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This story takes place at the end of "Comedy of Eros" and contains the dialogue for the closing scene. I include this here, only because it enhances the story.

The characters included within belong to the producers and creators of the Xena tv show. I'm just borrowing them for a bit.

This story depicts scenes of violence and/or their aftermath. Readers who are disturbed by or sensitive to this type of depiction may wish to read something other than this story.

An Empty Heart

by IceWing

Enjoy the story

"I never knew love could be so exhausting," said Gabrielle

"Yeah, but worth the work"

"Do i hear a touch of romance in your voice?"

"Not if I hear a touch of the 'I told you so' in yours... Besides, these weren't exactly normal circumstances..." Xena replied as she prepared to sleep.

Gabrielle giggles "Yeah, i'll say....Can you imagine the two of us in love?"

"ha.... ridiculous...." said Joxer, his face hidden by the shadows.

"Kind of makes you laugh just to think about it...." said Gabby as she walked into the woods, to where her sleeping roll lay.

"Ha Ha.." whispered Joxer.  A firm hand lightly rested itself on his shoulder as Xena tried to comfort him at least somewhat. He looked up at her, more pain showing in his eyes than he knew how to deal with...  It almost looked as if a tear had made its way down his cheek.

And then he shrugged, more to break the contact than anything else...He didn't want her pity... He just wanted to be left alone.  And so Xena too, walked into the darkness, to make her nightly journey to the realm of Morpheus.

For hours he sat there, alone even though he had friends not twenty feet away, staring at the slowly dying embers of the campfire...  Silent tears fell to the ground, as the reality of the situation truly sunk into his heart.  He wasn't good for anything, a danger to those around him...  If he hadn't gone out after that prayer scroll, then Gabrielle never would have been placed in danger.  Come to think of it, almost every time he came into contact with Gabrielle, she was somehow placed in danger as a result of his bumbling incompetence.  Part of him tried to say that those were just the circumstances, but deep down, he knew better.

He knew that Xena had been wrong to encourage him last time, after that incident with the bells.  Had he retired then, at least he wouldn't have once again almost gotten gabby killed....No, it was time for Joxer the Mighty to pass on.  One way or the other.

With a cat-like stealth that he never seemed to possess during the light of day, he moved to the far edge of the campfire.  Whispering a prayer to whatever gods were listenly to keep the two ladies asleep, he removed his armor and lay it on the log with served as a bench.  Looking down on it, he truly saw just how dumb it looked for the first time.  'Not only do I act like a loser,' he thought.  "I dress like one too..."

With only his sword and his boot knife remaining other than his pants and tunic, he silently padded into the darkness.

A rather fitting end for his existance... No light, no moon, no love.  People who tolerate me nearby, but always resented somewhat, no matter how hard they try to hide it.  The woman I care for laying mere cubits away from me and yet she shall never know my feelings for her...Not that it would make a difference if she did...She could never take me seriously, not that i blame her.  But part of me still wishes what we felt today would last for an eternity.

He looked back over his shoulder one last time at her sleeping form and let the darkness take him.  After walking for a ways into the woods, he found what he considered to be a suitable place.  He removed his tunic and set it aside...Maybe somebody else could use it, if it wasn't stained...

He lay his sword aside next... Probably would have been better off leaving it in camp, but it would be fitting for his sword to be found next to him, still unblooded....Yet another sign of how incompetant he was.

Lifting the boot knife, he lay it on the base of his hand.  None of this straight across the wrist stuff for him. This time, it had to be final.  Pausing for a moment, he scratched a final message in the tree behind him.  Two quick slashes later, blood begin to drip to the ground. A deep laugh rose up from his throat.  He had finally done something right in his life.  As he felt himself beginning to feel light headed, he leaned against the tree.

A rustling in the bushes revealed a quite familiar face.  A sound began to form on her lips, but was quickly cut off as her brain finished tallying the scene before her.  A scream pierced the night air.

And then his world went dark...

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