Disclaimers: The characters of Xena: Warrior Princess and all other associated with the television series of the same name are owned by Studios USA/ 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.
Sex: No, theyre being good this time.
Violence: Just a little.
Spoilers: There may be spoilers for various episodes.
Other: Part Sixteen in the series "Legends Legacy". Takes place after "Released"
The Family that Plays Together
"Get up!" I snap her backside with a piece of linen I used to dry off with after my morning dip in the river. "You lazy thing, you."
She rolls over and opens one blue eye. "Why are you up so early?"
"After all these years of living with you, it was bound to rub off on me eventually."
She groans and pulls the furs over her head. "I dont wanna get up. Im very warm and happy here."
"Xena, dont make me come in there after you. You promised me wed get an early start today."
She draws a deep breath and pushes the furs down. "The sun isnt even up yet, Gabrielle. Come back to bed. Ill make it worth it, I promise."
"You promised wed leave early so we could meet the kids."
"Why did we have kids?"
"Because it annoyed Ares." I snap her with the cloth again. "Now come on, get up."
"Oh, all right. But you owe me."
"Ill make sure to pay you back when we get to Corinth."
"You know, Gabrielle, we are not going to be able to make it every time one of the kids has a baby."
"No, but we can make it this time. This is my last baby having a baby."
She sighs as she pulls on her boots. "Youre such a mother."
"So are you." I tease as I roll up the furs. "And a good one too."
She looks up and smiles at me. "We raised quite a group, didnt we?"
"Yes we did, and now they are bringing forth the next generation."
Xena chuckles and I know its directed at me. "What?"
She smiles at me and winks. "I love watching you get excited about grandchildren, Gabrielle. When I think of the life weve led, its just nice to see that you still get excited about the simple things."
Much later in the day we managed to make it to the edge of Corinth, even though my horse had thrown a shoe. We took the ride a bit slower so she wouldnt go lame. Xena had spent most of the day cursing over the problem and blaming Ares. Im not sure why. I think it just made her feel better.
As we drew closer, I dismounted to give the horse a break and to stretch my legs. I was happy to see Corinth. It had been a long time since we had seen the kids and Mel had carefully gathered them all together here so we could see them and the family could be here when Kessa and Johns first baby arrives.
Mel had secured a large house on the west side of the city were we could gather in relative peace. It was difficult for Xena and I to explain our continued presence among the living, considering that we werent aging at all.
Xe had even mentioned that we should consider taking new names, just to make things easier. I have a feeling we will be recreating ourselves a lot.
Once we found the house, Xena was quick to tend to the horse and make sure her hoof had not spilt. Before I even made it to the door, little Xena came bolting out and flying into my arms.
I caught her and lifted her into my arms. "Hello, Little Xe. My, you are growing like a weed."
"Mama say I very big!"
"Indeed you are." My granddaughter was quickly approaching her third birthday and was a true beauty just like her namesake.
Before any further words could be exchanged Brianna came out of the house wiping her hands on a rough-hewn cloth. "Well, hello, Mom. You two made good time."
"I can do amazing things when Im motivated."
She nods. "Tending the horses. Its in the blood with this family. Well, come on in and see Kess. Shes as big as a house and not moving around too much."
"Is she all right?"
"Shes fine, but shes pregnant, cranky and very annoyed at the way John breaths at the moment."
"Oooo, I remember that feeling well. There were times when I wanted to rip Xes lungs out through her nose."
We walk into the house where I find Kess resting in a large oversized chair and John sort of hiding in the kitchen. Putting Little Xe down, I kneel next to my youngest and take her hand. "How are you sweetheart?"
"Ready to rip the wings off a Harpy. Or kill my husband. One of the two."
"I hate to break this to you, but it takes two, remember? You have to be there for this to happen."
"I was an innocent bystander."
"Right. I suppose he just bumped into you and you got pregnant?"
Bri chuckles. "Hed have to have done it several times for that to happen."
From the kitchen John offers, "I only did what she told me."
The door bangs open and Xena and Mel come racing through, theyve obviously been tormenting each other.
"Stop!" Mel yells as she protects her head from Xes playful slaps.
"Make me!" Xe teases back. "Come on shorty, make me."
"Would you two stop. We have a pregnant woman here."
"Its not my fault." Xena grins and moves to Kess, giving her a kiss on the forehead. "Want me to kill him?"
"Hey! Innocent husband here." John joins us, giving Kess a mug of spiced juice.
"So where is your brother and his wife?" Xena sits down on the floor and pulls Little Xe into her lap.
"They should be here this evening. They stopped on the way to sell some horses. Kai has been invaluable to Alana since Solan passed. Hes pretty much taken over the farm, and Alana has more time with the Amazons and serving as Rosas regent."
"Im going to miss Rosa and Alana. I wish they could have come."
"I know," Mel sighs. "Theres just too much going on in the nation right now. They cant afford to leave."
Kess readjusts in the chair and snickers. "My sister, The Virgin Queen. I should have followed in her foot steps." She looks at me and grins. "She was really adopted wasnt she?"
"Kess be nice. Just because you sister has chosen a life of well of
Before I can find the right word, Xena and Mel pipe up at the same time with," Misery."
"You two," Bri offers as she heads for the kitchen, "are seriously oversexed."
"Oversexed?" Mel looks confused and turns to Xena. "Is that even possible?"
Xe winks at me. "Not as far as I'm concerned."
Settling down to dinner we are pleasantly surprised to find out that Bri has turned into an excellent cook. Of course, Im just pleased when I dont have to eat my own cooking.
"Mother," Mel looks up from her plate, "theres a sparring competition in a couple days. I was wondering if I could practice with you. Im planning on entering and I need a good partner to spar with."
"Id be happy to, but what about John? You could spar with him."
John very nearly spits his ale across the table. Then he turns wide eyes on Xena. "Me? Im a banker, not a fighter. Shed kill me."
Xena laughs, and the entire table joins her. Even Little Xe, who isnt sure what shes laughing at, joins anyhow. "Sure, Mel Id love a chance to flex my muscles again."
"Ooo, goodie," I tease, "Ill make sure to mix some liniment."
"Harpy." Xena shoots me her best faux glare.
"I may be a Harpy, but Ill be a Harpy that can move tomorrow." I say it just to torment her. "Now if you were still a God we wouldnt have to worry about all this. But being a mere immortal has its drawbacks."
She leans over and whispers in my ear. "If you dont behave you wont be able to walk in the morning."
Our meal is interrupted by the arrival of Kai, Maya and Drake. Our Grandson is older that Little Xe, but far more reserved and shy. He manages to hide behind his mothers skirts as they come into the kitchen.
Xe and I are up immediately to greet them. As I start to hug my son I notice he has a black eye and his lip is bruised and busted and there was a huge bruise forming on his jaw. "What happened?"
"We got robbed." He winces, holding his ribs as I guide him to a seat. "Some bandits jumped us about to hours after we left the horse auction."
I watch as Xena turns Maya to her and asks if shes okay. The girl nods then joins Kai, kneeling at his side and caressing his cheek.
"Im fine," he tells her. "Really."
Drake looks at his parents and then starts crying softly, knowing something is wrong. "Hey," I lean over and wrap him up in my arms. "Its okay, youre safe."
"Hes okay, Drake. I promise. Your Papa is fine. Were gonna take good care of him."
"Grandma, bad men hit Papa."
"We know, but were going to take care of it."
"Oh, you bet sweet centaur chips we are!" Mel booms as she takes a cold cloth to her brother.
"Mel, relax," Xena scolds. "Well deal with this, but you know getting angry isnt going to make it any better."
"No, but Ill feel better."
"Oh, all right. Well do it your way."
"Of course we will." Xena said as she picked up Drake and gave him a hug and a kiss. "But right now," She focuses her attention on Drake. "We need to get you Papa settled into bed so he can rest."
I watch as Xena sharpens her sword. Theres that look again, the look that speaks of complete determination. "Can we do this without killing them?"
"I doubt it."
"Can we at least try?"
She looks up at me, quirking a brow. "They robbed our son."
"I know. And Im just as anxious to deal with this as you are, but I know that certain way you sharpen your sword. It means youre a woman who is planning to cut men in half."
"But," I cross the room and stand in front of her, resting my hands on her shoulders. "Wouldnt humiliating them be better?" I want them to pay for hurting Kai, but I push down my anger knowing that violence should always be a last resort.
She sighs and grins at me. "Ill make you a deal. If you can figure out how to humiliate them before I kill them, well go with it."
"Thats fair." I take her sword from her hand and set it off to the side. "Now lets go to bed and well worry about this tomorrow."
I made sure Kai ate some warm broth as Xena checked the wrapping on his ribs. "Well, son, they arent broken but they are bruised up very nicely. Youre going to be sore for three of four days."
"Good. Only two or three days to go." He chuckles as I fuss with the pillows behind his head. He takes my hand and holds it tight. "Mom, Im fine. Please stop fussing. I have a wife who does enough of that."
"Yes, and she is putting your sons breakfast on the table. So I get my old job back."
He just rolls his eyes and lets me fuss.
Xena moves from the bed and puts her kit away. "So can you give me some idea of what these thieves looked like?"
"Average road thugs, Mom. I dont know what to tell you." Then he looks up and smiles. "Wait, there are two things, one of them has bright red hair, a head like a cabbage and doesnt look like he could find his ass with both hands and a map. And one of the other ones took Mayas necklace."
"Theyll probably sell that." Xena says as she considers the situation.
"Oh, I dont think so. He put it around his neck and seemed to be very proud of it. Ill bet good dinars he keeps it."
"You dont have any dinars, you got robbed, remember?" Xena teases.
"But I will bet that they are headed here for the competition tomorrow," I offer, taking a seat on the edge of the bed. I notice theyre both looking at me like Ive just grown another head. "What? I used to do this too you know. My instincts arent that bad."
"Absolutely. They have a purse full of dinars and a city with a competition where they can show off what they have and possibly win even more. Makes perfect sense to me." I shrug and pat my sons leg. "Now well let you rest."
"Ah, Ri give me just a minute." Xena lifts her chin to the door and I know thats my cue.
Im in the kitchen with Mel when Xena finally comes out of Kais room. She walks in and gives me that smile. Its the smile that tells me someone must die. "Lets go. We have some people to find."
Mel and I follow her out and I grab her by the arm. "Whats up?"
Xena takes a deep breath, lick her lips and lets it out slowly. "Werent you even curious how our son managed to get thumped by a band of road thugs?"
"Lemme tell ya. They held Drake at knifepoint and threatened to cut his throat and then kill Maya."
"They did what?" I can feel my motherly rage starting to flair again. "My grandson?"
"My nephew," Mel says as she taps her fingers against the hilt of her sword. "Can we kill them now?"
"Yes," I agree. "Yes, we can kill them now."
"Lets go." Xena growls and heads for the barn.
"Ill be right there." Running back to the house I duck inside and grab my staff. Yes, now they must die. Or at least learn that you dont mess with my children and grandchildren.
Outside Mel and Xena are already mounted and ready to go. I reach up and Xe pulls me up behind her. "You ready?" She pats my leg.
"Oh, yeah. Im good and mad now."
Arriving in town, Xena and I stable the horse and go looking on foot while Mel continues further into the crowd on horseback. The crowd is thick and moving through them is going too slowly, too slowly for either one of us. I watch as Xena looks up and smiles. "Thats what we need." She takes my hand. "Come on."
We get through the crowd to face a tall wall. "Oh, yeah. This is going to be very helpful." I tease as she takes a step away and fetches a barrel and a long plank. "What are you doing?"
"Were going into that circus." She places the plank over the barrel. "Stand on that end."
"Oh. I got it." I step onto the plank and look up to the wall, trying to figure the best way to land.
"As ready as I can be when Im about to be launched."
Her battled cry cuts through the air as she runs, then jumps and flips onto the high end of the board. Suddenly, I am air born and headed for the top of the wall. "Bend you knees, bard." I remind myself just as my feet hit the top of the wall and I make a wobbly landing. "Whoa!" Im sure Im going to fall backward when a strong hand lands on my back.
"Easy there. We dont need squished bard to round out our day."
"Thanks." I look down into the crowd. "Great vantage point."
"I thought so. I do have a good idea occasionally."
"Once in a while." I feel her smack me in the butt and nudge me to start walking along the top of the wall.
I spot Mel right away; man, does she look like Xena when shes mad. She is carefully circling the group from her horse, a small group of men that are too wrapped up in the sparring match to notice the pissed off Amazon Warrior riding around them like they were the catch of the day.
"Xe, I think Mel found them." I point to where she is in the crowd.
"Uh-huh. Certainly looks like. We should get down there before she kills them herself and deprives me of any fun."
Walking along the top of the wall we manage to get close enough to jump to the ground not too far away from Mel and the men she is watching. Moving as quickly as possible through the crowd, we move to the edge of the ring where the men are fighting. Mel joins us shortly after and points to a man standing across the ring, cheering one of the men on.
"Thats cabbage head. And the guy in the ring is wearing Mayas necklace."
"Shall we break up the party?" Xe grins and removes her sword from the scabbard.
"Love too." Mel removed her weapon and they stalked forward.
"Give me a minute, will ya?" I point across to cabbage head. "We want to make sure no one misses out."
They nod and I make my over to the idiot. Taking a place right next to him, I wait for the show to begin. Mel and Xe do twin vaults over the crowd and into the ring, landing quite nicely with idiot number two trapped between the tips of their swords. The man who had been engaging idiot number two steps forward and yells.
"What do you think youre doing?"
"Ah, shuddup!" Xena pushes him backward by shoving on his face.
Cabbage head starts to move forward and I stick my staff in his ribs. "Ah, ah, ah, dont do that. I can break every bone in your body."
"What?" He turns wide eyes on me.
"Granted, not as satisfying as holding a baby at knife point, but just as effective."
"You crazy bitch!" He pushes the staff away and starts forward. This gets him cracked in the back of the head.
Leaning over him, I poke the back of his neck with my staff and tell him quietly, "Dont call me crazy."
He moans, nods, and then does the politically correct thing by passing out. I look up to see Mel and Xe watching me, holding idiot number two in place with their swords. Xe looks to him and just shakes her head. "He shouldnt have pissed her off."
"What is going on here?"
I notice that the crowd has gone very quiet. Some watching with interest ,others watching and waiting for the fight to start. Im not even going to try and figure the odds on this one.
Xe presses her sword into the mans chest. "All right, pretty stupid boy. Where are your pals?"
"What in the name of Tartarus are you talking about?"
"He doesnt just act stupid, Mom. He is stupid."
"Apparently." Xe drops her sword from the mans chestand moves close to the man, picking an imaginary piece of dirt from the mans shirt. "You and your friends, jumped a family on the road yesterday, a man, his wife and their little son. You robbed them, took the womans necklace." She wraps her hand around Mayas necklace. "This necklace." The she pulls it loose.
"You cant prove anything."
"Yes, I can. You see that woman is my sons wife and I made her this necklace." She opened her hand and flipped it over. "Can you read?"
He nods nervously.
"Good. Read the inscription."
I watch as his eyes drop and he reads the medallion.
"Out loud." Xena commands and grabs him by the back of the neck with her free hand, shoving him to the ground.
"To Maya, with love, Xena and Gabrielle." He looks up at Xe and swallows hard. "Oh, shit."
"Oh, shit, indeed." Xe nods. "Now were you the one who held my grandson at knife point?"
"No, no, no I swear." He raised his hand at cabbage head, who was just starting to come around. "Him he did it."
Xe starts to move and I wave her off, moving to him, but take the time to pluck her breast dagger from its normal hiding place. Then I walk over and grab him by the back of his head and place the dagger at his throat. "Well now, how does it feel?"
He looks up at me, sweat is already starting to pour down his forehead.
"Do you think my grandson felt the same way you do now? Was he crying and afraid?"
"Your grand grandson?"
"Uh huh that little boy, whose family you attacked and robbed yesterday. You know when I thought you had robbed my son I was mad, but I figured, hes a man and he did what was best for his family and I did my best to control myself. Then I found out you held a knife to my grandsons throat to make my son comply. Now Im more than mad, Im angry. Angry as only a mother can be when her children are threatened. Xena wanted to kill you and I sort of had her talked out of it. Now Im not so sure "
"Please? You want her to kill you? Sure." I look up and smile. "Xe, could you come over her for a second?"
"NO! No, I mean please dont kill me."
"Oh, I see now." I let go of his head, but leave my foot on his back as Xe approaches. "He doesnt want you to kill him."
She twirls her sword. "Too damn bad."
His idiot friend manages to pipe up. "Wait!"
Xe slowly turns and takes a deep breath. "Yes? You have something to say?"
"Well give the money back."
"Oh, I dont doubt that. I know youre giving my sons money back, even if I have to take it out of your worthless hide."
"Its in those saddlebags." He gestures to the rail where cabbage head had been standing.
Xe winks at me. "Ill check it out, if he moves, kill him."
Xe retrieves the bags and nods when she is sure the money is there. "Ive got it."
"Okay, you can kill them now."
Just then two city guards enter the ring. "Whats going on here."
Idiot number one blurts out, "We robbed her son."
The first guard crosses his arms. "Is that so?"
Cabbage head nods frantically. "Yes, take us to jail please."
"We can do that." The second guard nods and pulls cabbage head out from under my boot. "It will be our pleasure."
I watch as the two are led away and turn to see Xe standing with a huge smile on her face.
"Well, that was fun." She grins and sheaths her sword.
"No, it wasnt," Mel crumbles. "I didnt get to hurt anyone."
"Some days you just cant win." Xe soothes as she drapes an arm over Mels shoulders.
"Aint it the truth."
Back at the house Xe tosses the bag of dinars on Kais bed. "There ya go. Its all there. Any extra, we donated to the orphanage in town."
"Fantastic. I didnt think Id ever see this again. I dont know what the village would have done without this winter."
"We took care of it and your friends are now in custody." I settle on the bed. "And I had fun."
"I didnt." Mel grumbles again.
"Im sorry, Sis."
"Come on, Mel. Ill take you out in the yard and give you a proper beating." Xe winks at me and pulls Mel out of the room.
"You okay?" I ask as I run my hand through Kais hair.
"Im fine. I feel stupid that I let it get this far."
"You did what you had to do to protect your family. Thats what matters."
"Youd know, wouldnt you?"
"Youd better believe it."
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