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 Ninety-five in the series "Raising Melosa". Takes place about six months after "The Toughest LessonsÖ"
She threw the rock hard and it landed in the middle of the pond with a loud splash. "You know you donít have to wait forever."
"I know." I nodded as I tossed a rock back in forth in my hands. "It just seems too soon."
"Itís going to be a full season soon."
"Celia wouldnít want you to stop living Mel. Sheíd want you to get on with your life."
"I have gotten on with my life."
"Most of it."
"Oh here we go again. Mother do you have something against not being in a relationship?"
She turned to me and smiled as she nodded. "Yeah. Mel itís going to be important for you to have someone to keep you balanced. Just like your Mom keeps me balanced."
"That person is dead."
"I donít think so Mel."
"Now donít get me wrong." She threw up her hands in defense. "Celia was your first love and thatís a very important love, but she was not your soul mate."
"How can you say that?"
"I can say that because I know. I know you loved her Mel, but there is someone else out there for you. You know how youíve always said you can see the energy between your Mom and I?"
"I never saw that with you and Celia. You never connected with her that way."
I can only nod. "I know, but I loved her so muchÖ"
"I know you did. Thereís nothing wrong with that. Iím not trying to make light of what you had with her. She gave you something very special. You shared your first time with someone you loved. That must have been wonderful."
"I thought so."
"That didnít happen for you huh?"
"No. It didnít. I was in command of an army at the time. I used sex as a tool. My first time was with a rival commander." She picked up another rock and tossed it into the lake. "Afterward, I killed him and took command of his army. I used myself to get what I wanted. I had already done so much that was just another little detail and it didnít matter."
"So am I."
"Was there anyone you loved? Before Mom I mean."
She nodded. "Marcus, but I lost him."
"What about Borias?"
"Hmm thatís a tough one. Iím not sure I ever really loved Borias. I loved the power. I loved the conquest. The night Borias was murdered I knew I loved Solan enough I had to give him up. Did I ever love Borias? I donít think so."
"Then there was Mom?"
"Oh I wish. No, before your Mom there was HerculesÖ."
"Uncle Hercules? Well ewwwwwÖ."
She laughed a little as she tossed another rock. "Okay first off, heís really your cousin and not your uncle and second, we didnít know we were related at the time. He however, is the one who gave me the strength to move on. Then came your Mom."
"Oh I am so glad. That would have been too weird and my life is weird enough."
"Iím sure of it."
"Iím going to ask you a question and you donít have to answer it if you donít want, but Iíd really like to know."
"Okay." She nodded as she took a seat on the ground and patted the space next to her.
I squatted down on my heals and tossed the rock into the lake. "I know how we were all born. I know that Kai, Kes and Rosa were born because both you and Mom wanted them. I know I was born because Mom wanted a baby. Did you want me? I mean at the time did you want a baby too?"
"Hmm well to be honest, the night I was called to the temple and your Mom told me what she wanted it scared me to death."
I dropped my head a little. I felt her hand on my shoulder rubbing it.
"Now donít take it like that. Let me explain first okay?
"I was scared because I didnít know how we could make it happen. Remember at that time I didnít know about my gift. I thought your Mom was going to have to go through the ritual. Now in case you havenít noticed, Iím not exactly the sharing type. The thought of your Mom with a man made me half-crazy. You know how the ritual works, the bond mates spend a night together then the one who wants to carry the child spends the next night with the man chosen to be the father. I wasnít sure I could do that."
I sat down as she picked a blade of grass from the ground next to her.
"We completed the first part of the ritual and fell asleep there in the temple. I woke up later and heard your Mom and Artemis talking. Artemis blessed us by taking part of me and giving you to us. When your Mom came back to bed and I held her in my arms knowing that within her body, a life we created together was beginning to grow. I had never felt more at peace, alive or happy in my life. So yes Mel, the answer to your question is yes. I wanted a child. I want that child to be mine though and Artemis made that possible."
It wasnít very warrior like, but I couldnít help myself as I settled my arms around her and felt hers go around me. Sometimes you just need your Mother.
"So runt," I felt her place a kiss to my temple. "Why donít you come to Athens with your Mom and I when we take Kai and Bailus to the academies for their tests? Iím sure you and I could find a little trouble to get into."
"I could probably be persuaded. Letís umm try to stay out of jail though."
"Oh most definitely. The only person who could come bail us out would be your Mom."
"Then weíd be in big trouble because I think sheíd leave us there."
She chuckled as her arms tightened around me. "Youíre probably right."
I walked over to the house slowly, enjoying the early morning and the sunshine. My talk with Mel had gone well and I was pleased with her progress past Celiaís death. As I approached, Autolycus came out and stood on the porch with to mugs and a wide grin.
After his wounds had healed he and his wife had decided they like it here so much they offered to buy the place from me. He nearly fainted when we explained that it wasnít our land, but that it was shared by the amazons and the centaurs and to stay heíd have to buy it from them.
He haggles pretty well for a thief and the centaurs were quick to agree. The amazons however required a little more persuasion. Good thing I have a direct link to their queen. I managed to do a little Ďpersuadingí of my own. Actually, it didnít take much because Ri was thrilled with the idea, but we had fun anyhow. She likes it when she thinks sheís making me beg.
"What brings you out so early Xena?" He stepped off the porch and handed me a mug.
"I was sparring with Mel. We do it every morning by the lake, before sunrise. Then we sit and talk as the sun comes up. You should come join us some morning." I smiled as I sipped the warm tea.
"Nooo I donít think so. The only thing I do these days before sunrise is sleep. Iím getting lazy in my old age."
As we took a seat on the steps I had to nod. "Did you ever think of us like this Autolycus?"
"Xena I thought of us in a lot of ways." He chuckled as he sipped his tea. "But if you mean married and settled down. The answer would be no."
"Neither did I."
"Truth is Xena I really saw it for you before me though. I knew Gabrielle would tame you one day."
"Oh is that so?"
"Umm-hmm. Gods woman, when you two were younger people only had to look at you to know you loved each other so much it hurt."
I laughed as I draw a deep satisfied breath taking in the fresh morning air. "Yeah we werenít very subtle about it were we?"
"About as subtle as a Minotaur in a pottery shop."
"We were young."
"We were all young." He took a deep breath and reclined back on his elbows, resting on the step behind him. "So did you just come over here to reminisce? If you did Iíll get us a couple of chairs and blankets for our laps. Some where around here Iíll bet I can find a cane or two too."
"No actually I had a purpose. Ri and I are taking the boys to Athens for their academy tests. So we decided just to make a family trip out of it and I thought I would come over and see if youíd like for us to take Hanna and Liaus with us. Give you and your wife some time together. Alone."
"Hmm thatís a very interesting offer my friend, but I wouldnít want to burden you with two more."
"No burden I assure you. Kessa and Rosa would love the company. They both just adore Liaus," I gave him a quick grin. Seems my daughters have developed a little crush on Autolycusí son. "And the three girls act like theyíre sisters. Besides we travel with a full complement of guards and caretakers for the kids. Theyíd be well cared for and perfectly safe."
"Oh of that I have no doubt. Well Iím sure the kids would love it so let me check with the one who rules the roostÖ."
"You admit that?" I grinned again.
"You mean you donít?"
"No way. Canít let her know I know sheís in charge." I chuckled a bit as I swirled the mug. "That would just be too much."
As I got ready for bed I looked to Ri, who was still brushing her hair. "Are you sure you donít mind?"
"Not at all. The kids will love it." She turned to me with a grin. "Besides I know why you did it."
"I did it so Autolycus and Medea could have some time together." I assured her as I slipped into my robe and moved to the fireplace.
"You lying Warrior, you."
"Excuse me?" I turned as she stood and crossed the room.
"You did it because you love being surrounded by children and you know that Kai and Bailus wonít be coming back with us."
"They will if they fail the tests this season."
"Do you really think thatís going to happen?" She wrapped her arms around my waist from behind and placed her head on my back.
"No." I admitted quietly as I poked at the logs and stirred the embers.
"Didnít think so. I know you too well Xe. If you thought the boys were going to fail you would have talked them out of trying this season."
I nodded as I continued to poke.
"Okay Warrior whatís wrong?"
"All my sons will be gone. Mel is all grown up now and it wonít be long before Kessa and RosaÖ" I heard her snicker a little, which made me turn around to face her. "What?"
"You. I thought I would be the one who would be feeling it as the kids started to leave home, but this is hitting you hard isnít it?"
"Yes." I admitted as I led us to the couch. I settled down and pulled her down next to me. "What happened to those babies who kept us up nights?"
"They grew up into beautiful, happy young people."
"Then I guess we did pretty good huh?"
"Oh we did better than good Warrior. We raised six children together. We have a beautiful home and a future to look forward to with grandchildren. Iíd say we did an excellent job of it my love."
I kissed the top of her head as I rested my cheek there. "Yes we did love, yes we did."
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