of Paris Part 2 of 2
Xena Fanfiction, Xena fanfic, Xena fan fiction, Xena and
Gabrielle fanfiction, Xena fiction
These characters are not mine. They belong to Universal/MCA.
Iím just borrowing them for my entertainment purposes.
Nobody is making money off of them so call off the lawyers. If
stories of two women in love and expressing that love quite
graphically offends you then what the hell are you doing
reading my stories!!! <LOL>If youíre too young, leave
immediately. If you live somewhere that this stuff would get
you in trouble with the cops, cease and desist. If none of
these things are a problem please... read on.
Note: This is a follow up to Magic of Egypt. Itís not necessarily important that you read the first but you might enjoy it anyway. The songs enclosed here are by a man named Frank Sinatra <G>. If youíve never heard of him I suggest you pick up ĎSinatra Reprise: The Very Good Yearsí. Great stuff.<G> Yes, I am a patron of all types of music. And last but not least, this story is dedicated to Dana. Iím not sure how our story will end darliní but I have to believe the mentality of the characters in this work of fiction - If love is true...
it can conquer all. Thank you for every day of my life that youíve brightened. In light of everything, itís been the best five years of my life and Iíll cherish you always and
hopefully... many years to come. [Sidenote: Since people have asked...I've learned how the story
ends with my gal. Not only am I a great bard, I'm a poor judge of character too
it seems<LOL>. As 'Frank' sang... Regrets? I've had a
few...but then again...too few to mention'<G>]
years after Magic
of Egypt, Janice
and Mel make their way to Paris as Mel considers the direction
of their lives.
Please e-mail me at email@example.com I enjoy getting to chat with my readers out there. Your constructive comments are always welcome.
Magic of Paris Part
2 of 2
Paris, France Ė 1957
Janice and Mel
spent their first day in Paris in a musty warehouse looking
over artifacts that the French felt could be a connection to
their work on the Xena scrolls. So far nothing looked
promising. Upon hearing the translators stomach growl, Janice
smiled and turned to her lover.
"Just a little."
we knock it off for the day?" Janice offered. "Grab
a bit to eat at a cafť on the way to the hotel?"
to me," Mel answered with a warm smile, dusting herself
As they made their
way through the actual museum, they couldnít help but
overhear two women talking in front of them. French was a
language that both digger and translator knew fluently before
meeting. As the pair in front conversed, Mel just had to
Mel began, continuing in their native tongue, "But
thatís terrible. Why would someone just Ďbring backí a
The blonde woman
answered. "Well, I donít know all the facts. Itís my
sister that runs the orphanage but from what I understand the
couple is from an Ďupstandingí family and they didnít
want a Ďdefectiveí child... Itís a shame too because a
wealthy family is what this child needs for the education
sheíll require. And since sheís already been with a family
so many are reluctant to take Ďsecond hand goodsí."
Mel sighed. "What will happen to her?"
child?" the woman asked
Mel simple nodded,
her lip quivering.
sheíll probably live her life in the orphanage. No one will
want her since sheís Ďusedí... and deaf."
Mel looked at
Janice. Janice could see the beautyís wheels turning.
Janiceís first reaction was an ohhhh noooo mentality, but
she didnít utter a word. She just waited and held her tongue
as her lover and the woman conversed. By the time things were
over, Mel had the name of the womanís sister, an address and
a phone number. The southern belle thanked the woman and
watched as the two women walked on. Neither woman said a word
in the vacant space between them.
a shot," Mel finally mustered, playing with the ends of
Janice sighed and
you think theyíll say yes?" Janice finally asked,
staring at a suit of armor.
"We have the
means," Mel answered.
"You mean you
have the money... Youíre going to Ďbuyí a child,"
Janice replied with disdain heavy in her voice.
going to have a child any other way, Janice," Mel
replied. "That is unless I find some sexy Frenchman who
wants to spend-."
there," Janice threatened. "I donít even want to
hear it and if I ever find out youíve been with a man, with
Janice was never
one to make empty threats, but she couldnít finish the
statement. It was too painful to consider.
what, Janice?" Mel provoked. "Say it... Come on say
you!" the archeologist spat out harshly. The reply echoed
down the halls coming back to ring in both their ears.
Mel paused a moment
and walked to Janiceís turned back.
"Not if I
leave you first," she answered in a hostile whisper in
Melís quick high heeled steps moving further and further
away. She knew they just werenít walking out of the museum
but out of her life. That realization set her in motion.
down," Janice called out walking toward her. The belle
wasnít stopping. "Mel?" Janice called out much
less secure than before. "Mel, please stop," Janice
said going into a sprint. She caught up with the translator
and turned her forcefully around.
uttered a single word or made even a sound but her face was
soaked with tears, her eyes terribly bloodshot. Mel still
didnít make eye contact - she couldnít. It would be her
Janice was unnerved
by what she saw. Her gut reaction took over.
Sweetheart," Janice sighed pulling the translator tight
into her arms.
She told Mel years
before she would give Mel anything she desired. This baby was
something the belle wanted Ė no, she needed it in order to
feel complete. The pain was evident now to Janice. And she
knew that she couldnít see Mel in pain like this any longer.
She had two choices
Ė leave Mel so the translator could have a full life or try
like hell to adopt a child. She took one look in those deep
blue eyes and her fate was sealed. "
Janice promised softly. "Weíll try, darliní. Some
way. Some how. Iíll get you a baby."
returned. "Us Ė get us a baby, Janice. I need ya to be
a part of my life. I need ya to be a mother too. If yer not
ready for that then... maybe we should consider... everything."
Janice felt her
throat constrict and she took a deep breath to steady her
nerves. She didnít like where this conversations seemed to
What do you mean by everything?"
"I just think
that maybe we should spend some time apart, thatís
all," Mel answered nervously, looking at her shoes,
unable to face Janice. "That way ya can think about
whatís really important to ya."
Mel promised Janice
forever... and she wondered if forever was now over.
and sputtered in her speech.
"Wha... How ca...
Are yo... Mel!?"
ridiculous. They were destine for each other, just like their
ancestors. Mel couldnít be serious. Could she?
Janice, but I think we should just keep things on a
professional basis from now on. Iím going to grab some
dinner and Iíll see you tonight at the hotel."
slack-jawed, total bowled over by what had taken place. A
gorgeous dame just dumped Janice. That wasnít right! If
anything Janice was always the heartbreaker Ė a girl in
every port. Who the HELL did Mel Pappas think she is anyway?!
It took Janice all of three seconds for the answer Ė Mel
Pappas was the love of her lifetime. It didnít even seem
real to Janice what was happening until she watched Mel
climbing into a cab outside.
Janice was unsure
of when the translator moved away from her but she had darted
out the door at some point. Janice began to give chase to the
taxi going up the street but she quickly got winded.
Itís gotta be
the cigars, Janice told herself as she tried to catch her
breath. She stumbled toward the sidewalk. The short run had
made her dizzy and to top it off she pulled a muscle in her
arm. As Janice worked out the kink in her left arm, she found
that although she stopped running, it was getting harder, much
harder, to breathe. Then she grew nauseous. Something was
wrong. Very wrong.
Oh God, Mel! Janiceís
mind screamed out that last consequent thought before her body
tumbled to the Parisian sidewalk.
Amphipolis, around 500 bc
Xena had cleaned up
the tavern and her body while at her mother's inn - washing
away the filth of the confrontation. Her mind flashed to her
last major battle. A group of villagers stood up to a petty
tyrant. A tyrant with a huge army. The healer had been killed
in the previous battle and Gabrielle was the only one with
enough experience to help those injured. The battle raged for
hours. More and more men seemed to multiply from nowhere, but
when it was all said and done, Xena and many of the villagers
walked away from the battlefield in victory and in tact.
As she cleaned the
blood from her hands at her mother's inn, she went back in her
mind to that little village. She was covered in blood.
Gabrielleís gasp was audible from clear across the room.
mine," the warrior had assured her quickly.
Gabrielle left a
competent village woman in charge so she could see to her
warrior. She striped the warrior of her blood soaked clothes
and took her to the river. After repeated scrubbings, Xena was
finally clean... but she didnít feel clean. She didnít
feel anything actually... except numb. At that point, Xena
knew her time on the road must end. If she felt rage, if she
felt remorse, if she felt anything that would give her the
acknowledgement she needed to continue. But after all she had
seen, and after all she had done that day, all she walked away
with was... nothing.
state scared Gabrielle. She saw the warrior through many
battles and the after effects. Sometimes Xena would cry.
Sometimes she would do drills with her sword. And sometimes
she would take the bard, giving into her most carnal lusts
with full acceptance from her lover. But on this day, Xena did
nothing; said nothing.
Xenaís name three times before the warrior turned around to
face her. The warrior's face revealed nothing Ė no sorrow,
no remorse, no joy Ė absolutely nothing.
"I think we
should settle somewhere," Xena told Gabrielle. The warrior's
bottom lips quivered a little bit. Although unreadable,
Gabrielle took it as a good sign. Her Xena was still somewhere
in that war battered body.
"Whatever you want, Xena," the bard answered pulling
her into her arms.
"I know how
much you love to travel. Itís why you left home but
Gabrielle put her
finger across Xenaís mouth.
"The reason I
left Potidaea was to be with you... Iím with you to the end
Xe... Be it traipsing all over the world or in a tiny village
in the hills... Iím with YOU," Gabrielle
of that day echoed in Xenaís mind as she stood over the
rinse bowl in her mother's washroom. Another villager, Janner,
had offered to walk Gabrielle and the kids home until Xena was
more presentable. Now that she was finished she headed home to
her little family. Funny... once more the blood was gone, but
she didnít feel clean.
feeding Myra when Xena walked in.
"Lye is still
up," she said softly. "He wants to speak to
Gabrielle rise from the rocker she had made her as a solstice
present one year. Gabrielle took their infant daughter to bed.
She didnít wait a moment longer once they disappeared. She
headed straight to Lyeís bedroom.
Sport," Xena whispered excitedly, coming over to tousle
her son's hair. She wanted to make him feel as comfortable as
possible by being her usual playful self. "Mama said you
wanted to talk to me?"
He nodded, but he
didnít continue. Xena hated to lead a conversation, as she
was sure Gabrielle could attest to many of their friends over
the years. But she knew how shy her son could be at times and
she knew since she was the adult here, sheíd have to be the
one to take control.
matter?" Xena asked, taking a place at the foot of his
He didnít answer.
He just rolled his shoulders and played with the top of his
Xena sighed softly,
trying to think of a starting place. She was relieved when she
heard a voice from the door way say.
you just tell her what you asked me, Lye? She wonít get mad,
Xena was relieved
to hear Gabrielle join the conversation but the message she
came in with was a bit unsettling.
wondered. Why would I get mad? Whatever the question
was she was sure it couldnít be too good.
Lye took a deep
breath. He laid his palms open and started with
"Okay," spoken almost in a sigh. Xena bit her lip.
Sometimes he was so much like the bard it worried her, but it
also amused her at the same time. Would trouble find this
young man as much as it did Gabrielle? Judging by the incident
earlier, it was shaping up to be that way. Xena grinned
"If I start
trouble would you think Iím a bad guy and would you stab me
jumped to her throat.
By the Gods! she
thought. She didnít realize she had spoken those words out
loud until Gabrielle put her hand on Xena shoulder and said,
"By the Gods indeed."
Xena quickly made
up for it.
sweetie," she said opening her arms for Lye to climb
into. She needed to feel the boy as much as he needed to feel
her. "I would never, ever hurt you. And you will never,
ever be a bad guy. I promise."
the smithy told his father that you were good once; then you
got bad and you kilt lots of people. I told him itís not
nice to lie and that my momma doesnít kill people-."
Xena heard enough.
She put her finger over her sons lips. She knew this would
happen someday. She knew someday one of his friends would say
something and that would be it. His view of her would forever
be changed. She never figured it would be this early in his
young life but she would explain everything the best she could
to her son.
Xena filled in the
incidents of her past without going into too much detail for
his young mind to comprehend. When she got hung up on how to
continue, then and only then did Gabrielle offer the words
Xena strived for but couldnít find on her own. Xena made
sure to squeeze the bardís hand at every one of those
moments to convey her thanks for having the bard close at this
"How many men
have you kilt, Momma?"
The question was
spoken so matter of factly, so innocently it broke Xenaís
heart. In all her years of killing she never thought sheíd
have to explain it to anyone. She never imagined having to
justify it later to someone she would care so deeply about.
She only saw death then. And she never expected to find love.
Now the past haunted her more than she ever thought possible.
than I can count and not all deserved to die, son. I canít
lie to you... I wasnít a very good person for quite awhile
but you know what the great thing about life is?... You can
always reinvent yourself. You can always change your life as
long as your lungs breath and your heart beats... I gave those
men tonight that chance. I gave them the option to turn around
and change their lives. But they chose to fight. They chose
their destiny. And if killing them meant keeping you and momma
and Myra safe Iíd do it again. I donít enjoy hurting
people, Lye, but Iím not going to let anyone hurt you or
this family... Do you think you understand?"
Lye chewed on his
lip. And Xena once more suppressed a chuckle. So much like
the bard when deep in thought, she observed.
so," he said cocking his head. "Those men wanted to
hurt us but you hurt them before they could hurt us... But you
didnít just hurt them first... You told them to go away but
they didnít listen... " Xena watched as he paused and
scratched his chin. Xena hadnít noticed it but his natural
father, Autolycus, often did the same thing too when his
Ďwheels were turningí. She wondered why she hadnít
noticed it before tonight. She didnít have time to dwell on
it though. Lye finished his thought. "Momma maybe itís
me... but if they didnít leave when they had the chance
thatís kinda dumb donít cha think?"
restrained a chuckle and it came out as a croaking noise that
made Xena grin. The boy was young but he was also pretty
bright. She had to agree with him.
she said rising up and tucking him back in. "It wasnít
very smart, was it?" She leaned over and gave him a kiss
on top of his nodding head. "Get some sleep, Sport.
Itís late. Okay?"
Lye nodded and
Gabrielle said her goodnights as well and quietly left the
room. Xena reached to take the lantern from his room when he
he asked quietly.
Lye," she asked with a gentle smile.
youíre here to take care of me and mommy and sissy."
sweetheart. I wouldnít have it any other way," Xena
said softly. "Goodnight."
he called as Xena closed his door.
Xena held back the
tears until she saw Gabrielle walk over to her with open arms.
Xena cried silently. It had been a tremendously emotional
taxing night on many levels Ė be it highs or lows. Having
Lye admit that he needed her; still wanted her after the story
she told, made her heart melt; her defenses bare. Maybe he
didnít understand all of it but he knew Xena had a dark past
and he still loved her anyway. That Xena wasnít the one he
knew and loved. The only Xena he knew was the person she was
today. And that was enough for her.
Xena in her arms and told her everything was fine; everything
would continue to be fine.
Xena pulled back
and wiped her tears and nose, gaining her self control back
somewhat. "Thank you," she whispered sincerely.
mention it... You do realize though youíll have to tell this
story again sometime, perhaps many times to Lye and
"Yes, I know.
And I accept that fact... Will you be kind enough to help me
again?" Xena grinned, the melancholy still on her face.
Gabrielle took Xena
by the hand and led her toward their bedroom for the night.
said for years Xena... Iím with you Ďtil the end." She grinned.
Janice heard her
name being called. It was gentle and soft. She struggled to
open her eyes. Everything was white and blurry at first but
finally the face above her came into focus.
she asked; unsure of whether to trust her eyes or not.
ya alone for a minute, huh?" Mel smiled, but she looked
unsettled. "Always finding trouble, arenít ya?"
Janice agreed starting to sit up and get a better look around
at her surroundings. "You know me Ė trouble and I go
hand-in-hand... Where am I?"
"At a hospital
not far from the museum. You collapsed on the street today and
some kind folks called the ambulance. I got a call at the
hotel about 15 minutes ago and I raced down here."
huh?" Janice asked with a cocky grin. "Thought you
wanted to keep things professional, Mel?" she teased. Mel
gave a bashful grin, but didnít reply or meet Janiceís
eyes. Janice reached out and took the belleís hand in hers.
"When we get to the hotel weíll talk things over some
Mel nodded her
agreement and offered an apology, which Janice cut off with a
Mel," Janice told her. "We both said things we
didnít really mean, so letís just set it aside for now and
deal with it once Iím outta here, okay?"
Mel nodded again as
the doctor began to come in. "Dr. Covington... How are
you feeling?" he asked in his native tongue. Janice
replied back in French.
fine," she answered, "What happen to me?"
that youíve suffered a mild stroke."
Janice and Mel both exclaimed.
appears so," the doctor as he took out his thermometer
and popped it in Janiceís mouth, leaving her mute. He
possessed her arm next and began to wrap the pressure cuff
around her for a reading. "According to Miss. Pappasí
you smoke too much, you drink too much and you donít eat
Janice cast a scowl
at her partner since words were not an option at this point.
The doctor caught Janiceís look and came to Melís defense.
"Now donít blame her," he chuckled. "We
needed a history on you and she filled out the form. Itís
not as if she Ďrattedí you out."
The doctor removed
the cuff and he told Janice that things looked good so far. In
a day or two she could be released. "But once youíre
out," he warned her, "No smoking."
Mel nodded in
agreement with a smug grin. She wanted Janice to give up those
smelly cigars for years Ė now she had her chance.
drinking," he continued as he stole the thermometer back
from Janiceís mouth, making notes.
Mel nodded right
along her grin getting larger and larger.
"And make sure
you eat properly on a regular basis," he concluded as he
went to the door.
Mel couldnít be
more happy with the outcome of this incident and she now
smiled from ear to ear. All her little pet peeves of
Janiceís would have to be dealt with now whether the
archeologist liked it or not. Oh yes, Mel was happy... at
least until the doctor turned in after thought.
he said calling over his shoulder. "It probably isnít
an issue since youíre unmarried, but no sexual activity
The door closed.
The doctor was gone. Melís smile fell instantly.
it!" Janice said starting to get outta bed. Mel rushed
over and tried to stop her. "Move it, Mel! I gotta have a
word with this... this... doctor! You know, Iíll start to
eat more often. Iíll stop drinking... Hell, Iíll stop
smoking! But there is no way on earth Iím going to stop...
" Janice didnít say the words, but she exaggerated
greatly with her hands as she outlined Mel's body. The
gesture she made wasnít lost on Mel.
Mel tried to gently
steer Janice back to the mattress with reassurances.
"Please get into bed. You shouldnít be up yet. Iíll
go speak with him, alright?"
complied, ranting the entire time with comments like ĎWho
the hell does he think he is?í and ĎWhere did he get his
license to practice medicine? In a Cracker Jack box?í and on
and on. She still ranted even as Mel left the room, moving
swiftly down the hall to find the doctor. She spotted him and
called out making him stop.
smoking, drinking, sex thing... how long is that in effect
forever," he answered. "Are you alright?" he
added taking Mel by the elbow.
intake of breath as a result of this surprising news made all
the heads around them turn in her direction. "Ahh... yes
doctor, Iím fine... Just a little surprised that Miss
Covington is hereby doomed to a life of celibacy. I find it
very hard to believe that her heart isnít good enough for
the activity of sex as much as the result," he answered.
"You mean she
can have sexual relations, but not an orgasm?" Mel asked,
making sure to whisper the last word bashfully.
sorry Iím not making myself clear," he said scratching
"No, I have to admit Iím very confused right now."
here," the doctor said leading her to a near by bench as
they took a seat in the waiting area. "Miss Covington
shouldnít have a child. Her heart may not be strong enough
and given her age itís dangerous any way. Iím afraid the
strain of childbirth could kill her."
activity will not?" Mel asked just to clarify.
the doctor agreed. "She shouldnít run the risk of
conception Ė conception and labor could be the true problem
and why I say she should avoid sexual relations. She should
wait at least two weeks before she does anything strenuous
though Ė whether sex or walking a few flights of stairs...
See that she doesnít overindulge in any thing for a while.
With a change in lifestyle and a new diet Miss Covington has
the chance to grow to be a very old woman."
considerable. "Thank you doctor," she said shaking
his hand. "Thank you very much."
Mel didnít wait
for his reply she darted back to her room. She knew she had a
ranting lover to control with the good news.
A week later,
Janice was sitting in their hotel room, a bunch of scrolls and
museum items littering their suite. Since Janice couldnít go
to work, Janice had Ďthe workí brought to her.
Mel had just
returned from the kitchen area with a cup of coffee for
Janice, since scotch was now out of the question. Janice had
to admit Mel looked pretty damn radiant today Ė sleeveless
blouse and a flowing floor length skirt. She snagged the
translator and brought her down to her lap.
"How Ďbout a
lil cream Ďn sugar?" Janice whispered, trying to unhook
Mel put her hand
over Janiceís, stopping her explorative efforts. "The
only Ďcream n sugarí youíre gettiní Dr. Covington is
in that cup of coffee. Doctors orders."
Mel rose and she
playfully swatted Janiceís arm. Janice reached out and
swatted Melís backside in return making the southerner yelp.
Both women grinned devilishly at each other. This was shaping
up to be the longest two weeks of Janiceís life.
Ever since the
doctor told her she couldnít have Mel, she never wanted her
more in her life.
Janice told herself. You havenít wanted her this much
since you became lovers. Looking back now she wondered how
she ever survived having Mel that close without... having Mel...
That old feeling of Ďlook but donít touchí was in effect
again and although she protest it, in some sadistic way, she
figured, she enjoyed it. She knew, however, that Mel Pappas
wouldnít be getting any rest come the 14th day of
Mel," Janice whined. "I feel fine. The ole ticker is
in great shape. Trust me on this."
Mel said sternly. "Iíd rather not take that chance.
Besides itís only one more week. Weíve been apart longer
than that before... youíll make it."
"Yes, we have
been apart longer, but that was different. We were on
different continents for cryin' out loud. I didnít see you
everyday looking so beautiful and so goddamn sexy. I mean
really: Did you have to wear that long skirt? You know that
drives me nuts," she answered slinking over to Mel on her
hands and knees like a predatory cat.
Janice got one hand
on the loveseat that Mel was sitting on before the translator
stopped her with a firm hand to the shoulder.
trying to tease, Janice. I donít have anything clean besides
this skirt. I figured it was better than wearing nothing at
all... Besides didnít ya once tell me I could make a gunny
sack look sexy?" Mel teased. "Donít blame yer
libido on my wardrobe please."
Janice buried her
head in Melís lap with a groan. "Oh pretty please Mel...
Okay, how about this? You donít have to lay a finger on me.
Let me do all the work. I promise I wonít get too
Mel laughed out
loud. "Yeah right! I donít believe that for a second.
Iím not the same gullible gal ya met 17 years ago,
Janice smiled and
looked into Melís eyes, "No, youíre not the same gal,
but Iíll tell ya what, sweetheart."
"I love you
more now than I did then. And Iím sure the same time next
year, Iíll love you even more although today that seems
impossible because I already love you so much."
"Thatís sweet, Janice."
She stroked the
archeologistís face tenderly and Janice pushed herself up
softly, delivering a tender kiss to Melís lips. When the
translator didnít protest Janice went back for another. Then
another. And another.
Mel said pulling away. "I wonít let ya seduce me,
Janice Covington. The doctor said no."
herself down next to Mel in defeat on the loveseat.
"Alright," Janice agreed. "No means no and I
wonít ask again... Itís just that I know how much you like
to Ďbreak the rulesí... Remember that afternoon in the
lecture hall? You ended up spread eagle on my desk that
Mel warned in a threatening tone.
"Or how about
that beach in Madrid? Great god above, we both ended up with
sand in places we never knew we had," Janice laughed.
remember, Janice," Mel said irritated, picking up a
scroll with the intention to begin work again.
"And that time
we were in Asia and we went to that spa. You remember that? Oh
sweetheart! That was wild! I figured youíd stop as soon as
that other woman walked in and found us. But oh no! You kept
right on going."
"I WAS drunk
at the time," Mel said pulling her glasses down to scold
Janice with her eyes. "And no I DO NOT remember. You, on
the other hand, have a perfect memory of my lapse of judgment."
"Lapse of judgment?!"
Janice exclaimed. "Sweetheart that was one of the most
erotic experiences of my life... You hands all over me... That
strangers eyes all over us... "
comforting to know ya like to think of us as a live sex
act!" Mel said tossing the scroll on the table angrily.
all," Janice corrected. "Itís not the actual act
that I find so erotic, Mel. Itís the fact that your desire
was so great that nothing would stop you. Neither of us was
ashamed of expressing our love that night. Thatís what was
so appealing Ė even though someone else was present you
couldnít contain your passion for me... and vice
instantly at Janiceís words. And in some respect, she was
jealous that Janice had that memory and she didnít. She just
remembered waking up the next day in their hotel room, buck
naked with a foul taste in her mouth and a pounding headache.
"All the more
reason for us to wait another week, Janice." Mel grinned.
"I want to spend many, many more years of passion with ya.
Iím willing to wait until yer well." Janice started to
protest once more. "I know ya think ya feel better Janice
but, please sweetheart, I wouldnít be able to enjoy it if I
did anything now. Iíd be too worried about you. Okay?"
Janice gave up on
her afternoon conquest in light of Melís heartfelt request.
It was cute for awhile. A nice little joke of sorts. But Mel
was putting her foot down now... without really putting her
foot down. And like usual, Janice was helpless but to comply.
Okay," Janice agreed. "but you gotta promise to wear
this outfit next Tuesday when Iím off probation. Deal?"
Mel smiled as she
picked the scroll back up "Deal!"
Amphipolis, around 500 bc
Lye jumped around
outside trying to catch snowflakes on his tongue. Gabrielle
watched from inside the cabin as Xena put the finishing
touches on his snow fort. She watched as the retired warrior
got the young boys attention with the means of a well-directed
snowball. Lye didnít stop to turn around to see what
happened. Quickly, he bent over making a ball of his own,
charging the warrior.
tell he was laughing as he charged his momma and she had to
chuckle along. Lye was very scholarly. He loved books and
drawing. A very creative soul like the bard herself but he
also was a very rough and tumble lad. He enjoyed to Ďmix it
upí as Xena would call it when they wrestled around.
Lye leaped on
Xenaís back as she tried to flee in mock terror, yelling and
flailing her arms about. Gabrielleís laugh deepened when she
watched both of them tumble to the snow. Myra began to get
restless in her play area that Xena had made the year of
Lyeís birth. When a villagerís child got burned on the
fireplace, Xena decided to make a Ďgateí for Lye so he
could play if they needed to tend to other matters. She
remembered watching Xena sand down the wood to a smooth
finish. She was sure that Xena resolved that nothing bad would
ever happen to their children. Not even a splinter.
As she watched Lye
and Xena playfully arguing upon entering the doorway,
Gabrielle could have never hoped for a better Ďhusbandí or
Ďfatherí for her children.
best," Xena taunted the boy.
not!" Lye answered adamantly.
"You wanna go
back out there and settle this once and for all?" Xena
asked tower over the boy. The words were harsh, but the smile
on her face was wide.
mom," he said turning to Gabrielle.
finished collecting Myra, looked at the two in the doorway.
"Who got who
best, Mom?" he asked with a big grin. He was cocky like
Autolycus with Xenaís Ďkiller eyebrowí. He was gonna be
a handful when he got older. That was for sure.
Gabrielle began as she examined the pair. "Since youíre
momma looks like she got covered in an avalanche... Iíd have
to say you won."
Lye said triumphantly as Xena argued at the same time.
another vote!" Xena grumbled. "Myra what do you
Lye argued. "Babies donít count. You canít ask babies
what they think cause they donít talk right, Mom?"
"Heís got ya
there," Gabrielle informed Xena.
brother," Xena said hanging her head in defeat taking off
Lyeís boots. "Go get outta those wet clothes before you
catch a fever." She grinned.
he asked Xena as she hung onto her shoulders for support as
she pulled the shoes from his feet.
"How can you
catch a fever if youíre cold to begin with? I mean
wouldnít you be more cold and not hot?"
know, Lye," Xena answered honestly.
"But when you
catch a fever you get hot, not cold. So you really should
leave your clothes on so you donít get hot?"
Xena sighed frustrated. "Go get changed."
Lye realized this
was the end of the debate and he scurried to his room.
Plato," Xena said shaking her head as Gabrielle chuckled.
that age," the bard told her partner.
everything?" Xena asked. "How does this work? Who is
that person? Why did this happen? Everything Gabrielle Ė
absolutely everything is a question," she whispered.
"He wants to
know how the world works. Heís gotta wonderful teacher in
you," the bard complimented.
debatable," Xena sighed, stripping down to her long
you say that?" the bard asked concerned.
question," Xena teased. "Now I know where he gets it
"And now I
know where he gets his evasiveness from," Gabrielle
Xena smiled and
nodded. "Point one to Gabrielle."
Gabrielle led Xena
to the fire as she cradled Myra. Once seated, Gabrielle handed
the baby to the warrior. "Iíll get you some warm
clothes," she said, going to their bedroom. Once back,
Gabrielle took the baby so Xena could dress.
answered my question," she continued. "Why are your
parenting skills debatable?"
parenting is a skill?" Xena joked.
"Oh yes." Gabrielle grinned.
"And you have many skĖ."
have to say it," Xena said with a kiss cutting her short.
Xena paused a moment and wondered aloud. "Iím just
worried that I wonít always be there and that my past will
catch up with HIM... I donít know Gabrielle. I just wonder
sometimes if Iím cut out for this... family life."
be serious. Youíre knee deep in family life, Xena... Are you...
restless? Do you want to leave?"
The bard wasnít
even sure if she was truly asking these questions. It scared
her but what scared her more is that Xena wasnít answering.
"Xena?" the concern was evident in her voice.
Xena quickly came back from her thoughts. "I donít want
to leave. I just think that sometimes... Iím not the best
parent I can be."
"You know what
I was thinking just before you came in?"
thinking about how lucky I am to have you. Not just you Ė
but that you were the best choice I could have made as my life
partner. Youíre a wonderful wife and mother. Iím very
lucky and blessed to have you... And so is Lye and Myra."
Almost on cue, Lye
came running out of his bedroom and into Xenaís arms.
"Is it cocoa
time, momma?" he asked snuggling tighter into her
Xena looked at the
boy. Then her daughter. And then the bard. She was taking in
the Ďfamilyí she wasnít sure she could lead, but
realized they were all doing just fine. Gabrielle smiled as
Xena offered her a wink of acceptance.
"Sounds like a
plan, Sport! You get the chocolate. Iíll get the goats
Xena asked starting to turn.
"Yes, one for
me too of course."
As Xena went back
to her task she smiled. Yes. She and the bard knew each other
well. And although it wasnít always perfect, and at times
there would be doubts, life was good.
Adoption Agency, Paris, France Ė 1957
Mel sat nervously
in the small office. Her white gloved hands strumming on the
sweetheart," Janice whispered. Although anxious herself,
and wonder just where in the hell that agency woman was at,
Janice tried to calm her lover.
Suddenly, the door
opened and a petite woman walked inside. "Iím sorry
Iím late," she apologized. "We have an adoption
today and I was making last minute plans."
fine," Mel said friendly. "Weíre in no
The woman smiled
warmly before opening a file and reading through it.
"It says here
that you are interested in adopting Monique, correct?"
maíam," the southerner nodded.
"She is a
special needs child, meaning that she has no hearing."
understand," Mel nodded.
spent two weeks with another family," the director
that as well," Mel nodded once more.
The woman went back
looking into the file.
"I must admit
it seems highly unorthodox to give a child to an unmarried
woman. Especially a child which, to be honest, will be quite
expensive to maintain."
Mel froze and
Janice caught it.
"Mel hand me
your pocketbook," Janice ordered warmly.
Mel did as she was
asked and Janice took out Melís checkbook and opened the
ledger. She leaned over and showed the directory the figure
American dollars." She smiled. "Feel free to contact Miss
Pappas bank to confirm if you like."
The director's eyes
widened and she shook off her disbelief.
have to confirm this information, of course, but it looks like
you have the means to supply the child."
where does she sign?" Janice pushed.
that easy Miss... " The director let the sentence hang.
Covington," Janice told her.
Covington," the director began again, "We like to
have some idea or reason behind Miss Pappas motives of
"I want to
have a child," Mel announced. "And I realize Iím
not getting any younger. I feel like I need something here.
Someone that I can love and teach things to. Someone that will
be here long after Iím gone."
well and good Miss Pappas. But you are not a young woman.
Youíre approaching middle age."
"All the more
reason for her to adopt," Janice butted in.
The director looked
annoyed. Mel felt grateful.
way?" the director asked Janice.
reached a point in her life where having a baby could be
dangerous. Not only to the child, but herself as well. Miss
Pappas has been single for many years... Most men regard her
intellect and beauty with fear. Hence, sheís unmarried.
She may be too old
to have a child now, but not to old to care for one. If God
above sees fit to keep Melinda here until her life expectancy,
the child will be an adult by the time Melindaís life ends.
Itís the perfect time for Miss Pappas to care for a
child," Janice concluded.
the director reluctantly agreed. "I can see your point.
But keep in mind that this child will require special
father was the Dean of South Caroline University. She has many
friends on the faculty, myself included, that could help put
her in touch with people who would find the right program for
The directory made
a note on the paper. "You do realize, however, all the
paperwork that would be involved as far as citizenship and the
like. It could be a very long time before-
said, weíve got time. If you start the paperwork today,
Iím sure it would be done before my partner and I finish up
our research here and head back to the states."
The director smiled
thought of everything, havenít you?" she asked the
Janice gave a cocky
grin in return.
one single reason that Miss Pappas shouldnít be allowed to
adopt this child," Janice began, "Sheís a very
caring, loving individual. Iíve worked with Miss Pappas for
over 17 years now. Sheís my best friend in the world and
sheíd make a wonderful mother. Monique needs a mother. And
Mel needs a child. Looks like a perfect match to me... The
alternative is to turn Mel away. But what youíll have is a
child that canít get adopted because sheís Ďused
goodsí and a woman whoíd spend her life wonder Ďwhat
ifí... So, Iíll ask again... Where does she sign?"
Mel didnít know
if Janiceís speech would work, but she knew one thing for
sure. She never loved Janice more than at this moment.
Quietly, and with a growing grin, the director reached into
her desk and pulled out a form.
"If you would
put your signature here on the Ďxí Miss Pappas," she
said handing Mel the document and a pen.
Mel didnít move
at first. She looked over to Janice who nodded toward the
director. Mel seemed startled, disbelieving that IT was
actually happening. It was the worst signature of her life,
but she couldnít control her shaking hands.
"I have all
the information on the forms but if I need you I can contact
you at the hotel correct?"
maíam." Mel nodded.
The director began
to stand up and Janice followed her lead. Mel, however, had to
be lead up by Janice by the elbow. When the director reached
for Melís hand, the translator took it and shook it almost
violently. The director had to smile. Janice could see that
the director was comfortable with the pairing of Monique and
very much," Janice said extending her hand, so Mel would
free her grip on the director. The director took Janiceís
hand and noticed the strength of the shake, the almost
Ďmanlyí nature of it. Janice saw a flash of recognition in
the directorís eyes as if she knew the true nature of Jan
and Melís relationship.
contacting you... both," she added with a wink.
"Give me about two days to get things going, okay?"
again," Janice added with a nod of agreement.
"My pleasure." She smiled
Janice had to lead
Mel out of the room. The southerner still didnít quite have
her barring on the situation yet. They closed the door behind
them and proceeded down the empty corridor. From what seemed
like out of nowhere, Mel started to cry. Janice took her in
her arms and tried to calm her sobs.
Janice coaxed. "Itís okay, Mel. Everythingís fine...
Why are you crying, sweetheart?"
love ya so much... Ya did just what ya said ya would do. Ya
went in there and got us a child. I froze, Janice. I didnít
know what to do, but ya stepped up and-."
finish. She pulled Janice into a searing kiss before pulling
back, tears staining her face.
thatís the kind of reception I get in public for one kid,
letís have lots and lots more," Janice teased as she
wiped Melís face with the back of her fingers, pushing the
tear tracks away.
Mel darted away and
gave a quick look around to see if they had been noticed.
Janice chuckled. It had been years since they had let their
guard down like that in public and Melís reaction humor her.
worry, sweetheart," Janice reassured as she started to
walk again. "Nobody saw us... But I do want you to
remember that Iím officially off probation today."
couldnít see it, she knew her lover, who was swaying in
front of her, was grinning from ear to ear. Mel didnít add
anything else she just watched Janice with dogged
determination as she planned her Ďattackí for when they
They arrived at the
hotel and Janice paid the driver. Once up to their suite,
Janice walked ahead and unlocked the door. She barely had time
to pull the key out when Melís lips where claiming hers.
crashed into the small foyer wall but their lips never broke
contact. Mel pulled back for an instant to kick the door shut
with her foot. Next, she pulled Janiceís leather jacket down
to her elbows, effectively wrapping the archeologist up,
making escape an impossibility as she reclaimed Janiceís
Janice loved this
side of Mel. The one that had the southerner belle losing her
inhibitions and Ďgood gracesí she was taught all through
her life. Southern refinement flew out the window at these
moments. Janice knew.... she was going to be taken.
Mel gave up those
beautiful lips and started to work on Janiceís ear, nibbling
on the lobe.
show ya just how grateful I am for what yaíve done
today," Melís whispered breath tickling the
archeologistís wet ear. "Iím gonna prove to ya how
much I love ya. Iím gonna worship every inch of that strong,
firm body of yours, Janice Covington."
caught between a sigh and a moan at Melís words. Suddenly
the belle jumped back; her loving hands shooting away from
Janiceís body as if it were on fire.
"Are ya all
right?!" Mel exclaimed.
fine," Janice replied trying to get an understanding of
what was transpiring. "Iím better than fine
actually," she said feeling herself smirk; her eyebrow
mischievous going into her bangs. She pulled Mel back to her
with a firm grip on the translatorís hips.
She could tell,
however, that Mel wasnít quite as amorous as she was moments
"What is it,
Mel?" she whispered.
worried," Mel mumbled before slipping away, traveling
into the living area.
Janice exclaimed as she followed her. What did Mel have to
worry about? They had a new shipment of finds coming this
week. The adoption agency was starting on Moniqueís paper
work. Life couldnít be better. Mel had everything she wanted
and if she didnít have it right now Ė the reality of it
was not that far away.
you," Mel said moving to the sofa. Janice promptly took a
seat next to her.
itís about the adoption Ė."
cut her off. "Itís not that. I know if ya didnít feel
ready for this ya wouldnít have made the case ya did today
on my behalf."
dumbfounded and the look on her face showed it. The look
didnít happen often, Mel noted. Janice was often quite sure
of herself and her surroundings so when these rare occasions
did occur Mel couldnít help but smile. It made her superhero
Janice seem all the more human. This time was no different and
Janiceís look of confusion grew larger to see the
Ďworriedí belle grinning at her.
"You have to
help me out here Mel-."
you," Mel said affectionately as she stroked Janiceís
face. "What will happen if you... get too...
excited?" Mel asked struggling with the words of how to
delicately express herself.
Janice smiled wiggling her eyebrows. "I might have an
"No silly Ė thatís not what I meant."
"Well, what do
you mean? Are you talking about my ticker?" Janice
grinned as she lightly tapped her chest.
Mel lost her smiled
and she nodded weakly. "Janice, Iíd never be able to
live with myself if anything happened to you, especially if we
were... well... you know... ".
Janice realized in
an instant what happened. The sound she made earlier was one
of deep desire, but it could also be mistaken for one of pain.
Come to think of it, it is a pain, Janice thought. Well
maybe not a pain perhaps Ė just a strong, throbbing ache
that is nowhere near my heart.
Janice put her
hands over Melís, which were collected in the translators
to me," Janice began. "I feel fine and I believe God
takes us when he wants us... so it doesnít matter if Iím
watching Jackie Gleason, teaching classes or making love to
you... When itís my time to go... itís my time to go...
But if you ask me how I feel right now I must confess my heart
is racing... Not because itís Ďbrokení... Itís because
Iím so crazy in love with you. You can be moody,
overprotective and down right unreasonable... but know this...
I always have faith in Ďusí and for every characteristic
you have that infuriates me at times, you have ten more that I
love. I love you Mel and I just want to show you how
Mel rose up long
enough to hike up her skirt and straddle Janice. "Are you
sure?" Mel whispered cupping Janice face in her hands.
positive," Janice replied as her hands crept under the
cotton material of Melís skirt, moving high and higher with
slow grace until finding their mark at the apex of Melís
legs. "Seems like Iím not the only one Ďcrazy in
loveí," Janice teased upon finding the wetness gathered
whispered sincerely, "Youíre not."
Janice took one
hand away while keep the other firm in place. She capture
Melís back with her palm and forearm bringing her closer.
She leaned in and inhaled the sweet smell of her loverís
flowery perfume. Next she placed the most delicate of kisses
between Melís cleavage. Kisses that began to multiply and
wander over to her breasts Ė first one and then the other as
her fingers below began to set a steady pace.
Mel rocked above
Janice; her eyes closed lightly. She reached down and played
delicately with the archeologist nipples before adding more
force behind her caresses. Janice felt like she herself just
might explode as Mel snaked her tongue out to moisten her
drying lips Ė lips that were becoming dry thanks to the
small sighs and moans that were escaping the translators lips.
Their pace was slow
and leisurely Ė more an expression of affection than a
moment of passion. Melís moans became deeper; her sighs
coming now as grunts. When Mel broke into light sweat and a
stream of ĎOh Janísí, Janice was done for. The constant
stimulation to her breasts and Melís words did her in.
Janice loved seeing Mel so engrossed that she couldnít
finish her name. It was only in bed when Mel called her Jan
and the archeologist knew that, if anything did tear them
apart, no one would ever be able to use that Ďnicknameí in
her presence. That belonged to Mel and Mel alone. Janice knew
that not only her name belonged to Mel but even herself as
well and with that thought, she began to tumble over the
It was difficult
but Janice said nothing Ė she gave no expression of ecstasy,
for fear of frightening Mel again. Janice knew her lover was
close to release and she didnít want anything to startle her
from her relaxed yet wanton state.
Jan!" Mel exclaimed as her head fell backwards, her dark
hair cascading down past the middle of her back. Melís hands
released Janice and took up residence on the back of the sofa
Ė her nails digging into the upholstery. Janice could feel
Melís lips quivering, both sets of lips, as she reached in
for a kiss.
Breathing hard and
spent, Mel settled her forehead on Janiceís shoulder,
kissing an exposed part of the archeologist neck.
Janice began as she stroked Melís back tenderly and
supportively. "Iím still here."
Mel agreed, "But you didnít... you know... "
Mel giggled and
blushed red. "Yeah."
did," Janice smirked. "I just kept things... quiet
this time... I wanted to prove itís okay to love me and I
didnít want to upset you again with... how should I say this...
Mel snuggled back
into Janiceís shoulder and scooted next to her so both of
her long legs covered Janiceís lap.
"You know you
really are a sweetheart to put me first like that... to put me
Janice joked, falling into her cranky faÁade. "Well...
Donít let it get around. I have a reputation to protect, ya
Covington," Mel announced, before kissing her lover on
the lips. "Yer secret is safe with me."
Amphipolis around 500 bc
Cyrene raised an
eyebrow as she watched Gabrielle searching through Xenaís
old bedroom. The bard turned and caught the expression.
Like mother, like daughter, she thought as she watched the
mean to be nosy but... what in Tartarus are you doing,
dear?" Cyrene asked stepping into the room.
for a scroll. One I wrote about Xena," she informed her.
narrows it down," Cyrene teased. "Perhaps you could
be more specific."
"Ha. Ha. Very funny... Very true. I will agree most of my
work is about Xena." Gabrielle paused and watched the
eyebrow expression return again to Cyreneís face.
"Alright ALL of my work is about Xena," the bard
under the bed and she found a box of scrolls. She placed the
box on top of the feather mattress and she began to search
through them. "Itís one I wrote not long after Lye was
born... I thought it was at home, but I canít find it... and
I know we didnít take it on the trip to Egypt so it must be
Cyrene took a spot
on the bed and began to open one, "Whatís the scroll
"Xena being a
parent... After the other night here at the tavern, sheís
been having doubts... " Cyrene looked concerned, but
Gabrielle smiled and patted her hand. "Itís okay... She
and I talked about it. I just wanted to show her how I view
her as a mother. Something to reinforce the points I made to
her... but I canít find the scroll anywhere."
Cyrene began to
read the one in her hand. Soon, Gabrielle heard the surprised
sigh Cyrene made and she looked at the older woman who was
blushing deeply. "Thatís not it," Cyrene said
causally catching Gabrielleís eye and quickly rewrapping it.
"but it certainly is... colorful. Thatís for
It was obvious to
the bard that Cyrene had stumbled across a more
Ďdescriptiveí scroll that dealt with her expressing her
love for Xena.
"I should warn
This is far too much information for a mother to read,"
Now the bard
blushed and rubbed the back of her neck in discomfort.
sorry," Gabrielle apologized.
"Thatís okay." Cyrene smiled.
"Itís obvious my daughter is loved very much... very,
very much," she joked.
she didnít turn even redder at the comments.
I should... "
yourself?" Cyrene offered. Gabrielle nodded meekly with a
grin. "Not a problem." Cyrene smiled. She rose and walked
back to the doorway. "By the way, Xenaís looking for
you downstairs. Should I send her up or tell her youíll be
"You can send
her up." Gabrielle smiled. "And again, Iím sorry about...
sorry." Cyrene grinned warmly. "That scroll isnít
anything I didnít already know," she jabbed once more
before pausing in thought. "Iím very fortunate to see
my daughter happy. Something I never thought Iíd see. Xena
actual smiles now and I know that youíre the one that put
that smile there, sweetie... Iíll send her up."
Cyrene," Gabrielle replied.
was a kiss blown through the air. Gabrielle went back to
digging through her box. Moments later Xena was standing in
the doorway Ė Myra in her arms, Lye wrapped around her leg.
Oh yeah, Xena was knee deep in family all right Ė literally
Gorgeous." Xena smirked. "The tavern lady downstairs
told me I could find a beautiful strawberry blonde up here...
Minimal rates too," she added slyly in a low, quiet
over and pulled Xenaís head down to whisper in her ear,
"Minimal rates, huh? Youíre so beautiful I just might
do ya for free."
careful," Xena replied in a teasing warning.
"Donít want to get me too shaken. I might drop this
little bundle in my arms."
then," Gabrielle said outstretching her arms.
"Perhaps I should take over then."
Xena handed their
daughter over and scooped up Lye. "Whatícha doin' up
here?" Xena asked.
"Looking for a
scroll actually. One I wrote about parenthood."
Xena asked. "Why? Are you still worried about my brief
lapse of confidence?"
"Not worried... Just wanting to plant more facts behind
my point is all."
Xena teased. "My plotting and charting and analytical
bard... Wouldnít have ya any other way ya know?"
answer," Gabrielle replied in a mock threat. "You
better keep yourself in line."
maíam," Xena said with a small bow. "I know my
place... Right under that thumb of yours."
Gabrielle tossed a
pillow hitting her target as both of them chuckled. Even Lye
laughed. Of course, he didnít understand what the dialog
meant but having Mommy hit him with the pillow was pretty fun.
my thumb isnít always such a bad place to be if I remember
correctly," Gabrielle replied in a seductive grin.
Their son rested
his head on Xenaís shoulder so Xena placed her hands over
Lyeís other ear and whispered with a smile, "Please!
There are children present!"
She tried to say
the line with dead seriousness but she knew Gabrielle would
never fall for it anyway. The bard knew her too well.
"Well maybe we
should go home and put the kids to bed?" Gabrielle
want to look for your scroll?" Xena answered.
okay," Gabrielle said as she placed Myra on the bed to
stuff the scrolls back under it. "Besides you know how I
feel about it all."
as?" Xena offered as Gabrielle collected Myra in her
"Such as, all
women should be as lucky to have a mate like you... Of course
they canít have YOU. YOU belong to ME... Ya got that
bard," Xena said wrapping her arm around Gabrielleís
waist and leading her out the door. "But possessions goes
both ways ya know?" Xena added as her hand cupped her
Gabrielle sighed. "It sure does."
"We GOTTA get
these kids to bed as soon as we get home," Xena said in
impatience. Gabrielle simply laughed.
Mel sat on the sofa
sipping her coffee organizing a pile of scrolls. There were
lots of them but so far nothing with writing on them. Janice
and Mel lost hope with each new day that passed. Not that it
wasnít a Ďfindí. The institute would have a wonderful
display to put forth, one piece in particular Ė it was a
chest or strong box lined with rubies. It would make a
wonderful edition to their ancient times exhibit, but as for
being Xena related, it was useless.
Mel had two more
scrolls from this find to observe. She didnít take her time
in opening it. Quickly she unwrapped it, taking little care in
its preservation. She flung it open so the parchment rolled
toward the floor, snapping sharply but not breaking as it
When Mel noticed
the handwriting on it she stopped its dramatic swinging motion
by grabbing the bottom of it. The first word Mel read made her
take a sharp intake of breath - so sharp in fact that Janice
looked up from across the room.
it?" Janice asked.
Mel simple uttered
the first word on the page.
That got Janiceís
attention. She scurried to her feet. A box full of ancient
dinning wear she had been searching through was quickly
"You found a
scroll?!" Janice asked on the short trip over.
Mel just nodded and
her lips moved silently as she read it.
Janice said trying to get the belle to look at her. "What
have you got?"
Mel put the
parchment down to look at her partner. "I havenít found
anything in all this mess until now... See?" the
translator offered by turning the scroll around.
Sure enough, the
first word was Xena. "Did Gabrielle write it?"
know." Mel smirked, trying not to let Janiceís nosiness
aggravate her. "You wonít let me read it," she
It was the
southerner's gentle way of putting her foot down and saying
Ďleave me alone so I can workí Ė a way of being firm yet
gentle at the same time. Janice respected the soft-spoken
authority that belonged to her partner. She even perhaps
envied it on some level. Janiceís character as a hot head
was known on all four points of the world.
Without any more
discussion, Janice unrolled the last scroll. It had writing as
well. Mel tried to look at it over Janiceís shoulder to see
what was written but the archeologist pulled away, hiding the
parchment from her lover.
Janice tisked. "This oneís mine. That oneís yours." She grinned.
Mel sighed in
frustration but she had to smile as well. Turnabout was fair
Miss Covington, Iíll make a deal," she countered with a
seductive tone rising to her voice.
that?" Janice replied, as she felt the hairs on the make
of her neck rise up to scratch her collar.
you mine if you show me yours."
Janice smiled. She
was grateful that after all these years Mel still liked to
play, tease and eventually please her.
talking about the scrolls, right?" Janice smiled.
"Why of course
my dear doctor? What did you think?"
Oh yeah. Mel still
of course," Janice said handing her parchment over to Mel
without further argument. The belle never being one to gloat,
just smiled in victory.
She held the
parchment so she and Janice could both see it and read at
their own pace. Over the years Janiceís pace picked up
considerably thanks to all of Melís late night sessions but
Mel was still the stronger of the two Ė especially with
syntax. It was obvious to the translator that this scroll was
not written my Gabrielle. Not only was the bard's name
mentioned in it, which was very rare, but the handwriting was
different. With that in mind Mel dug into the text and the two
women began to read.
sure why Iím doing this. Legacy. Thatís what Gabrielle
called it when we were in Egypt a few weeks ago when she did
the same thing. I called her crazy but as I sit here tonight
missing my son, Lyceus, it just seems like the thing to do.
Iíd tell Gabrielle about this but Iím sure sheíd never
let me live it down. Not that Iím complaining. Itís one of
the things I love most about her Ė she never lets me off the
hook easy. She challenges the choices I make. Perhaps if I had
met her earlier in my life, things would have been much
different. But we canít change the past can we?
As I said, I have a
son. Iíve had two sons actually, but Solan is gone. He would
have been 16 this year Ė a man practically... "
The words stopped
Janice and Mel in their tracks and they exchanged a look of
disbelief. Both of them started to calculate what they knew
about the warrior. When she was a warlord. When she met
Gabrielle. When the first child was born... well at least what
they THOUGHT was the first child. Their curiosity of the
remaining letter however pulled them back in. They could
been trying to have our second child together with my brother
but so far itís been unsuccessful. She takes things so hard.
She thinks that itís her fault but perhaps her prior
experience with motherhood has damaged her in someway. It
wouldnít surprise me. Perhaps Dahakís gift to her Ė
leave her sterile so Hope would be her one and only. So not
only has the past left us with many painful memories but also
doubts in our future."
Mel pulled the
parchment away and the two womenís eyes met.
on," Mel sighed. "Did I just read what I thought I
"You mean that
BOTH Xena and Gabrielle have had children and nothing was ever
written about either one?"
Mel nodded, looking off across the room.
it?" Janice asked.
Mel got pulled back
from her thoughts by Janiceís voice. "Nothing... just
Mel settled back,
trying to find a starting place. "Both of them have had
ever been spoken about either correct?"
weíve found an entire year is missing from their
doesnít mean it isnít out there somewhere," Janice
Mel shrugged and
went back to the scroll, "Guess youíre right."
Wait," Janice said placing her hand on Melís forearm.
"Whatís your point?"
"Maybe the two
It was obvious
Janice didnít see where Mel was coming from so she
continued. "I mean maybe Gabrielle had something to do
with Solanís death and maybe the pregnancy had something to
do with that."
you say that?" Janice asked.
Mel reflected a bit
before continuing. "Perhaps, Xena had to make a choice of
some kind... Think about it. Gabrielle was a very loving
person Ė she would have mentioned the child, BOTH of the
children. Something prevented it though."
"Maybe it was
just too painful to write about Ė losing a child can be
devastating. Especially to someone loving like
but itís the fact that a year Ė AN ENTIRE YEAR - is
missing from their lives. And look at Xenaís words about the
child Gabrielle had... What was her name?... Hope... See how
she talks about Hope and pain and... " Mel didnít go
on. Her mind was active again.
"So you think
that somehow this child Solan died as a result of... of
know," Mel shrugged. "And from the looks of what
weíve found so far we might not ever know."
Janice said rising up and starting to pace. "Gabrielle
would have wrote about it. She worked everything out on paper
Ė EVERYTHING. She would have written something."
did," Mel offered. "But perhaps she destroyed it
herself. We might not ever know."
Janice knew that
was true. If only Xena could come back into Melís body for a
few minutes she could ask the warrior herself. Perhaps they
never would know. But they did have more left to read and with
that thought, Janice took her seat next to Mel again and they
proceeded on with their reading.
itís in the past. And as I said we canít change the past.
Our future however does look bright. And Gabrielle is a
wonderful mother to Lye. He adores her to death and she does
have a habit of overindulging him from time to time. My mother
tells me not to worry. With Gabrielleís carefree attitude on
most things and my demand for discipline we even each other
out and weíre on the path to having a well rounded child.
Iím firm with him
but thatís because I love him. He has to know there are
limits. I never had that. And there are many parts of myself
that I donít want him to follow. I also know he has the
capacity for it.
My only hope is he
gets Autolycusí temperament and my physical skills to aid
him if trouble does arise in his life as far as whatís in
his blood. Gabrielle will teach him to see the beauty in
things and the need to preserve it, not destroy it. Thatís
something thatís taken me years to understand. But if
Gabrielle can teach me Iím sure Lye will be no problem.
The scroll Iíve
enclosed here is Gabrielleís. As I said she doesnít know
Iím doing this. Sheís sound asleep in our bed here in
Gaul. The King sent word to us for help on our way back from
Egypt. Gabrielle, like always, convinced me to lead a hand.
Itís only a few extra days travel if we pushed she said. So
here I sit. The woman can talk me into anything.
But, tomorrow, we
leave and I canít wait to see Lye. I guess I just wanted to
leave this scroll because, although Gabrielle has a biased
opinion, it shows more than the daring stuff I do which she
often embellishes upon. She calls it poetic license or
something like that. I guess Iíd like people to know that
the warrior princess was just a human... not the hero
Gabrielle so often pumps me up to be. Truth be known I like
the hero status but the only one whose opinion matters to me
is Gabrielleís Ė she is my light. She is my source.
Without her, there would be no hero."
Mel and Janice
exchanged a brief look and dived into Gabrielleís scroll. To
say that Xena peaked their interest with her introduction was
an understatement. Two sets of eyes zeroed in on the new
parchment now before them.
bondmate. My lover. Lyeís mother. Amphipolisí mayor...
Xena has many roles now. All of them are important to me. This
scroll however is about her challenges with motherhood.
Xena has many
skills Ė parenting wasnít always one of them... until now.
Our son is still quite young but I see each day how she learns
more and more about being a mother. Watching the former
Destroyer of Nations change a diaper for the first time was a
rare treat. Hereís a woman who could make parchment fly yet
couldnít make heads or tails of a white piece of cloth to
put on her sonís bare bottom. I tired not to laugh. Honest I
did. I just couldnít help myself. And by the end she and I
were both laughing.
She was so nervous
about motherhood at the beginning. Her past, not so much the
future, was her main concern. She didnít want Lye hurt by
all the pain she had caused years before. Itís
understandable. Xena was not a good person but she learned
about love. She realized she had the best opportunity now by
having a child and teaching him all the things she didnít
understand until later in life. She also has a playmate to pal
around with too. A nice cover for her to have a Ďsecond
Lyeís toys are
made from the best-sanded down wood. His clothes are made from
the heaviest cotton for winter. His summer clothes are
comfortable so he doesnít rash. Xena has taken every step to
insure that our son is health and happy but even though she
takes great care bad things still happen.
Last winter was
tough. Lye, then two winters old, came down with a fever. Many
people in the village had it and many people died. Xena sat
with him 20 hours a day for over a week Ė only sleeping when
I forced her too, only eating when I brought her something.
When she wasnít watching over his bed she was mixing and
matching healing herbs, looking for something Ė ANYTHING Ė
that would take away the illness.
Autolycus had come
to visit that week and I couldnít help but feel a pang of
jealous as I saw the two of them watching Lye sleep. I knew
Lye was my son but there was no denying Autolycusí presence
in the child as well as the fact that Lye would never be of my
As I watched them I
wondered if Xena had made the right choice. Was she better off
with Autolycus? Did she need a husband instead of a bondmate?
Would Lye be better off if he had his mother AND his father in
his life? Looking back I know it was from lack of sleep and
health that made me cast doubt on whether she and I had made
the right choice.
Auto didnít want
to put us out so he stayed at motherís inn. After he left
for the evening, Xena and I fought bitterly. I was determined
to leave. She was determined I stay. I thought Lye needed
something that I couldnít give him. She felt I could be the
best influence on his life. I felt like an outsider that night
and I took all my rage and insecurity out on Xena. She took my
rage and insecurity and turned it into passion and hope.
After I realized
how ridiculous the arguments had been (and she put my mind at
ease) we ended up in bed making love. Hardly no sleep. Hardly
no nourishment. And the woman still had stamina. But it
wasnít just her stamina that surprised me that night, it was
her love. Her love to see that Lye was brought up the best way
possible. Her love to see that I understood her and stayed
The next morning we
woke up late. Lye climbed into bed with the two of us. Xena
felt him and knew his temperature had dropped. And he smiled
again. I donít think Iíve seen Xena return a smile as big
as she did that morning. And thatís what I remember most.
All the thanks, all
the praise, all the tokens of esteem Xena received over the
years while being Ďthe warrior princessí, didnít mean as
much as this young boys smile. It was the greatest gift she
ever got. She loves our son... and me... and sheís the right
choice... the only choice... for me.
Things will be hard
at times, Iíve learned. But Lye has a head start on the
other village children. Not because heís the son of ĎThe
Warrior Princessí. Because heís the son of Xena, devoted
Janice and Mel sat
silent for a few moments. Mel started to sip her coffee again
as Janice rewrapped the scroll.
"Even Xena had
doubts about being a mother," Mel finally spoke.
"And Gabrielle had doubts of her own as well... Does it
make you feel any better to know youíre not alone?
Insecurity goes back a long way," Mel added with a grin.
Janice smiled as
well but didnít look at her partner. She opted to play with
the ends of the paper instead.
Janice answered. "I guess it does... Things will work
Janice," Mel replied. "Things wonít be easy like
Gabrielle wrote... but they will Ďwork outí just
As a Ďbonus
paymentí for working on the artifact research, the French
institute Ďgaveí Janice and Mel the latest scrolls so they
could do more analysis on them Ė returning them at their
leisure. However, that wasnít the only thing they left
France with. A beautiful 14-week-old baby girl was also in
Mel knew after the
first few days just where Gabrielle was coming from in her
remarks about Xenaís parenting style. Janice was always a
stickler for details. Soon she found out that her loverís
parenting skills fell under the same scrutiny. Did she wrap
the diaper tight enough? Yet not too tight? Did she burp her
enough after feeding? Did she make sure Moniqueís cap was
secure before they went outside? It would have been enough to
drive anyone else nuts but Mel knew it was just Janice being...
In fact, she loved
knowing that Janice had an interest in the baby. She even
overheard Janice doing Ďbaby talkí to Monique one evening
although Janice swore up and down it was Melís
Ďimaginationí. Imagination or not, it looked like Janice
and Monique were well on their way to bonding. And Mel was
delighted to say the least.
Mel snuggled into
the airliner seat with Monique cuddled up in her arms. Janice
sat to the left of her, making sure the diaper bag had all the
necessities for the long trip home. Mel couldnít help but
smile. Janice caught the smile.
Janice asked in her temperamental tone. "Iím making
sure we got everything. I never thought someone so little
could need so much stuff. Hell, Iím a grown woman and I
donít require this much."
Mel chuckled at
Janiceís attempt of brash complaints as a mask for her
caring nature. She simply leaned over to Janiceís ear and
"I love you,
Janice," she sighed affectionately, letting Janice know
she hadnít been fooled.
Janice looked at
her partner and their daughter. The fact that Monique was
Ďtheir daughterí finally hit home for the first time.
ĎScatter to the Windsí Janice Covington now had a family
and she wondered at what point she had become her father. With
that realization she notice something else. She felt like her
FATHER Ė not her mother, who ducked out years before. Yeah...
she was in this one for the duration.
"I love you
too, Mel," Janice replied feeling the plane start itís
taxi. She leaned over and kissed Monique on the crown and
settled back into her seat eyes closed.
Yes, it may not
always be easy but one way or another it would Ďwork outí.