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 Seventy in the series "Raising Melosa". Takes place about two weeks after "The Queens Realm."
"Oh yes I am!" I growled at the healer, who stood over my bed staring down at me.
"You are not ready to get up."
"Yes I am. Two weeks is more than enough time in bed for me."
"Are you always this difficult?"
"No actually Im much worse." I took the cane from her hand, forcing myself to my feet. Okay it hurt but I was not about to admit it to her. I looked up to see Ri standing in the doorway. She did not look happy. "Hi Honey." I grinned at her.
"Dont you Hi Honey me Warrior! What do you think youre doing?"
"Aww come on Ri. I want to go home! Our healer has the bedside manner of Cerberus. Im sure Id get much better in your loving care."
"Oh brother." Delia just threw up her hands. "I give up," she turned to Ri. "Your Majesty please take this warrior pain in my ass home."
Ri sighed as she shook her head. "I swear Xe youre the only person I know that can get thrown out of a healers hut." She moved to me, placing a gentle arm around my waist. "Well stay at the house here. There is no way youre ready to go back home yet."
"Anywhere but here my love."
She tightened her arm around my waist as much as she dared. "All right, let me take you home and put you back to bed. You know Ive got enough going on right now without having to worry about you too."
I stopped for a moment, looking down at her. "Ri Im sorry. I can stay here if you want." I started to turn back for the healers hut, a slight twinge of guilt playing in my gut for being so stubborn and not thinking of her.
She jerked her head up to face me. "Oh Gods Xe Im sorry. No of course not," She pulled me back to her, starting us for the house again. "I want you home. Im sorry. Ive just got so damn much going on right now. Im not thinking straight. I really am sorry."
"I wish I could be more help. Im feeling pretty useless at the moment."
"Hey, having you home will be a big help. At least we can talk some of this through in the evenings. I need to figure out how to keep the entire nation from falling apart. Some of those fabulous organizational skills of yours will come in very handy." She laughed as she gave my back a light pat.
The walk to the house was slow and almost torturous on my battered body. The bruises had started to heal but I still ached all over and my busted ribs certainly seemed to be taking their time in healing. While I had no function or feeling in my right arm, my shoulder ached from the wound that had made it useless. I felt Ri tighten her hold on me as we climbed to steps to the house.
"Sleeping chamber?" She asked as she pushed the door open.
"Please." I nodded as we made our way inside. "Wheres Mel?"
"She checking our supplies. Were expecting about a hundred and fifty women from the north ."
"Aww Tartarus Ri," I groaned as she helped me into our chamber and down to the bed. "When are they due?"
"Tomorrow or the next day."
"Maybe by then Ill be rested enough to be of some help to you."
She pulled the blankets over my legs, then took a seat next to me. "Xe, darling please dont push yourself. The best thing you can do for me is take your time and heal properly. Im going to need you in the long term. Thousands of lives will be effected by the choices I make. The arrival of these new women is a very small part of whats going to happen soon. Between Eph, Mel and I, we have it under control and Ep and Sol are putting up tents as temporary shelters."
"Make sure that the water supply is kept fresh and clean. Ill bet theyll be dehydrated after the trip. Amazons never carry enough water with them when they travel. They expect to be able to find natural sources and its too damned hot for that right now."
She rolled her eyes and nodded her head. "I didnt even think of that." I found myself the recipient of a very nice kiss. "Thank you love."
"Gee what do I get if I give you some really important information?"
"Oh well Ill tell you what. You just give me all the information you can come up with and when youre feeling better I will see to it that you are rewarded properly."
"Really?" I grinned as I looked to her.
"Yes and put that damn eyebrow down! You know perfectly well what I mean."
I laughed until my ribs hurt so much I could barely breath. Gods it was good to be home. "I love you Ri."
"Love you too Warrior." She leaned in placing the sweetest, most gentle of kisses on my lips. "Do you need anything?" I felt the warmth of her hand caress my cheek and I couldnt help but close my eyes and lean into it.
"No love Im fine. I just want to sleep right now."
"Okay." She smiled as she tucked the blankets around me. "You rest Ill be in the next room if you need me."
I vaguely remembered her coming to bed.
"Honey move over. I know you think you need the whole bed, but after twenty seasons we know you dont, so let me have my side."
I remembered moving over and feeling her slide in next to me. Her body curled up next to me I put my arm around her as her head came to rest on my shoulder. That brought me out of my half sleep as she reached across my body. I couldnt feel it, but I felt the motion against my leg. I raised my head just a bit to watch as her fingers interlaced with those of my cold, dead hand. My head fell back to the pillow as I ran my fingers through her hair. Placing a kiss to her forehead I simply laid there, loving her more than I ever had before.
I had seen it before and I had been a little concerned about it. Marriages totally destroyed because of injuries like mine. I should have known better, but still there was some fear on my part. When she climbed into bed with me and took my injured hand I knew it was going to be okay. Id seen women shy away from their partners when they could no longer function. I prayed that it wouldnt be the case with Ri and she didnt let me down.
It occurred to me that part of my getting older was a great deal of insecurity on my part. I was ten seasons older than Ri. It hadnt ever really mattered before, but now that I find myself edging toward fifty, I noticed that I find myself thinking about it more and more. I'm slowing down, I know I am and now my injured arm will only slow me down more.
I felt her stir next to me. She brought her hand up slowly rubbing small circles on my stomach. "Stop worrying." She murmured into my neck.
"How did you know?"
"After twenty seasons I can feel your thoughts in your muscles Warrior." She kissed my shoulder. "I love you. Ive always loved you and I always will. Now go back to sleep."
I laughed softly as I pulled her close. "Yes Your Majesty."
Mel came into our room the next morning carrying a tray. "Good morning Mother."
"Un-huh." I grumbled as I rolled over. "What makes you so disgustingly cheerful this morning?" I rubbed my eyes as I tried to sit up. I found it difficult with my balance being totally thrown now.
Mel hesitated for a moment as she sat the tray down. "Would umm, would you like some help?"
I looked up at her, she gave me a little smile waiting for me to explode at the suggestion. "Yes Mel, actually I could use a hand thanks."
She moved to my side and gently helped me sit up then she fetched my tray and placed it across my lap. "Thanks runt." I grinned as I sipped my tea.
"Oh youre welcome. Now I have my orders, after you eat Im suppose to take you out for a short walk."
"Why all of the sudden do I feel like the family pet."
"Now thats not what I meant and you know it." She crossed her arms as she stared down at me.
"Well now," Ris voice cut through the room as she laughed at us. "It looks like it has finally happened."
"And what would that be my dear." I smiled at her.
"The two most stubborn people in all of Greece are going head to head."
"I am not stubborn," Mel offered as she made her way to the door. She planted a kiss on her moms cheek before turning back to look at me. "Im determined." She waved a hand at me. "Shes stubborn." She smiled back at me giving me a little wave before leaving.
"Oh Gods we are in so much trouble." I groaned as Ri came to the side of the bed, taking a seat next to me.
"What makes you say that?"
"Shes right. I am stubborn and she is determined."
"Yes and you make for a very formidable team."
"We do dont we?" I couldnt help but grin a little.
"Yes you do, but right now if I were you I wouldnt push her. I think she could take you." Ri smiled at me as she took my mug from my hand sipping from it before handing it back.
"Probably. Shes really coming into her own isnt she?"
"Oh you have no idea. We had a few new amazons arrive very early this morning and our daughter already has a new batch of admirers."
"Aww poor girl. Shes going to have to use a whip to keep them back before long."
"Noooo she just shoots them a traditional Xena scowl and they head for the woods."
"I do not scowl."
"Yes you do. Youre doing it right now."
"Did you just come here to pick on me or was there another purpose for your visit my dear?"
"Actually I came to see if you thought you might feel up to joining us for the midday meal."
"Im not sure Ill be up to it Ri, but if I am Ill make sure Im there."
"Thats all I ask love." She leaned over and gave me a kiss before standing. "Well Ive got to get back to it. I love you Warrior, try and come eat with us."
"I will." I nodded as she left the room.
I considered the tray on my lap. Suddenly I wasnt very hungry.
I looked up to find Mel in the door. "Im not hungry runt."
"Okay then," She crossed over and removed the tray from my lap. "A nice walk will be just the thing to make you hungry. Come on."
"Mel I ."
"Nope Im not allowed to accept any arguments. Those are orders from the Queen and the healer. You know me never one to disobey a direct order."
"Un-huh. Since when?"
"Since the Queen can ground me and the healer has a variety of things to make my life miserable, including but not limited to her daughter. Now come on." She leaned over and very gently helped me out of bed.
"I thought you settled things with Tera."
She blew a disgusted little breath as she handed me a cane. "Yeah well I did too, but apparently I was mistaken."
We walked slowly toward the main room, Mel watch my every movement like a hawk. Im not going to fall over Mel Im just sore."
"Its okay. So are you going to try and explain it to her again."
"Nope. Im going to ignore her and hope she goes away." She chuckled as we made it to the porch were she helped me sit down in a chair that had been brought over from the other house for me. Gods Im old enough to have a favorite chair. Run me through now.
"My," I watched as her train of thought went from me to a very attractive young woman entering the healers hut.
I didnt recognize her, she must be one of the new amazons Ri mentioned. I snapped my fingers in front of Mels face. "Hey remember me?"
"Huh?" She finally came back to me. "Oh yeah sorry." She tossed a blanket over my legs never quite taking her eyes off the hut.
"Who is she?"
"That little red head that has captured your attention. Who is she?"
"She has not!"
"What was she wearing?"
"Two piece deer skin top and skirt with gray boots."
"Oh yeah you didnt notice her at all." I laughed as her head snapped around.
"Mother please! She came in the morning with a new group and its part of my duties to make sure everyone gets settled all right."
"Ah yeah thaaats a good excuse."
"Youre going to torture me arent you?"
"Every chance I get."
"Because thats my job. Im your mother."
"Dont suppose youd like to resign?"
"Oh no! Not now when your life is getting so very interesting."
"You have a real mean streak you know that?"
"Its been mentioned."
Return to The Bard's Corner