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.
Violence: Just a little. Nothing serious.
Other: Part nineteen in the series "Raising Melosa". Most of the Melosa stories have a gap of about six months between them, but this one take up right after "The Contest".
If You Love Something
I watched her run through the crowd, but for some reason I just couldnt follow her. I felt Ris hand on my face, I saw her disappear after Mel. I felt as if my heart had been torn from my chest. Her words rang in my ears, that I was nothing to her.
I gathered my thoughts and followed Ri into the crowd. I saw Solari as I made my way into the crowd. "Sol!" I called her over. "Have you seen Ri or Mel?"
"Yeah they went into the house a few moments ago."
I sprinted to the house, stopping just outside the front door as I heard Mel crying on the other side. I laid my hand on the door and rested my forehead against it. I wanted to go in, but I didnt want to hurt her anymore at the moment. I turned and leaned against the door, I felt myself sliding down it but I couldnt stop my body from collapsing to the porch. I drew my knees to my chest and laid my arms across them and rested my head back against the door. I listened as my little girl continued to cry. I could also hear Ri trying to comfort her.
I looked up. Ephiny was slowly coming up the steps. "Everything okay?" She asked softly as she knelt down in front of me and took my hand.
"Gods Eph I hope so."
"Reena decided to fill Mel in on her heritage. She told Mel she didnt have a father. Mel put it all together and said that if it was true then I was nothing to her." I dropped my head.
"Xena thats not true! We all know how and why Melosa was born! Once you explain that to her "
"I hope she can understand it."
"Shes a bright little girl. Im sure shell be fine, once she understands."
"Shes everything to me Eph!" My mouth watered and my stomach flipped, I felt sick at the thought of losing Mel. "Shes my baby. I love all my kids Eph, but Mel is " My voice cracked and the tears started. I felt her wrap her arms around me and I allowed myself to be held by my friend. "I cant lose her, I just cant."
"Why dont you go in?"
"I dont want to make it worse."
"I dont think you will. Come on." She stood up and helped me to my feet. I took a deep breath and wiped my eyes.
She slowly opened the door and stuck her head in. I waited behind her. She slipped in and closed the door and then returned a moment later. "Go on in."
I nodded and thanked her. Then I slowly went inside and stood against the door, watching Ri cradle Mel in her arms in front of the fireplace. Ri motioned for me to come over. I swear by Zeus my legs have never felt shakier. The only thing in my life that could bring me to my knees were my children and if I had lost Mel thats where I would be. I crossed the room slowly. I could see that Mel was still awake, I had thought for a moment that maybe she was asleep because she was lying so still in Ris arms. I knelt down in front of them and looked to Ri.
"I told her everything Xe. I explained about our night in the temple. About her brother and sisters, her grandfather, everything." She said softly.
I nodded, but remained silent, hoping that Mel would say something to me. My mouth watered as I waited and my stomach turned into knots. Finally, I couldnt stand it any more, I reached out and touched Mel on the arm and she flinched. I withdrew my hand and the tears began to form in my eyes. "Mel I love you. From the moment you were born you captured my heart. There isnt anything in this world I wouldnt do for you, nothing I wouldnt give you. You are a part of me too."
I paused and drew a deep breath; she turned her head and looked at me. "Then go away. Leave me alone." She buried her face back into Ris shoulder and began crying again.
"Mel " Ri started to chastise her, but I stopped her with a hand to her shoulder and a shake of my head. The child had been told so much. She needed time to adjust. Time to take it all in and as much as it hurt she didnt want my help.
I got to my feet and left them there in front of the fire. I stepped back out on the porch and rested my forehead against a beam near the steps. "She just needs time." I heard the words and looked around to see who had said them. I realized I had. An effort to comfort myself I would suspect.
I looked over at the village. The nights festivities continued on even without Ri being present. Some part of me wanted to take my family and leave. If they could manage a party while our lives shattered, they could certainly manage the day to day prospects of survival without us. Almost immediately I realized what a knee jerk reaction that had been and I forced it down. Ris presence as Queen was important here and we all knew it.
The door opened and closed and her arms slipped around me. "Xe its going to be okay." She said softly.
"She hates me."
"No she doesnt. She just doesnt understand it all now. She will, youre just going to have to give her time."
"Things may never be the same between us again." I nearly choked on these words; it hurt too much to admit.
She turned me around and caressed my face. "Youre right they wont, but they may be better. When Mel comes to terms with the fact that she is truly a little bit of both of us, it will draw you closer together."
"Gods Ri how could we be any closer than we were?"
"Are warrior are. I wont have you acting as if this is a defeat. We knew that one-day we would have to discuss this with the children. We had hoped to do it when they were older. It didnt happen the way we wanted so lets deal with it now and get on with our lives."
I took a deep breath and drew my hand through my hair. "Youre right. Everything will be fine. Its just going to take time." I drew her close to me and held her there. She wrapped her arms around my waist and gave me a gentle kiss on my throat.
"Everything will be fine. Youll see." She said as she rested her head on my shoulder.
The morning meal was a quiet affair. Mel said very little. I said even less. Ri watched us waiting for one of us to make the first move. She finally caught my eye and gave me the look.
"Mel do you want to go for a ride with me this morning?" I asked quietly.
"No thank you."
"Well if you change your mind Ill be down at the stables for awhile." I said as I got up. I couldnt take this. She had never refused an offer to go riding with me.
I spent a solid candle mark brushing down my new horse. He was young and strong and didnt have a care in the world. I remember being that way once. Of course at that time in my life none of this would have ever seemed possible. I was lost in thought when Ephiny came charging into the barn.
"XENA! Come now! Right now!"
I dropped the brush and followed her from the barn back to the village square. An old watchtower had collapsed and there were amazons all over it clearing debris. I jumped into the middle and began clearing away the wood. "What happened?" I asked as Ephiny and I continued to clear the wood away.
"A strong wind whipped through the village. Xena there are two people caught under here, Reena and Gabrielle. She saw the tower coming down and that Reena wouldnt be able to get out of the way in time. She was trying to save her."
Her words registered with me, and my hands began moving even faster. "RI! GODS RI HOLD ON! IM COMING BABY! HOLD ON! PLEASE HOLD ON!"
I finally saw her under a large part of wall and lifted it off of her. She was lying curled protectively around Reena who was crying. Very gently I knelt down and moved Ri just enough to get Reena free. I lifted her up and found myself staring into the eyes of her mother. Without a word I handed the child to her mother and returned my attention to my injured wife. Blood poured from several wounds on her body. The most noticeable a head wound. My heart stopped when I saw the piece of wood that had embedded itself in her skull. Several amazons started to reach for her.
"DONT" I commanded. "Dont touch her! Not yet, its not safe. If we do this wrong well kill her right here." I ran my hands through my hair and tried to figure the best way to do this. "Okay I need a litter and some cloth."
Within a matter of moments I had what I needed. I rolled a large piece of cloth into a long roll and gently wrapped it around her neck to hold it into place. Then I tied it off with another piece of cloth. She moaned as we slowly shifted her body and lifted her over to the litter. "Its okay baby Ive got you. Hold on sweetheart." I talked to her through the whole process even though I doubted that she could hear me.
Very gently I gave the signal for the litter to be lifted. I held her hand and talked to her as she was carried to the healers hut. Halfway there I heard her. Oh Gods! "Somebody stop her! Dont let Mel come over here."
Eph left and caught Mel just before she reached us. I hated to do that, but she didnt need to see Ri in this condition. I looked back and watched as Eph struggled to hang on to Mel. Mels eyes were fixed on the litter. I was grateful when we got Ri inside to healers hut. They put her down very gently and I began taking inventory of her injuries. They were serious, but the one that really scared me was the head wound. I stopped the flow of blood by packing more cloth around the wood. I knew it would have to be carefully removed if it could be removed at all, but I couldnt let myself think about that now.
I looked around and saw Ep was busy clearing the hut. Gods it was good to have friends who knew what I needed even before I did. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Adrin was tending to the wounds that Reena had received. The girl was awake and crying so I took that as a good sign. I grabbed a stack of cloth from a shelf with a needle and some twine and shove it into Eps hands. "Start closing the worst of those gashes. Ive got to see to this head wound."
Ep did as I asked. I knelt down next to Ris head and carefully un-wrapped the head wound. Suddenly my light was blocked. I looked up. Reenas mother stood there looking down at us. "Move! By the Gods woman get out of my light. Im trying to save my wifes life."
"I just wanted to say "
"SAY IT LATER! Right now move before I MOVE YOU!"
The woman backed away giving me the light I needed to examine the wound. There was a piece of wood embedded in the side of her head, close to her forehead, about the size of my little finger. What I didnt know was how far in it went. I raised my hand to examine it further when I realized I was shaking too hard. I could make it worse by touching it. I clenched my hands opened and closed several times trying to get the shaking under control. I felt a hand on my shoulder. "WHAT!" I turned to find Adrin.
"Your Highness let me. You shouldnt attempt this. Youre too emotional. If you want her to have a chance let me work. Go to your daughter. Shes outside, she needs you."
I looked back at my hands, trembling and covered in her blood, dropping my head and nodding I got up and let Adrin take over. I washed up quickly and went outside. Eph held Mel and rocked her. I went over and took her from Eph.
"Is she dead?" Mel asked through her tears.
"No little one shes not?"
"Is she gonna die?"
"I dont know Mel. Its serious. She might." I had decided last night as I spent a sleepless night that I would never hide anything from my children again. No matter how bad it might be.
Mel pushed herself out of my arms and stood before me, rage built into her features. "Where were you?! Why werent you here?! Youre suppose to be the great protector!" She took off for the house.
I got to my feet. "Mel WAIT!" I called after her but she continued for the house.
Eph came over and turned me back to Adrins hut. "Ill go after Mel you stay with Gabrielle."
My entire world was being torn in half. My daughter hated me and my wife could very well be lying in the healers hut dying. I drew a deep breath and headed for Adrins hut. As I pulled the door open Reenas mother came out with Reena in her arms.
"I wanted to say before thank you." She said softly.
"Its not me you should thank. Its your Queen. You might want to go to the temple and pray to Artemis that you have the chance." I continued past her and into the hut.
I knelt down and took Ris hand into my own, bringing it to my lips I kissed it softly and then just held it there against my lips. I watched Adrin work. She had healed me from all my bumps and bruises and delivered two of my children and assisted me when I brought our twins into the world. I knew her to be a good and competent woman. If Ri stood any chance at all Adrin would see that she got it.
"Xena I need to speak with you. Lets go outside." She said softly as she replaced the bandages around Ris wound.
I leaned up and gave my wife a soft kiss on the lips. "Hold on my love. One soul. Remember that. Were two halves of the whole. I need you."
I followed Adrin outside. "Im going to try and remove the wood." She said softly.
"She could die."
"If you dont try, she will die. I trust you. I always have you know that."
"Thank you. I want you to go home and wait. Ill send word as soon as we know something one way or the other."
"I need a few moments with her."
"Of course." She swept her hand toward the hut and I went back in.
I settled down next to her and took her hand. I needed to find the right words. I looked at her and remembered everyday we had been together since that very first day. Chewing on the inside of my mouth trying desperately to find my voice to tell her how I felt I leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. "I love you." I whispered. "Ive always loved you. I want you to come back to us. I need you. The children need you. I want you to try real hard to get back to us Ri, but if you cant. I want you to go on. Go to the Fields and be happy." My voice gave way and the tears started to flow when I realized I was giving her permission to die. "I promise to take good care of myself and the kids. Well make you proud and there wont be a day when you wont hear us thinking of you and our love for you. When its my time I promise to come to you and then nothing will ever separate us again. Try to come back to us my love, we wont be complete without you." I kissed her again and stood. Giving her hand a final squeeze I placed is gently at her side and left the hut.
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