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 : : Hey, I got some very interesting emails after that last chapter, which I truly enjoyed. I know a lot of you are hoping for Gabrielle to come back and for everything to just be happily ever after, but you also know... that's just not my style. So, prepare yourselves to deal with a bit of Xena/Alexandria, because they are getting married. Well, at least that's the plan... ;) If you want to email me about this, my address jacklavigne13@hotmail .com
"Where are you going?" I mumbled sleepily, cracking my eye open and taking notice of the darkened room. It was still at least a candlemark until dawn and the only light was coming from several candles that were scattered around the room. Blinking drowsily, I wondered why my lover was sneaking out of bed at such an early hour.
"There are things to do," Alexandria replied as she wandered around the room, picking up several pieces of clothing that were strewn along the floor, having been removed quickly when I seduced her the night before.
And in truth, I did have to seduce her, besides the fact it had been over a week since I had announced our marriage in court and we had made amends. Even though our friendship was returning to what it had once been, my second was still wary of me and less than excited about our joining. But last night, I had watched her lean over the desk to retrieve a map of Rome and I had been unable to take not touching her any longer. Using every line in the book, I had also even started to almost beg before I swept the papers from my desk onto the floor and took her right there before moving things to the bedroom for a long night of hedonistic pleasure.
Watching her lean over to pick up her clothes, I found myself wanting to start it all over again.
"There are enough servants and slaves in this place to take care of things, Alex. Come back to bed," I purred as I rolled onto my back, letting the sheets fall to waist. I grinned seductively as Alexandria's midnight blue eyes raked over my lean and muscular body appreciatively and she even hesitated for a moment before shaking her head.
"Sappho gets here today and I want to make sure everything is in order."
I almost growled out loud at the poet's name. Sappho had been after Alexandria for years and while my second denied anything between them, I was sure that they had slept together at least once. Alexandria was always a sucker for poetry.
"Come here now and I'll write you a verse," And then I'll make you scream it at the top of your lungs, I added in my mind with a feral grin as the red head chuckled, as if hearing my silent words. With a sigh, Alexandria dropped the clothes in a pile at the end of my bed, before sitting down beside me.
"Go on then," she said, her eyes twinkling as she looked down at me.
"Mmm," I grunted before pulling her down on top of me, running my hands over her exposed skin. My lips sought out hers and I kissed her passionately as I rolled us over, feeling her skin rub against mine as I settled myself between her legs. She didn't resist me and I was glad as I took possession of her mouth, one hand wrapped in her dark red locks while my free hand gripped her hip and pulled her harder against me.
"Xena," she moaned as my lips trailed along her jawline, while she half-heartedly attempted to push me off her. "Xena, there's no time."
"There's always time for the Queen to fuck her blushing bride to be, Alexandria," I grinned as I traced the outside of her ear with my tongue. Her hips bucked underneath me at the contact and I groaned loudly as I listened to her panting in my ear.
"You know, I haven't actually said yes yet."
I grinned at her words, my hand moving from her hip to her slick center. I pushed the heel of my hand against her swollen clit while my fingers circled her opening, drenched in wetness. "Oh, you will."
I plunged three fingers inside of her, pushing deep and hard as her back arched underneath me. She wrapped her long legs around my waist, allowing me to thrust deeper inside of her and rub my fingers over the spot that made her hips jerk with pleasure.
By the time the sun had risen, she did say yes. In fact, she screamed it for the whole castle to hear, several times.
I made my way through the packed corridors of my palace, moving past slaves and servants that were rushing around, cleaning the castle for the upcoming festival. It was still three weeks until the celebration but already the streets of Corinth were packed with people, excited for the five day party to begin. I watched idly as several slaves pulled the large hangings from the walls, beating the dust from them as I rounded the last corner to the main entrance of my castle and then paused at the sight before me.
Alexandria was standing in the door way, looking like a goddess with the sunlight outlining her tall frame, making her tanned skin glow golden. I watched as she laughed, showing brilliantly white teeth while she covered the hand resting on her forearm with her own; Sappho's hand.
It took everything in me not to reach for my sword as I narrowed my eyes at the poet. She wasn't an exceptionally beautiful woman, but there was something about Sappho that drew you to her. Her dark hair fell past her shoulders in curls and there was such passion in her gray eyes that made your skin tingle. Especially when she was talking to Alexandria, my second in command and now consort.
"Sappho," I said loudly as I walked up to the two women, startling the poet while Alexandria's shoulders slumped in defeat. "You're here early, aren't you? The festival doesn't start for another few weeks."
I watched with satisfaction as the dark haired woman subtly removed her hand from my second's arm, a pleasant smile lightening up her face as she turned towards me. A completely different expression from the dirty look Alexandria threw me as I stopped in front of them.
"Conqueror," said Sappho as she nodded her head respectfully. "It's lovely to see you."
I smirked at the dark haired woman, ignoring Alexandria's scowl as I returned her nod. Despite her interest in my second, I usually enjoyed the poet's visits. She was one of the few people in the world that didn't cower when I entered the room.
"A pleasure as always," I replied, though my next words were cut off by my second in command and the angry frown on her face as she looked out the double doors and into the clearing before my castle.
"Oh, you've got to be kidding me," Alexandria growled, her hands clenching into fists at her side. "She's not due for another week! Zeus, strike me down, now."
I looked over Sappho's shoulder and almost laughed at the procession heading towards us. Lying casually and not a little seductively on a divan carried by four bare chested men and surrounded by a group of soldiers was the Queen of the Nile.
It seemed that everyone was showing up early for this festival.
"Conqueror!" Cleopatra greeted me as she was placed at the top of the stairs leading up to my palace. She rose from the divan, her deep red dress contrasting with her deeply tanned skin as she glided towards me with a brilliant smile.
"Cleo," I purred, ignoring Alexandria's glare as I took the Egyptian's hand, brushing my lips against her knuckles as she curtsied. "What a pleasant surprise."
"Yes, I know I am early," Cleopatra half-heartedly apologized as she ran her fingers down my arm. "But I was so excited for the festival and to lay eyes upon you again. I could not wait."
I plastered on a smile, allowing the touches just to see Alexandria's eyes light up in rage. I turned slightly and gestured to the small poet that was gazing at us with a raised eyebrow. "You've met Sappho before, haven't you? And of course you know my consort, Alexandria."
"Of course, Sappho, wonderf-" Cleopatra cut off mid-sentence as she slowly turned towards me, a horrified expression on her face. "Your what?!"
"Well, court is calling and I can't keep the nobles waiting," I grinned brightly, ignoring Cleopatra's words as I straightened my robes. "Come on, Alex."
I watched in amusement as Alexandria grinned smugly at Cleopatra, taking my offered arm as she waved goodbye to the two women. I chuckled as we walked away from the doors, listening to the Egyptian rage over my upcoming nuptials while Alexandria laughed loudly.
"I guess there are some upsides to this wedding," Alexandria smirked as she squeezed my forearm.
I didn't even bother to hide my smile as I entered the court room, surprising the nobles and peasants who gazed at us in shock. All my attention was focused on the woman at my side and the warmth of her hand on my arm.
I leant back in my chair as I surveyed the room, listening as my captains traded ideas. They had all trickled in over the past week and they now sat before me, discussing our plans to take Rome. So far, they hadn't come up with anything that Alexandria and I hadn't already thought of, not that I expected them to. I rested my chin on my hand and turned my head to gaze at Alexandria, who was watching the discussion with feigned interest.
"Who will join you in Rome, Conqueror?" Darnelle, the Captain of my Eighth Army asked curiously, causing me to tear my gaze from Alexandria.
"Petracles, Theodorus and Palaemon," I answered, smiling at the jealous looks the men received. "And of course, Alexandria," I added at my second's scowl.
"If the Second Army is going, who will guard Corinth?" Meleager asked.
"The Royal Guard is more than capable of guarding the city," Alexandria replied for me, smiling at Niko who beamed with pride. "Plus, your army is situated in Athens. If anything happens while we're gone, you can send for reinforcements, Meleager."
"I feel a little left out," Glyphera scowled, crossing her muscular arms over her chest.
"Don't," I smiled dangerously, my eyes twinkling. "Rome is but the beginning. You will all get your chance."
"What do you mean, the beginning?" Meleager asked warily.
"The Conqueror has plans for Greece," Alexandria answered evasively. I glanced at her, the corner of my mouth turning up in a smile as she winked at me in return before she continued. "Now, you all have some very good ideas, but..."
I tuned out as Alexandria started explaining our plan to the captains, instead choosing to watch their faces as they listened intently. I smiled as I let my eyes wander over their excited expressions, glad that they were as thrilled with the upcoming battle as I was. Every single person in this room had been with me from the start and I had trusted them all at one point with my life, as they did me with theirs. I let my pale eyes finally land on Alexandria as she spoke, watching her lips move but not hearing any of the words.
I still found it hard to believe that this woman had actually agreed to marry me. I wasn't stupid enough to think that she was in love with me, at least not anymore. But to know that she was willing to give up that part of her life to stand by my side made me feel warm inside, something that I hadn't felt in moons. I felt a tiny bit of the ice around my heart melt away as she turned her head while she talked, catching my eye with a small smile. My throat tightened with emotion and all I could do was smile in return, leaning back in my seat and letting myself just bask in the warm emotions coursing through me.
And who knows, I mused to myself as Alexandria's rested her hand on my thigh, giving it a gentle squeeze. Maybe she could tame the beast and mend my broken heart.Maybe we could fall in love.
To Be Continued
Return to the Academy