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: Nope, none, nada
Spoilers: At this point, fan fic is bound to have spoilers of some type.
Other: 09.10.02. A missing Raising Melosa scroll. Just a little something that came to me at four in the morning.
By T. Novan
I lay here in our bed, holding Gabrielle in my arms. Its the middle of the night, the village is quiet. Im not sure why Im not sleeping, but I can probably guess its because of the little bundle lying in the crib just across the room.
Every little noise, real or imagined brings my head up from the pillow, just to make sure all is well. Its a good thing I dont require as much sleep as the next person because in the week since Melosa arrived, I havent gotten much. Gabrielle usually just smiles at me, trying hard, but failing to hide her amusement.
She groans and shifts in my arms and I know whats about to happen. Ive learned very quickly in the last week. I manage to get out from under Gabrielle, quickly lighting a small lamp, I make my way across the room. Looking down into the crib I see a little fist rubbing tiny eyes and before the first cry can escape I pick her up and hold her close.
"Just in time, huh, Princess," I offer quietly as I take her to the changing table for a fresh diaper.
I notice its a little chilly in our hut tonight so Im careful to keep her wrapped up as much as possible while I change her. Once shes dry and happy I pick her back up and we go to the fire where I toss on another log.
She mews at me, licking her lips and trying to cram her fist into her mouth.
"Well, lets see if Mommy is awake yet."
"Shes awake." I hear from the bed as Gabrielle sits up and pushes the hair from her eyes. "Xena, you know you dont have to get up with her until she actually cries."
"She was going to start." I defend, even as we climb into bed and I give her to my sleepy spouse.
She just smiles at me as she brings the baby to her breast. I wrap my arms around her and hold them both. Looking down, I see that Melosa is aggressively nursing, sucking hard and pushing at Gabrielles breast with her hands. "Shes hungry."
"I noticed," Gabrielle offers, as her finger traces the babys cheek. "Its probably because she didnt eat much before going to bed.
"Is she okay?"
"Shes fine, Xena."
I feel her chuckle and being the good partner I am I refrain from tickling her while she has the baby in her arms. "My job to worry," I grumble, knowing I sound like a petulant child.
"I know honey, but youre going to have a lifetime to worry about her you dont have to do it all in the first week."
Gabrielle pats my leg and turns her head to give me a kiss on the cheek. "Youre just too cute."
"I am not cute."
"Oh yes you are. Just ask anyone in the village. Since she was born youve been hovering like a lioness with a new cub and no one wants to get within a league of your claws."
"Am I really that bad?"
"Oh I dont think its bad, Xena, just more amusing than anything else. Everyone in the village always knew you could be like this, but its charming to see it manifest itself."
"Did you really think Id be different?"
"No, I expected you to be just like you are. I could tell how it was going to be when I was pregnant and you became the most protective partner anyone had ever seen."
"I wasnt that bad."
"It wasnt bad," she moves the baby to her other breast. "It was adorable."
I reach down and run my finger over Melosas cheek. This beautiful little girl is the perfect expression of my love for Gabrielle and the bond that we share. A gift to us from the Gods that I have always resented. I wonder how it is possible that Artemis has chosen to bless us. And I wonder if the blessing was really for Gabrielle.
Melosa only nurses for a moment or two longer then she releases Gabrielles nipple with a small pop and curls close to her mother, content and ready to sleep.
"Shes so beautiful," Gabrielle sighs as she holds our daughter closer.
"Yes she is."
"It amazes me how much she looks like you." She runs her hand over the babys head. "Look at this hair. Ill bet thats what your hair looked like when you were a baby."
"Actually I was born bald as a melon. My mother says my hair came in before my first birthday."
"Ooo I bet you were adorable."
I kiss her temple and offer my finger to Melosa, who grips it, pulling it close to her body. "Not nearly as good as her though."
"Youre biased." Gabrielle teases me as she moves to lie back down.
"Are we keeping her with us this morning?"
"Yeah, its a little nippy in here."
"Let me build "
"Xena, just lay down here with us. Well be fine until the sun comes up."
I look to the fireplace and consider that I need to enlarge it or maybe add a stove.
"Relax," Gabrielle tugs on my arm and pulls me down with her and the baby. "Were all fine Xena."
Sighing, I settle down and Gabrielle and I make a spot between us for the baby. Laying there, looking over our little girl I cant help but smile and push a few strands of Gabrielles hair from her face. "Life is pretty good huh?"
"You know it. Id say, all in all, life is very good right now. Better than it has been in a long time as a matter of fact."
"Why what?" She asks as she caresses Melosas back, easy the baby further to sleep.
"Why did you stay with me? You had so many other options and chances to "
"To what? Roam the world without my soul mate? To try and live my life without the person that makes it complete? I dont think so."
I smile at her sweet words and lean over to kiss her on the forehead.
"Not to mention give up the only woman who can get me pregnant," she chuckled.
"Well, its not like I actually did it."
"Oh yes you did," she sighed and smiled. "I remember that night, Xena. I knew when we came together that something was different. I could feel it as I fell asleep in your arms. I just didnt know what it was until Artemis came to me later, but I could feel it."
"I thought I was imaging things, but I cold tell you seems more, I dunno, content."
"It was more than contentment. It was the first time in my life that I felt totally at peace. There was a sharing of our souls the night I got pregnant."
I look down at my daughter, sleeping peacefully in the crook of Gabrielles arm. "You hear that Princess, youre special."
"She is very special," Gabrielle agrees. "A gift from the Gods. You know," she caresses my face. "I think we have been truly blessed."
"We have, and its not something I will take lightly. Obviously Artemis, had good reason to gift us with Melosa and I will protect her and you until my dying day."
"You dont need to convince me, Xena. And I think youve already convinced Artemis." Her eyes drift to the baby, "Yes, Im sure youve convinced Artemis."
Light of real dawn came far to quickly for us. Melosas need to be fed about every four marks of the candle left us with little opportunity for real sleep. Gabrielle was in a good mood as she dressed and prepared Melosa to go out into the village. I pulled on leggings and a tunic since I was due on the training grounds first thing.
"Now I want you to be good today." Gabrielle said as she put Melosa in the knapsack I had made for her.
"What? Im getting ready for training, what did I do?"
"Remember that the village is getting ready for Melosas blessing ceremony tonight. So be nice. No Amazon party jokes."
"I promise to be good. After all, this party is in honor of the little Princess." I gave the baby a kiss on her head as Gabrielle adjusted the pack on her chest.
"Just remember that, and come back in plenty of time to get ready for the ceremony."
"Yes, dear," I teased before giving her a kiss on the forehead. "Be home early and no taunting the Amazons."
"Exactly. I love you Xena."
"Love you too, Bard. I promise to be home in plenty of time."
I kissed her soundly, gave Melosas head another peck and headed off to the training grounds.
Making my way back to the village, I just shook my head as I saw the decorations. They were going all out for this ceremony that would officially welcome our daughter into the tribe and acknowledge her as Gabrielles heir and successor to the throne.
Tonight all the Amazons in the village will vow to protect Melosa with their very lives, just as they did for their new queen when we returned and Gabrielle took the throne. Every last woman in this village will sacrifice themselves to defend their queen and the new princess.
I can smell the food being prepared for the feast that will accompany the ceremony. Once the formal presentation of the baby takes place it will just turn into another reason to party. Any excuse.
When I enter our hut, I find that a steaming bath is prepared and since Gabrielle is busy feeding Melosa I can safely assume.
"Is this for me?" I ask, sticking my fingers in the hot water.
"It is. Enjoy it, but not too long were due out in the square in about a mark."
"Kay." I groan as I sit to pull off my half boots. "Gods Gabrielle, its just not fair."
"Im getting older but the Amazons I train arent."
She laughs and pats my back. "It always seems to work that way doesnt it?"
"Yeah, it sure does." I stand and start to strip my clothes off. "And let me tell you they are just full of energy."
"Oh itll keep you young, Warrior."
"Something better, Im going to have to chase after her," I gesture to the baby as I settled in the hot water. "I imagine shes going to be a handful."
"Xena, shes a week old, how can you know this?"
"Shes my daughter too you know."
I watch Gabrielle get into her leathers, even after just giving birth, she is still the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and Im quick to point that fact out to Melosa, who is sucking on my finger. "See her, shes your Mommy and the most wonderful woman in the world. Shes smart, shes sexy and "
"Im keeping you." Gabrielle gives me a kiss as she brings me Melosas blanket so we can bundle her up for the ceremony.
"Glad to hear it." Making sure that the baby is properly wrapped up, I place her in the crook of Gabrielles arm. As much as I want to be the one to carry her out, it is her mother, the Queen, who must present her to the tribe.
Hearing the drums start their rhythmic beat, we know its time to enter the square and begin the ceremony. I walk next to Gabrielle; tradition says I should walk behind her, as her consort. Luckily Gabrielle has never been big on tradition and she insists that I will walk next to her and remain there while Melosa is presented.
Once we step into the square the drums stop and it gets very quiet. All eyes are on Gabrielle and the baby. This is one of the proudest moments of my life. We walk steadily toward the shamaness of the tribe. She takes the baby and strips her out of the blanket and then out of her clothes.
I feel my jaw clench in a overly protective fashion as I watch the woman hold my child up for everyone to see.
"This is Melosa. Daughter of Queen Gabrielle and her chosen, champion and consort, Xena of Amphipolis."
All the women call my daughters name almost reverently. Gabrielle takes my hand and turns to look at me and I see tears shimmer in her eyes. Reaching over, I wipe them away before they can fall. "I love you," I whisper, not wanting to interrupt the ceremony.
"This child," the shamaness continues. "It the future and the life blood of the Amazon nation. She is her mothers daughter, and by that right, shall from this point forward be known as Princess Melosa. All Sisters, acknowledge Princess Melosa."
Every woman in the crowd, bent to one knee, heads bowed and quietly repeated her title and name.
"All Sisters, affirm here, this night that you swear to protect, even at the cost of your own lives, this princess of the nation."
The shamaness lays Melosa on the altar and takes a knife, making a small cut on the bottom of her foot, which causes her to start crying right away. I feel Gabrielles grip on my hand tighten as she fights the urge to go tend to our little one.
"As this child shed her blood for you, you must now vow to shed yours for her. Come forth Sisters and make your vow to the Princess."
They all proceed to the altar and offer a token of a bead to her. These beads will be kept and made into a prayer icon for Melosa. All the beads represent every Amazon, young and old that lived when she was born. She will be expected to know the names of all these women, as she gets older and will be expected to recite their names during times of prayer for the tribe.
Once all the tokens are placed, Melosa is dressed and wrapped back up and brought back to Gabrielle, who immediately checks to make sure that the small cut on her foot has been properly dressed.
With a loud Amazon cheer, the party begins. There will be dancing and good food and all of it, is because of the tiny wonder in My Queens arms.
A bright flash of light stops the party before it really has even begun and every woman drops to their knees as Artemis walks across the square. She takes the time to touch the heads of a few of the elders, before making her way to where we are standing.
"This is your daughter?" She asks Gabrielle, as she pulls the blanket back from Melosas face.
"My gift to you," she looks to me. "Both of you. Teach her well."
The Goddess places a kiss to Gabrielles forehead and then looks to me. In a moment of reverence for this being that has blessed me with my family, I lowered my eyes. I looked up when I felt her hand on my cheek.
"Care for them well, Warrior."
"Im sure of it." She leans in and whispers in my ear. "She is your blessing too. Cherish her."
Return to The Bard's Corner