Disclaimer: I own nothing of Xena: Warrior Princess.


"Well, then, like I said." And with that, Xena stood up and walked away to rejoin Gabrielle with Argo, and I was left to contemplate what she had said to me; about how the gods could not give us what isn't already in our hearts. Sadly, being a dashing swordsman loved by women and respected by my fellow man was not there.

Just thinking about it makes me recall the events and the past two days, at least what I can remember, and it's the part of not remembering all my heroic swordsman moves that made me realize that Joxer was not the real Joxer; it was just an illusion created by a spell.

That really depressed me before Xena came along, but now was a different story, especially when I pulled off my helmet and took a real good look at it, something that I had not done since trekking out on my own. Now I could see the ridiculousness of it, even if it was just something to wear until I could afford something better, just like my sword.

For the first time, I can finally admit that I hate this hat. I practically hold it in contempt, along with the rest of my armor that I began to shed and left on the ground. Let some other find it and make use of it as they see fit. I just didn't need it, not anymore.

The only thing I had reminiscent was my sword and the scabbard, which meant too much for me to ever get rid of, and the sword…well, a guy needs protection in these dangerous times, warrior or not.

Satisfied, I hurried off and caught up with Xena and Gabrielle.

"Joxer the Lion-hearted, is ready for action!" I heard Gabrielle groan and say, "or maybe not."

When both girls turned to me though, I couldn't help but smile at the surprised look on their faces. Gone was the armor, and I was now left with wearing the get-up I had on during the whole bell spell fiasco.

"Uh-oh." Gabrielle was the first to recover. "Don't tell me Aphrodite got to you-"

"No. No, she didn't. I just…decided to give up looking like a fool, you know?"

"Oh." Gabby looked surprised again, then nodded in what looked like a little recognition, and it was aimed right at me. "Well, that's good." She turned to Xena. "Right?"

"Indeed it is," the real warrior replied.

"There's something else," I admitted, and walked up in front of the two women I considered my friends. Time for the important part. "I know I haven't exactly been, uh, welcomed company, and there have been countless times you've wanted to just go away."

I could see it in their eyes that both girl were saying, "ya think?"

I continued. "For that, and, for acting like a jerk and everything, I'm sorry. And, I still wanna travel with you, but…well, it's all up to you."

Gabby's face broke out into a grin….a beautiful grin that made my heart skip a beat, just like how I first saw her yesterday when she was standing over me. How come I've never noticed before? "Okay, who are you and what have you done with Joxer?"

I laughed, though a bit nervously as I looked away. Then I got serious again.

Then Xena spoke up. "You know, you're really not that bad to be around with."

I smiled hopefully. "Really?"

She narrowed her steel blues at me. "No." Then walked on guiding Argo by her reigns, and Gabrielle followed after her.

Wonderful, I thought dreadfully, hanging my head. I guess I screwed up too much for them to ever consider-

"Joxer?" I turned after Xena called my name. "You coming or what?"

Wait a minute…what?

"You…really?"

Gabrielle spoke up. "It took courage for you to do this, Joxer. Maybe that's proof enough that you do have the heart of a lion."

"He does," Xena grinned at her. "You should have been there when he was protecting Argo."

"I did write about it," Gabby replied defensively.

"But you weren't there."

With that, the girls walked on, and I hurried up after them with my spirit soaring so high that it could leave my body at any time. Would that even be possible though, to feel so high that your spirit-I shook my head, replacing such a stupid question with the fact that not only was a great heroine and her sidekick allowing me to join them on their adventures, but I was turning over a new leaf, starting a new chapter in my life.

Maybe I was not meant to be a great warrior; I accepted that now, but inside of me was the heart of a lion; of a man willing to put his life on the line when it came to the people he cared about and the greater good.

I was so ecstatic that I found myself breaking into a song. Halfway through the first lyric, I saw the end of Gabby's staff near my face when she said my name through her perfectly white teeth with a warning tone.

"Sorry. Old habit."