by Anita Louise

copyright 09/98

Chapter Thirty

The sound of footsteps and voices, brought her to attention. Her eyes
staring at the door, waiting to see what was going on. It wasn't long before
the woman stepped into the room. Sea felt her breath catch in her throat,
her eyes widened and she jumped to her feet.

Closing the door behind her, Asterea gazed at Sea, her eyes taking in every
inch of the woman. Finally she spoke, "I trust, Marian has been taking good
care of you?" Sea did not answer as she braced for the confrontation.
Walking toward a wooden table, Asterea pulled out a chair and straddled it,
her dark eyes burning a hole in Ann. "Sit, there is no need to feel
combative, I don't know about you, but I have no desire to fight."

Standing, her eyes never leaving the woman's Sea answered, "Marian has been
kind to me. The woman is definitely too good for you."

Smiling, Asterea said, "It is good she and you do not share the same
opinion. I am glad to see you are better."

A cold shiver traveled Sea as she asked "Why? So you can hurt me all over
again?" She took several paces toward Asterea, the woman did not move.

Sea glared at her and spat, "You get your kicks out of taking a person down,
taking all that they are as you render them incapable of defense."

Pursing her lips, "I was afraid you might still be thinking about that,"
Asterea retorted.

Straightening her shoulders, Sea growled, "I never will, I never will give
myself to you freely. Might as well kill me and get it over with."

Standing, Asterea's eyes met Sea's, she moved the chair out of the way and
said, "You have to get used to it, you are no longer free, you are my
prisoner. I can do anything I wish."

Sea's feet were placed firmly on the floor, her body was set as she said,
"People are not meant to be prisoners, you have no right to hold me or
anyone else against their will."

Folding her arms across her chest, Asterea replied, "I have every right, you
are in my room, you are mine."

The corner of Sea's lip raised as she growled, "You will have to kill me

Asterea didn't move as she said, "No, I will not kill you. I have done some
soul searching, as much as a person like me can do and I have come to a few
conclusions, " she stepped close to Sea, her eyes locked with the woman's as
she continued, "I promise not to hurt you again, I will wait till you give
yourself voluntarily to me but you will accept the fact you are not longer
Captain of "The Bounty," you *are* mine."

Disgust materialized on Sea's face as she snarled, "If I were you, I would
watch my hand, I'd soon as not take it off."

Asterea had noticed the beads of perspiration that were breaking out on
Sea's forehead, the unsteadiness in her stance. She reached out and touched
Sea's cheek, her thumb caressing the woman's lips as she said, "You are not
in any shape to fight me."

Sea's right hand grasped Asterea's, and at the same time the woman grabbed
her left wrist, twisting it behind her and said, "You can't win."

The pain was quick and sharp and as Sea released Asterea, she uttered, "I
will regain my strength, then what will you do?"

The woman's dark eyes were full of compassion as she said, "I pray by then
you will understand your position." Holding Sea's hand behind her, she led
her toward the bed and pushed her down on it. "Stay down there, I don't want
to hurt you. If you prefer, I can have you shackled but I would rather not."

Sea tried to get up several times but fell back as she asked, "Where is
Gina? I need to know where the others are."

Asterea grabbed a chair and sat, "They are fine, I have been going about
this all wrong. The woman who has captured your loins, is fine but I can
change this real fast. I now know how to control you, woman, you will
behave, because if you do not, I will take it out on Gina. Do I make myself

Feeling sick to her stomach, her head whirling, Sea mumbled, "Don't hurt
her, I..."

A slight smile traveled the woman's face, Asterea knew she had found Ann
Bounty's weakness. Holding her precious love over her head would control the
woman, at least for the time being.


Sea soon found herself back in a cell, the luxuries she had become used to
were a fading memory. Her strength had returned, only suffering momentary
episodes of weakness she felt she would soon be able to find a way to
escape. Asterea had not visited her since that day and for this she was
relieved. There had been no word of Gina or the others and with each day she
prayed they were all right. She spent a lot of time, trying to figure out
what had happened. Finding herself shivering at times, not from the cold but
from her circumstances.

"You are mine." Asterea's words, cut through her that day and now.

"Never!" The words echoed the dreary quarters before she even knew she had
said them. Walking toward the cell door, she grasped the bars and stared at
the dimly lit passage. Her body was overwhelmed with emotions. Gina, how was
she? Mary, Gods what has happened to her? Saxton, Will and The Bounty, were
they all right? No one would tell her anything and she had not seen Marian
since the day Asterea returned. If a person could go stir crazy, she was
nearing the precipice.

Hearing the sound of chains rattling followed by footsteps Ann knew she was
about to be visited. The dim glow soon gave way to light filling the area.
Several guards along with Asterea were coming into view, Sea stepped back,
never taking her eyes off of them. Asterea gazed into the cell, her hands on
the door, she said, "I trust you have had a good rest, time to think about
what I have said."

Sea did not move, instead she gazed at the shackles in one of the guards
hands. Opening the cell door, Asterea stepped into the room followed by the
men. She took in the surrounding area then said, "You have been summoned and
I need for you to wear these." She pointed to the shackles as Sea asked,
"Summoned? Who has summoned me?"

A guard stepped forward as Sea moved away from him. Asterea shook her head
and said, "No, stand still, let them put these on you. Remember your
friends, I meant every word I said, hold out your hands." She nodded at the
guard and added, "Put them on her, she won't do anything."

It didn't take them long to secure her wrists and ankles. It took longer
than Asterea expected for them to make their way out of the building and
when finally outside she said, "We are going to Cleopatra's, for some reason
she has sent for you."

Holding back, Sea muttered, "I don't understand, why would she want to see

Shrugging her shoulders, Asterea replied, "Who knows, come on let's get this
over with." She placed her hand on Sea's left shoulder and pulled her
forward. The two women were remarkable as they walked beside one another.
Many people stopped what they were doing and turned to watch the procession
toward the palace.

Sea was feeling many things as she looked at the huge room, it was ornate
and definitely royal. Many statues adorned the area, tapestries of beauty
hung in all their splendor. The marble floors with their hints of gold
streaking throughout them were a work of art. Asterea had reached out and
gasped Sea's right arm, "We'll wait here."

Sea shut her eyes, as she thought back to the time she and Mary had shared a
bath with the Queen and now she was being brought before her a prisoner. She
tried to come to terms with what had happened, and no matter how hard she
tried, she could not understand how she come to be where she was at that
moment. She was brought out of her thoughts by the Queen's guards, followed
by Cleopatra herself. She was more beautiful than she remembered and at that
moment Sea wanted to melt into the floor.

Once seated on her royal throne, she stared down at the two women. After
several moments, she spoke, "Ann Bounty, I am surprised to see you trussed
up like this. From all I have heard, you have been a busy woman."

Managing to speak, her voice faltering, Sea replied, "I have no idea why I
am here."

A man stepped toward Sea, in his hand he held a rolled parchment and as he
neared, he said, "Get on your knees!"

Still standing, she glared at the man, her voice stronger as she said, "I
don't bow to anyone. At least tell me why I am here."

His words were strong and deliberate, "You have been charged with taking
down the Queen's ship, You have not only stolen the treasure on board but
did not rest until all were dead. What have you to say for yourself?"

Gazing directly at Cleopatra, Sea answered, "I did nothing like that."

Cleopatra leaned back and asked, "Are you telling me you do not have
Egyptian treasures aboard what was your ship?"

"My, my ship? What have you done?"

Asterea placed her right hand on Sea's shoulder, it took but a second before
Sea grimaced in pain. "Get down on your knees, before the woman decides to
behead you." Her voice was low but Sea knew she meant every word of what she
had said. Trying to resist but the constant pressure soon sent her to her
knees. Asterea stepped in front of her and said, "She has not been well,
forgive her insolence."

Waving Asterea back, Cleopatra stood and stepped toward Sea. Stopping she
gazed down at the woman and said, "I have taken your ship and crew. My
treasures were in the hold. I have no doubt you did this." She leaned down,
her lips close to Sea's right ear she whispered, "Should have taken me up on
my offer." Stepping back, she looked at Asterea and said, "Tell me, how did
you manage to capture such a worthy opponent?"

At this time a voice Sea recognized instantly was heard. "It was easy, after
I set her up."

Raising her eyes, Sea looked in horror as Mary Ready stepped into the room.
It didn't take her long and she was soon standing beside Cleopatra. For an
instant, warmth radiated from her eyes to Sea's before she turned away and
said, "I'm sorry."

Attempting to get to her feet, and being pushed back down, Sea scowled at
Mary, "How, how could you? Gods Mary, after everything, how could you?"

It was evident, this traitorous action had hit the woman as if Mount Olympus
had fallen on her.. Tears brimming in her eyes, Sea gazed at the woman she
called friend. Asterea had watched the interaction between the two as she
said, "I have brought my prisoner here, tell me what is it you want?"

A man's voice echoed the room, "I want Ann Bounty!" All turned to see who
had made the statement. The man was dressed in Roman attire, his brown hair
was short and bangs adorned his forehead. Cursing under her breath Asterea
said, "Caesar." Sea felt as if her body was being twisted in many directions
but the word Caesar, made her blood boil. He gazed at the others and grasped
Cleopatra's right hand in his, smiling he placed a kiss on it and said, "My
love, you have done me proud. This is the best gift anyone could ever have
given me."

Stepping forward, Asterea said, "There is no gift, Ann Bounty is my

He looked up at the woman then brought his attention to the flaming redhead
that defied him with her beautiful emerald eyes. His step was cocky as he
strode around Sea, stopping from time to time. He looked at Cleopatra and
said, "I will be in your chambers, when you are finished here, have her
brought to me." Cleopatra nodded as the man walked away.

Mary approached Sea, haunching down, she gazed at the woman and said, "I
never wanted to see you like this, I had no choice. I have been told, if you
apologize, and beg the Queen for forgiveness, she will take this into

Scowling at her friend, Sea spat, "How dare you speak to me after what you
have done. I trusted you, I believed you."

Mary reached out and caressed Sea's face and replied, "Tell the woman you
are sorry, save yourself from death."

Narrowing her eyes as tears ran down her cheeks, Sea answered, "I will not
apologize for something I did not do. Damn you Mary Ready!"

Chapter Thirty One


Mary's eyes softened as she said, "You can curse me all you want, it will be
no more than I have already done. Ann, please, tell the Queen what she wants
to hear, grovel if this is what it will take to save your life."

Sea lowered her eyes and gazed at the floor, "If I die, it will be your
doing. Get out of my sight."

Mary stood, she looked at Asterea and stepped to the side. Cleopatra had
been watching them her eyes darting from one to the other. She waited a few
minutes then said, "You have been found guilty, however, Caesar wants to
talk to you. I will wait until after you meet with him, to sentence you."

Asterea helped Sea get to her feet, then looked at Cleopatra and said, "Ann
Bounty is my prisoner, I will take her into the meeting."

Cleopatra smiled and waved them into the chamber.

With each step, Sea was feeling pain and rage. The fact that Mary Ready had
turned on her again was almost too much. She hated Caesar for what he had
done to her mother and now, coming face to face with the man was almost to
much to bear. Before they entered the room, Asterea grasped Sea's right
shoulder and stopped her, "Watch what you say and do, Caesar is a powerful

Turning to gaze into the woman's face Sea replied, "You have no idea."

Giving her a push, Asterea said, "Let's get this over with. I now have to
figure out how to appease Cleopatra. After all I have gone through, I will
not give you to the woman. If anyone takes your life it will not be her."

"If this is supposed to make me feel better, it is not." Sea mumbled as they
walked into the chamber. Caesar turned and started to walk toward them. As
he approached, he smiled, "Glad you could join me." He looked at Asterea
snarling, "You can go, I want to talk to the prisoner alone."

Asterea reached out and placed her right hand on Sea's shoulder, her eyes
burned into his as she replied, "Not hardly, Ann Bounty is my prisoner and
where she goes so do I."

He laughed, "Evidently you do not know who you are talking to in that tone."

Sea had been staring at the man who was her father, his words were ominous
and she turned her attention to Asterea. She could feel the woman's fingers
dig into her shoulder, she whispered, "Be careful."

The words were barely out of her mouth before Caesar drew his sword and held
it to Sea's throat. His eyes darting from one woman to the other he snapped,
I take it daughter is like her mother."

Emerald greens shot fire at the man as Sea growled, "You pig, you are not
worthy to walk on the ground she treads!"

He threw his head back and laughed. It was apparent Asterea had no idea what
was happening, she was appalled that Sea would say something like this to
him. Her grip on Sea's shoulder deepened and she quickly found the spot that
sent the woman to the floor. "Stay down there." She muttered as Sea landed
on her knees. Caesar smiled as he watched this take place. He looked at
Asterea, straightened his stance and said, "Seems you enjoy controlling my

The woman stepped back, her eyes widened as she stuttered, "Dau...?"

Sea raised her head, her eyes searching the woman's as she said, "My father
is dead," glowering at the man she continued, " you are no relation to me, I
would rather be dead than claim any relation to you!"

The man's face was now a deep red and the vessels in his face were bulging
as he said, "I never wanted to see you come into the world. I believe it is
fitting to make sure you leave it as well as your whore of a mother."

Throwing herself forward, Sea's head struck the man's knees knocking him
back sending him crashing to the floor. Before he landed, Asterea had
reached down and helped Sea to her feet. Their eyes locked for a few seconds
before she muttered, "Posiden in Hades! You have really gone and done it
now!" Her eyes darted around the room, it was apparent she was looking for
an escape.

"Guards!" stumbling to his feet, Caesar yelled cursing the redhead that
glared at him. Asterea stood, her sword in her right hand as she braced
herself for the men that came barreling into the room. Before their swords
met, Caesar raised his hand and said, "Drop the weapon, there are too many
and you will die. This is not your battle!"

Standing straight, Sea glanced toward the woman and said, "He is right,
don't involve yourself in this."

For an instant, Asterea's eyes sparkled at the woman, "Anything that
concerns you, involves me."

Sea caught a glint in the woman's eyes before she replied, "In case you
haven't noticed, we are surrounded. All you will succeed in doing is getting
yourself killed."

Limping toward the women, Caesar growled, "I will not ask you again, either
drop the weapon or suffer the consequences." His eyes set on Ann as he
continued, "Don't tell me you have taken another to your bed?"

"Damn you!" Sea yelled.

He laughed as he watched the woman try to break free of her chains. "Give it
up, you are not going anywhere." He looked at Asterea, furrowing his brow,
"Well, what is it to be, death ," he pointed to Ann, "she is not worth your

Dropping the weapon, Asterea gazed at the man, "I wish to take my prisoner
and leave."

He laughed, nodding toward the guards, "Take her!"

Within seconds, they grabbed the woman and held her tightly. He walked up to
her, "I'll never understand Ann Bounty's charisma. You will not be taking
her anywhere, she is my prisoner, but, knowing how she can work her wiles, I
will not blame you, your failing." He approached Sea, "You my dear, will
regret ever hitting me like that." His lips curled into a snarl as he
ordered, "Take the prisoner to the court yard, I order her to be whipped
until she passes out!"

"No!" Asterea screamed.

He seemed surprised at the woman's outburst, "Are you telling me you do not
wish to see her beaten?"

Asterea glanced around, her eyes resting on his, "She has been through a lot
recently, let me take her back to the cell," she found herself pleading.

Caesar slowly stepped around the two women, finally stopping in front of
Asterea, his eyes darted from one to the other, he smirked, "Tell me, do you
care enough to take the beating for her?"

Asterea felt backed into a corner, scowling at the men that held her arms
she replied, "Yes, if it means you will not harm her.

Sea was amazed at hearing the woman's words. She bit at her lower lip and
clamored, "No! She will not take anything for me!"

The man's laughter echoed the room, "Then she will, take the woman to the
square, carry out my orders. Take Ann Bounty along, I want her to watch."

Cleopatra observed in amazement as the two women were led from the chambers
and out of the room. Her eyes gazed at Caesar who was having difficulty
walking. "What is going on?"

He looked at the woman, "Follow me to the square, and you will see."


Chapter Thirty two


Ann sat, her back against the rock wall, shivering at the coldness that
crept through her shirt. Drawing her legs up, she leaned forward and gripped
her knees. She was happy they had removed the shackles when she was pushed
into the cell, it took awhile to get her feet to move normally.

Trembling, she pulled her legs in tighter. Things had happened so quickly,
and at that moment her mind was mulling over many things. She could not
believe what had happened, she had met the man that ruined her mother's
life. The man she always swore to seek vengeance against. Chiding herself,
she whispered, "Good job. Damn woman, what in Hades are you doing in this
godsforsaken place and with her?" She stared across the small space at the
form that lay deathly still.

Ann Bounty hated Asterea with every fiber of her body, yet, the woman had
taken a terrible beating in her place and she could not reason why. She
found herself many times wanting to run the woman through, rid the world of
her evilness. Now, she lay in front of her, beaten, unable to fend off
anyone and she could not bring herself to kill the woman.

She had walked the cell enough times to make a track in the dirt, she seemed
to be in conflict with herself. A part of her wanted to finish the job and
yet the more compassionate side wanted to help the woman.

"Kill the bitch!" The words were callused and scratchy and Ann gazed into
the next cell. An older woman was staring at her, her toothless smile gave
way to weary eyes and tangled gray hair. She didn't speak, she just stared
at the woman. Her green eyes gazed toward Asterea and back at the woman who
now seemed to be licking her lips. "Come on beauty, the evil she devil is
defenseless do us all a favor and send her to Tartarus."

Though Sea had been fighting with herself over the same thing the woman's
words were all she needed to look directly at her and say, "No! I will not
be the one to end the woman's life and I will not be responsible for it
happening. Mind your business and let me get to mine."

The woman spit toward the cell bellowing, "Some pirate! Ain't got the
stomach to do anyone a good deed."

Ignoring the woman, Sea picked up a dingy tattered blanket and walked toward
Asterea. Standing over the woman, she stared down at the welts that
crisscrossed her back. A lump had been growing in her throat and for a
minute she felt as if she would heave. Slowly dropping to her knees, she
gently placed the blanket over the woman. She had wanted to kill her but she
could not summon up enough hate for the woman she gazed upon at that moment.

"Coward, seems the woman has you in her spell also. You will be sorry, mark
my words."

Sea glanced toward the cell and the older prisoner. Soft moans were escaping
from Asterea and her attention quickly reverted back to the woman.
"Asterea," she whispered, "can you hear me?"

Asterea went to move, "Go away, save your pity for someone who needs and
wants it," her words were broken and said in obvious pain.

Without realizing it, Sea reached out and brushed the hair back from her
face. "Shhh, we both know your bark at this moment is worse than your bite,"
Asterea attempted to growl but did not succeed as Ann sighed, "get used to
it, I will not let you die on my account, so you will have me looking out
for you."

The sound of footsteps could be heard and she turned her attention to the
passageway. Before long, a guard stepped to the door, he had several items
in his hand. "Ann Bounty, Cleopatra sent these. Thought you could use them
on the prisoner."

Getting to her feet, she approached the bars and took the cloth and salve
from the man. After giving it to her he asked, "She's not dead is she?"

Shaking her head, "No, thanks for these.

He looked at her, "Thank the Queen, if it were up to me, I'd as soon see you
both dead, my brother was on that ship you ravished."

She watched the man walk away, whispering, "I take it neither one of us are
very popular around here."

Tossing the blanket off, Asterea managed to sit up, her body was drenched in
perspiration and she looked more like a little girl lost as she tried to
steady herself. Sea dropped to her knees, the salve in one hand and cloths
in the other she said, "I could blow on you and send you over, lay back down
and let me treat those cuts."

The woman's eyes were filling with tears and she cursed, "Damn you!" her
body trembled in her effort to rid herself of Ann, "get away from me!"

"Listen to the witch, let her die like she let so many of us!"

Turning her head, Ann could see the woman in the next cell was back to
calling for Asterea's demise. Shaking her head she turned her attention back
to Asterea. "You know, that was a fool thing you did, now lay back down."

Asterea's right hand was holding onto the wall, "What...don't you
understand? Leave me alone!"

Reaching out Sea placed her right hand on the woman's shoulder. Asterea
attempted to remove it and only succeeded in falling backwards. Ann caught
her fall and gently helped her onto her side. "Might as well let me tend to
you, I will not gain pleasure in watching the rodents feast on your dead
carcass. Now, be still and let me do this."

The woman didn't answer and Sea began to doctor the cuts. She felt Asterea's
skin cry out each time she applied the salve, when she was finished she
retrieved the blanket and placed it back over the woman. "There, try and get
some sleep."

Asterea bit her tongue as she muttered, "Sleep, who could sleep with you
trying to kill them."

Leaning over the woman to make sure the blanket was in place, she noticed
several tears running down her face. When she was finished she replied, "I
don't kill cripples."

Asterea managed several low growls as she whispered, "Cripple, I'll kill
you..." Managing a smile, Sea crawled over to the far wall and sat, her
hands held tell tale signs of the woman's blood. Wiping them on a piece of
cloth she heard the now familiar voice of the woman in the next cell. "The
woman meant it, you get her well and the first thing she will do is send you
to Hades."

Letting her head fall back against the cool rock, Sea glanced at her, then
took a deep breath and exclaimed, "At least it will rid me of your
nonsense." The woman scoffed at her then turned and walked away. Feeling
weary, Sea closed her eyes a slight smile tracing her lips.


Folding her arms, she held a worried look and since they started the voyage
she had not been able to shake the feeling of dread. The tall dark haired
woman stood, her eyes gazing at the beautiful blond that was deep in

A gentle wind caressed the woman's head, tossing about golden strands, the
morning light radiating upon the woman's form, gave Xena a feeling of bliss.
She knew she never would get over the deep love she had for the woman,
Gabrielle had tamed her wild heart and each day she fell deeper and deeper
in love with her.

The day the pigeon arrived with the note from Mary Ready, was a day she
dreaded. The minute Gabrielle read the words, her face changed and Xena
knew, she still held feelings for the woman. It was all she could do to keep
a stiff upper lip and try to talk to Gabrielle about what was taking place.
The first thing Gabrielle wanted to do was board a ship for Egypt. It took
some doing but she had managed to convince her to wait until they could talk
about it. Gabrielle had locked eyes with her on more than one occasion and
in so many words she told Xena she owed her life to Ann Bounty.

All this was true, still, she harbored a deep jealousy where the woman was
concerned. She had always been Gabrielle's hero, the person she looked up
to, the person she wanted to be with. Then Ann Bounty entered her life and
the woman had never been the same. Xena liked the woman, try as hard as she
could to hate her, she could not. Sighing as she started to walk toward
Gabrielle she knew this was also a test for her, could she keep her green
eye from causing them all harm? Though she posed the question to herself she
knew at this time she did not have an answer.

Hearing the woman's footsteps approaching, Gabrielle turned, a smile flashed
across her face as she said, "There you are, I didn't want to wake you."

Stepping up to her, Xena looked out over the water replying, "Wasn't asleep.
I heard you when you got up."

Seeming confused, Gabrielle uttered, "Why, didn't you say something?"

Turning her gaze to the woman, Xena replied, "The way you moved, it was
evident you wanted to be alone," she placed a hand on Gabrielle's shoulder,
seeming to search for the right words, "are you sure you want to do this?
This is Cleopatra's land, we are foreigners here."

Managing a smile, she reached up and touched Xena's hand, "Yes, she would do
the same for us," her brow furrowed as she added, "I will go alone, you can
go back."

Xena's jaw hardened as she turned and walked away from the woman, slowly
stopping she pivoted and stared, "You don't really know me, after all this
time, Gods woman, I will not see you go in there alone. When we pledged to
one another, it did not mean when things were just wonderful, it meant all
time. I will go with you, unless you are telling me you'd rather I not."

Her blue green eyes sparkled as she stepped toward the tall woman. Anyone
else would have been intimated by Xena's stance, not Gabrielle, before the
woman knew what was happening, the attractive blond, reached out and hugged
her. Startled for an instant, Xena seemed hesitant as to what to do with her
own hands, finally wrapping them around the trembling form. "Shh, it's going
to be all right, don't cry, you know I hate it when you cry," she found
herself comforting the woman.

Gabrielle's cheek was resting on Xena's cleavage, the wetness of the woman's
tears had found its way onto her. Feeling the woman tremble in her embrace,
and gazing down at the state she was in, sent all of Xena's resolve flying.
She placed soft kisses on the woman's head, trying to comfort her. "Tell me,
what is it? What's wrong?"

"I, I don't want to lose you, I am afraid you will leave me," her words were
shaky as she tried to keep the tears back.

Smiling, Xena pushed her back, gazing into the woman's tear stained face she
spoke, "Never, I will never leave you, I have been afraid you might want to
leave me."

Wiping the tears from her face, Gabrielle replied, "For Gods in heaven! Why
would you think such a thing!" Noticing the look on Xena's face she stepped
back, holding her head high she exclaimed, "What kind of person do you think
I am, after all this time, Xena you don't even know me?"

"Gab..." Xena tried to speak only to be cut off by the upset strawberry
blonde, "You know how I feel about Sea, I always will. She has her life and
I have mine, with you. I thought you understood, after all she has done for
both of us, it is the least we could do." She turned to walk away and Xena
called after her, "Gabrielle!"

Stopping, she asked, "Haven't you said enough Xena, I'm going to the cabin."

Taking several long strides, Xena caught up with the woman, reaching out she
grasped her by the shoulders and swung her around, "I love you, damn, don't
begrudge me a little jealousy. I'm sorry, I know you are worried."

The woman's fingers were moving up her shoulders and Gabrielle reached up
grasping Xena's wrists. "You know you may not want to admit this but you and
Sea are so much alike, sometimes it scares me."

For an instant their eyes connected and one might have thought a fight was
coming, instead, Xena lowered her head, her lips searching the woman's with
soft strokes of love. Gabrielle melted into the woman's embrace a low sigh
escaped her throat as Xena whispered in her right ear, "What say we go back
to the cabin together, start the day all over again?"

Nodding, Gabrielle stood on her toes and gave the woman a quick peck on the
cheek, turned and ran yelling back, "You know what happens to the loser..."

Throwing her head back, Xena laughed and ran to try to catch the woman.


continue in chapter thirty-three

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