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.
Violence: Yeah well if you touch Mel, expect to get hurt.
Other: Part Sixtytwo in the series "Raising Melosa". Takes place right after "The Mission".
I led my horse into the village. She had thrown a shoe and I wasnt happy. This would only delay our journey to the caves. "Well," I sighed as I looked around the village. "We need a blacksmith."
"You find the blacksmith and Ill get us a room." Mel offered.
"Umm not sure we can afford a room. The shoes are going to set us back."
She pulled a pouch from her waist. "This ones on me."
I grinned and shook my head. "And exactly where did you get your loot from?"
"Hey, I have to teach the amazons for free. I dont have to teach the guys over at the centaur village for nothing.
"Im sure I dont even want to know ." I grinned as we stopped in front of the inn.
"Mother! I was talking about sword drills." She blushed as she wiped her hand over her face.
I chuckled. "I know honey I was only teasing."
"Umm could you do me a favor?" Mel shuffled back and forth just a bit as she fiddled with the reins.
"Well Im umm well Mom Im all decked out here. Please note the fancy leather, armor, weapons ."
"Ummhmm I got ya so far."
"I kinda look like a warrior right?"
"Oh absolutely. I wouldnt try you."
"You would if you heard someone call me honey."
I nodded slowly. "Ah I gotcha. Warriors reputation."
"Yeah. So could you ."
I held up my hand. "Say no more warrior. Ill make sure to defend your reputation."
"Eh I can defend it. Id just rather you didnt ruin it."
"Mel youre fourteen. You dont officially have a reputation yet."
"Okay, then lets not start one on the wrong foot."
"No problem." I held out my hand. She tilted her head in question. "Your horse?"
"Oh yeah right. Sorry." She handed me the reins. "Ill Ill go get the room."
"Great. Ill be there in a little bit. Try not to get in any trouble."
"Do my best." She winked as she headed for the inn.
The best piece of luck I had all day was that the blacksmith actually owned the stables. I made arrangements to have the shoe fixed first thing the next morning. If it took well we could be back on the road by mid day.
As I made my way back to the inn I found Mel out of the porch. "Get us a room?"
"Yup." She kicked a loose bored with the toe of her boot.
"Oh oh what happened?" I crossed my arms waiting.
"Umm well you see this also happens to be the local tavern ."
"And while I was getting the room ."
"This guy came up and grabbed my shall be say lower rear armor ."
"I umm decked him. Hes out cold."
I smiled and uncrossed my arms patting her on the back. "Well done Mel."
"Oh yeah. While were on the road. All bets are off. If he started it you had the right."
"Great! So if he does it again ."
"Ill kill hi " I stopped and cleared my throat. "Ill leave it up to you to deal with."
"Just remember, Ive got your back."
We went back into the inn. I noticed a man at table off to the side. He had a young woman tending to him trying to wake him. "Is that him?"
Mel glanced over. "Yeah, yeah that would be him."
"Big guy ."
"Yeah, but drunk out of his mind. Im sure that helped."
"So you un hungry?"
"Yeah I could eat."
I moved to a table in the corner of the room. I started to sit down in my normal spot with my back to the wall then reconsidered allowing Mel to have it instead. She needed to learn these things.
"Im guessing theres a point to this." She grinned at me as she poked at the flame of the candle with her finger.
"You can keep an eye on the whole room."
She looked around. "Hmm good point. Thanks."
The woman who had been tending to the man when we came in moved to our table. She looked down at Mel and pointed to the chakram on her armor. "I know that from somewhere, but I cant remember where."
I need to get out more. Mel looked to me with surprise in her eyes. I just sat quietly and shrugged. Hmm, I must be getting old; then again this girl isnt much past seventeen seasons.
"Something," the girl continued, " in a story I heard once ."
"Umm could we just order a meal." Mel said quickly before it could get any worse.
"Mel its okay. Tell me about this story." I grinned at the girl.
"Well, it was a long time ago. My mother used to tell me stories about this warrior woman who traveled with a bard. Apparently she saved my mothers village when my mother was about fifteen."
I smiled and nodded. At least it was a good story.
"Do you know who she was talking about?"
"Who me? Not a clue." I grinned again.
"Im sure it will come to me eventually. We have some very good roast rabbit tonight."
"Rabbit will be great." Mel said with just a little shake of her head. "Two mugs of tea too please."
She left the table. I looked over at Mel. "Hey kiddo whats wrong?
"Why didnt you set her straight?"
"Why? What would the point be? I was a good story Mel. She has a good memory of the warrior and the bard."
"Yeah, but youre sitting right here."
"So. It was a long time ago. Mel Ive been away a long time. Eventually Ill fade into legend. Your Mom and I will be as mystical as some of the Gods."
"How can that be? After all youve done? Its not right."
"Mel its wonderful to know that after all these years some people have good memories of me. Its a much better legacy than I expected to leave."
"Yeah I guess so." She continued to poke at the flame. "Can I ask you a really personal question?"
"You know you can."
"Well you dont talk about it much. Your past that is ."
"It was a very long time ago Mel and not something Im proud of. Ive done so many other things that I am proud of Id much rather talk about those things."
"Well like raising five incredible kids, marrying the woman I love and being with her for twenty seasons ."
She smiled. "Okay, okay I get the point."
"Mel I just have so much to be proud of. I dont want to spend the last years of my life rehashing things I cant change. I did that for a long time. I just dont want to do it anymore. I want to grow old and content and watch my kids and grandchildren grow up."
She smiled at me. "I can understand that."
The girl returned with our food. She also brought a loaf of bread and two bowls of fresh sliced vegetables. She smiled down at me. "Why didnt you tell me Xena?"
"It wasnt important."
"Of course it was. Because you saved my mothers village, she was able to grow up, get married and have children. I wouldnt be here if it werent for you."
"How did you figure it out?"
"My mother is the cook. I asked her. Shed like to come out and thank you."
"Its not really necessary ."
"Please?" She smiled at me.
The girl left us. Mel smiled. "Okay last time I pry. How many people do you think you killed so many years ago?
"Hundreds upon hundreds." I admitted quietly.
"Okay now take what she just said and weigh that against that. How many people do you think have lives because you were around to save their parents?"
I just smiled and took a bite of my rabbit. The girl returned with her mother. I stood to meet them. The older woman smiled at me as she approached. "Xena, thank you. Thank you for everything."
"I I didnt ." I honestly didnt know what to say.
"Yes you did." She smiled at me. "I have my daughter and my other children because of you and soon my first grandchild." She glanced back to her daughter.
"Congratulations. Let me introduce you to my .umm ."
Mel stood and extended her hand. "Daughter. Im her daughter. Have been for a while now." She chuckled as she nudged me. "My name is Melosa.
"Oh there is no doubt. You are a beautiful young woman Melosa."
"Thank you." Mel smiled then retook her seat.
The older woman smiled at me again. "What happened to you companion? Gabrielle wasnt it?"
"Yes," I smiled as I nodded. They remembered the bard too. This made me very happy. "Shes Queen of the Amazons. Im her consort. Weve been married for just a little more that fifteen seasons now."
"Shes happy then?"
"I like to think so." I chuckled as I took my seat. "I do my best to keep her that way."
"Im glad youve found your happiness Xena. Please stay with us as long as you like. Youre always welcome here." She turned and smiled at Mel. "That goes for you too Melosa. If you are ever in this area please remember that you have friends in this village."
"Thank you." Mel nodded. "I appreciate that."
"My name is ."
"Aleara ." I smiled at her.
She smiled back at me. "Yes and this is my daughter Maris. Well, warriors we will leave you to eat in peace. If you need anything please dont hesitate to call us."
We returned to our meal as a few more people wandered in. I was glad it was relatively quiet. I was not in the mood to deal with any idiots tonight. As I pulled a slice of bread from the plate before me all of my wishes went out the window.
"Im going to teach you a lesson you little bitch ." He growled as he made his way across the room.
Mel and I both were on our feet before he got to our table. As I felt my hand go to my chakram in reflex, out of the corner of my eye I saw Mel pick up her staff. I wanted to deal with it, but it was time for me just to step back and wait. I hated giving up this much control.
"Look ." Mel started as he charged forward, throwing a punch, which Mel blocked easily with her staff.
Every muscle in my body was screaming at me to do something. My head and my heart told me to stand down until I was needed.
He grabbed his wrist and glared at Mel. "I think you broke my wrist."
"Ive heard there are hundreds of bones thats one." Mel stepped forward. "Wanna go for two?" She growled as she stepped forward again.
He let go of his injured hand then tried to backhand her with the other. She caught his hand, while she didnt have the strength to crush bones yet, she certainly did know how to twist so they would break. "That," She hissed at him as he crumpled to his knees, "is two, three and four. Now I can keep this up all night. Anything else youd like me to rearrange while Im here?"
"How how ." He stammered as pulled both his damaged hands to his body.
"I had a good teacher." Mel brushed a hand back to me. He lifted his eyes focusing in on me.
Aleara and her daughter emerged from the kitchen. "Xena!" Aleara called as she came around the bar.
""Im sorry for the trouble, but this gentleman decided to challenge Mel."
"Kaldor have you lost your mind!" Aleara helped the man to his feet. "This is Xena, the Warrior Princess and her daughter Melosa."
The blood drained from his face as he looked back and forth between us. "I I ."
Aleara simply led the man away. I looked to the few other patrons in the inn. They quickly went back to their own meals. I looked to Mel who pursed her lips as her brows knitted together.
"Stupid ." She said quietly as she sat down.
"Lots of people like that in the world Mel. Get used to it."
Up in our room, I was pleased to discover it was comfortable with a large bed and a bathtub in the corner. While I was too tired to take a bath tonight, one would be welcome in the morning. It would be hard telling how long it would be before we would get another.
I tossed my armor down on the table with my weapons as Mel took her own gear off.
"Well, I guess that one advantage to not wearing much armor." She chuckled as she lifted her breastplate away from her head.
"Yup." I continued undressing and was stripped down, changed into a sleeping shift and in bed before she even managed to get out of her leathers.
"You," She removed her tunic as she shot me a dirty look. "Are not a nice person."
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