Disclaimers: You and I both know they don't belong to me. You and I both know who they belong do belong too. So why bother to go through all that again...
Subtext: I guess with my writing so far we'll just quit calling it subtext and call it maintext. Yes are in love with each other.
Other: This is a follow up to "Wrapped". You don't have to read "Wrapped" in order to read this one. It's just part of a series I'm doing...
In A Queen's Eyes
The treaty negotiations had gone well and I'm home two days earlier than anticipated. We arrive in the very early morning hours,even before the sun has started to break across the horizon. It's my fault that we are arriving at this time of the day. I just wanted to come home. I needed to come home. My guards were very good about the whole trip and didn't fuss about traveling all night to get me home.
As we enter the village everyone is still asleep except for Ephiny who is there to greet me. Why I don't know. It's obvious that she has been pulled out of a sound sleep. She's still rubbing her eyes and yawning. I slide of my horse and go to her. She smiles a tired little smile.
"You didn't have to get up Eph. We've traveled all night and I'm going to go straight to bed."
"I figured as much. I just thought I should be here. I'll be going back to bed too." She yawned again.
As we walk toward my hut I can't help but yawn. It's contagious you know. "Is everything okay here?"
"Everything is fine. All though I know one warrior who will be glad you're back. There's a certain little princess who's been giving her fits."
I smile as Eph makes reference to Xena and Melosa. Xena decided to stay behind and care for our daughter, who is just about two months old now. I missed them terribly and I know that they were the driving force behind my desire to come home. "I'm sure Xena's ready for a break."
"Oh I don't think so." Eph said as we continued across the village. "We haven't been able to pry that baby out of her arms for even one moment while you were gone. The other nursing mothers offered to look after her at different times just to give Xena a break and she refused every offer. I just know she'll be glad you're home."
As we approached my hut I sighed. "That'll make two of us. Goodnight Eph, or good morning or whatever you say when you really don't have a clue."
"You are tired." She said with a snicker.
I put my hand on the door handle and started to agree, but all I could do was yawn and nod.
"Go to bed. I'll see you later."
"Tomorrow maybe." I said with another yawn. I opened the door to the hut very carefully trying not to wake the two sleeping occupants.
Although it really wasn't cold outside there was a small fire in the fire place. I had to smile. Xena refused to take any chances when it came to Melosa. The fire was there for her benefit, to keep her warm. We discovered early on with our daughter, that she hated to be covered and would kick blankets off immediately. Xena fought that battle for almost two weeks before finally giving up and just lighting the fire every night.
I crossed the room to look in the cradle. I wasn't surprised to find it empty. If I didn't have Melosa and she wasn't in her cradle there was only one other place she would be. As I made my way over to the bed, I nodded and smiled as I looked at them. Xena was asleep in the middle of the bed, flat on her back. Right in the middle of Xena was Melosa, laying on her stomach, also sound asleep. Xena had one hand splayed out across her little back to hold her in place. They both had very content smiles on their faces.
Having lived with Xena as long as I have I know she's not comfortable on her back. She prefers to sleep on her side. Her left side to be precise. It keeps her sword arm free should she need to get to her weapon quickly. Even when she sleeps it's always close. Tonight is no different I notice, the sword is standing at the ready next to the bed. I know what I have to do now and I don't enjoy the thought. Even before I get too close to the bed I say her name.
"Hmmm..." A truly sleepy reply. Melosa must have kept her up half the might. Normally just the mere sound of my voice would wake her from a deep sleep.
"Xena." I say it again softly as I step closer to the bed.
"Xena I'm going to take the baby now." I say softly as I reach down for our daughter. I see Xena's hand constrict ever so slightly holding the baby closer. "It's okay sweetheart. Let me have her." She shifts slightly and her hand slowly moves away form our little girl. It's safe for me to take her now, so I reach down and pick her up.
Xena fusses a little. Melosa fusses a little, but it looks as if they will both continue to sleep. I cradle my daughter in my arms and move back to a chair by the fire. I sit with her and just hold her close to me. Gods I've missed her. I look over at my warrior. I've missed her too. Suddenly I feel someone looking at me. I look back at Melosa. She is awake now and staring at me. Almost on cue she starts fussing. I smile. I know what she wants. I undo my tunic and bring her to my breast. Hopefully she will go back to sleep after she eats. As I watch her I remember the night she was born. I remember waking up and finding Xena on the floor next to us, just watching us. My brave, proud warrior cried that night.
"Welcome home." Her voice creeps out of the darkness across the room.
"Hiya' warrior." I say quietly with smile.
I hear her get out of bed and come across the room to join us. She's yawning and stretching. Too much time on her back last night I would guess. She pulls a fur from in front of the fire and sits on the floor at my feet and lays her head in my lap. I stroke her hair with my free hand. "Miss me?"
"You have no idea." She says as she readjust her head slightly. "Melosa missed her momma and she let me know it every night."
"How could she possibly miss me when she had you carrying her around every minute of every day?"
She looked up at me with a little smile.
"Un-huh I know, I was already told."
"Eph has a big mouth." She yawned again and put her head back down in my lap. "Besides milk from a warmed goats bladder is no replacement for the real thing."
"Xena you're spoiling her. If you hold her all the time..."
She cuts me off. We've had this discussion before. "She's my daughter I'll spoil her if I want too."
"Excuse me warrior I seem to remember having a little something to do with this."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah." She teases me.
I can't help but chuckle. I've seen so many changes in Xena over the last few seasons. She has become so content with our life here. I didn't know if she would be able to, but she has. She would still go from time to time where she was needed. I went with her most of the time, until I became pregnant with Melosa and then she refused to let me go anymore. After I became pregnant her trips became fewer and fewer and she hasn't left the village in the two months since Melosa was born. Like I said, no chances where our daughter is concerned.
Melosa is finished with her early morning meal. I put her up to my shoulder and begin rubbing her back.
Xena looks up and reaches for her. "Let me have her. You get ready for bed. You must be exhausted."
I hand her down to Xena because I know it won't do any good to argue with her. She takes her and puts her up to her shoulder and gently begins rubbing her back and humming to her. I watch them as I move across the room and pour water into a wash basin to freshen up just a bit. What I really want is a hot bath, but that will have to wait until later. I wash up and change into a sleeping shift. As I start back towards them, the command is clear.
"Go to bed. I'll be there as soon as our daughter is done spitting up on me."
I can't help but chuckle as I return to bed and lay down. Gods it feels so good to be home and in my own bed. Our bed. I sigh contentedly as I watch them. Xena finally stands and walks softly to the cradle. Giving our daughter a soft kiss on the head, she gently lowers her into the cradle and puts a blanket over her. She knows it won't do any good, but she does it anyway.
She returns to our side of the room and changes her shift and slides into bed next to me. Immediately we are in each others arms. I curl up in front over her and she wraps a strong arm around my waist. I feel her relax and I know she is asleep again. The last vison I see is the flutter of a blanket being kicked off by a little foot.
Gods it's good to be home...
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