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-eight in the series "Raising Melosa". Takes place right after "Moving On".
The garden would have been very nice if I had been relaxed enough to enjoy it. Ri had brought a mid day meal down for us as I paced around, she settled under a tree and unpacked the basket.
"Would you stop it?"
I turned and cocked a brow. "What?"
"Come over her and sit down with me and relax. Hell be done when he gets done. The fact that you are walking a rut into the ground is not helping."
"Dont you Ri me. Now come over here and sit down with me and eat."
I knew it wouldnt do any good to argue, so I went over and sat sown next to her and proceeded to do the one thing I do better than pace. Pout. I crossed my arms over my chest and proceeded to give it a try.
"Oh please." She rolled her eyes as she handed me a fig. "Relax. Hell be fine."
All right, it didnt work. Doesnt seem to with her anymore. "I have no doubt. He studied very hard for the exams."
"Okay then, whats wrong?"
"Nothing." I bit into the fruit hoping shed let it drop. After twenty seasons I should have known better.
"Come on. Spill it."
"I hate the thoughts of leaving him and Bailus here. I hate the idea of them being so far from home."
"They are our sons Gabrielle. Theyll be here with no guards. On their own, theyll be targets."
"Oh thanks so much for that."
"Im sorry, but you know Ive always worried about the kids being targets."
She leaned into me and rubbed my arm. "I know love, but Im sure our boys will be fine. The academy masters will most certainly keep an eye on them."
"I hope so. Do you think Kai will be upset if I arrange an Athenian soldier as a bodyguard?"
"I think hell be livid."
I sighed as I nodded. "I guess thats not one of my better ideas huh?"
"Not really love. Kai is very nearly a grown man."
"Hes a boy."
"Okay, hold it right there." She pulled back and I knew I was in for it. "At his age, Mel was a warrior. She had come into her own and you considered her an adult. Talk about double standards."
"Kai is not a warrior. He is a scholar."
"That does not make him any less grown or less capable of defending himself. He is still your son and quite handy with throwing knives."
"Ri I didnt mean to ."
"You are so full if it. You know exactly what you were saying. Kai and Bailus will be fine."
I nodded as I took another bite of the fruit. "All my sons will be gone."
"Ah thats it! Youre dreading the loss of not having the boys around." She grinned at me at she pulled a blade of grass up. "You are starting to miss the kids. Mel is grown and could decide to strike out on her own at any moment. The boys will be at school and Kes and Rosa will be taking over more duties in the village soon."
"Oh you think you know me so well." I growled as I finished the fig and tossed the remains away.
"I know you better than you know yourself." She nudged me and when I turned to glower at her she kissed me. So much for the glare. When did I lose the ability to intimidate this woman? Oh yeah, it was somewhere between the day we met and now.
"So you do. Can I ask you a question?"
"Well that was a silly question to start with."
I turned and stretched out, placing my head in her lap. "Why did you stay with me?"
"Because I love you." She combed her fingers through my hair as my eyes slipped shut.
"You didnt love me the first time you saw me."
"Yeah I did. I just didnt know what in Tartarus it was. Im glad I stuck around long enough to find out."
"So whyd you let me stay?"
"Well I could give you some mushy answer that would get me all kinds of loving later, but since Ill get that anyhow ."
"Watch it." She warned and I peeked at her through one eye to see her smiling down at me. "Too much honesty and youll be sleeping with the horses."
"Ill go with the honest answer of, I dont have a clue, except that having you in my life felt right."
"Even early on when I talked you half to death?"
"Believe it or not. Especially early on when you couldnt shut up."
"Eh, it was that I couldnt. I just wouldnt. I knew I had to get to you somehow, and if you got use to the sound of my voice I knew youd be lonely without it."
"So you had a plan all along?"
"Oh you bet your sword I did. Xe, I knew you were coming. I felt it long before you arrived and I knew I had to find a way to get under that thick hide and into that thick head." She rapped her knuckles against my forehead.
"Very funny. Very funny. I married a humorist."
"Nope just a simple village girl. Being with you has made me everything else I am, bard, Amazon, wife, mother, grandmother, Queen," She paused and kissed my forehead. "I had become a humorist to survive all that.
"I just cant win." I shook my head and rolled over so I could see the academy were my son was still taking his exams.
"Oh I feel so bad for you."
"Now youre just picking on me."
"Its in my job description as your wife."
"Ive never seen it there."
"Apparently you didnt read the fine print."
"Guess not." I sighed as I felt her fingers comb my hair back.
"Want to re-negotiate?"
"Nope. Ill take your word for it." I smiled as I captured her hand and brought it to my lips. "Im smart enough to know when Im beat."
"Good." She chuckled as she leaned over and kissed my temple. "Took you long enough. Youre still thick headed."
"Have to be, to live with you." I mumbled as I felt her slap my shoulder.
"Xe? Come on Xe wake up."
"Hmm? Im not asleep." I argued as I tried to wake up.
"Sure you werent. You werent snoring either. The test is over. Theyre coming out."
I sat up and ran my hand through my hair. I looked to her and she just smiled at me. "Be nice." I growled.
"I am being nice. I didnt say a word about you dozing off in my lap and snoring so much you scared the squirrels."
I just rolled my eyes as I got to my feet and offered her my hand. I kissed her as she came into my arms. "Still love me?"
"Absolutely. If you didnt snore Id be worried."
Kai was the last one out. Ri and I gathered our things and met him half way.
"Well?" I asked, as I looked to my boy who looked so much like his mother.
"Well know by the end of the day. Theyll send a messenger." He offered with a little shrug.
"How do you feel about it?" Ri handed me the basket as she moved over and looped her arm through his.
"I dont know. It was hard, but at least I finished it. Some of the others didnt. Have you heard how things went for Balius yet?"
"No. They wont be done at the military academy until early evening." I told him as we started a slow walk back to the palace.
"I hate this. Waiting is the worst."
"Tell us about it." Ri chuckled as she hugged our son.
As we walked back, we met up with Mel and the kids. She had offered to take charge of all four of them and take them shopping. I looked at her, it was obvious that she hadnt realized what she was in for. It was all I could do to keep from laughing as I looked at her.
"Oh yeah, Im fine." She grumbled as she dropped back to walk with me as the kids all bounced around Kai trying to ask him questions about his test. "So how did little brother do?"
"We dont know yet."
"Hurry up and wait."
"So it would seem."
"Heh serves him right. Hes the most impatient person I know."
"You havent checked your reflection lately, have you?"
"Oh I love you runt."
"No you dont." She pouted as she kicked up a little dirt.
"Oh please." I rolled my eyes as I wrapped my arm around her shoulders. "You do that very well. Good thing for you I know you dont mean it."
She grinned at me as we walked along. "Well, I learned from the best."
"I taught you too well."
"Yeah, but it works great with the women." She laughed as we continued.
"Oh really now? Is there some one in Athens youve been using it on?"
"There are three some ones thanks."
"Why Mel, color me impressed. But isnt that confusing and time consuming. Not to mention just plain tiring."
"Yeah." It was the devilish smile that went with the growl that made me laugh. "What?"
"Nothing, nothing at all. Far be it from me to tell you how to live your life."
"Watch it." I warned as I gave her a little punch in the arm.
She turned around and grinned at me. "I love you."
"No you dont." I grinned back as she turned and joined her brother, mother and the kids.
Return to Raising Melosa Main Page