Twenty-Third in the Melosa Series
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: Xena is at the end of it here and her temper finally gives way.
Other: Part twenty-three in the series "Raising Melosa". Most of the Melosa stories have a gap of about six months between them, but this one takes up about a week after "Every Moment". Also, youll be getting these next several parts from Xenas POV.
Alana came through the front door with Kai and the baby and one puppy at her heals. Kai ran and threw himself into my arms. I hugged my son as Auto got in on the action and offered me a wet, sloppy dog kiss right up and down my arm. "Well thats got to be one of the most disgusting things Ive every felt." I said as I wiped my arm off on Kais tunic. Kai giggled and gave me another hug. "Ive missed you buddy."
"Ive missed you too, but Ive been trying to do good over at Solans."
"Have you been good?"
He looked back at Alana, who sat at the table, with little Gabrielle standing between her legs. "Hes been very good and a very big boy. Hes been a big help."
She confirmed it for him and he turned back to me. "Just like you told me." He said proudly.
"I knew you would. Did you come over to visit Momma today?"
He nodded his head. He bit his lip. "Is she gonna be okay?"
"Buddy I think shes gonna be just great. Especially after she sees you. You ready?"
He nodded again. I took him in to our room. Gabrielle was sitting up in a chair near the window. She turned when we came in and she smiled at Kai. "Come here son." She said to him as she extended her hand. He went over and found himself enfolded in her arms in a tight hug, which he returned. She kissed the top of his head and they began to get to know each other again.
I sat down at the table by the fire and just watched her with him. Over the past week she had regained a lot of her strength. We had gotten rid of a lot of the wrappings and reduced most of them to bandages. Her speech pattern had improved a great deal and conversation had started to become easier. She admitted she didnt remember much, but that she wanted to, because it felt right to be here with us. She knew she belonged here.
She told me that she didnt remember me. I remember clenching my jaw with the pain of her words to the point that it actually began hurting. I had to take a deep breath when she said those words to me. I thought I would be able to handle her not remembering me. I told myself it wouldnt matter as long as she remembered the kids or at least could be taught to remember them. I was wrong, I was hurt too, but I had to let that pain go and hope that someday she would either remember me or grow to love me again. For right now though our children were more important.
She spent about a half a candle mark with Kai. He was delighted to have his mother back in his life. He tried to be a big guy and not show his excitement, but he couldnt hide it no matter how hard he tried. Ri ran her fingers through his hair and stroked his cheek as she smiled softly and listened to him go on about his time over at Solans.
"Hey buddy. Its time for Momma to rest now kay?" I got up and crossed the room, sitting on the bed so he was between us.
"Okay." He gave her a kiss and left the room.
She turned to me and smiled. "Hes ador able "
"Yeah thats our boy." I smiled back.
"Please bring them home. I want I want them here."
"Okay well get everyone moved back in tomorrow."
"Do you want two more visitors or are you tired?"
"Alana and little Gabrielle."
I brought them in and settled once again in my chair across the room. Alana held onto the baby and held a brief conversation with Gabrielle and helped her with the baby. My heart that hurt so much at my own loss flourished as I watched her with our granddaughter. Alana said her good-byes and gave me a quick hug before leaving. She took Kai and promised to have him returned to us by mid day tomorrow.
I watched her for a moment. I could tell she was worn out. Helping her back to bed I sat down next to her and watched as she put all this together.
"Theres some thing missing " She said softly.
"You say our children "
"Well umm you know you gave birth to them, but were raising them together so our children."
She seemed to accept that. As my mouth watered and my throat closed, I had to concentrate hard on breathing. I didnt want to give her any indication that I was upset.
"How long have we known each other?"
I cleared my throat. "A " I had to stop and try again. "A long time."
She nodded as her eyes closed. "Its very kind of you to take care of us."
"Well its the least I could do." Brushed my hand through her hair as she fell into a deep sleep. I gave her a soft kiss on the forehead. " Sleep well my love." I got to my feet and moved on very shaky legs to the cabinet where my gear was kept. I took all my gear and got dressed. Leather, armor, sword I needed to get it out.
Sliding my sword into the scabbard I went into the kitchen. "Karra, Im going over to the village for a bit. Will you check Ri in a while?"
"Of course. Are you alright?"
I decided a run would be good to start. I had to get rid of this anger and this pain. Once in the village I headed for the training grounds. There were several warriors still there. Ep saw me and approached me with a smile.
"Six of your best Ep. I need six of your best."
"Promise not to hurt them?"
"I promise to try not to." I said as I drew my sword.
I took my place on the field and six warriors surrounded me. I waited for one of them to move, when it didnt happen I motioned for them to advance. They did. I sparred with the first six until they were so tired Ep was replacing them two at a time as I wore them down. The sound and the feel of my blade striking metal helped my body rid itself of the fear, frustration and anger I felt at the loss of my wife.
She doesnt remember me!
She doesnt love me!
She might never love me again!
I felt the mistake in my movements. I felt the blade slice my arm. It was nothing more than a nick. I continued to do battle. I had to rid myself of these feelings. It was Ephinys voice that stopped me.
"XENA! STOP! STOP!"
Slowly I stopped. I let my blade drop. I looked around I had fought more than two dozen amazon warriors to exhaustion. I looked at my arm, dark red blood poured from a wound on the bicep. I focused on Ephiny. "She doesnt know me Eph. She doesnt remember us." My voice shook.
"Lets get that arm looked at." She guided me into the village. As we walked by the blacksmiths I heard a conversation that I suddenly felt the need to be a part of. I stepped inside with Eph hot on my heels. Inside was the life bond mate of Reenas mother. She turned and looked at me as I made my way over to her.
"What did you say?" I growled as I got closer to her.
She smirked at me and stepped forward. "I said that the little blonde bitch finally got what she deserved!"
I grabbed her by the throat and hefted her from her feet holding her against the wall. Her hands went to my wrist as she struggled for air and tried to free herself. "Listen to me you bitch! You and your family have very nearly cost me everything I hold dear. I nearly lost my daughter and now I have probably lost my wife! I should kill you right here and the only thing that is stopping me is the fact that if I ever get my wife back shed never forgive me for taking your miserable life. But understand this I am at the end of my rope I have taken about all I can take and if you continue in this manner I will come back here and I will break your worthless neck with my bare hands! You might also want to know that if your daughter causes my daughter any further, irritation, aggravation, annoyance, frustration, or pain of any kind I will personally allow her to kick your daughters ass from here to Athens and back! Do we understand each other?!"
She gave what I took to be a nod. I let her go and she crumpled to the floor. I turned to Eph and looked into her eyes. She just gave me a slight nod and we left the smithys. Once we were outside she drew up next to me. "Thank you for not killing her, she one of our best archers."
"Gabrielle never would have forgiven me." I said as I continued to Adrins hut.
It took two dozen stitches to close up my arm. I walked back to my home. Feeling relieved, tired and just a tad bit ashamed of myself, but not enough that I really wanted to dwell on it. Finally I just smiled. Life was good. Gabrielle was alive and thats all that mattered. Eventually she would remember me too.
Mel was on the floor next to the fire reading when I got home. She scrambled to her feet and came at me as I bent at the knees and pulled her into a tight hug. She hugged me and then drew back fingering the bandage on my arm. "Youre hurt. How did you get hurt?"
"Aw its nothing. Just a scratch really. I was sparring. How was your day?" I gave her a kiss and moved to the couch where I sat down leaning forward.
Mel climbed up on the couch and fussed around until she freed my scabbard and sword. She pulled it away and handed it to me. Then she started on the buckles of my armor. "Well it was pretty much a waste."
"Lemme guess philosophy?"
"Riiight." She said as she tugged on that stubborn buckle. She finally got it with a tug that sent her tumbling backward. My arm shot out and grabbed her before she fell of the couch. I waited just a moment allowing her to dangle there. "Anytime." She said dryly as she hung there at the end of my arm her own arms hanging limply backward from her body. I hoisted her back up and she finished undoing my armor. I lifted it off and laid it on the floor next to my sword. I then leaned back.
"I should go check your Mother." I sighed as tired started to settle in.
"Shes sleeping. She woke up and Karra and I gave her something to eat. She went back to sleep. Besides you smell bad and you need a bath."
I turned my head and opened a weary eye at my daughter. "Are you saying I STINK!"
"You betcha." She said as she leaned in and gave me a kiss. "But at least you dont smell like fish. Want me to have Karra get you a bath?" Then she slid to the floor and helped me out of my boots.
"No I can do it. Would you bring me a mug of tea though?"
I gathered my gear and went into our room and quietly put my armor and sword in the cabinet. I stripped out of the leather and took notice that they would need to be cleaned of the blood from my arm. I put them on the table and retrieved my robe. I slipped it on, checked Ri, gave her a kiss and then went into the bathing chamber. I filled the tub, as I was dumping the last bucket in Mel brought my tea. I slid into the tub and she settled down next to it with her hand dangling in the water, her head resting on her arm on the side of the tub.
"You okay kiddo?" I asked as I sipped my tea.
"Yeah, yeah Im good and you?"
"Well I feel a lot better now. Nice hot bath, nice hot cup of tea "
"Beating up half of Aunt Eps warriors and then holding Reenas mom up by the throat " She giggled.
"How did you know about that?"
"I have many skills." She grinned at me. I grabbed her and drug her into the tub. "AACCKK!" She yelped as she went into the water. She spit and sputtered as she surfaced. I pinned her against the side of the tub with my foot in her chest.
"Now how did you find out about that?"
"I was still in the village. I had just finished up my studies. I was on my way back here when I saw Aunt Ep and Aunt Solari they were talking about it."
"Did they know you were there?"
"No. Hey arent you the one who taught me to listen to everything around me?"
"Hmmm yeah I guess maybe I am." I splashed her with a handful of water.
She used both her hands and splashed me back. "Did you really say I could kick her "
"Mel " I warned.
"Yeah I guess I did." I sighed and sipped my tea.
"Did you by any chance mean it?" She asked.
"Well I did at the time."
"But now that youve had time to think about it "
"Now that Ive had time to think about it I still pretty much feel the same way. I just hope that youll use youre better judgement and not let that part of you that is me get to you. Use that part of you thats her." I said as I nodded my head toward the room where her mother lay. "Youre going to take her place some day. You should show these people your more like her than me."
"Doesnt sound like as much fun, but Ill try." She pushed her hair out of her face and looked down at my foot. "Umm you think maybe you could either let me out or let me go ahead and get a bath since Im here already."
"Yeah your choice." I said as I moved my foot.
She stripped her clothes off and dropped them to the floor with a thud. She looked over the edge of the tub at her wet clothes.
"What were you reading when I came in?" I sipped my tea.
"Some of Mommas old scrolls."
I sat straight up in the tub and grabbed my daughter. Mel youre a genius!" I said as I climbed out of the tub after giving her a hug and a kiss.
I threw on my robe and headed for the common room, behind me I heard her "I could have told you that. All you had to do was ask."
I opened the doors to a large cabinet. There they were dozens and dozens of them. The bards scrolls. By the Gods I had never been so happy to see a scroll in all my life. I stood there just staring at them when Mel came out of the bathing room with a towel wrapped around her shoulders. I looked down at her she was shivering a little, I picked her up and held her close to me.
"Mel do you know how Momma has theses arranged?"
"Sure the ones on the top self are the first ones she ever wrote and the newer ones are on the bottom shelves."
I reached out and took what appeared to be the first scroll. I adjusted Mel who held firmly to my neck and unrolled the scroll. I knew there was no way to hide the smile on my face. Here it was Lila, Draco, Mothers tavern everything. The very first time we met.
"Does it bother you at all that were standing here dripping all over the floor?"
"Not at all, Princess, not at all. Do you know what these are?" I asked her as I waved the scroll at her.
"Yeah its a scroll." She said it as if I had lost my mind.
"Its more than that Mel. These are your Moms memories."
"Mel we just have to let your Mom read these. Maybe, just maybe it will help her regain her memory or at least understand everything."
"You know thats not a half bad idea. No wonder I thought of it."
I looked at her and grinned. "You know youre too obnoxious sometimes."
"Yeah well I learned from the best." She leaned in and gave me a kiss on the cheek.
I wrapped my arms around her and held her close to me. "I love you Mel."
"Love you too." She said as she flicked my ear with her fingers. "But Im freezing to death here. Let me go get dressed."
"Aww its not that cold you little wimp." I put the scroll away and closed the doors to the cabinet, still holding onto her.
"Who you calling a wimp?"
"You! You little wimp."
"I can take you." She challenged as she narrowed her gaze and laid her forehead against mine.
"You know little Miss Attitude you just might be able to at that. In twenty seasons or so, until then forget it. Now however its bedtime so go get dressed for bed."
"Yes maam." I put her down and she went to her room.
I headed into the kitchen for something to eat. Karra sat there waiting for me. "Feel better?"
"Much. Thanks for staying. By the way can you bring Kessa and Rosa home tomorrow? Ri wants all the children home."
"Absolutely. Its good that shes feeling well enough to have them home."
"I think she understands that she needs them. Im glad she wants...us them home."
"Do you want to talk about it?"
"Not right now, maybe later."
"Well you know me, Im not one to keep opinions to myself so Ill just say this before I go. Dont you think for one moment that she has forgotten you. You two have a bond so strong the Gods themselves havent been able to break it. Not only will she remember you, but also this will strengthen the bond between you. Ive sat back for the last week or so, and watched the former Destroyer of Nations lay a touch so gentle, it wouldnt be felt by anyone other than her true love. For that woman it is so strong it has brought her back to you to all of us. She came back for you."
With that she gathered her things and left without another word. I just stood there shaking my head. Thanks the Gods for our friends.
The next day I let Mel stay home from her lessons. First, I figured a day or so away from Reena wouldnt hurt. Second, I had a plan. After the morning meal, Ri sat in her chair as she had for the last several days. She looked out the window as I straightened our room.
"Can we go out today? For a walk."
"Sure, I think a short walk will do you good."
I went to her and helped her stand and take those first few tentative steps. She looked to me and smiled as we made our way into the common room. She held my arm as she took shaky step after shaky step, but I could feel her getting stronger. The looked around the room appearing to be pleased with what she saw.
She stopped and stared at the portrait. "How long ago?"
"I gave it to you almost two seasons ago."
"Its beauti ful."
"Thats what you said then too." I smiled at the memory of holding her in my arms the night I gave her the portrait. My arms began to ache at their emptiness. I shook it off and helped her out to the porch. I sat her down in the chair.
"Mel!" I called the number one daughter, knowing shed be close at hand.
It didnt take long for her to show up. She came around the corner with her pony trailing behind her. He was bare back with only his harness on. He followed her around the same way Auto followed Kai. She gave me a smile and approached Ri giving her a kiss. She turned back to me. "You rang?" She said as she crossed her arms.
"Would you go in and get a blanket please?"
"Sure." She disappeared into he house only to return a few moments later with the blanket and a scroll tucked under her arm. She handed me the blanket and took a seat on the steps.
I tossed it over Ris lap, kneeling down to tuck it around her legs she placed her hand on my head and ran her fingers through my hair. I cleared my throat to shake the sensation of her innocent touch that flooded my own memories. "So Mel what are you up to?"
"Well I was working with him. I taught him a new trick today."
"What?" I asked as I took a seat on the porch between the chair and the steps. Ri still had her hand in my hair and I didnt want to give up that contact.
Mel gave a little whistle and her pony nodded his head and then knelt down on his front knees. She whistled again and he got up.
"Not bad." I said.
"Very good." Ri said as the pony took a hand signal from Mel and went out into the yard to graze. "I dont like to ride. Do I?" Ri asked.
I couldnt contain the grin that spread across my face as we looked at each other. "No. No you dont, but you will when you have to." A memory, a real memory.
""Mel?" Ri asked over the top of my head with a slight nod to our daughter.
"What is that?" It was about the scroll. I knew she was still a snoop at heart and I could make that work for me.
"One of your old scrolls."
"My scrolls?" She looked at me with some confusion.
"Yeah you are quite the bard." I said in a re-assuring manner.
"Un-huh. Your scrolls are even archived in the Athens academy. Its quite the honor."
"May I see that?"
Ah my plan was working. I just loved it went a plan came together. I got to my feet and wandered out into the yard toward the pony. I took him by the halter and made some excuse about taking him to the corral. Mel pulled a chair up and handed Ri the scroll. I could see them talking about it but I couldnt hear them as I turned to walk away. I smiled.
The Raising Melosa Series Continues with Among The Memories
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