The characters of Xena and Gabrielle and others belong in their entirety to Universal/MCA, Renaissance Pictures, and all the other powers that be Yadayadayada. No copyright infringement is intended. I wrote this story at the urging of my muse; it should never be used for profit.
VIOLENCE – Yup!
LOVE/SEX WARNING/DISCLAIMER: This story involves both love and hot sex between two consenting adult women (It’s a WARRIORJUDGE story – What did you expect). If you don’t know who ALEXIS MORRAL CARINGTON COLBY DEXTER was (in other words, if you’re under 18) or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it. If depictions of this nature disturb you, GO WATCH POWER RANGERS.
FOUL LANGUAGE – I’m no Tarantino, but I have my moments…
To my BETA readers, mentors and guides: Sam Ruskin, (You’re the greatest!!! Love ya!!!), LESIAF (the fastest Beta on the Xenaverse) and Stacia Seaman (the most thorough one)
Comments & Feedback: Most welcomed.
The dark judge and her lovely assistant were sitting in the judge’s van. There was a heavy, burdening silence between them. Each woman was caught in her own thoughts. Gabrielle realized that finding the honorable judge in a gay bar--called The Pussy, of all names--was an extremely awkward and embarrassing situation for the both of them.
It was weird for Gabrielle to see the judge outside the framework of their working relationship. It was odd seeing her as a human being instead of a judge. Gabrielle felt as if she had crossed a line she shouldn’t have and had breached the barriers of Judge Lawless’ privacy, the wall surrounding her personal life. It was way too much information, seeing her drinking beer in a gay bar.
I really didn’t want to find out about her exotic sexual preferences. I couldn’t care less whether she’s gay or not, hell, some of my best friends are gay. OK, I don’t know a single person who’s gay, but my point is, I’m cool with her being gay...it’s not like she’s gonna rape me or something, and she doesn’t threaten my femininity either. She’s just a woman who has sex with women, is all...I’m cool...Christ. Gabrielle thought. She didn’t know if she was the one who was supposed to say something, or whether the judge expected her to say something.
The leathered judge kept her eyes on the road, not wanting to look at her assistant. Just my luck to have a man murdered while I'm scanning a bar for a bed companion, and have this young smart-ass catch me in action. It’s almost as embarrassing as the dildo incident with my mom. They say trouble comes in threes, so I wonder what’s next?
“How did you find out about the murder?”
“I committed it.” The blonde attorney answered calmly.
The judge immediately turned her head and glared at the young counselor. “This is no laughing matter, young lady. If this case is too big for you, I suggest you quit.”
Man...Last time I was referred to as ‘Young Lady’ I was nine years old. “Sorry, Your Honor, I was just trying to break the ice.” Gabrielle smiled.
The judge, however, remind cold and distant. She returned her blue-sapphire eyes to the road. “There’s no need for that, Counselor. I’m the investigating judge and you are my assistant. We’re not friends. You only help me solve this case and nothing more,” came her cold reply.
“Do you resent me for finding you in a gay bar?” Gabrielle blurted out the question as if it was a reflex. She couldn’t help herself; she was fed up with the condescending judge who seemed only too eager to remind her of her place.
At the sound of the question the judge glared at her, narrowing her eyes. The look she gave Gabrielle made the blood freeze in her veins. “I would be very careful if I were you...” she purred. I didn’t believe she had the nerve to talk to me this way. She’s irritating but gutsy.
“I didn’t mean disrespect, Your Honor. I just wanted to put your mind at ease. I won’t blab about what happened to anyone. Your secret is safe with me.” Gabrielle thought it was the right thing to say, but apparently the judge didn’t think so.
“Don’t do me any favors. You’d better keep your mouth shut or I’ll sue your ass” Her voice was strained and she still hadn’t looked at her assistant.
“I was just trying to be nice, Your Honor. I’m sorry.” Gabrielle sounded defeated. She tore her gaze from the other woman and looked outside the car window. She’s impossible...I can’t win with her. Nothing I say is pleasing her. Who needs it?
The heavy silence hung between them.
After several minutes the judge, still minding the road, said, “You still haven’t answered me.” She opened the car window, allowing a chilly breeze in to play with her raven-black mane.
“What was the question?” Gabrielle looked at her.
“How did you know about the murder which took place tonight?”
“My brother-in-law is a journalist. He works for Channel 10 news. He heard it on police communication and called me,” she replied.
“Thank God for small favors,” the judge muttered, almost whispering.
Silent descended once again between the two women. The judge wished her van’s CD player wasn’t broken. A little music would have made the lack of communication between me and Blondie here, a little less awkward.
“The sight you’re about to see isn’t going to be an easy thing for you, so I suggest you prepare yourself for it,” she said in a somewhat commanding cold tone.
“I’m a big girl, Your Honor, I can take care of myself,” the counselor answered firmly.
“Suit yourself, only don’t say I didn’t warn you,” came the judge’s response.
Why does she always have to have the last word? I’m so sick of it, sick of her and her ‘conqueror of the world’ attitude. She’s so bossy, bitchy, bitter, and coldhearted. Her eyes practically make the hair on my arms stand up. After tonight I’m through working with her. She can go find herself a brand-new sucker to work with. Learning from her isn’t worth a nervous breakdown.
The van stopped, pulling the young attorney out of her thoughts and resolutions.
“This is it,” the judge said.
Gabrielle noticed they were in the woods near Central Park. They both got out of the van and strode toward the crime scene. The area was illuminated by huge projectors and the blue-red lights from the police cars. Yellow tape, imprinted with ‘Police - do not cross,’ surrounded the scene. There were many people in the area, some of them with uniforms, some with white latex gloves, leaving a white-foggy trail in the cold night air.
“Are you coming or not?” the judge called from afar.
It seemed that Gabrielle was too mesmerized to move, and once out of the judge’s van, she just stood there, paralyzed, only gazing at the surreal picture before her widened eyes.
“I’m right behind you!” Gabrielle shouted back, and began walking toward the judge. Gabrielle saw the judge duck beneath the yellow tape and enter the crime scene. Before crossing the yellow line Gabrielle halted for a few moments, taking in big gulps of air.
“Who is the officer in charge of this investigation?” the judge asked loudly, catching everyone’s attention.
“Who wants to know?” came a male voice from behind them.
She turned around and faced the shorter man. “I’m Judge Lawless,” she replied.
“I’m sorry, Your Honor, I didn’t recognize you,” he said, and a small smile starched his lips.
Yeah, didn’t recognize her with the leather suit...Gabrielle mused to herself.
“I’m the investigative judge. I’m sure your superiors have informed you about it,” she said in her authoritative voice.
“Yes they have, Your Honor, and I want you to know I’ll do everything I can in order to help you with your investigation. I’ll instruct everyone to cooperate with you. If you need anything - all you have to do is ask,” he informed her.
“Well, next time, make sure to inform me of a body matching our killer’s MO as soon as you know about it. Don’t let me hear it first from another source.” It sounded as if she was reprimanding him, but she made sure no one was listening to their conversation, so as to not do it in front of his men.
“No problem, Your Honor.”
“So, what have we got here?” she asked.
“Ben Green, male, Caucasian, age 25. He was found naked and with his penis shoved down his throat. He was stabbed to death like the others, several stab wounds in his chest. He has marks on his wrists and ankles. He was probably confined by handcuffs like in previous cases. We assume he was drugged, cause we couldn’t find any straggling marks on the body. As you probably know, no skin tissues were find under the fingernails in the first two cases, so I wouldn’t expect to find them here. By the amount of blood found in the scene, just like in the previous victims, it seems he wasn’t murdered in here but elsewhere and was dumped in here after he was stabbed and emasculated. Time of death between 7:00 - 10:00 p.m. We’ll know more after the autopsy. Forensics are working on the scene now.”
“I’m here to observe their work. I want to see each and every piece of evidence picked up and labeled. Show me the body.”
She’s a control freak - it’s beyond her control. Hasn’t she heard of words such as ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’? Gabrielle thought.
“Get going, Counselor, I don’t wish to spend the night in here,” the judge said roughly.
“What do we say?” Gabrielle asked, hoping to hear a ‘please.’
“Now!” The judge replied angrily. She hates me because of the Pussy business.
“A ‘please’ would be nice,” Gabrielle said.
“Come again?” the judge asked, not believing she'd heard what she thought she'd heard.
“I said, ‘A please would be nice.’” Gabrielle repeated, a little more firmly.
“I’m not here to say 'please.' Get going or leave the scene,” the judge snorted and narrowed her blue orbs.
Gabrielle walked, defeated, toward the judge, who turned and walked toward the body. When she reached it, she observed it carefully. The men from forensics were still hovering the body, gathering samples from it and the surrounding area.
Gabrielle watched the judge supervise them. She stood behind her, not daring to come any closer. You’ve got to go there and observe the drama, Gabs. If you chicken out, she’ll never let you hear the last of it. When she felt that she had gathered enough courage, she approached the body, standing mere inches from the judge.
Nothing in the world could have prepared her for the sight before her eyes. A young man covered with blood, lifeless eyes open, staring blank at the night sky in a horrificly creepy way. A piece of red flesh, barely recognizable as a penis, was shoved down his throat. His skin was sickeningly pale. At the area of his crotch she could barely detect pubic hair beneath all the blood.
It was death in its ugliest form.
Gabrielle froze. She could hear people talking around her, but she couldn’t make out the words. The Police squads’ sirens sounded as though they were miles away. Her knees almost buckled, too weak to carry her own weight. She couldn’t breathe and she felt her heartbeats getting slower and slower, almost stopping. The blood ran out of her face and she was as pale as the late Ben Green. She was too shocked to noticed the freezing tears that streamed down her face.
From a distance she heard someone shouting: “Get her away from here! Get her away from here!” But she failed to recognized the judge’s voice. Two strong hands caught her by the arm and led her to the judge’s van. She didn’t remember climbing in.
She sat there for what seemed to be hours, but was only an hour and a half before the judge joined her in the van.
“Gabrielle?” the judge asked softly, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder.
Gabrielle turned her head toward the judge, staring at her with her sparkling, puffy green eyes.
“I’m sorry, Your Honor, for not being of any help to you, it’s just that...” Gabrielle blurted out, still hiccuping.
The judge handed her a tissue. “You don’t need to be sorry about anything. It’s only human that you would react the way you did. It’s dreadful.”
After a slight pause, allowing the young woman next to her to gather herself and calm down a little, the judge continued. “I think that after seeing me at the Pussy and then seeing a dead man with his penis shoved down his throat, all in one night, you can call me Xena.”
Gabrielle laughed and her laughter, as if contagious, made the judge laugh with her.
After a few moments they heard a tapping on the driver’s window. The judge opened it and the detective’s head popped in.
“I would like to tell you how honored I am to meet you and see you work, Your Honor,” he said, offering his hand through the window.
She shook it, a small smile evident at the corner of her face. Gabrielle was amazed at how highly appreciated the judge was.
“Good night, Your Honor.”
“Good night, Detective.”
The judge closed the window and turned to the younger woman.
“You see, Counselor, respect for one’s superior shows character,” the judge muttered with an ounce of mischief in her eyes.
“I have character,” the young blonde protested.
“Just because you *are* a character, doesn’t mean you *have* character,” the judge chuckled. She didn’t mean to mock Gabrielle, but rather to make her laugh.
Gabrielle failed in keeping a strained, offended face and burst into laughter at the judge’s remark. She was amazed at how kind, gentle, and caring the judge had been with her. If it wasn’t for the events of the night, she would have been dizzy with the sharp change in the judge's behavior. Probably feeling sorry for me for freaking out on her.
Nonetheless, Gabrielle was pretty shook up from the entire ordeal. Her stress and anxiety didn’t escape the perceptive judge. “You look like you could use a cup of coffee.”
“Yes, I could. What time is it, anyway?”
“Half past 4:00,” the judge replied.“Where do you live? I’ll drop you off at home.”
“Actually, I left my car at the Pussy,” Gabrielle responded.
After a few moments Gabrielle and Xena burst into laughter at the absurdity of the remark.
“That name has got to go.” The judge started the van, pressing on the gas pedal in order to warm it up a little.
“So, would you like me to drive you back to the...bar?” asked the judge. “Because I don’t mind dropping you off at home.”
“My place is an hour’s drive from the bar, Your Honor,” Gabrielle remarked, looking at the judge, who turned around as she backed up the van.
“Call me Xena,” the judge reminded her. “May I make a suggestion?”
“Since my house is a lot closer to Central Park, why don’t you come over to my place, take a hot shower, drink some fine coffee, and go to sleep. We’ll discuss this case tomorrow morning. You don’t look like you’re capable of talking about it right now, and you don’t look like you’re capable of driving, either.” The judge remained focused on the road and both her hands clutching the steering wheel.
Gabrielle was stunned by the judge’s softness and generosity. She wanted to spend more time with her, and she couldn’t understand why. She thought it was because in some strange way she felt safe with her, and the judge could be nice when she worked real hard on it. And in any case, the thought of an hour-long drive back to her house, after everything she’d been through, and with a serial killer on the loose, didn’t look very appealing to her at that particular moment.
“I won’t bite, I promise,” the judge added with a grin and the raising of an eyebrow.
“I’m sorry. I spaced out for a second, Xena. Staying at your house sounds like a good idea. Thank you.”
“Great,” the judge replied.
The quiet descended once again. Xena was concentrating on her driving, while her younger assistant was looking out the window.
Xena thought for a moment that the younger woman had fallen asleep. She hated to admit it, but she kind of liked the young woman. She dared stand up to her. Most of the lawyers never dared to answer back to her, not even the older ones. All they did was suck up to her, and she was beginning to grow tired of it. She felt she wasn’t challenged by anyone, and life without challenges was extremely boring.
Gabrielle was vibrant, intelligent, cheerful, charming, sensitive, bold...and gorgeous. There was no denying it - Gabrielle was breathtakingly beautiful. What made her even more charming was the fact that she wasn’t at all aware of just how beautiful she was.
The judge remembered lots of women had eyed Gabrielle at the Pu--at the bar. The young attorney had short smooth blonde hair, sparkling green eyes, soft, youthful, almost angelic features, and a slim, well toned body. When she had taken off her jacket earlier that night, Xena had observed her round, ample and firm breasts, not to mention her amazingly sculpted biceps.
Nevertheless, she’s irritating, a smart-ass with subordination issues. She lacks the respect and the manners to handle superiors. But I’ll be nice to her because, just like I told her, she didn’t have the stomach to witness a dead body. It feels good to always be right...
“Yeah?” came Gabrielle’s somewhat snoozy reply.
“We’ll be there in 5 minutes.”
“Great, thank you, Xena.” It still sounded a little odd calling ‘Judge Dread’ by her first name.
After five minutes or so, as promised, the blue-eyed woman parked her van in the driveway. Both women got out of the vehicle.
Gabrielle hadn’t had the chance to take a good look at the judge’s house the first time she'd seen it, but now she turned her attention to the huge, Old Scottish-style building. It had two stories, and a balcony surrounded the entire second floor. The tiled roof appeared black in the dark.
The judge struggled with the keys for a couple of seconds, but eventually managed to open the door. Once inside, she lit up the main hall.
The floor was like a big chessboard, set with black and white paving stones. The main hall was huge and was furnished with heavy wooden furniture. A beautiful antique cello was placed at the center of the hall, along with a note stand. From the main hall there were exits to four rooms--a kitchen, the judge’s study, a small gym and a billiard room.
The judge showed the awed Gabrielle around the house.
“Do you play the cello?” Gabrielle asked.
“Yup,” answered the judge.
“I’ve always wanted to learn to play the cello. I’ve decided once that after I finish law school and pass the bar exam, I’ll buy one and take lessons.”
“So, you like classical music.” The skepticism in the judge’s voice didn’t escape Gabrielle’s ears.
“Yes, I do, as a matter of fact.” Gabrielle was losing her temper again. Why does she always act this way, Like I’m brainless or something?
“Who’s your favorite composer?”
“I would have to say Bach...I don’t believe in God, I believe in Bach.”
“What’s your favorite piece for cello?”
“Bach’s third partite,” answered Gabrielle. She realized the judge was checking to see whether she was telling the truth, but decided to humor her, regardless of the hinted mistrust.
“What about Brahms’ Cello partite?” The judge inquired.
“He didn’t compose any,” replied Gabrielle almost triumphantly. The judge didn’t appreciate the glint in the younger woman’s tired eyes.
“I cannot believe it. I feel like I have entered the twilight zone. You and I have something in common, what a fluke," the judge said, and in an offending manner not concealing her utter amazement.
“You didn’t think I was profound or intellectual enough to listen to classical music?” Gabrielle asked.
Bingo, the judge thought. “You said it.”
The judge spoke softly, but Gabrielle heard it. She’s impossible. Maybe she’s just like those obnoxious kids who irritate people for attention...Maybe if I ignore her, she’ll give me a break...Thing is, I just can’t seem to resist the urge. I simply have to answer back to her...It’s like she demands it...It’s like she compels me.
“The bedrooms are upstairs. I’ll show you to yours. There’s a bathroom next to every bedroom, so you’ll have your privacy. I don’t have pajamas since I don’t sleep in them myself, but I’ll get you one of my shirts and boxer shorts, if you’d like.”
“Thank you, Xena,” she muttered.
The judge showed Gabrielle her room for the night. She then went next door to her own room. After a few moments, she returned to Gabrielle’s bedroom with the folded garments.
“Where will you be?” asked Gabrielle.
“I’ll take a shower myself. Afterwards I’m going downstairs for a nightcap,” answered the judge. “Would you be interested in joining me in the main-hall for a drink?”
“I don’t drink alcohol,” said Gabrielle.
“I’ll make you a cup of coffee in the kitchen, then, OK?”
“Then count me in,” Gabrielle smiled. She was astonished at this new side to Judge Lawless. Her human side. She’s almost sweet...What is this world coming to?
The judge left Gabrielle and returned to her own bedroom.
Gabrielle stripped and entered the shower. She switched on the faucet, and a stream of hot water immediately enveloped her tired, tense body. She was so absorbed in the pleasure of showering that she didn’t notice the man standing in her bedroom. After she had finished, she shut off the faucet and stepped out of the shower, wrapped a clean towel around her nakedness, and exited the bathroom. Man...that really hit the spot.
The moment she exited the bathroom and walked into her bedroom, her gaze fall upon the man who was standing inside. She immediately screamed as loud as humanly possible.
Upon hearing the screams from Gabrielle’s room, the judge immediately ran out of her bathroom, still dripping, with a towel wrapped around her body and a loaded gun in her hands. She burst into Gabrielle’s bedroom pointing the gun like an F.B.I agent, but quickly realized what was going on. She lowered her gun, unable to contain her wild laugher.
When Gabrielle saw the judge laughing, she stopped screaming--forgetting all about the man in her bedroom--and just stood and stared, completely shocked, at the judge. She’s holding a freaking hand cannon, charging in like Bruce Willis in ‘Die Hard’, and now she’s laughing like a raving lunatic?
Once the judge calmed down, she introduced them.
“Gabrielle, this is James, my housekeeper. James, this is Gabrielle, she’s an attorney who assists me on this case I’m working on. She’ll stay here for the night, since she’s too tired to drive to her own residence.” The judge felt it was important to accentuate this point to James. She thought it would shut him up and save them both remarks about their night’s activities.
“Jeez, I’m sorry, I forgot all about him. He’s the one who answered the door and told me where I could find you.” Gabrielle said to the judge. She then offered her hand to James.“I’m sorry, James. Nice to meet you...I feel like such an idiot. I guess I’m really stressed out because of the murder.”
“Apology accepted.” James shook her hand.
“What are you doing up at this hour?” The judge asked James.
What an odd situation...Judge Lawless and me, wrapped in towels, and her housekeeper only in his boxers.
“I heard the shower in the guest room and thought you’d decided to sleep in this room tonight, so I thought I’d drop by and ask how your day was.”
“It sucked. I’ll tell you all about it in the morning,”
“Fine, good night then. It was nice meeting you, Gabrielle,” he turned and left.
The two women stood in Gabrielle’s bedroom, their damp bodies barely covered by their towels.
Gabrielle couldn’t help herself, and ran her emerald eyes over the judge’s body. It was perfection. Her height, her evident strength, her muscles, the tanned skin. Seeing her with only a towel over her magnificent, dripping body stirred something deep in Gabrielle’s lower abdomen. She tried to ignore it, just like she tried to ignore her suddenly dry mouth.
“Well, if there’s nothing else, you’ll have to excuse me. I’m going to get dressed and have a heart attack in my bedroom,” said the judge with a grin.
Gabrielle chuckled in response.
Gabrielle and Xena were sitting at the kitchen table, both in T-shirts and boxer shorts, sipping coffee mixed with Irish cream.
“Hmmm...yummy,” nodded Gabrielle after tasting her coffee, and pointed at the cup in her other hand.
“I thought you might like it, Miss I-don’t-drink-alcohol,” teased the judge.
Gabrielle smiled sheepishly in return.
The judge’s expression turned serious. “Are you okay, Gabrielle?”
“I’m trying to repress the sight of that poor man, but other than that I’m much better, thank you so much, Xena,” Gabrielle said.
“That’s good to hear,” Xena sighed in relief.
Gabrielle took another sip of her coffee and wrapped both hands around the mug, absorbing the heat coming from the ceramic.
“James is a very good-looking man. Doesn’t it bother you that he walks around your house in his boxers?” Gabrielle inquired.
A slight smile remained on the judge’s face. “James is gay too. There is absolutely no problem for either of us in that aspect. For me, seeing him in his boxer shorts is like watching my mom’s cat Nuts...especially no that he's fixed, if you get my drift.”
At the sound of Xena’s last remark, Gabrielle almost snorted the coffee she was drinking through her nose. At the last minute she managed to down it, and once she did, she began laughing. I never could have guessed she has such great sense of humor. I never dreamed that ‘Judge Dread’ could be so easy going, relaxed and...well...nice. She has multiple personalities disorder - That’s it.
“Why do you keep a gun in your house?” Gabrielle asked.
“To water my plants...Why do you think? - for protection.”
“You know that more Americans die every year--” Gabrielle tried to say, but the judge cut through her speech.
“Save me the boring statistics,” the judge raised her hands in the air.
Gabrielle obediently stifled herself, and gazed at the coffee in her mug.
A few moments passed.
“Are they still calling me ‘Judge Dread’ behind my back?” Xena asked.
“I don’t know what you’re talking--” Gabrielle tried to play safe and stupid.
“Cut the crap, Gabrielle. I’m far from being an idiot. I know they're talking about me behind my back, all the lawyers who come before me. You don’t have to give me any names. Just tell me, what are they saying about me?”
“Well it seems that your popular title is indeed Judge Dread, but sometimes, especially before sentencing, they call you Judge of Doom.”
“I thought so,” grumbled Xena.
“What did you expect? You do realize you brought it on yourself, don’t you? You cooked your own goose,” Gabrielle pointed out thoughtfully.
The judge gave her a look of death. “How do you mean?”
Gabrielle decided she wasn’t going to be intimidated by the judge. “You’re extremely harsh in court. Your rulings and sentencing are way too severe.”
“When a person is convicted of a violent crime, damn straight he’ll be severely punished by me!” She glared at the blonde, aware that her blood had begun to boil in her veins. Who does she think she is? She’s a fucking rookie, barely out of law school and she thinks she can criticize me?
“Last month you sentenced a 20-year-old man who slapped his wife to five years imprisonment. Don’t you think that punishment is a little excessive?” argued the blonde, still avoiding the judge's angry gaze.
“No, I don’t. So I gave him the max for slapping his wife. I don’t see the problem.”
“The problem is that I don’t think a slap in the face calls for five years in the big house,” Gabrielle replied and placed her cup of coffee on the table, following her movement with her eyes.
“I think it does.” The judge almost roared.
“He’ll only come out more violent and more frustrated.” Gabrielle tried to explain, to make the judge see a different point of view.
“I beg to differ. I did society in general, and his wife in particular, a huge favor. Had he stayed with her, his violent behavior toward her would have escalated over the years. I might have saved his wife’s life.” The judge looked into her assistant’s eyes and raised an eyebrow.
“Yes, but you cannot sentence a person for five years for things he might do in the future.”
“Don’t give me any lectures about the demand of Actus Reus and Mens Rea to establish criminal offense. I am the teacher and you are the student.” The judge tried to put Gabrielle in her place, but couldn’t quite do it. Deep in her heart, she found Gabrielle’s argumentative nature to be absolutely charming.
“You could have sentenced him for...I don’t know, six months and counseling,” Gabrielle suggested. She didn’t admitt it to herself at that point, but she enjoyed arguing with the judge. She sure as hell gives you your money’s worth.
“Counseling doesn’t help. Once a wife beater always a wife beater. Do you know that recidivism amongst violent crime offenders goes as high as 70%? That means that 70% of those convicted of violent crimes will repeat their crime again. I keep them off the streets for as long as I’m allowed by law. That’s my service to the public.”
Gabrielle decided that maybe it was best to surrender. She exhaled heavily. “You’re a judge, where is your compassion?” She asked after a few moments of silence.
“Compassion?” the judge exclaimed, and slammed her fist down . “I feel compassion towards the victims!”
“But you brutalize the offenders.”
The argument became more heated. Gabrielle couldn’t believe she was talking to the judge the way she was.
“Well, that’s why they pay me the big bucks,” the judge smirked.
“You’re supposed to serve justice in your courtroom,” Gabrielle maintained her serious expression.
“I do!” the judge almost lost her temper.
“Sometimes, when a defense attorney is assigned to a certain case, he frantically seeks a plea bargain with the prosecutor simply because he’s afraid of the punishment you’ll bestow upon his client. Many times you aren’t even willing to accept plea bargains. Why? If it’s good enough for the people, shouldn’t it be good enough for you?” Gabrielle felt her face were as if as on fire.
“I *am* the people, Counselor. What do you think a judge is? A referee in a football game? Just a person who watches that all sides play by the rules? A judge does more than make sure the defense and prosecution are playing by the rules.”
She took a deep breath and continued. “All my rulings, as controversial as they might be, are within the boundaries of the law. I know I’m harsh, but I am fair. Besides, what do you know about justice, little girl? So far you haven’t come across real criminals, real animals. You’ve never defended a murderer or a rapist so far, have you? I have. I was a brilliant criminal defense lawyer, and I defended murderers and rapists and child molesters...I know what’s it like. In six years of being a lawyer, I’ve never lost a case. Have no doubt in your mind, this house, the pool in the back, my cars...I’m stinking rich for what I’ve managed to earn in those six years. My services were expensive because I was good at what I did. They don’t pay me this good for being a judge.”
“Why did you give up your practice for the robe?” She asked her question gently, since she could feel the judge was a little upset.
“Let me tell you a little story. As a criminal defense attorney, you know that clients usually don’t tell their lawyers the truth, because then they are stuck with the truth. A lawyer cannot put his client on the stand if he knows he’s going to lie.” The judge paused and took a sip from her coffee as if to calm herself. “Have you heard of ‘the grass humper’?”
“Yeah, He was a serial killer. He brutally raped teenaged girls and killed them afterwards. He took them to parks and raped them on patches of grass, that’s why they called him the grass humper,” Gabrielle remembered.
“I was his lawyer. Unlike most of my clients, he disclosed the truth. He confessed to me that he was the one who committed those crimes. He told me about his victims, about what he had done to them...He took such pride in his work...It was sickening.”
The judge wouldn’t look at Gabrielle, who sensed that the judge was ashamed of what she had done.
After a few moments the judge continued. “But he was my client, and my job was to get him acquitted. It was brought to my attention that the search the cops did in his house was illegal. The judge ruled that the murder weapon and the girls’ underwear weren’t admissible in court during the trail. I filed a motion to dismiss and the judge granted as motioned.”
Gabrielle kept quiet. She knew it wasn’t the end of the tale. She noticed the tremors in the judge’s body.
“Three days after he was released from custody, he raped and murdered my neighbor’s daughter. She was only twelve years old. The twisted son of a bitch murdered her because he knew I knew her and her parents. He was daring me, teasing me. Her mother spit in my face and I deserved it. There was nothing I could tell the parents to justify my actions. I shouldn’t have argued that the search wasn’t legal. He was too dangerous to be loose because of technicalities,” the judge struggled to maintain her stoic expression.
When she didn’t continue, Gabrielle asked her with a soft voice, “What happened then?”
“My neighbors moved away. I never saw them again.”
“And the grass humper?”
“He was convicted for killing and raping another girl. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. He succeeded in raping and murdering two more girls before he was caught. Their blood is on my hands, to some extent. Afterwards, I decided a switch of sides was in order, and one thing led to another, and I was nominated to serve as a judge...too little too late. In any case, I’m the one who’s putting the animals in the cages where they belong.”
Caught up in memory lane, she traced the rim of her coffee cup with her index finger, not looking at Gabrielle. Guilt was evident on her face. She was surprised she'd opened up her heart before Gabrielle, given she didn’t really know her. “Real life is a whole lot different than what they teach you in law school, Gabrielle.”
“What happened wasn’t your fault. You did what you had to do - by law. You were just doing your job.” Gabrielle looked at the judge.
“Just doing my job...” the judge repeated.
“What you did took a lot of courage,” Gabrielle placed her hand on Xena’s, surprising the judge.
“Nope, it took a lot of vanity,” the judge corrected.
“You’re being too hard on yourself,” Gabrielle whispered. She was surprised at how humble the judge sounded at that moment.
“Let’s talk about happier things.”
“You’ll get no arguments from me.” Gabrielle chuckled, and moved her hand away from the judge’s.
“That’s a first,” the judge smirked.
Gabrielle bit her lower lip and ignored the judge’s remark. “You know, I couldn’t believe you actually remembered me from law school, especially since I didn’t exactly stick out. You must remember all your students then,” Gabrielle said as she rose to place her empty cup in the sink.
The judge followed her movement with her eyes.
“As a matter of fact, I particularly remember you, because I saw you making out with this guy in the law faculty cafeteria,” the judge grinned.
Gabrielle froze halfway back to her seat. Then she slowly sat down. A slight touch of crimson colored her cheeks. I wish they’d found another body just about now...
“Oh man...this is so embarrassing...” she murmured, and placed her palm to cover her eyes.
“You don’t have to be embarrassed. These things happen to the best of us,” the judge chuckled, reveling in her assistant’s embarrassment. She looks absolutely adorable when she blushes.
“He was my boyfriend. It didn’t work out. We broke up last year,” Gabrielle said, taking her hand from her eyes and looking into Xena’s baby-blues.
“Yeah, well, that’s relationships for ya...” the judge muttered and rose to her feet.
“What do you mean?” Gabrielle asked.
“They never last. It always takes you too long to find out you’ve been sharing your life with a jerk.” The judge sounded more than happy to reply.
“You’re such a cynic. Just because it didn’t work out with a few people doesn’t mean you won’t find your soulmate.” Gabrielle responded with utter conviction.
“For a minute there, I thought you were a grownup,” the judge mocked.
“I am a grownup! Just not as bitter as you.” Gabrielle felt she was on the verge of losing her temper.
How refreshing, a lawyer who doesn’t suck up to me, thought the judge.
“Careful, Counselor, It’s not smart to piss me off,” she purred.
“I see that it doesn’t take much to do that.” Gabrielle smirked.
“Why can’t you shut up when called for?”
“Why can’t you?” Gabrielle couldn’t believe she actually said it. If I keep this up I’ll be spending the night with another lesbian--the one in the slammer. Someone will make me their little wifey...Christ.
“I’m the judge!”
“Look who’s talking...”
After blissful silence had descended again, the judge said, “I still don’t believe in relationships.”
“Too bad. You’ll never be truly happy.” Gabrielle felt she was crossing too many lines that she shouldn’t with the judge, but couldn’t help herself. She wasn’t going to let the judge have the last word this time. She wanted to know what made the judge so bitter as far as relationships went, just out of curiosity, but didn’t dare to ask. It was a too personal a subject to be addressed to the judge.
The judge didn’t answer. She couldn’t honestly say she was a happy person. It had been a long time since she allowed her heart to fly freely. She'd forgotten how exhilarating being in love can be. But, hey, I don’t remember how it feels to pick up the pieces after a woman breaks your heart either.
“God! It’s 6:00 already,” cried the judge.
“I need to get some sleep,” yawned Gabrielle as she stood up. “Aren’t we supposed to meet with the Psychiatrist at 10:00 a.m.? What was her name again?”
“Dr. Simba Straub.”
“Her name is Simba?” Gabrielle opened two astonished eyes.
“She was very moved by the Disney film “The Lion King,”” the judge explained. She couldn’t deny how ludicrous it sounded, but showed nothing to suggest it, neither in her voice, nor in her expression.
“Her name is Simba?” Gabrielle repeated in the same tone as before.
“She left me a message that she won’t be able to make it today. We’ll have to reschedule."
“Her name is Simba?” Gabrielle went on, as if the statement was her mantra.
“Get over it, Gabrielle!” the judge ordered loudly.
When she saw Gabrielle about to blurt out this annoying sentence once more, she felt she had no choice. “She used to be my lover.”
Gabrielle became quiet at once and stared at the judge.
That shut her up, the judge thought.
“What’s the matter? Aren’t you shocked that her name is Simba anymore?” the judge asked sarcastically, raising an eyebrow.
Gabrielle shook her head, but said nothing.
“It’s been a long day. I suggest we go get some sleep,” the judge muttered, and Gabrielle nodded.
They both went up the stairs and each retired to her own room. Both women cuddled beneath the covers in their own beds and fell asleep.
Darkness, cold night air, the sounds of wind playing with the leaves, a body lying on the ground, no movement, stillness, a short blonde hair, closed eyes, pale blue complexion, blood at the crotch.
Gabrielle woke up with a start, screaming hysterically and panting, cold sweat covering her body. At that moment, the door to her bedroom opened and the judge raced in. Gabrielle, deeply upset, stretched her arms toward the other woman.
Xena sat on the bed and collected the small, trembling body into her own, placing a protective hand behind Gabrielle's head. As she firmly embraced the young attorney, the judge gently rocked her.
“It’s OK, everything is fine...I’m here..You’re safe,” Xena whispered soothing, soft words into Gabrielle’s ear.
“I saw my dead body in my dream...It was horrible...It looked so real...”
“Shshshsh....It was just a dream...”
Gabrielle’s body succumbed to the warmth that radiated from Xena’s body. Her tense body relaxed, and she embraced the judge as well.
She felt protected.
Continue to part 3
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