Twenty-Ninth in the Melosa Series
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.
Sex: Nothing graphic
Violence: The aftermath of the challenge.
Other: Part twenty-nine in the series "Raising Melosa". Most of the Melosa stories have a gap of about six months between them, but this one takes up right after "The Challenge".
I watched in horror as Xena sank to her knees. Amatis body jerked in response to the death grip my champion held at her throat. Her eyes rolled into the back of her head and we all watched as her body started to go limp. My champion had won, but not before being wounded. I remembered I remembered, Xena being wounded before and I knew it only made her fight harder. I know it was an awful feeling, but I was glad Amatis end had come quickly. For the sake of my warrior I was glad.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw movement and before I realized what had happened Mel had moved from her spot beside me. I was sure she was going to go to Xena and that couldnt be allowed. Xena in her condition now might mistake Mel for an enemy and hurt her.
" Mel no!" I yelled to her, but she kept moving forward with the same precision I had seen in Xena so many times before. She was focused on something and there was a purpose to her movements. I was as shocked and amazed as anyone else in the crowd when Mel caught that cross bow bolt with her staff and then moved to reveal Reena as the person who had just tried to assassinate Xena. I watched as Mel took her anger and frustration out I motioned for Ep to break them up. I sent Ephiny to Jiara. I moved to Xena. Somehow knowing a cautious approach was required. "Xena." I said as I moved in behind her. She lay on her side and just as I touched her on her shoulder her head fell forward.
With my heart in my throat fearing that I had lost my warrior as well. I slipped my arms around her and tried to pull her into my lap, but the muscles in her arm were so tense they had it locked straight out in front of her. Still in her grasp, the lifeless body of Amati. I moved and tried to free her hand to no avail. I didnt have the strength to pry her fingers free. Solari came over and knelt down next to me and we worked together to try and free the body from the grasp of my warrior.
Adrin came and started tending to the shoulder wound as we continued to try. There was a tap on my shoulder, I turned to face Ep.
"You Majesty The Princess " She didnt even have to finish, I looked to Sol who nodded and I went with Ep.
She led me to the side of a hut where Mel was laying on her side with her knees drawn to her chest and her arms wrapped around them. She was crying softly and shaking. I could see that she had also been sick. "Ep bring me a couple of blankets." I got down and pulled my daughter into my arms and held her as she trembled and cried. Ep returned a very short time later with blankets and she covered Mel with them.
"Melosa can you hear me? Its Momma." I wanted to cry, but knew now wasnt the time. "Its alright sweetheart Momma has got you now." Seeing my child so fully devastated was heart wrenching. I knew there was only one other person in the village who was having a harder time tonight than me. That was Jiara.
Mel continued to shake, but her crying lessened and finally stopped. She whimpered occasionally, her eyes closed and her body trembled. I sat there and just held her, rocking her and whispering to her. Finally the trembling ceased and she simply fell asleep in my arms. I dont know how, but I recognized this as a form of battle shock. All young warriors experienced it after their first fight. I had hoped my daughter would never have to have such an experience or at least would have been much older first. I continued to cradle her there in the grass and hummed to her as Ep stood guard over us a few paces away.
Finally and with some effort I got to my feet as I continued to hold Mel. As I did I had to wonder how it was Xena could hoist this child over her shoulder like a sack of grain. I couldnt help but smile at the vision of them rough housing together and Mel ending up over Xenas shoulder. I carried Mel to Adrins hut and found an empty pallet and placed her on it. As I tucked the blankets around her Adrin came in.
"Is the Princess all right Your Majesty? Shall I tend to her for you?"
"I think shes fine for the moment. Shes sleeping. Is Xena all right?" I ran my hand through Mels dark hair and continued to look at her as I spoke to Adrin.
"Shell be fine Your Majesty. She has a shoulder wound that will make her cranky for a few weeks, but other than that the biggest problem were having is her left land."
"Her left hand? Whats wrong with it?"
"Its wrapped so tightly around Amatis throat we cant get it loose." She was retrieving a few of her herbs and powders. "Im going to try some herbs that should relax her enough to make her let go."
One of the healers assistants came in and we left her with Mel while I went to see if I could help with Xena. Adrin thought that if I talked to her she might release her hand. The herbs were administered. I cradled Xena as best I could, considering the situation. A group of my best guards had formed a ring around us blocking us from the view of the rest of the village. It was a gruesome scene to be sure. There was blood all over the place, and two bodies locked in mortal combat, one alive, but unconscious and the other given up to Artemis.
"Xena." I whispered in her ear. "Its all right now. You can let go. Youve won." I brushed her hair back. "I need a cloth." Someone handed me a cloth and I began cleaning small drops of blood from her face. "Come on Xena let go of her. She cant hurt us anymore. Youve done your job my Champion, rest now."
It took almost two candle marks before they managed to get her loose. Even after that it took me another half a mark to massage her arm into a relaxed position at her side. Finally I had her relaxed enough that they could move her without hurting her further.
I stood in the healers hut and watched at Adrin stitched up Xenas shoulder. I looked between the two pallets. My wife and my daughter had both been drawn into something that I could only wonder about. My own weakness right now made me doubt if anything could be worth this. Xena lay wounded and Gods only knew exactly how this would effect Mel. I stepped forward between them and kissed each one on the forehead. "I love you both so much and Im so sorry this had to happen to you."
I looked over and Adrin gave me a bittersweet little smile. "Maybe you should visit the temple Your Majesty. A little silent contemplation with Artemis might be what you need."
"Oh Im going to the temple alright, but I dont plan to be silent about it." I gave them each another kiss and left the hut. As I crossed the square I saw the amazons clearing away the signs of the fight and preparing the funeral pyre for Amati. It would be done quickly and quietly with little ceremony. I made a note to myself to make sure I was there at least in the distance.
I entered the temple and walked to the altar. The priestess came forward and offered me wine, which I took then I asked to be left alone and dismissed her. I took a deep breath and tried to collect my thoughts. "Artemis, why have you left me to suffer like this? My memories left in ashes, my life is in ruin. My warrior lies wounded, my daughter is and yet you do nothing to help me. Or even to help them. Am I not your chosen? How can you call yourself the protector of the Amazons? Xena has done more to protect the Amazons than you have. You have allowed us to be attacked and she has gone to fight our wars. My own people turn on me and she protects me while you do nothing. My daughter witnessed her mother nearly killed tonight and ended up in the fight herself to protect our champion and still you did nothing to help her. Shes just a child. What kind of a guardian doesnt protect the innocence of a child? Even now you wont face me! Xena is right. Unless they are here to interfere the Gods dont care. Unless you can play with us we dont interest you." I poured the wine out on the floor of the temple and returned to the side of my warrior and my daughter. They needed me more than this sorry excuse for a Goddess.
Adrin finished tending to Xena and checked on Mel. I sat between them not wanting to be away from either of them.
"Your Majesty you should rest as well. There is plenty of room on Xenas pallet and I know having you close would make her feel better."
"I want to make sure Mel is okay too." I ran my fingers through Mels hair as I looked into the face of my baby. She was my first born and even though I didnt remember the specifics, I knew that she held a special place in my heart because of that. I watched her face muscles twitch as she slept and I knew she was headed for a nightmare. "Shes going to have a rough time of this."
"Shes very young to have done what she did. You should be proud of her."
"Oh I am so very proud of her, but I know that this isnt going to be easy for her to handle either."
"Well she most certainly has the two best qualified parents in the world to help her get through it."
"I certainly hope so. Seems were all shes got." I continued to watch her and just as I thought, the nightmare began. She started tossing and turning and crying in her sleep. "Mel honey come on wake up." I took her into my arms and cradled her as she woke up. She looked at me with watery blue eyes and began crying as she clung to me. "Shhh little one its okay." I rocked her gently. "Its okay."
Xena mumbled in her sleep and opened her eyes very briefly. She was still under the effects of the herb given to relax her. She reached out her hand and laid it on Mels leg and was then asleep again. Mel was also asleep again. I knew where she needed to be. I placed her on the pallet next to Xena with her head on her shoulder and placed Xenas arm around her. Automatically they curled up with each other and continued to sleep. I watched them and before I realized it I too was dropping off.
I dont know when or how I ended up next to Xena, but when I woke up Mel was sitting up with Adrin and they were having a morning meal. Mel seemed quieter than normal, but she was talking with the aging healer. Seemed to me that must be a good sign. I stretched against Xena and at up.
"Good morning Momma." Mel said as I stood and stretched again as the warrior took up most of the pallet.
I crossed over and gave her a kiss. "Good morning honey. How you doing?"
"Im okay I guess." She said with a slight smile.
"You want to talk about it?" I asked as Adrin handed me a cup of tea and vacated her seat for me, leaving Mel and I to talk. I nodded my thanks to her and returned my attention to Mel.
"Do we have to?" She asked as she stared into the bottom of her cup.
"No not if you dont want to."
"Not right now. It makes me sick to think about it."
"Okay, but you know that were here when youre ready?"
"Yeah I know. Will I ever not feel sick?"
"Eventually it will ease. You may always feel a little sick when you think about it."
"I only did what I had to do " A single tear fell down her cheek.
I reached out and wiped the tear away. "I know honey, I know."
"Im not even sure how I did it. It just happened and then I " She just stopped and sipped her tea and shook her head.
I decided to leave her to her thoughts and went to check on Xena. She looked pale, must be from loss of blood. I could see that her bandages had been changed recently. "I must have been tired to sleep through that." I said as I ran my hand over the cloth.
"Oh yeah especially with all the complaining she was doing at Adrin the whole time." Mel grinned. "Adrin gave her more sleeping herbs just to calm her down and keep her in bed a few more hours. She wanted to get up."
"Why am I not surprised?"
"The hard part was getting her to take them. Adrin threatened to tie her good arm down and hold her nose."
"Oh that would have been interesting. Im guessing she finally took them."
"I took the damn things " She mumbled as she started to come round. "Stop talking about me like Im not here "
"Well, well my grumpy warrior wakes." I planted a soft kiss on her forehead.
"Umm-hmm " She licked her lips.
I knew those herbs of Adrins were potent stuff that really dried your mouth out. Mel brought me a cup of water and I gave her a few sips. "Better?"
"Umm-hmm " She opened her eyes and gave me a weak smile. "Some kid weve got "
"She sure is and she needs you now more than ever so youve got to get better."
"Im fine and I want to go home."
She started to get up but I just put her back. "Not yet. Give it some time. You lost a lot of blood."
"I didnt lose it. I know right where it is." She grinned.
"Oh brother. What am I going to do with you?"
She cocked her eyebrow at me. I knew what that meant, but with Mel standing right there, now was not the time to comment.
She turned her attention to Mel and tried to reach her hand out, but it fell short. The herbs still had a little hold on her. Mel knelt down next to her and took her hand. "How you feeling pal?" Mel asked as she kissed Xenas hand.
"Did you get a description of the cart that ran me over " She grinned at our daughter.
"You know I missed it " Mel grinned back. "But somebody said it was a really big one "
"Well at least it was a really big one." Xenas eyes began to close again and she was soon snoring very softly.
Mel looked at me. "Doesnt that keep you awake at night?"
"No. As long as I hear it I know shes there and she safe. Somehow I cant seem to sleep without it."
"Hmm. It would drive me nuts."
"One of these days there will be someone in your life who does something that normally would make you crazy, but because you love them well you learn to live with it."
"I cant imagine."
"No I guess right now you cant. " I smiled at her. "Trust me on this one."
"Do you remember falling in love with her?" Mel looked at me and suddenly her expression changed. "Im sorry I shouldnt have asked that."
"Its okay. No, I dont remember the first time I fell in love with her, but I remember the night that I realized I did love her. So thats kind of it for me right now. Whats important is that I know I love her. Just like I know I love you and your brothers and sisters. I dont have to remember I just have to know in my heart and I do."
Evening found us at home and settled in by the fire. Xena relaxed and enjoyed a couple extra cups of wine after the evening meal, "for healing purposes" she assured me with a grin. She and Kai played with the twins and the puppy while Mel and I continued to sift through old scrolls. I would look up occasionally to see her holding off a child who wanted to get just a little closer to that wounded arm than she liked. I had to wonder about this woman who one minute could choke the life out of a person and the next be so gentle with the children that played with her. She was becoming more of a mystery to me everyday that my memories didnt return.
A knock on the door brought her to her feet as the children giggled and squealed as she pushed them off her. She crossed the room. From my position at the table I couldnt see who was at the door, but from the sound of her voice she was surprised as well.
"What are you doing here?
I heard him clear his throat, "I came to help "
The Raising Melosa Series Continues with The Guest
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