The Auction

by Killing Joke

Disclaimers: The characters of Xena, Gabrielle etc. belong to RenPic.

"You did what !?!"

Xena knew something was up from the minute they had entered Amphipolis. The streets were just too abandoned, like Gabrielle and her had landed in a ghost town of some sort. But when they had turned around the corner where her mother lived, the first signs of life could be heard from Cyrene's inn. The place was crowded. She could see familiar and strange faces staring in their direction. Through the mass a conspicuously dressed corpulent man had made his way towards them…

"Now take it easy, Xena. It's for a good cause. Think about all the orphans we're going to help with the money we'll raise." Salmoneus swallowed, looking into Xena's icily blue eyes, that paradoxically seemed to be cracking to spit fire at him.

"He's got a point there, Xena." Gab tried to lend Salmoneus a hand, which had the opposite effect apparently since Xena grabbed her by the neck.

"You… You're in on this, aren't you ? Let's spend the weekend at your mother's, Xena. It would be sooo nice to eat a home cooked meal again." Xena mimicked Gabrielle's request. Gab grinned. "You knew about this all along, you little snake."

"Well…" Gabrielle shrugged helplessly. "Someone needed to get you here. And let's face it: you would never have wanted to come if I had told you the truth. Aw, c'mon, Xena, you've done worse. You've already participated in a beauty pageant for… Sal's sake."

"Hey ! It was not like I was enjoying that. I was undercover, remember." Xena made an attempt to justify her actions.

"How could I forget." Gab chuckled.

"We had to find an assassin then." Xena stubbornly crossed her arms.

"Xena, this is also for the greater good. What can be better than reeling in dinars for poor innocent children who have lost their parents ?" Gabrielle worked on Xena's maternal instincts.

"But 'Rent a Warrior'! There must be tons of other ways to make a lot of money."

"True, but this is one of the quickest ways to earn it. Besides, I thought it would be a great gesture for warriors to give something back to the community." Salmoneus tried to convince Xena.

"What's in it for you ?" Xena asked suspiciously.

"Xena, I'm shocked…" Salmoneus gave her a hurt look.

"I promised him a cut of the tavern's earnings." Cyrene answered her daughter while passing her with a full platter.

"Tss…" Xena shook her head in disapproval.

"Please, Xena, do it for me ?" Gab gave her that begging puppy look Xena could never resist otherwise.

"Sweettalk huh. Well, it ain't gonna work this time. Why don't you do it ?" Xena reversed the roles.

"Who ? Me ?" Suddenly a bunch of men of different age, class and so forth started luring at Gabrielle.

"On second thought…" Xena had noticed the horny stares.

"What ? You don't think I can do it ?" Gab went into a defensive mode.

"Sure, if you show off your fab abs like that." Xena patted her belly.

"Hmm, maybe we can put the two of you together… make it a special offer. You know, men would pay a fortune…"

"Don't…" Xena started.

"…go there." Gabrielle finished her sentence. She placed her hands on her hips and provokingly eyed Xena. "But I can assure you, Xena, this amazon princess would be perfect material for…"

"Actually it's forbidden by amazon law to engage in such undertakings." Amarice had joined them.

"It is ? How come no one ever told me about it ? Where does it say that ?" Gab uttered unknowingly.

Amarice nudged her.

"Oh… you mean those few small lines at the bottom of page kappa, right…" Gabrielle played along.

"Yeah right. Very convincing. You guys really don't leave me much of a choice, do you. Secretly subscribing me into this…" Xena grumbled.

"You're in good company, Xena." Salmoneus wanted to lighten Xena's mood.

"Gimme that list." Xena drew the thing from his hands.

"Glaphyra*? What's she doing here ?" Xena read.

"She's here with her husband, who will be auctioned on sunday with the rest of the men."

"Darnelle*? They got married ?" Gab exlaimed.

"Always suspected those two would hit it off." Xena chuckled.

"I can understand the hitting part but…" Gabrielle said a little surprised.

"Joxer the Mighty ?" Xena read further.

"I tried to talk him out of it but he insisted on doing his bit." Amarice explained.

"Hercules." Gab had crept in front of Xena to read along.

"And Iolaus." Xena emphasized, speaking into Gabrielle's ear.

"Palaemon's coming too !" Gab ignored the snippy remark.

"Still on the right track, I take it then." Xena smiled.

"See, Xena, you set a good example for these people. You can't let them down now, can you ?" Gabrielle turned to her.

"I suppose not." Xena admitted not willingly.

"I'll coach you." Gab friendly thumped her shoulder.

"Fabulous." Xena mocked.

"Shouldn't you wear a dress or something, Xena ?" Cyrene interfered, overhearing the conversation as she walked around to serve the customers.

"Mum !" Xena yelled, wondering how mothers always intercepted things not meant for their ears.

"That's not a bad idea actually. Maybe you could show us some more cleavage…" Salmoneus made the mistake to suggest. Xena was like a volcanoe on the verge of eruption. Salmoneus, seeing the dangerously pulsing vein on Xena's forehead, attempted to correct his blunder: "Maybe not ! Better stick with the leater. It's much more you… definitely you. Guess most men are attracted by that particular aspect anyway…"

At that moment Gabrielle had to use all of her efforts to stop Xena from making Salmoneus eat his own scroll.

"Let's get you prepared." Gab quickly took her hand and dragged her along.

"Gabrielle, how do I always end up into this kinda mess ?" Xena whined after having calmed down a bit.

"That's where friends get ya…" Gab comfortingly laid her arm around Xena's waist.

Xena grunted but draped her arm around Gabrielle's shoulders anyway. "I throw you a surprise party and what do I get in return…" Xena suddenly stood still, took her arm of Gab and stopped another woman.

"Meg ! You're like a gift from Heaven !" Xena's voice was hopeful again.

"From where ?" Meg asked a little startled.

"You've fallen like a present from the sky… never mind. I need to ask you a huge favour. As you already might have heard - everyone else excluding me seems to be informed anyway - " She shot an angry look in Gabrielle's direction. "they're going to auction me today. Will you… would you take my place ? I swear I'll do anything…" Xena begged.

"Sorry toots. We both know there's only one area I'm really good at. Now that warcry I can master. I've practiced enough on that. But I make a poor showing as a warrior."

"Damn." Xena let out.

"Hey, if a handsome fellow rents you, I'll see what I can do. Maybe we should agree on a special signal so we can make the switch in the outhouse." Meg clearly pitied Xena.

"Nah, it's alright, Meg. I think I'll live. Thanks anyway. Say, why are you here ?"

"Joxer." Meg gave her a crooked smile. "Break a leg, Xena."

"Bad choice of words, Meg." Gab interjected.

Meg laughed. "Later, girls."

Xena placed her hands on Gab's shoulders. "Will you do something for me, Gabrielle ? Next time you're planning stuff like this, just lemme know, okay."

"Now where would be the fun in that ?" Gabrielle deviously looked up at Xena.

"It'll give me the chance to kill myself and get it over with." Xena moaned tragically.

"Off you go…" Gab merciless pushed her between the curtains. A small stage had been build, especially for the occassion.

"And last but not least, ladies and gentlemen, I want to present to you the biggest, baddest, by far most beautiful warrior woman ever to have scorched the earth…" Salmoneus announced.

"Go easy on me, will ya." Xena whispered from behind the curtain. Gabrielle was massasing Xena's tense shoulders.

"I mean: walked the world." Salmoneus adjusted. "You may know her under her former title 'Destroyer of Nations' but she's the living proof that every human can become a hero in the truest sense of the word. She showed us everybody can change for the better. But it's time to quit talking. Let's hear it for a special someone: Xena ! The Warrior Princess !" No reaction… "Uh… Xena… You can come out now." Salmoneus spoke between his teeth.

"Xena, you're on. Knock 'em down… but not literally." Gab shoved her in the back so that Xena stumbled on the wooden floor. The spectators gave her a titannical applause. It took Salmoneus a while to get the crowd silent. Xena could differentiate the voice of her mother who screamed "That's my girl !". She thought she would sink into the ground from shame that very instance.

"Since Xena represents the absolute top of amazing battling babes, I suggest we'd start bidding at 25 dinars." Almost every hand in the room went up. Xena felt really ridiculous and if that wasn't enough, Gabrielle had seated herself in the front row.

Salmoneus started raising the price. "Aw, c'mon, you can do better than that. Have you taken a look at these muscles already ? Huh ?" he demonstrated by touching Xena's biceps which wasn't a smart move.

"Hey !" Xena slapped him in his side.

"Nuff said." Salmoneus gasped for breath.

"We know she can fight but can she cook ?" a macho in the public questioned.

"Well, I can roast and fry things." Xena disguised a threat while smiling devillishly. A lot of hands were lowered all of a sudden.

"Xena, you're not supposed to scare them off. Think about the orphans." Gab adviced her.

"What good is their money going to do if I make orphans of their children. It just doesn't add up." Xena growled between her teeth. "Oh, why couldn't they just auction my chakram."

"50 dinars !"

"Torris*, is that you ? Why are you bidding on me ?" Xena asked her older brother.

"Xena, can't you see ? This might be my last chance for us to play 'Follow the leader' with me being in charge this time. As a child you never let me bully you around. It was always Lyceus and me granting your every wish." Torris elaborated.

"I'm terribly sorry about that, Tor. I hope you have enough money saved to make a childhood dream come true." Xena challenged him.

"Guess we know now who was wearing the trousers at home." Salmoneus joked.

"75 !"

"Minya ?" Xena asked with disbelief.

"Hey, you visited my village and all I got was this lousy whip !" Minya showed the weapon. "Which I love by the way." She giggled. "When I was a kid I didn't want a doll for my birthday but a real warrior to teach me all of that important warriorstuff. You know: all the right moves, lines to say..." She dangerously demonstrated with her hands. "Maybe this is my lucky day."

"Isn't this touching ? It's all about fulfilling children's wishes today." Salmoneus created a bit of emotion. The bidding continued with Torris and Minya fighting each other like kids.


"Autolycus…" Xena recognized his voice.

"You possessed my body once, I thought it was about time I possessed yours for a change." Auto stated frankly.

Xena aimed her piercing eyes at him but couldn't hide an charmed smile.

"Just kidding, Cyrene !" Autolycus added, not to make Xena's mum mad.


"Rafe*?" Xena was kinda speechless. Gabrielle raised her eyebrows.

Everyone looked at him expectantly. "Uh, I don't feel the need to speak up, if that's okay with you folks. I'm just here for Xe… to bid."

"Just get on with it." Xena tried to speed up the bidding process. Autolycus and Rafe got entangled in a neck and neck race.

"This should be interesting: The King of Thieves and King Con bidding against each other." Gab remarked.

"I wonder where they're gonna get the cash ?" Xena reflected.

"I believe 'thief' and 'con' are the keywords here." Gabrielle winked.

"150 !" a hooded man bid.

"Quite an offer from our mysterious cloaked guest." Salmoneus commented.

"Wait a second…" Xena said cautious.

"I'm on top of it, Xena." Hercules read her mind and revealed the person behind the coat.

"Ares ! I should have known you were going to find a way to spoil our fun." Xena was on her guard.

"Aow… that one actually hurts." Ares acted. "Oh, Xena, why do you always expect the worst of me ? You're deeply treading on my heart here."

"As if you have one…" Xena quipped.

"Can't a god spend some money on an orphanage ? I've always loved kids. Did you know that ?" Ares smiled demonically.

"Well, you should know. You have enough orphans on your conscience…" Xena voiced bitterly.

"So have you." Ares replied.

"And she's doing something about it." Hercules defended his friend.

"Uh, I hate to disturb this, uh, intermission but I must inform you that gods aren't allowed to bid at this auction, Mister… uh… God of War." Salmoneus brought up frightened like Tartarus.

"What !?! Why ? Oh, but I bet, mister halfgod, standing next to me, can participate, huh…" Ares was offended.

"You're wrong, Ares. I'm just checking out the merchandise, as you would say. I'm a day early. This is a test run for me since I'll be the one on that stage tomorrow." Hercules dealt with his brother.

"It's nothing personal. Only, the fact that you can materialize money wouldn't be fair towards the other mortals. I hope you understand." Salmoneus said with a trembling voice.

"Stupid mortal rules." Ares uttered childishly.

"This is so typical, Ares. Only you would try to win Xena back by paying for her." Hercules spoke up.

"The gods know he tried anything else." Gab interrupted.

"Oh please, like I'm going anywhere with him. Not for all the dinars in Greece." Xena was determined.

"Since you put it like that: Maybe we should schedule a date abroad then. Till we meet again, Xena." Ares disappeared in a flash of blue light.

"He really should work on his one-liners. They're getting a bit old-fashioned to my taste." Gabrielle voiced her opinion.

"My sincerest apologies for this unexpected interruption. Let's continue, shall we." Salmoneus tried to get the show on the run again. The battle of the bidding was rough but slowly more and more participants dropped out. Amongst the stubbornly persistant people there was one that truly stood out, literally and figuratively. It was an extremely fat man with sleazy hair that probably covered his whole body. Rotten teeth could be detected through his long beard and his clothes looked and apparently smelled like he had just cleaned up a pig sty, since the other townspeople were sitting a considerate distance away from him. It looked like he made a pretty good chance at winning this thing. Her friends had already giving up on her. 'I don't like these odds.' Xena thought.

Every time the man bid, Xena glanced desperately in Gab's direction. But Gabrielle seemed to be enjoying every minute of it, giving Xena an amused smile. The inevitable happened.

"300 dinars ! Going once, going twice, sold to the big guy in the back ! May I congratulate you on your purchase, dear sir. I personnally guarantee you won't regret it." Salmoneus shouted. "Be nice, Xena. My reputation, not to mention my life, is on the line here." He told Xena through his teeth. "Now be a good girl and let me escort you to your master."

Xena smiled sour. 'Help me !' She mimicked to Gab, who only laughed, showing her fine set of teeth. Gabrielle joined them though, encouragingly patting Xena on the back.

"You'll survive. You always do." Gab was convinced.

"Yeah, it's just a matter of how." Xena replied sarcastically.

"Be brave, Xena." Gabrielle couldn't help but laugh.

"Hi, my name is Suinus !" Xena's buyer introduced himself and wildly shook her hand.

'Guess I could do worse… At least he's not a sadistic soldier or something… Who am I kidding…' Xena thought. "Guess I'm going to be your personal slave for the couple of days huh." Xena managed to conjure up a smile.

"I wish ! I don't own that much money." Suinus said kinda sad.

"What ?" Xena had to restrain herself from attacking the man.

"I'm only the straw man." He explained.

"Great ! Another surprise… C'mon, let me have it. Who's the guy you're working for ?' Xena was clearly annoyed.

"Actually, it isn't a man…" At that point Xena felt someone tapping her shoulder.

"No… Wh… Why ?" Xena was staring into Gab's green eyes and couldn't quite comprehend the incredible outcome. "You can have my services every second of the day, if you want to. Well, not when we're bussy kicking butt and all but still… All you have to do is ask…"

Gabrielle lifted an eyebrow in the form of a question mark. "Xena, I can't even convince you to let me sleep an hour longer in the morning. I figured this was the only option left for me. It's not exactly legally binding but it'll have to do." Gab spoke melodramatically.

"Stop joking around." Xena tickled her side for a confession.

"Alright, okay. You should have seen the look on your face when you got sold in the end. It was priceless !" Gabrielle laughed.

"You really like seeing me in pain huh… But since you're the one that bought me, you must have felt some compassion towards me ?" Xena fished for answers.

Gab grinned. "You'll change your tune when I'm done with you."

"Spoken like a true slavedriver. You're not going to punish me, are you ?" Xena frowned.

"We'll see… Maybe I can ask Minya to lend me her whip." Gabrielle giggled. "Nah, we'll start with something easy like… let's say 'backrubs'…"

"I think I can live with that." Xena grinned.

"Don't make yourself any illusions, Xena. You're also going to be collecting wood, hunting for food, washing cloths, sharpening my sais, shopping for supplies, buying me drinks, since I'm a little short on cash right now, etcetera." Gab enumerated. Xena moaned at the thought alone.

"Hey, cheer up. I'm still gonna cook for us. We won't get food poisoning." Gabrielle rubbed her arm while having trouble to controll her laughter.

"Ha, ha. Where did you get the ammount of money anyway ?" Xena asked curiously.

"I managed to set something aside." Gab answered more seriously.

"You ? Save dinars ? Gabrielle, you always succeed in spending all our money when we go shopping." Xena obviously didn't believe her.

"And Lila and Cyrene gave me some… as an early birthdaygift." Gab confessed. "It was worth every dinar…" Gabrielle smiled satisfied.

"You love me, don't ya…" Xena put an arm around Gab and they started walking towards the counter.

Gabrielle hugged her back: "Well…"


Notes (in case you just happened to have missed this episode)

· Glaphyra = a female slavedriver who gets reformed by Xena in "A dirty half dozen" (3th season)

· Darnelle = ex-gladiator Xena trained: also "A dirty half dozen" (3th season)

· Palaemon = 'wannabe known as Xena's killer' in "Blind Faith" (2nd season)

· Torris = Xena's older brother in "Death mask" (1st season)

· Rafe = possible (but not really ;) love interest for Xena in "King Con" (3th season)

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