Disclaimer: I don't own Gladiator or any of the characters in the movie.

Note: Brief oneshot for some light bit of reading.

Pillars

By: Lost-Remembrance (Red Tail)

Maximus closed his eyes, fingers rubbing against the small figurine of his dead wife and child. As much as he hated to admit it, he really did appreciate the small gesture from Lucilla he still couldn't find it in his heart to take her actions at face value.

The low candlelight in his cell flickered across the walls and added a warmth that wasn't in the air. The cool night was refreshing against the occasionally blistering heat.

He heard a shuffling, a rustling of clothing, and opened his eyes and turned his head towards the movement. Juba was silently observing him, quietly guarding his friend and observing both his mourning and remembrance.

"You are very strong." Juba quietly mentioned. He wasn't talking of physical strength.

Maximus felt a small sad smile tug on his lips before it twisted into more of a cynical and bitter look. "Strong or weak to some." He gently, with great love and care, lifted the small figures of his wife and child up to his lips, kissing each of them in turn and then lovingly put them back into their pouch.

Juba remained silent, sensing the importance of quiet for Maximus while he took this moment to himself.

"Commodus is the cause of all of this." Maximus suddenly whispered, breaking the silence. He clenched his fist so tightly he knew it was probable blood was tinting his fingernails. Juba remained silent even as Maximus turned his eyes to his companion. His heavy stare was merely assessing, judging, and offering silent acceptance for any plan of action the former general decided to take.

Maximus turned his body to lean against the wall, his brow furrowed as he began to calculate and plot in his analytical mind. The emperor was powerhungry and vain. His urgency of seeing Maximus dead conflicted against what the people wanted. In such an arena of bloodshed, he would certainly fear a rebellion if Commodus tried anything against the favored gladiator.

Commodus was a coward. He was fearful and would rely on his men and armies to protect and save him. Maximus looked into the low flickering flame of the candle. He had already taken away the pillar of support for the public. What had been built to gain public favor transferred such favor over to the gladiator that Commodus had tried having executed. Next, the support pillar of the senate needed to be crumbled. Few senators actually cared for Commodus and his temper tantrums. He was too temperamental and power hungry. The only thing that checked them from their fears was the unpredictable and spiteful nature of Commodus.

Maximus looked at Juba who turned his head to meet his eyes. "I will crumble away at the very pillars of Rome to bring Commodus down to his knees." He will pay for his treachery. Their eyes conveyed a silent agreement to one another. Juba would support any action Maximus decided to take.

Rome, the rule of the Caesars, would fall before his blade.

FIN