by Joseph Anderson

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

This story contains violence and rough language.

A hand shakes me awake and I reach for my sword with a curse, but it is not there. Instead a strange face is saying to me, "Goddamit, Doc, git up! Kate's a good whore but goddamm it to hell, GET UP!!" Suddenly I am wet. The dog has thrown water on me! I leap up prepared to kill but something is wrong. I feel different. I look down and see a naked man's body.

"Here, Doc." The man throws a towel at me. He is dressed strangely in dark clothes and a wide dark hat. He has a long mustache. I touch my face. I also have a mustache. I look down where I was sleeping and a woman is smiling at me. She is full bodied with a large nose that is attractive on her.

She gets up from the bed and is naked. She says, "Don't worry, Virgil. I'll get him dressed and send him down." The man nods at her and leaves the room. She takes the towel from my hand and dries me. I just watch her. Then she hands me a white garment followed by dark ones such as the man wore. I do not speak but I put them on. I go to a small cracked mirror on the wall and look. What faces me is a thin, a very thin, pale man. My eyes look the same but that is all.

"Kate?" I say. The woman, still naked comes over to me and kisses my cheek. I allow it. "Why was Virgil waking me up?"

The woman chuckles. "God All Mighty, Doc. The Clantons are in town. How much did you drink last night? Wyatt told you to stay out of it but you said no and it's too late now. Lucky for you it was Virgil who came to get you. Wyatt would've dragged you out on the street buck naked. Here, sit down and I'll help you put your boots on." I do and the woman, still naked kneels in front of me, putting some fine-tooled boots on me. I stand. "Here, Doc." The woman has a knife in a sheath. She attaches it to the back of my belt. Where I always carry a knife, in fact.

"Am I ready?" I say. She laughs.

"Christ, Doc! Are you sure you're up for this? Because Billy Claiborne is, I can tell you that. He said you were just reputation. That if anyone stood up to you, you'd turn into a yellow dog and leave the territory."

I feel something cold. "He said that about me?"

She looks at me, a light in her eyes. "Yeah, he did. Now that's the Doc I like. Bring me his ears. No one talks about Doc Holliday that way." Now she picks up a heavy leather belt with a round small sheath on it and buckles it around my waist. She holds a strange looking object out to me. It has a smooth wooden grip. I'm sure it's a weapon and I take it. I don't know how but I spin something on it and examine I don't know what. Then I put it in the sheath on the heavy belt. The woman takes something gold which is on a chain and arranges it in my clothes in some artful way. She hands me a hat such as the man wore. I nod and prepare to leave but suddenly I begin to cough.

Kate's eyes fill with tears. "Oh God, Doc! Now isn't the time." I feel like I did when Xena let me drown in quicksand, unable to breathe. Wracking coughs shake me and I double over. The woman hands a small white cloth to me which I hold to my mouth. It is red with blood when I look at it.

"What's wrong with me?"

She looks angrily at me. "Christ, Doc, why do you want to me to say it? All right, you've got consumption. Are you happy? You're dying and maybe today you'll get your wish and die like you want instead of coughing your lungs out! Is that what you wanted to hear? Is it? Get the hell out of my sight!" She grabs a robe up and puts it on, and turns her back on me. I put the small cloth in a pocket and open the door.

"I'll bring you Claiborne's ears, Kate," I say to her motionless back then I close the door behind me.

Outside of the room I see some stairs and go down them. It seems to be a tavern and three men are sitting around a table. I recognize Virgil. He says, "Well, well, look what the cat dragged in, Wyatt." I approach them and a man with his back to me stands and turns to face me. He is taller and heavier than me and has a long dark mustache sweeping out. I know him. Somehow this man is Xena.

"About goddam time, Doc. I've given the Clantons until noon to surrender their guns or leave town. They won't, of course. What's the matter with you?"

How can I be helping Xena? I finally speak. "I hear Billy Claiborne has been talking about me."

Wyatt and Virgil and the other man chuckle. They all look alike; brothers perhaps. Wyatt says, "Yep, Doc. That is one stupid varmint. Ike told him to shut up, that there was no reason to bring you into this." He pauses. "This is really me and Morgan and Virgil's fight. You don't have to do this."

"Kate wants me to bring her Claiborne's ears."

Wyatt smiles. "Okay, Doc. But listen, that's a figure of speech, all right? This isn't Mexico and you're not cutting off anybody's ears."

I don't say anything. Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan all exchange a glance. "Believe me, Doc. Kate don't really want some bloody ears," Wyatt says. I don't say anything. Virgil sighs. The tavernkeeper approaches and hands me something. It is dark and hot. I sip it. There is liquor in it.

"Bring me this without the spirits," I say. Wyatt, Virgil, Morgan and the tavernkeeper look shocked. He brings me another cup of the hot beverage.

"My God, Doc. What's got into you? Next thing you know you'll be pulling teeth again," Virgil says. Morgan takes a gold object from his pocket and opens it up and looks at it. I copy him and look at what Kate put on me. I'd thought it was merely jewelry but there are symbols and a pointer which is moving in a circle. I close it and put it back as Kate arranged it. I take a chair and sit with the men. We are all waiting. I think I should kill Wyatt since he is Xena. But we seem to be fighting together now. At least I want to meet Billy Claiborne first so I can bring Kate his ears as I promised.

A woman comes into the tavern. She is small and pretty. Although she looks different I know it is the bard, Gabrielle. Upset she comes over to our table and Wyatt-Xena stands up. She hits him in the chest. "This is crazy! Just go! What are you trying to prove? That you can kill people? That you aren't afraid of Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne?"

Wyatt-Xena says, "It's not that, Joanna. We are the law here, you know that. They can't be allowed to just go on like they are."

Joanna-Gabrielle looks at me with hatred. "It's you. Until he met you he had some common sense. How can he be friends with a crazy animal like you?" She is practically spitting at me. I smile at her which makes her even more angry. I'm enjoying this. Wyatt-Xena takes her arm and leads her out of the tavern and they talk outside for a moment. She hits him in the chest again and storms away. Then Wyatt-Xena comes back in, frowning.

"She doesn't seem to care for me," I say lightly. Wyatt looks at me, just shakes his head and sits back down. He takes something from a pocket, cuts the end off of it, puts it in his mouth, and holds a flame to it. It begins to smoke. I start to cough. He looks alarmed and hurridly puts it out.

"Sorry, Doc. I wasn't thinking."

We continue to wait. I stand, "Where do I relieve myself?"

"Jesus, Doc. How much did you drink last night? That's a good idea." Morgan says and stands and I follow him, wait for him, then use the little room myself. I return to the others and they all are standing.

Wyatt says, "It's time. Here, Doc, put this on." He holds out a small metal badge similar to what he and the others wear.

"Why do I need this?" I ask. Virgil and Morgan snort but Wyatt just looks at me.

"Whatever you say, Doc."

Virgil picks up something and tosses it to me. I catch it easily. He says, "This is more your style, Doc." I don't know what it is but somehow I know how to open it up and look at the double barrels. Virgil hands me several small objects, and I know to load two of them in the weapon and put the others in my pocket. I snap it shut.

"Point out Claiborne to me," I say. They all exchange a glance. Virgil smiles but Morgan and Wyatt just frown.

Virgil says, "Like Wyatt said, that is one stupid varmint."

We all leave the tavern and begin walking down the dirt street four abreast. The villagers scatter, just as if I were riding in with my army. I smile and begin to laugh a little.

I hear Virgil chuckle but Wyatt glances at me and says, "Jesus Christ" in a low tone to himself.

A man dressed the same as us and also wearing a badge comes up excitedly to Wyatt, who does not even stop.

"I've disarmed them, Earp. It's all over."

"Is that so? Well, think I'll take a look for myself." We continue on and the man scurries away.

I see them now across from a building that says "Fly's Photographic Studio." I do not know how I can read this, since it is not in Greek. There are five of them but one disappears into the building. The rest are in front of a corral.

"Doc, Claiborne's the one with the shoulder holsters." It is Morgan speaking softly. I nod.

Virgil says softly now, "I thought more of Ike. Didn't expect him to skedaddle like that leaving his little brother, Billy." One of the men is really just a boy, fresh faced, innocent looking.

Wyatt says, "Surrender your weapons. You're within Tombstone city limits."

"You want it; come and get it," Claiborne says with a smile. He is looking at me.

The boy, Billy Clanton, says, "Hell no!" and draws his weapon. The air is filled by loud sharp sounds and smoke. Wyatt shoots the boy but he doesn't go down and fires wildly. I fire both barrels at Claiborne who is shooting at me at the same instant with a pistol in each hand. He goes down and my hat is torn from my head. I draw my pistol now and shoot one of the other men who falls cursing. Virgil is down on my right but is also still firing. Billy Clanton is still shooting wildly and Wyatt and I both shoot into the boy who finally falls. He tries to lift his gun and I walk up and shoot him between the eyes. The quiet is as sudden as the noise was. I see Wyatt and Morgan go to Virgil who has a wounded leg. Claiborne is a bloody mess but somehow raises his pistol and fires at me. His body shakes as Wyatt fires over and over into him. Then he is still. I look over at Wyatt.

"You hit, Doc?"

"No. See to Virgil." He nods. I draw my knife and walk over to Claiborne. I begin cursing.

"What is it?" Virgil calls to me.

"Claiborne's ears are blown to shit," I say. I kick the dead body.

I hear Virgil laugh, "Can't win 'em all, Doc. Give Kate one of his guns...aahhh, goddamnit that hurts, Wyatt!"

"Good idea," I say. But before I can take his guns I begin to cough and can't stop. Suddenly Wyatt is at my side. I can't stop. I can't breathe. The front of my shirt is red with blood. He is holding me up. I look him in the eyes. "This doesn't change anything, Xena. Nothing ever will." He is looking at me like I'm crazy.

"What are you talking about, Doc? Did you cough your brains out this time? It sure as hell looks like it."

I start to answer him when everything goes black.

The End