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: Nope, none, nada
Spoilers: Tiny spoiler for Lock Up and Tied Down
Other: Part Forty-three in the series "Raising Melosa". Takes place right after "The Road to Athens".
All I knew was that suddenly the caravan came to a halt. I heard horses protesting, Rilex took to the air from the front of the procession with a resounding squawk and there were loud voices everywhere. It sounded as if we were under attack. Whatever the problem was it was coming from the front where Mel and Xena were riding.
I grabbed my staff as I climbed down from the wagon and headed for the front. As I made my way with the guards, I couldnt believe what my eyes where showing me. Xena was dismounted. She grabbed Mel by the shoulders of her tunic and pulled her from her horse, giving her a solid shake. She was obviously angry and Mel was getting the business end of it.
"No!" She shouted as I drew closer. "No! You cant go there!"
"Xena stop it!" I yelled as I approached them.
She dropped Mel and staggered back from our daughter. As I drew closer I could feel the fury radiating from her very soul. She stepped forward again, Mel coward away from her. I stepped between them and pressed my staff across Xenas shoulders moving her back.
"Stop it Xena! Stop it! What in the name of Tartarus do you think youre doing?" I was prepared to go around with my consort to protect my child. I had never seen her act this way with one of the children before. I was beginning to wonder if she had just snapped. Using the leverage of my staff I pushed her back again. "Stop Xena!"
Epinon rushed forward with five other guards and surrounded us. Xena blinked at me a couple of times, then looked to the guards. "Back off!" She growled with a wave of her hand. "This is a family matter." She turned back to me. I saw rage in her eyes like I had never seen before.
She advanced and I pushed her back again. "Xena enough! Stop this before I have them take you down!" I looked to Ep who just gave a slight nod of her head. "What is wrong with you?"
"Ask her!" She waved at Mel who was now standing as close to me as possible without actually holding on. "Ask her where it is she wants to go." She made another angry gesture at Mel. "Go on ask her!" Xena was so furious she was breathing hard and shaking. I hadnt seen her this upset in a long time. I almost didnt want to take my eyes off her long enough to speak with Mel. Ep stepped forward and began to reach for Xe, who turned quickly and moved slightly to keep herself out of her grasp. "I swear Ep if you touch me Ill break your arm!" She glared at our friend, who raised both hands, palms up and took a step back.
"Xena by the Gods calm down! Whatever it is, it cant be that bad."
"Your daughter wants to go to his temple!"
I turned to look at Mel. She stood quietly with tears running down her cheeks. "Mel is that true?" She didnt speak, she just nodded. I drew a deep breath and cleared my throat. "Go back to wagon with your brother and sisters. Well talk about this later."
I watched her walk slowly back to the wagon, wiping the tears from her cheeks as she did. I returned my gaze to my consort who was also watching Mel walk away from us. "Xena come with me." I said softly as I walked away from the group. I heard her boots crunching on the soft earth as she followed me to the side of the road.
I drew another deep breath and held it for just a moment before turning around to face her. As I did I notice she looked drawn, tears were now forming in her owns eyes and she was fighting hard to control her emotions. "Ri Im sorry I just "
"I raised my hand to stop her words. "Xena Im not the one you need to apologize to. Mel needs that, but it can wait until youre calmer. I only have one thing to say to you and I want you to hear me out before you say anything."
She nodded her head and bit her bottom lip just slightly.
"You know I have never intervened with the disciplining of the children and we have always had an understanding that we wouldnt allow them to work us against each other. However, what I just saw was not discipline. It was bordering on abuse and if I ever see you do that again I will take action against you to prevent it."
"Ri I "
"Do we understand each other Xena?"
"Gabrielle I would never hurt Mel."
"Do we understand each other?"
"Of course "
I nodded and walked away without another word. Returning to the wagon I took Mel aside. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah. Im fine just scared. What happened?"
"You found your Mothers one sore spot. Mel you should have known better." I began unfastening her tunic. "Why would you say that to her?" I dropped her tunic from her shoulders to check for bruising. Luckily for Xena there wasnt any.
"I dont know." She shrugged away from me and pulled her tunic back up. "Im fine Mom she didnt hurt me. I deserved it."
"No Mel. No you didnt." I pulled her into my arms and kissed the top of her head. "Never under any circumstances do you deserve that."
"Is she really mad?"
I looked back to Xena who was remounting her horse. Ep took the reins of Mels horse and began walking back to the wagon. Xena sat very stiff in the saddle and I could see her testing the air around her.
"Shes upset Mel. You really shook her up with that." I looked down at my daughter and lifted her head. "Why would you say that to her? You know what he put her through. What he put us through."
"I had a dream about the temple last night. I just wanted to see it and see if thats what it really looked like."
"You dreamt of the temple?
She nodded and then pulled herself closer to me. "I didnt mean to hurt her."
"I know little one. I know." I wrapped my arms around her and just held her close to me. "Everything will be all right. I promise."
Epinon brought Mels horse back to her. She climbed back up into the saddle and gave a soft whistle bringing Rilex back to her. I looked to Xena who was looking as if she would attack the next living thing she came in contact with. "Mel you ride back here."
I walked back to the front and approached my consort. As I did I noticed that the muscles in her neck and back were twitching. I had only seen her like this before a battle. I moved to her slowly, she turned her head to me, in her eyes I saw a mixture of pain, frustration and anger all mixed with soft tears.
"I would never hurt her." She whispered.
"I know." I extended my hand. She took it and pulled me up behind her. "Somethings not right Xe. She said she dreamt of the temple last night."
"I know Ri. I can feel him. Hes close. Hes here to mess with my family. I wont let him Ri. I wont let him."
I rubbed her shoulder as she nudged her horse into motion. "I know love, I know. Lets get to the palace, get settled and well figure out whats going on."
She drew a deep breath and let it out very slowly. "Why Mel?"
"Because shes your daughter and shes following your path. My guess would be its also just to get a rise out of you."
"Oh hes got my attention all right and he going to regret it."
As we settled into our quarters Xena began removing her armor as she sat down in a chair.
"Im going to check on the children."
"Umm Ri, could you send Mel in here and give us a few moments?"
"Absolutely Warrior." I went into the room that adjoined ours to find the children putting their things away. "Mel your Mom want to see you."
She nodded and moved to the door hesitating. I wrapped my arms around her, reassuring her that everything would be all right. I closed the door behind her and crossed the room to Kai, Kessa and Rosa who all just stared at me.
"Why is Mom mad at Mel?" Kai placed his bag on his bed.
"Shes not mad at Mel. They had a misunderstanding. Theyre talking about it now."
"Sure looked like mad to me." Rosa said as she climbed up on the bed next to me.
"Well your Mom was more scared than anything and sometimes thats just the way grownups act when theyre scared."
"Not me." Kessa offered as she too jumped up on the bed. "I hide."
"Thats always a good choice too." I laughed as I kissed the top of her head. "But most adults dont do that and your Mom has never done that. I dont think she knows how to hide."
"Ah itd be hard for her to hide anyhow." Kai removed his clothes from his bag and put them on the bed. "Hard to hide a body that big."
"So very true." I laughed again as I stood up. "All right everyone. Let get your things put away."
Mel came back in a little later and began putting her things away as well. "Everything okay?" I ran my fingers through her long dark hair.
"Everything is great. All worked out." She smiled at me. "I told her about the dream and she said shed take care of it." I gave Mel a hug as my mind screamed at me to get back to Xena.
In our room I found her putting her armor back on. "Xena what "
"Im going to his temple. Hes not going to get away with this Ri." She adjusted her breastplate and began fastening the buckles.
"Xena I know youre mad and upset but this isnt the way to do it."
"What do you suggest Ri? Should I just wait for him to show up and try to take Mel?"
"No Xena of course not. Thats not what I meant and you know it."
"I dont know what else to do. Hes obviously taking advantage of the fact that were off amazon land and no longer under the protection of Artemis. That must be how he got into Mels dreams last night."
I nodded my agreement to that statement and walked to the window to try and give it a little more thought. "Xena maybe we should try Athena. We are after all in her city and she is Artemis sister. The Goddess of the hunt and warriors should certainly be able to protect Mel."
"Tell you what Ri. You go talk to Athena and Ill go kick Ares ass just for the fun of it."
I turned around and crossed my arms. "You know getting sarcastic about this isnt going to help the situation."
She ran her fingers through her hair and sighed heavily. "Im sorry Gabrielle. Im just so damn mad. I thought he would have learned by now just to leave us alone."
"Xena Mel is old enough now to interest him. Youve been working with her and her skills are going to be just as impressive as yours "
"Why not when shes older and away from our influence?"
"Because children are more easily swayed. All he did was make her dream of his temple and she wanted to see it." I crossed the room to my consort, placing a palm on her cheek. "Xena, darling, lets take time and figure a way out of this. If you try to take him on by yourself you could get hurt or worse."
"Gabrielle I have never back down from Ares in my life."
"I know that and Im not asking you to back down now. Im asking you to consider finding some help."
"Help from who?"
"Well what about Hades? This is his granddaughter that Ares is causing trouble for."
"Yeah and Im his daughter and he never lifted a finger to help me."
"I know, but he has a deep love for his grandchildren. Youve seen it. Will you at least try him before you go deal with Ares?"
She nodded slowly, turning her head to place a kiss on the palm of my hand. "Yes my love I will at the very least speak with Hades about this first."
"Thank you Warrior."
She ducked down and kissed me. Our kiss was cut short by two things. The door from the adjoining room opened and the children came pouring in demanding to be fed. Xena just rolled her eyes and mouthed, "Just like you." which earned her a playful slap on the arm and the second was a loud pounding on the door.
Xena smiled and rubbed her arm as she crossed the room and opened the door to reveal a Greek Army captain with four soldiers behind him. He looked past Xena to me and gave a weak smile.
"Your Majesty Im sorry for this interruption." He came into the room without being invited and the hairs on my arms stood up.
"Captain Im not do to meet with the Governor until the morning. What is going on here?"
"Well your Majesty " He turned to Xena. "Xena of Amphipolis?""
"Yes." She crossed her arms and raised a dark brow.
"Youre under arrest "
"WHAT!" I stepped forward as he motioned the four soldiers into the room. Two of them had their swords drawn and the other two held heavy chains. "What is going on here?!"
"Your Majesty I have my orders." He handed me a scroll. I unrolled it and carefully took in every word.
"War crimes?! Captain has the Governor lost his mind? Im here to sign a formal treaty and you come arrest my consort for war crimes."
"Yes Your Majesty those are my orders. Guards!" He motioned the men with the chains forward.
"Wait!" Xena took a deep breath and stared at the captain. "Ill go with you, but dont do that here." She gave a slight nod to our children who now stood speechless by our bed.
"Im sorry Xena I have my orders." The Captain replied as he once again motioned his guards.
"Please dont do this in front of them. Let me walk out of here with some dignity in their eyes." She whispered once again trying to convince the young captain.
"Cooperate here Xena and you wont have any problems."
The two soldiers moved to her slowly watching her for any sign that she would fight them. I thanked the Gods that she hadnt yet put her weapons back on. I turned to the children, moving to them. "Go back to your room. Ill be in "
"NO!" Mel yelled as she dashed past me to stand in front of Xena, staring down the guard. "You cant! You have no right!"
"Look little one " The Captain started.
"Dont call me that! I am Melosa! A Princess in the Amazon nation and you will address me as Your Highness.
The Captain lifted his brows and turned to me. I drew a deep breath and raised a brow of my own. He turned back to Melosa.
"Your Highness." He grinned a little. "I have my orders."
"You and your orders can go straight to Tartarus for all I care. Youre not taking my Mother."
Xena placed her hands on Mels shoulders and turned her around as she bent to talk to her. "Mel. Thank you for defending me, but youre only going to make it worse. Ill go with them and then you and your Mom can come spring me, okay?"
"Youre just giving up?"
I saw Xena draw a deep, involuntary breath at Mels words. "No Mel. Im just trying to make it easier on your brother and sisters." She glanced to us, seeing how upset the children were becoming. "Look at them Mel. We have to be strong for them. I promise you everything will be okay."
"Mel have I ever broken a promise to you?"
"I dont intend to start now. Everything will be okay." She kissed Mel on the forehead and stood to face the captain. "Im ready."
Mel took a step back and watched as the guards placed heavy chains at her Mothers neck and wrists, locking them in place. My own mind wandered back to a spring day in the forest many, many years ago. Silent tears rolled down Mels cheeks as Xena stood there quiet and determined as the locks were tested and the chains given a final tug to assure their security.
Kai turned his back, unable to watch his mother being chained, Kessa buried her head in my skirt and wrapped her arms around my waist. Rosa sat on the bed, her head down, tears falling to the floor.
Xena turned to me as a lead was snapped to the collar around her neck. "I love you Ri."
I held my own tears. "I love you too Warrior. Ill have this settled before the evening meal."
She smiled and nodded at me, then she knelt down to Mel. "Be strong Princess."
Mel wrapped her arms around Xenas neck. The pain in Xenas eyes flared like a wildfire when she realized she couldnt hug Mel back.
One of the guards put his hand on Mels shoulder and she tore away from Xena to face him. "Touch me again and Ill make you wish you had never been born!" She growled, sounding more like Xena than I had ever heard her before.
I moved Kessa with Rosa on the bed and crossed the room. I put my hand on Mels shoulder and with a nod of my head sent her to her brother and sisters. Then I moved to my consort and laid a hand on her cheek. "I love you and Ill get this straightened out as soon as I can." I leaned up and kissed her.
Then that same guard made his second mistake. He touched me. I turned to him and smiled. "You do realize that right down the hall from here there are twelve amazon warriors and all it would take for them to come in here is one loud word from me. Now if you dont want them in here, allow us a few moments." The young guard backed off. I returned my gaze to Xena. "Be good and dont give them any trouble." I smiled and winked at her.
"Not even a little?" She grinned at me.
"Not even a little. Promise me."
I backed up from her until I was once again with the children. She smiled at us and then was escorted from our room. I looked at the four most devastated faces in the world and sat down on the bed gathering them all close as the door closed and we were left alone.
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