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.
Spoilers: Minor spoilers for Between The Lines.
Other: Part Seventy-two in the series "Raising Melosa". Takes place about a month after "The More Things Change "
Its All in the Asking
I watched as Kai and Bailus drug the next load of beams over. Bailus is a good boy and Im proud that Ri and I have taken him into our home. Now all Ive got to do is get a home built for him. Im finding that its a little more difficult with one good arm. Its a good thing Ive got my sons to give me a hand. I smiled as I watch Kai wipe the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand.
"Are you sure we need a new house?" He grumbled as he tossed back the ties at one end of the wagon Bailus was pulling.
"Im sure. We need a bigger place."
Bailus unhooked his harness and helped Kai unload the wagon. "Hey its going to be fun building the house. Ive never done anything quite like it before."
"Yeah well I cant wait to see you climb a ladder to work on the roof." Kai snapped as he tossed down one of the timbers
"Hey fellas youre both too grumpy for words. Why dont you take a break and go to the pond for a swim."
Kai looked over at me and grinned. "Really?"
"Really. Go on." I watched them take off for the pond as I sat down on the foundation of the house. Yeah its a good thing Ive got my boys to give me a hand. I tapped my cane against the ground as I drew a deep breath.
"Whats wrong Warrior?"
I looked up to find Ri. I looked at her and drank her in. My Gods, nearly twenty seasons have passed between us and she still makes my blood race. She is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.
She stopped an arms length from me and stared down. " Well?"
"Im just thinking about how damn useless I feel right now."
"I figured as much." She knelt down, stroking her hand up and down my right side. It still amazes me that she doesnt shy away from me. "You know this is silly."
I jerk my thumb over my shoulder to indicate our unfinished house.
"Okay so you need help with some things. Big deal."
"I havent been much good in the ah umm "
She leaned over and whispered in my ear. "Sex? Is that the word youre fishing for?"
I grinned as I felt myself blush. "Yeah actually it was."
"And since when are you shy about talking about sex."
"Or the lack there of? How long has it been Ri?"
She leaned over and kissed me. "Doesnt matter. I love you and were together "
I dropped my head. "Im sorry. I havent been very attentive lately."
"Well you know," She dropped down to sit between my legs facing out toward the lake. "Its kind of a two way road here Xe. Our love life isnt just your responsibility you know. Maybe I havent been as attentive as I should be either. I know you Warrior, all I have to do is use a couple of well placed pressure points and youre mine."
I grinned as I ran my fingers through her hair. "Is that so?"
"Nah nothing to it. Ive been married to you for far too long." She turned around rising to her knees as she leaned in, barely brushing her lips over mine. "I know all your spots."
She leaned into the kiss, demanding that I give in. I did. Gods this woman does know how to get to me. I felt myself being laid back. I was ready to give in and give her anything she wanted. Wouldnt you know it, we were this close to the point of no return when I felt her appear. I broke away from Ris kiss and looked over her shoulder to find Artemis.
"Your timing absolutely sucks." I growled as Ri moved away from me to stand before the Goddess.
"Xe! Be good." Ri gave me the look.
I sat up then using my cane I forced myself to my feet. "Im assuming you have a purpose for being here?"
"Yes Xena many purposes. And I am sorry for my abrupt arrival." She smiled at me as she lifted her brows and gave a slight tilt of her head.
"Yeah so am I."
She turned and took Ris hand. "My Queen I have business with your Consort. Would you mind giving us a moment or two?"
Ri looked to me and I gave her my, I dont care shrug. She grinned as she looked to Artemis. "If she gives you any trouble just yell."
"Im sure well be fine My Queen." She glanced at me with a smile. "We are after all family."
"Do you need to keep bringing that up?" I grumbled as I leaned into a nearby tree. I watched as Ri walked away from us toward the lake to be with the boys. "What do you want Artemis? Isnt the loss of my arm and my limp enough for you?"
"Xena I wanted to thank you."
"I didnt do it for you Artemis I did it for my daughter and the Amazons."
"Oh I know, but the end result was the same. You saved my life."
"No Xena, you see you did. You saved a lot of lives, not just mortal lives, but the lives of your father and most of the Olympian Gods."
"Do you know why Hera and I were at odds?"
"Im not sure I care."
"Hinds blood. Hera was hunting down the last two golden hinds."
"Weve been here and done this Artemis. A very long time ago."
"Or so you thought. Xena the last two golden hinds live on this land. I protect them. Hera wants them. She will continue to try and get to them Xena, but for the moment they are quite safe."
"Terrific. You said you had business with me. Care to get to the point?"
"I want to give you some things Xena."
"Oh no. No way."
"Will you ever learn to trust us?"
"I doubt it."
"Youre one of us Xena. Whether you like it or not and even if you wont admit it. You have godly blood running through your veins. Trust me." She waved her hand toward our new house. I watched as it came together. Complete just has I had envisioned it. "Not for you Xena, for your family. Will you turn it down?"
"I didnt think so." She turned to me and smiled. "Why arent you wearing your circlet?"
"Kind of flashy for everyday wear dontcha think?"
"Not at all Warrior. Wear it. Its important."
I nodded. "All right. Is there anything else?"
"Yes just one more thing." She moved closer to me and took my hand. "You have shown great courage and strength Xena. I want to restore something to you. I want to give you one wish. Tell me Xena what can I do for you to take some of this doubt from your mind?"
I looked to Ri. My thoughts were of her. "Anything?"
"I will give one gift of anything you ask Xena."
I took a deep breath. "Make me ten seasons younger."
"What? What about your arm?"
"My arm means nothing if I die before Ri. Make me ten seasons younger. I want to be the same age as Ri. I cant bear the thought of dying before her Artemis, of leaving her behind, of leaving her alone."
She nodded. "As you wish Xena. It seems that your love for my Queen is much stronger than your warriors pride."
"It always has been."
"So be it. Spend your first night in your new home alone with my Queen, Xena. In the morning you will have your wish."
She vanished leaving me staring at the new house. It was beautiful and a lot bigger than I thought it would be. It was also constructed of stone. My plans had called for wood. I went up the steps, entering it slowly. I guess I was waiting for the roof to cave in on my head.
As I looked around I remembered teasing Ri about living in a palace, but it came very close. It was opulent to say the least. The main room was huge. It was furnished with fine furniture and beautiful tapestries lined the walls. In our old house the main room had also served as the room where we took our meals, in this home there was a room next to the kitchen, which was also much bigger than I had expected. I continued through the house. Finding the bathing chamber and a room that had to be the room I designed for Kai and Bailus. It had its own entrance, which was big enough to accommodate a growing centaur, next to it, Kessa and Rosas room. There were also two other sleeping chambers. Mel would no doubt move into one of them. She didnt like living over in the village as much as she thought she would. Of course now that the new healers apprentice had shown up, I could be wrong again too. She had quite an eye for that little redhead.
As I looked around I noticed a set of stairs. Those had not been in my plans. I went up the stairs, they curved around leading into a large room which took up most of the second floor. It was our sleeping chamber. A huge bed sat in the center of one wall. It was covered with silks and satins, the colors of which I had never seen before. There in a corner, was Ris desk and chair. Cabinets for our clothes and my equipment lined the wall opposite the bed. A large couch and two chairs lined another wall near a large fireplace. This was going to take some getting used to.
I opened a door leading off our room and found the bathing chamber. As I looked at the large sunken marble tub I knew Id never survive it. That thought made me smile. I sat on the edge of the tub looking down at it. I reached over and flipped the lever. I smiled as the water started running into it. I pushed the lever back into place and the water stopped, slowly it drained out. This house was a truly amazing piece of work. Okay I could get use to this. I had lived a hard life, comfort now would not be a bad thing. I left the room heading back into our sleeping chamber.
I found Ri standing in the middle of our room, simply turning small circles as she took it all in. She finally stopped as she looked at me. "Xe? What? How?"
"Your Goddess. A gift for our family, from Artemis."
"By the Gods Xena its its ."
"Yes it is." I chuckled as I moved to her. "Theres another gift. I asked her for it."
"You asked for something?"
"She offered to do one thing for me Ri and I took her up on it."
"Shes going to heal your arm?"
I caressed her face as I looked into those beautiful green eyes that had held my soul for so long. "Shes going to make me ten seasons younger Ri. Ive been worried about leaving you behind. Ive been worried about dying before you. Artemis is going to take ten seasons off my age."
She smiled as she shook her head a little. "Xe you could have had her make you twenty seasons younger. Why did you ask for only ten?"
"I want to be with you my love. Ten seasons will make us the same age. Or at least close to it."
She wrapped her arms around my neck and I could hear her crying softly as she buried her face in my neck and hair. "Gods Xe I love you."
"And I you."
I watched her get ready for bed as I had done for so many seasons. I took a great deal of comfort in this. Just watching her. She was so set in her ways it was almost funny. I could tell you from start to finish her entire routine for getting ready for bed. I ran my hand over the coverings of the new bed. It was a bed made for royalty. Ri deserved this.
She was about to take on a great responsibility, bringing the nation together, under one Queen. The other queens that had survived the fever discovered very soon that their tribes were near revolt and they were close to losing not only their thrones but their lives as well.
Ri had managed to save them. They agreed to step down to the role of regent. Each tribe had a regent, the regent reported only to the Queen. I smiled. My wife. She truly was Queen of the Amazons. Of course, this meant a lot of changes for us now. We were going to have to travel more. We would spend almost half a season away from our own home tending to the business of the further tribes. Ri had always been the only queen to do anything constructive with her authority. I knew so many seasons ago that this would happen eventually.
I glanced over at her again. Ah shes nearly finished. She turned to me and smiled. "Xe did you look at this mirror?"
"Ive been too busy watching you."
I pulled myself out of our bed. My body protested every movement, it was very happy in that bed. I moved to her. She stood allowing me to sit on the stool. I looked up to the mirror.
Ri reached over my shoulder gesturing to the wooden boarder around it. "Look at the four boarders. The one on top is Greece. Its where we met. The second is Chin. Its where we found our first weakness. The third is Britannia. Its where it all nearly ended for us. The fourth is India. Its where we found each other again. Then it comes back to the first panel, Greece."
"Its beautiful Ri it truly is."
"Yes, but I discovered something very interesting in the panel for India."
"Care to share?"
"See this section of the carving right here."
I leaned in as she pointed to it. "Yeah. Ah the thing with Alti."
"Umm-hmm. Remember the mendhi?"
"How could I forget?"
"Yeah well lets forget for one moment that we werent exactly in the right bodies ."
"We were for that time."
"Hush and let me finish."
"Yes dear." I grinned as I took her hand and kissed it.
"The mendhi is used primarily in marriage rituals. It is so that the partners can get to know each other, physically and spiritually."
"Ri we already had a pretty good working knowledge of each other ."
"Im going to hurt you if you dont let me finish."
"You do realize this means weve actually been married since India?"
"So its actually been what? Almost seventeen seasons instead of sixteen."
"Yup." She smiled at our reflection in the polished metal of the mirror.
"Do I get a prize for figuring that out?" I grinned as I placed her wrist to my lips and gave it a little nip.
I felt her pull my hair back from my neck as she leaned over me. "You better believe it." She placed her mouth firmly on my neck and I caved again.
I awoke the next morning holding Ri close to me. I drew a deep breath as I tried to get fully awake. It took me a moment before I realized I had feeling in my right arm. I felt something clasped in my right hand. Slowly I brought it up to find a parchment. Careful not to wake Ri I unfolded it.
Your wish has been granted. As Athena was quick to point out to me, you asked to be made ten seasons younger. Ten seasons ago, you had the use of both your arms. It seemed only fair. It was all in the asking Xena. You chose well.
Return to The Bard's Corner