The Betrayal
Xena: Young Warrior - scenes from a childhood in Amphipolis

by Hamutal

General Copyright/Disclaimer: Xena: Warrior Princess, Cyrene, Lyceus and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles and backstory 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.

It was nearly dawn and a worried Cyrene tossed in her bed one more time, wondering where her sixteen-year-old daughter could be at this time of night. Lately she felt that she had lost the little control she had over her daughter. She had tried everything, from reasoning to scolding to actually threatening the girl (an act she immediately regretted), but nothing worked. Both she and Xena knew that there was nothing she could really do to stop her daughter from doing what she wanted, whatever that was.

Finally, Cyrene heard the resounding of a familiar laughter. She rose and moved quickly to the window. Outside she saw her daughter; her long, black hair looking somewhat blue in the moonlight. She was accompanied by a boy. He looked slightly familiar, but in the dark, Cyrene could not make out who he was. The two children stood very close to each other. Then Xena abruptly broke away from the boy and without seeing her daughter, Cyrene knew that she smiled when she called, "You want me? Come and get me."

The boy followed her as if he were sleepwalking. Xena laughed again. Then the two silhouettes merged, and the sound of intense, luscious kissing was heard. Then whispering. Cyrene tried very hard to make out what they were saying.

"I turn you on, don't I?" Xena whispered triumphantly.

The boy groaned softly. They kissed again. Cyrene saw the boy's hands moving slowly towards the girl's breasts. Then she thought she saw her daughter's hands guiding the boy's hands lower as she pulled him closer to her.

Cyrene sighed. Ever since Xena was a little girl, it had been clear that of all three children she would be the hardest to raise. She was wild, intense and full of all kinds of strong desires, which she herself had no idea how to satisfy. Even now, guiltily watching her daughter as she was making out under her window, Cyrene had the feeling that what she was witnessing had very little to do with sex and much more to do with her daughter's relentless quest for power.

Cyrene was beginning to consider going out and confronting her daughter when suddenly the girl motioned, shoving the boy away from her.

"Go home now," she said in a merciless tone to the surprised boy. Then she turned in the direction of her home. Cyrene quickly fled to bed. She felt it was a bad time to confront her daughter. She still needed more time to think, at least until morning. She heard her daughter enter the hut, then the sound of clothes being taken off and thrown aside (she never did succeed in teaching her daughter how to neatly fold her clothes beside her bed), and of a nearly naked body getting under the covers. She dreaded the next morning.

Cyrene didn't even notice she was falling asleep when suddenly it was time to get up. She had to prepare herself quickly and get to the inn. When she got to the kitchen, Xena was already up and dressed, and she showed no sign of fatigue. Cyrene had always found this trait in her daughter remarkable. She knew she had to talk to her daughter right away, or risk losing the little impact her words might have on the girl. She heard the boys getting up and knew she had to make it quick.

"You came home very late last night" was all she was able to say. It didn't sound as strong as she had intended. Xena did not answer, but the look she had given her mother conveyed the message. "I don't want you to run around the village at night," Cyrene continued, her voice choking. "It doesn't look good." The minute she said it, she wished she hadn't. But it was too late.

"It doesn't look good?" Xena asked. "Is that what's bothering you?"

Cyrene shook her head. She tried to draw herself closer to her daughter, but Xena moved away, deliberately avoiding her. "What you're doing, it's not good for you," Cyrene tried again. "I know you think that you know what you're doing, and that you have everything under control," she continued, "but you don't know where all this is leading to."

"Maybe I do, Mom," the girl said without looking at her mother. "Maybe that's what scares you."

Cyrene sighed. "Why do you have to be so difficult?" she asked, frustrated.

"Why do you have to be so nosy?" the girl retaliated. "It's my life, and I can take care of myself." The girl snatched a slice of bread from the table and hastily moved towards the entrance.

"It's not going to work, Xena," her mother called after her, knowing that her words have a very slim chance of penetrating the girl. "Whatever it is you're trying to do is not the answer and you know it."

Xena walked out angrily, nibbling on the bread. She had completely lost her appetite. She threw the bread on the ground and approached the meeting point. Peleus was already there, looking at her with a scolding eye.

"Where were you last night?" he inquired.

"None of your business, Peleus," she replied in the exact same tone. From the corner of her eye she could spot Maeon eyeing her curiously. What a loser, she thought. They were all so gullible; it wasn't even going to be such a big challenge.

"I told you never to talk to me like that," Peleus said firmly, while grabbing Xena's arm and pulling her closer to him.

"And I told you that the next time you lay a hand on me I'll break it," Xena answered, while swiftly pulling away.

Peleus's face was getting red, but he turned away from Xena and started talking to the others. "Now, listen," he said in a loud, steady voice. "Today is a big day, and I want us to be ready for it. We can't leave anything to chance. We have to prepare ourselves."

Xena rolled her eyes.

"You have a problem with what I'm saying?" Peleus asked.

"No, just with the fact that you're saying it, " Xena said. "All you ever do is talk."

All the boys started hissing and mumbling.

"Quiet," Peleus's voice roared and the boys immediately silenced. Peleus walked over to Xena, completely furious. "You have any better ideas, sweetheart?" he asked with a mocking tone.

"Actually, I do," Xena answered calmly, looking around her to make sure she had everybody's attention.

"Go ahead, then," Peleus uttered slowly. "Let's hear your grandiose plan."

Xena smiled and distanced herself from Peleus. While walking away from him, she snatched the knife from his belt. The boy motioned, ready to attack the girl, but his friend Theron stopped him. Silently, Xena drew an elaborate map on the ground, using Peleus's knife. All the boys huddled around her while she laid out her plan, all but Peleus, who kept at a distance, trying his hardest not to sulk.

Finally Xena aimed her taunting look at Peleus. Peleus did not stir.

"You have to admit it's a good plan," Theron whispered in his ear.

Peleus's knuckles turned pale. "I don't have to admit anything," he whispered angrily. "Now move," he ordered the girl.

Xena glanced at him, sneering, and then rose.

"Your plan is defective." His voice was so loud it echoed throughout the village. He snatched his knife back and for a moment the boys were certain he was going to plunge it right into the girl's heart. Two of them moved closer, so as to stand in his way in case he did, but Xena just stood there and eyed him, with no sign of fear in her bright blue eyes.

"You know nothing about Tydeus," Peleus continued, his face so close to the girl's that she could feel his breath as he spoke. "I fought him in the past. I know how he operates."

Xena gave Peleus a crooked look. Her calm drove him crazy.

"We're going by my plans," he stated, looking at the eyes of each of his gang's members; "nobody else's."

Xena chuckled quietly. "Have it your way," she said, looking pleased. "But you're going to make us lose."

Peleus's upper lip started quivering. The girl broadened her smile and walked away victoriously.

Theron turned to Peleus. "Peleus, I really think…"

"Get out of my way," Peleus said angrily, pushing the younger boy away as he followed the girl.

Xena could sense Peleus was approaching her and so was not startled when he grabbed her arm.

"What do you think you're doing?" he asked her. She did not say anything, just stared bluntly at his face. "I want you to stop it immediately," he warned her.

"Why don't you make me?" she replied, knowing her reaction would most likely set him off.

His grip of her tightened. His lips were seeking hers. She pulled away and laughed. "You know my plan is better. Why don't you just admit it?" she said as she started walking again. Peleus's jaws tightened and fire reflected in his pupils, but he remained motionless as he watched the girl go.

Only a short time before, or so it seemed, she was his. The beautiful, wild, misbehaved gir,l who everybody both mocked and admired, was soft and tender within his arms, as a tamed mare under her new master. He was proud of what he considered a hard conquest. Still, he felt she was worth the effort. The two of them had soon become a well-orchestrated team, and Xena herself proved to be an invaluable asset to his gang.

When she caught him kissing another girl by the lake one day, he was all ready for an ugly scene. He even prepared himself to defend the girl from Xena's infamous fury, but he was caught off guard by the calmness and self restraint in which Xena had accepted the situation. He could still see her in his mind's eye, silently turning away and walking from the lake, without a word. She didn't even mention it afterwards. Only her lovemaking became wilder, more exciting, more demanding ever since.

But lately she had become unbearable. She kept contradicting him, talking back at him, and even openly insulting him in front of the gang. The situation was getting out of hand, and he knew he had to take care of it before it was too late. He promised himself to tend to it later. Right now there was a more urgent mission that required his full attention. He was going to fight Tydeus and win. That was all that mattered at this point.

When everybody started working, Theron slipped away, hoping he wouldn't be missed, and ran after Xena.

"Xena, where are you going?" he called. "We need to get ready for the fight."

"I already did all I could. There's no use," the girl answered, still not stopping.

"What do you mean?" Theron asked, finally catching up with her.

"You said it yourself. My plan is good. But Peleus won't even listen."

"You have to admit he does know Tydeus better than anybody," Theron immediately came to Peleus's defense. Xena expected this. Still, she knew Theron was very loyal to the gang too. What if he thought that Peleus was endangering it?

"I'm not arguing with that," Xena quickly retorted. "I'm just saying a good leader must be open to new ideas. Peleus is letting his stupid pride get in the way. He keeps bragging about how he knows Tydeus from their previous fights, but I wouldn't be surprised if Tydeus changed his methods since they last fought. After all, he's not stupid. He would know that Peleus would be familiar with his old methods."

"Actually," Theron started and then stopped.

"Actually what?" Xena urged Theron to continue.

"Actually Peleus knows what he's doing," Theron blurted and instantly seemed to regret it.

"What do you mean? What did he tell you?" Xena asked. Then suddenly she stopped walking and faced Theron. "Did he spy on Tydeus?"

"Not exactly," Theron squirmed.

Xena was going to say something, but then she stopped herself. "You did," she determined. "When?" Her heart instantly started beating faster. If Theron had seen her last night she could be in trouble.

"Yesterday morning," Theron said proudly, and immediately added, "But I wasn't supposed to tell anybody, so don't tell anybody else."

"Don't worry about it," Xena said. She lifted her eyes and peeked at the sun. "See you later." She started walking away, leaving Theron behind.

From her place behind the counter, Cyrene could see her daughter walking outside the inn. She made her way to the entrance as quickly as she could and called her daughter inside. Xena wore a displeased expression, but she approached her mother.

Cyrene was happy for the opportunity to make amends with her daughter after that morning. She knew she was right to try and talk to her daughter about her behavior, but she felt that the way she had done it was wrong. When Xena drew near, Cyrene walked towards her, but the girl stepped away, avoiding the upcoming hug. Cyrene's heart nearly broke. She remembered how she used to rock her daughter in her arms, even when the girl was much too old for it. Now Xena didn't even let her brush her hair anymore. She recalled in yearning the long hours she had spent brushing and braiding the girl's shiny hair, which now fell loosely around her face and over her back - lifeless, messy, like an unattended mane.

And she always seemed so angry. Cyrene had no idea where all that anger was coming from. She sensed its presence ever since Xena was very small, but back then she had still hoped that given time this anger would somehow subside. But time only seemed to fuel it rather than heal it.

"So what are you going to do today?" Cyrene tried her most cheery tone.

"Nothing," the girl answered with a shrug, snatching some fruit from the counter.

"I see," Cyrene answered disappointedly. She decided to try a different approach. "Do you want anything specific for supper?" she asked.

"Whatever," Xena answered indifferently.

Cyrene was getting very frustrated. The girl was impenetrable. Nothing seemed to get through to her. Suddenly an idea presented itself to the woman. She called her youngest from the kitchen.

"You know what?" she said to the boy. "I could really use some fish for lunch. Why don't you and your sister go to the lake and see what you can catch?"

Lyceus's eyes lit up. It had been so long since he and Xena went fishing together. "Are you sure you can manage without my help here?" he asked his mother.

"Don't worry, son," she said as she was running her fingers through his thick, soft hair. "It would actually help me much more if you go."

As Lyceus looked into his mother's eyes, it was clear to him that fishing was not the real issue. He himself sensed that his sister hadn't been the same for quite some time, and, like his mother, he felt helpless in the face of the changes he detected in her. He smiled at his mother understandingly. She smiled back hopefully. If anybody had any chance of getting through to Xena it was Lyceus.

"You go ahead, Lyceus," Xena said softly. "I have other plans."

Cyrene and Lyceus exchanged looks.

"Are you sure you don't wanna come?" Lyceus asked, sounding quite disappointed. "We haven't done this in ages."

"Another time, Ly," Xena replied, and Cyrene could not help being amazed at how gentle Xena's tone and expression had turned the minute she addressed her younger brother.

"Okay, but remember - you promised."

"I will," the girl answered, and Cyrene realized it was the first time in a long time that she saw a genuine smile embellish her daughter's face.

Xena hurried out of the inn. As much as she loved spending time with her little brother, she had urgent matters to take care of. There were many plans to carry out, and devising them took some time as well. The big fight was set for that afternoon, and she still had a few loose ends to tie.

She hurried up to the rival camp and hid in the bushes. She watched closely as Tydeus and his friends prepared for the big fight. She instantly saw that Peleus was right about many things. Still, she wasn't worried. She had her secret weapon. She came closer to the crowd of boys and began croaking like a toad. After a few seconds she sneaked away, and looking over her shoulder, she made sure she was being followed. She hastened her step and arrived at the riverbank. The boy who followed her tapped her shoulder.

"You're crazy," he said breathlessly. "You almost got us both in big trouble."

Xena shrugged as she looked at him with obvious disrespect in her eyes. "Relax. Don't be such a wimp."

The boy still seemed anxious. "Why did you come? I already gave you all you wanted."

Xena laughed and tilted her head back. "But did you get all you wanted?" she asked teasingly, slowly moving her forefinger across his chest. The face of the large, sturdy boy suddenly became flushed.

"What do you want?" he asked quietly, staring sideways.

"There's one more thing I need you to do," she said, gently breathing in his ear.

The boy shuddered and slowly raised his head. "What is it?" he asked, knowing in his heart that what he was doing was wrong, that the girl was merely using him, but somehow finding it impossible to resist her.

"It's pretty simple, actually," Xena said as she continued moving her fingers back and forth across the boy's chest. "All you need to do is…" she started and then leaned over and kissed him passionately. His hands moved like a blind man's hands, trying to feel their way around. Xena pushed him down to the ground and sat on top of him, arching her back, letting her long hair fall down and tickle his now shirtless body. Then she dived down and whispered in his ear.

"No way."

The boy shot up at once, almost dropping the girl to the ground. But Xena did not stir. She slowly started kissing his neck as she whispered in a voice so sweet, so full of innuendo, "It would really mean a lot to me."

The boy closed his eyes and moaned softly. Xena kept caressing his body, her hands moving lower and lower as she asked, "Does that mean yes?"

"Yes," the boy answered. "Yes, yes."

Xena laughed and got up. "It's settled then. Don't let me down." She quickly walked away and left the dazzled boy behind, holding his head between his rough, heavy hands.

Xena was headed back to the camp. As much as she tried to get it out of her head, she could not stop thinking about what her mother had said. It angered her. What did her mother know anyway? She knew nothing about her. She still thought she was a child. She didn't know about Peleus, or the other guys. She only heard rumors about her involvement with the gang; rumors Xena did not bother to confirm nor deny.

Once in a while, Xena would still feel an unexplainable longing to share her feelings and thoughts with her mother, but she hated these feelings, and did her utmost to get rid of them. They were not the appropriate feelings for a fighter, and that was what she was now.

No. Her mother was dead wrong; she did know what she was doing, and what she wanted. And today she was finally going to get it.

She met Theron outside the camp. "People were already starting to think you weren't going to show up," he remarked. Xena shrugged contemptuously. "But I knew you'd come."

Xena looked into the boy's eyes. When they were small children, they used to play together; the two of them with Lyceus. Cyrene was appalled to hear that he too had joined Peleus's gang. She feared the violent nature of the gangs' activities. She never understood why the children joined them in the first place. She missed the peaceful times of her childhood. She didn't realize that the times had changed. New warlords were emerging all over Greece. They were living in a bloody era; people had to move forward or die. Xena's thirst for life was too vast for her to stand still.

"You know me," Xena said dryly, still examining the boy's face. He liked her, but his loyalty lied with Peleus. Peleus had always been like a big brother to him, especially ever since his real brother died. Xena knew she had to find a way around Theron's loyalty. Young as he was, he was an asset, and Xena wanted him in her gang. But there was nothing she could do now. She needed to be patient. By the end of the day, she'd have everything she wanted, including Theron's support. Xena could almost taste it, and an eerie smile crept to her tightened lips. But what if that stupid Stephanos backed down? She couldn't help worrying. What if his loyalty to his gang and Tydeus was stronger than his passion for her? What if he doublecrossed her? What if her plan ended up backfiring? She had to be prepared for this possibility.

Just when she was about to sneak off and figure out what she would have to do if Stephanos didn't come through, she ran into Peleus.

"You're here," he casually noted, fixing his flaming eyes on hers.

"Of course I am," she replied, pointing an intense look back at him. "Regardless of what you may think, I'm still very much a part of this gang."

"Then prove it! Stop bumming around and start working! We're meeting Tydeus and his gang at sundown, in case you've forgotten."

"I don't need you to remind me that," she grimaced. He could be so offensive sometimes. Xena had sworn not to let anything he said get to her, but once in a while, something went by unscreened by her hardening heart. And to think she was starting to have second thoughts about the whole thing. No. Tonight was Peleus's last night as the leader of the gang. And not a moment too soon.

It was almost sundown when both leaders approached the meeting point. Xena, Theron and Maeon were hiding on the roof of Nikkos's barn, pointed branches in their hands. Other members of the gang were spread around, all in pairs and threesomes. Peleus had made them practice their timing. They must attack in changing intervals, from different angles and with different weapons. Speed and surprise was all they had going for them. Tydeus's people were older, stronger and better equipped, but Peleus, Xena had to admit, was a much better strategist than Tydeus, or anyone else she knew for that matter.

Maeon looked at Xena adoringly. She despised him, but she knew his admiration could be later utilized, so she smiled back.

From her hiding place she could spot Stephanos. His face did not provide her with any clue. Had he done what he had promised? Xena's whole future lied in the hands of that boy, and she hated him for it.

Then the attack started. Maeon immediately jumped, landing on the back of Antheon, a boy almost twice his size. Xena pulled Theron back, out of enemy sight, just as he was about to jump.

"What...?" Theron started.

"Shush!" Xena whispered. "Look!"

They slowly elevated themselves to a position in which they could see what was happening below. Along with Antheon there were four other boys, including Tydeus and Stephanos, but that was it. Xena was relieved. Stephanos had come through. She caught a glimpse of Peleus's face. He was definitely surprised. So was Theron.

All three of them were aware that this was not Tydeus's original plan. He had planned to use most of his men in the initial attack and crush Peleus and his gang. Peleus was counting on his people's stamina, as well as his strong reserves. Peleus knew from his past encounters with Tydeus that if they could just manage to keep their strength during the first crucial minutes, they would stand a good chance of winning.

"What in Tartarus's name is going on here?" Theron whispered. Xena shrugged. "Well, we should join them, you know," he added.

"I know no such thing," Xena snorted. "Tydeus is obviously saving some of his best fighters for later, and so should we, like I said in the first place." Theron looked puzzled. "Come on, Theron, you know I'm right."

Theron did not answer, but he stayed put. The three boys on the roof of the barn just across from them followed their example, but they looked perplexed.

"Send Besantius and the rest of the reserves to hide in the oaks," Xena said commandingly.

"But Pel..."

"Forget what he said. Don't you get it by now? You were fooled. We're going to lose this fight unless you do what I say."

Theron looked at Xena suspiciously. He was young and inexperienced, but not stupid. He had figured out long ago where the animosity between Xena and Peleus was leading to. Xena wanted to be the next leader, and she didn't care what she had to do in order to achieve her goal. Still, Peleus was too busy fighting Tydeus to communicate new tactics, and Xena was right: her plan was the best shot they had.

Theron signaled to the boys on the next roof, who signaled to Besantius and the boys under his charge.

At this point, three more boys from Tydeus's gang joined the fight.

"Xena, I still think we should join in. Peleus, Maeon and the rest can't fight them all by themselves."

"Don't worry. They won't have to for much longer," Xena said. "Follow me."

"What are you planning to do?" Theron was obviously conflicted.

"Stop asking questions and come on already," the girl answered and slid off the roof. Theron followed.

Xena climbed the big oak right behind Nikkos's barn, then called Theron. "Catch," she yelled.

"What is it?" he asked. Then he saw for himself. It was a sack. Inside it were about a dozen slingshots.

"Where did you get these from?" he asked. "I don't remember you mentioning them when you spoke of your plan."

"Sometimes you have to keep a part of your plan a secret. I'll explain everything later. You go give those to Besantius and the others, and tell them to wait for my sign."

"Where will you be?" the boy asked, still unsure.

"You'll see. Now go."

Xena crawled back to the top of Nikkos's barn, where she had the best view of the battleground. One of Peleus's arms was bleeding, but he was still fighting as fiercely as ever. Maeon was nowhere to be found. Xena concluded he must have been seriously injured. Their people were not holding up too well. Xena knew it was now or never. Yelping, she jumped down from the roof, right in the middle of the fight. Stephanos was easy to beat. Her presence was obviously distracting for him. With a swift move he fell to the ground. Next was Callistanes. He was a burly guy, but not as quick or as flexible as Xena. She dodged him three times and in the fourth time she utilized his own momentum to throw him off.

Even without turning around, she knew Peleus was watching her every chance he got, wondering what she was up to. He was getting tired. She could see the guys in the oaks, some on the roofs, all with slingshots in their hands, waiting for her sign. It was time to call them, but she wanted her victory to be complete. She wanted Peleus to be crushed. If she could only hold on for a few more minutes.

Finally, Peleus took a blow that sent him spinning to the ground. Smiling triumphantly, Xena yelled, "Now," and signaled to Selantius and Ephilates to take cover while she dragged Peleus's unconscious body away from the battleground.

A shower of rocks surprised Tydeus's people, who ran frantically in all directions. Soon the battle was over. Xena's plan had worked.

On their way back to the camp, everybody talked excitedly about all that had happened, and especially Xena's brave save of both the battle and Peleus. Peleus himself walked at a distance, by himself, looking humiliated and embarrassed. Xena hardly took her eyes off him. It was the sweetest feeling she'd ever felt; she wanted to savor every bit of it.

When they got back to the camp, Maeon approached Xena and asked her in the name of the entire gang if she wanted to be their new leader. Peleus saved her the trouble of kicking him out of the gang by resigning, not before he accused her of backstabbing him, and warned everybody that they were next. Nobody but Theron listened to him, but Xena knew that she had him. Peleus could not form a new gang quickly enough to make it worth while for Theron to follow him. And besides, he was too flattered by her suggestion to make him her second in command to quit now.

The gang was intoxicated by their victory, and Xena presided over the celebrations, sitting like an empress on an imaginary throne. She had the feeling that Peleus was still lurking around the camp, and she wanted him to note how immensely happy his defeat had made her.

It was already dark when she got home. Just before she entered the lodge, she saw a familiar silhouette.

"Xena," the boy hesitantly approached her.

"What do you want?" the girl asked coldly.

"You fought real well today," the boy said.

"I know," the girl answered.

"You want to maybe go for a walk?" the boy tried.

Xena shook her head contemptibly. "Go home, Stephanos," she commanded.

"But I thought... you said..."

"By the gods, you are pathetic. The mere sight of you makes me sick," Xena blurted and turned around.

The boy helplessly watched her disappear into the house.

"Look at you," Cyrene said as Xena appeared at the door. "Where have you been? You've missed supper."

"I told you I had plans," the girl answered impatiently.

"I saved you some food - and it wasn't easy with your two growing brothers prowling around the kitchen."

The girl couldn't help smiling. "Thanks," she mumbled. "I am hungry." Then she took the dish from her mother's hand and started walking away.

"Xena?" Cyrene said.

"What?" her daughter turned to look at her.

"I'm sorry about this morning," Cyrene finally managed to say.

"Me too," Xena said, surprising both her mother and herself, and immediately added, "It's okay, Mom. You don't need to worry about me. I do know what I'm doing."

"I pray to the gods you do, Xena, because Zeus knows you don't listen to me anymore."

"Is it about the fish?" Xena asked. "I'm sorry, but I was really busy. I'll go tomorrow if you still want me too."

"That would be nice," Cyrene said, as she slid her open hand across her daughter's face. This time the girl did not flinch.

"I love you, Xena," the woman said.

Xena did not answer. She only smiled and turned away.

The next day Xena and Lyceus went down to the lake. For a few hours Xena ceased to be the new leader of the best gang around, and was just a girl again, fishing with her younger brother, like they had done so many times before. They didn't do particularly well that time, but Xena would remember that day forever, because, unknown to her, this would be that last time she and Lyceus would ever go fishing together.

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