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.
Other: Part Sixtyone in the series "Raising Melosa". Takes place about a month after "Lessons Learned". This one is from Xena and Gabrielles POV
I took the soup into the girls room. Xe sat next to the bed wiping a cool cloth over Kessa. She hummed softly to our little girl as she tried to get the fever down. I placed my hand on her shoulder she turned giving me a weak smile.
"I brought you some soup Xe. You eat, Ill do that."
She nodded and moved away from the bed allowing me to take her position as she moved over to another chair to eat. I soaked the cloth again wringing it out before returning it to Kessas burning skin.
"Its been three days. Its not coming down." I said quietly.
"I know." Xe replied just as quietly as she stirred her soup.
"Its not good that its been this long."
"Xe is she going to ." I caressed Kessas face as I watched her fuss with the fever.
"Is that your head or your heart Warrior?"
"Both. Our daughter is not going to die Ri."
I smiled, nodded and continued to run the cloth over her. "Delia says weve lost seven amazons to the same fever."
"Children are more resilient."
"Three of those were children Xe."
"Not Kessa. I wont let her."
I had to smile again at my warriors determination. If there was a way to keep this child alive through sheer willpower Xe could do it.
Kessa opened her eyes and smiled at me. "Momma ." She licked her lips. "Water ."
Xe was next to the bed instantly with a cup of water. I moved, allowing her to help Kessa drink. "Hey baby ." She whispered softly to our daughter.
Kessa took a few small sips and smiled at the warrior. "I love you Mother ." She whispered before her eyes closed again.
I watched as Xe bit her bottom lip to keep the tears from falling. "I love you too Princess." She ran her hands through our daughter damp hair.
I took the cup from Xes trembling hand. "Eat Warrior. You need to keep up your strength."
She nodded and returned to her seat and her soup. I retook my seat next to Kessa. There was a knock at the door Mel slipped into the room. "Delia sent this medicine over." She approached slowly taking a seat across from me handing me a small bag. "Hows she doing?"
"Umm shes holding her own." I answered quietly as I handed the bag to Xe then continued cooling her. "How are things in the village?"
"As good as can be expected considering that almost forty amazons have this fever. Delia is doing everything she can."
Xe mixed the medicine in some water then handed me the cup. "See if you can get her to drink this."
"Kessa? Honey come on I need you to drink this sweetie." As I lifted her head, her eyes opened a bit and she sipped from the cup. She made a face and tried to keep from taking anymore. "I know it tastes bad honey, but itll make you better. Come on now just a little more." She nodded and finished the medicine. "Good girl." I laid her head back to the pillow then wiped her mouth with a cloth.
"Ri Im going to go out for a bit." I watched as Xe leaned over and kissed Kessa on the forehead. She turned to me and smiled, caressing my cheek. "I love you bard. Ill be back soon. I just need some fresh air."
"Okay." I didnt want to question her, but I didnt buy the fresh air thing for one moment.
As the door closed Mel turned to me. "Hey if you want to go with her I can stay with Kessa."
"No I think she needs to be alone."
Mel nodded, as she looked to her little sister, taking her hand. "Hey pee-wee you got to get up and about. All your friends over at the village miss you."
I walked to the meadow, to the edge of the pond and sank to my knees looking up at the night sky. "Please, please dont let her die. Ill do anything." It didnt matter to me which God answered this prayer, just as long as it was answered. "Take me. Just let my little girl live. She should have a long life ahead of her. Shes an innocent. Shes never hurt anyone. Please let her live. Ive done everything I can. On my knees before all of you is my last resort." I dropped my head. "Ill do anything you ask. Anything." I looked out into the water. "Hades shes your granddaughter. Help her." A brilliant flash of light, a rumble of thunder and a voice I didnt recognize immediately. I stood up and turned around to find Zeus.
"You know the sound and lights show wasnt necessary. I have a sick little girl up at the house and I swear if youve scared her ."
"I know Xena. I heard you, that is why Im here. I know why your little girl and the amazons are suffering from the fever."
"Hera? What does she have to do with this?"
"She and Artemis have come to odds. She has trapped your Goddess in the caves of Magos. If you free Artemis she will be able to help your daughter and the other amazons. Your Goddess needs your help Xena."
"Why did Hera put Artemis in the caves? What caused the dispute between them?"
He hesitated as he looked out to the lake. "Im not sure."
"Why dont you help her?"
"The caves are under Heras protection Xena and you know as well as I do
there are certain borders even the Gods dont dare cross. Thats why I
cant offer assistance to your daughter or the amazons. They still belong to Artemis,
but not for much longer if you dont get help to your Goddess."
"Xe are you sure?" I placed my hand on her arm as she packed her saddlebags.
"Yes. Artemis can help her if I do this Ri."
I drew a deep breath and moved to my cabinet. "Then Im going with you."
"Ri you need to stay here with Kessa." I felt her hands on my shoulders.
"But nothing Mom," Mel said as she stood in the doorway of our sleeping chamber. She had her own saddlebags over her shoulder and her bedroll in her hand. "Mothers right. Kessa needs you. So Im going." She grinned.
"Mel its too dangerous." Xe started to argue.
Mel held her hand up. "Nope. No way. Dont even try it. Ive been in battle. Ive proven myself and you arent going to shake me. Im going."
I looked back to Xe who just sighed and nodded. "All right Mel. I wont try to stop you."
"Good. So when do we leave?"
"As soon as we can get our horses saddled."
She looked down at me smiling, addressing Mel as she did. "Then just give us a moment okay?"
"Yeah sure." Mel pulled our door shut as she backed out of the room.
She wrapped me in a warm embrace, kissing the top of my head. "Well be fine."
"Do you have any idea how hard this is for me? Watching you both ride away from me."
"I know honey, but I dont have a choice. Kessas life may depend on it and you know if I try to stop Mel, shell just follow after me anyhow."
I laid my head on her shoulder as I drew a deep breath. "Please be careful."
"Oh we will." She grinned at me. "I feel very protected with Mel. The girl is a walking arsenal." She chuckled a bit as she tightened her hold on me.
"Well it should be interesting, the two of you off on your own." I kissed the base of her neck. "Promise me youll stay out of trouble."
"Ah now how much fun can that be?" She placed her lips to my forehead. "How about I promise that well only get into as much trouble as we need to, no more than absolutely necessary."
"Is that the best I can get?"
"Ill take it."
She ducked her head capturing me in a long, sweet kiss. As she pulled away from me she stroked my cheek. "I love to Ri. Stay with Kessa. Keep giving her the medicine," She paused and swallowed hard. "Just in case ."
I nodded as she turned from me gathering her saddlebags. "Xe?"
"I love you Warrior."
She turned and smiled as she threw her bags over her shoulders. "I love you too Bard. Now lets go out so you can say good-bye to Mel."
"You both had better come home in one piece."
"Oh we will." She placed her hand in the small of my back and we headed out to the main room.
Mel turned to us with a smile. "All the mushy stuff over?"
"Oh watch it Warrior." I warned her with a smile of my own. "Im sure I could find a multitude of young women from the village who would just love to come over here and see you off."
"Okay," She threw her hands up in a defensive motion. "Ill be good I swear."
I crossed the room giving her a hug. "Oh I think we may have found the one thing that will keep you in line." I laughed as I held her close.
"For at least another couple of seasons." Xe chuckled as she dropped her saddlebags on the couch before turning for Kessas room.
I knelt down next to my little girls bed. I took her hand in mine. I still marveled at how small her hand was in mine. I leaned over and put my lips to her forehead, it still burned with fever. "Oh my little Princess hold on for me. Im going to make you well." I kissed her forehead then laid another rag across it. "Just hold on."
I heard Mel and Ri enter the room. I stood up as Mel took my place by her sisters bed, kneeling down. "Hey pee-wee. Mother and I are going to get you some help. So you just be good and dont give Mom any trouble okay? If youre good well bring back something for you." She leaned over giving her sister a kiss before standing and turning to me. "Ready?"
"Yeah." I placed my arm around Ris shoulders. "You stay here. She needs you." I gave her a soft kiss. "Well be home as soon as we can."
She nodded as she gave me a quick kiss. "Be safe and be careful."
"Always." I said as I hugged her, then turned to Mel. "You ready partner?"
"So," Mel began as we headed away from the house. "Where exactly are we headed?"
"You sure you want to know?" I grinned at her as I took in the sight of my daughter mounted on her horse, dressed in her armor with her staff strapped to her back.
"Well might be a good idea for us both to know where were supposed to go. In case something should happen. I mean shouldnt I know too umm if we get separated or something ."
"Nice try runt." I laughed as I realized that she didnt want to say if something should happen to one or the other of us. "We are headed to the Caves of Magos."
"The Caves of Magos? Oh please tell me youre joking."
"Nope kiddo. Zeus thinks thats where Hera has Artemis."
"What I dont understand is how she managed to trap Artemis."
"Ive been dealing with the Gods most of my life Mel and I still dont understand them."
"Why doesnt Zeus just handle it?"
"Okay. I dont get it but Ill take your word for it."
"Good. I got to tell you Mel. I didnt want to say anything in front of your Mom because I didnt want her to worry any more that need be, but I dont think Zeus was giving me the whole story."
"Well lets be real careful with this one then."
"Thats the only route. Your mom will have our hides if we do it any other way."
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