General Disclaimer: This is a fan fiction based on the television series Xena: Warrior Princess. All characters, locations, quotes, etc borrowed from the show belong strictly to the original creators and whomsoever holds the ultimate copyrights. There is no intention of copyright infringement or profit wherein this fan fiction is concerned. The remaining ideas, storyline, characters, etc are but a figment of my fevered mind and I will bear full responsibility for them. Other Disclaimers: Violence is inevitable and may even be overly graphic since a certain Warrior Princess is involved hence anyone who may be uncomfortable with such depictions are advised to avoid reading the stories. The underlying theme for these stories is a loving consensual relationship between two adults of the same gender. There may also be scenes describing or hinting at sex between others of the same gender, different gender, different species, different tribes. Violent sex scenes may also make an appearance in these stories. Any person(s) uneasy with any of the sexual content above should leave this site now. In the event that you are under the legal age wherever you may reside or it is illegal in your country to be exposed to any of the contents listed above, please do not proceed to read any of the stories herein. Please note that I will not be responsible for any trauma resulting from a failure to heed any of my warnings above.
Just the other day, I went back home to Potidaea; the first time I’d been back since I ran away to follow Xena. It wasn’t something I had planned; it just happened. One moment, I was fooling around with my brand new pan flute and feeling mighty pleased with myself; in the next, I was running home to mama like a scared little girl who’d just realised how dangerous the world really was. It wasn’t pretty and I’m not proud of it; especially not the way I left Xena there all by herself without so much as a by-your-leave. Some best friend I turned out to be, huh?
Xena used to joke that I have a gift for getting myself in trouble and I am tempted to agree. I’ve actually lost count of the number of times she has had to bail me out of trouble; that day wasn’t any different.
So what had me so spooked about the entire incident? Sure, I froze and could have ended up as so much roadkill if it hadn’t been for Xena’s quick thinking. But I had made it through completely unscathed. There wasn’t any reason for me to be running scared. But I was. And the only thing I could think to do was to head for home. Home was supposed to be safe. Home was family. And home was where I felt I needed to be.
I do not know what kind of reception I was expecting upon my return to Potidaea. Did I really think I would be welcomed back with open arms and my life would pick up where it left off? As if I had never left and the past year had been nothing more than a dream? That I hadn’t walked out on them in the exact same way I had on Xena? Let’s just say the irony wasn’t lost on me. I would like to think I wasn’t that naïve but that was precisely what I was hoping for. In my defence, I was so shaken up that I wasn’t thinking straight. If I had been, I would have realised that going home right then and there was possibly the worst decision I could have made.
Luckily for me, everything turned out alright. Granted, Lila wasn’t as pleased to see me as I’d hoped she would be but she eventually warmed up and it was almost like the good old days when we would lie awake late into the night talking about everything and anything under the sun. I was also fortunate that my parents were away at a market fair the next town over. If they hadn’t been, I’m not sure what I would have said to them. Was I sorry for running away and making them worry all this time? Yes. Would I do it all over again? You can bet your dinars I would! I don’t regret leaving; I just regret that things had turned out the way they did. If I could have gone back in time, I might have approached things a little differently. But there really isn’t any point in dwelling on what could have been, is there?
Returning home did not have the desired effect I was hoping for but it did the trick all the same. Sometimes, we just need to take a step back to better appreciate the situation we are in. Being away from Xena helped me do just that. Listening to Lila’s one-too-many barbed comments about Xena also allowed me to put certain things into perspective.
I idolise Xena. It’s blatantly obvious from the way I talk about her. At least it was obvious enough for Lila to sit up and take notice. It’s no surprise really. Having spent as much time as I have with Xena, it was impossible not to. Xena’s just amazing; even though she’s nowhere near perfect. In fact, it’s precisely her flaws and inadequacies that make me respect and admire her so much more.
I have made no secret of my desire to be like Xena. Travelling with her all these months, learning everything she had been willing to teach me and witnessing my own transformation from a mere dead weight to someone increasingly able to hold my own; I lost sight of an important truth—I wasn’t Xena, not by a long shot. Somehow, along the way, I had started comparing myself to her, trying to measure up to her exacting standards in nearly everything I did. I guess I wanted to prove myself, to make myself more useful to her, if not downright indispensable. Because deep down, I am afraid—afraid that she will realise one day that I am weighing her down and that it would be so much easier to just send me away. That would surely be a fate worse than death.
Meeting Meleager the Mighty, who singlehandedly slew 317 men at the battle of Liguria, and watching him spend nearly all of his waking hours seeking solace at the bottom of an ale barrel proved highly illuminating. The only reason he was almost perpetually drunk was because he had lost his nerve and was desperately trying to make up for it through imbibing a little, or perhaps a whole lot of, liquid courage. If it could happen to a seasoned warrior like Meleager, why couldn’t it happen to me?
I lost my nerve, Xena didn’t. Big surprise there. Xena’s been doing this for way longer than I have. She’s seen it all, done it all, and when push comes to shove, she always comes through. That’s why she’s the hero everybody tells stories about and I am the sidekick nobody remembers. You know what? I’m actually okay with that. Being a sidekick isn’t all that bad. There’s less pressure that way. And I’m still learning. I will get better. I cannot be sure I will not lose my nerve again someday and put both myself and Xena at risk, but as long as I remember Xena’s advice—act, don’t react, I know I’ll get through it just fine.
And, last but not least, being back in Potidaea made me realise something else—Potidaea was no longer my home and hadn’t been for a good while now. Like Lila said, my heart belongs elsewhere and I think it is safe to say that home is wherever the heart is; and that is right here, in this small little clearing, jotting down my thoughts for the day while I watch Xena out of the corner of my eye. Sitting across the campfire from this amazing woman who was once a stranger and now seems to have captured my heart for all eternity, I still can’t believe she actually came looking for me.
Maybe, just maybe, I am her home too.