by Joseph Anderson

Xena, Callisto, Gabrielle and all elements from the TV show Xena: Warrior Princess belong to MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. All other elements belong to the author. No copyright infringement is intended with this fan fiction which may not be sold, may be copied for personal use only, and must include all notices of copyright.

WARNING: This story contains cruelty and sexual exploitation.

Part 1
Gabrielle looked nervously around, sensing something. Xena was asleep but the bard couldn't and had quietly resumed sitting by the embers of their campfire. "SHHH" sounded quietly in her ear and a hand clamped over her mouth. Panicked she looked at the beautiful smiling face suddenly beside her. The wide brown eyes looked deeply into hers. "It's all right, just don't yell when I take my hand away, okay?" Gabrielle nodded, but the hand reclamped over her mouth again as she took a breath to yell. "I just want to talk to you. I don't want to get in a fight with Xena at the moment." She removed her hand again and this time the bard didn't make a sound.

"Callisto, what do you want?" she whispered.

The blonde warrior said innocently. "Do I have to want something? Can't I just stop by to say hello? I mean, we're close in a way. People in common, stuff like that. That's something that occurred to me a while ago, and I decided to talk to you about it since you're better with words than me."

"This is some new way to hurt Xena. It has to be. You have nothing else in your twisted life." Gabrielle answered.

"And whose fault is that?!" the suddenly enraged face hissed back at her. "Your Xena, that's who! I should have known better than trying to talk to you. You're nothing but Xena's boot licker...and whatever else you lick." She stood and began to walk away when Gabrielle spoke.

"Wait. I...I shouldn't have said that to you. Come back. I'm sorry." She had no idea what was happening. She had told Xena she thought Callisto must have a spark of good in her--that everyone did. But now when she might be reaching out to her Gabrielle had insulted her. She was in the wrong and Callisto was right; so far anyway. It was bizarre.

The beautiful warlord stopped, then turned and looked at the smaller woman, her face cold. Gabrielle patted the spot next to her. She stiffly returned and sat down. "What do we have in common, Callisto?" The angry face softened, then smiled. That was scary, of course, though for once that might not have been the intention.

"Well, obviously Xena. It just hit me that she changed both our lives, taking us away from our villages. Though with me it was a bit more final since my village isn't there anymore. But look at it. Neither of us would be who we are without her. We're both blonde and younger than Xena. I think about her all the time just like you do. I'm her past and you're her future." Callisto paused. "That's as far as I got. There's something there but I don't know what. You're the bard. What's it mean?"

Gabrielle was absolutely stunned. Callisto couldn't solve this by just killing someone and she seemed helpless. She'd never really thought about things, the bard guessed. The warrior had lived on hatred and instinct and all of a sudden she began really thinking and she was lost.

The bard tried to phrase a reply when a voice coldly said. "Move away from her Gabrielle. This is your last mistake, Callisto."

"Xena, it's all right. We're just talking," Gabrielle said, twisting around to see her friend standing, her face in shadows and her sword ready.

"Don't be ridiculous. It's some new scheme. She probably planned on killing you so I'd find you when I woke up."

Callisto said acidly, "That's a good idea, Xena. But why did I bother talking to her then?"

"The same reason a cat toys with a mouse," Xena said, her voice frigid and weighted with menace.

Callisto stood and smiled at the larger woman. "Aren't you afraid to let your little friend see the real you like this? It's not your usual hyprocrisy, Xena. I didn't come to fight you...but why not?" She whipped her sword out.

"Xena! Stop it. We were just talking. She didn't do anything."

"Gabrielle, she killed Perdicus. How can you say that?"

"Deep down she knows I did her a favor. He never crossed her mind till you just mentioned him," Callisto said with a smile. Gabrielle made a stunned sound as she realized that was true. The warlord added, "I've killed some bores in my time but Perdicus takes the prize. I talked to him a little after I died that first time. Hades ought to use him as a punishment."

"Don't say that!" Gabrielle said savagely, her own guilt spilling out at Callisto. The blonde grinned.

Xena hadn't said anything, simply keeping her sword pointing at Callisto. "What's it to be, Callisto? Care to die again? Maybe one of these times you won't come back."

With a laugh the blonde warrior sheathed her sword. "That's a good point. I'll be going. Thanks for the idea about killing your little friend and letting you find her when you wake up. I just don't have your flair for this stuff." She leapt into the black night. Xena didn't want to leave Gabrielle unprotected to pursue her.

"Xena...I don't think she was up to anything. She really seemed like she just wanted to talk to me," the bard said.

The dark warrior snorted and after carefully listening and looking around, sheathed her sword. "If you say so, Gabrielle," she said, though her tone indicated she didn't believe it for a minute. "What did she say that you found so fascinating?" she said patronizingly.

Gabrielle didn't respond, hurt that Xena had such low regard for her judgment. From the look on the warrior princess's face, it suddenly dawned on her how insulting she was being to her friend. Waking to find Gabrielle helpless with that lunatic had shaken and angered her so much, social niceties had just dropped away. Callisto was right. In a way this was the real Xena. "I'm sorry, Gabrielle! Please, I didn't mean that like it sounded!"

"Yeah, okay, Xena. I know you're just worried about me." Obviously it wasn't okay.

Xena picked up some wood and put it on the embers. "We might as well get this going again. We're not getting back to sleep."

"Whatever you say," the bard replied. Xena winced at the tone.

"Gabrielle, maybe you're right. Maybe she did only want to talk. She's so dangerous I can't risk it though. Really, what did she say to you?"

Gabrielle looked at her. Xena was practically pleading with her. This was a strange night, all right. The bard relented. "She said we have a lot in common. That she's your past and I'm your future, and she just wanted to know what I thought of that."

Xena was as surprised as Gabrielle had been. "And what did you say?"

"Nothing. That's when you showed up and threatened to kill her."

Xena's face got red. She was coming across like an arrogant bully who was sure she had all the answers. Even if Callisto was up to something, Xena didn't have to act like she had. And if Callisto had really been reaching out to Gabrielle, then Xena may have just slammed the door on her. Lucky for her Hercules hadn't treated her like that.

"Xena, it's all right. If she wants to change then this won't stop her."

Xena almost jumped. It was like the bard was reading her mind. She looked closely at her, seriously worried about that. Was that Callisto's scheme? Had she turned Gabrielle into a sorceress somehow without her knowlege?

Gabrielle laughed. "It's called insight, Xena. Gods!"


The huge black stallion was wandering aimlessly, his rider letting him find his own way as she was lost in thought. Callisto thought of what had happened earlier with Gabrielle. She tried to call up her old anger about Cirra but it just wouldn't come for some reason. These strange thoughts had started a few weeks before. Something kept tugging at her mind. Xena had destroyed her family and life. She had dedicated herself to vengeance. But that meant she was letting Xena rule her. How was that vengeance? Callisto's head hurt. She wished some bandits would ambush her or something; she knew what to do in that situation. She had no idea what to do with the thoughts in her head.

She had wanted to kill Xena's soul she told her. And killing Gabrielle was the way to do that. She could've done that tonight but it hadn't even occurred to her. Instead of talking to the bard Callisto could've killed her silently and disappeared. What she'd told Xena was true: she really didn't have the flair for this Xena did. She'd tried to emulate her but there was a lethal viciousness in the warrior princess that Callisto could only reach when she was berserk with rage. Xena always had it; she could call it up whenever she needed it; didn't even have to be mad. Just one of her talents like medicine or singing. Callisto should want that but for some reason she didn't. That seemed like something the bard might know about but Xena had shown up and all of a sudden they were back in the same old song and dance. It hit her. Xena was worse than she was. No matter how hard Callisto tried she'd never be anything but a pale imitation. Xena was a genuine monster; Callisto wasn't. Xena trying to change and make amends was fascinating because anyone could see that whenever she was pushed her old self came out. Callisto felt like if she decided to ever stop fighting she could. She only fought because of her family. Xena fought because she was a predator; some kind of lion or something. All this was very interesting. Callisto had no idea what use any of it was unfortunately.

Part 2
The slavers were almost ready to make camp. They had 19 slaves, all female ranging from around 14 to 30. They were naked--the men just liked to look at them as they walked along, chained together at their necks. The ones they thought might be troublemakers wore wooden collars that held their hands. The campsite they had been heading toward already had a couple of travelers. The five slavers looked at each other, smiling. Two more women. The travelers stood and watched them approach.

Gabrielle looked over at her friend. Xena's eyes were as cold as she'd ever seen them. Gabrielle had seen slavers before but none like this. The bard gasped, recognizing one of their prisoners.

"Xena. I know one of the women. We were friends when we were children. She's from a village near Poteidaia."

"Which one is it." Xena said levelly.

"The red head, third from front wearing a wooden collar. Her name is Mellana."

The warrior princess was wearing a shift. Xena had decided her leathers couldn't wait another day for cleaning. She kept her sword by her of course and she held it behind her now as three grey-haired scruffy looking men swaggered over to her.

"Maybe if you show me a good time we won't take you," a greasy bald man said. "Let's see what you've got under there," and he reached for Xena.

Atop her horse Callisto was observing the slavers and Xena and Gabrielle, curious to see how the warrior princess would handle it. Callisto knew what she would do--just kill them all for daring to think they could take her. If she felt like it she might free the slaves though it would depend on her mood. She had been in exactly their position; after Xena burned Cirra she been naked in a slave line. She'd only been ten at the time. Come to think of it she was naked for something like six weeks, from the time the deserters from Xena's army grabbed her from the burned rubble until the slavers they sold her to in turn sold her to a pimp. As far as experiences went it was pretty sucky. Something looked familiar about that greasy pig talking to Xena. Oh, this was TOO good!

Galber's men were staring at their leader. He'd just been punched in the mouth by the big woman so hard he was flat on his back a couple of yards away. The woman was picking teeth out of her fist with a look of irritation. They'd pick up Galber and move on. No reason to mess with somebody like that. They heard something and turned and saw another woman, this one dressed like a warrior riding toward them. Now what?

"Xena, it's Callisto!" the bard said. The warrior princess looked up, expecting the fight for some reason Callisto hadn't given her the night before. Her enemy didn't seem interested in her though. She was simply walking her horse around, looking at all of the slavers closely--and smiling in that demented way she had. Then Callisto spoke.

"Oh, Xena. I wanna be good. Like YOU Xena. So how 'bout you free all these slaves and get them clothes and food, or something. Leave the men to me."

"Hey, we're honest businessmen."

"You can't do that."

"Who do you think you are?"

Gabrielle ran over to her friend in the line. An older man tried to step in front of her but received a kick in the face from Callisto. "Ah, ah, ah. Unchain all of them."

"What if I don't?" he growled. Gabrielle paled and Xena chuckled under her breath. Callisto slid off her horse and looked at him. She leaned in close and whispered to him.

"You have a tattoo on your right shoulder."

He looked at her, shocked. "How do you know that?"

Callisto looked from side to side and whispered again. "I'm going to use it for the cover of a money purse. I'll use one of your fingerbones to close it. This one." The man screamed at the sudden pain and the woman was holding his severed right index finger.

"Callisto! Stop it! They'll free them now." Xena said fiercely. One of the men hurridly unchained the women and freed those in the wooden collars. Something else was going on here, Xena could tell. Something personal. The injured man was holding his hand and crying. Callisto dropped his finger down the back of his shirt. The rest of the slavers wanted to run but two swords and a staff were held on them and they stopped. None of them were warriors or even close. They bought slaves; they didn't capture them unless it was a sure thing.

Callisto smiled, her eyes lit. "Being good can be fun, Xena. Free these people and leave these dogs to me."

"We can't do that," Gabrielle said, but Xena was just looking at Callisto. And estimating the ages of the slavers.

"Tell me something about one, Callisto," Xena said quietly to her. Gabrielle stared at her. The blonde warrior shrugged and walked to the balding leader whose teeth Xena had knocked out. He was back on his feet now but shaky.

"He only has one ball," then she took her sword and cut his pants open. He cried as she simply grabbed his limp old member. "See." She gave his testicle a hard squeeze and he fell to the ground crying.

"Xena," Gabrielle said, not understanding.

"Let's get these people out of here, Gabrielle."

"Are you insane!?" Gabrielle cried.

Callisto caught Xena's eyes and shook her head ruefully. Gabrielle's friend Mellana, covered now in a blanket the bard had put over her spoke up. "I want to help her with the men." Callisto grinned at her and tossed her a dagger. The slavers began crying. Four other women came forward, clustering around Mellana.

The bard finally got it and she gulped, feeling sick. She and Xena freed the slaves and decided to lead them to a town to make sure they weren't taken again and were fed. They heard begging and laughter as they left Callisto with her new proteges.


"Xena...that was bad, wasn't it?"

"Gabrielle, you and me haven't ever been through what Callisto and those women have. I can't answer you. Seems fine to me but then I'm a mass murderer, though you seem to forget that most of the time."


The End