Futures Remembered
(Futures Remembered)
By Caduceus

Based on characters and situations created by Robert Tapert and Sam Raimi.

Xena: Warrior Princess and all characters are the sole property of Universal. No copyright infringement is intended through the writing of this fan fiction.

She stirred. A sudden sharp pain in her left temple made her wince, although she was still only semi-conscious.

“She's waking, Xena,” Gabrielle called to her companion who was approaching Argo to collect their bedrolls. Xena nodded and continued. Their young foundling moved again and began to mutter incoherently. “Hush,” Gabrielle whispered as she gently placed her hands on the young woman's shoulders to urge her back down onto the ground.

Her eyes flickered, only to remain closed. Xena came back to where Gabrielle was kneeling beside the injured girl. “Has she said anything yet?” she asked as she spread out the bedrolls. “She was muttering, but I couldn't make it out...she's delirious, how long will the herbs be in her system?” Gabrielle Inquired. “She'll be out of it for a while yet Gabrielle.... I'll get something for dinner.” The warrior strode off into the forest, glancing once behind her.

“Well my young friend, I'll make us some tea, and maybe when you wake up we can find out who you are...where you're from...you certainly don't look like a local.” Gabrielle said as if the stranger were alert and listening to her every word.

As Gabrielle rose to collect some firewood nearby, the stranger stirred again.

“Uhh..wha...ohh...no...Please...please” her semi-conscious body wrestled to and fro against invisible restraints. Gabrielle rushed towards the young girl and knelt beside her holding her in her arms. “Sshh ...you are safe now.” the struggling continued momentarily until it seemed she heard what was being said to her, and she settled, allowing Gabrielle to stroke her cheek and brush tiny strands of hair away from her sweat soaked brow.

Her eyes opened and she stared into a green oasis that was Gabrielle's eyes. Gabrielle smiled. “ So you have joined us then, how do you feel?” She inquired of the stranger.

The girl looked at Gabrielle, briefly at her surroundings and down at her own body, although she could not see much for the large sheepskin cover. She could however feel that beneath the sheepskin she was not wearing the clothes that had adorned her body that morning. Her eyes gazed at Gabrielle inquisitively.

“ We had to take your... clothes, they were soaked, your fever would be worse if you'd kept them on”.

She was confused...what had happened, where was she.... Who was this person in some seriously weird outfit tending to her broken body?

As if to indicate that she had read her mind, Gabrielle broke into the girl's thoughts.

“ We found you several miles back in a lake, Just floating face down. Xena thought you were her next catch for breakfast,” the bard joked, trying to ease the growing tension in the stranger's face.

“So we fished you out and here you are, getting better” The stranger attempted to sit up, but Gabrielle placed hands on her shoulders to ease her down again. “Whoa there, take it easy...we gave you some herbs for the fever and agitation so you'll be woozy for awhile, by the way my name is Gabrielle”, she offered. The stranger tried to speak, her voice thick and groggy from the combination of the drugs and her trauma. She cleared her throat, and after several attempts half whispered, half spoke her name.

“Alex... my name is Alex.”

Gabrielle smiled. “Well Alex, you are going to be fine, Xena assures me that your wounds will heal, although it may take several moon cycles...” Her voice trailed off as she heard Xena returning with dinner.

“Xena…she's awake now, her name is Alex.” Alex attempted again to sit up, and this time Gabrielle assisted, placing her hands around the girl's shoulders.

Xena came over to the pair sitting by the fire. Alex had to strain her eyes upward to take in the Warrior, shielding her eyes from the sun streaming through the branches above them. “Another one in fancy dress” she thought. Xena gazed down at the bruised face and smiled.
“Hope you like fish” she said as she held up her catch.

“Or there is some rabbit stew that Xena made last night” Gabrielle offered, “But you might want to stick with the fish...cooking isn't one of her best attributes” she whispered to Alex.
“I heard that Gabrielle” The warrior drawled as she stood over the pair. “I'm sorry Xena, just a little joke, you know to make Alex feel at ease.” Gabrielle replied wanting to giggle at the warrior's obvious annoyance.

Xena knelt down beside Alex and motioned to Gabrielle to collect the saddlebags.
“The bandage on your arm will have to be changed now.” She said in a low, soft, hypnotic voice. Alex lay back down on the ground.

“Uh...ok...,” she replied. She stared at Xena intently as the warrior removed the covering from the wound just below her left shoulder, she watched as Xena's eyes narrowed and glanced back at her then to Gabrielle who was sitting beside her with some clean bandages and potions.
“What is it... Is it ok...?” Alex sought. She attempted to move her arm towards her field of vision but Xena held onto the arm firmly preventing her from doing so without causing some pain.
“I'm gonna have to stitch it. Thought it would heal without, but it is too deep...” Xena reached for her saddlebag.
“Wha.. Wait a minute, what do you mean stitch… I mean what do you mean YOU will have to stitch it.. Can't you take me to the ER... or a Doctor even…If it is that bad...I might need a shot.” Alex's face was awash with fear, the game was over, she had been polite in not questioning their weird sense of dress, their apparent lack of sanitary facilities, not even a pre-packed t.v. dinner. She struggled against Xena punching her right hand against the warrior's shoulder and striking the shining body armour. She drew back her hand and cried out in yet more pain.

Xena grabbed the girl by both arms and secured her to the ground. “ Be good, Alex, C'mon we need to fix this now, before it becomes more infected”. Alex continued to struggle with all her strength, attempting to push the warrior away and kicking out at Gabrielle in the process, catching the bard in the stomach and sending her flying backwards.

“Right... enough!” Xena grabbed her captive's wrists and straddled her legs. Alex was exhausted, her colour was poor and she continued to struggle. “I can sit here and wait until you pass out kid, if that's what you want” Xena said, raising an eyebrow. “Gabrielle will tell you, I'm just great at waiting, not that it will be long in your case...give up…please” Xena ordered.

“She's frightened, Xena.... Let me talk to her” Gabrielle offered. Xena shot a glance over her shoulder at the bard.
“Yeah right Gabrielle, she just kicked you halfway to Tartarus and… Wait a minute, so you can talk her into calming down...make her feel less frightened than I can?” Xena growled. Alex winced, Gabrielle frowned.
“Here we go again with the competitiveness, I'm just suggesting we try another tact...she's not going anywhere with you pinning her to the ground after all.” Gabrielle advised.

Somehow Alex managed to gain some strength and interjected, “I don't wish to be rude or anything, but wouldn't it have been simpler just to take me to the ER, or to a doctor?...” Gabrielle and Xena looked at each other then at Alex.
“What is with this doctor and what is E… ER, did you say?” Gabrielle enquired.

Alex looked from Gabrielle to Xena then back and forth several times, The bard and the warrior did likewise.

“Yeah right...c'mon something is NOT right with this picture...what is it? You're telling me that you don't...wait, I'll tell you what I remember and you two can fill in the missing bits. I promise I'll be good if you get off me Xena. Alex pleaded.

Xena easily detected the fear in Alex' s voice and agreed. She got up off the girl and assisted her to sit up, she lingered at the wound desperately wanting to attend to it.
“Before you start, Gabrielle could you do us some tea...?” Xena winked at Gabrielle who instinctively knew that the Warrior Princess was still going to get her way. She added some herbs to the brew she was making.

“Right let's see, I was with Kelly, Jade, Perry and Kim. We were out for a drive, Jade has got a Jag convertible, got it for his birthday, so we went for a spin to Falcon's woods. We got a bit lost and Kim and Kelly started to argue. I got fed up and fell out with them all and decided to find my own way back. I ended up more lost and deeper into the woods; I came across a woman and asked her if she knew how to get back onto the main road. She gave me some directions and here I am...well obviously I don't know how I got hurt or where I am...Where exactly am I?”

“She's almost as good a storyteller as you Gabrielle, might just keep her, trade you in..” Xena quipped, but Gabrielle detected the discrete hint of sarcasm in the warrior's tone.

“We're camped about 4 days from Amphipolis, does that make things clearer?” Gabrielle stated as she handed out mugs of tea. Xena set hers down on the grass. Alex held onto hers, clinging to the warmth that radiated from it. She stared into the mug, the steam misting her eyes.
“Well I must be really lost, coz I don't know where that is, but I'm not the greatest at Geography. Is it near…” She took a large drink from the mug as she looked around her wooded surroundings.

“Greece.... it's in Greece, where did you think it was...where are you from...?” Gabrielle quizzed.

Xena could see that the girl was obviously confused with the information she had just received.
“Finish your tea and we will talk some more.” she assisted the mug of tea to Alex's lips. She drank in a daze. “Gabrielle help me bed Argo down for the night” Xena motioned the bard to join her. They walked towards Argo who was lazily eating some grass by the waters edge. They occasionally glanced back towards camp where Alex continued to drink from the mug.

“Must be amnesia. What do you think Xena? Maybe she comes from a different land...I mean doctors, ER, shots, jags...what is that all about, and I'm not aware of any Falcon's woods around these parts. This will make a great story...don't you think... Xena? Gabrielle hadn't noticed that the warrior had stopped and was staring back at the wounded girl.
“Any minute... now.” Xena raced back to the camp in time to catch Alex as she finally succumbed to the effects of the herb tea. Gabrielle caught up after several seconds.
Should have realised that she didn't really need my help with Argo” Gabrielle reflected as she knelt beside the warrior.

Within minutes Xena had stitched the wound, using the finest sheep sinew she had.
Gabrielle applied a new bandage once Xena had finished. Alex was in a deep settled sleep. The warrior and the bard returned to the campfire. “Well I'm famished after all that activity, what about you Xena?”

“I would have been very surprised if you weren't, yes I am a bit hungry, better see to the fish”

“It's ok I'll see to dinner.... em...I mean you tend to Argo, I'll manage here.” Gabrielle detected the warning glance from Xena and busied herself.

After dinner the pair sat in relative silence, every so often glancing over to where Alex slept. Finally Xena spoke.
“What you said earlier, about a different land...maybe also a different time”

Gabrielle looked at Xena with a puzzled expression, she yawned “Oh what particular time did you have in mind Warrior Princess...I'm the one who tells the tales...remember”

Gabrielle wished she hadn't been so flippant as Xena sighed heavily with apparent annoyance.

“It all adds up, she is obviously not from Greece, and I have been to many lands Gabrielle to know that she doesn't belong to them either, she talks about things we know nothing of and her clothes are weird...really weird, did you notice the material.... not one bit of leather amongst those rags.” Xena had glanced over to where Gabrielle had hung Alex's clothes to dry when they pulled her from the lake.

“So you want me to believe that...” Gabrielle stopped. She puzzled at what her companion was suggesting “What is it you want me to believe?”
“I think I'm suggesting that Alex is from another time...in the future?” Xena hadn't really made a statement it was more a question, 'Could this really be, but how?'.

Gabrielle held her hand up in mock protest “Oh right, I see....” she thought momentarily then shook her head “Nah...don't think I do, Warrior Princess...this is a little too bizarre, even for me” Gabrielle rested her hands on her hips.

“Look Gabrielle, think of the things that can happen here in our time...people die...and return, Gods, we both did....., there are mystical powers here...maybe it's the same where Alex comes from..or should that be when Alex comes.....Oh anyway you get what I'm saying?” she looked at Gabrielle for confirmation.

Gabrielle was sitting on top of a rock with her scrolls around her, picking them up and scanning them at random. “Nah...didn't think we had come across this before.... Sorry Xena you were saying?” she looked up at Xena who shot her a look of contempt. She sighed wearily, this was going to be a long day.
“I was saying that it is conceivable that Alex is from the...future, don't you agree?”

“I suppose it is poss....” her words were stopped abruptly as she watched Xena take a defensive stance and reach for her sword. “Come out Ares.. I can smell you” she growled in a low steady voice. Gabrielle looked on in wonderment
'How does she do that?'.

The God of war presented himself in a flash of brilliant light.
“I was so enjoying your little discussion Xena, just a pity your little friend here is too dumb to understand your logic” Ares sneered
Gabrielle lifted her staff and started towards the God, but Xena put an arm up to stop her going any further.
“Less of the little Ares, can't you see you have upset Gabrielle? Xena quipped. Gabrielle glowered at Xena and backed off. “What do you want?” the warrior demanded.

“Oh it's not so much what I want, well not yet anyway...but since it appears to be taking you two ages to find out what this is all about I thought I'd give you a clue.”

“Yeah right… what has this to do with you...you didn't hurt that kid?” her eyes narrowed and she increased the grip on her sword.

“No… but I know who did.” Ares teased.

“And you are going to tell me...right?” Xena was becoming impatient

“Well only if you're nice.”

“You should know by now Ares.. I don't do nice, so run along and don't waste my time...I'm busy.”

“Alright, alright...it was Callisto, she brought the girl here, some kind of distant relation, well descendant really...she's the one Xena...in the future Callisto's hatred and power continues and she's the little missy doing it, nasty piece of work if you ask me,” Ares shook his head. “She copped a load of wicked genes from her great granny” he sniggered and tilted his head backwards, listening.... “Got to dash...a war breaking out in Emphysis.” he disappeared.

Xena wandered back to the fire. Gabrielle was tending to their meal. She plated a good-sized helping for the Warrior and sat down with only a cup of tea for herself. Xena glanced up from her meal.
“This is great, definitely better than the rabbit...” she awaited confirmation from Gabrielle, but she only sighed and stared into the fire. Gabrielle looked across at Xena devouring her meal none too gracefully and sighed again.
After several sighs Xena was becoming increasingly irritated and glared at Gabrielle “WHAT!!” she growled menacingly. Gabrielle fidgeted, she hadn't wanted to annoy Xena that much and thought it best to clear the matter up at once.
“Ares said that I was dumb and you more or less agreed with him, do you think that I am dumb?” she inquired.

“Look Gabrielle, He was trying to goad you and it worked… you rise to the bait too easily, don't take him too seriously...I can do that for both of us, ok.”

“But I thought we'd agreed that I can look after myself, you said I was learning and training well.”

“Yeah but YOU don't mess with Gods, that's why I'm here.... maybe in a few years...if you're lucky.” she finished her meal.

Gabrielle stood up and paced back and forward stamping her feet and fuming. She clattered the cooking utensils lying around and kicked the frying pan.
“Yeah right...you don't think I'm up to much do you... just your little dumb bard, still a child in your eyes, well I'll prove to you I can...” she trailed off and stared at Xena who was sniggering. This infuriated the bard even more.

“That's it, get a great laugh at Gabrielle's expense, I don't know why I bother!” she threw her hands up in despair and walked off towards the forest.

Xena laughed to herself and began collecting the utensils that Gabrielle had kicked around the camp. She heard low moans coming from their guest. Slowly she approached and knelt beside her. She watched as Alex twitched and moaned, she was dreaming. So this was the descendant of Callisto....and by the sounds of things more of a bitch, what to do about this?. Xena pondered

“Plea.....Don't......Wha..?”Alex mumbled in her delirious state. Suddenly she sat bolt upright, eyes wide open and screamed. Xena gently reassured the girl taking her into her arms and calming her with a low soothing voice. Alex trembled, not quite awake, she was frightened, but felt safe and comforted by the strong arms that held her. She settled but remained within Xena's arms for some time. Neither said a word. Xena gently stroked her hair to soothe her. Finally Alex spoke, confused and apprehensive.

“Thanks....I'm sorry about before...but I don't know what is going on...I think I'm going mad....” she trailed off, tears dropping down her cheeks onto the arms that held her.

Xena held Alex closer, she rocked back and forth gently “Shhh... it's ok, you're not going mad...It's true you don't belong here, you are lost and we will help you get back to where you belong...wherever you belong.”

Having heard the scream, Gabrielle had headed back to camp faster than she had run before, breathless she approached the huddled pair and dropped to her knees.

“Is she.....” she looked at Xena, eyes pained and sad.

“She's fine Gabrielle...just a bad dream”, she looked down at Alex, who stared back up into ice blue eyes.
“Right,” she replied. Xena released her hold and gently eased Alex back onto the bedroll. She was asleep again within seconds.

“I thought...Oh Xena I'm sorry..I was behaving like a .......” Gabrielle searched for the appropriate words

“Spoiled brat.” Xena finished, as she pulled the sheepskin cover over Alex.

“Well...yes I suppose, I guess I still have a lot to learn.” she stood looking down at the sleeping guest. Xena gently tugged at her arm and motioned for her to follow. The Warrior stopped once they were several feet away from where the girl was lying. She sat down keeping a watchful eye on the sleeping form. Gabrielle followed her onto the ground.

“I was right… Alex is from another time.... Callisto brought her back, and apparently she is more ruthless.... maybe Callisto needs her for some plan.....”

“Wait... are you saying that Alex is a vicious, conniving, murdering...”

“It appears that she might be, maybe this is a trap...if Callisto brought her back she could have sent her here to trap us...”

“If you thought that, why were you comforting her...it looked pretty genuine from where I was standing.”

“Because I don't think she even knows why she's here and she is very frightened...she's lost, Gabrielle.”

“Well I'm totally in the dark, anyway Alex has got the right idea...I think I'll turn in now… unless you need me to watch....” she yawned and stretched her arms above her head.
“Nah... you get some rest...we will be moving on tomorrow.” Xena gently patted her companion's shoulder.

The night passed without event. Alex had slept soundly lying between Gabrielle and Xena. She wakened with the morning song of the forest birds. As she stirred so did Xena. Leaning up on one elbow Xena looked down at the girl's unfocused eyes. She put her finger to Alex's lips and pointed to the still sleeping Gabrielle. Xena got up, lifted her body armour and went towards the stream.

Alex lay silently listening to the splashing in the stream. She slowly sat up, her head was swimming and she put her arms out at her side to steady herself. “Wow.” she said quietly to herself. She pulled back the sheepskin cover and slowly attempted to rise to her feet. She had to sit down again quickly as the dizziness overcame her. Within a few seconds she tried again, this time getting to her knees first. She remained like this for several seconds then got to her feet successfully. She stood, body swaying, taking deep breaths and focused her eyes. The dizziness remained, but she took her first tentative steps forward and stayed upright. “Yes.” she said to herself. She continued walking towards the large oak where she recognised the clothes hanging on the lowest branch.

She could still hear the distant splashing in the stream and after gathering the clothing made her way towards the sounds. She stood at the edge of the stream, then promptly fell to a sitting position as she lost her footing. Xena had been in the water catching breakfast and was now having a leisurely swim. She swam to the edge and got out. “What are you doing here.....You should be lying down...resting..” she frowned as she looked at the bloodstained bandage.

“All this lying around is making me weak, I need to be active I need to get my strength back.” The short journey had taken it's toll and she was exhausted. She sat with head in hands and Xena noted that her colour was not good. Alex vomited and Xena moved to comfort her. She nodded.
“Too soon.... but now that you are here we can get you cleaned up.” she brushed the few strands of short hair from Alex's forehead.

“We can use one of these rags to wash you.” Xena said lifting the white and mauve Nike T-shirt and dipped it into the stream.

Alex tried to grab the T-shirt and pushed Xena away in disbelief
“That's my best T-shirt, it cost me $200, I got it when I went to New Zealand, Lucy Lawless signed it.... It's.......” before she could finish, the warrior had snatched it back and was in the process of ripping it up to make it more manageable.

“.....Priceless.” Alex finished. She sat handling the discarded remnant of her prized possession.

“Not here it's not, C'mon are you able to wash yourself, or will I?” Xena said brusquely not heeding Alex' s disappointment.

“I...I can manage.” Alex replied sadly. She took the cloth from Xena and attempted to wash her face, she was weak and her arms dropped to her lap. She sobbed.

Xena frowned “Look I'm sorry about your shirt.... I'll get you another...”

“You can't.....Oh never mind....” dejected she handed the cloth back to Xena who began to wash the girl's face gently. She worked methodically and within minutes Alex felt refreshed but remained sad.

When she had finished Xena sat beside Alex and dangled her feet in the stream. She looked across to the other side scanning the trees and beyond.

“Is there anything you can remember about the woman?” She asked as she continued to stare ahead.

Alex had picked up a twig and was using it to write in the soft earth.
“What woman?”

“The woman who gave you directions”

“She was young, wearing the same kind of gear as you, she had blonde hair and appeared from nowhere...I think”

Xena nodded “Great...just great, did she tell you anything?” Now she looked directly at Alex and waited patiently for a reply.

“I told you she gave me directions and then... I don't remember.”

“How did you get those marks on your back?”

“What marks.... I fell I think.... Gabrielle said YOU found me in the water, I don't know...I can't remember...I told you.”

“Here's what I know.... When I found you face down in the water you were all but dead…Your injuries were not the result of a fall...those marks on your back are...whip marks...but they have healed…so this must have happened some time ago. Your shoulder, that's a knife wound.”

“But who...why would someone want to hurt me intentionally?” Alex was confused.

“The woman you met...she is a ...an enemy of mine...Callisto, a ruthless killer, she tortures for pleasure,” Xena glanced over her shoulder as she heard Gabrielle calling. “She'll be wondering where you are.”

“What about you?”

“Oh Gabrielle knows where I am.” Xena replied with a smirk.

“About this woman...do you think she was the one...who hurt me?”

“I think it was Callisto who brought you here, for whatever reason, but I don't understand her hurting you in the process if you are....” she trailed off and started to get, up pulling Alex up with her.

“If I'm what...what were you going to say?” Alex pulled back on Xena's arm and held her firm, but winced at the pain the effort caused her.
Xena looked at Alex and then down to where the girl was gripping her, she sighed,
“Family.... I was going to say family, but it doesn't make sense...then nothing does with Callisto....”
“You think I'm related to this...Callisto woman? how....how did she get me here......and why....”

“Well she IS a God...so she can do pretty much what she wants...but I don't know why yet...maybe you are part of some plan she has to get at me?” Xena searched Alex's face for some reaction.

“So she brings me here to help her defeat you? but why, I'm no threat to anyone....I mean I can defend myself, but I don't need to, I live a fairly quiet and peaceful life, I rarely get upset about anything so how could I help her to get at you?”

“I was lead to believe that you were someone who was greatly feared where you come from, although I can't quite get to grips with that.”
Xena stood facing Alex and eyed her bruised and battered body with some degree of pity…It was hard to believe that this girl could frighten anyone but herself.

Alex laughed, “Me, feared...you must have me mixed up with someone else...who told you this anyway...this Callisto?

“It doesn't matter...I have to think about what this means...we could be in danger.”

Gabrielle came running towards the stream, “Didn't you hear me call?”
“I think they heard you in Amphipolis Gabrielle.” Xena smiled.
“Well why didn't you answer...I was worried about...Alex.”

“I'm fine Gabrielle, still confused but fine”

The trio headed back to the camp to clear up and moved out after breakfast.

It was well after midday when Xena agreed to stop for some lunch and to rest. Gabrielle had pointed out that Alex had been looking rather uncomfortable riding Argo. They rested beneath a large elm and drank some water.

“We'd best fill the water skins while we are here, Gabrielle you collect some berries and herbs and I'll go on ahead to scout. Alex you stay here with Gabrielle and rest until I come back” Xena mounted Argo and trotted off.

“Right I'll fill the skins and collect the berries, you wait here, I won't be long...take advantage of the rest”

“I'm fine Gabrielle...let me get the water...I saw a stream a little ways back I'll be fine I promise...” Alex begged

“Stay put...Xena will kill us both if anything happens to you...”she was interrupted as Alex grabbed the skins and started to walk towards the stream.

“What can happen Gabrielle I'm only going to get some water...I'll shout if I get into...” her voice trailed off
“Trouble, and that's with a capital T!” Gabrielle yelled after her. She wanted to go after Alex and bring her back, but she knew she wouldn't come, she was stubborn...just like someone else she knew...but she admired her. She shook her head as she watched the girl get nearer the stream... “Well I can still see her, she'll be fine...” She started picking berries and found some wild thyme and oregano, “I'll make some savoury bread if we reach the next village by nightfall and I can get some flour, that'll put a smile on Xena's face.”

Alex had filled the two water skins without any problem and was about to return to Gabrielle when she saw some movement by the bushes. She looked back to Gabrielle and waved and then ventured towards the movement. As she neared the moving bush she heard a voice...a voice she recognised.

“That wasn't very nice...running away from me like that...just as I was getting to know you so well...didn't you like my...hospitality?”

Alex looked. It was the woman who had given her directions. She vaguely heard what Callisto had said.

“Well if your hospitality is as good as your skills at giving directions, no wonder I ran away!” Alex hissed

“Sooo hostile, I see you inherited your manners from Xena, I'm afraid I'm gonna have to teach you some.” With that Callisto snapped her fingers and both she and Alex disappeared.

Gabrielle had collected a basket full of berries and enough herbs for at least 2 loaves, she was pleased...Xena would be pleased.
“Alex...have you finished, Xena will be back soon we'd better get back, she's not to keen on being disobeyed... Alex... Alex...” Gabrielle looked around frantically. She dropped the basket and ran to the edge of the water...nothing, she ran up and down the edge shouting. She found the water skins, full and lying on the grass. She picked them and her basket up and returned just before Argo trotted up.

“All clear ahead... great, oregano and thyme, who's baking bread then?”


“You know I just love savoury bread...especially with.... Roast hog,” she produced a small forest hog from her saddle bag and gave Gabrielle a massive grin, which soon dissipated when she saw the concern in Gabrielle's face “What?” she scowled.

“It's Alex... she's gone,” Gabrielle said as she stared intently at the warrior, she wished she was somewhere else, she knew what was coming, “I told her you would kill us both if anything happened to her...but she...” Gabrielle was stopped mid flow

“Why do people never listen to me...Do I speak a complex language...that must be it...All I asked was that you get some berries and water and look after her...was that too much even for you Gabrielle?” Xena's voice was low and steady, but the menacing look in her eyes scared Gabrielle, she'd seen it before, several times, undaunted she tried to put her case forward as Xena glowered at her with hooded eyes.

“People do listen...I mean, I heard you, but, she wouldn't listen to me...was I supposed to jump on her and restrain her until you got back…?”

“Why not, I would have done it to you...I did it to you until you came to your senses...she's a kid...she's lost, confused, alone...”

“I know that, but she was only going to get water...I could see her...then I couldn't...Xena...I'm sorry I guess I was too soft...I'm an easy touch?”

“Well you'll need to toughen up, Cause I think Callisto is behind this, she's got her.”

When Alex awoke she was lying on the ground. Her hands were tied behind her. Callisto sat on a rock staring down at her. She jumped down from the rock when Alex opened her eyes. Callisto stroked her cheek gently. Alex pulled away.

“Now… now that's no way to treat your auntie Callisto, be nice to me or I'll make you…like before, do you remember?”

Alex shook her head “I don't know what you are on about, what do you want with me...I can't help you defeat Xena...” Alex grunted as she tried to sit up, Callisto pushed her back down with her booted foot.
“She's aware of my plan then, well, well, you see Alex, you are here because I brought you here, it's been about 6 weeks now since I first met you in the forest. Don't you remember our little...sessions. You were so eager to please me, tend to my every desire...then again you didn't take much persuading, not one for too much pain are you my sweet?” Callisto reached to the rock behind her and lifted the black leather whip.

“I brought your old friend, she's missed you, now if you are a good girl it won't be too painful and you wont have to endure much...just comply with me and we'll get along fine. Callisto cracked the whip on the ground beside the girl's shoulder. Alex whimpered, she suddenly remembered everything, the torture, the scars, and the degradation. She sobbed.

“I haven't started yet...you are supposed to be made of better stuff than this, I can't believe that you have got any of Xena's genes...except maybe the ones that give you a smart mouth.”

Alex cowered on the ground awaiting Callisto's next move.

“Xena's genes? What do you mean...I thought I was your descendant.”

“A little piss ant like you...don't think so honey…but if that's what Xena believes then all the better. You are here to kill her, If she is killed by someone of her own blood then she cannot go on, she will spend eternity in Tartarus battling the demons of her past every day and lose. That will bring me immense gratification.” Callisto gloated as she cracked the whip again nearer to Alex.

Alex didn't flinch this time, she held fast as the whip whistled past her ear. “I won't help you...I wont do this.”

“Oh but you will...you see, by the time I have finished with you, you will be begging me to let you kill her.” Callisto was now kneeling beside her captive, stroking her hair as she held a finger under her chin.

Xena remained silent while she thought about the situation. Gabrielle had tried to make conversation but Xena had only grunted her replies, so she took the hint and was silent also. Then the warrior stood up abruptly and reached behind her for her sword. Callisto appeared.

Gabrielle reached for her staff. “Chill Blondie, just want to talk with great Granny Xena here...let's play a game...say...Lost your descendant...and the winner is....”

“What are you prattling on about...she's your descendant....”

“Uh Uh” Callisto shook her head. “But since you were careless and lost her I adopted her and we're doing that bonding thing right now...like mother and brat...it's great, she'll do anything for me, ANYTHING!” Callisto laughed and disappeared.

Xena's eyes widened and she raged “ARES!!” she yelled . The God of War materialised beside Gabrielle “ Watch it with the stick, Gabby...you yelled princess.”

“You lied...you said she was a tyrant in the future and that she was Callisto's descendant.”

“Well I'll admit I lied about her being a tyrant, but I never said she was Callisto's, and she did inherit a load of wicked genes.... From you.”

“Take me to where Callisto has the girl!” Xena demanded.

“Or what? You'll make a scene....” Ares scoffed.

“You must have some stake in this Ares so take me to where she is NOW!”

“OK if you insist, but don't say I didn't warn you.” He snapped his fingers and Xena and Gabrielle were transported to an underground cave.

“What if he's just banished us to the underworld?” Gabrielle remarked.

“Not just yet...he's up to something, he want's us to find Alex.” They moved deeper into the cave.

Callisto sat on a rock, Alex sat at her feet. “It wont be long now my sweet, the big bad warrior will be here soon.” she lilted as she stroked short dark hair. Alex moved closer and laid her head against Callisto's legs.

Xena and Gabrielle entered the chamber where Callisto and Alex were sitting. “Oh what a big sword you have Grandma.” Callisto mocked.

“All the better to kill YOU with!” Xena retorted. “Alex come over here, get away from her.” she motioned for the girl to join her and Gabrielle at the other side of the cave. Alex looked up at Callisto, awaiting her desire.

“This is the one I told you about my pretty...the one who made me hurt you...the one who has made your existence such a miserable one, the one who wants to kill you, you know what you have to do, don't you...?”
Callisto took Alex's face in her hands and kissed her forehead “Do it for the family.” she cackled.

Alex stood up and turned towards Xena and Gabrielle. She had muscles where she had none before, there were bruises and scratches and the occasional welt from the whip. She looked possessed, her eyes red rimmed and dark circles indicated sleep deprivation. Callisto had brainwashed this innocent into a killing machine.

“Alex put the sword down, I don't want to fight you!” Xena ordered.

“Oh but I want to fight you...you are a demon...destroyer of nations and wrecker of lives!” Alex rasped

“Alex...Callisto has not told you the whole truth...Xena has changed...she is not like that anymore....” Gabrielle interjected.

“Stay out of this Gabrielle my fight is not with you, I like you, you were kind to me, you took care of me...”

“So did Xena, she saved you from drowning...”

“Only so she could torment me, torture me...go away Gabrielle this must end now.”

Alex lunged forward and caught Xena a glancing blow to her forearm. Xena backed off and put her sword into its scabbard.
“Does the big bad warrior not want to play anymore?” Alex jibed and Callisto applauded her prodigy “That's my girl.”

Alex lunged forward again but Xena deflected the blow and sent the girl flying towards Gabrielle, who helped her up, holding on to both arms Gabrielle tried to talk some sense into her “Alex you'll get hurt, put down the sword.”

One shove from Alex sent Gabrielle reeling into the rock face “Sorry Gabrielle, I need to do this.” From her position on top of the rock, Callisto applauded Alex and jeered her on.

Then, as Xena went to assist the concussed Gabrielle, Alex lunged at her and the sword intended for Xena's arm struck Gabrielle's side. Xena pushed Alex away in time to catch her companion who appeared to be bleeding heavily. Slowly Xena lowered her unconscious friend to the ground. She tried to revive her, calling her name, shaking her. Tears welled in her eyes as she realised she'd lost her best friend. She shook her head to clear the tears, stood up slowly and deliberately, with her back to Alex, who had been shocked at striking Gabrielle and was now several paces away from Xena, dazed and confused.

Xena slowly turned round to face her opponent. “You killed Gabrielle, YOU killed my friend, Now it's you turn to die. A series of punches to the face and kicks to the chest, made Alex drop the sword as she fell to the ground, this was no contest, but Gabrielle was dead and someone was going to pay…the highest price.

Alex lay on the ground dazed and injured...her shoulder was bleeding badly from her previous wound and was dislocated now. Xena picked up the sword and towered over the injured girl.

“Get up weakling...you have to kill her, she destroyed your soul...!” Callisto bellowed “I need you to kill her!” she ranted.

As Xena ventured towards Callisto as mad as Tartarus, Ares appeared.
“Forget her, kill the girl Xena...she killed Gabrielle...your companion is dead.” Xena's face was ashen. She turned towards the girl still lying dazed on the ground and began to lift the sword.

“Wait, you said you needed the girl here to kill Xena, that's why I brought her here, maybe I did have a little fun along the way, but if she kills the girl...” Callisto interjected.

“Shut up Callisto and let her finish it...If you don't kill her and she kills you, you will spend eternity in Tartarus fighting a daily battle against your demons and losing...that's it.”

“And if I kill her...?” Xena glared at Callisto.

“...Then you will be condemned to serve Ares for killing an innocent.” Callisto replied coyly.
“What did you go and do that for...big mouth?” Ares moaned.

“Cause you didn't keep to our agreement, you lied to me...I wanted her dead, not fighting with you....”Callisto retorted.

“So we're at a stalemate...I'm not going to kill her, never was...and she wont be killing me, so you two can disappear!” Xena growled.

“Spoilsport” Ares vanished.

“Until next time Grandma.” Callisto cackled as she disappeared.

Xena ran over to Gabrielle and cradled her in her arms, she detected movement, and looked for the wound. The cut was not too deep and the bleeding had stopped. Gabrielle regained consciousness.

“Oh my head...what happened...Ow my side...What about Ale...?”

Xena grabbed onto her companion tighter. “Gabrielle, you're alive, I thought I'd lost you.” She kissed the bard's brow and gently stroked the ashen cheeks as she continued to cradle her.

“I'm fine, but my head hurts, did I pass out?” Gabrielle asked as she looked up into the Warriors eyes, now stained with tears of joy.

“You must have hit that rock harder than I thought,” Xena replied now staring at Alex menacingly. “Now you stay here and don't move, I have a little problem to sort out now.” She stood up and ventured towards Alex, who lay motionless on the floor, she had passed out with the pain of the dislocation. Xena circled around her, moving anything that could be used as a weapon out of reach.

“Xena don't hurt her she doesn't know...”

“Gabrielle, I know what I'm doing.”

Alex began to come round...she moaned and flinched when she saw Xena towering over her. She grunted and attempted to find something to use to strike her, when she found nothing she lashed out with her feet, but Xena was too quick, she got onto the floor behind Alex and put her arms around her. Alex winced with the pain in her shoulder. Quickly Xena reset the dislocated shoulder. The girl yelled then whimpered. Xena held her in her arms as she struggled to break free, cursing and shouting with little impact. After what seemed like an eternity she eventually quietened down to long sobs as Xena stroked her hair.

“ShSh...You're safe now...it's over. Gabrielle watched as Xena pacified the girl, and wondered at how quickly she had managed to tame the savage soul that was Callisto's creation. She ventured toward Xena who was gently rocking back and forth like a mother cradling her child. As Gabrielle approached the warrior opened her arms to welcome her and the three huddled together. Xena comforted both her injured charges, soothing each in turn.

Some time passed, and the trio found themselves back at the camp huddled together. Gabrielle and Alex had fallen asleep. As Xena relaxed her grip on them both, the bard wakened. She helped Xena lay the sleeping girl down on the ground. Then Xena and Gabrielle lay down together and slept.

Unusually, it had been quite late the following day when Xena awoke. She had allowed Gabrielle and Alex to remain asleep. They could move on tomorrow, use the day to rest and reflect...oh yes...they would reflect all right. Gabrielle was first to stir. She sat up and looked around her. Xena was preparing a fire.
“Why didn't you waken me, Xena?” she inquired, glad that the warrior hadn't done so. Xena glanced at her and shook her head.

“You looked as if you needed the rest, anyway everything is under control...I'm cooking lunch...no objections I hope?”

“Well I'd prefer....” Gabrielle stopped mid flow, she noted that Xena had stopped kindling the fire, “No...No objections from me, go right ahead.”
She conceded. Xena resumed her activity without looking up.

“Go waken Alex, take her to the stream and help her to wash.” Xena directed. Gabrielle was sure she felt a hint of disapproval in the warrior's tone. “...And Gabrielle...don't let her out of your sight.” now she knew it was a disapproving tone.
“Gabrielle, I know what I'm doing.”

Alex began to come round...she moaned and flinched when she saw Xena towering over her. She grunted and attempted to find something to use to strike her, when she found nothing she lashed out with her feet, but Xena was too quick, she got onto the floor behind Alex and put her arms around her. Alex winced with the pain in her shoulder. Quickly Xena reset the dislocated shoulder. The girl yelled then whimpered. Xena held her in her arms as she struggled to break free, cursing and shouting with little impact. After what seemed like an eternity she eventually quietened down to long sobs as Xena stroked her hair.

“ShSh...You're safe now...it's over. Gabrielle watched as Xena pacified the girl, and wondered at how quickly she had managed to tame the savage soul that was Callisto's creation. She ventured toward Xena who was gently rocking back and forth like a mother cradling her child. As Gabrielle approached the warrior opened her arms to welcome her and the three huddled together. Xena comforted both her injured charges, soothing each in turn.

Some time passed, and the trio found themselves back at the camp huddled together. Gabrielle and Alex had fallen asleep. As Xena relaxed her grip on them both, the bard wakened. She helped Xena lay the sleeping girl down on the ground. Then Xena and Gabrielle lay down together and slept.

Unusually, it had been quite late the following day when Xena awoke. She had allowed Gabrielle and Alex to remain asleep. They could move on tomorrow, use the day to rest and reflect...oh yes...they would reflect all right. Gabrielle was first to stir. She sat up and looked around her. Xena was preparing a fire.
“Why didn't you waken me, Xena?” she inquired, glad that the warrior hadn't done so. Xena glanced at her and shook her head.

“You looked as if you needed the rest, anyway everything is under control...I'm cooking lunch...no objections I hope?”

“Well I'd prefer....” Gabrielle stopped mid flow, she noted that Xena had stopped kindling the fire, “No...No objections from me, go right ahead.”
She conceded. Xena resumed her activity without looking up.

“Go waken Alex, take her to the stream and help her to wash.” Xena directed. Gabrielle was sure she felt a hint of disapproval in the warrior's tone. “...And Gabrielle...don't let her out of your sight.” now she knew it was a disapproving tone.

“I won't.” Gabrielle replied sheepishly. She mentally kicked herself for not being firm with Alex and for incurring Xena's displeasure. She did as Xena bid and led Alex down to the stream. The girl had been a little reluctant to begin with, not being fully awake, but Gabrielle's grip on her arm encouraged her, that and the warning glance from the warrior.

After they had bathed they returned to camp. The hog was almost cooked and Gabrielle saw that Xena had made the savoury bread. She hadn't realised that she was quite tense and felt herself relax slightly when she smelled the bread baking...it reminded her of happy times in the past.

“My that smells delicious Xena.” as she nudged Alex for confirmation Xena looked up at the pair, face devoid of an indicator as to her mood.
“Are you patronising me Gabrielle?” she questioned.

“No, It does smell delicious.” Alex interjected sensing that Xena was not in the best of humour. She had no idea what was eating Xena, and she was beginning to get a little tired of what she felt was becoming a cat and mouse situation. She felt a hint of rebelliousness arise within and decided to go for it.

“Anyway...what's your problem...why the long, serious face...we fought the forces of evil and won...didn't we?” Alex said flippantly. Gabrielle cringed... 'Now she's done it.' she thought as she stared at Xena who stared back at Alex in disbelief.

Xena slowly stood up, she moved directly in front of Alex. Gabrielle moved between them both and facing Xena put her hands on the warrior's arms. “Xena...she didn't mean it...she's just a kid...If she hadn't wandered off then...it would have been some other time…Callisto was just biding her time...you know that.” Xena clenched her fists and turned away, she kept walking until she was well out of sight.

“What is with her...she's as moody as my gra...” Alex offered.

“You just don't get it do you. All those things Callisto told you about Xena's past, they were true Alex. She has a daily battle to come to terms with her past, she was that destroyer of nations, she was the conqueror, the torturer, but she renounced all that for the sake of what is good and right. She changed, but it is a continuous internal struggle for her not to return to her old ways, our daily lives are no joke...If she had continued on that path...the wrong path...YOU would not exist. Gabrielle shook her head and as she walked away she added, “...And I just saved you from a major beating back then...you owe me big time!”

Alex sat alone for some time. She looked around and could see neither Gabrielle nor Xena. She picked up one of Gabrielle's scrolls and her quill. She began to write.

Xena, Gabrielle,
I'm sorry for the trouble I caused you both. I guess I am just a smart mouthed kid who needs to learn a lesson or twelve...but I'm really a good kid at heart. I strive to do the good and right things in my life and stand up for what I believe in. This has been an experience in my life that I WILL never forget, I will never forget you both, I feel that you have always been with me, now that I think back to the future, I'm sure you will stay with me forever.

When she finished writing, Alex looked around her, up into the trees and beyond. “If anyone is listening, please send me home...before I outstay my welcome.”

Callisto materialised beside Alex. “Don't forget your Auntie Callisto now.” She snapped her fingers and they were gone.

Gabrielle was first to return to the camp, on discovering Alex was nowhere to be found she panicked, “Oh she'll definitely kill me this time, why don't I just do what she says.”

Xena returned shortly afterwards. It appeared to Gabrielle that Xena had worked off her anger and was now much calmer. She dreaded having to tell her about Alex...again.


“I know, she's gone...home, she left us something.” she pointed to the scroll.

Gabrielle picked up the scroll and unrolled it.

“What does it say?” Xena asked as she started to collect their belongings

Gabrielle scrutinised the scroll for what seemed like an eternity.

“Well?” Xena said impatiently.

“Well,” said Gabrielle, “She definitely takes after your side of the family...I can't make out a single word of this.”

They both laughed.


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