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: None. Yet<G>
Other: Part nine in the series "Legends Legacy". Takes place about two months after "In the Arms of a God"
"Xena!" She groans a little when I land in the middle of our bed and give her a shake. "Come on Xe! Its time. Weve got to get up top!"
She groans again and pulls the blankets over her head. I dont hesitate to yank them back and straddle her waist.
"Come on Xe! The baby is coming. You said we could go up!"
"Ri, honey you gave birth. You know that babys take their sweet time in coming. Please just give me another mark to sleep. Ares has been on a rampage and hes been annoying me "
"You know Id like to enjoy something in this existence just once without Ares ruining it."
"Youre pouting." She runs her thumb over my bottom lip.
"Im not pouting. Im having a conniption." She gives me a very serious look. "What?"
"Never seen a real conniption before. Just wondered what it looked like."
"Oh very funny. Come on please get up."
She draws a deep breath, pulls me down for a long kiss then tosses me off her waist and sits up on the side of the bed. "Youre acting like this is your first grandchild."
"Its Mels first baby."
She nods, "Yes dear." Getting to her feet, she stretches and turns to me. "Cant I take a bath first?"
"If you insist."
"I promise to make it fast."
She heads off to our bathing chamber and I get ready for the trip up top. Were not really supposed to do this, but occasionally we go. Xe gets up top more than I do these days, but its generally just to clean up battlefields. Ares really is being a pain in her butt. Hes not happy about her taking over the Underworld and hes doing everything he can to make her miserable. They are going to end up having it out before its over with. I really feel for him when that happens. Hes not accustomed to her having powers that equal his own, and I think she scares him just a little now. He does do his best to avoid her at all costs. Maybe hes got more of a brain than Ive given him credit for all these seasons.
Xe was good to her word and she hasnt kept me waiting long. Shes smiling as she fastens her cloak around her shoulders. "Are you ready my love?" She offers me her most charming smile and her hand.
Xe raps on the door. We decided it would be best to knock instead of just appearing in their home. Xe says it really unnerves Mel when we do that. She remembers being unnerved every time Ares or Hades showed up and she doesnt want to stress Mel out. She says its very unpleasant and doesnt want Mel to feel her approach as an unpleasant experience.
The door opens and the smile that breaks across Mels face is truly priceless. "I wondered when you two were going to show up. Come in!" She ushers us inside, closing the door behind us. "Bri is going to give birth anytime now. Im feeling a little stressed." She grins, taking Xes cloak.
"Mel, its okay. Having babies is the most wonderful, natural thing in the world." I offer, giving my daughter a hug. Oh, Ive missed hugging her.
She pulls back from me, nodding. "I know, but Im a nervous wreck. Im very glad you two are here. Come on."
She leads us into the room where Bri is laying, shes resting right now, but I can tell the labor has already been long and hard. She opens her eyes and manages a slight smile in our direction. "I knew youd come. I knew you couldnt pass up the chance to see this baby born."
"Never." I give her a big smile as I move next to the bed and take her hand. Xe and Mel stay back and have a quiet conversation in the corner.
"Im glad youre here. Im worried about the baby." A tear slides down her cheek.
"Dont you worry about a thing." I wipe the tear away and cup her chin in my hand. "Mel is perfectly capable of delivering this baby. Babies just like to be stubborn and think about the line this one belongs to. Those two," I motion over my shoulder at Xe and Mel. "Have made an art of being stubborn."
She gives a tired little laugh. "True. Very true."
She grips my hand, gasping as another pain takes hold of her. Mel is at her side immediately, checking her progress and wiping her brow. "Soon sweetheart." She whispers. "Very soon."
"Not soon enough!" Bri growls through clenched teeth.
"Mel, Ill take care of her. You just get ready to deliver this baby."
"Thanks Mom." She moves away and starts preparing everything she will need to deliver their first child.
I settle down next to Bri to offer my as much support as I can. "Everything is going to be just fine."
Xe joins us on the other side of the bed. She places her hands on Bris stomach and does a quick exam. "Seems my grandchild is going to take its sweet time in arriving. How many marks has it been?"
"Close to thirteen now." Mel offers very quietly from a spot near the end of the bed. The looks they exchange do indeed allow a bit of worry to show through, but I know if any one can handle a difficult birth its Xe and Mel.
"The baby?" Bri whispers, knowing something is up at the end of the bed.
"The baby is fine." Xe, winks and pats her knee. "Were just trying to figure out when its going to make its grand entrance. My grandchild, bound to be a little difficult. You have to expect these things." Her voice is teasing and reassuring at the same time. "Wait til its a teenager." She turns to Mel and grins. "May this child be just like you."
I laugh and lean over, giving Bri a kiss in the forehead. "The dreaded family curse."
She smiles and nods, breathing through another pain.
Xe finally takes me off to the side. "Were going to take the baby Ri. Shes not going to be able to deliver it."
"I know. Its been too many marks now."
She nods. "Yeah. Weve waited long enough. I want you to mix up some herbs to help her relax while we get her ready."
"Okay, Ill be back soon."
Moving into the main room of the house, it doesnt take me long to find Mels own supply of herbs and other medicines. Xe trained her and her system is almost identical. I feel a strange sensation and turn around to find her. Celesta.
I drop the herbs and take up a position between the bed chamber and the woman in white. "No." I say to her warning her away from the doorway.
"Gabrielle, I must."
"It is simply meant to be." Her words are soft, but then again they always are.
"I wont let you go in there. I wont let you take Bri. It would kill Mel to lose another mate."
"Im not here for Bri. Im here for her child."
"Xena!" I call, never taking my eyes from Celesta. I wont let her take our grandchild. I hear her coming in a hurry. She knows something is terribly amiss. I never call her by her full name unless something is very wrong.
"Xena." Celesta says very softly when my warrior enters the room.
"Go away!" She growls low and from right behind me. "There will be no death here this night."
"I must Xena. I must take the child." She repeats softly.
Xe moves in front of me, further blocking her. "No, not my grandchild. It is an innocent."
"Yes." Celesta nods. "And as God of the Underworld you know that innocents die."
"Not tonight they dont."
"Xena, please dont make this any harder than it has to be for your family."
"Im not going to let you take Mel and Bris baby."
I move back next to Xe and stand my ground as well. "Neither am I."
She sighs and smiles at us. "I can wait just as long as you can. But the longer you wait you only cause Mels mate more pain. She suffers while trying to give birth to a child she cant deliver. Let her pain end."
"One pain ends and another begins when you take her child from her." I hiss, remembering losing a child. "A child that you have waited until now to claim. You should have taken it sooner if you wanted it. The same way you took my child. At least I never felt that child move. I didnt have time to really love that child. But to take a child from a mother now is beyond cruel."
"There will be other children." Shes trying to reassure us. Its not working.
"No. Celesta I wont let you. Ill take this to Zeus himself if I must, but I wont let you have this baby."
"Xena be reasonable."
Xe looks to me and caresses my face as Mel calls for her. "You stay here. She cant cross the threshold with you in the way. Im going to help Mel and Bri, then well deal with this."
I nod to Xe then turn to face Celesta. "Dont worry sweetheart Im not moving from this spot."
"Thats my girl. Back soon."
Xe gathers up the things she needs and returns to the bed chamber. I cross my arms and make it very clear that shes not getting past me unless she intends to try and take me too. I seriously doubt that idea has crossed her mind. Xena is not in a mood to be trifled with now.
"Gabrielle. You know better than this. You know how these things work. I will accomplish my task." Celesta gives me a slight smile. Its not cold or hard. That is not her nature. Its almost warm and loving, but this is my grandchild she wants and I wont let her have it.
"Over my dead body."
She sighs. "And you know thats not possible. I have been forbidden to take you. The Fates have been forbidden to do you harm, Xena has seen to that."
I smirk. "I know. Seems we have a stalemate dont we?"
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