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Xena, Gabrielle, Argo, and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles, and backstory, are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. All other characters, the story idea, and the story itself, are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers and copyright notices.
It was all said in silence but Eskandar could clearly make out that Pytor was saying, "ooooo...Oh!.....Ooooooo yeah. Just just... turn..... a little mo - OH GODS YESSSS!" His eye grew as large as the knot hole and he tensely pressed himself to the back wall of the bath house.
Eskandar nudged him and mouthed, "My turn."
"No." Pytor resumed his gawk. "Well boil me in a brothel and call me poached." This last silent statement took some decoding but Eskandar had heard his friend use it before so that made it easier. He shoved him out of the way.
Xena cocked an ear at what might have been a sound from outside. She wasn't nearly as good at this as she used to be. The incessant background noise since she'd met Gabrielle must have dulled her senses. She watched the compact form of her friend descend into the warm oiled waters and followed. Well, dulled some of her senses. It wasn't as though she were dead anymore, or even again.
Eskandar looked just in time to see the long line of the tall one's back sink into the tub. He sighed in disappointment. Shoulders and faces. If all he'd wanted to see were shoulders and faces he would have talked to them in the street. Not that these two women, ladies didn't quite seem to fit, would have much to discuss with twelve year old boys. He slumped back in the dirt and listened to soapy sounds before saying, "Aphrodite's nighties, Pytor, you made me miss everything." He punched him for emphasis. "Why does it have to be so hard to see naked women anyway? Why couldn't we live in one of those towns that has a temple to Aphrodite or believes in Bacchanals?"
"We're too young for Bacchanals."
"Shut up, you're spoiling my fantasies. You blew my chance to see them and now you're spoiling my fantasies."
"I was just pointing out that even if we did live in one of those towns we'd still be in the same situation. They 'do things' at Bacchanals."
"Exactly! How's a guy supposed to learn anything anyway?"
"From you're aunt." Eskandar balled his fists ready to defend family honour. "She's a Maenad now, isn't she?"
The fists relaxed. "Which is why my mom won't talk to her." He puffed out his lip and blew sandy hair from his eyes.
"She was the coolest baby sitter." They sat silently until the sound of laughing and splashing erupted from the bath house. Eskandar was first to the knot this time. "What is it, what are they doing?"
"Shut up, Pytor, they'll hear you."
Gabrielle didn't notice Xena stop in mid splish (because her eyes were closed) and caught her companion full in the face with a double handed sploosh. Xena stood like a statue, her hand out for silence, she didn't so much as blink as the water drizzled and dripped from her stern brow.
"Xena?", nothing. "Xena, what is it?"
"Oh my Go-... Pytor, I didn't know women had those!"
"What? Oh, the tall one. Yeah she must do a lot of javelin throwing."
"And the golden haired one is so -AGH! They're coming!"
"What?" but it was already far too late for questions.
Soapy water trailed down the handle of Xena's whip to the cord. "Meet me out back in ten seconds."
Gabrielle grabbed her staff, from which hung her camouflage, and went out the door.
Eskandar panicked and missed seeing the tongue of the whip lick out of the knot hole smart as a snake and loop on his belt buckle. He turned to flee and suddenly his pants and shirt were all wrapped about him. His belt wouldn't let him move. He yelled, "Aaaaaahhhhhh!" as Pytor grabbed his flailing hands and pulled for all he was worth. The whip held tight but not fast because there was soapy water on it. ssssSSsss-lip went the knot and the boys tumbled to the dirt but came up running fast as chickens for the woods.
A few feet into the sheltering deep green a shower of gold danced through the brush on their left and then a branch reached out and tripped Pytor. His feet floated out from under him as the branch rose and when his back struck the ground he saw stars.
"Get up!" Eskandar screamed and ran on.
The world reeled about Pytor; sky blue, leaf green and scintillating pain. As the swirl cleared the bushes next to him transformed into a green and brown clad blonde. The smaller one. A misstatement of fact to say the least. Smaller was a relative term which would be well applied to him right now. Something wet and leathery sprinted silently through the forest behind her.
Eskandar was safe. He had to be, he couldn't hear anyone coming after him. They must have stopped to... 'do things' to Pytor. Suddenly lightning whined and cracked off the trees all around him and then back the way it had come. He turned just in time to see the dark haired one catch it with her bare hand.
"Didn't your mother teach you any manners, little boy?" The kid was paralysed. "Do you know who I am?"
"That's right. They tell legends about me riding out of the sky throwing lightning and breathing fire." She gave the chakram a quick twiddle between her fingers to let him see it flash before she hooked to her belt. "I've travelled to the ends of the Earth and talked with Gods and you... ", she suddenly decided she'd better tone this down or the kid was going to wet his pants. " you think I'm to be leered at through hole in a wall?"
"I-I-I j-just" He forced himself to talk straight. "We just wanted to-" Eskandar was saved from his surely fatal next words by a scuffle from behind the towering warrior. Pytor stumbled bare-assed into the clearing and stood there looking embarrassed in his long tunic. He was tied head to waist with a whip and his pants had been removed then tied about his ankles so that he couldn't run. There was a bar of foamy soap stuffed in his mouth. It didn't look like it tasted very good.
"This one knows words that I've never even heard." Asked the one who was as invisible as the forest.
"Looks like you've got a good start on cleaning those out of him."
"Is that one any better?"
"We were just about to find out."
Eskandar was better. Much, MUCH better. And when it came time to explain to his parents why he and Pytor had been left tied to the clothes-line post outside the bath house he told them such stories. Unbelievable crazy stories, of a dark and towering stranger who caught lightning in her bare hands and her companion who could command the trees to do as she willed and move invisibly among them.
His parents, being the decent and god fearing souls they were, didn't believe a word of it of course and forced him to change his baby sister's diapers for a week as punishment for lying.
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