Fatherhood

Chapter one, Fatherhood

By the Mighty Lu Bu, advised by Stardawn

Occurs later season 4, after the haircut but before Ides of March

I don't own Xena or planned parenthood

Joxer was on his way to Athens when he happened to run into some old friends. Course the irritated look from Xena and revoltingly annoyed look from Gabrielle didn't make him feel so welcome. Xena knowing better than to ask, decided to ask anyway, "So what are you up to?"

Joxer pulled out a note and handed to Xena. Xena read it aloud, "Dear Joxer. I regret to inform you that Heidi Mecxinal has died in her sleep. I'd rather not say anymore in the letter in case it fell into the wrong hands but if is extremely important you come to the office of the chief magistrate of Athens concerning a legal matter close to the heart." Xena wondered what he meant.

Xena asked smiling, "Who is Heidi?" Joxer shrugged his shoulders. Xena raised an eyebrow as Gabrielle gave him that taunting 'Ha' look she could do so well.

Joxer, extremely annoyed, finally said, "I knew her five years ago ok." Joxer paused for a moment, bowing his head with a slight hint of shame as he was in front of his love, Gabrielle, then Joxer said, "She was a prostitute ok. So I've been around with women of ill repute."

Xena said giving him back the letter, "That doesn't explain what the note meant."

Joxer replied dismissively, "Not important, I'm not going to Athens."

Xena put her arms across her chest replying, "And why not?"

Joxer replied trying to hold back his frustration with the line of questioning, "I grew up in Athens ok. I don't like it. I don't see what this woman could have had, that would be important to me."

Gabrielle stated trying to sound reassuring, "You should go. See what it is."

Joxer casually waved off the idea saying, "Nah, I'm fine. We can go the other way."

Xena said raising the warrior eyebrow, "Well we are going. Course if you wanna stay behind and miss out far be it from me to stop you."

"Alright, I'll go if you two come with me" relented Joxer.

Gabrielle said to Joxer smiling, "Alright then. Well lets go."

So they started on the road to Athens. Joxer asked going for a different subject, "So Gabby, what happened to your hair."

Gabrielle smiled and said one word, "chakram."

Xena asked self conscious about her actions, "But you like it right?"

Gabrielle replied touching her hair, "Of course I do." Xena nodded reassured as they continued onwards to Athens.

8

The next day in Athens.

Joxer said trying hide himself behind Xena, "Oh Gods, I haven't been here in ages." Xena pulled him buy his ear beside her as people waved at Joxer. Some people laughed at him, however Joxer was used to this. They soon made it to the home of the chief magistrate.

Xena knocked on the door as Joxer tried to stay out of sight. A man opened a sliding metal opening and said, "The chief magistrate is not available today." He was about to close it as Xena stuck her hand catching the metal slide saying, "I'm here with Joxer."

The man opened the door saying, "The chief magistrate will be with you in a moment, please wait."

The three walked in looking around on what seemed to be a very nice home. Linens and silk hung from the walls. The rug was clearly of Persian origins. Being the chief magistrate of a large city state like Athens had it's advantages. Then finally an older man entered the room. He looked as if he had years of experience as a magistrate under his belt. Joxer stood beside Xena as she pushed him forward.

The man said, "I am liandros, chief magistrate of Athens. All others are subservient to me. Your Joxer, I recall your brother Jett. You look just like him you know."

Joxer said trying to be respectful, "Sir, I received this note from you."

Liandros said, "Ah yes, I wondered if you got that. I have someone for you to meet. Amerielle!"

A blonde haired five year old girl wearing a brown dress ran tripping on her own feet dropping a brown teddy bear, she grabbed it with her hand and then got up to her feet. Laindros bent down to the child's eye level and said, "Amerielle. Meet your father. Joxer." Xena's eyebrow raised in shock as Gabrielle's mouth hung open. Joxer nearly fainted as he said, "Father? Um," He gulped "are you sure?"

Laindros said, "The whor… um the girls mother left a diary saying that you were the father. It took some time to be sure but we've gone over it several times." The girl stared at Joxer as Joxer avoided eye contact with her.

Joxer said completely taken aback by the shocking statement, "Um…You see… Judge.. Um. Can I have five minutes?"

Laindros said, "Sure, just come back in when you are ready."

Joxer walked outside as a truly flabbergasted Xena followed by a speechless Gabrielle were very close behind him. Once outside the house Joxer said in denial, "This can't be right. I can't be her father, I only paid for…"

Xena said making direct eye contact with Joxer, "Look, I'm just as surprised as you but if you are the father."

Gabrielle regained her speech, "Then you've got to take her."

Joxer said momentarily lost, "I can't. I don't know anything about girls." Gabrielle laughed slightly as Joxer continued, "I'm serious, I can't be this child's father."

Xena said still maintaining eye contact said trying very hard to get her point across, "do you know what happens to the children of prostitutes if they have no parents in Greece?"

Joxer tried to argue, "No, but you see Xen.." Xena said interrupting him, "They wind up on the streets because no one will take in a 'Whore's baby.' So are you going to let this child wind up homeless on the streets?"

Joxer bowed his head in defeat, "Um, ok. But I'm going to admit something here and now." Joxer paused for a moment as he thought about the next few words he would use, "I'm going to need help."

Xena was about to say she would, however before she could, Gabrielle cut in, "We'll be glad to help."

Joxer relented saying, "Ok." They all walked back in.

Joxer said fighting for the words, "You see um… I'll…" Xena interrupted, "He'll take her in."

Laindros said breathing a sigh of relief, "Thank you, you've saved this child."

Joxer looked at the child, guessing completely as he really had no idea what to do, extended his hand at the girl. She went and hid behind Laindros. Laindros gently touched the back of her head and went down to his knees. He said, "Listen Amerielle, he is your father, he will take care of you. Understand?" The girl shook her head yes. He got back up and patted her on the back deliberately pushing her forward some.

The girl cautiously took Joxer's hand while holding onto the teddy bear with her other hand. Joxer unsure of himself took her hand. Joxer with Amerielle led the way as Xena and Gabrielle followed. Laindros breathed a sigh of relief, as he knew the child would be well taken care of.