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.
Other: A missing Raising Melosa segment.
“Come on Shrimp!”
I can only smile as Melosa toddles over to Xena and wraps herself around my warrior’s legs. “And what do you two have planned today?”
Xena give me what she thinks passes for an innocent look as she hauls Mel into her arms. “Yes, you?”
“We’re, ah, going to go down to the sparring field and watch all the little Amazons hit each other with sticks and see of Solari and Epinon can stay out of the line of fire.”
“Very funny. Xena, try not to make their training any harder than it has to be. Just because your student are off on a hunting trip this week and you have no classes…”
“Spare me the lecture. If I can’t torture Amazons, who can I torture?”
I just drop my head and smile. It’s almost impossible to be angry with her because I know if she didn’t go down to the training ground to harass the students, they would come looking for her, wondering what was wrong. “All right. Go. Have a good time.”
Before I can say anything else, she kisses me and then lets me kiss Mel before they’re out the door.
I look around the house. With Solan off to visit his grandmother in Amphipolis I am completely alone. No kids. No wife. No Amazons. What is a lonely queen to do?
Take a bath.
Oh yeah, this was the perfect idea, a nice long soak in a tub of hot water. Life simply doesn’t get any better than this. Well it could be if Xena were here with me…oh yeah those are the thought to have if I want to relax.
Closing my eyes and resting my head against the edge of the tub, I can hear the sounds of the village through the window. Except for the sounds of laughter and a few horses everything is very quiet and peaceful.
Peaceful is good. Recently we had a storm that had damaged about half the huts in the village. It took us a solid week of non-stop work to get them repaired or rebuilt. Xena still has splinters in her hands.
I must have dozed off because the sound of shouting is what brought me out of my watery slumber. I can tell by the tone that it’s serious.
Dressing quickly, I leave the hit and find Xena heading for the house. There’s something wrong. Very wrong.
“Melosa,” she takes a deep breath and tries again. “Melosa is missing.”
My heart jumps to my mouth and I can feel my knees turning to water. “What do you mean she’s missing?”
“I was helping Ep put away the weapons and when I had my back turned for just a moment she disappeared.”
“I know. Everyone is looking for her. We don’t think she got far and we think she’s playing hide and seek but she won’t answer any of us.”
“Let’s go.” I know immediately what she means. Hide and seek is a game that Mel and I play. Xena thinks she’ll answer me.
Heading back into the village square I can see that every woman and girl is searching for my daughter. They’re turning over barrels and looking under crates. Everyone is calling her name and they’re generally wrecking the village.
Tracking her in the village is nearly impossible just because of the number of people that move through it on a daily basis. The step of the other women in the village would eradicate her footprints.
Xena leads me to the armory and I begin looking around for any signs of my little girl and Xena climbs a watchtower to try and find her from the air.
“Melosa!” I yell as I begin moving around the armory. “Melosa answer your Mama!”
My heart is pounding in my ears so loudly I wonder for a moment if I’d be able to hear her. Then I realize I can still hear the others.
“Mel!” I hear Xena yell as she jumps down from the tower and begins frantically looking in the buildings around us.
“Xena,” I approach my partner and place a hand on her arm. “Xena, what did you two do today?”
“What did you two do this morning. You know how Mel is. She probably went back to something that she enjoyed.”
“Ah, we went down to the sparring grounds. Then we went to the food hut and then we ah, um, we went to feed Argo and the colt.”
“The stables!” We both yell at the same time and take off running.
Several people must have figured it out, because a half dozen Amazons follow us, and the next thing I know they’re tearing the barn apart too. Xena is in the middle of the barn and suddenly she listens to something, gesturing for everyone to be quiet.
Taking three steps forward she lifts one of the blanket in front of Argo’s stall. Melosa is looking up at her mother, trying to look contrite and failing.
“Gods!” Xena grabs her up and holds her close.
We both feel the relief washing over us as we check for an injury.
“You’re bad!” Xena admonishes out daughter whose lower lip and chin begins to quiver.
“Now you’ve done it.” I tell Xena when I’m sure Mel is okay. I know what’s going on in Xe’s mind. Once the fear and the relief had their say in her head, now anger had taken over.
“I don’t care.” Her eyes never left Melosa’s face. “She’s bad girl. Melosa you must never hide from us like that.”
“Pwaying.” She sniffed, looking Xena in the eye. I wondered how long it would be before she burst into tears.
“Melosa,” I try to keep my voice calm with her so she won’t be more upset than she already is. “You must only play hide and seek when we know it. You scared us.”
She looked between us and laid her head on Xena’s shoulder. “Sworry.”
I could see Xena was about to crack a smile, but managed not to do it. I on the other hand had to turn around to keep my face hidden.
I watched as Xena measure a length of rope. “What are you doing?”
“Making a harness and tether for Mel.”
“Xena, you are not going to tie our daughter up like a horse.”
“Oh, yes I am.”
“No, you’re not.”
She sighed and dropped the rope at her feet. “Gabrielle, when I lost her today I was frantic. I don’t know what I wouldn’t have done if she’d been hurt.”
“She wasn’t hurt.”
“That’s not the point. She could have been hurt. So,” she says reasonably as she picks up the rope and re-measures it. “I’m going to make a tether for her.”
“What will people think?”
“They’ll think I’m doing everything I can to protect her.”
“They’ll think you’re crazy.”
“No, trust me, they know I’m capable of thing that are much crazier.”
I can see that this conversation isn’t going to go anywhere tonight. I’ll just have to humor her and try again later.
The next morning I find Xena and Mel at the table having their morning meal. Both their spirits seem higher, but I notice something on Mel and I sigh. “Xena…”
“She likes it Ri.” She tugs on Mel’s harness and the baby giggles.
“Mine!” Mel giggles and wraps her arms around her body.
“I think you’re both crazy.” I take a seat and pour tea, and then I add a touch of honey to the porridge.
“Like mother, like daughter.” She covers my hand with hers. “Ri, I promise, if this seems to upset her later then I’ll take it off. But right now she seems to like it.”
“I give up. If this makes both of you happy, go for it. I think Mel thinks it’s some kind of game.”
“That’s what I told her. That we were going to play a game.”
I must just admit defeat and move on with my life. There will be other battles to fight. “As long as you two are happy.”
I watch as Xena lifts Mel up and actually ties a rope to the back of the child’s harness. I just know that I’ll have to answer questions about this later, but they both seem very content at the moment.
Melosa toddles over and smacks her hand against my leg to get my attention. “Yes little one?”
“Pwray game, wif Ma. I be good.”
“I know you will.” I tell her very seriously and give her a kiss on the forehead.
Xena kisses me, and then they leave.
It’s going to be an interesting life.