GENERAL COPYRIGHT/DISCLAIMER:

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 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.

NOTE: All works remain the copyright of the original author. These may not be republished without the author's consent.

VIOLENCE WARNING/DISCLAIMER:

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.

HURT/COMFORT WARNING/DISCLAIMER:

This story may be best classified as a Hurt/Comfort Story involving the characters of Xena: Warrior Princess and Gabrielle. Readers who are disturbed by or sensitive to this type of issue may wish to read something other than this story.

COMMENTS: This story follows after The Ides of March. Your comments are always welcomed but please stay constructive. You can contact me at greatpear@yahoo.com

 

Joxer’s Lament

By Falcon

June 1999

 

 

"It’s not true! You must have heard wrong! They can’t be dead!" Joxer screamed back at the bearer of bad news.

The shock of hearing something so unbelievable and a tavern of all places were too much to deal with for Joxer.

"I know Xena and she can get out of anything, beat anybody………..you know? Gabby too?" He asked the brief acquaintance.

When Joxer heard that Caesar had crucified Xena and Gabrielle, he was devastated. He found himself at a loss for words and took on a tremendous weight of guilt on his shoulders. In Joxers’s mind, he believed that he could have altered the outcome of Caesar’s evil plan.

"I could have saved them," he said to himself as he ran from the tavern.

Somewhere along the road to Amphipolis, the Mighty was cursing the name of Callisto.

"Come and get me Callisto! You’re nothing but a cowardly bitch! Come and get some, I beg you! You helped kill my friends. I hate you!" Joxer screamed as he headed into the forest.

Joxer sat on the rocks next to a stream which the Bard, Xena and he camped at a couple of seasons back. He thought about that time and a weak smile touched his face. Thoughts of how Xena always made him feel welcomed in their camp flooded his mind. They appreciated him for who he was and not what he tried so desperately to be. In his heart he knew that he would have died if he had tried to save them, but he did believe that he would have tried even at the cost of his life.

"I miss you Xena! I miss your blue eyes and how they looked right through a person. I miss the looks you used to get when you walked into an inn or tavern." Joxer mumbled at the moving water he was staring into. He poked at the ground in front of him with a stick. "If Caesar was still alive I would head to Rome and cut him down like the scoundrel he truly was. I hate my life!" The miserable man ranted. "What am I going to do without you Xena?" He started to cry as he hung his head and said, "Gabrielle! I loved you! How could this happen? I never got to tell you how I felt about you. Those beautiful green eyes and blonde hair." Joxer babbled. Oh! I knew I didn’t have a chance. I knew that it was you and Xena all along. I’m not that dumb! Really I’m not!"

Joxer wept for a long time. Finally, he got to his feet and decided to pay his respects to Cyrene. As heartbreaking as it was, he was still Joxer the Mighty and had a sworn duty to perform. He lost his temper for just an instant, as he was coming out of the forest. With his sword pulled, he struck a tree violently and the blade got stuck in the trunk. After a bit of a struggle, Joxer managed to free his blade as he looked around to see if he had been observed. He walked back to the road and headed off in the direction of Cyrene’s Inn. There was a day’s walk ahead of him, plenty of time to compose his thoughts, as to what he might say to the mother of Xena and hopefully ease her pain.

I’ll tell her that her daughter is in a much better place and that Gabrielle is with her, he thought. Then he began to cry again as he walked down the road.

"It’s just not fair."

I better not get caught crying on the road or I’ll get my Ares kicked from some bandits! Thinking and laughing out loud at his joke, he continued on his way.

"Gabrielle, I will miss your stories."

Joxer remembered when he took Gabrielle from the Temple of Mnemosyne and she didn’t know anything so he told her that the love interest she had written about was he rather than the Warrior Princess. He ended up substituting himself in place of Xena in the stories, and then finally he confessed the truth to Gabrielle and got his nose twisted. Joxer knew that the Bard had returned to her former self by that move of affection.

He remembered the first time he had met Gabrielle and how he thought she was an irritating little blonde. Callisto gave him the chance to kill the Bard but he couldn’t do it. That wasn’t what Joxer was all about. He was about doing the right thing and he knew that when push came to shove, he would always be honorable.

Joxer had his destination planned and whatever happened after stopping by to see Cyrene was entirely up to the gods.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There was an inn with a stable that Joxer had stayed at before. He was sure it was only another candlemark ahead and his plan was to spend the night there. Many steps later, Joxer the Mighty slipped into the stable and found a nice place in the upper loft. There he fell asleep and dreamed of the Warrior Princess and her Bard. He dreamt of the great adventures that they had shared together. Unfortunately, the reality of his loss and the demise of his friends awakened him. His, was a battle with grief.

Lying awake and listening to the world come alive as the sun rose to greet the day was painful for Joxer. He climbed down from the loft and began the remainder of his journey to Amphipolis. This was perhaps the bravest undertaking he ever had attempted.

It went from a pleasant morning to slight drizzle in a matter of two candlemarks. The rain started just outside of Xena’s hometown and enhanced the sad moments ahead. Joxer’s feet felt like they were made of stone as he approached Cyrene’s Inn. He shuffled back and forth for sometime, not knowing if he had the courage to knock on the door. Finally, with his heart on his sleeve he walked up and just as he raised his arm to knock, the door swung open and Cyrene stood there before him. Her cheeks were flushed. Her eyes showed evidence of many tears that had fallen over the last day and Joxer could do no more than to wrap his arms around Xena’s mother and weep with her.

"Life will never be the same for me, Cyrene. They were my best friends." Joxer said, as he stared off to somewhere beyond.

After Joxer composed himself, Cyrene told him to sit down in the kitchen where they could talk. He removed his helmet and hardware, obliging Xena’s mother.

"Joxer, as hard as this is to accept for both of us, we need to come to terms with it and move on. Here! Have a cup of herb tea with lemon and honey. It will help soothe you my friend." Cyrene said in a motherly fashion.

"I’ll be OK Cyrene, it’s just going to take some time for me." Joxer explained.

"For me too, Joxer." Xena’s mother replied as she blew her nose.

Joxer looked out the window and said, "I’d like to go up to the place where it happened and put some flowers there for the two of them. You know, I was very fond of them both but at one time, I even thought I might have a chance with Gabrielle. Then I saw the love in their eyes for each other. How could anyone miss the way they both lit up in each other’s presence? I knew, but I tried to ignore the facts and the reality of it. I guess I’m just a rube and they saw me for what I was."

"They saw you Joxer but not as a rube, as you put it, but as a good friend with a warm and tender heart. They both loved you very much and thought the world of you. In their eyes, you were Joxer the Mighty" Cyrene told him with encouragement.

The man who would be warrior thought about what she had just shared and a small smile betrayed his lips. He had accepted himself and realized his worth to those who truly loved him.

"I will do just that! I will go to Mount Amaro and place flowers there in memory of the two greatest friends I ever had. But Cyrene, I don’t think I’ll ever get over it."

"Nor I Joxer, nor I." The mother of Xena said with tears in her eyes.

Cyrene offered Joxer a place to sleep for the night, but he turned down the bed and agreed to stay in the large room, utilizing a chair near the fireplace. His sleep was not important to him at this time in his grief but he did feel closer to the Warrior and the Bard by staying at Cyrene’s Inn. In the morning, Joxer would begin his pilgrimage.

Cyrene found the Mighty Joxer still asleep when she came down stairs, so she made him breakfast and woke him up. Xena’s mother fed him and sent him on his way so she could deal with her own sad heart in solitude.

Joxer made the trip in three days. Hesitantly he approached the base of the mountain and began his walk up the road to where it all ended for his two friends.

As he got closer to the top of Mount Amaro, Joxer thought, I have to stay strong while I do this. I don’t want to be picked up by the Roman guard and put into prison. I have to be alert and aware of what is going on around me.

When he approached the outpost, his legs became weak and started to shake but not out of fear from the Romans. His fear was of visiting the place where such a great loss had happened. Joxer wondered why the gods, who he felt, really cared for Xena and Gabrielle didn’t prevent the crucifixion from happening. He wondered why the two women had not been spared with the instruction that Gabrielle had from Eli and the Way? Wasn’t that what the Way was all about? To avoid the anger and not hurt anyone. This was the courtesy that should have been returned to his friends but was not. All these thoughts circled in his mind as he walked to the place where there was nothing remaining but the holes from the crosses. This was where those crosses were embedded in the ground. And where two souls were driven from their bodies while they watched each other die.

In each hand, Joxer carried a small bouquet of wild flowers that he had picked on the way up to the top. He looked down at the ground and bent on one knee, placing a bouquet in front of one hole then he moved to the other and did the same.

"I’ll miss you both my friends. I loved you both. I don’t feel very mighty anymore."

 

The End

Thanks for reading. greatpear@yahoo.com

 


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