Disclaimers: The characters of Xena: Warrior Princess and all other associated with the television series of the same name are owned by MCA/ Universal Pictures. This is a work of fan fiction and no copyright infringement is intended.
Subtext: I guess with my writing so far we'll just quit calling it subtext and call it maintext. Yes they are in love with each other.
Violence: None. Yet<G>
Other: Part twelve in the series "Legends Legacy". Takes place right after "When in Rome"
Up the Nile without a Paddle
Oh, I hope this is important.
I dont take well to being taken out of Ris arms, especially when were engaged in such interesting explorations. I leave the warmth and comfort of our bed, pulling on a robe, then throw the covers over Ri, who is chomping on a pillow to keep from yelling a long line of foul words.
She doesnt like being interrupted either.
"I wont mind if you hurt whoever is on the other side of that door." She grumbles from under her pillow.
I might just take her up on that.
Pulling the door open I find a young Egyptian slave girl. She looks up at me with shy eyes then lowers them again, staring at the floor. "Xena of Amphipolis?"
"Once upon a time, yes."
"My Queen, Cleopatra of Egypt, requests your immediate assistance."
I look back Ri, who is now sitting up in bed. "We are still in Rome, arent we?" I lift a brow.
"Last time I checked." Ri agrees, climbing out of bed she finds a robe and joins me at the door.
The girl nods, raising her head. "Yes Xena, you are in Rome, so is my Queen. Or at least she is not far from here. She needs your help."
"Caesar has been assassinated Xena. My Queen and her son are here, and now "
"Now they need to get out before the same fate lands on their shoulders." Ri offers with a nod of her own head. "How did she know Xena was here?"
"I do not know." The slave answers. "I only know I was sent to find you. My Queen believes Xena is the only one who can get her and her son out of Rome now that Brutus and Cassius have slain Caesar."
I look down to Ri. "So much for our vacation. Even dead, that bastard can mess up my plans."
"Xe!" She gives me a hard slap on my shoulder, then pulls the slave inside and closes the door to our room. "Give us a few minutes to get dressed and pack our things."
"I would be happy to serve you. I can assist by packing for you while you dress. Time is imperative, my Queen fears for the life of her child."
Oh, she said the magic word as far as my darling wife is concerned. Child. I simply shake my head, giving into defeat then move into the bathing chamber to get dressed.
We should have gone to Lesbos.
Me and my bright ideas. Lets go to Rome, I said. Itll be fun, I said.
I am an idiot.
* * *
The Queen of the Nile looks positively terrified when Ri and I arrive at her home just outside Rome. I take in the surroundings and realize this must have been the home she shared with Caesar.
He had great taste in women, but her taste in men sucks.
She turns to us, relief falling across her face. "Xena, Gabrielle. Thank you for coming." She crosses to us and offers us both hugs. "Please, will you help me?"
"Were here arent we? It was a long way to come to tell you no in person." I cross my arms. "So youre ready to leave Rome?"
"Xena, Caesar, is dead." She tells me needlessly.
"Yeah, and Im all choked up over it." I feel the poke skillfully delivered by Ri, but I ignore it.
"Brutus and Cassius will certainly kill Caesarion if he finds out we are here. Please help me get my son safely back to Egypt."
I notice that Ri has moved to the window. Im sure shes looking for Roman troops no doubt headed our way.
"Youll do as I say? No questions asked?"
"Every word Xena. No matter what is required."
Ri clears her throat, calling me across the room for a quiet word. "How are you going to do this." She gives a little gesture. "You planning on just zapping them back?"
"Nah. Lets have some fun and do this the old fashion way." I wiggling my brows and smile at my darling wife. "Little horseback riding, little fighting if were lucky "
"A ships crossing." Ri grumbles.
"Ill make sure you dont feel any ill effects of the trip. Come on," I give her a little nudge. "Itll be fun."
She nods. "All right, but we need to do this quickly. No doubt Brutus is on his way here now."
"Rush, rush, hurry, hurry." I sigh, turning back to Cleopatra. "Get yourself and your son together. Put on the clothing of Roman slave and be prepared to leave in half a mark."
"Yes Xena." She motions her servants out of the room and they all leave to make the preparations I have ordered.
I turn back to Ri, who has her head tilted to one side, arms crossed against her chest and tapping her foot.
Boy does she look annoyed. "What?"
"Youre enjoying this."
I throw my arms up in protest. "Im the Lord of the Underworld, Im suppose to enjoy this kinda thing."
"Not this much." She sighs, crossing to me. "So, whats the plan?"
"We get horses and make for the docks."
"This is a plan?"
"Yup. We ride right up to the docks and find the first ship headed for Egypt."
"Just like that?"
"Just like that."
"And if we run into Brutus or Cassius before then?"
"We kick their butts and ride faster." I glance around taking inventory of the room. "Okay come with me."
* * *
"Well I never thought Id be doing this." She grumbles when I try to hand her the helmet.
"You look great." She does look good in Roman uniform.
"Sure you say that. Youre in a captains uniform and I get a foot soldiers uniform."
"Rank has its privileges." I tease.
"Youre rank all right."
"Be nice." I slip the helmet on her head and kiss her nose. "You ready?"
I watch her adjust the sword at her side, then her armor. "As ready as I can be."
"Then lets do this and go to Egypt. Im sure Cleopatra will be happy to make us comfortable there."
"Oh Im sure." She rolls her eyes.
I cant help but chuckle. "Youre jealous."
"I am not!" She huffs, adjusting her bracers, refusing to meet my eyes.
I step forward, lifting her chin so our eyes meet. "I love you. You are so cute when youre jealous." Leaning in, I give her nose a little kiss.
"I am not jealous." She says again. "By now you had better know who warms your bed."
"No doubt there. A job you have done very well, for a very long time now."
She pokes me in the chest. "And dont you forget it!"
"Oh I wont. Believe me, I wont. I have to spend the rest of eternity with you. I have no desire to have to have you mad at me. Eternity could be a very long time."
"Especially with a pissed off wife."
"Exactly." I agree. "Come on lets get going."
I ride point with Ri behind me and Cleopatra and her young son on a horse next to her. Our disguises are good and we look like Roman soldiers taking a slave back to Rome.
Hopefully, the soldiers riding at us will fall for it.
The leader of the squad holds up his hand to slow his unit. I stop and give them time to approach.
Counting quietly, hmm, twelve of them, two of us.
Seems like a fair fight.
The Roman cocks his head, appraising us. "Where are you headed?" He barks at me.
Careful, you dont want to make me mad.
"I am under orders to deliver this slave to the market. She has failed in her duties."
"Who gave this order?"
"Queen Cleopatra, of course." I lift my brow.
"You have seen the queen?"
"Yes. She is at the home of Caesar."
"You havent heard?"
I just look at him and question with my eyes. I can play stupid when I have to. The Roman uniform Im wearing certainly helps it along.
"Caesar is dead. Rome is now under the protection of Brutus and Cassius," He pauses shifting in his saddle. "And the senate of course."
"However, Octavius has ordered that Queen Cleopatra be brought to Rome."
"She is at the house." I gesture behind me, knowing it will take them another half day to get there and were only about two marks from Rome. "Im sure she will come without a fight."
He laughs, motioning his men around him. "Im sure of it." He looks to Ri and our prisoner. "Careful, she looks like she could be trouble."
"Im sure of it." I return his grin.
He rides on. I nudge my horse gently, moving slowly, giving them time to move further away. Glancing back, to make sure they are out of sight I motion Ri to my side. "You remember that ride faster part of the plan?"
"Un-huh." She nods
"Now would be a good time to implement that."
"Somehow, I knew that was coming."
Even as we continue moving, I take Caesarion into my arms, holding him securely as we begin a dash for Rome and hopefully a way out.
This could get tricky.
Good thing I like tricky.
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