Summary: The Conqueror leaves Greece to visit Cleopatra and meets a slave/gladiator named Gabrielle but all is not what it seems.
Disclaimer: See Part 1
Authors Note: We are now more than halfway through, I think! If you think you've been surprised with how things have gone so far, you're in for a real shock ;) I'm grateful for all the comments I've been getting over this story, and I'm so into writing it that I'm so behind on all my other pieces. It's kinda worth it though c: If you want to email me, my address is jacklavigne13@hotmail .com
"Alexandria, are you listening to me?"
I was getting frustrated with the red headed woman as she stared off into the distance. We had been talking for most of the afternoon, trying to come up with a plan but Alexandria kept losing her focus. She obviously had something on her mind and I wanted to know what it was but I decided not to push her. She'd tell me when she was ready.
"How has Gabrielle been recently?" Alexandria asked me suddenly, her eyes focusing on mine with such intensity that I was instantly concerned.
"Just wondering," my second mumbled as she turned her head to look out the window once more. Her fingertips were tracing patterns on the table; something she usually did when she planned battle strategies. I was worried but I didn't voice my concern.
"Okay," I drawled. "Now, tell me how the men are. Do you think we'd have enough to take on both Egypt and Rome?"
"Xena," Alexandria sighed, running her fingers through her already messy hair. "Are you sure you want to do this?"
I frowned at the unexpected question, my eyes searching Alexandria's for the answer. It was so unlike her to question me, especially over a matter that she had seemed completely sure of only a few days ago.
"Of course I'm sure, Alex," I replied, raising my eyebrow as I waited for her to continue.
"How sure are you?" Alexandria asked, her face expressionless. "I mean, do you really even know Gabrielle? This has all happened so quickly. We're talking about war here."
I found myself suddenly defensive of mine and the slave's relationship. I didn't understand why Alexandria's voice had taken such a cold tone when she spoke the slave's name. Was she finally starting to get jealous?
"I know we've only been lovers for just over a week, but I've known her much longer and I care about her, Alexandria."
"She's a slave," Alexandria spat. "She takes her orders from the Queen of Egypt, a woman that we plan to double cross in the future. No good will come from this."
"So?" I replied angrily, gripping the edge of the table. "You're the fucking one that's always telling me to abolish slavery in Greece, Alex. What does it matter if she's a slave? And she's leaving with us, so tell me who she's truly loyal to."
"She's not good for you, Xena," Alexandria sighed, her shoulders slumping as she ran her fingers through her hair once more. "You're... you're changing. She's changing you."
I bristled at her words, my muscles tensing as my eyes burned with anger. The tone of her voice made it sound like I wasn't changing for the better and it hurt to hear that from the woman I had grown up with.
"You're the one that said you liked how I was changing," I whispered fiercly, my anger turning to confusion when Alexandria looked up at me with tear filled eyes. She shook her head slowly before sighing and slumping forward in her chair, obviously defeated.
"There should be enough men to take on Egypt and Rome, but there will be many casualties..."
My conversation with Alexandria had left me feeling angry and I soon left her to return back to my room. I didn't understand why she had suddenly attacked my relationship with the slave. I wanted some time alone to think about what she said and the meaning behind it, but it wasn't meant to be. I opened the door to my room and I was surprised to find Gabrielle there waiting for me, having expected her to be serving Cleopatra her dinner.
"What are you doing here?" I cringed immediately at my tone and the hurt expression on her face. "Aren't you supposed to be with Cleo?"
"She's having a private dinner with some noblemen," Gabrielle replied with a frown as she looked up at me, her eyes filled with concern. "Are you okay, Xena?"
"I'm fine," I said, but even as I spoke I felt my temper grow even more. I didn't know what Alexandria's problem was. I thought that maybe she was just jealous but she hadn't been jealous before so why would she be jealous over Gabrielle now. None of it was making any sense.
"Have you spoken to Alexandria lately?" I asked the slave suddenly. I watched with curiousity as the slave went a pale, her green eyes averted from mine. "Have you?" I repeated.
"N-" I cut the slave off before she could lie.
"Gabrielle," I drew out her name slowly, catching her chin gently in my hand and forcing her to look up at me. "Have you spoken to Alexandria about anything? Because her thoughts of you have seemed to change drastically in the past day."
"Xena, I swear to you that I haven't spoken to Alexandria about anything," Gabrielle replied as she looked into my eyes. "The only time I ever see her is when she's with you. She's always by your side, unless you're in here with me."
I considered the slave's words and I knew they were the truth. If I wasn't with Gabrielle most of the time, then I was with Alexandria. The only times I was ever alone was when I went for a ride, which was when Alexandria wrote her letters to Palaemon in Greece and Gabrielle served Cleopatra her meals. But still, something didn't feel right.
"It just doesn't make sense," I muttered to myself, absent mindedly stroking the slave's jaw with my thumb. It was like trying to fit pieces together in a puzzle without knowing what the picture was.
"Have you ever thought that maybe she's jealous?" Gabrielle said, crossing her arms over her chest. "That maybe she's getting scared that she's losing you to me?"
"No, Alexandria isn't like that, unless she has a good reason," I replied, shaking my head. "She usually has pretty good instincts about people."
I was speaking without thinking about my words, and I missed the look of pain that flashed across Gabrielle's face as I started to pace in front of her.
"What are you saying, Xena?" Gabrielle asked me with a frown. "Are you saying that you think I've done something to make Alexandria think badly of me?"
"No, of course not," I growled, confused as to why Gabrielle was taking everything so personally. If I wasn't so emotionally crippled, I would have seen that it was indeed personal to the slave.
"Then what are you saying? Because it seems like Alexandria is jealous and is trying to get you to doubt my love for you, trying to make you doubt me. And it sounds like you're listening to her; it sounds like you're taking her word over mine."
"Gabrielle, I haven't said anything like that," I said frustrately, running my fingers through my hair. She doesn't know Alexandria like I do and she didn't understand how serious the situation was. Or maybe she just didn't care what Alexandria thought, like I do. "I'm just trying to figure out what's going on, can't you understand that? Alexandria can be jealous, I admit, but she made it seem like something else was wrong."
"Well," Gabrielle said coldly as she stood up from the bed. "Maybe you should go and talk to Alexandria about it. I'm sure she'd love to discuss exactly what she thinks of me with you."
I watched in disbelief as the slave pushed past me, slamming the door behind her as she left. What is wrong with all the women in my life, I thought to myself in confusion as I sat down on the bed.
It must be the sun scrambling their brains, I finally concluded with a sigh. Gods, I fucking hate Egypt.
To Be Continued
Return to the Academy