I Need a Hero
Disclaimer: I do not own Xena or any of the Characters or ideas in it. I do own the rights to my own characters and ideas. Title comes from the song Holding Out For a Hero (I Need a Hero). Don't own that either.
WARNING: Spoilers for all of Xena. Also, I'm going to try to make you think. If you are uncomfortable with that, then don't read. I'd like to thank www . Whoosh . org for their transcripts of Xena episodes.
Major non-Scooby Crossover starting in Chapter 2. Also sets up a Halloween sequel.
A/N: This is an old story of mine, from back when I was still writing an OC. I've debated posting this for a long time as OC stories are generally lame and people know this. But I want to post the crossover sequel to this that I've started and there will be confusion if I don't post this first. I've decided to put the overly complicated explanation at the end and just let the story speak for itself at least to start.
Chapter 1. Callisto
An assassin's work is never done. He thought to himself. Of course, the word had changed meaning. Languages were living things, much like people and they changed over time. The word Assassin had once meant "God-Killer". Now every thug for hire fancied himself an assassin. He sighed. Oh well. He thought. But this was troubling news. If his sources were right, Xena was back. The contract on her was old. One of the oldest unfulfilled contracts he had ever had. Xena had burned and pillaged across half of Greece before making war on the Centaurs. And just when he had been about to strike, she put up her sword and left Greece.
The assassin thought back to when he took the contract.
Of course it had to be Greece. One of the most back-assward people of their time. Women had almost no rights except through her husband or father. Which made it quite surprising that a female, on her own, had been so successful as a Warlord of these back-assward people. But being in Greece meant that he had to careful. It meant that he had to be male 24/7. It wasn't a problem. He was a man, and he was a good head taller than the average Greek male. A tall person who dressed and acted like a man would rarely be second guessed. But the fact that he didn't grow facial hair meant that he was usually treated as a young man. It meant he had to keep moving so people didn't wonder why he wasn't growing a beard because if they found out he wasn't what he said he was, well, whatever happened wouldn't be pretty. Or fun.
He was even rooting for Xena a bit. Maybe this warrior chick could teach these guys a thing or two about how to treat a lady. (sigh) The requests had come in almost the day after she won her first victory. He had flatly declined the contract. He had flatly declined all the contracts on her. But then she had started a war with the Centaurs. He couldn't allow that. The Centaurs were a noble race and Xena, woman or no, had pretty much declared herself evil by attacking the Centaurs. So, the nobility of the Centaurs won out over women's rights. He accepted the next contract on her. It was a doozy. Several warlords she had defeated and a couple villages she had sacked had all pitched in. Half up front and half kept in a lockbox at a local Temple of Ares. Money in hand, he had made his way across Greece to Xena's camp. It hadn't been hard to sneak into the camp. She hadn't been hard to find, she was the only woman in the camp whom the soldiers saluted. She was also quite pregnant. Hiding it well, but pregnant none the less. He had to make his way back to his employers and explain the situation to them. There were people he simply didn't kill if he could help it. Babies, innocents, and crazy people. He explained to them that her contract was on hold for now. He would not kill her until after the child was born. If they wanted, they were free to hire another assassin, but he would keep half of the money. The employers talked until a consensus was reached to keep the contract active. So he headed back across Greece. Xena gave birth and the assassin prepared kill her the next night. Except the next night, something amazing happened. Xena gave her child to the Centaurs, disbanded her army and rode away.
The spokesmen of his employers had followed him this time. Well at least he didn't have to ride halfway across Greece to give them the bad news. They met in a nearby tavern. Three warlords and two representatives of cities Xena had pillaged. The city reps were looking very uncomfortable being in close proximity to three warlords. Three angry warlords.
"Damn it, Jett!" One of the warlords slammed his hand on the table.
The drinks jumped at this, but the man known as Jett did not. In fact, he looked a little bored. He wasn't, he was actually trying to remember the stupid warlord's name, but it wasn't coming to him. "Look," Jett replied calmly, leaving out the name he couldn't remember. "I told you my code before you contracted me, and I reminded you when she turned out to be pregnant. I don't-"
"I don't care about your gods-be-damned code!" the warlord interrupted. "We hired you to kill her and we want her dead." He at least had the decency to lower his voice for the second part, so the whole tavern didn't hear.
Jett pulled a scroll out of his vest. The warlords had all reacted to his reaching into his vest and relaxed again when it was just a scroll. He unrolled the scroll in front of himself. "Your contract was for, and I quote, 'Xena, the Warrior Princess'. Who... no longer exists. I can't kill the Warrior Princess if there is no Warrior Princess to kill. Now, I appreciate that this is difficult for you for you to understand. So, I will take 10% for travel expenses. You can have the rest of your money back and you can hire someone else." There was no way in Hades that the assassin was going to kill this woman after what he had seen.
"No." another warlord said. Jett was fairly certain that his name started with a D. "The Warrior Princess is not dead. Just on sabbatical. When she comes back, then you will kill her. Agreed?" The warlords nodded and the city reps just hung their heads and hoped that the warlords didn't look at them. "So, you keep the money. If and when Xena, the Warrior Princess returns, then you kill her."
Jett nodded and clasped forearms with the large man. Hoping that day never came.
Present day. Okay, well. As present as Ancient Greece will ever be, but present enough for our purposes.
Ooo! A flashback. I love those. Where were we? He thought. He was traveling with some farmers. He had saved them from some bandits three leagues back and they were traveling in the same direction. They were a bit subdued, even for farmers. They told him stories about Xena the Warrior Princess and how she was back and worse than ever. Joxer was the name he had given them. It wouldn't do to use his assassin monicker of Jett so he had stopped by a cemetery and picked out a new name. He had disguised himself as a tinkerer/warrior. Various bits of leather and metal to make up his armor. He had attached all sorts of broken and useless weapons to it and wasn't even carrying a spear. What kind of warrior didn't carry a spear? The term warrior and spearman were virtually synonymous. There wasn't even a term in Ancient Greek for 'swordsman'. he thought with a laugh. It made him look very dangerous to stupid people and very stupid to dangerous people. Only his sword and knives were good quality.
"We'll head toward Corinth and see if we can make any sense of what he was saying." A woman's voice came over the hill. It was certainly odd to hear a woman giving instructions to anyone in Greece.
"Is that Xena?" One of the farmers whispered to another as they crested the hill. The peasants parted to let Xena through. Joxer readied himself to strike. It was her alright. The armor, the sword, the face... but not the eyes. And no army following her, just a simple peasant girl. A breath he didn't realize he was holding escaped as they passed.
No! Wait! Come back here Xena. He thought. If some one is using your name, those warlords might expect me to make good on my contract. He jumped in front of Xena and the strawberry-blonde girl she was traveling with. He didn't remember what he said to them. (Though he did remember adding "The Mighty" to his name) He baited her. He did his utmost to annoy the Warrior Princess. If it worked, she would kill or at least try to kill him and he would kill her back. Done. Finished. Contract finally over. Except she didn't kill him. She grabbed his nose and made some vague threats, but certainly nothing he could kill her for. While she may have some anger issues to work out yet, the old Warrior Princess would have killed him for that.
He watched as the two women walked away. Actually, he watched the blonde walk away. She had a nice ass. He shook his head to clear non-mission oriented thoughts. With all these tinker-toys strapped to his armor, he'd have to follow them at quite a distance to avoid them spotting him.
He had hidden in a cart and watched Xena and the blonde from a distance through his spy glass. When Xena got to the battle, she and her partner rushed headlong into the fray. Joxer debated joining the fight but decided that he was too far away. He wasn't going to risk blowing his cover when it was a long shot that he would even arrive at the battle before it was over. He watched as Xena and another blonde did battle. The battle was fairly short. At the end, the blonde and her men ran off, so he could guess that Xena had won. He adjusted the aim of his spyglass to try and find that cute little strawberry-blonde. She was fighting and doing fairly well against a much bigger and clearly more experienced opponent. Joxer sighed. He really didn't want to see the little blonde gutted. He watched anyway, deciding that he would find that soldier and gut him like a fish after he killed her. The soldier had her dead to rights, but gave his sword a fancy twirl before stabbing her and Xena came from nowhere to save the day. Joxer gave a sigh of relief. He watched as Xena 'interviewed' him, though he couldn't hear what was said. He was getting ready to move from his hiding spot when the soldiers retreating from the village came and started moving the cart. Joxer stayed calm. He had plenty of straw and loot on top of him. His best odds for making an escape now would be tonight. Best to sit tight until then.
Joxer made himself comfortable and started to think. He was wondering what the relationship between Xena and the cute blonde she was traveling with. Xena didn't have any sisters that he remembered, but he couldn't rule out an extended family member. Though, the way she fought and the fact that Xena had given her a staff instead of a spear or even a sword probably meant slave. Joxer was not very tolerant of the slave trade. He made exceptions for well treated and well fed slaves. But they were the minority anywhere the slave trade flourished. He had seen that the blonde was well fed and he was ready to mark her down as a well treated slave when a thought struck him. When they met, they had been walking side by side. Xena had been explaining things to her. Neither were common actions between slave and master. That left her being a very well treated slave. She could have also been a friend, the thought came unbidden. He almost laughed out loud at that thought. The guards probably would have thought it odd that their loot was laughing at them though, so he held it in.
Ha. Xena with a friend. So, a very well treated slave it was. Joxer thought. He certainly had issues with slavery and the slave trade in general, but in this day and age, there were very few cultures that had a full taboo on slavery. At best, there were laws and traditions dictating good treatment of slaves. He promised himself he wouldn't do anything to discourage Xena from continuing to treat the slave well. Maybe he could even buy her freedom from Xena.
They finally stopped a couple hours later. Joxer waited. He heard the sounds of battle fairly close by. He dug a hole through the hay to chance a peek at the action. The tall blonde that was fighting Xena was now fighting several of the soldiers in the camp. Hope rose that they might kill each other off, but fell when she screamed "Enough" and the action stopped. It had only been a friendly match. Oh well, he wasn't that interested in the woman, the man who just entered camp was the one who had almost killed Xena's slave. Joxer adjusted himself to get a better view. The man took off his helmet but his back was still to Joxer and he couldn't see his face.
"Callisto!" the man called.
The blonde woman who fought Xena answered to the name Callisto. "So, she put her touch on you?"
Joxer must have made too much noise when he moved to watch the soldier report. He was grabbed by two strong hands and yanked from the cart he was hiding in. The two strong hands each belonged to a large, muscular soldier. They picked him up and started dragging him further into camp. Joxer had to think and think fast. His disguise was as a harmless, wannabe warrior. It was time to play that up.
The soldier nodded, "Yes, you were right about everything."
"Oh, oh, Xena, Xena. I can call your every move." Callisto singsonged.
"Ow, ow, watch the suit, would ya? Ooh, ooh!" Joxer said in his whiniest tone.
The soldier didn't say anything to Joxer but dumped him in front of Callisto. "We found this scum hiding in the supply wagon we stole from the other village. He says he has something invaluable to offer you."
Joxer gave them his best 'I'm harmless' smile. "Warrior Queen, forgive my intrusion."
Callisto smiled, "'Warrior Queen' I like that."
Joxer smiled back. She's vulnerable to flattery. He realized as he stood up. "It's so much better than 'Warrior Princess' you know. Ha-ha-ha-ha."
"Yes. Yes it is. Now what is it you have to offer me?"
"My services." Joxer answered.
Callisto looked at him, "Your services... really? And what is it exactly that... you do, hmm?"
Joxer met her eyes and swallowed. She was gone. Clearly crazy. This was going to be interesting. "Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. What do I do? I'm a warrior!" he answered in a very non-warrior voice.
Callisto was less than impressed, "Oh, you're a warrior. How silly of me. And why is it, dear man, that you look like an idiot, then?"
Joxer smiled inwardly at the truth of his next statement. "Umm, I cultivate that look- to make me seem less threatening. You see, uh- people don't fear worthless idiots, so it's easy for me to get the drop on 'em." He made a feint towards the man who had almost killed Xena's slave. Joxer debated killing him there and then, but being stabbed to death for his trouble was not on his list of things to do today. Escaping this camp was. "Ha! See? I could have killed him right there." he pointed out.
"So, you want to do something to prove yourself to me, then?" Callisto asked.
"Anything (to get me out of here) please." Joxer had decided long ago that the best part about traveling in a mostly illiterate society was that the old tricks just kept on working. No one wrote them down to teach to the next generation. Even the bad guys tended to be extremely gullible.
Callisto considered for a moment, "Hmm, you know who Xena is, don't you?" Joxer nodded. "She travels with someone."
"Yes, a small blonde." Joxer was surprised. Callisto had clearly done her homework.
Callisto continued, "Yes, her name is Gabrielle. You bring her to me, and you may join my legion, as a warrior."
Joxer bowed. "Consider the deed done, my Queen. (Consider it done so that you don't even think about laying a hand on her again) We're, we're all on the same team, now." Someone kicked him in the butt on the way out of camp, but Joxer didn't mind. He had gotten out of camp without so much as a scratch. That he had to grovel and humiliate himself was a small price to pay to not be stabbed. That tended to hurt. A lot.
Now to find this Gabrielle and keep her far away from Callisto.
Unfortunately, Joxer realized when he got to the town that had just been looted, that he had no idea where Gabrielle and Xena were going. Crap. He ran back to Callisto's camp and watched from a much greater distance. Callisto was already gone. Double crap.
Joxer sat and meditated for a few minutes. He stripped back the layers of his mind that allowed the wannabe warrior to shine through. He put up the cold callousness that would allow an assassin like Jett to kill without conscience. He opened his eyes, Jett was back. He shed his noisy armor and stalked the edges of the camp. The sentries were lazy and unskilled. He captured one and dragged him away from camp to interrogate.
The answers came quick. The sentry recognized the bumbling idiot warrior they had captured not long ago and gave a sigh of relief. The relief was short lived though. Jett disabused him of the notion that the prisoner was safe with him. A few creative, and rather painful, interrogation techniques later and Jett had all the answers he needed. Theodorus was the man who tried to kill Gabrielle. They were headed for Delphi. The soldier didn't say so, but the only thing at Delphi was the stupid Oracle. So, they were going to kidnap/kill the Oracle? Jett found himself not caring particularly. Death would probably be a release for the poor girl those priests used as an Oracle. Dirty old men were a constant in any age or place. Wherever he went and as long as he lived. But they weren't his problem. Callisto and Th... (Crap. What was his name? Thadious? Close enough.) He would have asked the guard again, but his head and body were a good 3 feet apart. It made answering difficult.
Jett packed up his supplies. He would have to run through the night. He stopped after he was packed to have a bite to eat and drain his water skin. He looked at the sky. He would run until it got dark. He was going to have to travel through the night. If the moon was bright enough, he might chance a run overnight as well.
Meditating just outside Delphi, Jett was finding it much harder to turn back into Joxer. Innocence is not something that comes easy when you have killed so many. The Oracle would be arriving soon. He needed to protect Gabrielle from Callisto. Whatever the blonde bitch was planning, he was going to make sure that Callisto didn't have Gabrielle to accomplish it. He didn't know what Joxer would do in this situation (which, when he thought about it, was funny enough to give a snort of laughter.), but he knew what Jett would do. He would just have to modify his plans to be more Joxer like. So, he was going to kidnap her... nicely. He would have to be careful about not hitting her. It would probably make the wrong impression.
Jett put the Joxer costume back on and made his way into the city. He followed her into the temple, staying above her. The way she held her little stick showed she knew how to use it, but she never sensed him above her. He waited until she checked an empty hallway, then he leaped down behind her, threw a net over her, and grabbed her.
She bit me! She actually bit me! were his first thoughts. He pulled his had back to knock her unconscious but stopped himself. He felt Gabrielle smack him with her staff. He had to say, he was a little impressed. The way she twisted out of the net and smacked him at the same time. It was a good move. Unfortunately, it meant that plan A was dead.
What would Joxer do? He asked himself. Probably talk her to death or at least to sleep. "Okay, lets talk about this for a second can we?" A smack across his head was his only answer. He put up his hands. "Okay, not going to hurt you. Okay?" A shot to his now unprotected gut was the reply. He started to pull his sword. "Okay, I'm going to put down my-" the staff knocked the sword from his grip an into the corner. "-sword." Okay, this was not working. Time to do things my way. Jett decided. He pulled a small needle from his boot. It was coated in a mild hallucinogen and poppy juice. A few minutes and she'd be tasting colors she'd never dreamed of and should be much more docile. She went in to smack him with her staff again, but he caught it with his left hand easily. He held on to the staff as he went for her side with the needle. She dropped her staff and grabbed his right hand with both of hers. She twisted and the hand opened of its own volition. Jett's left hand was free to throttle her, but he stopped himself. She kicked the needle into a corner. Then she pulled back her hand to hit him. He could have ducked and let her hit his helmet, but he was trying not to hurt her. So he lifted his head to take the blow.
He woke up in that same spot. Ahh, there you are Joxer. All it took was letting a little girl that barely weighed more than a talent (about 80 pounds) beat the stuffing out of you. The sunlight on the walls hadn't moved much, so he either hadn't been out long, or he had been out for an entire day. He was willing to bet on the former, which meant that he had even less time than before to get her out of here before Callisto got here. He got up and rubbed his jaw. Those were some powerful blows. One of them had cracked his jaw, he could feel the itch that meant it was still healing. Joxer climbed a parapet to get a better view of the city. He didn't see Gabrielle anywhere and was about to climb down when he saw them entering the city. Xena and Gabrielle and a tied and bound Callisto. How long had he been out? Didn't really matter, though the mob that was forming at the gate certainly mattered.
Joxer winced when she didn't hand the lunatic over to the mob. Callisto surely deserved to die. She needed to die. Joxer had only met her once and her eyes had begged for death, for release. Joxer wondered if he should just kill Callisto and get it over with. He watched as Xena escorted Callisto to the jail. He was surprised again when she didn't come out. If Xena was guarding her, then there was no way he could kill her without being seen. He decided to look for Gabrielle instead. Even with Xena guarding her, he wasn't willing to bet on Callisto staying locked up for very long.
"Can we talk?" He tapped her on the shoulder.
Gabrielle shot an elbow to his nose and spun around to face her attempted kidnapper. "Would you stop doing that?"
"Oww! You bloke my noze!" Joxer yelled. Not being able to use said appendage affecting his pronunciation. "I hate it when that happens." He sat down on a bench to reset his aching schnoz. He had just reset the damn thing when Gabrielle rammed a wet cloth into the sore appendage. He wasn't quite sure if she was trying to help or hurt him some more. He groaned, maybe both.
"Listen, Callisto hired me to kidnap you and bring you to her camp. But instead I'm going to kidnap you so that she can't kidnap you." Joxer said.
"Do you have any idea how stupid that sounds?" an incredulous Gabrielle asked.
"It sounded better in my head." or in Jett's head, Joxer admitted as he bowed said head. Nothing about this was going right and his nose and jaw still hurt.
"Why would you even agree to do something like that?" she asked.
"I'm a warrior." He whined. He didn't want to give away his true mission and it sounded better than 'I got caught sneaking around her camp and didn't want to be stabbed to death.'
"I've got some bad news for you. You're not a warrior." Gabrielle said.
"Oh, great, hit a man when he's down." Joxer bantered.
"Listen, I've beaten the stuffing out of you both times we met." Gabrielle reasoned.
"Listen, you don't understand. I come from a long line of warriors! It's like a family tradition!" Which was true enough and sounded petulant enough for her to not fear him. It sounded better than 'I let you win'. No one liked to be told that.
Gabrielle tried to soften the blow, "Well, I'm really sorry, but you don't have that warrior thing."
Joxer smiled inside but bowed his head, "You don't think so, huh?"
"No, but that's all right; that's all right. There are other things you can do. You know, what interests you?" Gabrielle tried to brighten his mood.
Joxer shrugged, "I'm a decent thief." He was completely unprepared for that question. Did she care? He had tried to kidnap her after all. He knew he had a tendency to take what he needed and not worry about the people he stole from.
"Other than that."
What would I be doing if I weren't here? "I like fishing." He replied.
"Well, there you go." Gabrielle smiled. "You'd make a great fisherman."
"You think?" Actually, that didn't sound like a bad idea. After this, he was going to find a quiet lake and do some fishing.
"Yep, absolutely. And I've got a feel for people." Gabrielle patted him on the chest-piece. He was glad he had the armor on, that could be an awkward conversation. Even with a woman.
"Thanks! I'm Joxer, by the way." he held out a hand.
"Gabrielle." she took it.
Joxer pulled her close. "I'm serious about the coming with me thing. You're not safe and I don't want you to get hurt." And again with the punching of the nose. She definitely didn't act like any slave he'd ever met. Okay, give her some time to cool down and we'll try again.
Joxer reset his nose again and sat back against the cool stone of the wall to rest while it healed. An hour, maybe less if he ate something, and it would be as good as new. His musings were interrupted by screaming. He jumped up, ignoring the pain in his nose. Smoke and another scream told him it was coming from the jail. Well, that was quite a bit quicker than he had thought she was capable of getting out. He paused for a moment to look around for Gabrielle. She'd likely be heading for the jail, so he went that way too.
The town was already forming a bucket brigade to dowse their charred jailhouse. He got the abridged story of what happened and ran back into town. He stole some produce and a horse and took off after the three women. He rode the horse hard. Far harder than he would have if he had been intending to keep it. But he couldn't bring himself to truly mistreat it. When the horse was almost blown, they came upon water. It was really just a large puddle, less than a foot deep. Joxer loosened the saddle and took the bridle out and tied it to the rest of the tack. He stopped the horse from drinking its fill and brought it to a meadow a hundred paces back. Once it had eaten and drank it was likely to return to its owner. Unless it had been mistreated, in which case it was now free. Joxer then set off at a run headed for Callisto's camp.
"Hey! Quit that!" Joxer yelled.
"I found this worm sneaking around again!" Joxer still couldn't remember the guy's name. He still wanted to kill him though.
"What do you want?" asked Callisto. "I told you what you had to do to gain my favor... and you failed."
"I brought you the girl!" whined Joxer.
"I captured the girl." cried Callisto.
"Yeah, but I softened her up for you. I mean, just minutes before you got her, I was pummeling her senseless." Joxer countered.
Callisto wasn't impressed, "Yes, and what were you hitting her with, your nose?" she paused for laughter. "Silence! There is, another way you can prove your worth."
"Name it." Joxer said.
"Bring her down." Callisto ordered. When Gabrielle was on the ground she continued, "Do her."
"D- do who?" Joxer stammered.
Callisto gave an evil smile, "Her. The irritating blonde. Slit her throat."
Someone handed Joxer a knife. "I- uh- oh. I- uh- sl- sl- slit her- slit her throat?" He wasn't really concentrating on what he said. His mind was running through different scenarios and the probability of each one occurring and the probability of Gabrielle surviving each. The real problem was that Gabrielle was restrained, unarmed, and unarmored. Remove one of those three problems and the odds of her survival increased dramatically. As it was, there was very little hope.
Callisto made a throat slitting gesture. She was talking, but Joxer couldn't hear any words.
He just nodded and said, "Okay."
Callisto smiled, "Yes."
Delay, delay, delay! Joxer's brain shouted at him. "Listen. Don't you think she'd be worth more alive? I mean- hey! We could trade her for Xe- it would make Xena really mad, really mad. When Xena hears about this, she'll-"
The smile fell from Callisto's face, "I want her dead! Do it! Do it!" she screamed insanely.
"Yeah. I- I- I- can't." There really wasn't any more point in pretense. He wasn't about to kill Gabrielle. He threw down the knife. This was going to hurt. He wondered if they would kill him now or later.
Callisto took out her own knife. But at least he was coming for him instead of Gabrielle. "Just as I thought. The man's backbone is mush." She brushed her own dagger against his skin. "Chain him up. We'll have fun killing the jellyfish later."
Now comes the boring part. Waiting. At least the guards let them talk. As long as they did so softly, no one seemed to care what they did.
"They're going to kill you, you know?" Gabrielle whispered.
"Yeah." Joxer answered. This wasn't the first time he'd been killed. The only downside was that he'd probably wake up next to Gabrielle's corpse. Never a fun way to remember someone.
"You could have killed me, you know?" Joxer looked at her. "Don't get me wrong." Gabrielle quickly amended. "I'm glad you didn't. I'm just curious as to why. I did hit you pretty hard and people have killed for less."
"I was never going to hurt you. I really was trying to keep you from all this." Joxer softly replied. "I never wanted to hurt you."
"Kidnapping is a funny way of showing people that you don't want to hurt them." Gabrielle spat.
"And you have a funny way of hitting people who are trying to talk to you." Joxer countered.
They stood in silence for a while. Gabrielle broke the quiet, "A man tries to grab you with a net and 'he's trying to protect me' aren't the first words that enter your mind."
"That's my fault. It was a poor decision." Joxer agreed. "It probably gave you flashbacks to being captured."
"Captured? How did you know about that?" Gabrielle asked.
"Well, most slaves were captured at one time or another." Joxer explained.
"Slaves? What are... You thought I was a SLAVE!?" Gabrielle screeched.
"Shut up!" Three or four guards yelled. Callisto just smirked and went back to looking bored.
"You thought I was a slave?" Gabrielle hissed. No one seemed to mind this volume level.
"You don't have to be so offended. And the evidence was fairly compelling." Joxer explained softly. "There are four types of people who might travel with Xena. Soldier, slave, family or friend. You're not a soldier."
"Thanks for noticing." Gabrielle said tightly.
"And if you were family or a friend, Xena would have trained you in basic fighting techniques. The fact that you weren't allowed a sword or a spear, meant that you were likely a slave." Joxer finished.
"For your information, it's an Amazonian fighting staff." Gabrielle huffed.
"Amazonian?" Joxer checked her out. "Well, excuse me, but you're not exactly dressed like an Amazon."
"How would you know what an Amazon looks like anyway?" Gabrielle demanded.
But Joxer didn't answer. He'd already said to much. "Look." He said softly, "I'm sorry I thought you were a slave. But there's a good chance that we're going to die soon and I don't want us to die with you angry at me. So, I'm sorry. Would you forgive me?" He hung his head.
"Don't be silly Joxer." Gabrielle said. "Xena's going to save us, and then I can kill you myself."
Joxer brightened considerably at that prospect. "Well, okay then."
Xena arrived and the boredom was over.
"Do something!" Gabrielle yelled at Joxer as she was hoisted into the air.
"What do you expect me to do?!" Came the reply. In truth, he already had a plan. If only Gabrielle would stop struggling. There were some fairly sharp spikes behind her, but she wasn't actually over them. She was hanging over a flat piece of hard-packed earth. Not a great place to land, but a perfect place to create a portal. He was already readying the energy necessary to create a local portal. The only question was where to send her. He knew Xena's home town was Amphipolis and he had been there once. It would be no trouble to make a portal to the outskirts of that town. The only other choice he could think of was the town they had just been in. The downsides were that Callisto was also very close to that place and it would be the first place she would look too. Amphipolis was a couple weeks away, but hopefully Xena's hometown would care for her friend until Xena thought to look there. But if she didn't stop struggling, he wouldn't be able to calculate where to place the portal. At best Gabrielle would be dropped into the middle of the ocean, still tied up. If anything went wrong with his calculations, her odds of survival dropped rapidly from there.
The fight was quite exciting. Joxer's mouth fell open. Their strength and speed was amazing. There was something extra in both these women. No mere mortal could dish out or take that kind of punishment. Probably some god-blood somewhere in both their ancestries. Made sense that it would take demi-goddesses before chauvinistic Greek men would follow them. Joxer made a mental note to pay the gods a visit and tell them to keep it in their collective pants. That's what happens when you have immortal men hanging around with nothing to do. They start fucking everything in sight. Take Centaurs for example. There was a bored god involved in there somewhere. He had never found out who exa- Oh yeah, the fight!
Oh yes, the fight was exciting. Super-human women smacking each other around. All that was missing was the chocolate pudding. Anyway, Xena had made a see-saw and was trying to put it under where Gabrielle would fall. This was very bad. If she fell straight down, Joxer could save her. If she fell on the see-saw, she would be fine as well. However, if she hit the ladder and bounced off... there was nothing he or Xena could do then. He needed time to get the portal ready. He needed to have the calculations exactly right, or Gabrielle could end up anywhere. Or worse, everywhere.
"A little to the left!" He yelled at Xena.
Then Callisto had to jump on the teeter-totter and ruin everything. "In a way, I'm disappointed, Xena. There was a part of me that hoped that you would win and put out the rage in my heart. Sometimes, it even scares me. But then I get over it." She sneered.
Xena didn't seem impressed by the speech. She just grabbed her chakram and cut Gabrielle down. A back-flip later and she catapulted Callisto off the lever, into the air, and onto the now empty rope. Gabrielle landed safely on the ladder. As Xena walked forward to let Gabrielle down, one of Callisto's men pulled the rope Callisto now hung from out of the fire.
"Nooo! Let it burn." Callisto ordered. The soldier did as his mistress commanded.
Gabrielle was on the ground when the rope broke, Xena had to spin her ladder in order to get under Callisto. "No! Noooo! Ohh!" Callisto screamed when Xena caught her.
I can't believe she's letting Callisto live. Joxer thought to himself. Sure, there's a camaraderie of shared experiences between the two, and possible parentage but... We're going to have to keep an eye on that. And on Xena. It's great that she's doing good now. But it would be better if she just went home. She's treading a thin line here between being Xena and being the Warrior Princess. If she crosses it, I'll have to fulfill the contract. He sighed. I'm going to have to keep checking up on her every so often. He glanced at Gabrielle. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing.
A/N: "Tiny knife" was the way that Gabrielle's Greek word for "Needle" translated into English. Hence, the mistake on the show with that weird little knife Joxer had. Blame adrenaline for any inconsistencies in the battle recollections. Like the show forgot that her ladder was a good 15 feet away from where Callisto was falling. Xena had to have moved her ladder in order to catch her.
A/N: The idea that there was no word in ancient Greek for Swordsman comes from the scholar Nikolas Lloyd. Who you can find under the Youtube moniker Lindybeige. I knew the spear was a bigger deal back then than Hollywood would have you believe but even I underestimated it's importance.
Please read and review.
My reasons for writing this: When re-watching the show, I realized that Joxer was not a bumbling idiot. It was something that Xena said in "For Him the Bell Tolls". That was the episode where Aphrodite placed a spell on Joxer to make him super badass or turn him back into Joxer every time a bell rang. Xena said, "The gods can't give us anything that isn't in our hearts. Aphrodite just used what was already there." Basically, Joxer already had the ability to do everything he did. He bested countless soldiers with just a small stick. And with a fencing foil, he bested the king who was known as the greatest swordsmen in the land AND another soldier at the same time. Even just thinking about Joxer in general, he was either far more skilled than he acted or had the luck of the gods.
I don't know why he was dressed like that or acted the way he did, but I don't believe that that was the "real" Joxer.
The fact that Joxer is always clean shaven made me think of my OC. My OC was Blessed with Suck. Given nanites to heal him from a fatal wound; in the rush to save him, he was given the wrong sex of nanites – turning him into a woman. And the person giving them forgot a very important step, setting an expiration date. So the nanites will never turn off. Now he wanders from story to story. Immortal, with decent healing abilities, and the ability to use portals. (that's another story)
So in this case, my OC is Joxer. Whom I do not own. (or Jett or Jace)
For the purposes of this story, Jett and Jace are simply different names he uses at different times for different things. Any of the names can be used at any time to refer to the same physical body. They are personas. Each is as real as the next. It's going to get confusing so try to keep up. Also, the TV series is based on Gabrielle's scrolls, which are her interpretations of her memories. Jett/Joxer/Jace's memories may be different. Neither is more correct than the other.