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 Forty-nine in the series "Raising Melosa". Takes six months after "Coming of Age"
Dont Touch the Amazon
I stretched as I stepped out onto the porch. The sun was just coming up bathing everything on a brilliant orange light. It was cool and I took in a lung full of fresh air as I started down the steps for the barn.
I heard her but kept walking without turning around. I slowed my pace waiting for it. At the last moment I turned to one side quickly as she fell passed me hitting the ground with a heavy thud. I turned around, watching as she lay there motionless, face down in the dirt.
"I hate you." She mumbled as she turned her head, continuing to lie on the ground.
"No you dont. Are you hurt?"
"Just my pride."
I chuckled, holding out my hand and pulling Mel to her feet. She dusted herself off as she looked at me.
"One of these days Im gonna get you. You do know that, right?" She rolled her arm in small circles at the shoulder as we walked toward the barn.
"Not until you learn not to step so far out on the branch. I heard it creak with your weight. You didnt wait long enough."
"Great now you tell me."
I took my horse from the stall and tossed a blanket on her back.
"Where you going?"
"Im taking Kai into Malous. He needs some new gear, boots and such. The cobbler that makes them moved there from the centaur village a few months ago."
"Do you think little brother would mind if I went with you? Theres a weapons smith there Id like to talk to."
"A weapons smith? Why do you need to see a weapons smith?"
"Ive got an idea for a weapon and I want to see if he can make it."
"Hmm. Well youll have to ask Kai. He should be here shortly. Hes packing up a few things."
"So," She handed me my bridle. "How are things going here?"
"Even if I am Ill never admit it." She grinned at me. "Its different you know? Im not accustomed to sharing everything I do with fifteen other people."
I chuckled as I put my saddle on the horse and cinched the strap.
"Whats so funny?"
"Nothing. I was just thinking back to a lifetime ago."
She paused as she looked at her boots. "When you were a warlord?"
I swallowed hard as I looked at my daughter. "Yeah. Just thinking about when I had an army. Talk about sharing everything."
"Yeah I guess you would huh?"
"Umm it was the only way with that many men."
I sighed and looked into her eyes. "Too many ." I let the subject drop and thank the Gods so did Mel.
I led my horse from the barn as Kai and a young Centaur friend of his came around the house. I liked Bailus, he was a couple of seasons older than Kai, but he was good to the boy and they had a strong friendship. I think part of it was due to the fact that Bailus was smaller than other centaurs his age. He had been ill as a baby and it seemed to effect his growth. Kai looked past all that and the two were almost inseparable.
"Hey are you guys gonna get ready to leave today or what!" I called as they continued toward me.
"Im ready Xena." Bailus said as he swished his tail, smacking Kai in the back of the head.
"Hey watch it pony boy." Kai gave his friend a smack on the hindquarters.
"All right you two knock it off. Kai get your horse saddled and lets get on the road."
As Kai headed for the barn Mel slung an arm around his neck and walked with him. "Little brother dear I have a favor to ask ."
Mel whistled for her horse. The mare came out of a small grove of trees nodding her head furiously as she approached my daughter. I smiled as I watched them. My heart ached as I missed Argo. As I watched Mel mount her horse I felt as if I were looking into the past. By the Gods it was an eerie feeling to watch someone who looked so much like me get on a horse that looked so much like Argo. That fact that Mel had my old saddle only served to enhance the feeling. When I retired Argo I had retired that saddle too, but when Mel asked me for it I couldnt deny her. Now Argos great granddaughter wore the saddle that had always served my mare and I so well.
"So are we all ready now?"
My three companions all agreed that we were ready to go. Then I just dropped my head as I heard her.
"Xe ." Gabrielle called from the porch.
I nudged my horse and rode to the house. "Yes dear?" I reined my horse at the porch so I was right next to her.
"I need a few things." She waved a list at me.
I just dropped my head and took the note. "You know I hate to shop."
"Youll live. If you have to let Kai do it, hes pretty good at bartering."
"Well hes your son. It must be in the blood." I tucked the list into the pouch at my waist.
"Is Mel going with you?"
"Something about a new weapon and talking to the weapons smith in Malous."
"A new weapon huh?"
I looked into her face and she let her head drop a little. "Yes Ri a new weapon. She is after all a warrior."
"Okay now youre splitting hairs. Doesnt matter. She needs to decide what weapon she wants to use and get proficient with it."
"I know." She sighed as she leaned over to me, wrapping her arms around my neck. "Be good and be careful. When will you be back?"
"Late tonight or tomorrow morning. Depends on how well the kids travel. I dont want to wear them out."
"Okay Ill leave the door unlocked."
"If you do that love, please put a guard outside. The raiders that the centaurs have been having problems with are making me a little nervous. Theyve gotten close to the house a couple of times now."
I gave her a soft kiss good-bye. "See you later."
"Make sure you get that last item on the list by yourself will you." She gave me a totally mischievous grin as she turned and headed into the house.
I took the list out and gave it a quick look. I wondered if the kids could see the blush as I rode over to them tucking it safely back in my pouch. "Okay troops are we ready?"
"Absolutely." Kai took the lead as he and Bailus began down the road.
Mel rode next to me, lazily allowing the reins to hang in her hands.
"So tell me about this new weapon you want."
"Umm Id rather wait and see if it can be done first. For all I know its a really stupid idea."
"Somehow I doubt that. You have a very sharp mind when it comes to weapons."
"Oh har har very funny."
"I didnt mean it that way." I just shook my head. "You know sometimes you are so much like your Mom."
"I personally prefer to think that Im a really good mix of you both. You know I got your good looks and strength of body and I got her strength of mind and soul."
"Somehow I think Ive just been insulted."
"Not at all. But come on youve got to admit that when it comes to talking she can run circles around you."
"This is true. I cant argue with you there."
"And you were the one who taught me to try and talk my way out of a bad situation first."
"Yes, yes I did."
"And if that doesnt work then I can kick some ."
"Sorry." She grinned at me. Then she nudged her horse forward to join her brother and Bailus.
Malous was only about three candle marks away by horseback. We arrived relatively early in the day. I took Kai to get his boots while Mel and Bailus went to find the weapons smith.
"Well now young man, youve just about out grown these havent you?" The cobbler smiled at Kai as he inspected his old boots.
"Yes sir. My Mom says Im growing like a weed."
The old man laughed as he removed a pair of boots from a shelf. "Tis true. A young man like yourself will grow up too quick for your Mothers I think." He handed Kai the new boots. "Here you go try these."
Kai sat down to try the new boots. The cobbler turned to me with a smile. "How have you been Xena?"
"Pretty good and you?"
"Well its taking time to get settled here you know my grandson isnt very happy here. He misses his friends.
"Im sorry to hear that."
He shook his head just a bit. "Im afraid Ive made a mistake taking him away from the centaur village. When his father died I thought that taking him away from there would be best but now Im not so sure."
"Isnt he making new friends here?"
"Yes but not the type Im happy with. Hes hanging around with a group of young tuffs and I dont like it, but the more I get on him about it the more he seems to fight me." He glanced over at Kai, who was now standing up in his boots wiggling his feet. "I wish he was more like your boy. Hes always so well mannered and polite."
"Oh he has his moments. Besides your grandson has been through a lot. First he lost his mother then his father ."
"I know but Im afraid these new friends of his are going to get him hurt."
"If there is anything I can do ."
"Thank you Xena I appreciate it, but Ill just have to find a way to handle the boy myself."
Kai brought the new boots over and placed them on the counter. "Well a trip to the barn always works for me." He grinned at me.
"Have to go there often do you Kai?" The cobbler asked as he picked up the boots.
"Oh no. I learned a long time ago that the barn was much better for the horses than me. I try to stay out of trouble."
"Good for you. How do these fit?"
"They fit fine sir."
"You want to wear them home?"
"No sir Im gonna wear the old ones out completely first. Boots are expensive, gotta get everything out of them you can."
I laughed as I rubbed his head. "Yup just like your Mom. Kai if you want to wear your new boots go ahead."
"No maam my old one are fine for riding home in."
"Okay have it your way." As Kai went to put his boots back on the old man wrapped up his new ones. "How much?"
I heard Kai grumble a little. He wanted to argue the price, but he knew better. I removed the money from my pouch with a little grin and paid the cobbler.
As Kai gathered up the package that held his new boots, the door to the shop opened with a loud bang. Mel stood in the doorway holding a boy about her age. She had one of his arms twisted up behind his back and her other hand was wrapped tightly in his hair. "Does this belong to you?" She growled as she shoved him through the door. The boy stumbled to the floor landing with a crash at my feet.
"Mel whats going on here?" I bent over and helped the boy to his feet. It looked as if he had been given a sound thrashing.
"First, he decided to give Bailus a hard time and then he decided to touch me, without my permission."
I shook my head as I gave the boy a quick examination. His lip was busted, his nose was bleeding and he had a really bad black eye coming on. "Son do you have any idea how dangerous it is to touch an amazon without her permission?"
"I do now." He lifted his hand to his busted lip. "She should be locked up shes a menace."
"No shes an amazon princess."
"Yeah," Mel growled as she stepped forward. "Were the worst kind."
I put my hand out to halt her advance. "Mel its over."
"Hes still on his feet ."
"Mel enough." I turned to the cobbler. "Im sorry."
He held up his hand as he shook his head. "Its not the first time and I imagine it wont be the last. Come on Latkus, lets go back and get you cleaned up."
"He should be okay. Its just a few cuts and bruises. Would you like me to ."
"No Xena Ill do it. Ive gotten pretty good at tending to all his bumps and bruises." He smiled at me. "Please dont worry about this. There is no doubt in my mind that the boy deserved whatever he got."
I watched as the old man took his grandson to the back room. I turned to Mel. "Was it really necessary?
"Mother first he hit Bailus with a rock. We asked him to leave us alone. Then he came over and grabbed my arm." She held up her forearm for my inspection. There was a handprint and it was going to bruise a bit.
"Okay. I just wanted to make sure you didnt ."
"No I didnt over react. If I had hed be dead."
I sighed as we headed out of the shop. Bailus was waiting outside for us. I noticed a small cut above his eye. It was bleeding, sending a trickle of blood down the side of his face. I moved to my horse and removed a cloth from my saddlebags. "Bailus?"
"Come here son let me look at that cut."
"Its okay Xena really."
"No now let me look at it." He reluctantly made his way over so I could tend to his head. "Well youre not going to need stitches." I cleaned the wound and brought the flow of blood to a stop. "You okay otherwise?"
"Yeah Im fine. Whats with Latkus? He never acted like that when he lived in the village."
"His grandfather says hes not having a good time of it here."
"You know, Mel is amazing. She just dropped him. Before I even really knew what was going on."
"Yeah well she thought she needed to."
"If she hadnt it would have been much worse. There was another group of boys watching, but when Mel took Latkus to the ground they scattered like leave in the wind."
I laughed as I put the cloth away. "Well now that weve had some excitement for the day we should head to the market. Ris got some things she wants me to get." I reached in for the list. Tearing the bottom off of it I gave the rest to Kai. "You three go get the things on that list and Ill meet you in a candle mark in the square." I handed them enough money to do the shopping on the list and a little extra just because I know how kids are. "Stay out of trouble okay?" I looked to Mel. She grinned.
I tucked the package away in my saddlebag as I heard them approach. I turned and shook my head. Somehow Bailus had been relegated to pack centaur. He had the packages tied neatly in a bundle on his back. "Okay guys thats not even funny." I approached and started to remove the load.
"No Xena really its okay I dont mind. Whats the since in having a strong back and four legs if you cant put them to good use. Besides its not that heavy."
"No really ."
"Alright but if you change your mind ."
"Youll be the first to know." He grinned at me. "Xena?"
"Thank you for letting me come with you today. Youre about the only person my father trusts enough to let me leave the village with."
"Youre welcome Bailus. I hope he still feels the same way when he sees that cut on your head."
"Hey accidents happen. Its not like its the first time someone has pitched a rock at one of my kind."
The kids decided they wanted to go ahead and try for home instead of stopping for the night. It was late when we got back. Mel decided to stay at the house rather than ride back over to the village. Bailus and Kai decided to camp out since it was such a warm night. After the horses had been tended to Mel and I headed for the house. I settled my saddlebags over my shoulder as we walked up the path from the barn.
"Hey what did the smith say about this new weapon of yours?"
"Hes not sure he can do it."
"Ill find someone yet."
"Im sure you will."
As we approached the house I could see two amazon guards on the porch. They were of the Queens Royal Guard variety and took their duties very seriously. They started to question me, until one of them got a glimpse of my face in the torchlight.
She gave me a sheepish grin. "Im sorry Your Highness."
"Quite alright. Im glad to know youre doing your job. You can go back to the village if you like. Ill lock up."
"Yes Your Highness."
Mel went straight to her room and I would imagine was sound asleep as soon as she hit the bed. I entered our room Ri had left a small lamp burning for me so I wouldnt crash around in the dark. I placed my bags over the post of the bed, then sat down and began removing my boots. I smiled as she moved up behind me, wrapping her arms around my waist.
She gave my ear a little nip. "Tired?"
"Not too bad. You?"
"Unt-huh took a nap."
"Oh really?" I continued unlacing my boots.
"Yup. So did you have any luck?"
"Un-huh. In my bag."
"Oh good ." She positively purred as she reached for my saddlebags.
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