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Xena: Warrior Princess, 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.

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.

This story depicts an incidence where some nudity is involved. Readers who are disturbed by or sensitive to this type of depiction may wish to read something other than this story.


Wendy Raimi

Joxer sat in the wooden chair by the window. He loved the parchment he was reading. He was reading Sophocles' Oedipus Rex. Oedipus was the king of Thebes and he was just finding out that his parents, who were the king and queen of Corinth, weren't his real parents. Instead, Oedipus had married his mother, who had given him up when he was born. Joxer read on with interest. He was getting to the part where Oedipus would poke out his eyes because of what happened, but as he read the passage, it seemed to stick in his mind. Over and over he would read the same passage:

I would blot out from my mind what happened next!

For the King ripped from her gown the golden brooches that were her ornament, and raised them, and plunged them down straight into his own eyeballs, crying, "No more, no more shall you look on the misery about me, the horrors of my own doing! Too long you have known the faces of those whom I should never have seen, too long been blind to those for whom I was searching! From this hour, go in darkness!" and as he spoke, he struck at his eyes-not once, but many times; and the blood spattered his beard, bursting from his ruined sockets like red hail.

Joxer gagged after reading that passage for the sixth time; he was finally able to take his eyes from the scroll. He looked at his hands to see them trembling. He sighed, rolled the parchment and laid it on his lap. He would read more in a moment, he was nearly finished, but right now he needed a...he heard her come down. She had awoken from her nap and was coming down the ladder. His hands trembled, but he fixed that by sitting on them. Now she was behind him.

"What's that boy?" she asked as she looked over him.

"A...a scroll mother. I was reading it while you came down." Joxer said, trying not to sound nervous.

"I bet. I also bet you forgot to put the sign out."

"Well, I was caught up reading and—"

"And what? And you forgot to put out the sign! In a few minutes it'll begin to rain and people need places to stay in the rain. No traveler in their right mind would travel in the rain. Now go put that sign out boy!" Mother said, her hands on her hips. Joxer took a deep breath.

"Yes mother." Mother placed her hands on the sides of Joxer's head, her fingers covering his temples.

"Go ahead. Think it. Say it. No matter what you do, I can feel it Joxer, because I'm your mother. Go ahead, say it. Mother's a bitch. Mother's a fucking bitch. Isn't that right boy? Go. Go put the sign out."


"I know what you meant Joxer. Now go, or we'll have no guests for the night." Joxer stood and walked out to the road with the large sign that said, "Warriors Motel – Vacancy" It had been written up nicely by the Corinth scribe. Joxer had to pay a pretty dinar for it, but in the end, it was worth it.

He hammered the sign into the ground and headed for the main room of the motel. He needed to get away from mother and the house for a while. Someday he would just leave mother. He opened the door and slid behind the desk where guests checked in. He saw the skin of ale, opened it and took a sip. He sighed and put it back underneath. He had sworn off ale, but a drink every now and then wouldn't hurt. He sat behind the desk and made sure everything was in order.

Gabrielle had promised Xena that she would meet her and Lila in Athens, but with the looks of the weather, it looked as if she might be staying over soon. The reason for Athens was that all three of the girls needed a vacation. A good long vacation. Lila couldn't keep up with the chores of daily life, Gabby needed a rest from just being and Xena needed a rest from saving villages from everything. The rain slowly began to come down, but it was a hard rain and within minutes Gabby was soaked. She sighed as she trudged along on the muddy path. She watched for signs hoping that one would point out a nearby village, town, city, tavern, or even a motel. Motels had seemed to pop up within the past few years. They were nice, but Xena and Gabrielle couldn't seem to get used to them. After a few more miles, Gabby spotted it.

Warriors Motel – Vacancy

Gabby smiled and sighed with relief. She walked faster and within minutes was at the door of the main room. She opened it and walked in.

Joxer looked up to see the soaking woman walk in. Gabby walked up to the front desk, laid her arms on it and smiled.

"Do you have a vacancy?" Gabby asked. Joxer's face was blank.

"No," Gabby's face looked sad for a moment, "We have 12 vacancies. 12 rooms, 12 vacancies." Joxer said. Gabby smiled.

"Good, I'd like a room. much?"

"Seven dinars single, ten double. Must be paid up front." Joxer said as he reached for the guestbook. Gabby smiled and reached for her coin purse. She extracted the seven dinars and laid them on the desk. Joxer took and stowed them and laid the guestbook in front of Gabby.

"If you'd kindly sign in." Joxer said. Gabrielle nodded, took the quill and scratched her name into the guestbook. Joxer, who had learned how to read upside down, examined the name.

Gabrielle of Potatdia.

Joxer smiled as Gabby turned the guestbook back to him. He put the number six next to her name and took the keys from the back wall.

"I hope room six will be all right."

Gabby shrugged, "You're the manager."

Joxer led her to the room and opened it. Gabby walked in and laid her bag on the bed. She looked around.

"Um, there's a candle on the table next to you, along with some matches. Feel free to come up to the house if you need anything." Gabby nodded and began to pull some clothes from her bag.

"Do you know of any place close by that serves some good food?" Gabby asked as she turned to Joxer. Joxer nodded.

"Corinth is the nearest town. They have a tavern that stays open all night. They serve some real good food,--" Joxer watched as Gabrielle seemed to frown. He sighed,

"No, you wouldn't be up to walking in that rain. Uh...Mother's asleep, so I suppose you could come to the house and share a light snack with me. I was planning to eat after you got settled in anyway." Gabby smiled.

"I'd love to. Go on ahead, I want to freshen up a bit first." Joxer nodded and left, closing the door behind him. He hoped he knew what he was doing.

Gabby walked up to the house and put out the candle when she reached the door. She gently knocked and waited. Joxer opened the door and let her in. He led her to the kitchen and the two sat down around the table. Cheese, bread, and apple slices were arranged on a nice clean cutting board. Gabby smiled and took an apple slice, Joxer, some bread.

"So, what were you doing in the rain?" Joxer asked, trying to make some small talk.

"I was hoping to travel a little longer. I'm suppose to be meeting my friend and sister in a few days." Joxer nodded.

"So, how long have you had the motel up?" Gabby asked.

"Oh, well Mother and I have been running it for about ten years now." Gabby actually seemed interested.

"You live here with your mother?" Joxer nodded.

"Can I meet her?" Gabby asked.

He looked up to Gabby.

"Mother? You want to meet m-my mother? Um, what is the phrase?...Mother isn't quite herself today." Joxer said nervously. That's one thing Gabby had noticed about this strange little man. He seemed...neurotic.

"Oh,...well, thanks for the snack. I suppose I should get to bed. I'm leaving in the morning."

"To Corinth I suppose. That's the closet town from here." Gabby shook her head.

"Actually for Athens." Joxer gave a silent oh and nodded.

"Again, thanks for dinner. Good-bye Joxer." Joxer waved as the girl left the kitchen.

"She's a nice little bitch." Joxer's mother proclaimed. Joxer looked up to see mother standing in the doorway of the kitchen.

"Mother! What are you doing out of bed?" Joxer asked, a tad surprised. He had thought his mother was napping.

"Well, I had to come see the little whore that had entered our house." mother said as she walked over to Joxer.

"Don't call her that. Gabrielle is very nice." Joxer said in Gabby's defense. Gabby hadn't been very talkative, but he knew she was nice.

"Oh. So you know her name? Well, all the more for me to hurt her." Mother replied, heading back to the kitchen door. Joxer began to breathe heavily. Perhaps his asthma attack was coming back.

"But...she's harmless...she's as harmless as that little stuffed bird." Joxer proclaimed. His breathing getting in the way of his words. Mother smiled that evil smile she got when she didn't want her boy to be messed with.

"All the more for me to kill her." Mother replied. Joxer stood.

"No mother. You are going back to bed." Joxer said as he escorted his mother to the ladder. Mother walked up as Joxer stayed at the bottom and watched.

When mother had disappeared, Joxer headed for the motel office. He needed a drink. A good long, hard drink. That would make him feel all better. He knew he really shouldn't but he couldn't help it.

Gabby undressed and walked into the small pond that was outside of her room. The night was pretty warm and so was the water. A mirror stood next to the pond and Gabby examined herself. She would readily admit she wasn't the prettiest girl in all of Greece, but she wasn't the worse. She was smooth and had no blemishes of any sort. She was in pretty good shape, considering the food she ate.

Joxer took another swig of the bottle and looked at the parchment sketching that hung next to him. He could peer through the peep hole and see the young girl. She was probably brushing her teeth or something. A goofy grin, a lopsided goofy grin over came Joxer's face as he moved the parchment and peeped through the hole to see the naked Gabrielle examining herself. Joxer's eyes widen, but he couldn't take his eyes off her. She slowly stepped into the pond and Joxer couldn't see her anymore.

Stupid whore, get out. I want to see more. he thought as he took another swig of the bottle. He heard Gabby beginning to hum to herself and he took one last swig before a tingling sensation over came him. He tried standing to walk off the sensation but he fell to the ground before even taking a step. His body began to convulse horribly and he couldn't control it. His whole body seemed to twitch. He watched as the room slowly blacked out and the twitching worsen. Then he lost all consciousness.

Gabby hummed her small song while pouring some water over her right arm. The stars made the heavens look gorgeous this time of night. She began to pour water over her left arm, when she heard a twig snap. She turned around to see who was coming, but all she saw was the inside of her room. She shrugged and turned around.

"Why hello Mrs...." Gabby trailed off as Joxer's mother slowly raised her arm. In the moonlight Gabby could see the glint of silver come off her hand, but before Gabby could do anything her head lulled off and rolled to the inside of her room. Her body slid into the pond, and all that was left was the blood where her head and neck had said Adieu.

When Joxer awoke, he knew something wasn't right. He stood and brushed himself off and went to look behind the parchment again. He saw some blood on the ground and began to worry. Perhaps Gabby had slid and landed on something sharp. Maybe she was hurt and couldn't call him for help. He put the parchment back and went to her room. As he walked in, his sensation of something not being right grew. As he neared the room before you got outside he saw it. It was her head. Joxer took a long blink and felt his throat grow tight. He placed his hands over his mouth and quickly turned. His eyes were wide and his face was white. The only thing keeping him from falling was that he was leaning against the wall. When he finally felt his stomach simmer he removed his hands and without thinking he cried out,

"Mother! Oh Gods! Mother! Blood...Blood!" Joxer quickly put his hands over his mouth again. What happened if someone had heard him? He took a deep breath and headed for the house. He grabbed a sack, a broom, and a bucket of clean water. Back in the room, Joxer quickly picked up the head and stuffed it deep within the sack. He stood on the edge of the pond. He would leave the body there, but he might have to give the room out, and he didn't want to do that. He jumped into the pond and dragged the body out. He stuffed that into the bag as well and began shoving her other things in the sack as well. He found half a barrette on the floor near the bed and threw that into the sack, then he began to look for the other half. After he had thoroughly searched the room for the barrette, he gave up and headed for the giant lake nearby. He would dump the body there and then that would be the end of it. He could make up some sort of story that she had headed to Sparta and that was that. He just hoped it would go over well, especially if the soldiers ever came.

It had been nearly three weeks and all had gone well for Joxer. Oh sure he had to make a few adjustments around the house, some which he had hated to do. For starters, he took away mother's set of keys. He made sure the house was locked at all times so that she couldn't get out, and when she was napping he also made sure that her bedroom door was locked. He hated locking mother up, but if he didn't she might try to kill again and he didn't want that. He avoided giving room number six out at all times, which wasn't too hard. There were eleven other rooms vacant. Three couples had come to stay at the motel and all had come and gone without a sound, or word. Everything was going just well for the Warriors Motel.

Xena and Lila began to worry after Gabrielle hadn't shown up for the second week. She was suppose to meet them in Athens two weeks ago and when she hadn't, the two girls decided to try and meet her. They were now in Corinth and nothing seemed to be going right. They asked the tavern keeper and some of the locals if they had seen the blonde bard, but nothing had showed. The girls had decided to lodge at the tavern keeper's side motel. It was only a few dinars and they got a free breakfast. Their luck slowly began to change though as they saw Autolycus strolling out in the agora. Xena smiled and sauntered up to him.

"Why, hello Autolycus. What are you doing here?" Xena asked with her trademark grin.

Autolycus smiled in return.

"Well Xena my good friend, you'll never believe what has happened. I've gotten an honest job, and uh, who's your little Gabby look alike?"

"Autolycus meet Lila, Gabrielle's sister. Lila, meet Autolycus, the *ahem* king of thieves." Autolycus put a finger to his lips and shhed Xena.

"Don't say that too loud. I don't want these people to know that."

"And why's that?" Lila asked suspiciously. Auto leaned in a bit closer and grinned.

"Because, they're paying me a pretty dinar for being a private investigator for anyone who comes along and needs one." Auto muttered loudly enough for only the three to hear. Lila smiled.

"That's great! He can help us look for Gabby." Lila said a tad excitedly. Auto stood at his full height and looked at Xena.

"What happened to Gabrielle?" he asked, a questioningly look on his face. Xena looked concerned for her friend as she explained to Autolycus what happened.

"And now I think she's in some sort of trouble. I know she can take care of herself, but it's not like her to be late for our meetings." Xena finished up. Auto nodded.

"Well, there's a motel a couple of miles outside of town. If you want, I could go check if she stayed there. To save you time of course. You two could continue looking around here." Xena nodded.

"Thanks and try not to run into the same trouble as Gabrielle did." Xena warned. Auto nodded and left.

Joxer yawned as he sat at the desk being very bored. Mother required him to spend at least two hours of the afternoon in the office and so he was taking his two hours now. He only had another hour to go and then he could go back inside and read. He looked up though as Autolycus walked in.

"Hi Joxer." Auto said simply as he looked around.

"Hi Autolycus, can I help you?" Joxer asked calmly. Joxer knew if Autolycus asked about the girl he could easily give the same lie he had given to others.

"Um yeah, can I look at your guestbook?" Auto asked as he stopped in front of the desk. Joxer shook his head.

"Soldiers and government people—" Joxer stopped as he saw Autolycus pull out a special P.I. badge. Joxer nodded and pulled out the guestbook. Auto looked down at the scroll reading the names and stopped at Gabrielle's. He pointed to the name and looked at Joxer.

"When did she leave?" Auto asked. Joxer shrugged.

"About three weeks ago."

"Where to?"

"I heard her mention Sparta."

"Did she say why?"

"To meet a friend, I think. Not sure."

"Did anyone other than you see her leave?" Auto asked. Something was suspicious. Gabrielle never got the name of a city wrong. Never. Joxer began to grow nervous. He gulped.

"No one but mother and me." Joxer blurted out. Auto nodded.

"May I talk to your mother then?" Auto asked. Joxer began shaking his head ferociously.

"Mother's sleeping and she doesn't like to be awakened from her naps. If you could come back some other time I'm sure she'd be willing to obliged, but not now, and with the way she is nowadays I would suggest never." Joxer said. Autolycus examined Joxer and could see some sort of anger growing in him.

"I'd only ask her a few questions." Joxer sighed.

"Come up to the house in five minutes. She'll be up by then." Auto agreed and watched as Joxer left.

Five minutes later Autolycus knocked on the door. The door opened, but no one was around. He realized that it hadn't been shut tightly. Auto walked in and looked around. He was amazed at how old the little house seemed to be.

"Hello? Joxer?" Auto called out. He watched as someone descended down the ladder.

"Oh, why hello Mrs...." Auto stopped as he saw the glint of silver come from her hand, but his words were also cut off as his throat was neatly sliced. His body fell down and all that was left was the blood and body of the king of thieves.

Joxer came out from the kitchen, he was planning to fix himself lunch when he found the body and nearly fainted. He tried to keep himself from throwing up, anything other than having to look at the body. He brushed back some of his hair and went to get a bucket of clean water and another large sack. Joxer had known that waking mother was a bad idea, but Autolycus had insisted and what could Joxer do? He sighed as he put the body in the bag and began to try and scrub the blood out of the Persian carpet mother had bought so long ago. When he realized cleaning the carpet wasn't helping any he had the perfect idea. As he walked back from dumping the sack in the lake he made a slight detour into the kitchen and stomped his foot down on the door in the floor. The door led to a special type of cellar where he kept all the surplus food from harvest, but in that cellar was a smaller cellar where he kept the ale. He walked back into the entryway, rolled up the carpet and dragged it down to the cellar. Then he ran up to mother's room and knocked on the door.

"Come in." Mother called out. Joxer opened the door and smiled.

"Mother, pack up a few things. You're going somewhere else for a while." Tears began to well up in Mother's eyes.

"I knew it. You're planning to take me to the old folks home in Athens." Mother said as she stood and packed a few belongings.

"No. Not at all. Just follow me." Joxer said.

He and mother walked down all the way into the cellar and he opened the ale cellar door.

"You're staying here." The tears flowed down mother's cheeks now.

"No! I will not stay in the ale cellar. You think I'm drunk?" Mother asked with a small quick chuckle. Joxer sighed and gently pushed his mother in.

"No. Now please, just stay there. I'll explain when everything is over. I love you mother. Honestly I do." Joxer said closing the door.

"I love you too boy." Mother said in a voice that sounded all most demonic.

"Four days Xena. Four days and no trace of Gabrielle has shown, and Autolycus hasn't returned. I think we should go out to that motel and inspect it for ourselves." Lila said stubbornly. Xena sighed. As much as she hated to admit it, Lila was right. It was time for them to take matters into their own hands. They headed out for Warrior's Motel.

Joxer looked outside the window of the lobby and his eyes widen at the site of the girl next to the warrior woman. She's dead! Joxer exclaimed in his head, but the thought slowly subsided as he recognized it as not Gabrielle, but some other woman. The two entered and Xena didn't smile as she requested a room.

"Of course. Please, sign the guestbook." Joxer said as he unrolled the scroll and placed it in front of Xena. Xena's eyes went down the scroll and she noted Gabrielle's room. As Xena signed the guestbook she also placed the room number. Six. As Joxer read the guestbook he chuckled nervously.

"I'm sorry, but I don't give out room number six this time of year." Joxer explained. Xena's face was still stone cold.

"My friend and I want that room. I'll pay extra." Xena said monotone. Joxer sighed and nodded. He motioned to the door.

"It's unlocked." He said. Joxer had been doing some extra cleaning. Blood was so hard to get out of everything. Especially that pond.

Xena and Lila entered the room and began searching for anything that would give way that Gabrielle had stayed there. After a moment Lila found the half barrette Joxer could never find. Lila found it under the bed.

"Xena! Look! Gabrielle's barrette." Lila whispered somewhat loudly, but not soft enough. Joxer heard the cry from the lobby and ran to the house. Got to make sure mother stays quiet! He thought as he headed down to the cellar.

Xena examined the barrette.

"Go search the house and I'll go get the soldiers from Corinth. Something is definitely not right." Lila nodded and the girls separated.

As Lila entered the house she gasped at how old it looked. Her stomach rumbled and she realized she was hungry. It won't hurt if I have a little snack. She thought as she headed for the kitchen. As she entered it she found the floor door open. Wonder what's down there. Lila thought as she headed down the stairs. She smiled as she saw all the food hidden in the semi-basement. She saw the ale cellar opened part way and headed for the door. She opened the door and screamed as a woman held a knife up in the air. She looked extremely old. As she held the knife in the air, the old woman screamed out,

"I am Joxia!" As the woman brought down the knife it clashed with another sharp object and as the woman looked up from staring at Lila her eyes collided with the eyes of Xena.

"Leave her alone old woman." Xena said. Joxia dashed for the knife but only headed straight for Xena's boot. Xena picked up Joxia who was struggling. Xena held her tight and took off the wig to reveal...Joxer! The soldiers who had come with Xena looked at each other in confusion.

"Joxer? What's he doing dressed like his mother?" the men asked each other.

"My poor boy. I tried explaining to him that hiding me would never work. He should have never let that detective in the house." Joxer, or rather, Joxia said aloud. The men, their eyes wide looked at the wo/man.

"Come on Joxia, you're going to a better place now." Xena said as everyone headed out of the cellar.

Xena, Lila and Salmoneus all watched Joxer behind the bars of the cell door.

"We never thought that Joxer would have killed his mother." Salmoneus said, shaking his head. Xena and Lila looked at Sal, startled.

"Joxer killed his mother?" they asked in unison. Sal nodded.

"Joxer's father ran off when he found out that Joxia was pregnant. About ten years ago Joxer's mother was dating a nice young man and one day Joxer accidentally ran into them while they were...well, it was a very embarrassing moment for all of them. Joxer was never the same again and some of our people who work with him believe that that's when Joxer cracked. Other believe it was when they were having their second dinner together. It was Joxia's boyfriend who had suggested putting up the motel. Anyway, at dinner Joxia announced that she and her boyfriend were planning to marry. Some think that this announcement threw Joxer off. When it was time for coffee he had laced it with the ale and a poison. Not just any poison, but strychnine poison. Joxia and her fiancé suffered convulsions, but not unconsciousness. The victims usually die from asphyxiation, when the chest muscles stiffen. Joxer must have watched it all and it was too much to bear. While he watched them die he had written the suicide note that had thrown the community off. Joxer and Joxia's hand writing were so similar that no one could tell the difference." Sal tried ending there. Xena nodded.

"So for years Joxer was forced to live as three people. Grown Joxer who ran the motel, Little Joxer who had to follow mothers orders, and as Joxia, whom he killed." Xena offered. Sal nodded.

"But what about the body in the basement?" Lila asked.

"Joxer had studied Egyptian mummification. He had actually preserved mother pretty well." Lila and Xena nodded.

"I'm glad it's over. He can't hurt anyone now." Xena said.

But it wasn't really over.

Joxia sat in her room looking as the fly that had entered flew around. She smiled. She wouldn't really try to hurt the fly. No. That was Joxer's job and Joxer was dead. Joxer had always claim that it was really Mother's fault. She was the one who had killed those people, but it wasn't. It was the bad man's fault, but now the man was dead and she had survived. She watched as the fly landed on her hand, but she wouldn't try to swat it away. No. That's what the people wanted to see and she wanted to show them,...

She wouldn't even harm a fly.

The End

Dedicated to Anthony Perkins. The true Norman Bates.
He who showed us fear.

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