. I cleared
me throat,"You know how violent pregnant animals get." Haha. Funny.

Gabrielle ordered another round of nutbread and I wolfed it down, speaking
to her about things while I tried avoiding Xena's gaze. She was watching me,
I know. She knew something wasn't right somewhere. She knew.


Callisto toyed with the bottle of antidote, wearing a dejected bored
expression on her fair face. She sat on her throne, her loyal Theodores by her
side. She sighed suddenly, looking hard at the small ceramic bottle. Theodores
was just about to ask her if he could do anything for her when one of their
men entered the tent. He looked rather flustered.

"What is it, Logan?" Callisto questioned, her intense eyes shifting to
look over at him,"I haven't got all day."

The henchman cleared his throat but swallowed,"She's killed him, that
assassin- she killed Jourgues." Logan blinked back tears. Jourgues had been his

"Jourgues... dead?" Callisto asked as she leaned out further, eager to
hear more,"Logan, are you sure? Did Chriss really kill him?" She tightened her
hold on the brown bottle, rolling it between her slender fingers with a bright
smile on her face.

"Yes, I'm afraid he is, Callisto," Logan grunted, keeping his head low.

"All right, you may leave," the blonde warrior queen waved him out as
she got off her throne. She started pacing around the tent, playing with the
bottle. Theodores stood up, watching her.

"My plan's working just fine, Theodores," Callisto flashed him a brillant
smile, nearly melting him to his knees. She suddenly stopped pacing and looked
at the bottle holding the antidote, a twisted smile playing on her lips,"...and
when my it suceeds, I'll get my revenge on Xena... by killing her little Gabrielle."


"So you're telling us that you were attacked by a pregnant pig?" Xena
gripped my wrist firmly when Gabrielle left for the restroom. There was suspicion
in her remarkable clear blue eyes and she knew I was up to something.

I tried prying away the strong fingers that gripped me but her hold was
too strong. Sighing, I defeatedly hung down my head, my red tresses falling over
my fair face. Yippie, it's story-time again.

"Yes, I wasn't bitten by a pig, Xena,"I lifted my head slowly and stared
into her eyes,"...I was attacked by a sex maniac." It was so corny. You should've
seen the warrior princess' change of facial expression. She looked so cute,
so... taken aback. Thankfully I managed to keep a straight, serious face.

"S-sex maniac?" Xena demanded, a voice going a tone higher,"You got
attacked by a sex maniac here in Gaia?" The dark warrior woman blinked her blue
eyes, her other hand clamped unto her port.

I kept a straight, serious face as I kept eye contact. Holy bullshit,
I was such a great actress. "Yeah," I sollemly nodded my head,"...but the
reason why I can up with that totally... ridiculous pig story was because I-
I didn't want to get Gabrielle worried and all. She's not like us warriors, yeah?"

Xena released the hold on my hand and her eyes smiled,"You think."


Night soon fell and it was dark. I retired to my room beside theirs, after
having a great time playing cards and drinking. I never remembered having so
much fun before. I was never allowed to play with my teacher's diciples. And
the real fun I'd had was when I was a happy village kid. Before I lost my family
and became an orphan.

Closing the door of my room, I lit the lamp and sat quitely on my bed.
I slowly removed the bandage to inspect the real damage. I discarded the pus-
bloodied cloth and inspected my wound. It looked bad. The cuts made by the
bastard's teeth was half-closed but the wound was tinged with an unhealthy
inky looking blue colour, one of Boresek. The poison was spreading rapidly.
It now nearly covered my whole hand. I had to hide it. I'll just have to wear
a glove over it or something. And then it'll be more story-telling. Oh bother!

I covered my face in my hands and moaned. I really bummed out this time.
It was either I kill Gabrielle or die. It wouldn't work if I'd cut my hand off.
The poison would still be in my body. I had to do Callisto's dirty work. I have
to kill Gabrielle.


"It's been quite a night, huh?" Gabrielle smiled as she helped her friend
with her armour. She had pretty much enjoyed herself and she now felt a wee bit
tired from all that laughing.

"Definately," Xena agreed as she slipped off the metal breast plate and
stretched," Chriss was pretty good at cards too." The warrior princess chuckled,
it was a good thing they hadn't placed bets. They would've lost all they had had
to the pretty girl-woman.

"You know," Gabrielle started as she plopped herself into the wide bed
they shared,"...she really, really is like Kristabelle. It's stupid, I know
but..." Gabrielle shut her eyes and exhaled, shaking her head slowly," They've
got the same hair, those eyes, and-"

Xena crossed over and placed her arm over her friend's shoulder,"You
just miss her, Gabrielle. She isn't Kristabelle. Your cousin died ten years ago.
You've got to let it go." She caressed Gabrielle's cheek tenderly with her fingertips,
feeling their softness.

"Yeah, I suppose," Gabrielle smiled weakly as she looked at her friend.


Back in my room, I laid on my bed, swinging the medallion my real father
had given me a long time back. I always wore it around my neck; it was a small
cresent shaped metal medallion which my grandfather had given to my father and
he passed it to me. It was the only thing I had left of my real family. The
family which I dreamt of every night. Gods, how I missed them.


It was morning and Gabrielle walked down the stairs for breakfast. Xena
and I were already at the table. I'd ordered a basketfull of nutbread and was
spreading generous amounts of butter on it.

"Morning," she greeted as she settled down beside Xena, helping herself
to the basket of steaming fresh nutbread,"Mmm, smells great, doesn't it?"

"Wonderful,"I croaked, trying my best to sound cheerful. I'd checked
my wound this morning before going downstairs and was horrified that the inky
blue colour had risen to nearly half my arm. I wore the glove.

"Not much of a morning person, eh, Chriss," Xena joked as she thumped
me on the back,"...just like Gabrielle..."

"Yeah, yeah," I muttered as bit into my nutbread. It tasted better
than yesterday's. This had to be a fresh batch. I wonder if Gabrielle could bake better.

"What's with the glove?" Gabrielle asked, pointing to my gloved left hand.

"Uh, rheumatism,"I joked as I cracked a wry grin. I toasted some cider
to Xena who laughed good-heartedly and toasted back.

"Funny," Gabrielle retorted, rolling her eyes but smiling widely.

"Nah, looking at that... pig-bite," I glanced over at Xena, who sneaked a wink
at me,"- just really makes me sick. So I decided to cover it up. It looks really gross."
The glove came past my elbow so no one could see the poison moving up my arm. Well,
at least not yet anyway.

Gabrielle reached over and stroked my gloved hand affectionately, making
me flinch at the sudden affection. It had been a long time since I'd felt loved.
I felt kind of awkard. She withdrew her hand immediately and apologized.

"I-I'm sorry, Chriss,"the cousin Gabrielle gushed,"'s just that you
remind me so much of my cousin. Her name was Kristabelle."


The name suddenly rang in my head. But yet sounded so far away. It had
been my name once. A long, long time ago. When I had a whole family living quite
happily in our sleepy farming village and I had a doting dad who worked as a carpenter,
a loving mother who tended to everyone's needs and my very own pup Bark. Life was
great. I felt so happy and free, so loved by everybody. Then things changed when
they were killed. And I was left alone.

We were on the road to visit some relatives when we were robbed by a gang
of bandits. I ran into the bushes and hid there as I witnessed in horror my mother
being raped repeatedly by those bastards. They thrashed up my dad real bad and he
died from internal bleeding. They killed my dog too. Bark had bitten one
of the guys when he tried to protect my mom and they pulled a sword through him.
I witnessed my parents' murders. It was horrible.

When it was all over, I ran to them and tried waking them up. They had to
wake up, I cried, they couldn't leave me alone in this world so unknown to me.
There was so much blood. And these mingled with my tears. I remember shaking my
parents, crying out for them to awake and everything would be all right again.
But they never woke up. Not even my loyal pup. Then Lord Millicent came by on his
big, black steed and picked me up.

"Hey!" I felt a hand thump unto mine and found Xena and Gabrielle looking
worriedly at me, concern in their eyes. They looked liked they had been trying to
get my attention for a long while already.

"Are you all right?" Xena questioned as she squeezed my hand. Gabrielle
raised her eyebrows gently,"You looked pretty zonked out, is something wrong?"

I smiled reassuringly (or so I hope),"I'm fine, really, thank you." But
the truth was, I never really had been fine since that incident.

Callisto paced across her tent impatiently, the bottle of antidote in
her hand. She frowned, deep in thought. Chriss had to kill the irritating bard.
Or she would have to die. She had five days more. To live or to be saved. She
wasn't going to give up her life for some unrelated hero... would she?

Sighing, Callisto sat on her throne, boredly twirling the bottle dejectedly in
her hands. There had been no news and no men wanted to go near the assassin now,
not after what she'd done to one of their best fighters.

"A drink for my warrior queen?" Theodores asked as he offered her a cup
of freshly poured wine. He was madly infatuated with her, this wonderful woman
before him. She was different. And that difference turned him on.

"You know I don't drink, Theodores," Callisto drawled, not even bothering
to look up at him,"I want to see life in all it's agonising glory."

"Just one," the dark warrior prompted, a smile pasted on his scarred face.

The fair haired warrior turned to face him, her eyebrows arched,"You're
not falling for me are you?" She watched him intensely, her hard brown eyes locked
into his. Love is a trick that nature plays on us to make us reproduce, Callisto
reckoned. She didn't want a part in it.

"And what if I was?" her best soldier persisted, walking over to her throne
and kneeling by her feet.

Callisto widened her eyes and grinned,"Then I would have to kill you."

They both were locked in intensed eye-contact when suddenly, both hurled
at each other, clawing and kissing each other fiercely. Clothes were stripped
off quickly and the heat of passion rosed with each passing second. There was
no love in Callisto, there hadn't been any after the fire at Cirra. She was
just bored and doing this for kicks. But for Theodores, it was a different matter.


"Why don't we go swimming today?" Gabrielle chirped suddenly after breakfast,
a sunny grin on her face,"I know there's a nice river around here. And it's usually
pretty quiet." She looked at the both of us and chuckled,"Oh c'mon- you're not shy
or anything, are you? It'll be fun."

I shrugged as I looked at Xena. She glanced over at me and then broke into
a slow, wide smile,"All right, it's a great day today anyway."

"Okay then, let's go," I smiled as we got up to leave. I'm such an actress,
being so nice and sweet and everything infront of them. Even fooling the warrior
princess herself. But Gabrielle's going to die soon. Perhaps today. In a tragic
drowning accident in a certain river not too far off from here.


The water was great- cool and refreshing as it lapped against my chest. I
felt free from my worries and troubles. The place was only occupied by the three of
us, who were skinny-dipping.

Gabrielle was cheeky, splashing water at us and all. We had a pleasant time.
There was no chance to kill her just yet, well, maybe that's what I wanted to believe.
But Xena was close to her the whole time. I just couldn't do the job with her around.

"Why don't you take off the glove?" Gabrielle asked as she waded over to me,
water droplets beaded on her face. Xena was just two steps behind, her black raven hair
slicked back up.

I had everything off except for the red leather glove on my left hand. I wasn't
going to blow my cover. I shook my head, my red curls damp,"Nah, don't want it to turn
septic or anything."

No one asked anymore about the hand and I was thankful. But still, I couldn't
help counting down the time I had left. To live or to die. But I really didn't want
to kill Gabrielle. She was just so nice. But I had to.

I got out of the waters and left the two friends there while I lay on the soft
grass and dried off. I had to think.

I watched secretly at the two in the water. They seemed so intimate but restrictive
also, in a way. It was like they were trying to control themselves from showing their
true, whole affection. They had to be in love. But they weren't sure of how the other
would react. Frustrating, I grunted.

Suddenly there was quiet and opening my eyes wider, I noticed Gabrielle looking
over at me. Then when she realised she had been caught, she turned away blushing and went
further away from the bank where I lay. I narrowed my eyes slighty. What was going on?


"Xena," Gabrielle whispered when they were a safe distance from the bank,"Did
you see her butt?" Her voice sounded urgent, serious even.

"Her butt?" the tall woman raised her left eyebrow,"Why would you want me to
notice her butt?" Wierd.

"Just look," the determined bard hissed.

Xena sighed as she turned to look at what the fuss was all about. It looked
normal. A young, round, firm butt. A nice cute butt with a light sprinkling of
freckles. So what's the deal?

"Well?" Gabrielle tugged at her friend's wrist.

"It's... cute," Xena shrugged,"Gabri-"

The amazon bard fumed,"No, Xena- Kristabelle has this pink cresent shaped
birthmark on her right cheek. I remember. And Chriss has one on the exact spot too.
Don't you see?" It had to be, Gabrielle gritted her teeth, it just gotta be.

The warrior princess frowned as she stole a glance at the figure drying off
on the grass. "Gabrielle," she turned to look at her,"...are you saying that you've
found Kristabelle?"


There was a party going on at her camp, celebrating her birthday. But
Callisto wasn't in the mood. It was like some modern day rock concert cum mass-
orgy party. There were striptease belly-dancers frolicking around, and the
hoots of excitment and enjoyment from her soldiers rang loud in the air.

Callisto sighed from her throne, looking on at the going-ons with a
bored expression on her face. Theodores was with her in a second, a big stupid
grin on his tanned face.

"What is it, Theodores?"the blonde warrior asked, not even bothering to look
at him. She felt disgusted during their love-making and now it really sickened
her to see how idiotic her right-hand man looked after the whole thing. It was

Theodores bowed down and extended his hand,"A dance with my warrior queen,
perhaps?" Just as he'd spoken, the musicians did another number and the naked
dancing girls danced in a frenzy to the beat.

"Go away, Theodores," Callisto snarled, glancing at him coldly before looking
away,"I'm not in the mood." She wondered how Chriss was getting along... she had
three days left- had she done the deed already? She wouldn't...

"Just one dance?" Theodores tried again, hopeful. His hand was still
outstretched, waiting for her to accept.

Callisto was irritated now. She glared at him,"Theodores, I said to leave
me alone," She looked away from his disappointed eyes, studying the bottle of
antidote in her palm,"I've got better things to do."

The dark warrior man slowly took back his hand, almost reluctantly. He
bowed in respect,"Of course," He smiled 'til it hurt. It really did. Then he
left her alone to her own private thoughts.


Three more days. Three days to live or three days to bring Gabrielle's head
to Callisto in exchange for the antidote and be cured. Three days, I screamed
frustratedly inside my head as I paced around my room.

I had no chance to attempt an assassination the whole of yesterday. I just
wasn't in the mood. Besides, Xena was almost always by Gabrielle's side. It was

It was still early, about five in the morning and I had awaken to discover
that the poison had spread to cover more teritory. Blue skin peeked out of the
glove. It was no good. I would have to wrap it or something and say I had an ache
or sprain. Would that work? It sounded fishy.

I was awaken by a nightmare, one so vivid and scary it seemed almost real.
It was terrifying. It was probably triggered off by the poison, I suppose. I
had dreamt of Cerebus, the hound dog of hell, devouring bits of my arm. And
Callisto was there, laughing away like some maniac and Gabrielle's body was
nearby, but its head missing. Xena was there too, but she was the blood-thirsty
warlord again. I woke up drenched with sweat when I saw the image of Gabrielle's
head, her sunny blonde locks stained by dried blood, on top of a stake. It was

But I had to kill her. I had promised Callisto. And I needed the cure. But
my consicence was against me. She was a wonderful person. And I was enjoying the
friendship and the time we'd had together. Was all these to end?

I shoved my fists against my temple, deep in thought. There was something
about Gabrielle that made it so hard for me to kill her. It wasn't just beacause
of our friendship. It was something else but I didn't know what. I had killed before;
I had assassinated crooks and bullies and corrupt merchants. But these people
deserved it. Not sweet, innocent Gabrielle.

My sword and medallion lay beside me on my bed. Two different gifts from
two different fathers. My teacher had given me his sword and the words "Death from
the Dark Shadow" were engraved on its blade. The medallion, on the other hand, was
not like the weapon. It had the words "Love is Peace" engraved on the metal. A
gift from my read dad.

"Dad," I choked out, feeling tears starting to form. It was funny, it had
been a long time since I'd cried. The feeling was so awkard. I was glad I was alone.
"Dad, it's me. I don't know what to do. If anybody's listening, please... help me?"
I covered my face and sobbed. I really didn't know what to do.

Suddenly, there was a single knock on the door. It was soft and gentle, but
it still alarmed me. Someone was outside my door.

"Who is it?" I questioned as I reached over for my glove. Who in bloody
Tartarus could it be at this hour in the morning?

"It's me, Xena," the familiar deep womanly voice muffled through the door.

Xena? What was she doing outside my door at this hour? Had she heard me just
now? What was going on? I opened the door and let her in. She was dressed only in
her leathers and wasn't armed. That was a good sign. Then again, she could kill me
by using pressure points or something. She could easily over-power me. But why on]
earth would she kill me, huh?

"What's up? Couldn't sleep?" I asked as I closed the door. I turned to
face her,"Is Gabby asleep?" Her mane of raven-dark hair looked wild in the lamp light.
She seemed to have something on her mind.

The warrior woman shrugged as she sat on the stool, folding her hands on the
small circular table. "Sit down, I want to talk to you."

It was wierd. But I pulled out the other stool and sat down, waiting expectedly
for her to speak. I felt uneasy suddenly, as if I was naked in front of her. It was
like she knew some secret of mine. That made me feel pretty vunerable. I didn't like it
- not one bit.

"Chriss," Xena started after awhile,"Do you have any family? Or are you alone
in the world?"

I looked at her from across the table and blinked. This wasn't making sense.
Warrior princess heads over to some girl's room to talk about family shit? There had
to be something more to it. Definately.

I crossed my arms and fowned,"Xena, you come into my room at this time of the
day to ask about... family?" I shook my head,"I don't get it."

Xena sighed and leaned back a bit. "Gabrielle thinks you might be her cousin
Kristabelle. She says you've got her hair, her eyes, and that... birthmark on the butt."
Xena looked away and frowned slightly.

I blinked. "Cousin?" I echoed. Cousin. Cousin was family. And if Gabrielle was
really some cousin of mine, we were relatives... which made us family. I narrowed my
eyes,"Are you telling me that I'm related to your friend?"

The warrior woman shrugged her strong shoulders,"It's possible. Do you... recall
knowing a Gabrielle when you were younger? A cousin?" She seemed serious and concerned.
All for her little Gabrielle who was sleeping peacefully in their room.

I screwed up my face in thought. Gabrielle... Gabrielle... that name did sound
a tad familiar. Close but distant, there but I can't remember. Wait, my blood froze
and my breathing stopped momentarily. There had been a cousin Gabrielle. Some inspiring
bard who had this passion for nutbread too (as it runs in the family). She was a pretty
blonde lass with a sunny smile.

We had been close, the three of us- Gabby, her sister and myself. She had a pony,
I remember... but she never really rode on him. When we were together, we would pick
flowers or cousin Gabrielle, being the eldest amongst us, would entertain us with stories
she'd heard from school. In fact, my family was on the road to Poteidaia when we got

I started shaking. Started shaking bad. No, I moaned inwardly as I swallowed
down a hard lump in my throat. It can't be, ...Gabrielle was family? I pushed myself
off the chair, pacing around with a palm on my forehead, temporarily forgetting Xena's
presence. How was I to kill family when I'd finally found family after so long? I couln't.
I can't. I won't.


I snapped my head up, noticing Xena looking at me fixedly, frowning slightly.
"I'm fine,"I told her as I sat down again, trying to calm myself down. Things were
going horribly wrong. Everything was wrong.

"Would you mind telling me what's going on?" Xena asked softly, touching the
gloved hand. The lamp cast soft amber light on her sharp features. "Is something
bothering you?"

That was it. I couldn't hide it anymore. I knelt down on the floor before her
and started crying,"My life's a mess, Xena. And now it's even more complicated."
Xena comforted me, a little awkard at first but she rested my head on her lap and
stroked my hair in a big sister kind of way, encouraging me to go on.

I looked up into her eyes and swallowed, willing myself to be strong about it.
"Xena,"I breathed,"I'm an assassin."

Xena froze, her eyes widened then narrowed. "Assassin?"

I forced myself to continue, tears flowing down my cheeks. I felt like the little
hapless girl on the roads again, witnessing her parents' deaths. It was awful. And the pain...
"Callisto sent me-"

Xena was up instantly, yanking me up by my red hair,"You're an assassin sent by
Callisto? Was it Gabrielle you wanted dead? Talk!" The warrior princess was the defender
again. No longer the friend.

"Yeah," I said dully as I looked at her, unflinching,"I was supposed to kill
Gabrielle. Callisto wanted her head."

"How much did she pay you?" Xena's face was twisted in fury and she threatened
to use that special touch of hers on me,"Go on, tell me how much she paid you- 100 dinars?
50 dinars?"

"She isn't paying me any money,"I spoke as I ripped off the glove that hid my infected
left arm, showing the poison-blue tinge,"In exchange of her head I would get the antidote...
the cure. If I don't give Callisto what she wants in three days time, the poison would kill me.
And there had always been something about Gabrielle that made it so hard to do the job... and
now I know what it is. She's family. My family." I was a mess, I know.

"Come 'ere," Xena helped me to my bed and inspected my wound. It had closed, more or less
but you could still see the small circular puncture where the lethal poison got in. She seemed
to understand my plight. And she appeared skilled in understanding poisons and all. Intriguing.

"The poison's spreading fast," she frowned,"You've got about three days to get the cure."
I rolled my eyes inspite of everything,"Hon, tell me something I do not know?"

"I know how to administer the antidote... if we had it,"the warrior princess told me,"Hey,
what's this?" She touched my sword and read the inscriptions on it. Then it dawned on her.
"You're a pupil of the Dark shadow."

"Yeah," I grunted as I pulled up my glove,"...but not just a student. I was his daughter too."


Gabrielle lay on the bed, deep in slumber. She tossed about fitfully in her sleep, she was
dreaming. There was this knife infront of her, ready to slice her throat. Callisto's maniacal
laughter was ringing all around. She couldn't move away from the blade which was heading right for her.
It was moving closer and closer... then she saw who held it. It was Kristabelle.

"Aaaaaaaargh!!!!,"Gabrielle screamed as she jerked awake from her sleep, her body drenched with sweat.
"It's only a dream, it's only a dream,"Gabrielle muttered, trying to calm herself as she got out of bed,
putting on her boots for breakfast downstairs. It was a bright and chirpy morning. What an irony.
But the nightmare had looked so real, it was scary. And why of all people Kristabelle?


"Slept well?" Xena asked her friend as Gabrielle plopped herself in the empty seat beside the
warrior princess. I was seated across them, picking on some grapefruit. I wasn't very hungry.

"Nightmares," Gabrielle shook her head as she accepted the juice I handed her,"It was
scary... Kristabelle, she wanted to... to kill me. Callisto was in there too, I don't know why.
It was so crazy. But so real."

I early did a double take. I exchanged looks with Xena and squeezed Gabrielle's fingers,"It's
just a nightmare, Kristabelle won't kill you. Don't think too much about it, Gabrielle. It's just a bad
dream. It won't happen. I'll will never hurt you... let alone cut your head off. You'll be all right."

Gabrielle blinked,"Chriss, what did you say? I'll...?"

Damn. Stupid slip of a tongue. "Yes, Gabrielle, I know,"I sighed,"Xena told me. And my
thoughts came back to me. We're cousins, I remember."

Her eyes misted and she kissed my hand,"I missed you so much- I'm just so happy that I've
found you again." Then she paused for a beat. "Wait, there's something more... how did you know
she was going to cut my head off?"

Xena cleared her throat,"Gabrielle, maybe there's something that you should know about
your little long-lost cousin." The warrior woman looked over at me and in a flash, pulled off
my glove, exposing sickly blue skin beneath.

"Hey!" I hissed as I snatched back the glove, angry at Xena's betrayal. Now Cousin Gabrielle
would question. I kicked Xena's shin under the table as I slid back the glove.

"What's with the hand, why's it blue?" Gabrielle questioned,"What's wrong with it, Chriss?"
Great, she's acting as the big sister again.

"Uh, leprosy... don't touch it if you don't want to get infected," I warned as I
hid the gloved hand under the table. She was not buying it. Xena raised an eyebrow, signalling
me to just speak the truth. Well, easy for her to say.

"All right," I sighed, my head bowed,"I've been poisoned by ...Callisto. It's lethal
and if I don't get the cure soon, I would die. And in exchange for the antidote, she wants..."
I paused. I couldn't bring myself to finish the sentence, I was shaking. Xena must have known,
for she finished it for me.

"Callisto wants your head, Gabrielle," Xena finished, her hand on her arm. It must
have given strength to her for she seemed to take it okay. Must have gone in by osmosis.

The bard blinked, rising both eyebrows in surprise,"She wants my head?" I nodded
slowly, both hands gripping the cup of juice before me. I felt a hand on the side of my
face, stroking it tenderly. "My little cousin an assassin," Gabrielle chuckled, almost
sadly,"...and sent to kill me."


Callisto couldn't stand it anymore. There was no news, no nothing. She needed
action and she wanted it now. She would go to Gaia herself and personally see that Chriss
does her job. She wouldn't wait about all day, it was pure boredom.

"Theodores, I'll be gone for a couple of days," Callisto told her right-hand man
as she picked up her polished sword,"You take charge of the camp while I'm gone. Kill
those who disobey. I'm going to get a little something."

"Would you need anything, my queen?" Theodores asked, hopeful,"Any men to
accompany you or anyone of any help?"

The blonde warrior pushed him aside as she headed out of her personal tent to
get her horse,"Theodores, I need you to stay here and look after things. All I need
is myself, not anyone else." And with that, she was gone, the rhythmic sound of
quick galloping hoofs leaving the camp.

"Aaah, what a woman," the dark man sighed, shaking his head of long, wavy hair.
If only he could serve her forever.


I left them both in the tarven and went about the town, looking around town,
trying to feel better. The locals were nice and helpful. The young men were charming
but were just not my type. I wanted a warrior not a farmer, one with a compassionate
heart and humour. Lots of it.

"Oh," I gasped, startled that I had bumped into somebody. "Sorry," I apologised
sheepishly as I helped the man I'd knocked down to his feet. He was of medium built and
wore battle armour. A warrior, I noted.

"Hi," He panted, as he adjusted his loop-sided helmet. He seemed to be in a great
hurry,"Would you by any chance, know where I can find Xena and Gabrielle? It's important."
He looked flustered, like he'd ran all the way to deliver some important message. Such a
brave man. But under all that brawn, I could sense a good heart and humourous wit. And his
hands... well, he might even be a musician.

"Sure, come with me," I took him by his wrist and lead him back to the tarven.
"My name is Chriss," I offered him my hand,"what's yours?" Gods, I smiled, I think I've
found the very man. And I bet his name was pretty too.

His hand came into contact with mine and he shook it firmly, his voice deep with
pride,"They call me Joxer... Joxer the Mighty."


Back in their room, Xena was trying to calm a rather shakened Gabrielle.
"She promised not to kill you, Gabrielle," Xena tried to reason as she paced across
the floor, her bard sitting on the side of the bed,"Callisto won't get her way."

"But if she doesn't kill me, she'll die, Xena,"Gabrielle gritted her teeth,"I
don't want that to happen to her. Not after all these years we've been separated. She's
family. I can't watch her die, Xena."

The warrior woman sighed and walked over to the smaller woman by the bed.
"Gabrielle," Xena whispered,"I love you. I love you a lot and I don't want to see
you unhappy. We'll get through this together, the three of us. The gods will guide
us... somehow."

Gabrielle blinked,"You said you loved me... do you really mean it?" She
caressed Xena's cheek lovingly, looked down at her, into those pale blue pools.

Xena turned her lips to the moving fingers and kissed them lightly,"I love
you and I mean it."

"Then show me,"Gabrielle smiled as she beckoned her unto the bed.

I felt that I could have been in the Elysian fields or something. Here I
was, in the lovely town of Gaia, walking beside the man of my dreams. He was everything
a woman could ever want- wit, charm, bravo and humour. And a good heart.

"So you actually ran all the way from Soluminus?" I asked Joxer (such a lovely
name!) again. The village was located three miles away. Great, this is one guy with
stamina too. >:)

The lean warrior puffed up his chest and nodded,"Yep, I was there to save the
village in distress when I got word that Callisto was heading this way... to Gaia-"

My blood froze. "What?" I grabbed his slender arm,"Callisto's heading this way?
Did she bring her army with her?" Damn, I knew this would happen. Callisto wouldn't
let me off that easily. She came to make sure I did it.

Joxer patted my hand reassuringly,"There's no need to worry, Chriss, I mean...
with Xena and I around, Callisto won't stand a chance." I sneaked a look at his fair,
earnest face before running back to the tarven as quick as a hare, with mah man Joxer
in tow. Xena had to learn about this quick.


Gabrielle rolled over, quite out of breadth. Xena lay naked beside her. They
were both slick with sweat (and other juices) but both in bliss.

"How was it?" Xena grinned as she turned to face her, brushing away the damp
blonde locks that covered her face. Gabrielle smiled, blushing a little as she kissed
the top of Xena's head.

"It was... beautiful," she was still in a daze, in the state of blissfulness.

"Well, you were a bit loud," the warrior woman cheekily quipped as she tweaked
her nose,"I bet the everyone downstairs heard you."

"I was not," Gabrielle defended, a grin breaking out on her face,"But really,
nothing can dampen what we have now. What we had just then was..."

There was a sudden knock on their door, then an all too familiar male voice
called out from outside,"Xena, Gabrielle, it's me- Joxer!"

Wonderful. Xena grunted as she rolled her eyes. Gabrielle sighed as she sat up
from her comfy lying position,"Xena, remember what I said about the 'nothing can dampen
what we have now' bit? Well-"

"It's all right, Gabrielle, let's just get dressed and changed and see what
the idiot wants," the warrior princess said gruffily as she struggled back into her
leathers, metal breast-plate and all. Timing, Gabrielle frowned.

Joxer climbed back down the stairs and sat down at the table beside me,
accepting the port I'd poured him. "Chriss, are you sure they're upstairs?" the
good-looker asked as he sipped his port. He must have gulped down too much for he
choked and spluttered. He's so cute, I sighed.

"Yeah, I'm positive," I reassured him as I wiped away the froth from his
face,"My room's just beside theirs. They'll be coming down soon, Joxer. Just keep
your shirt on." I bit my lip. Damn, maybe I ought to shut up sometimes.

"Great, here they come," Joxer waved enthusiastically at the two who
lumbered down the creaky wooden stairs,"Xena, Gabby, over here!" I looked over
and smiled. Something's changed. They did it, I know.

"Joxer, what in Tartarus are you doing here?" Xena demanded as she sat
opposite us, her cleavage showing more than usual. Gabrielle sat beside her,
smiling more than usual. I have a sensitive nose, and I'm pretty sure I'd smelt
the faint scent of sex around those two. Hmm.

My prince cleared his throat importantly, gods, I could have swooned just
then. "Callisto's coming, she's heading this way," Joxer explained,"But word has
it that she's travelling alone and there's no army behind her."

"She's coming," Xena narrowed her eyes, mouth taut. She looked over at
me,"She's probably here to see you do the job."

"Huh?" Joxer scratched his head.

"I'm an assassin, Joxer,"I told him squarely as I turned to face him.
The poor guy nearly fell from his seat. His eyes practically buldged out of his
head,"A-a-assassin? Y-you?"

"Uhuh," I confirmed, watching him swallow a big gulp,"I was sent by Callisto
to kill Gabrielle. Then I found out that... we were actually cousins."

"You mean, you're related to Gabrielle?" Joxer stared,"Cool!" He grinned
for a bit then suddenly recoiled,"But you're an assassin! Sent by- by Callisto!"

I shrugged,"That's why I'm not going to kill her- it's simple."

"Yeah, but she missed out the part where she's been poisoned and Callisto's
only giving her the antidote in exchange for my head," Gabrielle pointed out dryily.
I tapped her foot angrily under the table. Joxer passed out.

I frowned. "Now look what you've done," I hissed at them as I ran my fingers
through his soft, black hair. I broke into a smile,"He's so cute!" I got looks of disgust.

"You're not... falling for him, are you?" Xena raised an eyebrow in concern.
Gabrielle raised her eyebrows gently, prompting me for an answer. I rolled my eyes
wearily,"Okay, I think I am... but he's such a sweetie!"

"Xena, Callisto's coming- what are we going to do?" Gabrielle tried changing
the subject. Good, at least she respected my decisions. Sort of. Wait, I widened my
eyes- their actions were more... loving now. Wonderful, they've moved a level higher
in their relationship. YEEEESSS!!

Xena rubbed her chin thoughtfully. "Callisto's going to see that Chriss does
what she asks for. She'll have the antidote with her and prompt you," Xena turned to
look at me," kill her." She touched Gabrielle's cheek.

"There's not going to be any battle involved... would there?" Gabrielle asked
worriedly,"I mean, not in this place- the people, they might get hurt." I smiled
inwardly. She's still the others-before-self, self sacrificing cousin I'd always known.

I spoke up. "My guess is that Callisto will want to do battle with Xena. Anything
to duel with you," I winked at the warrior princess,"...she'll do. When you win, you can
redem us. Sounds good?"

"Yeah, good plan," Joxer mumbled drowsily as he awoke from his faint. Gods, he
is just *so* cute!


"Yaaaah!" Callisto screamed as she urged her horse on faster. She was nearing
the gates of Gaia now. The place were she would find Xena. Xena, Xena, Xena. Callisto
narrowed her eyes. I'm going to break you this time, she swore.

She tore through the city gates and nearly trampled on some of the people.
"Where's Xena?" The blonde warrior queen cried out, seated magnificently on her
great steed.

A pot-bellied pig farmer approached her with a huge grin plastered on his
greasy face. Two squirming piglets were locked under his huge, hairy armpits.
"Another fan of hers, eh, lassie?" the farmer quipped, looking her up and down,"it's
a nice outfit yer have there... but it's a tad drafty, eh?"

Callisto growled and reached down for him, holding him by his flabby neck.
The piglets her held under his arms were released and they squealed away, running
down the lane. "Just tell me where I can find her, you fool," Callisto scolded as
she tightened the hold on his neck,"Say it!"

"The Tarven... they're at the tarven," the man gasped as he choked for air.
Callisto released him immediately, dropping him into a heap on the floor in the circle
of on-lookers, before heading on her horse to the tarven.


We were in the midst of discussing our "plan" when a man dashed into the
tarven, pale in the face. I reconised him as the keeper's eldest son. "What is it,
boy? Why do you look so lily-livered?" the tarven-keeper asked his son, coming from
behind the counter.

"Callisto," the young man gasped as he fell into his father's arms,"She's
here." He then fell over, a knife stuck in his back. The demented warrior queen
had made her mark in Gaia, openly killing the keeper's son.

The distraught father moaned over his dead son's body,"No, Reyules, come
back to me." I felt for him. His own son knifed. Killed. By someone they hadn't
offended. A stranger. People around started leaving the tarven, some helping
the father and son back to their homes. We were left alone in the tarven.

"She's here all right," Joxer told us nervously as he wiped some port
from his mouth. He touched my gloved hand,"But fear not, for Joxer the Mighty
is here to protect the innocent!" I patted his hand affectionately. Such a sweetie.

Gabrielle rolled her green eyes,"Joxer, my cousin can fight. Whereas *you*,"
she gave a sacrastic laugh," can't even fight your way out of a potato bag."

Joxer was about to defend himself when Xena took her sword from its sheath.
"She's coming." Both Joxer and I drew our swords and Gabrielle prepared herself
with her trusty staff. And true enough, Callisto walked into the room, calm and
composed. A forlorn expression painted on her beautiful twisted features.

"Ah, Xena," she cooed as she walked towards us,"I missed you so much. And
Chriss,"Callisto looked over at me and pouted," never wrote."

"What do you want, Callisto?" Xena prompted, tightening the hold on the hilt
of her sword. Beside her, I swung my sword in an arc, glaring over at the blonde warrior.
The poison had spread to my shoulder blade and was still going. But it wasn't like I
cared anymore. Nothing's going to make me kill my own cousin.

"I see that you've switched sides, Chriss," Callisto sighed dejectedly as she
picked up some port from a nearby table and brought it to her lips, her dark eyes
dancing,"Don't you want your antidote?" She took a small bottle from her belt and
danced it infront of us.

I took a step forward, my hand outstretched.

"Uh-uh-uh," Callisto wagged her finger cheekily at at, a child-like grin on
her face,"You'll have to fight for it." I paused and then blinked. Fight her? One on
one? She's got to be kidding. I'd get skewered in seconds. I was an assassin, not a
fighter. At least, I wasn't as good as her.

"We'll just step outside, the three of us," Callisto toyed with the bottle in
her hands,"If you win, you'll get your cure, Gabrielle gets her head and I'll go back
in shame. But if I win," she broke into a dark, wide smile,"I get two heads for the
price of one. How's that?"

We exchanged looks, the four of us. "All right, agreed,"I grunted as both Xena
and I headed towards the exit to fight it out.

"Wait," Callisto's voice rang out coldly,"...not Xena."

I frowned. Not Xena? You mean Joxer and I...?

"I want Chriss and Gabrielle," Callisto finished,"Xena can just watch. Won't
you, my sweets?" So grinning, she went outside and waited for us, her maniacal
laughter ringing in my head.

"Gabrielle..." Xena looked lost. I had never seen her like that before. It was
like she was so afraid she'd loose her Gabrielle. I looked away. They would want their

Gabrielle leaned against the body of her warrior princess, breathing in deeply
the scent of the muscled woman warrior. Xena's arms were wrapped protectively around
her. "I must go, Xena," Gabrielle pulled away,"I'm fighting for my own head. It's the
only way. Just... wish me good luck." They kissed again, probably for the last time.

"Chriss," I turned around and found Joxer's face inches away from mine. His
eyes were a warm brown, a rich hazel. And they looked remarkably clear and soulful.
Would I even get to bask in his love?

"Yeah?" I smiled grimly as I tried to prepare myself mentally.

Joxer looked down on the floorboards and shuffled his feet. "I just wanted to
say that... you're a nice girl. If we had the chance, well, maybe we could go out
together some time?"

I felt a slow smile spread on my face. "Sure thing, Joxer... when all this is
over." I punched him lightly on the shoulder. He's such a cupcake, I grinned.

I rubbed the medallion my dad gave me for good luck, uttering a silent prayer.
"Gabrielle," I turned to my cousin,"I want you to wear this... I hope it'll bring you luck,
my dad gave it to me."

"No, I couldn't...," Gabrielle shook her head,"it's from your father, I can't-"

"Please wear it, Gabrielle," I insisted as I helped put it around her neck.
"Ready?" I asked her as I prepared myself for battle with Callisto. "Ready," she nodded.
With an air of confidence, we went out for the fight. Gods, I hope we win.

"I thought you weren't coming," Callisto stretched as she pulled out
her sword. The bottle of antidote, I noted, was safely tucked away in her belt.

I gave a sarcastic laugh,"Well, I wouldn't miss it for the world."
Beside me, Gabrielle joined in the grim laughter. Xena and Joxer stood nearby,
looking on. I know it must kill Xena at not being able to fight for her friend.
Callisto's sly. Really clever.

"Xena," Callisto called out to the glum warrior standing some distance
away," prepared to watch your friends get ripped apart. By yours truely."
She laughed as she swung her sword in a fanciful arc.

Gabrielle narrowed her eyes and tightened her hold on her amazon staff.
"Now don't be too sure of yourself, Callisto." She smiled smuggly and I stuck
my tongue out at her, making a rude face. It worked. We infurated the blonde
warrior queen. She charged at us, sword in hand and her battle cry ringing in
our ear drums.

"Go Gabrielle! Go Chriss!" Joxer, our cheerleader, cheered us on. A group of on-
lookers watched us from a safe distance. A little excitment wouldn't kill them,
I suppose.

I managed to block off the blow of her blade with my sword while my handy
partner Gabrielle gave Callisto a blow on the stomach with her staff, making
her stumbled a few steps backwards. I guess we were more than she expected.

"Yaaaah!" She screamed as she rushed at us, kicking me in the jaw and
throwing a mean fist into Gabby's gut. I got up just in time from being skewered
by her blade. I aimed a kick at her exposed stomach but she blocked it off easily.
We started doing that slap-hit-punch-kick thing before good ole cousin Gabrielle
sneaked up from behind and gave her a mighty blow on the head with her staff. I
was surprised her head didn't split. The woman was still standing. Amazing.

"You are going to pay for this, Gabrielle," Callisto screamed, blood
dripping down her face. Her walk was a little unstable but she was still pretty
much focused. Which was not good. Her back was towards me and I took the chance
to try knife her in the back. I ran to pick up speed but just before I could slam
the blade into her back, she aimed a kick into my face which blew me away. I landed
fifteen metres away. I tasted blood.

"Get up, Chriss, get up," I could hear Xena cry. It sounded so faraway, so
distant. I wanted to close my eyes again. "Gabrielle needs you!" My eyes shot open.
I couldn't let my cousin die. I had to fight.

"Cowgaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!" I screamed as I flew over. Well, actually I'd jumped,
but I did feel like I was flying. Gabrielle's stick had just been knocked off from
her hands and Callisto almost had her. It was a good thing that she turned her face
just as I landed my blow. My full body weight slammed against her, pinning her to the

I scrambled away just in time before she knifed me with the small pewter blade
she kept in her boot. She was badly bruised and bleeding but she was determined.
"Give it up, Callisto, you can't win," I yelled as I brushed some red hair out of my
eyes. Gabrielle was behind her, picking up her staff.

"Oh no, I *can* win," Callisto purred as she admired her blood-stained hands,"You'll
see." And with that, she hurled the pewter blade backwards with such force
that I barely heard Gabrielle utter a surprised sound before collapsing into a heap on the dusty
ground. She didn't seem to be moving.

"Oh my god,"I screamed when I watched my cousin fall," killed my cousin!
You killed Gabrielle!" I was choked with grief as I watch Xena fall to her knees in
agony. Joxer was comforting her. It was sad that they couldn't go over to her.

Rage boiled inside my veins. A felt an anger I'd never felt before. Before she
even noticed I'd moved, I had hurled her over my shoulder and brought my knee against
her stomach, ramming it in repeatedly. She looked surprised. I didn't blame her.

"You're going to have to pay for what you did to her," I swore as I slapped
her across the cheek, splitting her lip with the force of the blow. It drew blood
that splattered across her face. Insanity lit up in her hard, cold, hazel eyes.

I suddenly felt her hands around my neck and she pushed me unto my back, stradling
me. She slammed a blow across my cheek and I felt the immediate numbness. I swung my legs
upwards, catching her by the neck, flipping her over. I got up quickly and picked up my
father's sword. The blade had chipped.

"Yaaah!" Callisto screamed as her whip snatched it away from my hands. Damn, I
swore as I watch it recoil into her hand. Great. After killing my cousin, she takes
the sword my father gave me too?

She admired the sword triumphantly. "You want it? Come and get it."
Suddenly from behind, a figure dressed in green loomed in full view, a sturdy staff
in hand. In one smooth, fluid motion, she knocked Callisto down into an unconcious heap
to the ground. It was Gabrielle- she was alive! And Callisto was down.


"I can't thank you enough for the medallion, Chriss," Gabrielle handed it back.
It had a bad indention on it where the pewter blade had hit but it had saved Gabrielle
and that was more important.

"No problem about it, Gabby,"I grinned as I accepted her embrace,"...afterall,
we are family." I replaced the medallion around my neck. It had the air of bravo around it.
The local iron smith said that he would be able to fix the sword in a day or two and it
would be as good as new again. And he wasn't charging me anything for it. What a nice guy.

I watched as Xena engulf Gabrielle in a fierce bearhug. I walked away from them.
They would want their own privacy. Besides, I really shouldn't listen to their conversations.
I might just break out in goosebumps.

"Hey Chrissy," Joxer called out as he headed over, a great smile plastered on his
face,"You were great! Absolutely FAN-TAS-TIC!" He gave me a huge bearhug.

"Whoa, enough already," I blushed as I pushed him away,"...but thanks anyway, Joxer."

"Does it hurt?" he asked as he inspected the cuts and bruises on my face,"...anything
serious?" He produced a small cylindrical flask of oilment from his pocket.

"What's that?" I pointed at the bottle of funny-smelling stuff.

"That's an old family healing lotion," Joxer informed me," all the time. C'ere
let me put them on for you."


Xena had tied Callisto up securely with rope and sent her back on her horse, back
to her camp in disgrace and defeat. She removed the bottle of important antidote from her
belt and treated me with it before discarding it away.

The process had been painful. She made numerous slits in the infected blue parts
and poured drops of the stinging sappy antidote in. It hurt like crazy- something like
concentrated acid being poured over your skin. The pain was so terrible I had to place a
piece of wood between my chops to prevent biting my tongue off. Joxer helped too, by letting
me squeeze his hand (like I was in childbirth- hah!). It was so bad they even thought about
strapping me down.

In a couple of hours, the blue tinge was gone and the poison was neutalised by the
antidote. I was cured. Joxer's healing lotion did a wonderful job. Most of the cuts and bruises
toned down after awhile.

Gabrielle was pretty much all right, save for that shock from that pweter blade Callisto
threw. The skin where she had worn that protectional medallion was a bit bruised and she had a
few cuts and scapes and bruises but that was about it. At least none of us were horribly killed
or anything like that. Thank the gods, I say.

The people of Gaia threw a party in honour of us and it was great. Everyone went and it
was a blast. Joxer was my dancing partner and even though he did trample on my feet a great
deal, we pretty much had our fun. Xena and Gabrielle had theirs too. <g>


"You could join Xena and I on our trips, you know," Gabrielle offered on the day
of their departure,"...we would have a lot of fun." She was worried about me, I knew.

"Gabrielle," I took her by the shoulders and squeezed them reassuringly,"I'll be
fine. Besides, I don't want to play gooseberry." I winked at Xena who smiled before looking
away. I nodded over at Joxer who stood beside me,"And I can't leave Joxer all by himself...
especially when I've promised to be his side-kick."

"You have?" both Joxer and Gabby said, in totally different tones, of course.

"Uhuh," I nodded enthusiastically as I linked my arm with his,"...just like you
and Xena. We'll be Chriss and Joxer- to the rescue!" Yeah, I liked the sound of that.

"I don't know," Gabrielle shook her head uncertainly as she used her staff as
support,"I will miss you."

I went over and embraced her,"Well, you will always be in my heart. Forever."

We laughed and we cried, promising to keep in touch. Then Joxer and I watched
as the both of them left the gates and disappeared into the growing twilight.





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