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Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle, Argo and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated show Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringment was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers and copyright notices.

Note: All works remain the copyright of the origional author. These may not be republished without the authorís consent.

Warning:

This story depicts scenes of extreme violence and/or their aftermath. Some readers may be disturbed by this type of depication and anyone who is sensitive to this particular issue may wish to read something other than this story.


Hatred Shapes Rome
by Alex Ringler
CallistoXE@aol.com


It was a dark night as Xena and Gabrielle laid by the fire somewhere near Rome. Gabrielle was trying to convince Xena to go around Rome instead of crossing through it and possibly confronting Caesar.

"Now Xena I know you want to go through Rome," Gabrielle said sympathizing. "I just think itís too risky."

"Gabrielle, I told you. I put my hatred for Caesar aside a long time ago. I think I can control myself," Xena said somewhat annoyed.

"But do you think Caesar can?" Gabrielle said, sitting up. "If he knew you were in Rome, he would find you, and who knows what heíd do. Do you remember last time, Xena? He put you in that arena. There could be more than just a few warriors in there this time . . . "

"Gabrielle, I understand your concerns, but I can handle Caesar."

Gabrielle looked away concerned. She couldnít understand why Xena would want to go anywhere near Caesar. The only answer she could come up with was that Xena was looking for one final stand off with Caesar.

Xena sat up and touched Gabrielleís shoulder trying to comfort her. "The route through Rome is the fastest way. We have to be in Valletta to catch that ship to Amphipolis in five days. If we donít take this path, we wonít make it in time. Itís the only way."

"Canít you send a message? Why are we going to Amphipolis anyways? You wonít tell me . . . "

"My mother is getting married."

"What?"

"I hear heís a very nice man, but I just want to be there for my mother."

"Xena," Gabrielle said putting her arm around Xena. "Now, donít take this the wrong way, but couldnít you send a message or something saying youíll be late. Iím sure theyíll hold up the wedding for you."

Xena became angry. "Listen." She said as she stood. "We will go through Rome, we will get to Valletta in five days and we WILL get on that boat to Amphipolis and be there in time."

"THEN YOUíLL HAVE TO DO IT WITHOUT ME!" Gabrielle yelled, standing, almost to tears. "I canít do it Xena. I canít watch that side of you come out again. You might say that your hatred is buried, but when youíre near him it comes all out again." A tear ran down her cheek. "Please Xena . . . Itís just another day around Rome. Please do this. If not for yourself for me."

"Okay Gabrielle," Xena said as she went to hug Gabrielle. "I didnít know it meant that much to you? Weíll go around, okay? Iíll send word to my mom. Iím sure sheíll understand."

Gabrielle looked into Xenaís eyes. "Thanks." She knew that it was important to Xena to make it to Amphipolis in time. She wanted to say "Itís okay weíll go through Rome," but she still wasnít sure. They both laid down and began to fall asleep. "You know, itís not that I donít trust you, itís Caesar I donít trust." She did trust Xena now that she knew Xena only wanted to go through Rome to get to Valletta fast and not to encounter Caesar.

"Yes I know. Caesar can be a shifty character. I fell victim to him once. You were right to be concerned that it might happen again." Xena knew that she would never trust Caesar enough to fall into his clutches again. Even though her hatred for him was buried, she was still aware of what he was capable of. "Iíll see you in the morning."

"Good night," Gabrielle said.

As they fell asleep Xenaís mind fell into a dream. She found herself on a beach. She looked all around herself and saw crosses lining the shore. She saw the backs of the people as they hung there in agony. She was standing behind a woman, whose cross was blinding her from the sun. Two figures stood in front of the woman. They were dressed in fine gold and silver. Xenaís eyes were blurry as though she had just woken up so she walked closer to get a better look at the men. As she walked forward, she saw them. It was Caesar and one of his noblemen. All of a sudden it was like a dam burst. Her anger that she had buried came flooding back into her body wanting to escape through kicks and punches. "YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!" Xena screamed as she flew toward Caesar lunged back with one leg out in front of her. To her surprise, her kick didnít land on Caesarís chest, it went right through him as though he were a ghost. As she landed face down in the surf she realized that this wasnít only a dream, it was history. A part of her past. She was sure of this when she looked up to see herself hanging from the cross. She heard Caesar give the order, "Break her legs.". As the mallet met Xenaís legs and she saw and heard herself scream, she awoke hearing herself screaming in the same agony as that day on the beach.

"XENA . . . Xena whatís wrong?!" Gabrielle said concerned.

Xena was shaking all over. Sweat drenched her body. "Iím fine. Letís just go back to sleep."

"Youíre sure?"

"Yeah. Weíll talk in the morning."

"Okay. Good night, Xena."

"Good night, Gabrielle."

A few minutes later Gabrielle was asleep. Xena, however, was too spooked from her dream and couldnít fall asleep. She stayed awake staring at the fire as it burned out.

The sun began to peak over the horizon and Xena was fully dressed in her armor and weapons and ready to leave.

"Gabrielle . . . Gabrielle?" Xena said shaking Gabrielle awake.

"Xena?" Gabrielle yawned. "Itís early."

"I thought weíd get an early start. Weíll still go around Rome, but weíll go to the outermost edge of it so I can find a messenger."

"Okay. How long have you been up?"

"Not long," Xena said tossing Gabrielleís staff to her so sheíd catch it. "Címon pack your stuff up. Iíll get Argo."

"Right," Gabrielle said pulling herself up with her staff.

Later, as the two walked through a marketplace Xena left Argo and went to look for a messenger while Gabrielle went to get something to eat for her and Xena.

As Xena walked around, she heard stories being told of how cruel Caesar was being.

"Caesar threw my brothers into that Colosseum where they weíre killed by two warriors," one crying woman told another villager. "My brothers were villagers. They didnít stand a chance."

"Thatís nothing. He threw my husband in that Colosseum for only stealing a loaf of bread to feed our family," the other one wept. "For that he was mauled my two lions in front of an audience of thousands. Now me and my three children have no money. That man doesnít deserve to live."

Xena put one hand on her head trying to contain her anger. His name flew by her face every second. His mere name sent her mind into a frenzy. Her blood boiled in her veins and pulsed through her body the way it did in her dream. The hatred she had buried for so long was working its way back into her soul. She remembered Milila, the girl who saved her from the cross and gave her life so that she could live. She remembered that the ones who killed her were sent by Caesar. The stories of Caesarís vicious acts flowed into Xenaís head as Gabrielle walked up behind Xena.

Just then, something inside of Xena snapped.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Xena screamed as she launched her chakram into a tree and fell to her knees.

Everyone stared at Xena as Gabrielle ran to her. "Xena?" Gabrielle questioned. "What happened? Whatís wrong?" Gabrielle looked into Xenaís eyes and saw the rage that dwelled inside of her. She looked around to see everyone staring at them. "Letís go, Xena."

Xena looked around as well then turned to Gabrielle and said softly but firmly, "No."

"Xena . . . "

"NO!" Xena yelled this time and pushed Gabrielle away. She whistled for Argo who came galloping from around the corner. After mounting Argo, she retrieved her chakram from the tree and rode into the city of Rome.

"By the gods," Gabrielle said standing up. "Sheís going after Caesar."

"Going after Caesar?" a villager asked. "YES! KILL HIM! KILL THE BASTARD!" Cheers like that rushed out of every villagerís mouth.

Gabrielle looked around. "Stop it! STOP IT!" she yelled at the villagers, but her efforts were of no use. The villagersí yells for justice and revenge drowned her out. Quickly Gabrielle picked up her staff and ran after Xena.

Meanwhile, Xena rode through the town slicing the throat of every Roman soldier she saw with her sword. Her fierce battle cry, "LILILILILILILILI!" rang through the town. She rode to just below the window of Caesarís second floor personal quarters. Xena had made sure that by the time she and Argo had gotten there no one would be following them. She sent Argo out of Rome for her safety and then grabbed for her chakram. "Wait," Xena said softly to herself. "Itís too easy this way."

Xena examined the tall wall up to the window carefully, then sprung into action. She did five back handsprings up the wall and then a back tuck onto the windowsill. She looked into the room to see armor, weapons, gold, a desk, and a bed. Beside the bed lay a set of clothes. She looked at the figure in the bed and saw it was a manís. She took her dagger out of her boot and crept toward the bed, making sure she wasnít heard at all. As she stepped to the side of the bed, she raised the dagger with one smooth move. Then, with one final cry, she plunged the knife down. However, the person under the sheets rolled over and screamed because the dagger hit his side. Xena pulled the covers off of the figure and to her surprise it wasnít Caesar! It was a man she did not recognize.

"No, please! Donít kill me," the man said.

Xena darted her head around the room for a second. Then ran to the window and looked down. She saw ten Roman soldiers waiting for her. She flipped back over the bed to the door in hopes of escaping there. She flung open the door with all of her might, but the only thing waiting was a net which was thrown over her head. As she struggled to get out, two Roman guards came to hold her arms and Caesar entered the same clothes he wore on the day they met.

When the guards had a good hold on her, he lifted the net off of her head and spoke to her staring in her eyes. "Did you really think that I wouldnít know you were coming? I know when people are 100 miles from me, much more someone who rides through my city screaming and killing my men. Tsk Tsk Tsk. You let your emotions overcome you sensibilities. I guess my "divide and conquer" plan really worked, didnít it? Oh, donít bother speaking, Xena. Youíre already going to be held in the dungeon for disturbing peace. You wouldnít want to add to your crimes, would you?"

"Youíre the one disturbing the peace, you bastard," Xena said in a quiet rage. "Killing anyone and EVERYONE you chose!"

Caesar lifted his chin to one of the guards holding Xena and he clubbed her over the head with the handle of his sword. When Xena fell to the ground, the guards began dragging her out of the room. "Chain up her legs, her arms, and her waist." Caesar said to the guards. "I want her suspended off the ground. I do not want her standing. Do you understand?"

"Yes Caesar," the guards said in unison as the saluted.

Caesar saluted and walked toward the bed. "Brutus, you did well. I am pleased."

"Thank you, Caesar . . . but, please, Iím injured." Brutus said, weakly " She got me with her dagger. Iím bleeding pretty badly."

"Well, then you should get yourself to a healer. I havenít the time to deal with you right now. I need to see that Xena is properly restrained," Caesar said.

"But Caesar . . ."

"Brutus, I pardoned you and your friend Cassius from siding with Pompey. Donít make me regret it." With this, Caesar left the room.

Brutus picked up Xenaís dagger from the bed and limped to the door trailing blood all the way. He walked out and shut the door.

In the dungeon Xena was suspended in the air with chains on her ankles, wrists, and around her midsection. Her armor and weapons had been stripped from her and put in a bag beside the dungeon guard. The guard, looking through Xenaís things came across her chakram. He brought it to Xena and spoke to her, "Well . . . Xena. Your infamous chakram." he said as Xena just stared back at him. "You killed my brother with this. I saw you. Iíve been waiting to crush it . . . and you!"

The guard began to crush Xenaís mighty weapon when, "Stop that Micatres," Caesar said. "Now that we have the chakram, we can reproduce it and teach the army how to use it." Caesar tossed the chakram into the bag and Micatres sat next to it again. Caesar went to Xena and looked up at her. "Youíve threatened my city for the last time, Xena," he said loudly. Then more softly, so only he and Xena could hear it, he said, "You came here for an absolution, an ending. And believe me, there will be one. When word is out that you died by my order in the Colosseum, no one will dare wage war on Rome." Then loudly again he said, "Your execution is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon." He looked toward Micatres. "Micatres, send for the executioner." He then looked back to Xena. "Good bye Xena."

Caesar, the two guards, and Micatres left leaving Xena alone in her cell.

Gabrielle who had been hiding at the window, then crept in. "Xena," she said softly, "Címon, letís get out of here."

"These locks are too strong. There made out of a medal called Platinum. I canít break them."

Gabrielle tugged at the chains and locks holding her waist but nothing happened. She looked at Xena who seemed to look different. She didnít have the fire in her eyes. The certain glimmer of hope had escaped her. She looked nearly dead. "By the gods, Xena." Gabrielle glanced at her wrists which were beginning to bleed from the cuffs. "You must be in pain. Let me help." She took some strips of linens out of her backpack and tied them around Xenaís wrists. "Try Xena. Please try to escape."

"Whatís the point Gabrielle? My hatred for Caesar will never go away. This is the only way I will be able to put it behind me."

"By getting killed? You canít die Xena. How many more people need your help? How many innocent people will die without you."

"They would be better off never knowing me. Look at yourself Gabrielle. When I first met you, you were sweet and innocent. Now youíve killed, had a daughter, been corrupted by evil. How many others will be hurt if I stay alive?"

"No, Xena, your wrong. Listen, Iím going to make a deal with Caesar. I can get you out of here."

"No. You listen to me. I want you to find Argo and get out of here. Go back to Poteidaia or somewhere. Just not here."

"Xena . . . "

"No. . . . Please Gabrielle. Do this for me. Iíll be happy knowing that youíre safe," Xena said with tears in her eyes.

"Iím not leaving you," Gabrielle said softly teary eyed as well.

"Gabrielle, if you love me, youíll do this."

They looked into each othersí eyes for a long while. Then Gabrielle spoke. "Okay Xena. Iíll leave Rome." She hugged Xena around her stomach and began to cry. "I love you Xena."

"I love you too, Gabrielle," Xena said also crying.

They both heard two voices getting closer from outside. "Go now," Xena said, stopping her crying, "and take my chakram so they canít use it."

"All right," Gabrielle replied, "Goodbye Xena."

"Bye."

Gabrielle ran to the bag, took Xenaís chakram and went out the window. Gabrielle ran to where she had seen Xena release Argo earlier and whistled. Argo came softly walking from her hiding spot. Gabrielle mounted Argo and slowly galloping away. Once they were out of Rome, Gabrielle went back to the camp site where she and Xena were only one night ago. She lit a fire and sat there staring into it blankly. She heard Xenaís words in her mind. ". . .if you love me youíll do this." Let Xena die? Gabrielle couldnít bear the thought of losing Xena. She picked up Xenaís chakram and looked at it. She threw it at a rock and to her surprise it bounced back and she caught it! "What?" Gabrielle thought for a while and came up with an idea.

Meanwhile, back in Xenaís cell, Caesar and Micatres had returned.

Xena looked at Caesar and asked, "What do you want now?"

Caesar stared at Xena with a smirk, knowing he had conquered her. "I want to offer you a proposition, Xena," he said. "Rule with me as my Empress and youíll have everything youíve ever dreamed of. A powerful army to control, riches beyond your wildest dreams and power."

"Are you quite finished?" Xena inquired.

"Yes. So what will it be? Rule with me, or live your remaining hours in this dark and dank cell."

"You shouldnít have wasted your time coming in here. I would never side with you. You should know me better than that, Caesar."

"Oh I do know you, Xena; But I always give my conquered a choice. Most do not respond as you do. Just know this, you mean nothing to me now Xena, and you will die tomorrow." Xena looked into Caesarís eyes with her hatred and disgust, just before a too familiar command broke out. "Break her legs." With that Micatres took a mallet and swung it at Xenaís legs and broke them. To both Caesar and Micatresí surprise, Xena did not scream, she just cringed her face. "That should prevent any attempt at an escape," Caesar said, "Not that you could anyways." Then, Micatres retrieved the bag containing Xenaís possessions and he and Caesar walked out leaving Xena hanging.

Xena winced her face at the pain in her legs. She looked around the cell and thought of Gabrielle. She thought of her loving face, and her smile. She remembered how she always put others before herself. Xena began to regret not attempting an escape with Gabrielle, but she knew that if she had tried, they wouldíve been waiting for her and Gabrielle. As she began to pass out from the pain, Xena locked on the image of Gabrielleís face and held onto every aspect. Finally, she went unconcious.

The next afternoon, Xena awoke with a splash of water in her face. She looked up with hazy eyes at the man she saw in Caesarís bed the night before.

The man spoke. "Iíve been instructed to take you to the executioner."

"Youíll have to drag me," Xena said, "Theyíve broken my legs."

"I know," he said as he undid the chains on her legs.

"Whatís your name?" Xena asked.

"Brutus."

"Brutus . . . Iíve heard of you. You fought for Pompey. Why are you helping Caesar?"

"It was this or die."

"Iíd rather die," Xena said.

"I know. Iíve heard of your encounters with him. Itís been said that you fell in love with him on your pirate ship many years ago. After you ransomed him back to the Romanís he said that he would come back for you. When he returned to you, you thought you two would be together, but he took your ship and crucified you and your men. Thatís where your hatred for him began."

"Youíre right."

"I donít blame you for hating him. I used to as well."

"Then help me. I can hear it in your voice that you donít want to do his bidding."

"I have my orders," he said regrettably. "I would like to help you, but it would mean my death. I have to think about myself."

"How many others will die at Caesarís hand? I know I can stop him if I can get an army. With all the hatred toward Caesar in this town, it should be easy to form one. Come with me. Help me."

"Youíve gone mad!" Brutus exclaimed releasing the chain from around her midsection. "Going up against Caesar? Youíll die. And youíd be leading that army of villagers into a slaughter on the battlefield."

"I would train them and so could you. We at least need to try. If you lose your life it will be because you were fighting for what you believed in."

Brutus looked into Xenaís eyes seeing her passion and he knew that he wanted to join her. He shook his head too afraid for his own life to think about it. As he undid the chains around her bleeding wrists, Xena fell into his arms.

"Theyíre waiting. I have been ordered to bring you to . . ."

"I know . . . I understand."

Brutus flung Xenaís arm over his shoulders and dragged her out. As they walked closer to the massive structure of the Colosseum, Xena thoughts again drifted to her friend. She would give anything to see Gabrielle one last time. They entered the Colosseum and everywhere Xena looked she saw the Romans cheering and shouting for death. She continued to be dragged to the center of the Colosseum where the executioner stood next to a wooden stump holding an axe. The crowds deafened Xena so that she couldnít think. As she was forced to kneel at the stoop, Brutus tied her shoulders to the stoop and her wrists behind her back.

"Iím sorry," Brutus mouthed to her knowing she wouldnít hear him if he said it. He then walked out of the huge stadium and up to his seat near Caesar.

Xena could barely move her head, but she looked up to where Caesar was sitting. As he rose the crowd subdued to silence. "Citizens of Rome, I give you Xena: Warrior Princess for the second and last time." He then flickered his hands in the direction of the executioner, signaling him to kill her. The crowd stood to its feet and gave the executioner the thumbs up in agreement with Caesar.

Xena looked away from Caesar not wanting him to be the last site she saw. She wished she could see Gabrielle again. Xena focused on the crowd and saw some disturbance in the front row. As the people dropped to the ground, a familiar figure stood amongst the crowd. It was Gabrielle! "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Gabrielle screamed and silenced the crowd.

Caesar stood and looked at Gabrielle remembering her from his last encounter with Xena. He put his hands on the railing of the balcony he was on and yelled at the executioner. "Continue! Kill her!"

The executioner raised the axe over his head slowly as two people stood up to hold Gabrielle back. Gabrielle elbowed them both in the face, grabbed Xenaís chakram from her backpack and threw it. Instantaneously, the chakram broke the executionerís axe into and made the blade land behind him. The executioner, scared out of his wits, ran away. The chakram then bounced to the wooden stoop, cut Xenaís shoulders free, then cut the ropes on her wrists. It then flew up to two high points the circular wall of the Colosseum and bounced back into Gabrielleís hand. The Colosseum began to rumble as Gabrielle, staff in hand, ran to Xena. When she got there, she whistled for Argo who came storming in from one of the many entrances.

"Whereíd you learn to do that?" Xena said weakly.

"You learn more than how to fish when you travel with you."

Argo stopped at the wooden stoop where Gabrielle had helped Xena up. Xena numbed her own legs and Gabrielle helped her onto Argo. Gabrielle then mounted Argo, took the reigns and galloped out of Colosseum.

The Callosum itself, damaged by the chakram, began to fall apart at one side. The audience fled in terror of the crumbling wall. They screamed as they ran for their lives.

Caesar and the senate stood to their feet and looked at collapsing side. "Itís your fault, Caesar," said one of the members of the senate, Cassius. "We told you to find her friend and destroy her, but you said that she wouldnít cause a problem. This destruction," he said pointing to the fallen wall, "is your doing."

"We should leave," Brutus said. "Who knows if or when this whole thing will collapse."

The senate including Caesar walked out of the balcony. Brutus took Xenaís dagger out from under his robe and looked at it. He put it back and then followed the rest of them.

Later, once Xena and Gabrielle were a safe distance away from Rome, Gabrielle built a fire and realigned Xenaís legs as she had taught her on the sinking ship they were once on.

"Gee, Thanks!" Xena said sarcastically in agony. "I guess youíre going to want to use my chakram now, or get one of your own."

"No," Gabrielle said laughing a little. "Thatís your weapon. I happy with my staff. Besides, Iím overwhelmed just using once."

"Iím sure the people of Rome are too. Gabrielle, you shouldnít have come back for me."

"Are you sorry I did?"

"No, itís just . . . you shouldnít have put your life on the line for me."

"Xena, your the best friend I ever had. You and I share a bond that is thicker than blood. Iím not gonna give that up without a fight."

"Thanks."

"What about you, Xena? Why didnít you fight to escape?"

"I thought that it would be better than to live with my hatred anymore. It came rushing back when we first entered Rome and I was afraid of what I would do with that anger. I thought this was the easiest way, but I need to learn to let go of my pain."

"How do you feel about Caesar now?"

Xena thought for a while and then said, "I donít know."

"I wonder whatís going on in Rome. I wonder what their response is to what happened in the Callosum."

In Rome, the senate was meeting with Caesar to discuss the incident that happened. The senate members were in two single file lines on either side of the entrance where they met. Caesar walked in between them and entered. All of the senators, who were holding daggers, entered after him. The first to enter was Brutus holding Xenaís dagger, then Cassius, then the rest of the senate. When they all entered, they stormed Caesar and stabbed him repeatedly. As Caesar screamed in the agony of his death, Xena felt herself let go of the anger she held for him. For the first time in two days Xena felt satisfied and at peace.


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