Between Love and Execution


Disclaimer; The below characters are the sole property of Renaissance Pictures, I'm just playing with them a little bit. There is a loving relationship between two women but nothing at all graphic. This takes place during the episode When the Fates Collide between the attack on the Empress from Alti and Her meeting with Alti in cell. I took a few liberties with the time line to allow my tale to make sense but it is basically true to the original story.

Author's note; This story is a result of an interesting challenge from one of my Internet friends Grace Halden, I hope she likes the results of the gentle gauntlet she threw down in front of me. Enjoy J

        I was lying in bed next to my husband trying to make sense of the jumble of images that made up Alti's attack on me. It all felt so real. I felt like I could have reached out and touched that life. I knew that other me. I knew her very well. I gazed at the man sleeping beside me, his image was in it as well. He was the same yet different. So was the playwright Gabrielle. She was different too. Closer.

        My mind drifted to the evening with her. Her play held me captive for the two full hours it took the actors to perform it. I could see that it had bored Caesar to death. Normally I would have been just as bored. Something in the play touched my heart though. It felt like the memories that Alti filled me with but Gabrielle's words of love had a far different affect on my psyche.

        Her words touched my heart and soul so deeply, so quickly I could barely catch my breath. When the beauty floated on to the stage I could not take my eyes from her. When I was finally able to catch her eye it felt like a bolt of lightning had hit me. It was a pleasant and stimulating shock though. I knew at that moment I had to meet her. I did and we talked non-stop for an hour till Caesar dragged me away. I knew I monopolized her but it was my right as Empress to do so. For once I did enjoy that privilege. I really enjoyed talking to her. I felt like I was home for the first time in a many, many years.

        I looked at Caesar. He was fast asleep. I gathered my robes and left my rooms quickly. I had to speak with her again and it had to be now she was due to leave Rome tomorrow for the rest of her tour.

  ***   ***       ***   ***

        I knocked on her door and the sleepy blonde opened it. Her eyes widened as she recognized me and she fell to her knees her head bowed. “My Empress, I..I..”

        “No Gabrielle, Please don't. I came to see you. I am here only as a friend. Do you want to be my friend?”

        Beautiful green eyes lifted and met mine, my words and my presence surprised her. I put my hand out to help her up. She put her hand cautiously in mine. I can't describe the feelings that shot through me as I gently pulled her to her feet. I smiled and said, “May I come in?”

        “Of course, Empress,” She replied hoarsely, I could tell I was affecting her too. She shyly lowered her head and backed up so I could enter her room.

        “Xena, Just call me Xena here please. I don't want any formality between us when we're alone.”

        “Um, What do you want from me…um, Xena?”

        “I want to be your friend.”

        Gabrielle shook her head as if she was trying to clear it, ”Why? I guess I mean why me?”

        I smiled and tilted my head, “Why not you? I like you. I think you're a fascinating person. Your work was intoxicating to me and I…well….I feel a connection.” I sat down on one of the guest chairs and gestured with my head that she should do the same.

        “ A connection?” She asked as she sat down next to me.

        “Yes, From the moment I heard the words of your play. It spoke to me. Then when I saw you…I felt…well, a connection. I don't know any other way to explain this feeling. Do you feel it too?”

        Gabrielle nodded, “Yes, I felt like I was shot with an arrow when our eyes met for the first time. It scared me. I never in my life felt anything like it before. It was like a strange sense of Déjà vu…”

        “Yes…That's it exactly!” Our eyes met and I just couldn't help myself. I got up and kneeled beside her. I placed my hands on each cheek and looked deeply into her hypnotic eyes, “You draw me to you like a moth to the flame. I have never in my life felt like this before.” I said quietly as if to myself.

        “Not even with your husband,” She asked me in shaky voice.

        “No, I never felt this for him. I felt lust and the lure of power for him. He has betrayed me as a husband countless times since we wed. I only stay with him for our people. I have the compassion he lacks. I balance his mad race for world domination. As long as I rule beside him our people are safe.”

I caressed her cheeks as I continued to stare into her mesmerizing eyes, ”I feel… a hunger when I see you, it is not lust or an animal attraction. It so much more. I feel it so strongly that I can barely stand it. It is a feeling I only have dreamed of…” Her cheeks were warm in my hands. Our bodies had moved so close that they seemed to have merged.

        “What do you mean, Xena?” Gabrielle asked her eyes were transfixed by my own, her breathing was erratic, as was mine. I closed my eyes as she said my name. I felt her voice penetrate me right to the core of my soul, I opened them again and her eyes were searing into mine with the same feelings that I felt, “You touch my heart, Gabrielle. You touch my soul…I know it sounds incredible but I think I'm in love with you,” Then I finally did what I wanted to since I first laid eyes on her. I kissed her with all the love and passion that was in my heart. I could feel her return the kiss with equal desire, love and passion.

        I'm home I thought as I felt myself live within the moment of the kiss. A knocking on the playwright's door interrupted this wonderful floating feeling.

        “What!” I growled at it.

        “My Empress, Caesar stirs you must return to your chambers.” My eyes met my soul mates, She had stolen my heart. I whispered, “I will be back in the morning. Don't leave Rome yet. We need to figure this out.”

        Gabrielle nodded her agreement. I gently kissed her again and left to my own bedchamber.

  ***   ***   ***     ***

        “Where have you been?”

        “I went to take a walk and then I did some drills in the forest.” I answered as I went to my wardrobe to select my clothes for the day.

        “So you feel better after your attack?”

        “Sure, Never better in fact.” I said as I went to my dressing room to change for my day.

  ***   ***   ***   ***   ***

        I rushed to my love as soon as I heard of her imprisonment. After I talk to her about the charges against her from Alti and Caesar. I stopped at the door and then turned back to look at her. I saw how they had shorn her beautiful hair and the prison rags they had put her into and my heart broke into a million pieces. I finally had to say all that was in my heart.

        “I will clear you of this I promise…Gabrielle, I do love you. I love you so deeply it hurts. I won't let him hurt you. I can't understand why he would accuse you of this. You are such a gentle soul. Alti is evil. I have known that a long time. I warned Caesar of it but he ignores me and listens to that sorceress. I can understand her being condemned completely. But you my sweet Gabrielle, I know that when you say you have never harmed anyone that it is the truth. I will save you because in saving you I will save myself and my own soul.”

        I start to call the guard so I can confront Alti but Gabrielle stops me with her words, “I don't understand any of this but I do need you to understand Empress that I love you too. I have never felt anything like this before. I have dreamt of it and wrote about it from those dreams but it is always seemed just beyond my reach. You placed it with in my grasp and I'm very grateful I met you.”

        “Please call me Xena, Gabrielle.” I walked back to her enfolded her in my arms and kissed her with all the love I felt bubble up from inside me over flowing from my heart. When we parted I said desperately, “I have to go now. I have to confront Alti and get Caesar to stay your execution. I love you Gabrielle, I will stop him. I promise.” Then I caressed her cheek and gently dried her tears. I called the guard and left to stop the crucification of the woman I loved.

The End
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