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 are in love with each other.
Sex: Mentioned. Nothing graphic.
Violence: Yeah this time we got one ver upset warrior protecting her family. People are gonna die.
Other: Part seven in the series "Raising Melosa".
By the Shore
I lay on the beach relaxing, basking in the sun. One hand resting on my stomach and the other tucked behind my head. I smiled as I listened to the noises around me. Below me near the waters edge Gabrielle played with the children. Solans laughter cut through the gentle sea breeze as he ran from his mother and his sister. Melosa squealed with delight at her brothers antics. Gabrielles own soft laughter brought another smile to my face.
Above me I could hear the amazons moving about in the camp. Things had changed for us and I tried to accept most of them gracefully, but the royal amazon guard was the one thing I could do without. The counsel decreed now that the royal family had grown, and was about to grow again, a royal guard would travel with us whenever we left the village. This vacation to the ocean was a test trip. So far it hadnt been too bad. The guards did most of the work and were always vigilant in their protection of the Gabrielle and the children. The only thing that really annoyed me was how much gear we were required to travel with now. I opened my eyes and tilted my head back to look at the camp. Three tents fluttered in the gentle breeze. The amazons were preparing camp for evening, building a fire and gathering the wood. I sighed and closed my eyes again.
I sensed someone approaching and opened one eye. Melosa stood over me with two handfuls of sand, offering them out to me. "For me?" I chuckled as I sat up.
"Yes." Melosa said triumphantly.
I extended my hand and the baby placed her gift there very gently. Carefully I placed the little pile of sand above the blanket that I had been laying on. I brushed the remaining sand away and pulled the baby into my arms, giving her several little kisses on the face. "Thank you my princess."
"Momma." Melosa giggled as she pointed to Gabrielle and Solan playing in the surf.
"Yup thats momma. Who is that with her?"
"Solan. Bro " Melosa said as she buried her head in my shoulder.
"Solan, your brother. Very good Melosa. Youre sleepy arent you?" The baby shook her head furiously against my shoulder, but I knew better. "Tell you what. Im sleepy. You want to help me take a nap?"
Melosa nodded her head as she yawned. I stood with her in my arms and walked towards the shore. Gabrielle watched us approach and came out of the surf as Solan threw his body into another wave.
"Shes s-l-e-e-p-y." I said as I pointed to Melosa. "Were going to take a nap. Dont stay in the sun to long Gabrielle."
The bard moved to us and kissed me on the cheek. I took the opportunity to lay my hand on the bards swelling midsection. I felt the baby kick and I smiled. "Moving around today huh?" I said as I kissed the bard and put my arm around her shoulder.
"Oh yeah absolutely any baby that belongs to you is bound to be hyperactive."
I couldnt help but notice the bard looked tired. "Ri why dont you come lay down with us? Please?" I was concerned and she knew it. Gabrielle knew better than to argue when she heard that tone.
"Okay. I could use a rest."
"Solan!" I called to my son.
He was about the run headlong into the surf again skidded to a stop and turned to face me. "Yes mother."
"Come on son, were going back to camp."
Solan turned and ran to us. He wrapped his arm around Gabrielle and we walked the short distance back to the camp. Solan went with the amazon guards and struck up a light conversation. These five guards had actually come to look upon our son as a little brother. Although the youngest of our guards, Alana seemed to have more than a passing interest in him. They were only two or three seasons apart in age and I could see the looks they exchanged when they didnt think anyone else was looking. They also took it upon themselves to train him. He treated his amazon guardians with the greatest respect and took all of their lessons to heart.
I guided Gabrielle into our tent. I placed Melosa on the pallet and turned to Gabrielle. "Are you feeling all right?" I asked as I checked for fever.
"Xena Im fine. I guess I really didnt know how tired I was. Ill lay down with Melosa and well both take a nap."
"Are you sure youre all right? You looked flushed."
"Yes my love Im fine, really. Why dont you take Solan for a ride? Melosa and I will be okay."
I drew a deep breath and relented to my wife. As they settled in for their nap I sat on the edge of the pallet. I watched as the bard tucked Melosa in next to her. The baby curled up next to the bard and put her hand on Gabrielles stomach. "Baby." She said.
"Un-huh baby." Gabrielle replied as she gave Melosa a kiss on the head.
I placed her hand on her forehead again. In return I was given a playful slap. "Xe would you stop it? Im fine."
"I worry about you." I placed my hand on the bards midsection. "Both of you."
She caught my hand in hers and gave it a squeeze. "Were both fine. I promise."
I nodded my head and leaned over to kiss her. "I just want to make sure "
"I know Xe, I know." She said softly. "This pregnancy has already passed the last one. Im sure were out of the woods." She brushed her lips against my cheek and whispered in my ear. "Were not going to lose this baby." I could feel her hand on the back of my neck gently massaging away my fear.
I swallowed hard as those memories flooded back to me. Not long after my return from the Underworld we found out that Gabrielle was pregnant again. After doing some checking with my father (that was still hard to get use to) we discovered that I had another skill. Part of my Godly powers as it were, if Gabrielle and I desired a child then we had the power to make it happen without any help. All that was required was that we both desired it.
Little did we know that we both desired it. The last pregnancy was a complete, but welcomed surprise. Then Gabrielle got a fever. Less than two months into the pregnancy her body couldnt take the strain and she lost the baby. The fever raged for another two weeks. She didnt even know of our loss until after it had broken. She was almost inconsolable, it broke my heart as she cried for our baby and begged me to forgive her. Gods how could she blame herself? I remember holding her all night and reassuring her that everything would be all right and that we would try again if she wanted.
When she was well and strong enough she made it very clear that she wanted another child. I was grateful that stamina and perseverance were also among my many skills. I smiled as I reveled in the memory of her determination.
She kissed my cheek again and whispered. "Go. Take Solan for that ride you promised him."
I pulled back and looked at them both. Melosa was already asleep tucked protectively in the crook of Gabrielles arm. The bard was well on her way. I caressed her cheek and stood up. "We wont be gone long."
"Take your time." She said as she yawned and snuggled down next to Melosa. They were both asleep before I left the tent.
Outside Solan was being given a lesson with a fighting staff. I sat down next to the fire and watched as he worked with his trainer and battled with the staff. I was proud of him for choosing a non lethal method of defense, just as Gabrielle had. Sometimes I had to remind myself that he wasnt her son. They were so much alike. They loved each other just as much as any mother and child could. He was very proud of her and took great pleasure in the fact that he was an Amazon Prince of sorts. He knew there couldnt be many of those roaming the world. The counsel had even bestowed that titled upon him in an official ceremony.
After Solan was returned to us we wondered how we could keep our family together and remain with the nation. Tyldus actually provided the answer when the centaurs and the amazons allowed us to build a new home on the land between the two villages. That way we were close to the amazons and Gabrielle could continue as queen, yet we didnt have to give Solan up. It was perfect.
Solan and I built the new house together. I was very impressed by the young man that he was becoming. He told me that his grandfather and his uncle had taught him many things during the time that he was with them. I couldnt fault them for that. They had taught him well. His amazon instructor was teaching him well too. She had just knocked him on his butt. I grinned as I watched her help him to his feet.
"Im sorry Your Highness." She said as she dusted him off.
"Its okay. My fault I didnt see that coming. Can we try it again?" He bent over and picked up his staff.
"Of course Your Highness." She stepped back and allowed him to resume his stance.
"Move your feet a little further apart." I called to him.
He smiled at me and took up another stance. They began sparring again. This time he took her down with a very nice sweep of the feet. I smiled. Thats my boy.
The Captain of the Guard, a young amazon named Regan came over and stood before me. "Good afternoon Your Highness." This was a title I was not happy with at all, but they all just seemed so damned insistent no matter how many times Gabrielle and I told them amazons what can you do?
"Good afternoon Regan. How goes it today? Please have a seat."
She sat down next to me and placed another log on the fire. "It goes fine Your Highness. How is Her Majesty today?"
"Shes fine. She and the princess are taking a nap." I poured two cups of tea and handed one to her. "Regan you seemed concerned about something."
"Eleni, our scout tells me that there is a band of raiders headed this direction. About thirty men."
"Theyll probably stay on the main road and pass us by without over knowing were here. Even if they dont we can handle them."
"Oh of that I have no doubt. I just hate the prospect of the Queen and the children being caught in the middle of a fight. Especially now." She looked at me and gave me a weak knowing smile. I gave her a pat on the shoulder and nodded.
"I know. Thank you."
When we lost the baby the entire village mourned for us. Even though it had been several months and Gabrielle was again expecting, at times we held our collective breaths. There was always an underlying fear that something would go wrong.
"Im going to put Aemila, Celia and Alana on watch at the roads edge tonight. If those raiders even look like theyre thinking about coming here I want to know about it in plenty of time." Regan said as she sipped her tea.
"Ill take a watch tonight as well."
"Oh no Your Highness thats not necessary." Regan began to protest I cut off her words with a wave of my hand.
"My family, my job too."
"Yes Your Highness. At least take the camp watch so that you may be close."
After Solan was finished with his lesson we went for a ride. He had been presented with his own horse as a gift from the centaurs. He was becoming a fine horseman and I took great pride in the fact that he would be the one to ride Argos foal when the time came. He already worked with her and she was just as smart as her mother, so her training was coming along quite nicely. I was very proud of my son and so glad to have him back.
"Huh?" I answered, somewhat distracted.
"Is everything all right?"
"Yes Solan everythings fine I was just thinking."
"Youre worried about mom and the baby arent you?"
I reigned Argo and turned to him as he stopped next to me. "Youre to bright for your own good, you know that." I said with a smile.
"I have many skills." He said with a grin.
"Oh brother." I rolled my eyes and just shook my head as he laughed at me.
"Im sure everything will be fine mother. Ive never seen her so relaxed and happy. She loves it here."
"She does doesnt she?"
"She says that the ocean make her feel strong and alive. Have you decided what youre going to name the new baby?"
"No. We didnt name Melosa until she had been born. I would imagine itll be the same way with this baby too."
"You should name him Kai."
"Kai? Why do you say that and what makes you think its going to be a boy?"
"It means ocean. Since mom is so happy here she should have a reminder of our trip," He paused and smiled. "And I have a feeling."
"Youre a very smart young man."
"Like I said " He grinned at me again.
"Yeah, well dont say it again. People will think youre bragging. And what if its a girl?"
"Well then well find something else, but I tell you mother as sure as grandfather sent me back. This baby is going to be a boy."
"Solan are you having visions?"
"Not vision exactly, but feelings, very strong feelings. When I touch mom I can feel the baby. He is strong and healthy. Im going to have a little brother." He said very proudly.
"You know as the oldest you already have a lot of responsibility here. Solan if anything should ever happen to me "
"Mother please dont say that."
"Solan we need to discuss this. If anything should ever happen to me you have a responsibility to your sister and the baby."
"And to mom. Just because I wasnt born to the two of you like Melosa and Kai," I smiled, he had already named that baby. "Doesnt mean I love her any less. She is my mother too."
"I know that "
He cut me off as she smiled at me. "Besides grandfather would never think of taking you again. Mom would go down there and kick his butt. Hes got a temper, but hes nothing compared to an amazon queen in a huff."
I couldnt help but laugh out loud as he turned his horse around and we headed back to camp. Yup, he was definitely my son in his arrogance and pride, but he was all Gabrielles when it came to words. I admired him for that, just as I did in Gabrielle. He could sit for hours and listen to her, as she talked about things that bored me silly. She taught him the finer points of negotiations and I taught him strategy. There was no doubt in my mind that our son was destined for great things.
When we arrived back at camp Solan and Alana took the horses to brush them down and I suspect spend a little time together. I just smiled as I walked back to our tent. I peeked inside; Gabrielle was awake with Melosa still curled up asleep next to her.
"How was your ride?" She asked as she patted the bed.
"Enlightening." I crossed and sat down next to her.
"I think our son may be gifted with prophecy."
"What?" She sat up, the surprise clear in her voice.
"He is bound and determined that the baby is a boy and that we should name him Kai. He says he can feel it."
She ran her hand over her stomach and smiled. "Well what do you know?"
"I also know that our son has developed a huge infatuation with a certain guard."
"Well youd have to be blind to miss that. She feels the same way you know."
"I know. Its just that weve only had him for such a short time. I didnt expect to have to deal with these things so soon."
"Xena its been almost six months. Hes adjusted very well to being back. Hes young, strong and handsome. Hes got more than one admirer in the village you know."
"Hes does? When did all this happen?"
"Oh I dont know, maybe when the two of you were building the house and I would walk down to see you and have to scatter every young woman from the age of eight to eighteen who was hidden in the forest watching him work. You really should have made him keep his shirt on."
"Well Ill be "
"Un-huh, a grandmother if things keep up at this rate." Gabrielle giggled.
"Bite your tongue."
She extracted herself form Melosa, who curled up under the blanket and continued to sleep. Just like her mother. I smiled as I brushed her hair back from her face. My world, my life. How did I get here? It didnt seem all that long ago that I was desperately fighting for redemption. Now I had everything, my wife and my children. Thank the Gods for Gabrielle. She made it all possible.
I turned to watch her as she changed into a loose fitting robe. Her body once again, was adjusting to being pregnant. I sighed, Gods she was so beautiful. After she was dressed we left Melosa sleeping and stepped out into camp. I settled her down near the fire and made her a cup of tea.
"I swear Xe Im not going to break." She said as she took the tea.
"Not if I have anything to say about it." I said as I settled in behind her and wrapped my arms around her.
She lay back against me and sighed. We sat there just relaxing and enjoying. She nudged me and pointed as Solan and Alana came out of the forest holding hands. I groaned. She chuckled.
After the evening meal we sat around the fire as Gabrielle told one of her wonderful stories. Regan paced in and out of camp. She hated it when we didnt send the guards out right away and she always paced until they were on duty. I watched Solan and Alana; they sat so close to each other light couldnt get between them. They held Melosa and entertained her quietly as Gabrielle continued. I could see my son with a family of his own. Gabrielle grinned at me as she watched me watching them. She was enjoying this far too much.
It wasnt long before everybody was where they were supposed to be. Solan had decided to turn in early so he put his sister down in their tent. Regan and Eleni opted to get a couple of candle marks of rest before they took watch. Alana, Aemila and Celia dutifully headed off for their turn on duty. Gabrielle and I settled down in front of the fire. She settled back into me as I stretched out and put my arms around her. As my hands came to rest on her stomach I felt the baby give a good strong kick.
"Hmmm " It was a happy contented little sigh that I just couldnt stop.
She placed her hands over mine. "See were fine." She looked back at me and gave me a soft kiss. "But we love you for being so concerned."
"Well Im happy to be of service." I replied as she settled back down against me and sipped her tea.
"When are we going to head home?"
"Are you ready to go?"
"No not at all, but I figured you were getting twitchy."
"Twitchy? Me? I dont get twitchy."
"Un-huh sure. Now tell me another one warrior."
"Well in any case Im fine and I wont mind spending a few more days."
"Good because I love it here. Its so relaxing. I havent felt this good since before " She trailed off. I kissed the top of her head and gave her a hug. "I think Im ready for bed myself. How bout it gorgeous? Care to join me?"
"Ill be there in a bit. I told Regan I was going to take camp watch tonight."
"Why whats wrong?"
"Nothing. Eleni saw a group of raiders on the main road today and we decided a spare pair of eyes wouldnt be a bad thing. Come on Ill tuck you in."
"Are you sure? I could stay up with you."
"Oh no. You are going to bed. Even if I have to carry you there myself."
She got up and brushed herself off. "Im going. Im going. No need to threaten me."
"My dear that was not a threat it was a promise."
Back in our tent she settled into bed and I leaned over to kiss her good night. "I love you bard. Sleep well."
"I love you warrior. Be careful."
Outside once again I stretched and took in a lung full of fresh air. It had been several days since I actually had taken a watch and I could feel my blood starting to pump all ready. I began a perimeter check, taking my time and enjoying the walk more than any thing. Then it happened. Damn! I turned and headed back for camp at a full run. The calls from the edge of the forest told me that we were about to have company.
As I made it into camp Regan and Eleni were already coming at me. Gabrielle was just getting ready to leave our tent. Solan exited his tent, pulling on his boots. He fastened up his shirt and grabbed his staff. He was at my side before I realized it.
"Solan take your mother to your tent with your sister and keep them there!" I commanded him without thinking about it and he obeyed just as effortlessly. I saw him move Gabrielle to his tent and watched as they disappeared inside.
I turned to the sound of horses approaching fast. I drew my sword as I counted horses in my head. I could hear at least a dozen. Well the odds were good. I headed for the edge of the clearing when another sound caught my attention. Damn, damn, damn! Riders coming from the side, down the coast. Knowing that the others could deal with the ones coming directly for us I turned and headed for the beach.
Four riders were headed for me. I grinned as I twirled my sword. I had to decide if I wanted to play or just get it over with. With the riders headed for camp I decided to get it over with. I could feel every muscle in my body respond to the commands it received form my brain.
Taking the first two out proved to be very little challenge. I almost felt disappointed. The third proved to be a little more of a task. I actually had to unseat him before I could get to him. The problem there being I still had one on horseback. Together they proved to be quite the task. The one on foot actually managed to get in a good swing and slice my left arm. My bracer caught most of it, but I still felt the sting and I knew I was cut. Okay I had enough of him. He actually looked surprised when I kicked him from the blade of my sword. The fourth, still on horseback decided now was a good time to leave and he retreated back up the coast. That would be what a chakram is for. It was gone from my hand before I even realized I had taken it from my waist. I caught it as I watched him tumble form his horse and lay unmoving in the sand.
I turned and headed back for camp. Damn again! A couple of them had gotten through. I could see Solan and Gabrielle in camp, back to back with their staffs. I could hear the guards coming. We were all headed in the right direction now if Gabrielle and Solan could just hold them for a few more
NO! My mind screamed as I watched her fall. One of the raiders caught Gabrielle across the side of the head with what appeared to be the flat of his sword. I dont remember moving the rest of the way into the camp. I did remember the cracking sound that rang in my ears as I pulled him from his horse and broke his neck. Solan unseated the other man with his staff and I could feel his chest crush beneath my boot.
I took a deep breath as my mind began to register other sensations. I could here the guards taking down the rest of the riders at the edge of the forest. I could hear Solan coughing as he caught his breath. Melosa was crying I her tent. Gabrielle was in my arms. I dont remember picking her up, but there she was. Unconscious and bleeding from a gash in her temple.
"Solan see to your sister!" I called to him as I automatically headed for our tent.
Inside, I laid her gently on the bed and retrieved my bag. My hands worked automatically to stop the flow of blood from her head. My eyes scanned her to look for other injuries. As soon as I knew I had the head wound under control I began checking for other injuries. Then my heart stopped. Blood. Blood on her legs seeping through her gown. I ripped it open. I knew I had to get that bleeding stopped or we were going to lose another child.
Regan entered the tent I didnt even give her time to speak. "Stay with her I need to get something."
I left the tent and went into the woods for the things I would need to help my wife and save our baby. Hunting in the dark wasnt the easiest task, but I got lucky and found what I needed pretty quickly. As I returned to camp Solan was coming from his tent.
"Hows mom?" He asked as he looked at the bodies of the raiders.
"I dont know yet. Youre sister "
"Right back to sleep. Can I help?"
"No I have to see to this. Make yourself some tea and rest." I continued back into the tent.
She was starting to come around and she knew something was wrong too. "Xe please " She cried.
I knelt down next to the bed and took her hand and ran my fingers through her hair. "Ri youve got to relax. Come on sweetheart. Just relax everything will be fine, but I need you to relax." I tried to keep the fear from my voice as I whispered to her.
"The baby please " She squeezed my hand and stared into my eyes. The plea I saw there was stronger than any her voice could carry.
"Just relax Ri. Just relax " I whispered again.
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