This scene takes place immediately after Zeno has been rescued from the swamp and before their return to the city.
Hercules looked down at the two totally saturated men in front of him one the feared leader of a band of thugs and thieves, the other his own best friend, Iolaus. A best friend who had no memory of their friendship and who had seriously tried to kill him earlier in the day.
The demigod was certain Iolaus was not going to like what he was about to say or do. However, if he was going to restore his friend's memory he had no choice. With a quick glance to see if Thanatos and his "boys" had regained consciousness, he gave his full attention to his problem in front of him.
The lithe blond warrior had been the first to recover and, after making sure that Zeno was really all right, now stood sword in hand defensively. Iolaus was well positioned between the employer who was his friend and the tall stranger he had tried to rob and kill. The stranger who helped rescue the man who had ordered the theft and attack, knew his name, and claimed to be his best friend. It just did not make sense. Why would any one he had tried to kill help him best friend or not? The stranger's words rang in his ears, "You may not know who you are, but I do!"
Hercules could guess some of what Iolaus was thinking, and noticed that Zeno was paying careful attention to what was happening. "You've got to hand it to the man," he thought "nearly downed and he's still seeking to get the edge".
Iolaus looked exactly as he had on the beach, arms crossed sword ready however this time his vivid blue eyes were questioning. It was as if he was expecting something but he was not sure what.
"Iolaus, we have to talk. I want to find out what has happened to you why you don't remember me." Hercules' expression looked almost as if he were pleading with the blond warrior in front of him.
"So talk." Iolaus answered, not moving from his defensive position in front of Zeno and his eyes never leaving the tall stranger's face.
Before Hercules could begin, Zeno looked up. "Who is this guy, Iolaus?"
"He's the one you called Hercules. The big guy that was guarding the money which I didn't get by the way."
Zeno was sitting upright now and he looked curiously across at the tall man opposite. "Hercules huh? You say you know Iolaus here. How exactly?"
Without taking his eyes off the face of the blond warrior in front of him, Hercules answered. "He's my best friend. Always has been always will be."
"Look pal, if you were my best friend I'd remember you right? Well I don't. I have never seen or even heard of you before this morning. So what's your angle? What do you want?" The anger and frustration Iolaus felt could be heard in his voice.
Startled Zeno looked up at Iolaus. "You've never heard of Hercules before today?"
"Not till you said his name this morning. Why, Zeno? Is he supposed to be world famous or something?"
The crime-lord had always realised that Iolaus was not an "ordinary" man but that he really didn't know who Hercules was set him thinking. He definitely needed more information here.
Hercules felt it was time he took back some control of the situation. "Iolaus what do you remember? What do you think you have been doing these past years?"
Not yet prepared to admit publicly that most of his life was a huge blank in his memory, Iolaus frowned. "What do you mean 'What have I been doing'? I've been around," he responded tersely.
"I mean how have you earned your living? Where did you live? Who are your friends?" Hercules asked patiently. He could see that Iolaus was on edge and did not want to make him do something rash. "Because if you don't know, I do. You're my friend and partner we grew up together."
That he couldn't remember a large section of his life had actually worried Iolaus deep down. He had hidden it reasonably well but having this stranger rub it in his face annoyed him. "So what if I don't remember everything that has happened in my past? I like my life the way it is now and you're not going to change it. When Zeno's up to it, I'm taking him out of here and don't think you are going to stop me."
Hercules sighed. He had been afraid of this Iolaus was always loyal to his friends and, at the moment, the tousle-haired warrior considered Zeno one of those. "I can't let you do that Iolaus. Zeno has to be tried for his crimes the attack on the wagon and what he has been doing in the town. I'm going to be taking Zeno, Thanatos and his men back with me for trial."
"Well, I guess you'll have to take me in too then and I'm not going to let you do that." Iolaus tensed and prepared to fight. "I got you last time, I can do it again here and now."
"I'm NOT going to fight you Iolaus! I told you that before, but Zeno is going back with me. You could not bring yourself to kill me last time what makes you think you will be able to this time?"
Before the blond warrior could answer, Zeno shouted, "Hercules Look out behind you."
The son of Zeus swung around to catch the hand that was swinging downwards, holding the lethal knife. Unintentionally taking out his frustration at the standoff with Iolaus, Hercules threw a punch that sent the hapless Thanatos flying through the air to land again unconscious on the grass behind him.
Zeno replied to the question in the tall demi-gods face before he asked. "I owed you one and I always pay my debts."
"Thanks, but I think you have a debt to the town you have to pay." Hercules smiled, knowing that Zeno had his own code of honour and maybe he could force him to use it to help Iolaus now. "You also owe Iolaus. He risked his life to fight Thanatos to save you he didn't have to do that. Nor did he have to risk it again when jumped in the swamp after you. He could have taken over your operation with you safely out of the way but he didn't."
Iolaus was listening intently to what Hercules was saying and interrupted. "Zeno doesn't owe me anything. He's a friend. I didn't do it to get anything out of it. I couldn't let that jerk Thanatos kill him. Don't listen to him Zeno, he's just trying to trick you."
Hercules' face showed his exasperation. Iolaus was acting true to his nature, if he would only realise it. How could he get his friend to remember who he was?
"What do you remember Iolaus?" Zeno asked. He was fairly sure now he knew his new lieutenant was but he wanted the rest of his curiosity satisfied.
Surprised that it was Zeno who asked, Iolaus shrugged. "The last thing I remember before I arrived in town last week is my friends and I organising to knock over a jewellery stand. It was in Thebes years ago I was about 15 I think. Then a big blank until a few days ago. So?"
Zeno looked at Hercules and nodded. The tall handsome demi-god, who had been lost in thought remembering what happened after that, shook himself back to the present. "That was just before we really met Iolaus. No wonder you don't know who I am. What is the first thing you remember after that?" he asked, hoping for a clue to what had happened to his friend. The demi-god however had the sinking feeling he knew what had happened. Why couldn't she have left it alone?
Glancing at Zeno, who also indicated he should continue, Iolaus spoke obviously trying to recall, "Well I was sitting by a fire just outside of town. There wasn't much else. No one around, just me and the firelight."
"No headache like you'd been hit? No sign of a fight?" Hercules asked.
"No. Nothing like that. Like I said just me and the fire."
"Do you remember anything really odd happening?"
"Odd?" Iolaus asked with the two dents of his frown appearing in his forehead just above his nose.
"Yeah like a woman being there?"
"Now you come to mention it, there was something a little odd." The blond warrior smiled slightly. "I thought I saw a woman for a split second but she vanished. I was sure I imagined it, but I don't think I normally see things that aren't there."
"No, you don't, Iolaus. What did she look like?" Hercules asked, both hoping and fearing the answer.
"She wasn't young and had funny plats in her hair. But what's that got to do with anything? What has something I imagined got anything to do with me having a large blank hole in my memory?"
Immediately after muttering "Fortune!" under his breath, Hercules replied smiling, "Everything Iolaus. Everything. I now know how to get your life back if you want it."
Looking from the tall demi-god in front of him then back at Zeno, Iolaus shrugged his shoulders. "I won't let you take Zeno back for trial, nor me. So thanks but no thanks Hercules. I don't need what ever it is I have forgotten. I'll be fine with out it."
Stunned, Hercules could only stare at the blond warrior who was his best friend. He did not really know what to say now. "Don't be ridiculous Iolaus. You've got to get your memory back. You need to know who you are. I need you to know who you are!"
Both Zeno and Hercules could see that the blond warrior was getting ready to fight his way out. "Get ready to run Zeno. I'll join you when I've dealt with Hercules here."
"No Iolaus, I'm not going to run. Hercules is right. I must pay for what I have done in my life sometime, and now seems as good a time as any."
Both warriors looked blankly at the man seated calmly on the ground. "You kidding me, right Zeno? You're not really serious are you?" Iolaus asked as he knelt down to look Zeno directly in the face.
"I'm deadly serious Iolaus. I am going to go back with Hercules and you should too. Get your memory back, and then decide what you want to do. A man does need all his memories if he is to live his life to its fullest. And that is really the only way to live."
The blond warrior could not believe his ears. "I don't understand why? You'll go to prison! You know you don't have to do this! Why are you going back with him?" He questioned throwing a look across his shoulder at the man who claimed to be his best friend.
Zeno began to stand. "You will understand soon, Iolaus. I know you will. Don't worry about me. Go tie up those idiots over there so they won't make trouble when we are on the way back."
Shaking his head, Iolaus went to do as Zeno had asked. Hercules followed his friend with his eyes before turning back to Zeno.
"Don't worry Hercules I won't try to escape from you. You can tie me up too if you want to. I'll even stop Iolaus from objecting," the former criminal leader smiled.
The son of Zeus returned the smile and shook his head. "No Zeno that won't be necessary. I trust you." Looking back at his amnesiac friend tying up the unconscious men, Hercules asked, "Why are you doing this?"
Zeno smiled. "Like you said Hercules, I do owe Iolaus and I always pay my debts." With this, both men moved forward to rouse their prisoners for the return journey to town.
On the way back to the city both Hercules and Zeno could hear the lithe blond warrior, who was their friend, muttering under his breath "People! I don't understand these people!"
And the rest, as they say is now history (or in this case H:tLJ)!
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