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: Umm yeah actually we have a little scene in this one, so be warned<g>
Violence: Its all off screen. Xe having a little fit in the village.<g>
Other: Part Seventy-three in the series "Raising Melosa". Takes place about a month after "Its all in the Asking"
You Play, You Pay
The various groups gathered in front of council chambers were in good spirits this morning. The unification was going well, the tribes seemed to be coming together into one nation without a lot of complications. I was talking with one of my new regents when the crowd went very quiet.
Eph tapped me on the shoulder as she pointed across the square. I turned and by the Gods I went weak in the knees. I actually grabbed her arm as I took in the sight of my Consort coming across the village. "Oh good Gods."
"Major understatement Gabrielle." Eph whispered out of the side of her mouth.
Xe walked purposely across the square. I felt my breath catch as I took her in. She was dressed in her new black leathers, soft tunic inlaid with gold and silver, black trousers that ran to her boots. The leathers were accented with her circlet and a light weight black cloak that was draped over her shoulders hanging down to just above the back of her knees. She had gone back to a double sword rig, which was slung from her hips, riding just a little low. As she walked toward me, Mel joined her. She was dressed in her full armor. They made quite the picture as they continued to me.
The crowd parted without a word. Leaving me at the end of the group, trying to decide whether to kiss her or kill her for making such an entrance. I smiled as I caught the look in those blue eyes. This whole thing had been arranged quite on purpose. A show of power, just to let the new members of our tribe and our nation know who was in charge and who protected the one in charge.
As she stopped in front of me she smiled at me, shifting her eyes to Mel. I drew a deep breath and turned to our daughter.
"Your Majesty." Mel gave me that same silly little grin. "May I take my place?"
"You may Melosa."
She turned and moved behind me. She and Xe had decided to share the role as my champion especially now when having a champion was important, but it was also important for me to have my Consort at my side. I turned back to Xe, who took my hand, bowing slightly she placed a very soft kiss to the back of my hand. "My Queen." She said softly as she straightened up.
"My Consort." I wanted to kill her and she knew it. The worse part of it was that she was enjoying it.
Since Artemis had restored her she had really begun enjoying the fact that she was younger. She sparred for candle mark after candle mark, trained class after class of new warriors. She helped build new huts for our new arrivals. She mapped out new plans for the expansion of the village. She spent time with our children, hunting, riding and fishing with them. She was truly enjoying her life to the absolute fullest.
Then there were our times together and alone. I felt like I was twenty again and we were at the beginning of our intimate relationship. In short we couldnt keep our hands off each other. I just knew Eph was not going to let me live down the fact she had caught us in the stables two days ago. I glanced to my regent as Xe wrapped my hand through her arm. Eph just raised her eyes innocently toward the sky. As I turned back to Xe I heard a soft whinny from behind me.
I couldnt help but chuckle as I pulled Xe down and whispered in her ear, "It would be bad if I killed my regent right here wouldnt it?"
"Oh I dont know darling. It might be good for discipline." She laughed softly as she whispered in my ear. Unfortunately for me she didnt stop with just a whisper, she managed to get in a little nip too.
"Stop!" I growled as I drew my head back. "I have work to do today."
"As do I My Queen." She pulled back from me, drawing her hand slowly across my cheek. Her displays of affection had become something I had to get used to. She had become very attentive to me since Artemis gift, even in the village. Not that I minded in the least, it was a nice change of pace. "However, wife," Oh she had that possessive little growl going. Just how many ways could she send shivers up and down my spine? "I would very much like your company for the mid day meal."
"Oh it that so?"
"Umm-hmm. Shall I come back and make sure the meeting adjourns on time?"
"No. No I think I can handle it."
"Good. Ill see you then." She leaned in, placing a gentle kiss to my lips before turning and walking into the crowd.
I felt a hand on my arm. I turned to find Eph, she had the biggest grin on her face. "Can you walk?"
"Of course I can." I growled as we turned for the council chambers. "Im not a teenager you know?"
"Funny you looked like one when she kissed you."
I turned to my friend and smiled. "Okay I felt like one. Ah Eph this is so incredible. We are umm ."
"Yeah I know. I got the whole picture the other day in the stables."
I groaned as Mel pulled the door open and we all filed into the council hall. I looked to my daughter who just smiled.
I heard Mel whisper to Eph as she came in behind me. "You should live with them. Its embarrassing."
I turned around to face my daughter. "Melosa?"
"Yes Mo My Queen."
"Go stand in a corner."
"Do I get to face away from the wall?"
"For the time being. Behave. Youre as bad as your Mother. Take your place as my champion."
"Yes My Queen." She grinned as she moved across the room to her place by my throne.
"Kids." I grumbled as I took Ephs arm. "Listen Im a little concerned about the regent from the southern tribe."
"Leland? Yeah Ive got to tell you, she makes me nervous too. Shes awfully brooding about this."
"Un-huh too quiet. Everyone else has spoken or yelled their opinion. She hasnt said a word."
"What do you think we should do?"
"Well when we break for the mid-day meal why dont you go make nice." I gave her arm a little pat.
"And youll be ."
"Having a meal with my consort."
"Un-huh," She rolled her eyes. "More like having your consort as a meal."
"Ephiny!" I lowered my voice as I leaned into her. "Gods, you know Xe and I do not spend all our free time in bed."
"No I agree you dont spend all your time in bed. You do find some interesting spots. My horse may never recover."
"Youre never going to let me live that down are you?"
"Nope." She laughed as we finally made our way across the room and took our seats.
I took my seat scanning the crowded hall. So many changes, so many new faces, so many new problems. The main village was expanding with refugees so quickly, we were having a hard time sheltering them all. The colder months would be upon us soon and I needed to make sure every woman had a warm home.
Four candle marks later after the last woman filed out and I was left alone, I simply let my head drop to the table. Resting on my arms I could almost feel myself drifting off. I relaxed as my mind wandered to Xe. I was supposed to meet her. I took a deep breath as I lifted my head, she stood before me with a smile on her face.
"Tired my love?"
"Absolutely exhausted." I couldnt stifle the yawn no matter how hard I tried. "Theres just so much to do."
"I know sweetheart." She moved forward then vaulted over the table, ending up in a kneeling position next to my throne. "Let me take you home. You need rest and you wont be any good to anyone if you make yourself sick."
"Oh Xe I cant. We have a session this afternoon ."
"Like Tartarus you do." Before I could protest she lifted me out of my chair. Holding me in her arms she moved to the window of the council room. With a shrill whistle I heard the pounding of hooves.
"Be quiet woman. Dont make me gag you."
"You wouldnt?" She moved carefully out the window and onto her horses back, still carefully cradling me in her arms. I realized how tired I really was because I couldnt help but relax in her arms.
"Thats it sweetheart just relax." She whispered in my ear as she took the reins in hand and nudged her horse into motion.
When I finally awoke, I realized I was in our room. There was a fire in the fireplace and a couple of small lamps are lit near the couch. I rubbed my eyes to see Xe stretched out on the couch asleep with a scroll lying on her chest. I heard movement downstairs, but I could tell theres no reason to go down. I sat up, throwing my legs over the edge of the bed, pulling on my robe. I moved to Xe and knelt down next to the couch. I ran my fingers through her hair and she barely moved. Gods ten years younger and shes enjoying every moment of it. I miss the gray hair though. I really did love the way it looked. The beauty of it is Ill get to enjoy it again.
It amazed me that she wanted to be ten years younger. She simply wanted to be with me. That was her entire reasoning behind that request, she didnt know at the time Artemis would heal her arm too. She was willing to extend her life another ten years and live with what could have been a permanent disability, just to be with me. I could feel the tears well up in my eyes as I watched her sleep. Such unconditional love. I leaned over and placed a kiss on her lips. She smiled as her eyes opened slowly.
"Umm-hmm. When did you wake up?"
"Oh I created quite the ruckus in the village today by the way." She grinned as she sat up rubbing her eyes.
"What did you do?"
"Well after I brought you home and put you to bed I went back over and gave your Royal Guard a good dressing down for allowing the Queen to be kidnapped right out from under their noses. Your champion will also be doing extra tours of patrol duty for being a lousy guardian."
"You punished Mel too?"
"Oh you bet Zeus bolts I did. If she wants to share the honor of being your champion then damn it, shes going to earn it."
"So you went over to the village and had a fit?"
"Of Olympian proportions."
"Okay well Im sure they know better than come to me about it."
"Yeah well," She scratched her neck as she gave me a sheepish little grin. "Youre probably going to have more guards than you can shake a stick at."
I nodded. "Somehow I imagine I will. You may not even be able to get near me." I laughed as I rubbed my hand up her leg. She grinned down at me as my hand traveled under her robe. "Guess you better try now."
"With your champion downstairs? If she hears anything unusual shes liable to come up here and toss me out the window."
"Yeah well to hear her tell it weve been embarrassing as of late."
"Is that a fact?" She leaned over and began kissing my neck.
"Oh yeah." I leaned back moving to the floor. She slid off the couch with me. "Apparently shes," I totally forgot what I was going to say when I felt her tug on the belt of my robe.
"You were saying?" She mumbled into my neck as she opened my robe.
"Nothing. I wasnt saying a thing."
"Hmm. Didnt think so." I certainly didnt protest when she moved us to the furs in front of the fireplace. "You have no idea how much I want this." Her voice sounded almost strained in my ear.
"I bet I do." I laughed as I slipped her robe from her shoulders. My hands traveled down her back, feeling every ripple of every muscle.
"I love you Ri." Her hands slid up and down my body, absolutely setting it on fire.
"I love you too Xe." I tangled my hands in her hair and pulled her down for a kiss.
Lying with her in front of the fireplace I just couldnt help draping myself over her back as I listened to her breathing and heartbeat slow down. I trailed my hand up her arm, feeling the sweat and the twitching of muscles relaxing from the strain.
"Incredible." She mumbled as she turned her head toward the flames.
"No argument here." I placed a soft kiss on her back as I moved to her side. She rolled over and wrapped her arms around me.
"Gods Ri how can it possibly get better?"
"Well you have all this excess energy right now." I laughed as I moved so that our legs became entangled. I always loved this position after making love.
"Yeah I guess I do. Was I this bad the first time around?"
"I wouldnt call it bad. As a matter of fact Im quite enjoying it, thanks."
"That makes two of us." She grinned as she gave me a soft kiss on the forehead.
I clasped her cloak around her shoulders. "Gods I do love you in the new gear." I shook my head just a little as I stepped back and watched her fasten her swords into place. "Umm good enough to eat." She looked up and me and grinned. I shook my finger at her before her mouth even opened. "Not one damn word Xena."
"Un-huh take all my fun away." She laughed as she indignantly brushed some imaginary dirt from her leathers. "Make me get up and go over to the village to keep your amazons in line. Work me all day long ."
I moved in and wrapped my arms around her. "Then bring you home and make love to you all night. How do you do it?" I teased as her arms wrapped around me.
"Well its a dirty job but someones gotta do it."
That earned her a slap to the arm. "Ill throw you out the window myself."
I felt her perk up as she peered out the window. She let go of me and moved to look out. I moved in behind her to find Mel mounting her horse.
"Hey oh mighty champion!" Xe yelled out the window.
Mel looked up and flinched just a little. "Yes maam."
"Planning on leaving without the Queen?"
"I thought youd be bringing her over."
Something about windows had gotten into Xes blood recently. She seemed to keep mistaking them for doors. Before I really realized it had happened she was landing on the ground next to Mel. As soon as she stood upright she grabbed the horses bridle. "Get off the horse now Melosa!"
Mel didnt argue, she dismounted the horse and stood tall and straight in front of her Mother. "Yes maam."
"Why were you leaving without the Queen?"
"I thought ."
"I thought ."
"Who asked you to think?"
"When you are serving as the Queens champion you have only one thought. That thought is of what?"
"Of what Melosa?"
"Right. Not of your stomach," I watched as she circled Mel as her voice rose. "Not of your friends, not of a certain little redhead, but of Your Queen. Nothing comes before the Queen. If you cant handle it say so now."
"I can handle it." She dropped her head a little.
"I can handle it."
"Are you sure?"
She took a deep breath as she continued to examine Mel. The poor girl was really going to pay now. Two mistakes in two days were a bit too much for Xe. "Your armor needs to be polished."
"Your boots need oiled. They squeak. I heard you leaving the house."
"And youll do a extra patrol around the village tonight."
Xe looked up at me. "Are you ready Your Majesty?"
"Do you mind if I use the stairs?"
"No please feel free." She waved her hand at me. As I moved way from the window I heard her call up. "I put those there for old women and children who cant find a more original way to leave the house."
I took my time as I made my way out of the house. As I stepped off the porch I walked over to my Consort and grinned. "Xe would you agree that first and foremost you are a warrior for this tribe?"
She blinked at me a couple of time then nodded. "Of course."
"Well, then Warrior you can just ride that extra patrol with my champion for insubordination to the Queen."
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