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by Rachelle Yates

Chapter 1

In the still of the night you could hear the forest come alive. In a small clearing was a campfire and by it was a dark haired woman in the leather that she had becomed so accustomed to. As she did every night she had stayed awake fighting the demons that each night seemed to bring. But tonight it wasn't the usual demons that she thought about. She was fighting with the decisions she had made and the price she had paid. Had she made the right decision? She sometimes wondered what would have been if she hadn't made that choice. But she knew in her heart that it had been the right choice.

As she starred into the fire the memories came back to her from years ago.

The scene was that of another campsite. She had led her army to certain victory against the centaurs. Soon she would have everything.

She now ruled her army from afar. They never questioned her as to why, they knew better than that. You never questioned the Warrior princess if you valued your life.

She had the final battle all planned out and was going over it with her most trusted warrior, Borias. She told him that they had the enemy surrounded and tommorow would be the end of the war. They would wipe them out in just a matter of time. She had no idea that her brillant plan was about to unravel.

Borias had been doing a lot of his own thinking these days. He had been watching the enemy throughout the entire war and he had grown to respect them. He knew it was wrong, what she had planned and he knew he had to do something to stop her before it was to late. Even though he loved her he knew she wouldn't understand a first, but once things had changed maybe she would. He knew that she wasn't all bad. He had seen sides of her that no one else had and he knew that if she did kill them all she would later regret it. Maybe some good could still come of this. He decided to go the the centaurs and make a deal. He would tell them of her plans if they promised not to kill her.

Xena had known Borias was acting strangly so she had him followed. When the scout had returned saying he had met with the enemy she ordered him captured, but not harmed.

Later that night she had received word that he had been killed. She knew then that her life would never be the same. She felt so alone.

She fell to the floor of her tent and began to cry. And then the pains started coming, one after another until she thought she couldn't bear anymore. And when the sun rose she was not alone anymore. A child had been born. A son.

Chapter 2

She was brought back to reality when she heard someone stirring. She came to herself and realized it was only Gabrielle.

How here life had changed since that first day when they had met. She had still not gotten used to having all these emotions again. For so many years she hid her feelings. But since they had met she began to understand that she didn't have to be on guard all the time. Over this past year as she and Gabrtielle had gotten to know each other, she realized she had finally found someone the she could trust. It was still hard for her to open up and talk about certain things. She also knew that she could talk to her about almost anything. But that there were just somethings she wouldn't understand. Such as why she had given Solan up.

How upset Gabrielle had been when she had found out. She was not only upset with Xena for not telling her, but she couldn't understand why she did it.

Remembering back to just after he was born.

It had been several days since the death of Borias and the birth of their son. She had done a lot of thinking these last few days. She felt responible for his death and felt that the same fate would fall on their son. She knew that she had made lots of enemies and that there would be more to come. So she had decided what needed to be done. And no matter how much it hurt her, it was for the best. Because she loved him so much she knew it was the best way to protect him and keep him safe.

She went to a place in the woods where she knew the new leader of the centaurs would be, to do what had to be done.

"I'm willing to withdraw my army," she said.

"Xena, destroyer of nations, is not known to bargain," Calaypis told her.

She pulled back her robe to reveal the infant and with emotion in her voice she said, "Take this child. He's my son. And the son of Borias. If he stays with me he'll become a target for all those who hate me. He'll learn things a child should never know. He'll become like me."

Taking the child from her he said, "The son of Borias will be raised as my own."

She remembered how she felt that night as she started to walk away and she startedc to cry again. That was the hardest thing she had ever done. That night she had turned her emotions off because it had hurt to much.

But now she was letting her emotions get the better of her. Perhaps it had been seeing him again and realizing the true price she had paid. Oh how she had wanted to tell him she was his mother and how much she loved him. but she knew he wouldn't have understood either. And she still feels it is best if he doesn't know because if anyone ever found out he could be in great danger. And she could not bear it if she caused his death too.

Chapter 3

When morning came Xena was ready for the new day to begin. By the time Gabrielle had awakened, Xena had already killed a rabbit for breakfast.

Still rubbing the sleep from her eyes, Gabrielle asked, "Is it lunch already?"

Xena said, "No, it's breakfast. We have a long day ahead of us so I thought we could use the energy."

They were on their way to Athens to check on Ephany and her new son. So far they had had no trouble, but Xena knew that wouldn't last long.

It was about midday when sure enough, the trouble started. They were about halfway across a bridge when suddenly 6 men appeared from out of the bushes and blocked off oth ends of the bridge. Their leader said, "Okay, now give us everything you have and we will let you pass."

Xena looks at them with a smile on her face then looks at Gabrielle and says, "Okay, I haven't had enough exercise today. Gabrielle how about you?"

The men laughed and said, "Does this mean you want to fight?"

Xena said, "I said we needed some exercise. It won't be much of a fight, after all there are only 6 of you."

Xena laughs mischieveously and then "IYIYIYIYIYIYIYIY!!" the fun begins.

She heads across the bridge to the 4 on her side and Gabrielle heads for the 2 on her's.

They are across the bridge before the men have even had a chance to draw their weapons. So Xena chooses had to hand combat.

Gabrielle on the other hand takes her staff and hits one of her foes in the stomach knocking the air out of him while she fights the other one.

Xena tosses one over the bridge and into the water. Then quickly catches another with a right cross and kicks one behind her in the groin sending him down for the count. She looks at him and says, "Some men are so touchy."

Gabrielle in the meantime has hit her adversary with various blows all over his body and does a round house spin hitting him in the head finally knocking him out.

Xena's last foe says, "I never was cut out for this kind of work," and heads for the hills.

Gabrielle is now finishing off her last opponant, she uses her staff to sweep his legs out from under him and h hits his head on a rocdk and is rendered unconcious.

They both looked at each other and at the same time said, "Nothing like a good ambush to livin' things up."

Chapter 4

They arrived in Athens shortly before dark. Xena took Argo to the stables, while Gabrielle got a room for them.

They had agreed that they would first get something to eat and then go see Ephany.

When they reached Ephany's house she was suprised to see them but glad noetheless. It was always nice to see a familiar face.

"What are you doing here?" she asked them.

Gabrielle said, "We came to check on my nephew and make sure everything is okay."

"Sure, everything is fine. It is a little hard raising a child on my own, but I am managing," Ephany said.

"I knew you would," Xena said. "You are a very capable woman and can do anything you put your mind to."

They stayed there for awhile. Gabrielle had wanted to spend some time with the child, because she wasn't around them very much. So Xena stayed too and talked with Ephany, who had wanted to know how Gabrielle had changed since she had received the right of caste of Terias. Xena had told her that she was learning more everyday and that her fighting skills were improving nicely.

After a little while, Xena said, "I am sorry but it has been a long day and Gabrielle and I need to get some rest. We will check on you tommorow before we leave."

With that they went back to the inn and settled in for the night.

The next morning when Gabrielle awoke, Xena was already gone. So she decided to go to Ephany's and wait for her there.

She walked outside and started down the road, when she heard someone calling her name.

"Gabrielle, Gabrielle!"

The voice sounded familiar, but was that of a child. She turned to see Solan running towards her.

"Solan, what are you doing here?" she asked him.

"Looking for you and Xena. Is she with you?" he asked.

Gabrielle replies, "Yes, she is. I think she is exercising Argo though. Why are you looking for us?"

With a sad look on his face, he told her, "Calayipis was killed and before he died he told me that if anything ever happened to him to find Xena and she would make sure I was taken care of."

"She will be very suprised to see you. But I am sorry about your uncle. He was a good man." She then said, "Come with me, I am going to a friend's house and we can wait for Xena there."

It was nearly noon before Xena arrived. To say the least she was shocked to see Solan playing with little Phantis.

"What in the god's names are you doing here?" she asked.

He then related the story to her, "My uncle was killed in battle and he told me that if anything ever happened to him to find you and you would make sure I was taken care of."

She looked at him with concern and replied, "I'm so sorry for your loss."

"Thank you. He died bravely." he told her.

After a few minutes Gabrielle asked, "Xena, can we talk?'

Knowing the lecture was about to begin, Xena asked Ephany if she would look after Solan.

As soon as they stepped outside, Gabrielle asked, "What are you going to do about Solan?"

With mixed emotions clearly on her face, Xena replied, "I don't know. I guess I will take him home to mother."

"What will you tell them? Will you tell him now that you are his mother?" she demanded.

"Gabrielle, you don't understand. It's not that simple. If anyone ever found out that he's my son he would be in great danger," Xena said.

Clearly getting agrievated, Gabrielle barks, "He has the right to know."

Looking very emotional now Xena says, "He has the right to a safe life too. That's why I gave him up. To try to keep him safe."

In a louder voice now, Gabrielle says, "I still thing he should know the truth."

"I don't want to talk about this anymore," Xena says firmly.

Giving up for now, Gabrielle asks, "What now then?"

Xena decided, "Home to Amphipolis."

Chapter 5

It was a beautiful summer night. The sky was clear and the stars were shining brightly.

Once again Xena sat in front of the campfire. But it wasn't her past that was concerning her. No, tonight it was her future she thought about.

The day had started out like any other day. She had awoken before Gabrielle and had taken Argo out for a ride to make sure everything in the area was okay. But then it had changed dramatically. She was now faced with the decision of what she was going to tell Solan and her mother. Would she tell them the truth or would she not. If she did tell them how would it affect them? Would they understand, be angry, and would they be in danger if she did? She knew she would have to explain to her mother where this child, who she was bringing for her to care for, had come from. But if she decided to tell her mother the truth and not Solan would her mother obey her wishes not to tell him?

Oh how she had wanted to tell him she was his mother and how much she loved him. But was it worth the risk of putting him in danger?

Just then she heard them stirring. She looked over at the sleeping form of Gabrielle and then at that of her son. What a fine boy he was turning out to be. She had been so proud of him when he told her he didn't want to become a warrior. And she was thankful to Gabrielle for not telling him the truth. She was indeed a true friend.

Xena had so wanted to learn more about him. But she dare not ask questions as that would have cast suspicion. But Gabrielle had known and she had talked with Solan throughout the long journey asking him about his childhood, what he had learned, the kinds of things he liked, and other questions that you ask when you are trying to get to know someone. Xena had followed behind taking in everything that was being discussed so she would know more about this young boy who she knew so little but loved so much.

She had not known but that night, while she was hunting their dinner, Solan had been asking Gabrielle about her. He had heard so many bad things about her while he was growing up and then when he met her, he realized she wasn't the same person. He asked her what had made her change and what good things she had done. Gabrielle had answered all of his questions and felt good about helping them find out more about each other. But she still thought that he whould know the truth.

Chapter 6

When morning came they started their journey again. It would still be several days before they would reach Amphipolis.

About midday it was starting to get pretty hot. They came across a lake and decided that they would use it to cool off. It was agreed to take turns and Solan would be first. So Xena decided to go to a quite place in the woods to think more about the choice she was to make. She had been sitting alone for a little while when she started to sing, it always seemed to make her calmer.

Just then Gabrielle walked up from behind and asked, "Have you made a choice yet?"

"No, I haven't," Xena replied.

"I know you want to tell him. I can see it in your eyes." she told her.

With mixed emotions are her face, Xena asked, "Gabrielle, do you know what would happen if I told him?"

Gabrielle replied, "I know it is going to be difficult no matter what you do."

Looking very sad, Xena said, "He will be safer if I don't"

Sounding very annoyed, Gabrielle does what she rarely had before and speaks to Xena with a raised voice, "I don't think so. And Solan has every right to know you are his mother!"

Suddenly they heard something and when they turned to see what it was they saw Solan standing there with a shocked look on his face.

"You're not my mother. A true mother would never have abandoned me," he yelled and ran off crying.

Gabrielle started to go after him, but Xena stopped her saying, "He needs to be alone right now.'

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean for him to find out this way," she apologized.

"Well at least I don't have to worry about not telling him. Now I just have to explain it to him" Xena said.

Farther in the woods, warriors are waiting to ambush Xena. But when they see the boy who was travelling with her alone, they decide to take him to their commander.

Later on after he didn't return, Xena and Gabrielle went to look for him. All they found was his headband with an all to familiar dart pinning it to a tree. Xena recognized it right away. She had only seen one like it before. And that was the one that had rendered her helpless not long ago. It was Callisto's!!!!

Chapter 7

Gabrielle immediatly noticed the change in Xena. She had seen this look on her face only once before, and that was when she was getting ready to slaughter a bunch of villagers when she had though they had killed her father.

Then she noticed something else about her best friend. Watching Xena right now was like watching a chamelion change colors, as she watched her friends emotions change from anger, too enraged, too confused, too scared, and finally a look she had never seen before on the warrior princess, terrified.

She went over to her friend to try and help her, but before she could reach her she collapsed to her knees, trembling, still holding the headband with the dart still through it.

"Xena," Gabrielle started to try to talk to her, but she tried to push her away.

"Gabrielle, I know what I have to do. Callisto has to die," Xena yelled.

"Xena, you are in no shape to go after her," Gabrielle argued back.

Visably upset Xena says, "You remember what she said, that if she was ever free she would dedicate her life to killing everything I love. And now she has Solan. I can't stand by and do nothing."

"But maybe she doesn't know he's your son. Maybe she still thinks he was just travelling with us," Gabrielle told her.

"I can't take that chance. Not with him. I couldn't live with myself if anything happened to him because of my past." Xena yelled.

Gabrielle tried another angle, "Xena you have to focus. Remember the promise you made me? That you would not become a monster."

Xena replied, "This is differant you've got to know that. He's my son and I can't let anything happen to him."

"Listen , you remember when she had me prisoner, she had several chances to kill me but she didn't because she wanted you to watch.. Solan will be safe until you meet. So you have to focus because if you don't, Callisto wins. Right now you are in no shape to fight her. You have to get centered and focused because if you don't you will be putting him and yourself in greater danger."

"I can't let him stay with her. I have to do something. She's a monster. And don't forget she has killed children before. Remember Malesis' son? Xena shot back.

"You're right. But don't think she will do anything to him until you get there," Gabrielle said.

"Is this supposed to make me feel better?' Xena demanded.

"No, but it will help you focus." Gabrielle said.

"You are right. But I don't think we can do this on our own. I almost lost last time. So if I do this time I want to make sure he is safe. We need to get help," Xena decided.

"Yea, but who?" Gabrielle asked.

I have an idea, but do we have enough time? Xena asked herself.

Chapter 8

That night they stopped to rest but neither slept. They had to much on their minds. Even more so for Xena. She knew Gabrielle was right. She had to focus or all was lost. She also knew they couldn't do it on their own and that Callisto would be ready and waiting. The last time Callisto had known every step Xena would take so she had to try to be more unpredictable. Maybe if she was it would make some holes in Callisto's plans. So she spent the night thinking of several scenerios and what the various outcomes would be. She had to be ready for anything.

As soon as the sun rose they started following her trail. By midmorning they reached a villiage, or what was left of one, she had already been there. They were surveying the damage, when they heard two familiar voices, they turned around to find Hercules and Iolaus were there.

"What are you doing here?" Gabrielle asked them.

"We heard that a woman warrior was on the rampage and we came to check it out," Iolaus said.

"Because you thought it was me?" Xena asked.

"No, we heard this one was killing women and children too. And I knew it wasn't you." Hercules told her.

"I'm so glad to see you. I was going to send a messenger for you, but now you are here and I need your help. Come, we need to go someplace where we can talk," Xena said.

The small party hurrried out of the village to find a secluded place.

Once there, Hercules asked, "So what do you know about this woman?"

"A long time ago my army attacked a village, Ciera. A fire broke out and there was just a handful of survivors. Callisto was one of them. Now she will do anything for revenge. I have already fought her once, but I chose not to kill her and now she is free again. And this time it is worse. She has my son," Xena explained.

Hercules and Iolaus looked at each other with astonishment and at the same time said, "Your son?"

"Yes, my son. He is nine years old and I haven't told anyone about him, except Gabrielle and the centaur who raised him. So maybe she doesn't know who he is. But I need you to rescue him while I fight her.

"Tell us what you want us to do,"they said.

Chapter 9

It was agreed that Iolaus would scout ahead and find Callisto's hideout while the others devised a plan.

Gabrielle, still feeling somewhat responsible for having cause Solan to run off in the first place, strayed along behind.

Hercules and Xena walked ahead with Argo in silence. Occationaly he would glance over at the warrior. He saw so much change in her since the first time they had met. Back then she had wanted nothing more than to kill him. But then she changed and became good. Then killing him was no longer on her mind. They had become friends and even lovers. But then she had set out to help others and try to make amends for her past. He had heard such good things about her since she had set out on her own. She had truely changed into a good person. He knew that there was always good in her, it had just lost it's way. Before when he looked at her he saw such a look of determination on her face. But now he saw many differant emotions in her expressions. Knowing she had a lot on her mind, he asked her if she wanted to talk about it.

"About what?" she asked.

"Xena, you don't have to act brave for me. I know you are the bravest warrior I have ever faced. I also know this is really bothering you and I want to help," he stated.

"There's a good chance I could lose when I fight her. I couldn't stand it if something happened to my son because of my past," Xena told him.

"I won't let anything happen to him,' he told her. "You just concentrate on fighting her. If you don't mind my asking, where has he been all this time?'

"A long time ago, when my army was fighting the centaurs, I became pregnant. Borias, who was my lietenant and Solan's father, betrayed me and told the centaurs of my plans to end the war. I ordered him captured but not harmed. He was killed by one of my men. I later found out it was Dagnon. The night he died, Solan was born. I knew I hade made lots of enemies and that the life I was leading was not safe for a child. So I went to the leader of the centaurs and told him I would withdraw my army and never return if he took the baby. It's not that I didn't love or want him, It's just I thought it was the only way to keep him safe."

"Even then you were not so cruel that you couldn't put others before you," he said.

"Gabrielle doesn't understand. She thinks I abondoned him." she said.

"I don't. I think you were doing what you thought was best for your child. And I think deep down she does too," he told her.

"I never told anyone about him. I didn't even see him again until a few months ago when I had to stop Dagnon from getting the Ixion stone. That's when Gabrielle found out about him. After Dagnon was killed we left and I didn't tell him I was his mother. I thought he would be safer if he didn't know. A few days ago he found us. The centaur who raised him was killed and he told him tht if anything ever happened to him to find me. We were on our way to take him to my mother when Gabrielle and I got in an arguement over whether or not I would tell him. He overheard and ran away. That is when Calliso got him. Now I may not have the chance to explain it to him."

"Don't worry. We will get him back and defeat her. I promise he will be safe," he assured her.

Chapter 10

They travelled on until they reached the place where they had agreed to meet Iolaus. Once there they started to make camp. Hercules decided that he would be the one to catch their dinner beacuse he knew that Xena and Gabrielle needed to talk.

As soon as he was out of sight Gabrielle went over to Xena.

"I'm sorry about this. It's all my fault," she apologized.

Xena said, "No Gabrielle, it's not. I made Callisto and she's my problem."

"That's not what I meant. I mean about Solan," she replied.

"He would have found out eventually anyway," she told her.

With a sad look on her face, she said, "Yea, but he probably wouldn't have ran off and got captured by her. That's my fault."

"You had no way of knowing that he was there or that she was near," Xena said trying to comfort the bard.

"Still it wasn't my place to judge you or to tell you what to do," she explained.

Xena observed the emotions in her friend, they mirrored her own. "We'll there's nothing we can do to take it back now. We just have to get him back safe and sound. Then we'll take care of the rest."

Shortly after dark, Iolaus returned. He told them that Callisto was hold up in a cavern about half a days walk from there. He also told them that he saw a little boy and that he was unharmed. But he knew Xena's mind would not be at ease until she saw for herself. He then told them the layout of her camp and they started making stratagies.

After they had come up with several scenerios they started to turn in for the night. After everyone else had fallen asleep, Xena decided she would go for a walk because she was to tense to sleep. She got up and left the small campsite.

She had been walking for a little while when she found a hot spring and decided she would try to ease some of the tension in her body.

Hercules had seen her leave and had followed her. He kept his distance though, because he knew that if she had known he was trying to protect her she would not be pleased.

She started taking off her armour and then her leather bodice. Then she began removing the undergarment she had on. She was facing the moon, and he was not, the moon outined her figure as she desended into the water. Sensing he was there she said, "You can come out now. I know you're there."

Hercules, feeling somewhat embarrased came into sight. "I was concerned about you," he said.

"Don't be," she assured him. "I'm just trying to releive some tension."

"May I join you?" he asked.

With an amused look she said, "Why not, I never did like an audience."

A few moments later he had removed his clothing and was next to her in the spring. He went behind her and put his hands on her shoulders and started to rub. "Maybe this will help," he said. He could feel some of the tension leaving her body. He slowly began moving his hands down her back working the muscles into play. She moaned slightly as she felt them loosening up.

Feeling more relaxed now, she turned to face him. Her deep blue eyes were clear and peering at him, with a look of tenderness she put one hand on the back of his neck and the other on his lower back, then she kissed him gently. The kiss became more passioniate as they became closer. She wanted to forget her problems if only for a little while.

When morning came they awakened by the spring, still in each others arms. They got dressed and returned to the camp. The site that greeted them was not the one they had expected. They found Iolaus bound and gagged and Gabrielle was missing. They rushed over and untied him. Xena looked around for Argo but couldn't find her either. She whistled but the horse did not come.

When Iolaus was free he said, "They hit me while I was still asleep so you wouldn't hear the fight. Then after they tied me up they said to give you the message that you have until sunset, then she will kill them all."

"I should have been here to protect them instead of being with you," she yelled at Hercules. "Now they may all die because I didn't go after he sooner. How could I have been so stupid. It's all my fault."

"Xena, you have to focus. If you go up against her like this she will kill you," Hercules told her.

"I can't put it off any longer. I have to go after her. She once told me she would devote her life to killing everything I love and now she has three of the most important things to me. I can't let anything happen to them." And she took off running through the woods.

Hercules and Iolaus looked at each other and said, 'Let's go."

Chapter 11

Meanwhile back at Callisto's camp, a group of warriors are returning, looking a little worse for wear, with Gabrielle and Argo.

"What happened to you?" Callisto asks.

"They weren't alone, Xena had others travelling with her and they put up a fight. But we defeated them." their leader said.

Callisto then said, "Let's see. At last report it ws Xena, the pisky little blonde, the horse, and two men. We now have the girl and the horse. Apparently Xena wasn't there or you wouldn't have returned. So my guess is, is that she was off somewhere with one of the men having a good time. So that leaves one man who was more that likely asleep when you attacked. Now what really happened? Don't tell me you were beat up by the irriatating little blonde."

"Well actually it was the horse," one of the men spoke up.

Laughter broke out among those who had not gone on the mission.

"You mean that you can kill villages full of people, but you can't take care of a horse?" she asked.

"Well we couldn't kill it. You said you wanted it unharmed," the leader said.

"Let's have a little fun shall we," Callisto said. She picks three men from her army who did not go on the mission and told them to see what the horse could do.

One man decided to charge her from the front and another from behind. Argo rared up her front legs and sent the man flying, as soon as her front hooves hit the ground her back ones caught the one behind her and sent him flying also. Seeing that his pals plans hadn't worked the third man tried a side approach. He did a series of flips hoping to land on the horses back, and he did, but as soon as he landed Argo quickly threw him back off.

Everyone was amused at the fight, even Callisto. Then she said, "Ok point taken. She has been trained very well but let's see if there are bounds to that training. Bring out the boy."

Immediatly two soldiers escort Solan out into veiw. Gabrielle starts to protest, but she realizes she would only be putting him in further danger. They then place him on the horse's back but nothing happened. So Callisto goes over and starts hitting her with a whip. But still the horse doesn't move.

"Apparently it has Xena's sentimental side too. Get him down and lock him and the blonde up. Make sure the horse is tied up good to.

Chapter 12

Gabrielle and Solan were escorted over to a cage and were placed inside, the door was tightly secured then the guards walked away.

As soon as they were alone, Gabrielle said, "Solan are you ok?"

"Why do you care?" he asked.

"I do care and so does Xena, that's part of why I'm here," she told him.

"Yea right. If she cared so much why isn't she here?' he asked.

"I have been held captive by Callisto before and she knows from experiance, that we will not be harmed until she gets here. Callisto won't do anything unless Xena can watch. But don't worry I won't let anything happen to you." Xena is on her way and I'm here to protect you until she arrives.' she explained.

"I don't believe you. She doesn't care about me, that's why she abandoned me," he said in a louder voice.

"Shhhh, if they find out you're who you you are you will be in worse danger. Just trust me. Remember when Dagnon held you captive, she came for you then and she is coming this time to," she assured him.

"We'll see," he said.

Xena is perched on the ledge above the cavern overlooking the events going on. When finally Hercules and Iolaus catch up to her.

"What took you so long?" she asks. "Never mind. Ok, here is what I've discovered so far. Gabrielle is locked in a cage with Solan, she will keep him safe while we take care of the others. I've seen that it won't be much of a problem. Argo beat up several of them herself. So you guys can handle them and I'll take care of Callisto."

Chapter 13

Gabrielle is sitting in the center of the cage thinking of what she will do when Xena gets there. Then she hears Xena's voice in her head saying, "Act don't react." all of a sudden she hears a fimiliar whistle in the air, before she realizes the chakrum breaks the chains that bound the door and richote's over and frees Argo. "IYIYIYIYIYIYIYI" rings throughout the cavern and you see a leather clad figure flying down in a series of flips. Xena catches the chakrum in midflight and lands on her feet with the grace of a cat.

"She's here," Callisto yells and starts to run to meet her.

Gabrielle takes Solan by the hand and they exit the cage to look for a safe

spot, when she sees Iolaus running towards them.

"Xena thought you might need this," and hands her the staff.

Just then two warriors come at them and Gabrielle makes short work of them. Iolaus gives her an approving look and heads over to where Hercules is fighting a group of men himself.

An earpiercing shrill sends shivers down everyone's spine, except for that of the warrior princess, who just rolls those baby blues and says, "You know, that is really starting to annoy me."

"Don't worry because it won't last long," Callisto says.

Xena asks, "Well what are we waiting for?" and they charge at each other.

Meanwhile, Hercules and Iolaus are taking care of Callisto's men, even Argo is getting in a few kicks of her own. And Gabrielle is taking care of anyone who comes near her and Solan.

Solan is amazed at everything going on, but what has his interest the most is the fight betwween his mother and Callisto. He knows that she can take care of herself but he is still afraid of her getting hurt. He has never seen such magnificent warriors as the ones he was watching at this moment.

Xena and Callisto were continuning their war with hand to hand combat. Again they are matching each other hold for hold. Callisto came at Xena with a fury of punches, each successfully blocked and then she retailiated with a kick to the small of Xena's back. Xena did a roundhouse spin kick catching Callisto square on the jaw dropping her to her knees. Callisto pulled a small dagger out of her gauntlet, and slashed Xena's upper leg. Xena grabbed the open wound on her thigh and Callisto said, "Oh good, the bleeding has begun."

Solan yells, "No!" and starts to run towards them but Gabrielle stops him. Callisto is distracted by the outburst and turns to look. Xena kicks the dagger from her hand and draws her sword.

Callisto follows suit and draws her sword.

Hercules and Iolaus have finished off all of Callisto's men and are beginning to watch the fight between the two women warriors.

The swords have begun clashing and they are countering each others every move. The fighting goes on for a few minutes with both women displaying their great varitey of fighting skills. Callisto finally disarms Xena and kicks the wound on her leg causing hert to fall on her back. Callisto is standing over her with the sword about to strike the final blow when Solan yells, "No don't kill my mother!"

A wicked smile forms on her face and she looks at Xena. "Why didn't you tell me? And after everything we have been through."

Xena kicks her legs out from under her, causing her to do the splits and as Xena is getting to her feet, Callisto grabs the dagger from Xena's boot and says, "Xena watch this." and throws it at Solan.

"NNOOOO!" Xena screams.

She knows that there is no way she can stop it in time so she grabs her sword.

Gabrielle reacts quickly, she raises her staff in front of Solan and the dagger enbeds itself in the staff. Something she has only been able to do once before.

But Xena is blinded with blood lust and didn't see her do it and she slashes Callisto's hands so she can't use a sword and raises her sword to finish the job.

Solan runs over and gets between the two women and says, "No, you can't do this. She is unarmed and it would be murder."

"Get out of my way or you'll die too," Xena said with a look of pure rage.

"You haven't changed. You're still a murdering monster. I am not your son anymore," he yells at her.

His words have broken through to her and her thought become her own again. "Solan, you're ok?" she asked her expression starting to soften.

"Yes. I am. Isn't there another way besides killing?" he asked.

"She is pure evil. There isn't another way." she replied.

Just then a deep voice spoke up, "I thought the same thing about you once," Hercules said.

"What do you suggest we do then?" she asked.

"Let's let her past demons decdide her fate. Maybe they can change her," he suggested.

"You mean a dreamscape?" she asked.

"Yes. Iolaus and I will take her to Morpheus' temple, while you take care of the rest." He said.

"If you think it is a good idea, then I agree." she stated.

So it was agreed and Hercules and Iolaus left with Callisto. Her men had already retreated before the fight had ended.

Gabrielle walked over and put her hand on Xena's arm.

Xena looked at her and said, "Now for the hard part."

"You mean that wasn't hard?" Gabrielle asked.

Xena smiled at the bard and replied, "fighting comes easy to me but talking doesn't. Now the hard part is explaining this to Solan and my mother."

"Just listen to your heart. It will tell you what to do." Gabrielle said.

They embraced then Xena started to walk over to where Solan was sitting.

Chapter 14

Solan was sitting alone on a rock at the other end of the cavern. Xena approaces, not quite sure of what will happen next.

"Solan, can I talk to you?" she asks.

"I think we need to," he says. "I know now what you meant, before by the lake, about doing something a long time ago you regretted. You tried to tell me then, didn't you?"

Xena takes a deep breath and begins to explain, "Yes. but I was afraid of how you would take it. You seemed so happy there and I didn't want to add turmoil to your life. I don't want you to think that I gave you up because I didn't love you, I do. It's just that I wanted to do what I thought would be best for you and to keep you safe. I had already caused your father's death and I was afraid you would be next. And I couldn't bear it if I had. The life I've led is a dangerous one. I've made lots of enimies and I will probably make more. If they know about you, you would be in danger because you are my son.

With a look of understanding he replies, "I've had some time to think about it and I understand now, but at first I didn't. I was hurt and angry because it was like my whole life was a lie. But then I realized it wasn't done to hurt me. I know about your past, that I was safer where I was and they did take good care of me. But what do we do now?"

"I want you to know that I love you and your are very important to me, but unfortunattly it is still not safe to be around me. So I am going to take you tomy mother. She and my brother Toris will take good care of you and I will visit as often as I can." she explained.

"Do they know about me," he asks.

"No, not yet. but don't worry everything is going to be ok. I am so proud of you," she tells him.

They put their arms around each other tightly, neither wanting to let go.

Gabrielle and Argo walk over to where they are. "Is everything ok," she asks.

"Everything is fine. Gabrielle, I want to thank you. You saved Solan's life today. I don't want to think about what I would've done if you hadn't been there."

"There's no need to thank me. There was never a choice. Now if I could just figure out how I did it." she said.

Xena places a hand on her shoulder and says, "Stop trying. It's your body that has to listen."

With that they left the cavern and headed to Amphipolis. They travelled for a few hours then made camp.

It was midmorning when they arrived at her mother's tavern.

When Xena, Gabrielle and Solan entered they found the only occupents were Toris and their mother.

They were somewhat stunned to see her but both walked over to give her a hug.

Toris says, "It's good to see you. What brings you here?"

"Family," Xena replies. "Solan this is my mother and brother Toris. This is Solan. He's my son."

"You sure are full of suprises little sister," Toris said.

Her mother says, "He reminds me so much of you when you were young. What a fine looking boy you are."

"Toris, would you mind showing Solan around? I need to talk to mother." Xena asks.

"Sure no problem. I have some chores I have to do. Would you like to come along?" he asks Solan.

Solan agrees and leaves with Toris.

Gabrielle says, "I'll go tend to tend to Argo"

Now Xena and her mother are left alone. She looks at Xena and asks, "Why didn't you tell me before?"

"Well I didn't know haow to at first. We haven't exactly been on the best of terms," Xena replied.

"But this is family. It's not about right or wrong," she told her.

Xena said, "I know. But I kept it a secret for so lone I never thought anyone would find out."

Her mother asks, "Where has he been all this time?"

"I knew he would not be safe with me so I gave him to someone I knew would take care of him, but he's dead now and the only other person I would trust to take care of him is you. It's still not safe for him to be with me, so will you look after him?" Xena said.

"Of course we will. You did the right thing, trying to keep him safe. He seems like a fine boy."

"He is," she replied.

Solan and Toris return.

"Solan, we are so happy you will be staying with us. I look forward to geting to know you," she says.

Xena gives him a hug and says, "See I told you it would be ok."

It was decided that Xena and Gabrielle would spend a few days there so she could recover from the wounds she recieved in the fight with Callisto and to make sure everyone adjusted to the sudden changes.

Xena got the well deserved rest that she had needed for sometime and Gabrielle liked getting to sleep on a real bed instead of the ground. She had a real knack for finding all the spots with rocks on them.

Everyone mad the adjustments easily and Xena felt she was ready to travel again. So she and Gabrielle said their goodbye's and set out on another quest to help those who they had recieved word needed them.

The End



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