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: Nothing graphic
Other: Part Thirty-two in the series "Raising Melosa". Most of the Melosa stories have a gap of about six months between them, but this one takes up right after "The Soul of the Bard."
By T. Novan
As the sun began to rise, waking up next to the lake on a bedroll with my naked wife draped all over my own naked body wasnt exactly something that I expected. Not that I was complaining I wasnt. It was a perfectly wonderful way to start my day. If things had gone as I thought then it was going to be a great day anyhow.
This was my wife, the woman I had been married to for almost ten seasons. Her body thrown over mine to the point where if I tried to move it would garner me grumpy protests. This was a glorious feeling. I barely remembered everything that happened last night, but I didnt care. I had my Gabrielle back. It had been a long time since she had slept like this, like her old self. I took a deep breath and ran my hands over her back to try and wake her. "Ri?"
"Ummm " She snuggled closer.
"Good morning my love." I kissed her forehead.
"It certainly is Warrior." She sighed as she kissed my neck. "Xe I remember everything, everything." She lifted her head and stared at me for a long moment then she proceeded to kiss me.
Oh what a kiss. That was all it took. By mid morning we found ourselves suitably satisfied for the moment and we dressed and headed back to the house. Stopping long enough to exchange soft kisses and tender touches.
"It was hard on you " She said softly as we walked arm and arm back to the house.
"Yes. Of course it was Ri, but you were alive and with us and thats all that mattered to me. I didnt care if you ever got them back."
" I know. You always love me dont you? No matter what happens."
"No matter what happens as long as we are together. So my sweet whats your first order of business?"
"Oh I already took care of my first order of business." She grinned at me. "Now I want to see the kids."
"Theyre over at Solan and Alanas. Man talk about a house full. Eight people in that house at the same time really fills it up. I think Im going to see if he wants to add a room. He was looking perfectly perplexed when I left. He doesnt have a clue what to do with five kids. He can barely handle little Ri. Hes lucky to have Alana and Mother there with him." I chuckled at my sons inexperience at parenthood.
"Well I can say this now and mean it I seem to remember a time when you werent so sure either "
"Oh shall I refresh your memory "
"No my dear I remember everything very plainly thank you very much."
I sat there quietly watching her. She was so small. My shaky hand dipped into the cradle and I ran my finger up and down her little arm. " I love you Melosa." I said very softly. The last thing I wanted to do was wake her. I watched as her expression change and I found myself wondering what she was dreaming about of even if she did dream right now. I was so engrossed in watching the baby I didn't even hear Ri enter the room. It was only when she was right behind me that I turned around.
"Hiya' Warrior." She said softly as she sat down on the floor next to me and leaned on my crossed legs.
I draped my arm over her waist and pulled her close to me. "Hi yourself. Thank you Ri." I said softly as I rested my chin on the top of her head and continued to watch our daughter.
"For her, for you, for everything you have made possible."
"We did this together Xe. Everything we have is because we believe in and love each other."
"Maybe so, but it all starts with you. You gave me back the ability to love and be loved."
"Nah it was always there. You had just put it away." She said with a smile and a nudge. "I just found it."
"I'm glad you did." I kissed the top of her head.
"Are you ever going to hold her?" She asked as she watched me caress the baby's arm.
"Sure I am. When I won't hurt her."
"You won't hurt her now."
"She's so small. She's much smaller than Solan was. She looks so fragile." She reached into the cradle and tenderly supporting our tiny little girl in her hands she bought her up and offered her to me. I actually felt my heart stop and my throat constrict as I started to move back from them.
"Xe take her. You're not going to hurt her."
I took a deep breath and leaned forward, rubbing my hands together to warm them up. I slowly reached out and placed my hands under her, replacing Ri's very slowly. I looked at Ri and saw and absolute pure expression of love as I brought our little girl into the crook of my arm and cradled her close to me. She brought her hands to her face, palms together and placed them against her lips. She smiled as tears formed in her eyes.
"What?" I asked her as the baby curled a tiny hand around my little finger and drew it close to her.
"Beautiful. This is absolutely beautiful."
I leaned in and with our baby girl comfortably resting in the crook of my arm between us I placed a soft and gentle kiss on her lips. "I love you Ri."
"I love you Warrior."
"Three days. It took you three days before you held her for the first time." She nudged me playfully.
"I know. I know."
"Big tough warrior, befuddled by little tiny baby "
"Hey anything thats smaller than and weighs less than my sword "
She stopped and grabbed me and kissed me again. When she was finished thoroughly checking every tooth on my head she pulled back and caressed my face. "I love you."
"I love you too. My you are in a good mood this morning."
"And why shouldnt I be? I woke up in your arms, remembering everything and then we made love. Now I get to see the kids. My life has finally come back together. I didnt realize how much I missed until I didnt have it anymore. I cant explain how wonderful this all is. Its kind of like being reborn."
"Well Im glad youre pleased." I grinned at her.
"You have no idea Warrior. You have no idea."
As we climbed the steps to the house I tossed the blankets into a corner they would need to be shaken out and washed, but that could wait until later. We entered the house, I was amazed to find that everything had been put back into its proper place. The only thing that remained were two tapestries. One a soft green with gold threads that told basically my life story and another of blue with gold threads that told Gabrielles. They were long and narrow until they came to the part where we met then they came together and formed one. It hung majestically to the right of the fireplace. I noticed a note pinned to it and took it down as Ri ran her hand over the material.
"Its a gift from Hades and Artemis. The note says, So you may always remember."
"Xena its beautiful."
"Ri it tells everything should we leave it up? I mean the kids I dont know if "
"Xe," She took my hands in her and kissed them. "If there is one thing Ive learned through all of this its that we wouldnt be where we are today if it werent for the things that happened to us and the choices that we made. We have our family because this is who we are." She said as she placed my hand on the tapestry with her hand covering it. "We have nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing to regret."
"You are a truly amazing woman." I said with all sincerity as I leaned in and kissed her.
"Yeah well I had to be to put up with you all these seasons." She teased me after the kiss.
"Oh is that so " I began advancing on her. "Put up with me huh " If my bard wanted to play I could play.
She grinned and began backing away from me. "Yeah put up with you. All your growling and grousing around bleeding all over everything paying more attention to your horse than to me "
"My horse doesnt talk as much as you do." I continued walking toward her.
"Yeah, but your horse doesnt cook for you." She was headed for the front door. " And very rarely did your horse ever keep you warm on a cold winter night "
She turned and broke for the front door. She made it out and the chase was on. I followed her and saw her break to the right at the bottom of the steps I went to the side of the porch and vaulted over the rail expecting to cut her off. When my feet hit the ground I heard her laugh behind me and I turned around.
"Whats the matter Warrior getting old?"
"Old! I show you old bard!" I got a good sprint and executed a very nice jump and a flip that put me down right in front of her as she skidded to a halt. "Did you just call me old?" I asked as I put my hands on my hips.
"No I asked if you were getting old. Theres a big difference." She said as she looked for an escape.
"The implication was there " I grabbed her around the waist and hoisted her into my arms. Then as she wrapped her arms around my neck I kissed her. "Now madam Im sure if youre interested you could trade me in. Find yourself some young warrior who can keep up with you. Some young warrior who could just wear you out at every turn."
"Nah I think Ill keep you. Ive got you broken in. I dont want to have to go through all that again. You warrior types are hard to train."
"Boy you just dont know when to quit do you?"
"Well if you didnt keep setting yourself up like that. You make it so easy "
"No my dear being easy would be your specialty." I began laughing as she struggled to get out of my arms, putting forth all the mock indignation she could muster through her own laughter.
"Well I never " She said as she continued to try and get a way
"Oh yes you have. Everything at least once. I remember your motto when you were younger wasnt it something to the effect of "Im tri-sexual " She clamped her hand over my mouth.
"I never said that about me. I told people that about you." She giggled and nuzzled my neck. I headed back to the house. "Hey where are we going?"
"Were going to go try a few things."
By late afternoon we were on our way to Solans. Gabrielle settled in behind me in the saddle resting her head on my back. This was something I had become accustomed to many years ago while we were on the road. I didnt realized how much I missed it until this moment. "Whats the matter bard this old warrior wear you out?"
"Oh yeah just like always." She purred. I felt her arms tighten around me. "And I wouldnt trade you for all the dinars in Greece."
"Glad to hear it." I rubbed her arm and nudge the horse again to pick up the pace a bit.
The ride to Solans was a short one. I helped her down and before my feet hit the ground there were children coming from all directions. I watched as Mel and Kai ran to Ri and practically knocked her off her feet hugging her. She took them both in her arms and knelt down kissing them and giving them firm, long hugs. Kessa and Rosa came through the front door with Solan hot on their heels trying to catch them. I scooped Kessa up as Rosa ran to Ri. That was the weight that toppled them over.
They were laughing, they were crying but they were all happy. Kessa squirmed trying to get out of my arms to be with her Momma.
"Hey remember me?" I said as I playfully poked her in the ribs. She turned and looked at me, drawing her little brows together in disgust. Her little green eyes sparkled in the sunlight "Give me a kiss and Ill put you down." She grinned at me and hugged me around the neck and gave me a kiss. She tasted faintly of raspberries. My mother must have been baking again.
"Love you Momma." Kessa said to me as she hugged me again.
"I love you too, now go see your other Momma." I put her down and she joined her brother and sisters in their assault on their Momma. Gods how they needed this woman in their lives. Me, they could probably learn to do without, but never Ri. She would always be their guiding light. Just like she had been mine. I joined Solan on the porch as we watched her with the kids.
"Shes okay?" He asked quietly.
"Shes better than okay. She hasnt been this happy in seasons."
"It worked then?"
"Yeah it sure did." Suddenly I felt a tug on my trousers leg. I looked down to find my granddaughter.
"Up!" She demanded as she held out her arms to me.
"Yes maam." I chuckled as I reached over for her.
"Nanna " She wrapped her arms around my neck and gave me a really long, intense little hug.
"Whats with her?"
"I swear Mom I dont know she has been crying for you for three days. Weve all been half out of our minds. Nothing we could do would calm her down. She even cried for you in her sleep."
"Thats odd." I turned my attention back to Little Ri who was still firmly attached to my neck and I could feel her shivering a little. I could tell she was crying quietly. "Hey little one Im here now its okay. Ive got you." I whispered to her and stroked her back. She pulled back and looked at me she had tears in her little eyes and running down her little cheeks. She put her hands on my face and just stared at me. I kissed her hands and tried not the break whatever spell she seemed to be under.
"Nanna sick " She said softly.
"Not anymore little one. Im okay. See. Im fine." I didnt know how she knew I had been sick and I most certainly didnt know how to convince her I was fine now.
"Shes been saying that for three days too. Shes bound and determined that youve been sick."
"I was. I was horribly sick with a fever for two days, but how did she know that?"
His eyes widened as he shook his head and reached for Little Ri. She shook her head and reattached her self to me. "No!" She said as her arms tightened around my neck. She wasnt about to be separated from me.
"Leave her. Shes fine." I hugged her and stepped off the porch to join the rest of my family in the yard. I sat down with the baby and soon I also found myself covered in kids.
Mel was the first. She just came up and leaned on my back and kissed me on the cheek. "Hey pal. How ya doing?" She asked with a grin.
"Not bad and you?"
"Eh same old same old you know." She said so very seriously. I couldnt help but laugh.
"Yeah lifes rough that way "
"Sure is. You know what I need?"
"What? Do tell."
"I need a good sparring match. You up to it?" She nudged me.
"What taking you on? Runt Im ready for you anytime. Well do it later okay?"
"Okay." She draped herself over my back as we watched Ri. "Its great to have her back."
"It sure is."
"I missed her." She whispered in my ear.
"So did I."
"I know." She kissed me on the cheek again and leaned in real close to my ear. "The light is back in your eyes too."
The Raising Melosa Series Continues with Judgement Day
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