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 Sixtynine in the series "Raising Melosa". Takes place about a week after "Homecoming."
The Queens Realm
I knew they had been successful when the fever broke, but it had taken the Royal Guard three days to find me and deliver the message that Xena and Mel were home. We left for home immediately after I promised to return and finish what I had started. I needed to get home to my daughter and my consort.
They told me that Mel was unharmed, but that Xe was in bad shape. As we rode home they told me of the wound to her sword arm. That concerned me more than anything, Xe and I had been through a lot, but I knew her warrior pride would suffer a great deal from a loss of that type. It only made me more determined to get home as quickly as possible.
As soon as I slid off my horse I headed straight for the healers hut. My guards and I had to ride hard for three days to get home, but by the Gods nothing was going to keep me from Xe. As I moved across the square I heard the foot falls behind me. I stopped and turned slowly to find Mira. This girl had attached herself to me and adamantly refused to leave my side.
"Mira Im going to see my Consort. Why dont you go get something to eat."
"I thought I would accompany you."
"You thought wrong. My time with my Consort is always private. We never have guards around us when we are together."
"Your Majesty. Im sure when your Consort is on her feet ."
I raised my hand to stop her. "There is no room for argument here Mira. You are dismissed."
"Yes Your Majesty." She dropped her head turning on her heals to walk away.
I entered the hut quietly. Delia sat at a small desk looking over several small bottles. "Your Majesty. Welcome home." She smiled as she stood and crossed the room.
"Thank you. Wheres Xena?"
"She is resting comfortably in there." She pointed to the back room. Delia had made some changes to the healers hut went she had taken over. She had rooms added for the comfort and safety of her patients, or so she said. "I placed your Consort in the private chamber Your Majesty, so she wouldnt be disturbed."
"Why isnt she home? Are her injuries that severe?" I looked past her wanting to rush in, but knowing I needed to be prepared first.
"Yes Your Majesty. Her injuries are very severe, not life threatening, but severe enough that she needs my constant care for a few more days."
"Is it true?" I paused as I felt myself wringing my hands. "Is her sword arm useless?"
"Yes Your Majesty Im afraid it is. She will never regain the use of her arm. The damage was profound."
I nodded as I took a deep breath. "May I see her?"
"Of course. She is has been given herbs to relax her and ease the pain so she may not be all together awake."
Delia took her seat again as I made my way into the back room. She looked pale and tired. Her eyes were closed but her breathing was deep and even. I took a stool from the edge of the wall, placing it next to her bed I took her left hand. It was warm and I could feel a good strong pulse racing through it. Her hand grasped slightly around mine. I smiled as I reached out and fingered the circlet. It was beautiful, its design showed her as my consort, inscribed with delicate etchings that told of some of her greatest battles.
Finally my curiosity got the best of me. I pulled the blanket back to examine my soul mate. I had spent so many seasons tending to her wounds I needed to know how badly she was hurt. The bruises on her body looked deep and painful. She had been badly beaten and nearly every spot on her body showed it. Her arm lay at her side. Reaching out I took her right hand in mine. It was cool and she didnt respond to my touch. I knew then it was true, she had lost her arm.
"Oh my love." I whispered as I placed a soft kiss on her lips before continuing my examination of her.
I opened her robe to find her ribs wrapped securely. I wondered how many of them were broken. Careful not to disturb her, I ran my hand up to the bandage at her arm and shoulder. I wonder how she is going to handle the loss of her arm.
I closed the robe and re-covered her. Leaning over, I placed another soft kiss to her forehead before returning to the stool. "I love you Xe." My fingers slipped through her hair as she turned her head to me and opened her eyes. "Im not even gonna ask how you feel cause I know you feel like Tartarus." I smiled at her as she nodded to me.
"Better. Now that youre home." She gave me a smile.
"Well Im right here and I dont intend on going anywhere." I brushed her hair back from her face as my thumb caressed her cheek.
"May I make one suggestion?"
"One word. Bath." She wrinkled her nose just a little as her eyes slipped closed again.
"Well okay then," I leaned over and gave her a soft kiss. "You rest and Ill go get a bath."
"Good plan." She nodded as she fell back to sleep.
I gave her another kiss, feeling her lips respond to mine just a little, even in her sleep. "Back soon love. Rest well."
I left her to rest. As I entered the main room Delia smiled up at me from her desk. "How are the Northern tribes Your Majesty?"
"We have a real mess here Delia. Its going to take a lot of time to get this straightened out. I think we can expect some new members for our tribe. There is a lot of dissension up north. Its going to get worse before it gets better."
"Doesnt it always?" She smiled at me as I ran a hand through my hair.
"Un-huh. Seems to. Just once Id like something to be easy." I laughed as I realized just how much I needed a bath and something to eat. "How are Mel and Kessa?"
"Oh theyre fine Your Majesty. Karra gave up trying to keep them in the house."
"So very much like Xe ." I mumbled as I headed for the door.
"Yes they are." She laughed behind me as I let the door slip shut. I lifted my head to find Mira leaning against a post a few paces away. I groaned. We are going to have to have a serious talk about this before my extremely jealous consort gets back on her feet and breaks this girls neck.
"Mira come here." I waved her over. I swear my own Royal Guard who had all been hand picked by Xe didnt move this fast.
"Look. Here in my village you need to learn to relax. No one here is going to hurt me. Not to mention that your attentions, no matter how well meaning could be misinterpreted. You need to lighten up, especially before Xena gets back on her feet."
"Your Consort doesnt frighten me Your Majesty."
"Okay let me make one thing perfectly clear to you. If there is one thing in this world that does frighten you, it should be Xena. If she thinks for one moment you are out of place with your intentions towards me she will not hesitate to put you back in it."
"She is past her prime Your Majesty. You need a younger, stronger ."
"Dont say it!" Mels voice carried across the square.
I turned to find my daughter coming at us with shear hatred written across her face. I put my hands out to stop her. "Mel dont."
She stopped long enough to give me a loving smile. "Mom stay out of this." She turned on Mira, drew back her fist before throwing a punch that sent the girl spiraling backward, crashing to the ground. She stalked to the fallen warrior looking and acting exactly like her Mother as she hauled Mira to her feet. "One, stay away from the Queen!" She snarled as she gave Mira a good healthy shake. "Two, keep your opinions about what she needs to yourself. If My Queen requires a new, younger champion I will be filling the position. It is my right as her Consorts rightful heir. Now if you want to continue walking and talking with all your body parts intact and where the Gods originally put them, find someplace else to be!" Mel tossed her prey down to the ground then turned back to me. She grinned as she offered me her arm. "Welcome home Mom."
I drew a deep breath as I wrapped my hand around her arm and we began walking to the house. "Un-huh. You know I had that under control."
"Yeah well she seemed pretty thick headed to me."
"She did huh?"
"Yup. Just thought Id stick my two dinars in."
"Sweetheart that was more like twenty dinars worth."
I heard her laugh to herself as she pushed the door open for me. Inside Kessa looked up from her place in front of the fireplace. "Momma!" She was across the room with herself wrapped around me before the door closed.
"Ah sweetheart," I wrapped her in my arms as I kissed the top of her head. "How are you feeling?"
"Im great. Now that your home does that mean Mel isnt in charge any more?"
I looked to Mel who just tossed her hands in the air and rolled her eyes. "Well I guess since Im home we can safely say yes."
Mel just shook her head as she started to head back outside. "Umm Mel."
"Stay out of trouble."
"Yes Maam." She winked at me as she slipped out closing the door behind her.
I took Kessa to the couch and settled down with her. "Now how are you feeling?"
"Im fine really."
"Good. Im sorry I had to leave you when you were sick."
"I understand. The northern tribes needed you. Did you fix it?"
"Oh not yet little one but soon I hope. If things go as I believe they will you and your sister are going to be two very busy women one day."
"Not for a long time." She put her arms around my neck.
"Well not if I have anything to say about it." I laughed as I ran my fingers through her hair. "Have you seen your brothers and sister lately?"
"Un-huh. Mel took me over yesterday, but I had to come back here because Delia is still giving me that yucky medicine."
"Well Im sorry about the medicine but I sure am glad youre feeling better."
"Okay sweetheart, I need to get a bath and a fresh change of clothes. When I get finished would you like to go see your Mother with me?"
"All right then let me get to it."
When we got back to Delias Xena was sitting propped up against the wall refusing to eat.
"I swear by Zeus!" Delia growled as she stirred the stew. "Xena you are the most frustrating person ."
I grinned as Kessa and I entered. "Let me try." I shot my consort a look.
"Ri Im not hungry." Xena grimaced a little as she tried to adjust a little.
"Yeah," I took the bowl from Delia. "Like I care." I took a seat on the stool next to the bed. "Delia do you have any black pepper?"
"Yes Your Majesty Ill get it."
I stirred the stew and looked at Xe. "Now youre not going to sit here in front of our daughter and make a bad impression by not eating are you?" She growled at me. "You know that doesnt work on me anymore. Ive been married to you for too long Warrior. I know your bark is worse than your bite."
"Its been a while since Ive bitten you."
I lowered my voice and my eyes. "Yes and if you dont eat its gonna be a lot longer too."
Delia returned and handed me a packet of black pepper, which I stirred into the stew. I offered a spoonful of it to Xe. Funny, how with the proper encouragement she found the will to eat.
"Ah now thats much better." I said as I offered her more stew.
"You coerced me into eating." She grumbled as she patted the bed for Kessa to have a seat with her.
"Eh, whatever works." I grinned as I fed her more stew.
Between bites she grinned at Kessa. "Pushy isnt she?"
"Mother, one of the first things you learn when you train to be queen is when to stay out of an argument you dont belong in. I dont belong in this one."
I laughed out loud as Kessa simply stretched out on the foot of Xes bed with her head resting on her fist.
"Thanks a lot kiddo." Xe gave her a little shove with her foot.
"Anytime." She grinned back at Xe, who just shook her head.
"Tell me again why we had so many kids?" She managed to get out before I put another spoonful of stew in her mouth.
I had to choke back a laugh as I remembered the night I got pregnant for Kessa and Rosa.
"What?" Xe cocked a brow at me.
"Nothing. Ill tell you later."
"What?" She was determined to push it.
"Wedding reception. A few more ales than usual. A really bad hangover. Ring any bells?"
"Oh Gods." She nodded as she willing took the next bite of stew.
Before long she had finished the stew. I sat the bowl aside then adjusted her blankets. "Are you comfortable?"
"As comfortable as I can be considering. I hurt all over."
"Yeah Ill bet you do. Do you want to tell me about it?"
"Not much to tell. Me, Mel, Autolycus, quicksand, baby hydras, lots of soldiers, illusions, Hera, Artemis ."
I held up my hand. "Okay I get it. The usual."
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