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.
Spoilers: Minor spoilers for The Return of Callisto and many RM segments.
Other: Part Eighty-seven in the series "Raising Melosa". Takes place about two months after "To Help a Friend".
Kneeling before the Queen
"Do you think she is as nervous about this as I am?" I asked Celia as she helped me into my robes."
"Im sure of it Your Majesty. Mel said that Xena wouldnt stop pacing long enough for them to make the proper adjustment to her gear yesterday and apparently it took the priestess two solid marks to get her to calm down for the fast and the purification rites."
"I know its silly ."
"Not at all. Its wonderfully romantic and very sweet. After so many seasons, to still be so much in love."
I smiled at the woman who had captured my own daughters heart. "Tell me about you and Mel. How are you two doing?"
She blushed at my comment as she fidgeted with my robes. "Well we are very happy with each others company Your Majesty."
"Celia do you love my daughter?"
She was kneeling, straightening the hem of my robes. She smiled as she looked up at me. "Very much."
"Have you told her?"
She dropped her head and shook it slowly. "No." She added quietly.
I placed my hand to the top of her head and tilted it so she would look at me. "Why not?"
"Im not sure she feels the same way."
"Celia do you think Mel is trifling with you?"
"Oh no Your Majesty. Im sure Mel does feel true affection for me. Im just not sure she is in love with me."
"Can I ask you a very personal question? You may choose not to answer if you wish."
"Ill answer any question you ask of me My Queen."
"Have you and Mel ."
"Oh no Your Majesty I swear we havent ."
I smiled at the quick response. "Celia its all right. Relax. I am Mels mother and while the thoughts of her growing up and having more adult relationships is somewhat unsettling to me I know that it is bound to happen. I want her first experience to be with someone who loves her."
"I hope it will be me Your Majesty, but I dont have any I mean, Ive never and so far I know Mel hasnt but she is a warrior and I know that their blood tends to run very hot at times ."
"Yes it does." I murmured under my breath with a slight smile.
"So if she doesnt want to wait for me," She dropped her head again. "I would understand."
"Celia tell her how you feel. Dont waste time. She is a warrior and she could be taken from you at any moment. That is one of the hazards of loving a warrior and not being one yourself. Youre never really prepared to lose them. Ive lost Xena. Ive mourned her more times than I had right to. Ive been lucky and gotten her back, but they both could be taken at any time and we might never see them again. I know she would love to hear it from you lips just once, because I happen to know that she loves you very much. Unfortunately she is still young and has a lot of warrior ego and shes so very much like Xena."
"Ill tell her."
"You do that and trust me when I say I know she loves you too. You two have the ability to do something that Xena and I never had and that is to give each other the most precious gift of all, to each other for the first time. Xena was rather umm worldly when we met and much older than I was so she had far more experience in the ways of sex and love. My biggest regret is that I didnt give Xena the gift that was rightfully hers."
"Your Majesty?" I smile as the look of shock registers on her face. "No Xena wasnt my first. She should have been, but she wasnt." I took a deep breath and closed my eyes to recall those old memories. "I left Xena and I got married to a young man from my village. It was a mistake. I knew it was a mistake almost as soon as I did it. The moment Xena walked away from me my very soul began to ache, but I had chosen to be with Perdicus and I owed him the chance to make us as happy. We spent one night together and he was murdered the next day ."
"Im sorry Your Majesty."
"So am I. I made so many mistakes. If I hadnt married him, Perdicus might be alive today and I wouldnt have given to him what should have been a gift to my soulmate. So many mistakes."
"Which led you here? Were they really mistakes?" She smiles as she stands up and makes one final adjustment to my robes.
I shake my head. "No. I just wish my friend didnt have to die."
"Was he truly your friend?"
"Perdicus was truly my friend. My best friend growing up."
"Then hes happy for you and Im sure he is smiling on the festival tonight."
I nod as I look in the mirror. "Im sure he is."
"Mel Im gonna throw up." I growled a little as my stomach turned into knots.
"You are not. Now hold still." She gave me a really annoyed look as she straightened the seams on my trousers.
"Yes I am!"
"Then do it and get it over with because we still have to finish getting you dressed." She shoved my boots into my hands. "Dont puke on these, I just polished them."
I sat down on the bed and pulled the high black boots on over my trousers. "Aww Gods. Mel Im never gonna make it."
"Mother how can you be so nervous? I mean its not like you havent done this before."
"Yeah almost twenty seasons ago. This feels like the first time all over again."
"Gods I hope Im not this nervous when I propose."
"You will be, trust me." Then what she said sank in. "Mel are you thinking of proposing to Celia?"
"Well eventually yes."
"Not for awhile right?" I feel my stomach tighten again. Now I dont know who to be nervous for me or Mel. She just had to go and say that tonight didnt she.
"Relax Mother. No not for awhile."
"Youre just trying to kill me arent you?"
She laughed at me as she handed me my tunic. My hands were shaking so hard I wasnt sure I was going to be able to get into it. I just had to give up drinking didnt I. A cup of wine right now would be really nice. "Tea Mel. With mint."
She turned to one of the guards who nodded and left us to get me something to settle my stomach. Now if I could just settle my nerves. Deep easy breaths Xena, deep easy breaths. Gods youd think I wasnt about to propose to the woman Ive spent the last twenty plus seasons of my life with.
I can only guess its because I love her so very much that the mere thought of her can still turn me inside out. I smiled when I realized that my stomach still drops when she walks into a room. Or that I can still feel her approach even in a crowd of people.
"Get dressed will ya?" Mel brings me out of my thoughts as I toss my tunic over my head. I felt her tug it into place as she handed me my belt. "This is too funny."
"Im glad youre amused."
"Yup after all the teasing youve put me through because of Celia youd better believe Im enjoying this. Pay backs are a bitch arent they Mother." She laughed again as I fastened my belt into place. "Armor now?"
"Un-huh." I bent slightly at the waist as she settled my new armor over my head. The breastplate has been crafted to look like Mels. The chakram on hers shows the pointed design of the weapon. My armor shows the blunt side. Ri hasnt seen it yet I wonder how shell react?
Next she fastened my cloak to my shoulders and handed me my swords. As I fastened them into place I could hear the drums start up outside. Or is that my heart? Nope drums, definitely drums, which means that Ri is coming into the village. As Mel handed me my circlet I gave her a little grin. It was the best I could do now that I realize the time is very close at hand.
"You know its about time you make and honest woman out of my Mom. Geeze." She grinned at me as I settled the circlet on my head.
"Well then, I guess Id better go ask her if she wants me too huh?"
"Thatd be a step in the right direction."
""Lets go pal."
She brushed her hand past her body. "After you pal." I moved to the door, taking a deep breath before opening the door. I felt her hands land on my shoulders. "I love you Mother."
"I love you too Melosa." I pulled the door open to find the entire village gathered. At the end of the square, on the dais, with no table in front of her and no one else sitting next to her is Ri sitting in her throne. By the Gods she is beautiful. I smiled when I realized that she is wearing the same robes she wore when we were married. Taking a deep breath I take my first steps toward her.
The moment I am at my place at the other end of the square our eyes locked and she smiled at me. That smile, that smile that has warmed my heart and soul for so long. That smile that has made me smile and also brought tears to my eyes. That smile that has saved my soul countless times and welcomed each of our children and grandchildren into the world. I love that smile. It draws me to her, just so I can be closer to it.
We never lose eye contact with each other as I begin my walk. Mel is behind me serving as my witness. I feel the bond between us just as I feel the bond with Ri. With one in front of me and one behind my I am simply surrounded by their energy and it gives me my strength as I walk forward. They have always been my strength.
I stop and turn first to the table where my entire family is seated. I smile as a tear escapes and I take a loud deep breath as I take each of them in. Solan. My son, our son. A fine young man who married the woman he loved and blessed us with two of the most beautiful grandchildren.
Kai, our boy who we nearly lost. Gods I had never been so scared as I was for the three days at the beach when I didnt know for sure if they were gonna survive. My strong beautiful Queen won that battle and gave me a strong, beautiful son, who no doubt will be a great scholar someday.
Kessa and Rosa, our beautiful girls who are the image of the Queen they will succeed. They are so talented with the ways of the people. They know more about the business of ruling with a fair hand than I could learn in ten life times of trying. They are the perfect replacements for Ri.
Bailus, our son who came to us from a horrible tragedy. His father died protecting my family. It was only right that we take him into our family. He is a very talented young man with a good head on his shoulders. I am proud that he is a part of our family.
Alana, our daughter by marriage. An amazon warrior and the woman who brought our grandchildren into the world, if I didnt love her for any other reason those would be two reasons I would have no choice but too.
Little Gabrielle, our first grandchild. She looks so much like the grandmother she is named for. I am still amazed. Looks like our line will carry blonde hair and green eyes for some time to come. I truly adore this child. There is something so special about her. Someday she too will save some old has been warrior and the cycle will begin again and two souls will become one. A rare gift this child carries.
Dante, our first grandson. So much like his father, so strong and able even at his young age. Ive only seen one other person who can handle a horse like my grandson. Me. He talks to them and they obey him. He is truly in tune with all the animals. I believe the boy could command a pride of lions in a Roman arena.
I move to them and touch each face as I pass. Until I reach the head of the table were my mother is seated. Nearly seventy seasons old now and just as feisty as ever. Tears fall from my eyes as I kneel by my mothers chair and take her hands.
"Mother. I am in love. I wish to take this woman as my wife. Am I ready? Will she have me if I offer myself to her?"
She lifted a trembling hand to my cheek and smiled. "Yes child you are and she will."
"Do I have your blessing?"
"Thank you for this life which you have given me. I am blessed to be loved in so many ways."
I leaned in and gave her a kiss on the cheek before standing and turning to Ri. She stood and look down at me, tears flowing down her cheeks too but that smile was still on her face and it brought one to mine. She slowly made her way down the steps to finally stand in front of me. I clenched my hands a couple of times to try and get the shaking under control. I offer her my hands and she takes them.
I drop to my knees before her.
"Queen Gabrielle. Bard Gabrielle. Gabrielle. My Ri. So many changes over the seasons for you, for us. The one thing that never changed was my love for you. It only grows stronger with each day we breath the same air. I am only half of a soul. You my love are the other half and without you I am not complete. Our life is one life, now and forever. Please allow me to walk those roads with you. Gabrielle will you marry me?"
She nodded as tears flowed down her cheeks. Eventually she managed to get out something that sounded like yes. I laughed as I got to my feet and pulled her into my arms.
"I hope to Tartarus you just said yes because thats how Im taking it."
Return to The Bard's Corner