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: Just a little.
Other: Part three in the series "Legends Legacy". Takes place about a week "Wives, Warriors and Gods"
Big Trouble, Little Packages
"Oh lucky me!" I growled again, trying one more time to get out of it.
"Nope! No way! Forget it! You promised now come on." Ri grabbed my hand pulling me along behind her.
"Are you sure you cant get Bri to go with you?"
"Oh please, shes worse than you are about this sort of thing. Besides have you seen a trace of them since we got to the inn?"
I considered the question as we headed for the market. "No, actually I havent."
"They did just get married and a soft bed is more appealing to them right now than anything, including food."
"Hmm thats true. Wonder if theyre smart enough to figure out they need food."
"Im sure they are, itll just be awhile." She laughed, tightening her hold on my hand as I tried dragging my feet just a little more. "Stop it!" She chastised without turning around to face me.
I finally just gave up and went with her. I did after all promise her a vacation and for Ri a vacation meant shopping. Gods an eternity of shopping, what have I done?
"Stop that little thief!" She dropped my hand as the call came to our ears and we both immediately went on alert. It was amazing how quickly all the old senses were returning to us.
As I scanned the crowd for any sign of a disturbance she was at the ready right next to me. "See anything?" She asked as I craned to see into the crowd.
"Not ye-" Before I could finish my sentence a young boy came running at us. The crowd was parted to let him through, mostly because of the long, sharp knife that he held out in front of him.
I stood firm as the crowd parted and he ran right into me, bouncing off and falling on his backside. Before he had a chance to react and use the knife, Ri pinned his hand to the ground with her foot before jerking the knife from his hand. "Give me that! You could hurt someone with it." She pulled the knife from the boys hand, giving it to me before she released him.
I snorted as I tucked the knife away, then assisted the boy to his feet with a quick jerk.
"What?" She arched her brow at me as she dusted her hands off.
"You sounded so much like a mother. Give me that!" I mimicked as I held the boy by the scruff of the neck.
"Well, could that be because I am a mother?"
"Could be I guess." I offered as the little ruffian struggled in my grasp.
"Do you mind? Let me go!" He yelled, struggling more.
"Nooooo I dont think so." I didnt tighten my hold on him as I forced him back through the crowd. "Someone just stole something from the market and you are my prime suspect."
"Now why would you think that?" He argued, twisting in my hold, still trying to break free.
"Could be because you were the only one running away?" Ri offered as we made our way into the crowd.
He remained silent, but continued to struggle as we returned to the scene of the crime. The blade merchant looked at the boy then made a lunge for him. "Cmere you little thief!"
I pulled the boy back, taking the blade from my belt and tossing it in the air. Catching it by the blade I handed it back to the merchant. "I believe this is yours."
He looked surprised to be getting it back, slowly making eye contact with me as he accepted the blade. "Yes, yes it is. Thank you."
"Youre welcome. Not if you will point me to the local magistrates office ."
"That way." The merchant, who still seemed to be in shock about getting his knife back, pointed to a stone building a short distance away.
"Thank you." I nodded, then the three of us headed for the building.
"What are you going to do with me?" The boy started dragging his feet a bit.
"Turn you in."
"You cant!" He yelled and the fight was really on. After wrapping him up in my arms so I had a good hold on him from behind Ri came round to face him.
"You stole something. You have to ."
"Theyll cut my hands off!" He screamed fighting and kicking, trying to make me put him down.
My eyes met Ris and I knew we were in trouble. "NO!" I said before she could utter a word. "We are turning him over."
"Xe! Hes just a boy! Not much older than Kessa and Rosa."
"Hes a thief!"
"Your best friend is a thief."
I dropped my head a little as the boy began to relax in my arms. "Ri hes still a thief and he needs to be punished."
"I agree, but he doesnt need to have his hands cut off to prove the point."
"So do you have a suggestion Your Majesty?"
"Excuse me, Im having trouble breathing here." The boy mumbled.
"Like I care." I growled in his ear, knowing that his appearance was about to complicate my life.
"Actually I do. Were going to be in town for a few days, right?"
"Yeah." I agreed, wondering if we could pack and leave now. No, that wouldnt work, shed make us take him with us.
"So for the next few days you can teach him a lesson."
"Me? Why me? You want him, you take him."
"Im not a pet!" The boy yelled, beginning to struggle again.
"You are if she wants you to be. Now hold still." I tightened my hold on him.
"Keep it up and I will."
"Xe!" Ri sighed as she laid a hand to the boys shoulder. "Would you both just calm down?"
"Make Medusa put me down will ya?" He tried again to kick my leg.
"Ri Im gonna be forced to hurt him in a moment."
"Xe, hes boy how much damage can he do?"
"Tell you what why dont you hold onto him and find out."
"Boy youre cranky this morning. Didnt you get enough to eat."
"No and Im thinking hed make a great snack."
She just shook her head at me, giving me the looked and I resigned myself to hanging on to the little terror for the moment.
"Whats your name?" Ri asked so calmly, I wondered if she had been paying attention to the last few moments.
"Okay John, heres the deal. I get her to let go and you behave. Otherwise she snatches you back up and were headed straight to the magistrate. Got it?"
He nodded and I could feel him relax. She nodded to me and I loosened my arms from around his arms and chest. Then he made his next big mistake. He tried to make a run for it, again. Ri thrust her arm out and simply caught him across the shoulders knocking him to the ground. She placed her booted foot firmly in his chest and her staff in his throat. "So you want your hands cut off? Okay we can do that." She looked to me. "Guess he wants to go to the magistrate."
"So it would seem."
"Well, we can most certainly accommodate him. Why dont you just haul him back to his feet and well take him-"
"No! No!" He yelped from his position under her foot. "I swear I wont try anything just let me up."
"You know," I growl as I lean over and pull him to his feet again. "If I were you Id be a lot more afraid of her than having my hands lopped off." I jerked my thumb at Ri.
"Her! What about you?" He stammered looking me up and down comparing my size to Ris.
"Who me? Compared to her, Im harmless."
"Oh shit." He groaned, letting his head drop.
She gave him a good smack to the back of the head. "Watch your language."
He looked up to me as his brows came together. "Told you. Shes raised six children, dont piss her off. She wields a mean switch."
"Gods you dont just dont give a guy a chance." He just shook his head.
"We gave you plenty of chances and you blew them all." Ri reminded him. She turned away from us and disappeared into the crowd for a few moments.
When she returned she held a length of rope out to me. "Remember when Mel was a baby?"
After a few minutes I had him securely harnessed up and walking ahead of us. "Now what?" I whispered to the wife, giving him a little shove to keep him moving.
"Im working on it."
"A plan would have been good here Ri."
"I said Im working on it. Just give me a little time will ya? Geeze.
"Well, time is something we definitely have."
"Yeah I know. We could try to find his parents."
"Oh yeah Im sure theyre around here somewhere." I gestured after offering my sarcastic opinion.
"Dead." He mumbled.
I stopped, pulling him to a stop then pulling him back to us. "What did you say?"
"I said theyre dead. My parents are dead." He looked up at us as we tried to find something to say to him. "What, you think I like stealing to survive?"
Suddenly I felt my life getting really complicated. "Oh Gods." I groaned a little, letting my own head drop. Its when I heard the sniffling that I finally looked up to find the little goon held firmly in the arms of my wife as he cried against her tunic.
Oh yeah, a lot more complicated.
Mel snickered, as she looked us over. "What shop did you buy him at?" She crossed her arms against her chest, leaning against the stairs of the inn, watching the boy consume his fourth bowl of stew.
"Thieves R Us." I offered dryly as I drained another mug of juice.
"Never mind Ill explain later. Wheres Bri?"
"Sleeping." She wiggled her eyebrows at me and I knew I didnt need any more information. "I thought Id come down and get us something to eat."
"Told you they were smart enough to figure it out." Ri chuckled as she sliced more bread from the loaf on the table.
"Figure what out?" Mel asked, leaning over to take a piece of bread.
"Ill explain that later too. So are you going right back upstairs or do you have some time you can spend to help me out a little?"
"For you, Mother dear, anything."
"Good. We have an attitude to adjust." I jerked my hand at John.
He looked up from his stew for the first time and swallowed really hard when he got a good look at Mel. "Oh Gods there are two of them."
"Yup, and one is just as bad as the other. You had the unfortunate luck to run into the three most stubborn people in all of Greece." Ri grinned at him offering him another piece of bread. "We dont give in and we dont give up."
"The fourth most stubborn person," Mel leaned in close to his ear. "Is upstairs asleep."
I watched as he gulped and turned two or three different shades of green. Personally, I didnt think the stew here was that bad.
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