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 Fifty-five in the series "Raising Melosa". Takes place right after "The Promise" This segment also takes a very dark and somewhat violent turn. This segment is from Gabrielle and Mels POV.
By T. Novan
I stood on the porch of the house and looked across the meadow where the tent stood. A dozen amazon guards milled about talking quietly or drinking tea near the fire pit. There was no noise from the tent at the moment. I hoped against hope that maybe, just maybe Xena was resting. It had been three days since I had last seen her. It seemed that my presence only made her rage more. I looked at the deep purple bruise on my arm. "Oh Xe I wish there was something I could do to bring you back to us."
I wanted to go see her. My soul felt so empty without her near me. I missed her. Her touch, her voice, Gods how I missed her. I felt the tears in my eyes as I realized the truth of the healers words. It would seem that my soulmate had indeed lost her mind. My entire body tingled as I felt the loss of the other half of my soul.
I turned to find Mel coming out of the house. "Hello honey." I offered my hand to my eldest daughter. She took it and I drew her close to me.
I shook my head. "I hurt Mel. It hurts so much."
She rubbed her hand over my back as she hugged me. She was taller than I was now and I found myself laying my cheek against her shoulder. Gods it was almost as if Xe were here with me. Just another season or two of growth and my little girl would be as tall as my Warrior. "I know." She said softly, as her own blue eyes focused on the tent. "I do too."
"Mel we have to do something. We just cant keep her chained up like this. Its not right. She deserves better."
"What do you suggest?"
"Hippocrates has a special hospice in Athens for people like your Mother. They are cared for and treated well. They are not made to live like animals."
"You want to put her there?"
"I dont want to, but is it right to keep her like this?"
"No I guess not."
"Im going to send a messenger to Athens and see if he will agree to come and look at her, to see if he can take her and help her."
I felt her nod as she drew a deep breath. "It would probably be for the best. This is really hard for all of us, but Im really worried about Kessa and Rosa. Theyre still having nightmares."
"I know and hearing her screaming from the tent isnt helping either. It scares them senseless. Theyre afraid she going to get lose and come back to the house. I considered moving her to the village but I cant stand the thought of being so far away from her." I drew a deep breath as I watched the guards take a tray of food into the tent. "I dont know how Im going to manage sending her away."
"Well," Mel said, sounding more and more like her Mother. "Maybe we wont have too. Im gonna go down and see if I can get her to eat something."
"Mel be careful."
"Oh I will."
I watched as Mel moved down the steps, her armor glinting in the sunlight. Rilex lifted from his perch on a nearby tree and flew around her head, squawking as he flew circles around her. "Oh behave!" She yelled as she waved a hand at him. I had to laugh.
She was the only one that Xe seemed to respond to. Mel could get her to eat and sleep a little and the outbursts were less violent when she was around. I watched as she disappeared into the tent. She certainly was taking on a large part of the burden herself for one so young. She was being forced to grow up too fast because of all of this, all my children were. It was heartbreaking to watch them try to cope with this loss and I felt so helpless.
I entered the tent picking the tray up from the front of the cell and carrying it to the side. I knelt down next to her pulling apart the loaf of bread. "Hey pal?" I watched as she twitched nervously. I had learned over the last couple of weeks what to expect before a fit. She was calm now and didnt seem to be on the verge of an eruption. "Brought you some food. Can you eat a little something for me?"
She shook her head, then turned away from me.
"Please?" I soaked the bread in the broth. "Cook made venison stew just for you. Its even loaded with that black pepper you like."
She turned back to me and opened her eyes. "Pepper?"
I smiled. "Yup lots of black pepper. Just the way you like it." I put my hand through the bars offering her the bread. "Come on now. Eat just a little okay?"
"Okay ." She moved slightly and took the bread into her mouth.
"There you go pal." I soaked a little more of the bread getting the next bite ready. "Good isnt it?"
"Umhmm." She nodded as she slowly chewed the bread. "Your Mom?"
"Shes okay. She misses you." I offered another bite, which she took.
"Well umm theyre good."
"Lair." She smiled a little as she swallowed.
She nodded. "Youre not scared?"
"Sure I am. Im scared of losing you." She took a third bite from my fingers. I was pleased at the way she was eating today. This was the most food I had managed to get into her in several days. "But I know that were gonna get through this and everything will be all right."
"No Mel ."
"Oh now dont start that again. We always make it through. Remember when Mom got hurt. We all stuck together and we got through that. Well get through this too."
"When did you get so smart?" She turned her head and looked at me.
"Ah I just had a really good teacher who taught me never to give up no matter what the odds. You ready for a little of the stew?"
She nodded. As I put the spoon through the bars she tilted her head to take the stew. I managed to get several spoonfuls down her before she shook her head. "No more."
"Okay pal." I sat the bowl down and moved the tray so I cold get closer to the bars, closer to her. "You did real good." I stroked her arm. Slowly I inspected her wrists, the bandages under the shackles needed changing. I got to my feet and moved to the entrance of the tent. Calling a young guard over I sent for the healer. Then I returned to her. "Your bandages need changing. Ive sent for Delia."
"Dont bother ."
"Nope it needs to be done." I grinned. "And youre going to let her. Got me pal?"
She nodded and smiled. "Got you. I love you Mel ."
"Love you too pal."
I sat at the table with Kai, Kessa and Rosa. They picked at their food. Eating little and saying even less.
"Mom?" Kai looked to me as he laid his fork aside.
"Are you really going to send her away?"
"I dont know yet son. Ive sent for someone who may be able to help her, but if he can she may have to go with him to Athens."
"Cant he help her here?" Rosa asked looking up from her plate.
"No sweetie. He has a special place he can take her to help her."
"I hope he takes her away." Kessa offered as she looked to her brother and sister. "She scares me. Shes going to hurt us."
I moved to my daughter and knelt down next to her. "Honey your Mother would never knowingly hurt us. Shes sick. You do understand that, dont you? She doesnt know what shes doing."
"She still scares me. I want her to go away. I dont want her to hurt you anymore." Tears slipped down her cheeks as she looked to me. "Please dont let her hurt you anymore. Send her away."
I put my arms around her as I listened to her words. My Gods our children were frightened of her. I looked to Rosa and Kai who refused to make eye contact with me. How had we come to this point? The children who adored my Warrior, their Mother, were now afraid of her and wanted her to be taken away. I knew what Xe would want me to do, but I wasnt sure I could do it.
"I promise you no matter what. She wont hurt us anymore." I held her close as she nodded her head against my shoulder and continued to cry.
Mel came into the house as I stood up from Kessa. "She okay?" Mel moved to her sister rubbing her shoulders.
"Shes really scared Mel."
Mel lowered herself down to her sister. "I just came from seeing her. She seems a little better today. She told me to tell you that she loves you ."
Kessa bolted from her chair, yelling at Mel before running from the room. "No she doesnt! She hurt Mom! She doesnt love us ."
"May I go?" Kai as quietly. "I need to feed Auto and brush the horses."
"Me too?" Rosa questioned as they both stood.
"Yes go ahead." I sighed as I sank back into my own chair. They left the house. Mel sat down next to me and took my hand. "Theyre scared of her ."
"The sad thing is I cant blame them. If I were their ages Id be afraid of her too." I was ashamed of the admission, but it was true. "We cant let this go on." I sighed as Mel squeezed my hand. "If Hippocrates can help her Im going to let him take her to Athens."
She nodded then looked to me. "All right. I understand why it has to be done, but I have a request."
"I want to go with her."
"Mel no ."
"Mom Im the only one she responds to, the only one who can reach her. Dont you think that being taken away from here will do more harm than good if she is taken away alone? I cant let that happen. Please let me go with her."
"Ill think about it."
"Thats all I ask."
"It may be too soon for this anyhow. He may not be able to help her."
"From what youve told me of him, if anyone can, he can."
Sitting on the porch watching the sun go down I drew in a deep breath of the cool evening air. I heard something that sounded slightly like thunder but it didnt stop. I moved from the porch and saw a small band of men on horseback and centaurs. I came off the porch as I recognized Uncle Tyldus in the lead. The amazon guards started for the house. "Stay there! Its all right!"
Mom came out of the house to meet them. "Mel whats going on?"
"Im not sure."
She joined me in the yard as Uncle Tyldus and his men stopped just short of the house. "Gabrielle we have a problem."
"What? Whats going on?"
"Those raiders on our borders, theyve banded together. Theyve got a force of several hundred men. Theyre headed this way and," He paused as he shifted his hindquarters. "Theyre flying Xenas banner ."
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