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The Lady of Shanghai

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AN: I do not own any of these characters from Xena Warrior Princess.

Just a side note: I have changed quite a lot of things from the show as what FF allows us writers to do when we want to be creative. I'm not going to reveal a lot in the prologue, but it will be enough to see how things are different.

I have never written a Xena story before, but I am positive it will be an epic adventure. So once upon a time...

Prologue Part I

Fifteen Summers Ago

Xena gazed upon the army before her. She had been commanding this army ever since she had met Borias and that was quite some time ago. The men seemed to follow her every command and desire and she swam in that glory whenever she had the opportunity. Borias on the other hand was not too keen on listening to Xena's orders and demands she made of him sometimes. They had been together for roughly three years now and during the first year they couldn't keep their hands off each other and Xena even claimed she had feelings for him as he did as well. Now, things were different, very different. Xena had her eye on the world, she didn't want just Greece, she wanted Asia Minor, Chin, Japa, Egypt, and even Rome. She had her eye on the prize and this caused a slow drift between her and Borias as far as feelings were concerned.

Borias had grown tired of Xena for the last half of the year as she became more engulfed with raping and pillaging every village they stopped at. He wasn't sure if she had a goal anymore or if she was just killing for sport these days. Although he did not doubt her willpower and military skills, she had many skills of course, but he was beginning to wonder if Xena was losing her mind.

He stepped out of his tent, which sometimes he shared with Xena whenever she felt like joining him. Looking up on the hill he saw she was wearing her traditional leather battle armor with a long skirt covering her leather pants and knee high laced boots. Her waist-length hair was flowing freely in the light Mediterranean breeze as she was yelling at her men to move supplies from one ship to the other. Xena had become quite the navy commander, but she was not fond of ships or being out at sea for that matter. She preferred to stay on dry land where she could observe her men and her enemies up close.

Slowly he approached her stretching his arms over his head. He wrapped his arm around her neck and across her shoulders.

"I didn't hear you get up this morning," he said becoming rather entranced by her appearance, more than usual and kissed her neck.

She brushed him off gently with a shrug of her shoulder, "not now Borias, can't you see I am very busy?" she didn't make eye contact with him and continued to look at her men transporting supplies with her arms folded.

Borias threw his hands in the air at her attitude. "You are always busy, Xena!" he groaned putting his hands on his hips.

Xena smirked, "yeah well, looks like you'll never know what that feels like since I stole your army," she smiled devilishly peering back at her lover.

He scoffed and brushed her insult off then walked away from the hill top retreating back to his tent to change his clothes and get into battle armor. Xena was to send him on a mission today and he needed to make sure that he was ready before she bit his head off. Last week he was late to command a few men on a scouting mission and it ruined her entire plan for the rest of the day. She was not a happy woman, he didn't like to think about Xena when she was angry, which wasn't rare.

Half a candlemark later Borias was finishing lacing his vest and attaching his sword to his hip. He suddenly heard someone come into his tent and his muscles tensed. Once he saw who entered he relaxed his body and tried not to smile at her appearance.

Xena leaned against the wooden posts at the entrance of Borias' tent with a playful smile. She held a dagger in one hand and an apple in the other hand. Slowly she walked up to Borias casually twirling the dagger in her hand. She came around to the front of him and peeled off a piece of the apple and pierced the fruit with her dagger offering it to Borias.

He wasn't sure what kind of game she was playing but he could see it in her bright blue eyes that she was up to something. Her pearly white smile said it all and she continued to tease him with the piece of fruit on the tip of the dagger.

"...apples don't bite, you know?" Xena said through her conniving smile trying to convince him to eat the fruit.

"Is it poisoned?" Borias teased his raven haired lover before him.

Xena's eyebrows raised high disappearing in her thick black bangs.

"Tsk, tsk, should know better," she bit the piece of apple off the dagger and smiled as she finished chewing, "poison is not my's..." she traced the dagger across his chest grazing his skin softly, "...weak," she circled around Borias with dagger still in hand.

He felt the skin on the back of his rise as she was so close to him. Someone so gorgeous should not be so deadly at the same time. Suddenly he snapped back into reality and realized that he had a mission to do and he wasn't going to let her distract him, for all he knew it could be some weird trap of hers.

"I'm going to send Cyrus and Kezan to scout the area before we go to the nearby village," he stated and saw Xena's expression changed almost immediately. He heard a loud thump and saw she was laying down on his bed of animal skins quite comfortably.

"You have to leave...right now?" she asked leaning on her elbows staring up at him with a nonchalant look on her pouting face.

Borias raised an eyebrow smirking ever so slightly at her pouting face, "you told me to do this yesterday, or do you not remember after all that wine you had?" he laced his sword to his hip and grabbed his bow.

Xena frowned, "I did ask you to do that, didn't I?" she sighed sliding off her elbows and lying flat on the bed gazing at the roof of the tent intently. She rose slightly and saw Borias was still getting ready to leave oblivious to her hint for him to stay with her despite her previous orders.

"You don't have to leave," she said tenderly with a smile creeping on her lips.

He turned to look at Xena as she was obviously in a playful mood. Her wild hair matched her wild eyes and devious grin as she continued to stare at him.

Borias shook his head, ", don't do this," he groaned and started to walk out of the tent ignoring her. Xena frowned and got up and blocked the entrance to the tent. "What do you think you're doing?" his voice elevating in irritation.

"I want you to stay with me, just the two of us. Cyrus and Kezan will be fine on their own," she smiled and shrugged, "besides I can just send someone else in your place."

He folded his arms very aware that she wasn't going to let him pass, "you're allowed to come into my tent but I am not allowed to enter yours?" he smirked noting how arrogant it made Xena seem. He set his bow down on the table close to the bed and started taking off his sword and laces around his leather vest.

Xena waltzed over to the bed casually and sat down. She watched him as he began taking off his thick leather vest and he was definitely taking his time. Growing impatient she stood and ripped off his vest leaving Borias astonished and exposing a bare chest.

"Xena, what in Gods' name..." he turned and saw the entire reason why she wanted him to stay.

Xena slipped off her leathers and was now in a black cropped tunic that she wore underneath her armor. Sitting on the bed she pulled him closer to her and she started untying his leather pants with a devious smile planted on her lips.

"Stay with me," she said sensually and kissed his abdomen gently. He looked down at her and realized he wouldn't be able to resist her any longer. It had been awhile since she genuinely wanted to lay with him, unless she was up to something.

Perhaps it would be better to not think if there was something ticking in that mind of hers just this once. Just this once.

The following morning Xena woke up with Borias lying beside her with his arm draped over her back. Careful not to wake him she slipped out from beneath his arm wrapping herself in a silk sheet. Fall was almost over and the weather was starting to become more frigid with every passing day. She always tried to wake up before anybody else in their campsite because she wanted to survey the area alone plus she enjoyed having the mornings to herself, away from all the questions and nagging from her men. Her servant would probably be waking up in the next couple of hours in her tent across the field wondering where her commander had gone to.

Xena knelt down crushing some herbs with her hands, breaking apart the flower stems and setting them in a pot that was held over a small fire inside Borias' tent. She heard rustling from behind and knew that she had awoken him now that she was not beside him allowing her side of the bed to become cold.

Borias looked at Xena who was kneeling next to the fire making some sort of drink over the fire in a pot. He stretched his arms over his head and smiled.

"What are you doing, Xena?" he asked in a sleepy voice.

Xena continued making her concoction, "what does it look like I'm doing?" she replied snidely.

Borias sighed and stifled a laugh causing Xena to turn her head and glare at him. "You always look like you're about to attack someone Xena. You don't need to act like that around me," he added.

She turned around and poured the drink into a cup and scooted over towards the bed and sat on the floor covering herself up with the sheet. She held the warm cup in her hands allowing the heat to warm her body from the cold breeze that crept into the tent.

Borias came close to her, laying down on his stomach he was now very close to her face. He brushed the backside of his hand on her cheek. She pulled away from his touch but that didn't seem to deter him. He was able to get a waft of the drink Xena had in her cup and it was rather potent.

"What is that?" he wrinkled his nose at the unpleasant strong aroma.

"have you never heard of tea before, Borias?" Xena snidely remarked and took a sip of the awful tea.

Judging by her expression he saw she didn't care for it and so he laughed, "you don't even like the taste of it, why are you drinking it? Do you wish to kill your insides?" he joked.

Xena rolled her eyes, "I should've stayed in my own tent," she grumbled as she got up from the floor and grabbed her clothes heading for the exit.

Borias was about to abject to her leaving but she took off too quickly. He groaned and started putting his clothes back on and hurried out of the tent. He was sure not that nobody else was awake at this hour as the sun was barely rising.

"Xena!" he yelled and she kept walking over the hill still wrapped in the silk sheet carrying her clothes. He huffed and ran up the hill trying to catch her before she got back to her tent. The air was crisp and very cold especially without the sun.

Finally catching up to her he grabbed her arm, "what's the matter with you? Can't you see it's cold outside and you're not wearing...anything," he scanned her body.

She jerked her arm away from his hold and continued walking back to her tent. He continued to follow her and she knew he would but deciding to ignore him she only hurried even more to get back to her tent.

A few marches later she arrived to her private tent and saw her servant girl was making some tea and had Xena's clothes laid out on her bed for today. Xena threw the sheet to the side and began dressing herself in the clean clothes on her bed. Her servant handed her a cup of the tea once she was semi-dressed. Xena took the cup and slowly sipped it trying not to burn her tongue in the process.

Borias burst through the entrance of her tent and was trying to catch his breath. "Get out," he gestured to the servant girl attending Xena.

The girl was making her way for the exit until Xena grabbed the girl's arm, "you don't get to make commands in my tent, Borias. Whatever you have to say you can say it in front of her too," she smiled still drinking the tea while the girl continued to dress her accordingly.

He didn't want to argue with her so he complied, "what the hell is wrong with you?" he asked folding his arms. He scoffed at her drinking that tea again, "and why are you drinking that horrible concoction? It smells like sheep dung."

The servant girl looked up to Xena with a worrisome face and Xena noticed the girl's apprehension.

"Leave us," she commanded the girl.

Borias watched the young girl leave and he turned back to look at Xena and smiled. "So now you let her leave?" he shook his head scoffing at the audacity of this woman who he claimed to love.

Xena set the tea down on a table and laced her arm braces embracing Borias' glare. She decided that she wouldn't be able to keep this a secret for long as she had already kept it long enough.

"I'm pregnant," she mumbled, continuing to lace her leathers.

This wasn't the exact reaction she was expecting but she heard Borias start to laugh softly and it gradually turned into a very audible laugh. She turned to him, narrowed eyes and all.

"that is not funny, Xena," he slowly started to stop his laughing attack.

"I'm not one for jokes, Borias," she stated bluntly.

His smile soon disappeared as he saw she was being very serious. He didn't know what to say and for once he was actually speechless in his life. All that was able to come out of his mouth was, "what?"

"I didn't want to tell you because you would look at me differently, just like you are right now!" She spat and put her on her boots quickly so she could leave her tent to begin her day.

"When...when did you know?" his voice becoming concerned and softer than usual.

This was a really bad idea, Xena said to herself. Very bad idea. Should've never slept with him in the first place.

Xena finished putting on her boots and head for the exit. She was held back by a slight pull of her arm.

"Xena!" he pulled her back towards him. "We aren't finished here!"

"I'd say we are," she looked into his dark eyes and spun around and stormed out of the tent.

He called out her name once more but she didn't stop as she marched up and over the hill. He cursed to himself. She wasn't much for small talk, but this wasn't exactly small talk and he obviously didn't know how to handle this on his own and she probably didn't either. He would get to talk to her...somehow...during the day when no one is around.

The middle of the day came and the weather was quite nice. Borias had gone scouting with a group of men and decided to come back early to find Xena but he couldn't seem to find her anywhere. He asked her two leading generals but they didn't know where she had gone to either. Groaning inwardly his patience was starting to wear very thin now.

He walked to the nearby lake and heard someone behind a few large trees close to the water. His hand went for his dagger on his hip and he crept around a tree slowly prepared to use his weapon not sure who would be out here. Xena's army wouldn't come this far to go scouting and if they were foreigners it would be highly unlikely.

Taking a closer look he saw Xena kneeling down cupping water in her palms and drinking it rapidly. He heard her breathing heavily and she washed her face three or four times. Slowly he sheathed his dagger and witnessed Xena wince as she got up from the ground. He had never seen her show any sign of weakness but it was pretty apparent that she was not feeling well and did not want to show any of her flaws in front of her men. Revealing himself from behind the tree he folded his arms and smiled as she had not yet noticed him.

Xena wiped her forehead with the back of her hand and breathed out slowly. She walked on and nearly bumped into Borias. She looked up and saw his wide grin and she frowned, crinkling her nose.

"What are you doing here?" she demanded.

"I could ask you the same thing," he smile got even wider and Xena brushed passed him hitting his shoulder. He groaned as she had already left a bruise there a few days ago during their spar together.

"Xena, wait," he ran and stopped her in her tracks blocking her way out of the forest.

Xena tried to side step him but it was useless and he grabbed her shoulders with his strong hands. "Let go of me, Borias!"

"We need to talk about..." he didn't think he could even say the word.

She scoffed and forcefully pushed his hands away from her shoulders. "There is nothing to talk about. I need to get back to my men."

"Your men can wait!" he demanded and she stopped suddenly.

Xena clenched her fists becoming enraged that he would even talk to her this way. "if you talk like to that to me again, I swear I will do a lot more damage than a few broken bones, Borias." Her eyes scanned up and down his body especially to one particular part of his anatomy. She started to leave again.

"So you will risk our baby's life for the sake of winning a battle?" he called out.

Xena didn't want anybody else to hear them so she turned around once again and faced him, whispering angrily, "our baby? Please tell me you're not going to start acting like a father now," she questioned with dripping sarcasm and disbelief. "This isn't our baby, it's a baby, and we are not a family nor are we going to become one, do you understand that?"

He didn't respond and so she nodded and stormed off back to her men.

A month later Borias and Xena had not spoken to one another since their last encounter. Borias watched her from afar as she continued to command her army casually, although he could tell from her expressions and mannerisms that she was uncomfortable from time to time especially during the middle of the day. He couldn't tell if she even acknowledged that he had shown some kind of affection from afar but then again if she did, she probably didn't care.

Xena came back into her tent to sit down for awhile and she drank some water that her servant handed to her immediately upon entering. After chugging the water she handed the empty cup back to the young girl and sat down on her bed closing her eyes for a few moments.

Every day it seemed to get worse, she thought to herself. Why would anybody want to have children if they are willing to go through with this every morning? Xena had heard stories of the women becoming sick in the morning when they were pregnant but nobody told her that it could last all day every day too. This was absolutely a nightmare. She cursed herself for allowing this to happen to her. She wasn't even able to fit into her leather outfits anymore so she changed into a more comfortable attire, hoping that her men wouldn't notice her sudden wardrobe change. Winter was just around the corner and she had donned a light animal pelt and knee high boots with a brown skirt and matching tunic. She did not want to appear soft in front of her men.

Feeling her body beginning to let go she closed her eyes too long and slowly fell asleep on her bed still fully dressed in her warrior clothing.

Borias saw Xena enter her tent some time ago and never saw her come out so he decided to see for himself what the problem was. He quietly stepped into her tent and saw the servant girl jump to her feet. He smiled holding his finger to his lips to make sure the girl wouldn't utter a word.

The girl blushed and looked back to the warrior queen snoozing on the bed in a fetal position. He gestured for the girl to leave the tent and she obeyed not sure what good was going to come out of this. Borias quietly made his way to the bed and saw Xena's hair sprawled all over the pillows and her mouth slightly ajar as she was breathing heavier than usual. She must have been asleep for over an hour, he thought.

He sat next to the bed on a comfortable chair staring at her as she slept. This was probably the only time he would see her at peace. Her arm was draped over her hip and the other beneath her cheek. A piece of her long hair was resting on her cheek and he slowly brushed it away from her face causing her to stir in her sleep. He smiled watching her sleep. Even though they hadn't spoken in over a month he realized that this was the best moment he'd ever get with her.

A few hours later Xena had woken up and she rubbed her eyes and stared at someone who was sitting next to her bed. Immediately entering defense mode she quickly sat up from her comfortable position and then she realized who it was and she felt her blood boiling.

"You?! Who gave you permission to enter my tent, Borias? Certainly not one of my men!" she yelled.

Borias smiled, "you might want to get a new slave girl."

Xena growled, "I'll have her hide when I see her again," she got up and drank some more water. "How long have I been asleep?" she asked quietly.

"A few hours. Not to worry, Telius is in charge right now."

"A few hours!" Xena threw the wooden cup at a mirror and tried to compose herself to face her men again.

"Hey, hey, why don't you just let them handle it, they're capable. You trained them after all," he suggested and received a slap to the face. He grabbed her chin forcefully.

Xena's eyes were wild and she grabbed his arm trying to pry his hand away from her chin.

"You don't care about anyone but yourself, Xena. One day you will not be so lucky and our child will suffer for it because of your selfish behavior." He barked not caring who heard him outside her tent.

Xena spat in his face, "I don't need you or anybody else in my life!"

Borias let go of her chin and she rubbed her face with her hands. She stared at him for a long time and started to leave.

"You plan to give birth in a war zone, Xena? You can't take Corinth and raise a child."

Xena left the tent and called out behind her, "just watch me make history, Borias," she head for the hilltop.

And that is exactly what she did.

To be continued in Part II.