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 Fifty-two in the series "Raising Melosa". Takes place right after "The Return"
By T. Novan
I sat in my chair by the fire, sipping tea and reading some new scrolls that Ephiny brought back for me during her last trip to Athens. Looking over to the bed, my warrior sleeps. She hasnt been doing a lot of that since Theran returned to us, Im glad that shes resting now.
She has been extremely irritable for the last couple of weeks, doing a lot more yelling than is normal for her and shes been rather grouchy with the kids, which is extremely odd. I have to blame all of it on Theran. Her constant reminders that she is the only one who can protect me from this force as she calls it, is really starting to wear thin on Xes nerves.
She mumbles something in her sleep as she tosses in the bed. I get up and move to her side running my hands through her hair. "Shhh sweetheart, just rest. Sleep." She mumbles something else and she seems to settle down. I pull the blankets up around her shoulders and tuck them in. Its getting colder at night and the chilly air seems to make her uncomfortable now.
"Ri come to bed ."
"All right honey let me put the lamp out and I will."
Returning to the fireplace I extinguish the lamp on the table. Taking the last sip of my tea before I return to bed. As I climb in she wraps her arms around my waist as she curls her body protectively around me. "Im sorry ." She says in my ear.
"Sorry? Sorry for what?"
"Sorry I cant protect you properly anymore."
I roll over immediately to look at her. In the moonlight I can see a single tear running down her face. "Xena stop this. You have always protected me and you always will. You are my champion, my hero. You always have been and you always will be." I kiss away the tear and snuggle in just as close as I can. "I love you Warrior."
"Love you too Bard."
When I wake in the morning, she is gone. Im disappointed only because I know she didnt get enough sleep. Sighing heavily I throw the blankets back and get up to start my day.
Stepping out on the porch I sip my tea as I watch her. She is drilling with her sword, from the looks of her she has been doing it for sometime. Even from here I can see the sweat glistening off her body in the morning sun.
"Its a waste of time you know?"
I shudder as Therans voice finds my ear. I turn to find her standing behind me leaning against the house with her arms crossed against her chest.
"No. No I dont know that and neither does Xe. You come here with your cryptic damn messages, not telling us anything about this supposed threat and then you try to convince us that Xe cant protect her family. You know what?" I moved over to her until I was a hairs breath from her. "I dont think there is a threat. I think youre only here to taunt Xena. Why I dont know, I guess you feel its your right as her judge. Personally I think its another sick little game. I swear to you Theran, when I find out the truth, I will personally make you pay for every torturous moment that you have put her through. I will make you suffer ten fold for the things you have done to her."
"Temper, temper Gabrielle. Trust me Your Majesty I already suffer in ways that you can not imagine. I pay everyday for being one of my own kind. When all this is over you will never see me again."
"It cant be over soon enough for me. You know when you left us the last time, I had come to like you and even respect you in some ways, but you have totally destroyed that. You have made me hate your very existence and only one other time in my life have I felt that way about another person."
"I know." She said softly as she pushed off and headed from the porch. "I wish I could make you understand Gabrielle. I really do."
I watched her walk away. Then I went to join my warrior in the meadow. "Xe!" I call to her before I get too close I know how dangerous she can be when shes concentrating on her drills. Her mood as of late also concerns me. She stops, lowers her sword and turns to me.
"What is it Ri?"
"Come on Warrior. Come have a morning meal with me." I offer her my hand, she just shakes her head.
"Damn it Xe. Youre not eating. Youre not sleeping. Youre going to fall apart it you keep this up."
"Gabrielle dont argue with me ."
"No! Dont you argue with me! Come back to the house and eat with me. Ill pull rank on you warrior I swear I will. Ill make it a royal command if I have to."
She quirked her brow at me as a smile played on her lips. It was the first smile I had seen in days. "A royal command huh?"
"Oh you betcha. Ill order you to eat if I have to. Tartarus Ill tie you down and force it down your throat myself if need be."
"Oh well then in the interest of keeping my wrists free of rope burns, why dont I join you for the morning meal." She smiled again as she sheathed her sword and held her hand out to me. "So what are you going to fix for me?"
"What do you want?"
"Hmm venison steak stuffed grape leaves ."
"Oh yeah push it." I chuckled as I pushed against her.
"I had to try." She wraps her arms around me, pulling me close to her side. Right where I belong.
"Yeah I guess you probably did."
After we ate and sent the children on their way to lessons I decided it was time to spend some quality time with my warrior. "Xe?"
"Hmm ." She was staring into to bottom of her tea mug.
"Let me get us a hot bath. Well soak. Well relax ." She looked up at me and I grinned at her. "Hard telling what else we might find to do."
"Ri I dont know ."
I crossed the room and placed myself in her lap, wrapping my arms around her neck. "Then its a good thing I do."
"What about Theran?"
"Oh she is so not invited." I kissed her neck.
She chuckled as she buried her head in my hair. "I love you Ri."
"Oh and I love you too." I got up and pulled her to her feet. "Now come on. Let me relax you."
We settled into the tub and let the water soak into our bodies. "Oh now Xe this was a good idea."
"Umm-hmm," Her head was back, her eyes were closed. "It certainly was."
I rolled a towel. Moving to her I placed it under her neck. "Better?"
I placed myself in front of her and began massaging her neck. "You are so tight. Gods Xe you havent been this tight in a long time."
"Cant help it ." She mumbled as she turned her head to one side to give me better access to the knotted muscles in her neck and shoulder. "Im worried Ri ."
"I know and you dont need to be. Im guessing this is a whole lot of nothing."
"I hope youre right."
I leaned in giving her a light kiss on the cheek. "Of course Im right. This will all be over soon and she will be gone."
She opened hey eyes and smiled. "We couldnt get so lucky."
"Sure we will."
After our bath I made her go to the bed and stretch out. I prepared oil for a massage that I was bound would put her to sleep for a few candle marks at least. She was resting her head on her arms, stretched out on her stomach head turned to one side, eyes closed. My breath caught in my throat as I took in the sight of her lying there nude and finally looking a little more relaxed. She was still so beautiful, so strong. Even all the season that had come to pass hadnt diminished the power of my warrior.
I moved to the bed, kneeling next to it I warmed the oil in my hands before applying it to her back. She gave a soft appreciative moan as I rubbed the oil in, kneading muscles that were worked into small kinks all over her broad back. "Good?"
"Oh yeah ." She sighed deeply as she readjusted her head slightly. It didnt take long for her finally to fall asleep.
I finished massaging her legs then drew a light blanket over her. "Sleep well love."
I tied my robe off and returned to the main room of the house to look over some parchments Ep had delivered the day before. As I sat down at my desk to work the front door opened. I turned to find Theran in the doorway.
"Nice bath?" She grinned as she came in closing the door behind her.
"All right that does it." I quickly got to my feet, crossing the room. "Cant you just once give us some Gods be damned privacy. Im am so tired of you knowing every move we make. I want you gone Theran. Pack you gear, get on you horse and get out of here. I dont believe your story anyhow and even if I did there is no doubt in my mind that Xe is perfectly capable of taking care of her family."
"Youre wrong Gabrielle ."
"Then so be it. If this is the end for us then we will meet it together. United as a family without interference from you. Now get out of here. Leave my home, my tribe and my land. If you resist me, I swear by the Gods I will send the entire tribe down on you and each and every amazon will die if need be to rid you from my life."
"Are you sure this is what you want?"
"I have never been more sure of anything in my life. Now get out!"
"As you wish Your Majesty." She gave me a slight bow then turned and left our home.
I moved to the door and watched as she went to the barn. Within moments she emerged leading her horse. She vaulted into the saddle then rode over to me. "Youre making a huge mistake Gabrielle. It starts soon."
"Its my mistake to make."
"Could cost you the lives of not only you and Xena but your children too. Will you see them slaughtered because of your dislike of me?" She turned and peered into the distance before looking back to me. "Be warned Gabrielle, the physical force comes from the north, but the real threat comes from inside. It will be too close before you realize it has taken hold. Then it will be too late." Her horse began prancing and tossing its head around. "I left Mels gifts in the barn Gabrielle." She reined her horse as it began to protest. "At least give her a fighting chance by allowing her to have them. No reason for all of you to die." She heeled her horse into a run then a hard gallop as she rode away from the house.
I moved out onto the porch. I couldnt help, but look north. There were ominous dark clouds gathering there. I shuddered as I left the porch and headed to the barn. Inside I found a large crate chained and locked tight. A key hung from a small golden chain. As I touched the key I felt a small jolt run up my arm from my fingertips.
"Nope not a good idea Queen babe."
Oh I knew that voice. I turned to find Aphrodite. She raised her hand and wiggled her fingers at me in greeting. "What is going on Aphrodite?"
"The stuff in the crate is for the kid. Only she can open it."
"Why have you sent gifts to Mel?"
"Sort of an apology for that mess with old grumpy, dark and dumb ."
"Yeah I felt real bad about that whole scene. So I had Hephie make some things for the little warrior. But Im guessing that old tall, dark and deadly wont let her have them."
"Xe knows that most gifts come with a price ."
"Not theses babe. These are free of charge. I promise. You really should talk Xena into letting Mel have these, I swear to you there are no tricks or traps. Just prezzies for my little cous."
"Do you know whats going on?
"Nope. Its a violence thing. I do the love thing. See ya!" She waved her hand and disappeared. I just shook my head as I considered the crate.
Return to The Bard's Corner