Title: Shifting To Dream

Author: Amy Fortuna (peacefulpassion@hotmail.com)

Rating: G

Disclaimer: Maximus belongs to his wife, his son, and Cicero...errr, I mean he belongs to Dreamworks.

Archive: Sure. Just keep my name on it.

Spoilers: A whole heap o' them for Gladiator. Basically, you need to have seen Gladiator for this to make sense.

Summary: What happens after the end of the movie.

Feedback: Please...it's my first Gladiator vignette...!

Notes: For those of you unfamiliar with my writing, get the Kleenex out. :-)


The world was red. Pain tinged through every thought and feeling. The white sand of the arena, he noticed almost casually, was also tinted with red. Rose petals, or maybe drops of blood, lay scattered over the ground.

It seemed as though he was moving so slowly. The sky tilted and slid; he jerked forward, taking one agonizing step.

And the world split in two. He was walking in his daydreams, hand brushing over the top of the long grasses of Spain. There was a plain stone wall ahead, and a dark wooden door set in it, closed, but not locked.

A slight push -- a turning of the handle.

And all of Rome saw Maximus fall heavily to the ground.

Fading back in to daylight, he opened his eyes and saw *her* face above him, sky so blue behind her. She whispered a few words of gratitude, gladness and sorrow fighting in her eyes. Lucius was safe from that monster of an Emperor, but oh Maximus....

Maximus was dead.

Laughter. Pure bright laughter. He walked through the door steadily -- glimpsed three figures standing waiting in the distance.

They ran toward him. He ran toward them. An embrace for his son, smiling, healthy, happy.

"Keep your heels down when you ride your horse," he whispered.

A hand fell on his shoulder as he knelt with his son.

"My wife," he said, glancing up at her, her dark face alive with happiness.

"And who is the other?" he asked, standing up.

Dark hair was pushed away from a face, and Cicero stood smiling before him.

"Faithful one," Maximus whispered. "Friend of my heart, you have always been more than a servant to me."

"And I have always loved you," Cicero said. Their hands met...now as equals forever.