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.
Other: Part Sixtyfour in the series "Raising Melosa". Takes place right after "We Need a Thief." This is from Mel, Xena, Autolycus and Gabrielles POV.
He looked back at me from his kneeling position as he examined the lock. "Umm Mel do you mind? Youre in my light."
"Oh yeah sure umm sorry." I backed up to stand with Mother as we waited for him to get the lock off. "How long?" I whispered to her as I crossed my arms.
"As long as it takes Mel. Autolycus has to be very careful here or he could get hurt. We all could."
"Can he get around an enchanted lock?"
"No doubt." Mother said as she leaned against a tree. "Hes never failed before. Thats why hes still the King of Thieves even after all these seasons."
"Well I hope hes still got it."
"Mel my dear," He said as the lock fell to the ground. "I can get through any lock." He turned to us with a grin as he slid the gate open. "And I do indeed, still have it." He waved us inside with a little bow.
We headed to the cave. Mother stopped and offered her hand to Uncle Auto. "Thanks Autolycus I owe you."
He looked at her hand and then to me. "Heh, she thinks Im leaving." He jerked his head toward Mother. Then he turned to her. "Never know what youll find inside Xena. You might need me again."
"I cant ask you to ."
He raised his hand to her. Too late, you already did. Come on lets go."
We gathered up our gear and light torches that Mother and I prepared the night before. Taking our first steps inside, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. "Oooo I hate it when that happens." I mumbled as I followed Mother in.
"Yeah creepy isnt it?" Uncle Auto added from behind me.
"Well, this cave is under Heras protection. Do you expect any less?" Mother said quietly as we continued forward.
I noticed Mother was paying particular attention to the floor and walls. "What are you looking for?"
"Traps and triggers for traps."
"You expecting a lot of those?"
She held her hand up and we all stopped. Slowly she drew her sword, moving to the left side of the cave and waved it in front of the solid wall. Solid that was, until the six arrows shot from the right wall embedding them in the wall near Mothers sword.
"Those would have gotten ." I swallowed hard.
She turned to me. "You. I would have tripped it and they would have gotten you. This Mel, is a lesson in why you dont just rush in."
"And a good one too." I fingered one of the arrows as we moved past them.
We continued further into the cave. We finally came upon a junction that gave us four choices.
"Oh now I hate it when that happens." Uncle Auto said as we looked at each choice.
"Im thinking this is bad." I said as I tried to peer into the first opening.
"It cant be good." Mother offered as she looked down into each opening, giving them all her full attention. "Well we have two choices. Go together or ."
"Go alone." Uncle Auto finished as he shifted the torch from one hand to the other.
"Well why dont you and Mel take one and Ill take one."
"Now wait just a moment!" I turned on him. "You dont have to send me off with my Mommy. I can take one by myself thanks." Truth was I was a little nervous, but no way was he gonna treat me like a little girl.
"Of course Mel. Im sorry."
"No problem. Im sorry were all a little edgy." I reached to my back, giving a twist I freed my blade from my staff.
"Great Gods Mel! How many more little tricks do you have up your sleeve?" He chuckled as he eyed my sword.
"Ill show you mine if you show me yours." I grinned. Im getting the hang of this raunchy humor thing.
"Mel!" I turned to Mother. She just shook her head as she drew her sword. "Behave."
"Well he asked." I gestured to Uncle Auto with one hand and grin to my Mother.
"Yes I did." He shook his head. "Ill be more careful next time." He withdrew a long dagger from his boot. "Okay how do we want to do this?"
"You take the first one, Mel the second, Ill take the third. Then if need be well all take the fourth."
"And if I need a brave warrior ." He grinned as he cocked his head at us.
"Just scream." Mother said as she started off down her path.
"I can do that." He nodded as he stepped into the darkness of the first tunnel.
I drew a deep breath as stepped forward. Mother words rang in my ears. "You. I would have tripped it and they would have gotten you. This Mel, is a lesson in why you dont just rush in." Ah words to live by.
I hadnt gotten too far when I noticed that there was an odd sound in there with me. Breathing. There was something ahead of me and it was breathing. Shaking down the urge to go back, I kept moving very slowly. Holding my torch well ahead of me I wished my arms were longer. Yup that was definite breathing and it didnt sound human. A few more steps forward and then I see it. Now if I just knew what it was for sure Id be a happy young warrior.
Then it raised its head and bared its fangs. Then a second and third head came up with twin growls and snarls. A long leg with razor sharp claws lashed out at me.
As I walked down the cavern I kept my ears open for anything, especially a call for help from Mel or Autolycus. I wish he had kept his mouth shut. I might have been able to get Mel to come with me, but once that comment left his lips I knew that wasnt going to be possible anymore.
I moved further into the cavern, I could feel myself getting twitchy. There was something about this place that just really had my nerves on end. Maybe it was the fact that we hadnt run into anything that spelled real trouble. I preferred to face my trouble head on. In here I had a feeling it was gonna drop down on our heads, very suddenly too.
I cocked my head and brought my sword up just in time to block the blow. The soldier sneered as my as the torch dropped from my other hand and the fight was on. I heard four other swords sliding from their scabbards.
It was almost too quiet. Not a noise could be heard from Mel or Xena. I took that as a good sign. No news is good news. I felt the floor of the cavern slope down slightly. Moving carefully I walked along the wall feeling with my shoulder as I gripped the torch in one hand and my dagger with the other.
How was it I got myself into these things? Im a thief I steal things, but every time Xena showed up I found myself doing something really stupid. I gotta admit this ranked right up there with the top ten stupid things Ive done in my life. Ah it was a good life Im glad I had a chance to live it before I died.
"Aww Tartarus!" I yelped as the floor began to slide out from under me.
I felt myself sliding down the floor with nothing to grasp into. I lost the torch the moment the floor gave out from under me. I tried to slow my fall by digging my dagger into to the floor finally it was pulled from my hands. I was left grasping at the floor with the tips of my fingers and continuing to fall.
Then I felt it as I sank into it. My first reaction was to struggle, but I knew that doing that would only hasten my descent into the quicksand.
I jerked up in the chair. My heart was beating in my chest. The blood rushed to my ears. Something was wrong! Something was not right, my stomach turned in knots. My first thoughts were of Kessa. The fever had been raging for nearly a week now and I was afraid she had finally slipped away from me after I had dozed off. Turning to her I found her sleeping, I placed my hand to her face. The fever still burned so I placed another damp cloth on her forehead. She opened her eyes and smiled at me briefly. Then she closed her eyes again. As I leaned over to give her a kiss I heard her whisper.
"Mothers in danger ."
I pulled back to look at her. Her eyes remained closed. I smiled as I tried to ignore the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that told me the same thing. "No baby, Mothers fine." I tried to reassure her as I ran a cool cloth over her face. "She and Mel will be home in a few day then everything will be okay."
"No." She shook her had without opening her eyes. "The monster has Mel."
"Sweetie, theres no monster. Mel is safe with your Mother."
"Uncle Auto is with them ."
The mention of Autolycus shocked me. Why would he be with them? She must be having a dream brought on by the fever. "Honey its just a dream. Its just a dream."
She shook her head a little again. "Uncle Auto is drowning ."
By the Gods everything in my soul told me she was right, but I refused to believe it and I would let her believe it either. "No baby, just bad dreams. Just bad dreams. Go back to sleep. Everything will be okay."
"Only two will leave the cave ." She whispered before she settled into sleep.
I took a sip of water from a cup and offered a prayer to any God that would listen. I couldnt help but allow a few tears slide down my cheeks. I couldnt shake the feeling that my little girl was right and before this was over, I was going to lose a friend, a child or my soul mate.
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