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 guys, I think this is the longest time it's ever taken me to update this story. I've been so busy lately and when I have time to write, I've actually been writing most of the chapters later in this story. Thank you all for sticking with me, I really appreciate it. Hopefully when I go on holiday in just over a week, I'll more time to write and update. If you want to email me to comment on this story, my address jacklavigne13@hotmail .com
I woke up as dawn begun to lighten the sky from black to pale gray and to a bird that made its presence known outside on the balcony, singing softly. I let my eyelids flutter open, feeling disorientated for a moment as I gazed up at the night sky, before I realized that it was the painted ceiling in the guest room that Gabrielle was staying in. As I did every morning, I took stock of my body, starting by wiggling my toes and ending with stretching my neck. Everything seemed to be in order, though my right arm was incapacitated and my side was comfortably warm.
I didn't remember falling asleep, nor did I remember how Gabrielle managed to sprawl her body over mine, though I couldn't find it in myself to move her. I told myself that she must have moved in her sleep, her body seeking the warmth of my own unconsciously. The thought caused a wry smile to tug at my lips, berating myself internally for not moving immediately even as I relaxed further into the soft mattress.
I stretched my arm which was being used as a pillow, in attempt to rid myself of the numbness. I quickly stopped as Gabrielle murmured in her sleep, snuggling even closer to my body; something I thought would have been impossible considering her position. Her muscular thigh was draped over my hip, and one hand was curled around my upper arm where her head rested, while her other arm was thrown over my chest. She had me securely pinned to the bed and I found myself hardly minding at all.
The Gods only knew what Alexandria would do if she happened to walk through the door. Probably kill us both, I mused to myself silently, and she'd have every reason to. I had practically pushed her into a marriage, causing her to lose the woman she loved and to face the scorn and hatred of my enemies. In all honesty, I knew the only reason she had agreed was out of loyalty to me.
Loyalty that I was currently spitting on and throwing in her face.
My sigh turned into a choked gasp as Gabrielle moaned in her sleep, pushing her center against my hip. I muffled a moan of my own as her body shuddered and repeated the motion. She must have heard me because moments later, her eyelashes were fluttering and then I was looking into the most beautiful pair of dazed green eyes I've ever seen.
"Morning?" I offered with a slightly embarrassed grin. I tried to ignore the feeling of her body pressed against mine, along with the smell of arousal that permeated the room but I swear my body was working against me. Already I could feel my nipples tightening underneath the silk shirt I wore as wetness gathered between my thighs.
Fuck loyalty, I thought to myself as the beast took over for a moment in my aroused state. I want her.
"Mm," She grunted, a sleepy smile playing her lips as she looked up at me through pale eyelashes. "So, that wasn't a dream."
I opened my mouth to speak and promptly snapped in shut with an audible click as I feet her press her wetness against my thigh once more with a down right devious chuckle. The beast growled in my chest and my fingers curled around the bed sheets beneath my body, gripping them tightly. It was taking everything in me not to just take what was being offered to me so willingly.
"Gabrrrrielle," I growled which only caused her to laugh outright, her body shaking and causing her hips to press forwards again. I spat out several curves, narrowing my eyes at the blonde as she continued to laugh until she was gasping for breath.
"Gods, I've missed you," She sighed, looking up at me with twinkling eyes. A smile pulled at my lips despite my best attempt to stop it.
"I've missed you too," I muttered, dropping my eyes. It lasted for only a second, until I felt her fingers tilting my chin up to meet her gaze. Her stare was so intense and I found myself drowning in the pools of emerald that I had spent so many nights dreaming about.
And then her lips were on mine before I could even think about kissing her first.
I opened my mouth to gasp in surprise, but only succeeded in giving her permission to slip her tongue between my parted lips. I groaned as she explored my mouth, acknowledging the fact that I was making no attempt to push her away. Instead, I found my hands holding her waist and pulling her closer until I could feel her warm body pressed completely against me. I whimpered pathetically in protest when our lips finally parted, my eyes blinking dazedly as I gazed back at her.
"I'm sorry," She whispered, a mixture between extreme desire and frustration on her face. "I didn't... You're getting married… I don't..."
You're getting married.
I sighed softly, turning my head and burying my face into the pillow. I wouldn't deny it; I wanted Gabrielle. I wanted her so bad that I was aching for her. I had come to her room specifically for that reason, no matter how much I denied it. I didn't want to marry Alexandria because I knew deep down that I had never truly wanted her. I wanted Gabrielle.
I loved her.
So I told her.
The words had been muffled in the pillow pressed against my face and I groaned in frustration before turning my head to look at Gabrielle. Her eyebrow was raised slightly as she gazed at me in slight bemusement. I sighed softly, shaking my head and decided that it was for the best that she didn't hear me. My life was already too complicated and despite my feelings, I had promised myself that I wouldn't hurt Alexandria this way.
"Never mind," I smiled wryly before pushing myself off the bed, needing distance between myself and the woman that I wanted so badly to touch. I straightened my clothes, averting my eyes from the blonde's half naked body as I attempted to deal with my emotions. "I need to get back to my room. I have court soon."
"I'll walk you," Gabrielle offered, jumping up and trading her thin shift for a soft white tunic before I could protest. I sighed heavily and made my way to the door, opening for the Amazon before slipping out into the corridor behind her.
The palace was quiet in the guest quarters at this early hour and I found myself thankful for that as I walked besides the blonde Amazon Queen. I watched her out of the corner of my eye, amused by the frustration that still showed on her face.
“You know what?” Gabrielle finally spoke as we walked up a flight of stairs that led to my rooms. “You're a tease.”
“Oh really?” I chuckled.
“Really,” Gabrielle nodded. “I mean, even in my dreams, you always stop before it gets to the good part.”
“Is that what you were dreaming about?”
“That's what I'm always dreaming about,” The blonde said, turning head to give me a cheeky grin. “Did you know that in my dreams, we f-“
"Shh," I whispered suddenly, cutting the bard off midsentence as I placed a hand on her chest to stop her movements. She obeyed immediately, following my lead as I slipped into the shadows behind a carved statue of Ares and listened intently. I watched quietly as she tilted her head, straining to hear the voice that had stopped me in my tracks.
"I need to know who my allies are; Brutus will be here soon enough."
The slightly muffled voice was painfully familiar and I closed my eyes as I listened to Alexandria speak while trying to figure out who she was conversing with. The other voice was deeper and obviously male, but it was too quiet and muffled for me to figure out who it was or understand what they were saying.
"Good. We need men our side, but we need to be discreet," Alexandria's voice sounded again, low and serious. "If anyone finds out about this, everything will be ruined."
There were several more muffled words and then I heard footsteps, thankfully walking in the opposite direction from us. I looked down into Gabrielle's wide eyes, holding her gaze until I was sure that my consort was gone before moving out of the shadows and continuing my journey to my quarters.
"That bitch!" Gabrielle exclaimed as she hurried to catch up with me, her green eyes flashing with anger. "I can't believe it, Xena. I knew something was up, but to hear Alexandria actually conspiring against you and turning your own people against you! It's making me feel sick."
I nodded, keeping quiet as Gabrielle fell into a thoughtful silence beside me. I didn't speak until we were walking down the corridor that led to my room, stopping in the open door way and turning to one of my guards. “I want you to go to my captains rooms and tell them to meet me here in a candlemark. Make sure that General Alexandria doesn't hear about it though, okay?”
The soldier seemed confused at my words but he nodded smartly before starting down the corridor at a jog. I sighed to myself softly before motioning Gabrielle through the door and following her.
Just what I needed, more complications.
To Be Continued
Return to the Academy