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: Yeah a little bit
Other: Part Ninety in the series "Raising Melosa". Takes place about three days after "Im in Deep".
How Do You Tell Her
I glanced over at Mel as she finished placing her gear on her horse. She had a huge smile on face and I just couldnt resist. "Aww isnt that sweet. Someone is looking forward to getting home."
"Well looks who talking." She turned to me and her grin widened. "I wasnt the one mumbling my better halfs name in my sleep last night."
"I was not."
"No, no youre right you werent. It was more of a long deep moan. Musta been some dream."
"You my darling daughter are a brat."
"Ah I get it now. You can dish it out but you cant take it. The one advantage to being in a relationship is, we are on even ground. I know what all your little comments mean now."
"Oh honey youd have to be in a relationship a long time before you know what all my little comments mean." I laugh as I vault into the saddle.
"Yeah well I get most of them and I still say that was some dream you had last night."
I grin as I nudge my horse. It certainly was.
As we rode for home I could hear Mel mumbling to herself. I finally couldnt stand it anymore and twisted in the saddle to face her. "What are you doing? Practicing to be a bard?"
"No Im trying to figure out how to propose if you must know."
"Really. I love her mother. I want to spent the rest of my life with her."
"Congratulations Mel. Im happy for you runt."
"Do you think Mom will approve?"
"Oh yeah. She loves Celia and loves having her around."
"So when are you going to do it?"
"I thought the reception for your wedding would be a nice place to do it."
"Oh yeah it should be perfect. If you let us know what she says we can make a formal announcement then too."
"I can do that. Lets just hope the announcement isnt My daughter is a total loser who just got her face slapped. Next!."
I couldnt help but laugh as she nudged her horse ahead of me and we picked up the pace for home.
As we rounded a bend in the road that would lead us back to Amazon territory Mel held up her hand and dismounted her horse sending it off into the trees. I just shook my head and followed her lead. Then I heard it. I smiled, she heard the fight even before I did. Damn she took all my lessons to heart.
She twisted her staff and drew her sword as she crouched down and crept closer. I drew my left sword and moved in behind her. Before us there were half a dozen bandits, a woman, a man and two children. The woman held the man in her arms on the ground as the children huddled close to her and the bandits rummaged their wagon.
"Take whatever you want! Just please leave us in peace." She begged as she held her husband and children close to her.
"Oh we will ." One of the men growled as he tossed a box to the ground.
Mel and I left our cover and stepped forward. "How about," I began as I felt the familiar rush through my body. "You just give back everything and leave now."
They all looked up at us at the same time. They didnt appear to be very impressed. That was their first mistake. I twirled my sword as I felt Mel take my back and we moved in.
Stupidity should be painful and it was for the first man who tried Mel. Instead of killing him she proceeded to take the staff end of her sword and pummel him senseless. I heard her laugh as he dropped to the ground. What a wicked laugh. Wonder where she got that from? As I laughed I realized where.
It didnt take us long to send them scrambling for their horses. It was a nice little workout. I enjoyed it immensely. I stood guard while Mel checked the victims of the attack.
"Oh Gods! Mother!"
I sheathed my sword and turned to find that Mel had rolled the man over to find Autolycus. I dashed over and knelt by my friends side. The woman was nearly hysterical at the slash across his stomach and the blood.
"Mel get the kit."
She was on her feet whistling for our horses. I looked up and smiled at the beautiful woman before me. I wouldnt have expected any less from Autolycus. "Hell be okay."
"Thank you. Thank you." She nodded gratefully as she cradled him.
I looked to the children, a boy about Rosa and Kessas age and a girl a few seasons younger. "Hes going to be just fine." I gave them a smile as Mel handed me the kit. She immediately went to the children and moved them away. She occupied them with reloading their wagon while I treated my friends wound.
"Autolycus? Its Xena. Can you hear me?"
His eyes opened slowly and he smiled. "Xena?"
"Yup its me. Im going to treat this wound. Youre gonna be okay but this is going to hurt a bit."
"Do the thing." He grinned.
"You know. The thing." He gave a weak poking motion. I grinned I knew what her wanted. "I hate pain."
"I know you do my friend but we dont need the pinch for this. Its just a scratch."
The wound was a little more than a scratch, but I didnt want my friend or the woman to worry. "Help me stretch him out."
As we laid him out on the ground she smiled at me. "Youre Xena?"
"Last time I checked." I chuckled as I removed the bandages from my bag.
"We were on our way for your wedding. Thank the Gods you came along."
"Glad I could help. I owe him a lot. Hes helped me more times that I can count."
I looked to her as I wrapped his wounds. "And you are?"
"Im sorry." She didnt look at me as she stared into my friends face and ran her fingers through his hair. "Im Marith. Im his wife."
I know my eyes had to give away my shock. Well, well someone finally stole the heart of the King of Thieves. "I didnt know. Congratulations."
"We just got married last week in Athens."
"Well now well have three reasons to celebrate when we get home."
She looked up smiling. "Three?"
"Umm-hmm. My eldest daughter has decided to get married as well."
"Must be the season." She laughed softly as she brushed back his hair.
"Apparently there is something in the air."
We loaded Autolycus into the back of the wagon with his family. I leaned over the side and gave him a little shake. "You know Ri is gonna kick your butt for getting hurt." I teased as I gave his arm a little squeeze.
"Oh I know." He mumbled as he looked over at me. "Guess Ill need a warrior to protect me from the little bard."
"You got it buddy. She gives you any trouble you just give Mel a yell." I smiled as I checked him to make sure it was safe to start moving.
"Thanks my friend."
Mel drove the wagon as I rode next to them chatting with Marith and the children. I found out a few things about my friend I hadnt known before. The children with them were his own. He and Marith had been seeing each other off and on for seasons. He had finally married her, wanting to settle down with his family now that he had retired thanks to Artemis gift after his help to her in the caves. Apparently my friend was now a very wealthy man. He no longer needed to steal and as a result he had decided that it would be safe to marry and acknowledge his family.
I was very happy for him and them and offered them the use of our old house while he recovered. It was going to take a while and it would be nice to have my friend around.
I had Mel take them to the house to help them get settled them I headed for home to get Ri and Celia. As I climbed the steps the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and a knot twisted in my stomach. I pushed the door open. "Ri? Celia?"
Ri came out of Mels sleeping chamber. I crossed the room to her as soon as I saw her face. She had tears running down her cheeks.
"Ri? Whats wrong? Is it one of the kids? Whats wrong?"
"Xe Oh Gods Xe ." She literally threw herself into my arms clinging to me.
"There was an accident Xe ."
"A rock slide."
She looked up at me as she drew a deep breath. "Celias dead Xe."
"Oh Gods! Oh Gods no!"
She nodded as she buried her head in my chest. "How am I gonna tell Mel? This is going to destroy her! How can I tell her?"
"Well do it together." I kissed the top of her head as my hands stroked her back. "Well do it together." I draw a deep breath as a tear slides down my cheek. Ri may be right, this is going to destroy Mel. "We umm," I clear my throat a little. "We need to uh send for the healer from the Centaur village."
"Xe is Mel hurt?"
"Are you ."
"No, no my love. Its a long story and we have more important things to deal with, but Autolycus is here and hes been hurt. He needs a healer and Im sure Delia is in no condition to deal with it."
"No shes not."
"Are Kai and Bailus around?"
"Out back I think. This hit them pretty hard too."
"Ill be right back."
Reluctantly I let go of her to find my sons. I found them on the back porch. They were talking quietly.
"It doesnt make any sense." Kai said as he shook his head.
I dropped down next to my youngest son and look up to his best friend. I wrapped one arm around Kais shoulder and placed the other hand on Bailus. "No buddy, no it doesnt." I offer with a squeeze.
"Oh Gods Mother, youre home. Does Mel know yet?"
"No your Mom and I are going to tell her now. I need you two to do me a favor."
"Anything." Bailus offers as he wipes his eyes.
"I need you to go over to the Centaur village and get the healer there and send him to our old house. Your Uncle Autolycus is there and hes been hurt."
Kai nodded. "Let me go saddle a horse."
"Nah. Come on little brother," Bailus offered as he turned his back to the porch. "Climb on. Well save time this way."
I have my arm wrapped around Ri as we made our way up the steps. Ri had explained the accident to me on the way over so that I could tell Mel. She knew she probably wouldnt be able to do it.
Mel came out of the house with a smile. It faded quickly as she looked to us.
"Whats wrong?" She cocked her head slightly and her fists clenched. "Wheres Celia?"
"Mel honey we need to talk. Theres been an accident."
"Is Celia hurt? Where is she?"
"Honey," Ri took a deep breath as she reached out for Mels hand. "Its more serious than that."
"What! What! Where is she?!" She started to move down the steps never having taken Ris offered hand.
I stopped her and put my hands on her shoulders and forced her to look at me. As our eyes meet I can see the fear and the panic. "Mel there was a rock slide. When Celia went to help the victims, there was a second slide. Mel Celia was killed."
"No." She whispered as she shook her head. Her eyes never left mine. "Theres some mistake."
"No mistake Mel. Honey Celias dead."
She just shakes her head again. "No."
"Im sorry honey."
"Please no!" She gripped the front of my armor as her eyes begged me to make it not true. "No!"
I pulled her into my arms as she continued to repeat the word no over and over again. I felt Ri wrap her arms around us as we stood there and comforted our daughter at her loss.
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