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.
Sex: Nothing graphic
Spoilers: Girls Just Want to Have Fun
Other: Part Forty-two in the series "Raising Melosa". Takes about six months after "Like Mother, Like Daughter.
The Road to Athens
"Am I attending as your champion or your consort?" I looked into the cabinet that contained all of my clothing as I considered what to pack.
"Hmmm well since this is a treaty signing perhaps my consort would be best." She wrapped her arms around my waist, laying her head on my back. "Lets not try to start a war shall we."
"Yes Your Majesty." I grinned as I turned around in her arms, wrapping my own around her. "Im very proud of you Ri. This treaty is an amazing piece of work."
"Eh its nothing really." She looked up at me with a silly little grin waiting to be praised some more.
"Oh well okay." I broke our embrace and turned back to my cabinet and leaned on the door, grinning as I did. "If you say so. I just thought that signing a treaty with the formal government protecting all amazon land might be a big deal, but hey if you say its not who am I to argue." I listened as she huffed at me just a little and then I tightened the muscles in my back waiting for the slap I knew I was about to receive.
"Youre just plain mean." Then came the slap against my shoulder. "Youre supposed to tell me how wonderful I am."
I turned to her and cocked my brow. "Really? Hmm didnt see that in my job description. Im going to have to read it again."
"Its in the fine print. Right there with love, honor, cherish, protect you know all that mushy stuff.
I nodded my head. "Mmm okay I got ya. Im here to stroke your ego."
"Among other things." She raised her eyebrows and leered in a very suggestive manner.
"I swear Ri the older you get the dirtier your mind gets." I just shook my head.
"Didnt hear you complaining last night Warrior." She smirked as she turned away to continue her own packing.
"Didnt have a chance," I grinned as I reached in and removed my formal robes from the cabinet. "You kept putting your tongue in my mouth."
"Oh is that right?" She grabbed me from behind and pulled me back from my cabinet toward the bed. Her momentum wasnt bad and we collapsed onto the bed. My bard quickly moved and straddled my hips, leaning over me grinning, holding my wrists above my head. "So now you were saying?"
"Who me? The innocent warrior?"
"Oh yeah right, innocent warrior my foot. You want to register a complaint?"
"Nooo not me. You must have me confused with someone else."
"Must be my other tall, dark and ornery warrior."
"When did you start sleeping with Solari?"
"Well weve never actually slept together." She teased me. "I always have to get her out of here before you get home."
"Good idea. Wouldnt make me happy to find her sleeping on my side of the bed." I grinned at her feigning complete disinterest in her declaration.
"You are so bad!" She leaned in and kissed me. Quite thoroughly.
"Hmm nice " I raised my eyes to meet hers.
"Not a one." I moved my arms and wrapped them around her pulling her close to me.
"Glad to hear it Warrior." She mumbled into my neck as she gave me soft kisses.
"You know we really should finish packing." I ran my hands up and down her back.
"Yeah I guess we should." She mumbled again, her lips still firmly planted on my neck. "But this is just so much fun."
I felt her attach herself a little more firmly. "Gabrielle stop it! If you leave a mark Mel will never let me live it down." I have no idea what she said as she refused to give up her spot. "Ri behave."
"No." She laughed as she gave me a good nip I knew was going to leave a mark.
"Im warning you bard." I brought my hands up to her sides, positing them over all the tickle spots.
She drew her head up and looked into my eyes. "You wouldnt?"
I cocked a brow.
"Okay, okay you win." She looked at my neck. "Oh its not that noticeable." She laughed as she rolled off.
I got up from the bed and went to her dressing table and looking in the mirror. "Oh brother." I ran my hand over the bright red spot on my neck. "I should wear a scarf to Athens."
"Its the middle of summer. Do you know how silly you would look?" She folded my robe and put them in the trunk.
"No sillier than I do now. I swear Ri one word out of Mel and Ill get you for this."
She rolled her eyes at me as she smoothed out the robe in the top of the trunk. I wandered over and considered the chest of clothing. "Do you have enough clothes? Were only going to be there a week and we agreed to pack light remember? If you keep this up Ill need to pack my own trunk."
"Oh very funny. Yes I know that we are only going to be there a week but we are going to have a variety of things that we need to do therefor, Ill need to be prepared."
I nodded and sighed. "Ill get my trunk."
I hated mornings when we were expected to leave on a trip. There were always a million last minute things to do which always resulted in mass confusion for everyone. Ri and I spent more time bumping into each other than actually getting anything done. I never had this much trouble when I commanded an army of hundreds of men, but just turn four kids loose and all Tartarus breaks loose.
"No Kai you can not take Auto " I heard Ri tell him in a slightly strangled voice from our room. "Hes going to stay with Solan.
"Mels taking Rilex " My son countered taking his life into his own hands
"Rilex is bird. He can fly." She tried to reason with him.
"Aw Mom "
"Tell you what if the dog grows wings in the next quarter of a candle mark you can take him. Now go get ready "
My son moped out of our room and went into his own room to collect his things. I just shook my head as I headed outside to see if the guards had arrived. Ep was leaning against a wagon grinning from ear to ear. "Sounds a little busy in there."
"Oh yeah. Why dont you make yourself useful and come help me load the trunks?"
"Trunks? I thought we were traveling light?"
"No were traveling with your Queen."
"I heard that " She yelled from inside.
Ep snickered as she climbed the steps to the porch.
"Not one damn word Ep." I growled as we went back inside.
Two candle marks late, with three wagons of gear, four kids, twelve amazon guards and one bird we were finally on the road. I rode in the lead, just seeking a little peace and quiet for a few moments. I heard her coming up behind me on her horse and I knew my quiet time was over. I turned as Mel pulled her horse up next to me.
"So," She grinned at me. "Howd you get that bruise on your neck?"
I dropped my head and just shook it slowly. I knew it I just knew it. I looked at her and smiled. "Your Mom had a Bacchae flashback."
"Oh that sucks "
"Not this time." I grinned at her.
She laughed and whistled for Rilex who landed very smoothly on the back of her saddle. She put her arm behind her and he climbed up it until he was perched on her shoulder.
"Well now thats a neat trick." I watched as the bird sat contentedly on her shoulder.
"Yeah weve been working on it for awhile."
"Does he respond to all your whistles?"
"Most of them. Were still working on a couple I think are going to be very useful in the future."
"Attack commands. I figure his break should be good for something other than eating."
"Good idea. Those talons could do the job too."
"Dont I know it. He missed the glove the other day and I thought he was going to take my arm off."
"Are you okay? Why didnt you say something?"
"Oh Im fine. He was mostly tangled in my tunic, but thats another command we need to work on."
"Let go of my arm you stupid bird."
I sighed in relief as everyone settled in for the night. Camp was set up. The kids were in bed. The guards were out on patrol. I was a happy warrior, settled near the fire sharpening my sword. I smiled as Ri came out of our tent and settled down next to me.
"I miss this sometimes you know." She leaned over and rested her head on my shoulder.
"I know. I do too."
"If we could start all over again would you change anything?"
She sat up looking at me as if I had just grown another head. "What? What would you change?"
"I wouldnt waste so much time telling you how I feel." I leaned over and kissed her.
She pulled back from my kiss slowly. "Hmm thats nice, but you do realize if you change even one little thing it could alter what we have now?"
"Yeah wed probably have six kids." I laid my sword aside and wrapped my arm around her shoulder placing a kiss on her head. "I love you bard. I wouldnt change anything that could keep us apart or keep us from what we have now. Im just becoming a content old warrior. I never thought it would happen. I expected to be dead long ago. You saved me and gave me everything I ever really wanted. Why would anyone want to rule the world when they could have this instead."
She moved closer to me and we slid off the log and settled on the ground next to the fire. She lay with her head in my lap as I continued running my fingers through her hair. "You really are a hopeless romantic you know that?" She grinned at me as she took my other hand and our fingers intertwined.
"Shh Ive got a reputation to protect."
"Ill protect your reputation warrior. You just relax and enjoy and keep up the mushy romantic stuff."
"Only for you my bard, only for you."
When we finally arrived in Athens I never thought Id be so glad to see it again. I actually caught myself longing for a soft bed and a warm bath. The children were very excited and began rambling off a list of places they wanted to see. Kai of course asked to see the library. Kessa and Rosa wanted to find the market. They were becoming more and more like Ri everyday. I turned to Mel as we rode the last length to the palace.
"What about you runt? What do you want to see while were here?" I wasnt expecting the answer I got and my heart literally stopped.
"The Temple of Ares."
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