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: If you want to email me, my address is jacklavigne13@hotmail .com
Once again, I was back up on the fourth floor of Cleopatra's palace, staring up at the stars. After Gabrielle left last night, she continued to avoid me for the rest of the night and the day after. Everytime I had seen her today, she had instantly turned to walk in another direction. I understood now how she must have felt all those weeks ago when I avoided her. It was killing me.
I had spent a long time thinking over our fight and had come down to the conclusion that I had hurt Gabrielle's feelings. I've never been good with emotions unless I'm munipulating them, which is why I hadn't understood how she was feeling before now. She thought that I was taking Alexandria's word over hers, which wasn't the truth at all. I was just trying to be cautious and I trusted Alexandria. But in doing that, I had made it seem like I trusted Alexandria more than I trusted Gabrielle and I had hurt her. And from there, everything else that was said just added to the fire.
To be honest, I couldn't blame Gabrielle for being upset. She hadn't done anything wrong and I actually hadn't been sure if she'd done anything in the first place. Alexandria had never really given me an explaination for her sudden turn against the slave. I had just taken her words and twisted them into my own mind because I was insecure.
Maybe Gabrielle was right. Maybe Alexandria was just jealous.
And I couldn't blame my second in command either. She'd been pushed aside for a woman that I'd only just met. She had every right to be a little bit jealous, considering that I loved the slave.
Oh Gods. I love her.
The thought sent a shock through my body. I had never voiced the words in my mind and especially not out loud, even though Gabrielle had told me that she loved me. And then another thought hit me.
Gabrielle was a slave and probably just as insecure, if not more than I am. She had poured out her heart to me and I hadn't given her anything back. How could she know how much I care for her if I haven't told her? How could she know that I would give my life for her if I hadn't given her a reason to believe so? Determined to tell the slave how I felt as quickly as possible, I hurried from the room.
And ran straight into Alexandria.
"Xena," Alexandria said as she gripped my arm, pulling me away from my search. "We need to talk, now."
"Can't it wait?" I growled, attempting to release myself from Alexandria's grasp. "I need to talk to Gabrielle. It's important."
"Stop thinking about the slave for two second and listen to me!"
I stopped suddenly, surprised by the tone of Alexandria voice. It was very rare for her to lose her temper at me. I looked into her eyes and was confused by what I saw. Alexandria looked upset and almost... afraid.
"What is it?" I asked, all business now I realised the seriousness of the situation. If something concerned Alexandria enough to scare her, then it was definetely important.
"I saw something a few days ago," Alexandria started slowly, her eyes boring into mine. "And I need you not to react drastically. I need you to just try and be calm. I need to be speaking to Xena and not the Conqueror, okay?"
"Okay," I drawled, waiting for an explaination.
"I went to send a letter to Palaemon a few days ago and when I found a messenger boy, Gabrielle was already with him."
"What is your point?" I asked in frustration.
"She had a letter addressed to Marc Antony," Alexandria said finally.
I took this information in, thinking of all the reasons as to why Gabrielle would be sending a letter to her old owner. They hadn't been close though I knew that Cleo was still in contact with Antony. I knew of Cleopatra's relationship with the Roman and I wondered what the message was for Alexandria to be so concerned.
"Did y-" I started only to be cut off before I could voice my question.
"Of course I did," Alexandria replied, slightly offended. "It said, 'the beast has been tamed.'"
I felt my anger rise as I listened to Alexandria's words, knowing the message had been about me. What did Cleopatra mean by saying that I was tamed? Did she know of my relationship with Gabrielle? If so, then I needed to leave Egypt with the slave as soon as possible.
"Why did you wait so long to tell me this?" I asked suddenly, surprising my second.
"I had to figure some things out before I told you," Alexandria replied with a guilty look on her beautiful face. Her eyes were averted from mine and I instantly knew that there was more to this situation than she was letting on.
"Like what?" I practically growled the words, my eyes narrowing angrily.
"Xena," Alexandria's voice was cautious now as she backed up a few steps. "The letter..."
"What about it?"
"It was written in Gabrielle's handwriting."
I felt like I'd been hit in the stomach with a brick as the air left my chest. Why would Gabrielle be sending a letter to Marc Antony? A letter about me. She would never betray me, I was sure of it.
"No," I whispered, shaking my head as I squeezed my eyes shut. It was too much for me to handle and my brain couldn't process this new information. Cleopatra must have had the slave write the message, which wouldn't be out of the ordinary. Slaves did all sorts of things for their masters, especially trusted slaves.
"Xena," Alexandria said softly, reaching out to rest her hand on my shoulder in a comforting gesture.
"No!" I yelled, pushing her hands away as I glared at her angrily. "Don't you touch me. You're lying. Gabrielle wouldn't try and betray me, I know her. I.. She wouldn't do that."
"Xena, i'm not lying to you. I would never lie to you," Alexandria replied, her voice strained. I couldn't tell if she was pained by the situation or my lack of trust in her words. "I'm sorry that this didn't work out to plan, but-"
"Shut up!" I snarled as I pushed the red headed woman away from me roughly. "You don't even like Gabrielle. You're just trying to turn me against her, aren't you? You're jealous because you know that I l- " I cut myself off quickly before I finished, looking away from my second.
"You're in love with her." Alexandria whispered in disbelief.
There was silence for several moments at that statement as we stared into one anothers eyes. I decided quickly not to voice my feelings to my second, knowing it would only anger her.
"What are you talking about?" I laughed weakly.
"Don't give me that," Alexandria spat, her eyes blazing. "I know you, Xena. I know you better than I know myself. I have been with you from the very start and I have seen every emotion in your eyes from anger to happiness. There is only one emotion I've never seen from you, never thought I'd see but I'm being proved wrong now. I've never seen love like this in your eyes but it burns so brightly when you speak of her."
"Still your tongue or I'll break your fucking neck," I growled, my eyes narrowing as I took a menacing step towards my second. I don't know why her words made me so angry, but they did. I wanted to defend myself, to tell her that I wasn't a monster and I could feel emotions like love, but I just glared at her instead. Her eyes widened as she stared at me in disbelief before she started laughing, slightly hysterically.
"I can't believe this," she whispered, running her fingers through her hair. "I have had your back for half of my life, protected you when you were hurt or weak. I've bled for you, killed for you and now you turn on me so easily for a woman you hardly know."
"Don't be a fool, Alexandria," I spat at the redheaded woman.
I watched as Alexandria straightened, her own eyes narrowing as she shook her head slowly. "If you won't listen to me anymore, Xena. If you don't trust me anymore, then I guess I'm not needed."
I raised an eyebrow at her, confused at her words and watched in shock as she removed the sword that was strapped to her side. She usually fought with two swords that she strapped to her back, but she always carried the beautifully crafted sword on her hip. I had given it to her as a gift, something that was quite rare for me, when I asked her officially to be my second in command almost fifteen years ago. I watched as she dropped the sword at my feet before giving me a respectful nod and turning on her heel to stride away from me.
"Alexandria!" I yelled after her, but she didn't stop. Instead, she called to me over her shoulder.
"I resign, Xena. I'm going home."
To Be Continued
Return to the Academy