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
Spoilers: A few segments of RM and a minor spoiler for One Against An Army, A Day In The Life and In Sickness and In Hell.
Other: Part Forty-one in the series "Raising Melosa". Takes about six months after "The Asking". This is also from Mels POV.
Like Mother, Like Daughter
She knocked my blade from my hand. This was the fourth time we tried this drill and for some reason I just couldnt get it. I picked up my sword and drew a deep and disgusted breath.
"Mel lets take a break. Youre tired and youre frustrated. You wont learn anything under those conditions."
I nodded and sheathed my sword. She was right I was tired but the was no way I was going to admit it. I would rather die first. She was a tough teacher and I had to be a tough student.
I pulled my glove from my belt and slipped it on my hand. As I lifted it into the air and whistled, Rilex moved from his perch in a near by tree and landed on my hand. "Hey boy." I fished a small piece of smoked venison from a pouch at my hip and fed it to him. I looked at my mother who just grinned as she wiped down her sword.
After his wing had healed we trained him to hunt and tried to set him free, but he just kept coming back. Mother finally decided that it would be okay for me to keep him as long as it was on his terms. We were both content with that and he was never far from me.
"You two make quite the team." She slid her sword into her sheath and tossed me the cloth.
I caught the cloth and gave my gloved hand a gentle lift sending Rilex back to the tree. "Yeah well its kind of neat having him come to me like that."
She laughed at what seemed to be a private joke and then added, "Yeah well thats what happens when you feed a stray."
We sat down in the tall grass near the lake and I took out my sword and began running the oiled cloth over it. She just smiled as she watched me. You did really well today runt." She leaned back on her hands and stared out at the lake.
"Thanks. I dont know why I cant get that one block."
"Because its a difficult maneuver. I didnt get it the first two hundred times I tried it."
"Two hundred times?! Oh please tell me your kidding."
"Nope. Friad not. It was at least two hundred times before I got it. Mel some things will come easier than others and youre going to have to learn to be patient as well. Theres more to being a warrior than swinging a sword."
"So Im finding out."
"Want to quit?" She turned to me and raised her brow.
"Nope." I raised mine back and grinned at her. "I can be patient." I finished running the cloth over my blade and then handed it to her for inspection.
"Umm well see " She looked at every spot on the blade and handed it back. "Do it again."
"Because I said so."
I huffed a disgusted little breath and took the cloth to my blade again. I saw the grin on her face as she lay completely back in the grass and put her hands behind her head. "You ready for the party tonight?"
"As ready as I can be for any party."
"I would think after all these season youd be used to them by now."
"Youd think so. This one isnt too bad. At least we get to relax and dont have a lot of formal things to go through."
"Hey thats one advantage to giving up the throne I get to goof off now."
"Keep it up and Ill make you do sword drills tonight instead."
"Aww you wouldnt?" I turned to her and she once again cocked a brow at me. "Yeah I guess you would." I decided to shut up and just polish my sword.
At harvest festival, I watched them together, my mothers. I had found lately that I enjoyed watching them. They never ceased to amaze me. They worked in perfect unison in everything they did. I smiled, expect for maybe straightening out the blanket that covered their legs as they sat by the fire. As per usual Mom sat between Mothers legs and leaned back into her. The were both had silly smiles on their faces as the battled the blanket trying to get it straightened out so that it would cover them.
Mother finally got it the way she wanted it and drew Mom into her arms wrapping her up and holding her close. I watched as she placed a very soft and gentle kiss on her temple. From where I was standing I couldnt hear them but I didnt have too. I knew what Mother was saying. She was telling Mom that she loved her.
I smiled as Mom said something that apparently Mother found funny, she tossed her head back laughing and nodding her head in agreement and pulling her closer. They had always said they shared one soul and as I watched them now I truly believed it. I wondered what would happen to one if something happened to the other. It actually scared me to think about it. The answer as quite clear as I watched Mom caress Mothers forearms the one left behind would simply die of a broken heart.
"Whatcha doing?" My brother asked as he sat down next to me.
"Just watching them." I pointed to our mothers.
"Why? You see them all the time."
"Look at them Kai. Just look at them."
He looked over and then sighed. "Yeah what about em?"
I just shook my head. "Never mind. You just dont get it yet."
"Cant you see how much they love each other? Ive never seen anything like it before."
"What about Solan and Alana? They love each other too."
"Sure they do they love each other a lot, but they dont love like those two do."
"Okay." He jumped down from the table. "Youre right I dont get it."
"You will one of these days." I paused as I watched them share a kiss. "Hopefully one day we all will." I wondered what it must feel like to be with your true soulmate.
I remembered when Mom got hurt and lay unconscious for so many days. Mother never left her side for more than a candle mark at a time. Nearly every moment of every day was spent talking to her and trying to bring her back to us. I was too young to understand it then, but I do now.
I looked to other couples who also sat around the fire. Yes they loved each other but none of them had the glow around them that my mothers did. Mother pointed into the night sky. She was laughing and shaking her head disagreeing with whatever Mom had just said. My guess would be that they were still having the famous ladle verses bear argument.
It was one that had been going on for almost twenty seasons and I guessed that as long as there were stars in the sky it would continue. I was with Mom on this one. It was a bear, but there was no way I was going to admit that to Mother, if she said ladle then it was a ladle. Disagreeing with her would only cost me extra candle marks of sword drills.
As the party began to wind down I found Kai and we rounded up Rosa and Kessa and began walking back to the house. I turned and watched as my mothers headed for our old house in the village. They would spend the night here just as they did most of the time after a festival.
I smile again. I wasnt stupid. A little embarrassed by the thought, but not stupid. I knew why they stayed here. I was happy for them. I really hoped that I would find a love like that someday, but I wasnt going to hold my breath.
Rilex took flight back to the trees after getting his morning meal from my hand. I removed my glove and tossed it to the ground and drew my sword. She was late, so I began a series of drills. I suspected she would be very late. Then she would come into the meadow wearing a very silly grin on her face. That was always a tell-tale sign. But I wasnt going to mention that either.
As I took a meditative position with my sword, I cleared my mind just as she had taught me and allowed myself to become one with my blade. We began moving together just as she had instructed, my eyes closed, feeling instead of seeing. I quickly threw the blade back over my head and blocked the blow I knew was about the come. "No fair!" I turned to her and she grinned.
"Why not? You dont think all your attacks are going to come from the front do you?" She lowered her sword and leaned on the hilt as the tip stuck in the ground.
"I wasnt ready for that."
"Yes you were. If you werent I woulda split you in half. It was a good block Mel you should be proud."
I nodded and sighed. Another lesson learned the hard way. It seemed to be the only way with her. "Thanks."
"Okay now on to other things. Were not going to do sword drills today. Theres something else I want to start you on. Come on."
We walked back to the house. She had put up a high bar in the front yard. "Umm what are we going to do with that?"
"Well I could use it to teach you to hang upside down like a bat."
"Oh Im sure that would come in handy "
"You never know." She grinned at me as she moved behind me and unhooked my scabbard from my back.
"You arent really going to make me hang upside down from that thing are you?"
"Nah Im going to make you flip over it."
"You know now that I think about it hanging upside down sounds like a good idea."
"Maybe later. Right now I want you to go over there and get to know your new enemy."
I walked over to the high bar and examined it. I tugged on the bar to make sure it was secure, just in case she did decide to make me hang upside down on it. She laid our swords on the porch of the house and joined me in the front yard.
"Okay runt heres what youre going to do. You are going to back up and take a good healthy running start and then youre going to flip over the bar."
"Oh sure I am."
"Here Ill show you first."
She moved back and ran toward it picking up incredible speed before launching from the ground and flipping over the bar in a perfectly executed somersault landing on her feet and turning to me with a wide grin raising her arms as she did. "See nothing to it."
"You always manage to make things look easier than they really are."
"Just remember to start on your right foot."
She pushed the door open with her foot as I held onto her neck. She cradled me in her arms and I didnt know whether to laugh or cry. It hurt. It hurt a lot, but I just felt so stupid.
"Ri!" She called as she placed me on the couch. "Were going to need some cold compresses in here!"
She went to her room as Mom came out of the kitchen. She looked at me shaking her head and biting her lip. I think she was trying to keep from laughing. "Lemme guess you started on your left foot." She stated as she sat down and began unlacing my boot.
"Un-huh. Howd you know?"
"I made the same mistake once." She pulled my boot off and tossed it to the floor. "Oh your lucky. Your Mother cut me out of my boot after I did it. Yours are going to survive."
She looked up at Mother who came out of her room with her kit and two pillows. She put one under my head and the other under my foot.
"Ill get the compresses." Mom said as she gave up her spot next to me and allowed Mother to sit down.
"Mel I have to make sure its not broken. It may hurt a bit."
"Too late. It already hurts a lot." She chuckled as she took my ankle in her hands and began pressing on it. "You know this isnt funny." I grimaced as she moved my ankle around in little circles.
"I know. Its only mildly amusing." She grinned again as she took a length of cloth from her kit and began wrapping my foot. "Must be something in your Moms bloodline."
"I heard that Warrior." Mom came into the room with a hand full of cloth and a bowl of water. She dipped the cloth in the water, wrung it out and handed it to Mother, who placed it on my swollen foot.
"Well how else can you explain it?" She smiled at Mom. "I think you two just have clumsy muscles."
"Not everyone is as perfect as you are." It was a playfully sarcastic comment delivered with a smile and an arched brow of her own.
"Oh I know. Its a shame isnt it?" Mother replied with a smile as she finished laying the cold cloth on my ankle.
"Oh brother." Mom rolled her eyes. "You know I dont know how you get your head through the door some days." She just shook her head and moved to her desk and took a seat. "I should write a law banning egos like yours."
"Yeah but then youd have to throw me in jail." Mother winked at me as she stood up and crossed to Mom. She leaned over and kissed her on the neck, then whispered something in her ear. Whatever it was earned her a playful slap.
"Would you just stop." Mom smiled and tried to go back to work. Ive got a lot to do before the next council session."
"Okay, okay well discuss this later." The smile was returned with a wiggling of her eyebrows. I need to learn how to do that.
"So now what?" I asked as I looked at my busted foot.
"Now you take care of your sword. Never waste an opportunity to sharpen it." She went outside and returned with our blades. She handed mine down to me then retrieved two whetstones from a box on the mantle. She tossed one to me and I unsheathed my sword.
I was proud of this weapon. Mom had the village smithy make it for me. It was an exact copy of Mothers. The scabbard was even crafted to be a copy. There was no doubt when looking at this weapon where my family line ran. Mother sat down in the chair across from me and began working her own blade.
"I was just wondering umm Solan is going to give me a new horse. From Argos line."
She looked at me with a little surprise in her eyes. "Really?"
I nodded. I knew speaking of Argo was hard for Mother. Her faithful mare had finally passed away a few weeks ago and she still wasnt quite over it. Even thought the horse had been retired for many years they had still shared a unique bond. "Yeah and I was wondering if maybe umm well I was wondering if I might have Argos old saddle for her."
She smiled and nodded. "Argo would love that. Of course you may have the saddle. What color is your new horse?"
"Well actually she looks just like Argo. Shes beautiful. Im really looking forward to getting her."
She nodded again and sighed. "I remember that feeling." She looked up at me and smiled. "Enjoy it and commit it to memory."
"And whatever you do." Mom added as she returned to us and sat down at Mothers feet, resting her arm on Mother leg, looking up and grinning. "Dont turn her loose near any swamps. Itll take you weeks to get cleaned up."
"Oh are you gonna start on that again?" Mother brushed back a few stray hairs from Moms face. "Should I tell her about the killer bunny? I notice that story is missing from your scrolls."
"No, no thats okay thanks." She got up and turned for the kitchen. "Tea?"
"Yes please." We both said together.
After she had left the room I whispered," Killer bunny?"
"Ill tell you later." She whispered back.
"Dont you dare." She called from the kitchen.
She grinned at me and shrugged a bit as she continued with her sword. She looked up and waved a hand at me. "Get to work or youll find another candle mark of drills when youre back on your feet."
I took the stone to my blade as I watched her. I loved them both so much, but I wanted to make her proud of me. I hoped that I could be half the person she is. Strong, proud and brave. I smiled as I considered it. It was a good choice I had made. This is truly what I was meant to do.
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