The Black Jar

By Dreamweaver


Disclaimer: Studios USA and others, not me, own the characters in the following story. No copy write infringement is intended or any profit made, its just another fan fiction written for fun. This is post-FIN, something I swore that I would not touch, but I got this 'what if?' idea. It won't depress you, I promise. I hope someone else hasn't done this already, if they have its purely a coincidence, there is so much fiction out there that its hard to keep track.

This is for all ages, no more subtext than the show, but I'll rate it PG for a couple of mild cuss words.

Write and tell me what you think, good or bad: e-mail Dreamweaver

The chakram hung neatly on the wall above her fireplace over her crossed Sais, below them the small black jar that held what was left of her dearest friend, sat on the mantle. The cherished memories of her past life along with the many scrolls she had written over the years. Now these past two years she taught the children of the village how to read and write and let her hair grow long again.

They came to the small house she kept and learned by candle and firelight. They stayed sometimes late in the evening till she had to walk them home. One of the boys, Jason, had been curious about the contents of the squat black jar's contents for some time and was always bugging her about it.

"Can I see, pleeeze, teacher?"

"There is nothing to see, its just ash."

"I want to see what Xena looks like."

"Its not really her, it was just her body. Believe me, she is in a much better place. I need to go see the healer about my neck, I have a terrible pain when I turn it."

He remembered the Healer that lived near the next village over; he remembered the time he had had a nosebleed and his mother had run all the way to her with him in her arms because she could not get it to stop. The fear of the healer and his mother's panic had caused him to scream the entire way. The healer had calmed him instantly. She held him in her arms and hummed to him a strange melody as she gently pinched his nose. Her beautiful eyes and warm smile held him spellbound.

"I'll go with you, teacher." He was not afraid of Althea anymore and he was hoping for a share of the stuffed grape leaves teacher was packing to take to her.

"Not today, she is busy."

"You go to see the healer every day, stay here and read to me."

"Quit wining! You can stay here and read to yourself. I'll be back in a couple of hours, don't get into anything, alright?"

She walked the long way herself, refusing rides. She liked to walk and did everywhere, with only her walking stick for protection, bringing a loaf of bread and some fine cheese in a basket. The sais would remain on the wall, perhaps forever; they would hopefully never be used to kill again. The staff would work wonders if she ever needed to defend herself or any of the people in her adopted village.

Her life was so peaceful now and she was enjoying every minute of it. Her days were filled with teaching and writing, and practicing with her weapons-just in case.

Jason looked up from the scroll at the black jar. I could take a quick look and put it back exactly the way it is now and teacher would never know, he thought. He had investigated many of her personal things since she arrived and had gotten pretty good at putting them back just so. So far he had done so without being discovered.

The healers hut was far on the outskirts of town, a good long walk. The healer; Althea, had long snow-white hair that made people think, at first glance, that she was much older than she was, yet her face was young and smooth. She had settled here at about the same time that the teacher had and people came from miles around to get relief from their ailments, more and more each day. Althea had extensive knowledge of healing herbs and touches. The villagers came to her for everything from toothaches to broken bones, she had even cut people open to remove rotted organs and they had gone on to live normal, well lives.

Always they had paid what they could, mostly in food, livestock or trade for things like new shoes for her horse.

As the teacher approached her, the healer was practicing tai chi with graceful, fluid motions then paused as if sensing something.

"Someone need their neck cracked again?"

Althea turned and embraced the smaller woman.

"How did you guess? Did Yolanda have her baby yet?"

"Last night," Althea hugged her friend, "they always come in the middle of the night; full moon you know."

"Aw, sorry I missed it!"

They walked to the house with their arms around each other.

"That for me?"

"I brought you some lunch."

He was just tall enough to reach the little black jar when he stood on his toes; with his fingertips he coxed it toward the edge of the mantle. He squeezed his eyes shut tight when he heard the jar hit the slate hearth. He thought he had heard it break.

"Oh Zeus!

"I still can't get used to this." She playfully shook a handful of Althea's white hair.

"My disguise? Ares owed me at least that after I helped him regain his godhood."

"The god of Wisdom. How is the old boy?"

"He drops by every once in a while to check-up on me. He says Eve and Virgil are getting pretty serious."

"I'm glad."

"Yes. And he loved the last two scrolls; said they made him laugh his ass off."

"Because Xena died?"

"No, because the story was a little…preposterous. Sorry. "

"That's okay. Maybe I should do a rewrite."

"Naw, leave it; it's already out there."

"Althea, I admit that it wasn't the best story I've ever written, but it wasn't supposed to be funny I was going more for tragic and romantic."

"You mean me and that Akemi chick? As if."

"I had to think up a way to explain that damned tattoo I got on our trip around the world, then my imagination took over. I feel like I've perpetrated a lie on the world. We never even got around to Jappa."

"Nonsense; its a work of fiction like any other. And it bought us some peace and quiet."

Jason opened tightly closed eyes to see that the fat little jar had landed on the stone hearth-in one piece to his relief, but the lid had come off.

"I miss Xena."

"Well she'll always be here. If you ever need her, all you have to do is ask. She just needed to take a break from the fighting. And there doesn't seem to much need anymore; since you burned the Loom of the Fates the world is a far different place."

"Do you miss the road?"

"Sometimes. We've done just about everything, now its time to do just nothing at all. An area we've never explored before. When and if the time comes to go out there in the world again-we'll just know." Her knowing hands smoothed the back of teacher's neck, giving a quick twist, producing a muted 'crack'.

"That felt great. Got any plans tomorrow?"

"Might go fishing-if no emergencies come in. Want to come?"

"Sounds like a plan."

Luckily nothing had spilled from the jar and Jason carefully lifted it along with the lid and peered inside, finally turning it upside down and shaking it to make sure. It was empty.

The end.

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