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 are in love with each other.
Sex: Mentioned. Nothing graphic.
Other: Part six in the series "Raising Melosa".
I carried my queen from the healer's hut to her own home. The sedative had worked quickly and she had collapsed over the body of her consort. I could feel the tears running down my cheeks as I walked across the village, but I didn't care. The next few days would be some of the hardest ever faced by my village.
I had put Solari in charge of the preparations of the mourning period and the funeral. I knew that she would be able to handle everything and that would leave me free to tend to Gabrielle. I sent Princess Melosa with Tillus, on of the teachers. She had a small one about Melosa's age and I hope the princess would be content there for a couple of days.
As I entered my queen's quarters I found Epinon. She was gathering Xena's armor and weapons. "To prepare her." Was all she said to me softly as she left the house. I took Gabrielle to her sleeping chambers and put her to bed. Then I pulled up a chair, sat down and cried.
I wasn't really crying for the loss of a dear friend. I was crying for my queen. I knew the bond these two shared with each other was so strong I was afraid that the loss of Xena would eventually cost us our queen as well. I drew a deep, determined breath and wiped my eyes. "Oh damn! Enough of this. I have to be strong here." I said aloud as I stood and walked across the room to look out the window.
Xena had designed this house so that the entire village could be seen from their sleeping chambers. I smiled as I remembered the one thing she hadn't counted on. The fact that almost everything that went on in here could be heard by the entire village. Needless to say there was not one person the village who doubted a warrior's love for our queen or queen's love for the warrior. Sometimes it was just down right embarrassing. Why the very night before Xena...
Suddenly I felt very ashamed of myself. It would never happen again...Gabrielle was alone now. I looked back at her, still sleeping. I knew if she survived this, she would never take another consort. I doubted that she would ever entertain another lover, even casually.
I turned back to the window and saw Solari and three others carry the litter with Xena's covered form across the village to Artemis' temple. I noticed there was not a dry eye in the village as they made their somber journey. News traveled quickly and there was not one person in the village who did not know of Xena's death. A runner had also already been dispatched to the centaur village, to inform them as well. Xena had been the catalyst for peace with the centaurs. Both villages owed her a great debt and she was sure that Tyldus would want to pay his respects.
I decided it was safe to leave Gabrielle for the moment. I wanted to go to the temple and make sure that everything was coming along all right. I ordered the guard at the door to inform me immediately should she awake while I was gone. I walked across the village trying to force a smile across my lips. So many people came forward to send their best wishes to our queen. Gabrielle had touched every one of us on a personal level and there was not one among us who wanted to see her suffer the way we all knew she would suffer now.
In the temple the priestess was preparing Xena's body. It had been bathed and now she and Solari were dressing her in her leathers and her armor. Another younger amazon sat in front of the altar polishing Xena's sword. She would stop occasionally to wipe a stay tear off her face. I knew her immediately, her name was Delaius, she was about sixteen seasons old and she had kind of become a tag along for the warrior. Xena was patient with the girl and helped her train. I could just see the grin of embarrassment on Xena's face when we would tease her about the young girls horrible case of hero worship.
I walked up to the altar and looked at my friend. She did at least look peaceful. That was some comfort. As I brushed the hair back from her face I couched down and rested my arms and head on the altar. "I just want you know that we will all do our best to look after Gabrielle and Melosa. They'll be safe and loved here." I leaned over and gave her a kiss one the forehead and stood up. I headed back to the queen's quarters.
Artemis stormed into the cavern. Hades turned and held up his hand even before she had a chance to speak. "What's done is done. There's nothing I can do now. All the choice's are Xena's now."
"Have you completely lost your mind!" The Goddess yelled at her uncle.
He rolled his eyes and sat in his oversized throne. Resting his head on his fist he was prepared to sit and listen to his niece rant.
"How could you do this? Do you have any idea how many of us worked to give them the life they wanted? The life that Xena finally deserved."
The God of the Underworld sighed as Artemis continued to pace and rant. "How could you!?"
"Artemis, Solan wanted to be with his mother. The boy missed her."
"So this is your answer? What about Gabrielle and Melosa?"
"Gabrielle is a strong woman and Melosa is so young she won't even remember Xena."
"Xena will remember her. And as for Gabrielle, she may be strong, but you have taken the other half of her soul. How long do you think she'll survive without it? Then Melosa will be left without either mother. You have basically made that child an orphan."
"Solan is my grandson..."
"MELOSA IS YOUR GRANDDAUGHTER!" Artemis yelled at him. "I gave them Melosa you fool. She's just as much Xena's as she is Gabrielle's! You only have to look at her to see that. Gabrielle asked me to make the baby look like Xena, but I had nothing to do with it. It was all Xena and Gabrielle."
"She is? I didn't know. Why didn't you tell me?"
"I would have, had you not just taken it upon yourself to do this utterly foolish thing. I want you to hear something." Suddenly the cavern was filled with a multitude of voices. Some were calm, some trembled, some where filled with tears and agony, but they all prayed for the same thing. Xena and Gabrielle. "I have been listening to this since you took her yesterday. Hundreds of voices every moment of the day. They haven't stopped since Xena was carried into the healer's hut after collapsing. It took me this long to find out who was responsible. I must admit I was shocked to find out it was you."
"I had no idea..." He mumbled as he listened to the voices fade away
"Apparently not, but the question is what are we going to do about it?"
I watched from the window of the queen's quarters as the temple filled to capacity. Even Tyldus had arrived early in the day with four centaur honor guards. I knew there would not be a seat available by the time the ceremony was due to start. I looked back at Gabrielle. She was sitting on her bed brushing Melosa's hair. She tried to smile and be cheerful for her daughter, but she was failing miserably.
"Do you want me to do that?" I asked walking over to the bed and placed my hand on Gabrielle's shoulder. I could feel her tense; I with drew my hand. "I'm sorry My Queen..."
"Eph don't be sorry for being my friend. I'm sorry. It's just that here in this room...to be touched..." Her voice trailed off. She took a deep breath and sighed. Then she turned Melosa around and gave her a hug. "Well my little princess, it's about time for us to go say goodbye to momma." Her voice cracked with the word momma. She stood with Melosa in her arms and just hugged her daughter for all they were both worth. The pain on Gabrielle's face was unmistakable.
She handed me Melosa as she finished putting on her royal attire, her armbands and necklace. She had decided to leave her mask behind. She said she didn't want anything to separate her from Xena this last time. After this official ceremony, Gabrielle will never see Xena again. Her body will remain in the temple for two more nights and then it will be prepared for the funeral pyre, but this will be the last time Gabrielle will see her.
She turned back and reclaimed Melosa. The baby was fascinated by her mother's necklace and found great delight in playing with it as we left the house and walked across the village. As we approached the doors of the temple two of the centaur honor guards were at their place outside. They bowed their heads as Gabrielle passed by. Two amazon guards pulled the doors to the temple open. I walked three paces directly behind Gabrielle. Melosa rested her chin on Gabrielle's shoulder and smiled back at me. I smiled at her. It was the first time I had smiled in two days.
There was not a sound to be heard in the temple as we walked down the center isle. All eyes were on the queen. The queen's eyes were on her consort. My mind wandered back to the day that they had been joined in this same temple. Xena stood at the altar in a deep blue robe and headband, her sword and chakram lying in a ceremonial cloth on the altar. Gabrielle walked to her, dressed in a robe of deep green; again I walked three paces behind her. On that day they only saw each other.
Xena had been dressed and prepared for this ceremony. Her armor had been polished and the hilt of her sword was clasped in her hands, resting on her stomach the blade pointing down her legs. Her chakram had been looped over the blade of the sword and rested near the hilt.
As we drew near the altar Gabrielle handed Melosa to me as she walked around the so that the entire room could see her face. She tried not to cry, but she failed and no one thought any less of her. She smiled as she leaned over and kissed Xena goodbye, very tenderly. She brushed the hair from her forehead.
"I love you. I miss you." She said softly. She stood and turned to me and took Melosa. She knelt down and held the baby close to Xena's face. I looked out into the assembly. Here is where our most stoic members began to show their emotions, watching this little one spend her last moments with her mother.
Melosa rested her head on Xenas shoulder. The baby fingered her mothers armor and the lifted her little hand to Xenas mouth again. I saw it. Gabrielle saw it. Melosa squealed with delight. Xena kissed her hand.
"Mmmmm." The groan came from the warrior. I stepped forward. Gabrielle kissed Melosa and handed her to me as she leaned forward over Xena.
"Xena? Oh Gods Xena." She caressed her face as she spoke. Xenas eyes opened slowly and she smiled.
I ordered the temple cleared. It didnt take long. Soon we were the only ones left. I put Melosa down on the floor and took Xenas weapons as Gabrielle helped her sit up. She looked tired and extremely disoriented. "This is becoming a habit with you." I teased as I held on to her while she got her balance. She gave me a very weak smile. Then she turned to face Gabrielle who held onto her from the other side. She tried to speak, but no words were to be heard.
"Dont say a word, my love." Gabrielle planted little kisses all over her face. "Oh Gods I thought I had lost you for good!"
Xena coughed and cleared her throat as she sat on the edge of the altar. Melosa crawled around to the front and pulled herself up on her mothers boots. Xena reached down and picked her daughter up. She held her close and kissed her cheek. She pressed her cheek to Melosas and held it, tears fell from her eyes as she kissed her daughter and then her wife. They held each other in a tight hug; it looked as if they were afraid to let go of each other. I couldnt blame them.
The bright light that flashed in the temple only lasted for a very brief moment, but it was enough to make all feel like we had been blinded. Very soon we had company; Artemis stood with Hades and a boy. Xena stood up wobbled a bit and handed Melosa to Gabrielle as they approached the trio that had just arrived.
"Gabrielle," Artemis spoke softly to the queen. "We have returned your warrior to you, but there are conditions."
"Anything." Gabrielle said as she wrapped her arm around Xenas waist.
Artemis approached and placed her hand on the side of Gabrielles face. "First you must forgive yourself." She turned and guided Gabrielle to the boy.
"Solan " Gabrielles voice trailed off as she hugged him with one arm while holding Melosa in the other.
"It wasnt your fault." He said as he returned her hug. "Ive missed you both so much."
"Weve missed you too Solan. We think of you everyday." She told him.
Hades drew a deep breath. "I have my conditions as well. Xena you know what I told you."
Xena still unable to speak nodded her head.
"As for you Gabrielle. Are you ready to add to your family?" Hades asked.
She looked back at Xena who nodded her head at Solan. She looked at the God of the Underworld and gave him a smile that very nearly melted his heart. "Yes. Yes." She said as she hugged Solan again. Melosa who was caught in the middle began to squirm. Gabrielle giggled a bit as she tried to adjust and make room for both of the children. "Solan this is your sister, Melosa."
He smiled at the baby and took her hand. "I know Ive been watching her. She looks like mother."
"Yes she does. Shes beautiful isnt she?" Gabrielle offered the baby to Solan who took her and gave her a little hug.
"Yes she is." He said with a smile.
Xena cleared her throat to get Hades attention and then she pointed at her neck.
"Just a moment Im not finished and I dont want you interfering." He said. She just shook her head and gave a heavy sigh. Gabrielle smiled when she realized Xenas silence wasnt self-imposed.
"Gabrielle. Im leaving Solan with you and Xena. Now you must be a mother to him as well. Are you ready for this?"
"Yes. Thank you for this second chance." She said as she stroked Solans hair and gave him a kiss on the forehead.
"Xena also has something that she must tell you. This is a condition I have set for her."
Gabrielle looked to Xena who just rolled her eyes. "Hades Xena will do whatever you ask. Im sure of it." Xena nodded and pointed at her throat again.
Hades waved his hand and Xena sucked in a deep breath and began coughing again. "Gee thanks." She croaked out over the coughs.
I turned to a side table and found a pitcher of water. I poured a glass and walked over to the group and handed it to my friend. She smiled and took it from me. She drank deeply and handed the glass back to me. "Thanks Eph. You always have been my best friend." She smiled at me. I was so damned glad to see that smile.
As suddenly as they appeared Artemis and Hades were gone, leaving us to collect our thoughts. Xena wrapped her arms around Solan and gave him a hug. Then she pulled Gabrielle into the embrace and they stood like that for several moments. I decided it was time to leave this family alone. I slipped out of the temple quietly.
Outside I found a huge crowd. I just waded through them and retreated to my own hut. I didnt feel like answering any questions right now, I was just too exhausted.
I held onto Xena for dear life. The tears just came I couldnt stop them. She had been returned to me. Not only had I gotten her back, but Solan had been returned to us as well. Our family was complete and we had been given a second chance. I didnt want this moment to end. I felt Xena give us another hug and she pulled back. She took Melosa from Solan and gave him a kiss on the forehead. She kissed Melosa on the cheek and then she turned to me.
She placed a hand on my cheek. I kissed her palm. She leaned in and kissed me. It was the sweetest feeling in the world. "We have a lot to talk about." She said softly. "A lot of decisions to be made now."
"I know. Just as long as we make them together." I said as I caressed her cheek.
Xena gathered her weapons and we made our way out of the temple. The entire village was still waiting for us. As the doors opened and we stepped out into the bright sunlight the cheers of the crowd where overwhelming. We stood there, the four of us amazed at the response of my people.
As we made our way home I received many hugs. They chose to pat Xena on the back. Probably a wise decision considering all she had been through. Once inside our home, Xena collapsed into a chair and put Melosa of the floor at her feet. Solan took a seat on the floor near the fireplace. I made tea and gave them both a cup of the warm liquid. Xena sipped it and let the warmth of it over take her. Solan sniffed it and looked at me.
"Its okay. Its just tea." I said as I ran my hands through his hair.
"Solan youre going to have a lot to get used to again." Xena said. "Thirst and hunger are going to become familiar to you again. Dont be afraid to ask for anything you might want or need, okay?"
"Yes mother." He said before sipping his tea. Two sweeter words had never been spoken.
Melosa pulled herself up to stand between Xenas legs. She stood there for a moment staring at Solan who sat a few feet away from her. She smiled and giggled and pushed off Xenas legs. She took her first steps at that very moment, into the arms of her bother.
"Xena shes walking." I said as I knelt down by my warrior. I felt her hand in my hair as she leaned forward.
"I see." She said her voice full of emotion.
Solan hugged his sister and turned her around. He held out his hands, Melosa gripped his fingers and stood on her very wobbly legs. She smiled at us and walked back to me. As I pulled her into my arms I heard Xena whisper, "I didnt miss her first steps "
"She saved them for you mother." Solan said with a proud smile.
That evening we put our children to bed. Suddenly our new home was too small again. We decided that for the time being Solan would share a room with Melosa. I put the baby down as Xena tucked Solan in.
"But mother Im not tired." He protested to her.
"Well regardless young man its time for bed. Gabrielle and I have a lot to talk about."
"Mother what should I call Gabrielle?" He asked as he snuggled down under the covers.
"Well I guess that will be between you and Gabrielle. You can talk to her about it tomorrow."
"Yes maam." He yawned. He was more tired than he wanted to admit.
I walked over and knelt by his bedside and gave him a kiss on the forehead. "You may call me whatever you like Solan." I said as I brushed the hair back from his face.
"Ill think about it tonight." He said as he drifted off to sleep.
"You do that." I said as I kissed him again.
Xena checked on Melosa. She kissed her and put a cover on her, knowing full well it wouldnt stay there. She checked the fire and we left the room.
Once the children were settled and asleep we made love on the floor in front of the fireplace. It felt as if we had been separated for months. We simply consumed each other. I felt it happen again, just like in the temple. We became one with each other. Our minds, bodies and souls merged together as we loved each other.
Afterwards, curled up together in front of the fireplace we sipped spiced wine. Xena stared into the flames of the fire. I massaged her shoulders and whispered in her ear. "So what are you suppose to tell me?"
She turned and looked at me. "Its about my father "
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