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: Not seen.
Violence: We see and hear about the effects of domestic violence. Its a real issue as we all know and there are never any easy answers. However, if it bothers you please feel free to skip this segment of RM. The DV IS NOT BETWEEN XENA AND GABRIELLE. I personally felt this was a good time to address this issue because October is Domestic Violence awareness month. I hate to sound like a commercial but if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, please seek help. It is out there. You can get information at www.domesticviolence.com or call 1-800-799-SAFE. Off my soap box. TN
Other: Part Eighty-six in the series "Raising Melosa". Takes place right after "To Be Queen".
To Help a Friend
I leave the tent with the intention of hurting someone. I stop in my tracks when I take in Leeta. There was a large cut and a bruise on her jaw.
"Regent Leeta. What happened?"
"Your face? What happened to your face?"
"Oh nothing Your Highness. I had a small mishap this afternoon."
As I am about to respond Celia makes her way to us from across the camp. "Good evening Your Highness." Her smile for me fades as she follows my eyes to Leeta. "Regent are you all right?"
"Im fine." The woman answers very shyly as she looks to her mate.
"Im Celia, the Queens personal healer. May I tend that for you?"
"She doesnt need help with it." Torin growls at Celia.
This sends me into a very defensive mode. Torin isnt going to come over to the Queens camp and abuse everyone she sees, apparently she does enough of that over in her own village.
"I say she does." I offer my hand to Leeta who takes it hesitantly. "Celia please see to Regent Leeta."
"Yes Your Highness."
Torin stares as Leeta is led away by Celia. She turns and gives me a snarling smile. "You must be Xena."
"Well very good for you and you are?"
"Torin. I used to be the Queens consort and Champion in this tribe. Before she came in and took over." She nods her head to Ris tent.
"That is not only your Queen you are speaking of, but my soon to be wife and I will request this only once. You will show her the respect a Queen deserves."
"She took my wifes throne."
"No. Your wife gave up the throne. It would appear to have been a huge blow to your ego."
"How would you like to go from Consort and Champion to nothing overnight?"
"If I had my wife and children with me Id like it just fine. There are far more important things that titles and power."
"Easy for you to say. Youre married to a Queen."
"No Im not. At this time Im not Queen Gabrielles Consort or Champion. I am her chosen and we will be married in the spring."
"I thought ."
"Its a long story. We have to be married again in the spring."
"So the Queen is unmarried ."
I can hear the idea coming together in her mind.
"Forget it!" I growl as I step forward as my hand lands on my left sword. "Dont even think of challenging me for her hand, because I will kill you. She has been my wife for more than seventeen seasons and we have children and grandchildren. We will be married again. Nothing and no one will stand in our way."
She quirks her head at me and smirks again.
"Im serious Torin. There is no way in Tartarus Id let someone like you near the Queen, even if I wasnt her chosen."
"What do you mean like me?"
"Im not stupid Torin. Ive given, received and seen enough beatings to know what youve done to Leeta. You abuse your wife Torin. Its sick and Leeta needs help."
"Dont meddle in things that dont concern you Xena."
"I have no intention of it. It does however concern your Queen and she may interfere if she decides there is just cause. That cut and that bruise more than give her just cause."
"Im warning you!"
"No, dont you warn me. Dont you try your methods of terror on me, my family or members of my camp. Your invitation to this meal has just been rescinded. Go back to your village."
"When my wife is returned to me."
"She not property and her invitation still stands. She will be escorted back afterward. Let me warn you now. That if I see another mark on her while Im here I will personally seek you out and make you pay tenfold for it."
She looks for a moment like she will challenge me. Then she turns and leaves our camp.
The meal was a somber event to say the least. Ri dismisses Mel and Celia after it is complete, leaving Leeta, Ri and I sitting at the table sipping tea.
"How long have you been married to Torin." Ri asks quietly as she looks to Leeta.
"When did the beating start?" I ask as I lean back.
She drops her head. "Shortly after."
"Shes been abusing you for ten seasons?"
Leeta simply nods as the tears begin running down her cheeks. Ri moves to the woman and wraps her arm around her shoulder. "Its all right now well help you."
"No. Shell kill me if I try to leave her. She told me that."
"We wont let that happen." I offer as I stand up and begin pacing.
"Please Your Majesty, Your Highness I appreciate the concern I really do, but I know how to handle her and if you get involved it will only make things worse. Shes upset because youre here. Once youve left she will calm down once more and as long as I do as she says Ill be fine."
"Leeta do you have any children?" Ri asks as she runs her fingers through the womans hair.
"No, no I wouldnt bring children into the marriage. Torin wanted me to but I wouldnt risk it. So," She draws a deep breath as she wipes the tears from her cheeks. "The healer lied to Torin and told her that I couldnt have children."
"How did she react to that?" I ask, knowing the answer, but I want to hear her say it.
"She didnt take it well."
"She beat you didnt she?" Ri asks
"Yes Your Majesty."
I escort Leeta back to her village. I spend enough time there that I am fairly confident that she wont be harmed. When I return to Ris tent she is sitting on her bed with her head down. I move in quietly and kneel before her. "Ri?"
"Xe how can someone do that to someone they supposedly love."
"They dont Ri."
She looks up to me. "We have to help her."
"We will." I wrap my arms around her and hold just as close as I can get her.
"Council be damned. Stay with me tonight."
"I will love. Im not going anywhere, ever again. Ill have Mel move my things back in the morning."
"Good. I dont want to be without you anymore."
"You wont be. I promise." I pull back from her, placing my hands on either side of her face I lean in for a kiss to calm and reassure her.
Stretching, I find myself delightfully covered in blonde body. Oh I have missed this feeling. Instead of getting up, I just wrap her up and pull her close. Gods I love her so much and I cant imagine ever doing that to her. Id throw myself on my own sword first.
Last night was truly, utterly passionate. We made love for mark after mark. Never tiring of each other and loving each other thoroughly through many loving words and touches. We both needed it.
She stirs slightly curling in tight next to me. "Love you." She murmurs as she pulls the covers tighter around her shoulders.
"Oh I love you too Bard. So very, very much."
"Do you think Leeta will take an out if we give it to her."
"I dont know Ri. Its a vicious cycle. Torin beats her, then begs for forgiveness, which Leeta gives her. Then it happens again. It happens that way over and over again."
"I hate this."
"So do I, but Leeta has to want the help and shes scared senseless. Torin is very good at controlling and manipulating her."
"How do they hide it for so long?"
"Leeta probably has lots of accidents and who in Tartarus is going to argue with the Regent and her chosen?"
Just as I give her a light kiss in the forehead, Mel comes in without announcing her entrance. Something she has never done before.
"Im really sorry but, you both need to come to the village right now. Theres been an incident."
When we arrive in the village, guards surround Leetas hut. They part as we make our way through. Inside we find Celia tending to a badly beaten Leeta.
"Oh Gods!" I watch Ri move to the woman and kneel before her.
I move further back into the hut to find Torin on the floor with a dagger sticking from her chest. She is very dead.
I return and kneel before Leeta. She looks up to me. "I I she hit me and I "
I just nod as I draw a deep breath. "I know. Its going to be all right. It was self defense."
Ri stands to allow Celia to contniue working. We move across the room to a corner.
"She killed Torin Ri."
"It was obviously self defense."
"Of course it was. Anybody can see that."
Three days later we are enroute back to our own village and our family. I smile as I look back and find Ri, Celia and Leeta talking in one of the wagons.
Mel rides up next to me and looks back. "You think shes gonna be okay?"
"With those two as friends and the warmth and love shell get in the main village, shell be just fine."
Once again, if you or someone you know or love is a victim of Domestic Violence please seek help before its too late. You can get information at www.domesticviolence.com or call 1-800-799-SAFE. If you are in Australia call 1800 656463 (it's a free call and open 24 hours).
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