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Disclaimer: Xena, Warrior Princess and the names, titles, and some of the characters are the sole property of Renaissance Pictures and MCA/Universal. This story, all other characters and action sequences are the property of the author. No copyright infringement is intended and the story is meant to enhance our love for the TV show. This story may not be sold. Or archived without the authorís permission.
Sex/Violence: Subtext, usual Xena fighting
YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED
Marcella R. Wiggins
On a beautiful tropical island off the coast of Thrace, where a large ship prepares to set sail, Xena and Gabrielle row their boat ashore. "Itís perfect, Xena!" Gabrielle exclaims as she takes in the island, the palm trees swaying in the breeze, the beautiful, sparkling beach and the tranquillity of it all. All ready beginning to relax, she states, "Thank you Xena, for agreeing to do this." "We could both use a rest, Gabrielle. Weíve been going at it pretty hard lately." "I know, and just think, for a whole week thereíll be no life and death struggles to fight, no killing...?" "I promised didnít I?" Gabrielle smiles at her and continues, "and no Joxer..." she looks around to reassure herself, "just blissful peace and quiet." Xena gives her that familiar, Ďweíll seeí look. "Now, are you sure this island is deserted?" "Yes, Gabrielle, itís deserted, so just relax, will you." "Just checking." "For the tenth time." Xena retorts. "Whoís the one that needs to relax here?" Gabrielle retorts back.
Gabrielle nods toward a thick of trees in the middle of some palm trees and asks, "Xena, is that the treehouse you were telling me about?" "Yeah, I built it years ago when I was shipwrecked here. It should still be usable. So letís get started. Iíll fix up the tree house, while you fix lunch." "Sounds like a plan to me." Gabrielle takes a satchel out of the boat and they walk toward the trees. Looking up at the rotting wood, barely holding together, she asks, "Um, Xena, why canít we just sleep on the beach, with the stars for our blanket." "Thatís why..." Xena pushes Gabrielle out of the way as a large razorback, snorting mad, attacks.
Taking her knife and clinching it with her teeth, Xena kneels down and waits for the charging pig. She grabs it and manages to hold on as it squeals and thrashes about. Wrestling it to the ground, she sits on top of it and takes her knife, ready to strike. But she pauses, looking at Gabrielle with a mischievous look. "Whatís the matter Xena?" Gabrielle asks. "I promised, no killing." "People, no killing people. Now, this is different, itís lunch." "Just so long as I know the ground rules", Xena jokingly replies as she puts the animal down. "I killed it so you have to prepare it", she proudly proclaims. "My hero." Gabrielle quips dryly.
Looking back at the treehouse, Xena remarks, "It doesnít look to bad for seven years, does it?" "Xena, is your eyesight failing..." Gabrielle chides. "Give me an hour, and itíll be good as new." "You can fix that up in an hour. Youíre good, Xena, but not that good." Xenaís eyebrows go up as she accepts the challenge.
Gabrielle leaves to prepare the pig while Xena takes out her chakram and walks toward a group of small trees. With a flip of her wrist, her chakram saws through one row of trees, bounces off a rock and slices through another row of trees before returning to her.
An hour later, Xena escorts Gabrielle through the treehouse. It looks completely different, with a window, a door, a small table and two hammocks, swaying in the corner. Gabrielle looks around with approval and says, "Weíve got everything but running water!" A light bulb goes off over Xenaís head as she says, "Iíll be right back."
Gabrielle cranks the spit with the pig on it, laughing at Xena, who can be heard hammering, cursing, and throwing things around as another hour passes.
"Xena, lunch is ready." Gabrielle calls up to her. "Gabrielle, come up here." Showing her the bamboo pipes running through the window, up to a makeshift sink, Xena pulls the plug and water runs out. Gabrielle ecstaticly turns to Xena and exclaims, "Marry me!" "One challenge at a time, Gabrielle."
"Speaking of challengeís Xena..." Gabrielle scrunches her nose. "All right, all right, Iím going." "Donít be long or your lunch will be charbroiled." As Gabrielle walks back to the campfire and turns the pig, she doesnít notice the smoke coming from beyond the palm trees.
Meanwhile, Xena enjoys a shower provided by a waterfall not to far from the tree house. She does not notice the smoke either and she doesnít hear Gabrielleís screams for help because of the roar of the water. But she does get that feeling, the feeling of danger and realizes that she is being watched. As she continues her shower, she searches the landscape for trouble. Calmly drying off and putting her clothes on, Xena picks up her chakram and looks at it. She remembers her promise to Gabrielle and secures it to her side. She puts her sword in the scabbard and walks toward the waiting natives.
Just as they are about to trap her, she somersaults over them and attacks from the rear. Smiling at them, she says, "I usually work out before my shower, but for you Iíll make an exception", she somersaults onto a young palm tree and using it for buoyancy, she bounces from one native to another, knocking them to the ground. Then she grabs her chakram and sends it flying into the palm trees, causing the coconuts to rain down on their heads. Retrieving her weapon she knocks out the rest of the natives and runs toward camp.
"Gabrielle..." Xena searches the tree house and runs to the campfire. The sand indicates a struggle and Gabrielleís staff points in the direction that she was taken.
"Joxer, by the gods", regrouping from the shock of seeing Joxer, Gabrielle quips, "Now thatís a sight I use to dream of." Joxer is tied to a spit thatís rotating over an open fire. "Gabby, get me outta here, will ya!" Joxer pleads as he frantically blows on the fire each time he turns. "What did you do this time?" Gabrielle questions. "Nothing, honest. I was following you and Xena and my boat sank. I woke up to this really ugly native girl kissing me. I tried to get away, but she chased me down the beach. Then something hits me on the head and the next thing I know, Iím Joxer on a stick." As heís talking, a native woman walks up and pokes Joxer with a fork. "Hey, you ever hear of sushi?" "Just be calm Joxer." Gabrielle walks over to untie him, but her way is blocked by a native.
Suddenly, Xena comes flying in and lands in the middle of the camp. "Everyone all right?" she asks. "Well, Iím a little overdone." Joxer quips. "Thatís the understatement of the year!" Gabrielle retorts.
The natives gather, with spears in hand, to challenge Xena. "Well, that was certainly the shortest vacation in history." Gabrielle jokes as Xena tosses her staff to her. But the natives concentrate only on Xena, and immediately throw their spears, one right after another. Xena stands firm, and using the flick of her hands, expertly times the first two spears at Joxer, cutting his ropes and releasing him. She deflects three more, up and over, landing in a circle around her. Finally, Xena draws her sword and as the spear rockets toward her, she waits to the last second and steps to the side, slicing it in half. "Why is she playing with them, this is serious." Joxer asks Gabrielle, who responds with a smile, "Sheís keeping a promise."
Replacing her sword, Xena picks up the two pieces of the spear and, using them as chobows, goes one on with the charging natives. Darting in and out of the three spears, she delights in striking one man after another. Then, as more natives join the fight, she changes strategies and starts spinning on the spears, rotating from one to another, kicking the natives in the head, until finally, they lay dazed on the ground. "I never tire of seeing that." Gabrielle says proudly, as she and Joxer join Xena.
"Now, can somebody tell me what this is all about?" Xena asks the natives. "Itís about honor." Turning around, they see for the first time, the chief, Samoa, sitting on his wooden thrown. Adorned in a sea shell crown and necklaces, he wears only a skirt wrap around. "Xena, this is the chief Samoa." Joxer introduces him. Walking over to them, Samoa elaborates, "My daughter, Cacao, saved this worthless piece of seaweedís life and he rejected her." He points to Joxer, "If he doesnít marry her, he will die." The chiefís daughter joins him. She looks amazingly like Joxer, just with longer hair. She is also adorned in seashells and wears a grass skirt that shows her bony knees. Swallowing hard at the prospect, Joxer hides behind Xena.
"Well of course Joxer will marry her", Xena announces. Joxerís mouth opens wide and as he is about to protest, Xena sticks her fist in his mouth and continues, "Heíll be happy to." "Then itís
decided. The wedding will take place tomorrow morning." Samoa announces. Cacao jumps with excitement as Joxer collapses on the ground, his head in his hands. "Joxer, itíll be all right, trust me", Xena assures him as she notices a native lower his head in grief. "Maybe being roasted alive wasnít so bad after all", Joxer whines. "Joxer, donít whine, Xena has a plan." Turning to Xena, Gabrielle asks, "You do have a plan, donít you?" "Not a clue, but think about it, Gabrielle. The idea of marrying Joxer off is very appealing." Gabrielle laughs then cautions, "But the idea of six little Joxerís and Joxerettes running around is very frightening." "You have a point. All right, Iíll come up with something", Xena chuckles.
As dusk dies into night, the camp comes alive with celebration. "This is some bachelor party." Joxer exclaims, stuffing his mouth with food from an elaborately laid out table of pineapple, bananas and a roasted pig, complete with an apple in its mouth. "Xena, will you be my best man, uh, I mean woman, uh, I mean..." "Relax Joxer, it wonít come to that", Xena reassures. "Let me give you away, Joxer, OH PLEASE, let me give you away!" Gabrielle begs. Joxer shoots her a dirty look as Xena and Gabrielle rub shoulders in laughter.
Several native women invite Xena and Gabrielle to put on a grass skirt and learn to hola. Xena declines to participate and becomes distracted by several men preparing an oblong pit with wood and rocks. Then she walks into the trees, and examines the bark. His attention drawn to the rhythm of their island instruments, Joxer grabs a couple of spare ribs and walks over to the band.
"Youíre going to make a beautiful bride", Gabrielle compliments Cacao as they rotate their hips. "Joxerís a good man, but I donít think you really want to marry him, do you?" Cacao looks at her and says, "It is my fatherís wish." Gabrielle notices that Cacao is looking at a native who is watching them. "Well, whomever you marry, let me tell you where you can honeymoon at."
"Look, youíre a little under and not really in the pocket." Joxer criticizes. "Huh?" the native, playing the hollowed out log, doesnít understand. "Mind if I show you?" Joxer doesnít wait for a reply and pushes his way beside the man, taking his drumsticks and handing him the spareribs. Beating out a bad sound at first, Joxer begins to get the rhythm and the rest of the players join in, including the native playing the spareribs.
Xena returns to the camp as Gabrielle and some of the nativeís begin to hola to the music, which only eggs Joxer on more. After a couple of holaís, Gabrielle joins Xena, and Joxer begins another song. Enjoying the rhythm, Gabrielle starts to hum; "dee de de de, da dee de de, wee o mom o way", then, teasing Joxer with her words, she sings; "In the jungle, the mighty jungle, Joxer plays to~night, and in the morning, the early morning, Joxer weds Ca~cao, heís going away, heís going away, heís going away, heís going away..." Gabrielle continues the refrain, "In this village, this peaceful village, Joxer became en~gaged, and in the morning, the early morning, Joxer gives it aw~ay..." Joxer quits playing and just stares at them as Xena and Gabrielle finish by singing, "hut, hut." then collapse in laughter. "Ha, ha..." Joxer retorts.
"Itís time, prepare him for the walk of worthiness." Samoa instructs. "Whatís the walk of worthiness?" Gabrielle asks. The chief steps to the side and motions toward the glowing hot rocks in the pit. Joxer swallows a very large amount of fear as he is lead away. "Xena..." Gabrielle whispers. "Iíve got it covered Gabrielle", Xena replies.
Xena, Gabrielle and the villagers gather around the pit as Joxer is brought out, dressed in nothing but a white, wrap around skirt, seashell lays and his hat. Xena takes Joxer to the side. "Joxer, do you even have a clue what they want you to do?" Gabrielle asks. "Sure..., what?" "They want you to walk on those coals in the pit", Xena explains. Joxer jumps up, totally rattle, but Xena grabs him and makes him sit back down. "Look, Iíll put some pressure points on your feet and you wonít feel a thing." Looking at the steaming hot pit, Joxer replies, "Thatís because I wonít have any feet left to feel". "Here, this will keep them from burning", Xena hands Gabrielle a bowl with a concoction of tree bark sap in it. "Rub it on good and donít miss a spot", Xena instructs, then zaps both of his feet with her pinch. Gabrielle passes the bowl to Joxer, the thought of touching his feet too much for her.
"Xena, will this really work? This is my manhood weíre talking about", Joxer asks as he rubs the paste on his feet. "Youíre manhoodís in your feet? That explains so much..." Gabrielle jokes. "You know what I meant." "Trust me Joxer, get in and get out and youíll be fine", Xena assures, "Now stand up." Joxer stands and says, "Hey, I canít feel a thing." As he tries to walk, he falls flat on his face. "Joxer, you have to get use to the numbness", Xena states. Walking as if he were drunk, Joxer makes his way to the pit.
"If you are worthy of my daughter in marriage, you will not be harmed", Samoa explains. Joxer stutters as he drops to his knees, begging, "Iím not worthy, Iím not worthy, I admit it, so why donít we just call it a day." His answer came in the sparkling tips of the spears pointed at him. Gabrielle tries to encourage him by singing, "Joxer the mighty, heís braver than a lion, we never see him crying, heís Joxer, heís Joxer the mighty."
Joxer stands up tall and brave and steps onto the coals. As his feet sizzle but donít burn, he relaxes and begins to walk. With the encouragement and awe of the natives, Joxer becomes cocky and takes a bow. "Yeah Iím bad, um uh." he says as he dances a shuffle, kicking sparks into flames. "Joxer, hurry up!" Xena shouts. Looking at her he asks, "Why?" but before she can answer, his butt catches fire and he hoops and hollers and runs on air across the coals to a waiting bucket of water in which he immediately sits down in. Steam rises as Joxer sighs.
"You did it, you actually did it", Gabrielle laments. "Well of course I did, Iím Joxer the mighty!" "Yes you are", Xena compliments. Again she notices a native with a downcast face.
The next morning dawned a beautiful sunrise over the sparkling ocean spray. The villagers were scurrying to and fro, preparing for the biggest event of their lives. Gabrielle rolled over to find that Xena was not beside her. She set up and looked around.
"Itís a perfect morning for a wedding..." Xena walks up beside the native sheíd noticed yesterday. Standing on the beach at the waterís edge, Moakie angrily tosses a stone into the water. "Yeah, beautiful." "That was some party last night." He does not respond. "You know, it must take a great deal of courage to be able to walk across hot coals like that." "More courage than I have." he replies. "Let me tell you about the realities of courage."
"Gabrielle, have you seen Xena?" Joxer asks nervously. "No, I was looking for her myself." Gabrielle admires Joxerís wedding attire. Heís wearing a blue, wrap around skirt, with gold lays and sandals to match. Taking off her lay, Gabrielle puts it around his neck, "Here, let me give you a lay, the natives say itís for good luck." "Oh, Gabrielle, Iíve waited so long to hear you say that", he starts to kiss her and she bops him on the head. "I think that walk on the coals did affect your manhood because youíre sure not thinking with your head." Straightening his lays Gabrielle steps back and inspects him. "Joxer, you look very handsome today." "Ah, do you really think so?" "Sheís right, Joxer." Gabrielle turns to see Xena and Moakie walk toward them. "Is everything all right?" Gabrielle asks. "Yes. I need to talk to you." But before Xena can take her to the side, Samoa approaches with Cacao.
"Itís time, take your positions." "Gabrielle, just go along with my lead", was all Xena had time to say before Joxer anxiously pulls her away. The chief took his daughterís hand and Joxerís and began the ceremony. "We should rethink this..." Joxer interjects. Several natives raised their bow and arrows, and took aim. "Enough thinking, letís get on with the wedding", he concedes. "STOP!" Xena knowingly smiles as Moakie interrupts the festivities. Joxer slumps down on his knees and clasps his hands together, "Oh thank you, thank you, thank you!" "Moakie, why do you interrupt my daughters wedding?" Samoa demands. "I challenge for the right to marry Cacao." Cacao giggles with anticipation and Joxer walks over and puts his arm around Moakie, saying, "You donít have to challenge me, sheís all yours." Moakie shakes his arm off and walks up to Cacao. "I love you Cacao, I always have." "Oh Moakie...", but Cacao is interrupted by her father. "Enough, a challenge has been issued, it will be carried out."
Two natives roughly lead Joxer to one side of the fire pit, while Moakie takes a position on the other side. They are connected at the wrists by a rope and offered a weapon to chose. Moakie has chosen a spear , while Joxer holds a club. "Look, Iím sorry I saved your daughterís life, I promise, it wonít happen again", Joxer pleads as he wipes the sweat from his brow. Moakie gives a yank on the rope and Joxer goes flying, barely avoiding the hot coals. As he does, his club becomes airborne as well, falling on Joxerís head and knocking him cold. Moakie looks at him incredulously, then looks at Samoa.
Xena walks up to Joxer and unties him. The natives carry him off to the side and Gabrielle splashes a bucket of water in his face. Xena ties the rope around her wrist and chooses her weapon, poi balls. "You understand, that this is to the death?" Samoa asks, as two men remove her boots. Xena nods her head. "Wait!" Gabrielle comes running up. Taking Xenaís arm, she says, "Xena, defend yourself, I wonít hold you to your promise." "Itíll be all right, Gabrielle."
Circling the pit, Xena and Moakie feel each other out with tugs and corresponding jumps from side to side. Moakie gives a forceful tug on the rope, bringing Xena across the coals in a rotating somersault. He retreats to the long side of the coals as he manages to get in the first strike. Xena reels back from the punch, but regains her composure quickly as Moakie sends his spear spiraling towards her head. With the flick of her wrist, she rapidly strikes the balls together until they are a blur, spinning a circle in front of her. She spins them so fast that the balls crush the spear as if they were peronia, munching through celery. Then Xena spins them over her head and almost as if she were airborne, floats over the coals toward Moakie.
Xena kicks him and knocks him backwards. Then she retreats back to the other side and yanks on the rope, pulling Moakie toward the fire. Moakie narrowly keeps from being burned as he dives over the coals and comes up kicking Xena, who drops her weapon. He retrieves it and throws it at her, wrapping it around her throat until the balls hit her in the head, and she drops to the ground.
Xena lay motionless. "NO!" Gabrielle screams, rushing over to her. "Xena," she whispers, "Tell me this is part of your plan?" But Xena does not answer, does not move, she is not breathing. Gabrielle begins mouth to mouth resuscitation and on the second breath, she stops cold, her eyes open wide and she sits up, with her fingertips on her lips. Looking at Xena for a long time, Gabrielle then looks up at Samoa and Moakie, and states, "Sheís dead." Gabrielle buries her head in her hands as Joxer comes running over and kneels beside Xena. "What have I done?í he cries.
"Joxer help me with her." Gabrielle lifts Xenaís head and she and Joxer lay her on a stretcher provided by the natives. With Joxer leading the way, the men carry Xenaís body toward the beach. Gabrielle walks over to Samoa, Cacao and Moakie and taking their hands, she places them together. "It is done, Moakie will marry Cacao, the death of my friend demands it." Solemnly bowing her head, Gabrielle follows Joxer toward the beach.
The ship sits anchored off the coast, waiting, as Gabrielle and Joxer row their small boat, with Xenaís body, towards it. "Okay, Xena, weíre clear of the island", Gabrielle cheerfully announces. And as Xena removes the blanket and sets up, Joxer almost wets his britches. "What, how..." "Joxer, itís all right", Xena assures him. "But you were dead?" "No, I had to pretend so that Moakie could save face in front of Cacao and Samoa." Looking at Gabrielle, Joxer asks, "How did you know she wasnít dead?" "It was something that she did." "What?" "Just something I picked up from the French", Xena explains.
Looking through a telescope, Gabrielle sees Moakie and Cacao kissing in the doorway of the treehouse. Smiling, she turns to Xena and says, "It was a wonderful vacation, Xena, thank you." "Gabrielle, we barely landed on shore before it was business as usual." "Thatís true, but no one was really killed and it brought together a village in love. I canít ask for anything more than that." Joxer joins them and Xena says, "Well I can." They both laugh as it fades to black.
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