Room At The Inn
Disclaimers: The characters of Xena: Warrior Princess and all others associated with the television series of the same name are owned by Studios USA. 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: No. This is a Valentines Day piece no violence unless Xena strangles Cupid.
Gabrielle bit down on the tiny sweet pastry as she stirred a wooden spoon through the cider, slowly mulling on the hearth. The inn was quite toasty considering the freak snowstorm that had rumbled through the valley stopping all movement of any sane person.
It certainly wasnt what she and Xena had in mind when they detoured back to Amphipolis to check on Cyrene and see if the inn needed any work before the spring rains set in.
What they found was the tavern in perfect condition, Cyrene smiling and singing as she tended to the patrons and the cause of her happiness was apparently the gentleman, who informed Xena that he and Cyrene had an arrangement. When Xena wanted to know the details, Cyrene only grinned, glanced at Gabrielle and told Xena, "Ill tell you mine if you tell me yours". That shut the younger woman up.
Xena decided that her services were not required and that she and Gabrielle could move on the very next morning. Then the storm hit.
So now the foursome was all but trapped and for how long was anybodys guess.
Gabrielle actually liked, Keleus. He was about Cyrenes age, full of life and good spirits like the innkeeper herself and it was obvious that he adored her. In the bards opinion they actually made a very cute couple.
Hearing the steps creaking, Gabrielle looked over to see Xena slowly coming down them, all the while glancing back over her shoulder with a sour look on her face.
"Its not right," Xena grumbled, taking a chair by the fire.
Gabrielle managed to hold back the laugh. "Whats not right?"
"The way theyre carrying on."
"And whats wrong with it? They are both mature adults." Gabrielle handed Xena a mug of the warm cider and took a seat next to her in another chair. "I think theyre cute."
"They are not cute!"
"Xena." The bard scolded, even as she touched her partners leg to take the sting from her words. "Now dont be like that. Your mom deserves to be happy and if Keleus makes her happy who are we to complain?"
"What do we know about him? How do we know hes not after her money, the tavern?"
Blonde brows rose and she stared at Xena. "Youre joking?"
"I most certainly am not. We dont know anything about him."
"This is true, but your mother does and she seems to care for him a lot."
Xena just grumbled and sipped her cider.
"You know," Gabrielle began slowly. "There is a way to solve this problem."
The warrior seemed to perk up instantly. "Youre going to let me kill him?"
"No," she sighed at the level of frustration Xena could cause on any given day. "You could get to know him."
"Now why would I want to do that when simply killing him would be far more satisfying?"
"You know what?"
"I think youre afraid you might like him."
"Dont be ridiculous. I would never like him."
"Gods!" Gabrielle got up from her spot and began pacing around the room, as she was known to do when something frustrated her. She had paced a lot since meeting Xena and even more since they had become lovers.
"Xena, I love you with all my heart, but sometimes you can be so stubborn."
A dark head dropped and now it was her turn to sigh. "I suppose youre right."
This stopped her pacing and she turned slowly to face her companion. "Huh?" She had never known Xena to give in this easily and it surprised her to no end.
"I said, youre right. Im jumping to conclusions. I should give Keleus a chance."
"Well, now good. Im sure youll like him. Hes a very nice man. I talked to him when he was fixing supper for your mother. I mean the man cooks for her. How bad can he be?"
"I mean, I cook for you and were a pretty good match."
"Right again." Xena smiled and extended her hand, inviting Gabrielle to rejoin her. "And he does seem to make my mom happy."
"He does. Ive never seen her smile like that before."
"But if I find out something bad can I kill him?"
"Ill hold him down for you. This is my mother were talking about too you know."
"Well, its nice to know Ive got back up if I need it."
Gabrielle smiled and straddled Xenas lap so she was facing her lover. "Im always here if you need me."
The next morning didnt alleviate the snow problem at all, but it did ease the tension between Cyrenes daughter and her gentleman friend. Gabrielle was pleased to see that Xena was indeed making an effort to get to know the man as they completed a few minor repairs to the place.
Meanwhile, she and Cyrene stayed busy in the kitchen, preparing meat for the evening meal.
"I dont know whats gotten into Xena. Shes been grouchy as an old bear since you two arrived."
Gabrielle stepped closer to Cyrene and whispered, "I think shes jealous."
The older woman took a quick look at Xena, who was helping Keleus put a box of supplies on a high shelf. "Why would she be jealous?"
Taking her arms and leading Cyrene away from the pair, the blonde continued. "I think shes jealous of Keleus."
"Thats ridiculous. She has no reason "
Gabrielle held her hand up. "Just hear me out. Think about this for just a moment. You and Xena had a falling out "
"Thats a polite way to put it," Cyrene grinned.
"I know, but the fact remains that you two lost a lot of time. And it hasnt been that long since youve reconciled. Now I think she feels like maybe hes taking a place in your life that shes trying to get back."
"It make perfect sense but its just silly. I can love them both."
"Of course I do!"
"Love him I mean." Gabrielle smiled and wiggled her brows.
Cyrene blushed, which Gabrielle found quite charming in a woman of her age and experience. "I think so."
"Your mother is a wonderful woman." The older man said as he gave the crate a little shove to settle it against the wall.
"I know." Xena picked up another crate and handed it to him. As he laid his hands on it, she held it and looked him in the eye. "And I hope you know Id kill anyone who hurt her."
Keleus smiled, nodding as she released the crate to him. "I know. I have no intention of hurting your mother, Xena. Shes very special and Im glad she came into my life."
"Exactly how did that happen any how? Youre not from around here. I know everyone who lives in this area."
"I own a farm, north of here. I was coming through to sell some extra grain from fall harvest and I met your mother. She hired me to put a patch on the roof."
"And you just stuck around?"
"Its not like that. I fixed the roof and was on my way back home. But I couldnt get the thought of your mother out of my mind. So I went home, told my son I was coming back to Amphipolis for the winter and had him take care of the place."
"You have a son?"
"I do," Keleus nodded. "Hes about your age."
"Does Mom know this?"
"Yes," the older man tried his best not to laugh at the tall woman. Her attempts to be protective of her mother were very endearing and he knew if he patiently answered all her questions eventually she would see that she had no reason to dislike him. "She would like for him to come down in the spring so she can meet him."
She didnt say anything, but he could see her stiffen a bit as she stacked a few more small crates.
"Just like Im glad I got to meet you."
She turned around and started to say something, but stopped, her jaw making an audible click as she turned and left the storage room.
"Boy you raise em stubborn, Cy." Keleus chuckled as he continued to straighten the room.
Xena stormed into the common room and looked like she was going to storm to the door until she remembered that the three feet of snow was going to keep her from getting to far.
"Damn!" She yelled as she looked for something to break.
Gabrielle came in from the kitchen, looking for what was causing a distressed warrior to yell at the top of her lungs. She looked around the room and then to Xena, giving her a what? gesture.
"Does he have to be so damn nice?"
The blonde actually chuckled. "Xena!"
"Well," Xena sat down in a chair and leaned in on the table. "I just cant seem to dislike him."
"Good." Gabrielle joined her partner and took her hand. "Im glad you cant hate him, because your mother loves him."
"Gods!" Xenas head simply dropped to the table.
"Hey," the blonde reached out and rubbed Xenas back in a soothing circular motion. "Its not that bad. Maybe theyll get married and youll have a stepfather."
"And a step brother. Apparently he has a son. My age."
"How cool. I always wanted a brother."
"Gabrielle, youre not helping here."
The bard sighed, knowing that no matter what she said, it was just going to be wrong. Xena was simply in a mood to pout, but she had to try.
"Xena, what would you have done if your mother had decided she wanted to give you a hard time over me?"
"What if Cyrene didnt want to like me? What if she gave you a hard time about me?"
"She wouldnt do that, my mother only wants me to be happy."
"Then why cant you want the same thing for her?"
For the second time that day, Xena was speechless. She strummed her fingers on the table, but didnt dare try to argue that point. She knew she would lose, big time.
"Xena, hes a nice man."
"Yes," Cyrene came into the room very slowly, never taking her eyes off her daughter. "He is a nice man. I care for him very much. I want a chance to really get to know him. Maybe it will lead to more, maybe it wont. Ive been alone a long time." She smiled at Gabrielle. "Just like you were."
Xena signed and nodded. Standing up she embraced her mother. "Im sorry, Mom. I guess I was just well I was just being stupid. I hope you two are happy together."
"Thank you, Daughter. Im sure we will be. Just like you are."
"Yeah," Xena looked shyly at her mother and then to Gabrielle. "I am. I do want that for you too."
Gabrielle stretched and pulled the covers up to warm the bed while Xena washed up and got ready.
"That was a good thing you did tonight."
"What?" Xena tried to play innocent as she dried her face and arms.
"Telling your mother that. She needed to hear that, Xena."
"My mother is a big girl. She would have made her own choices."
"Yes, but blood is thicker than water and if you had absolutely refused to like him, Im not sure she would have continued to see him."
Climbing into bed, Xena opened her arms and Gabrielle slid right into them. "Well I cant begrudge her what she so readily wants me to have. She always has, even when times where bad, and she didnt understand what was going on in my head. She always wanted me to be happy."
"Yeah, she gave you the gift of unconditional love and you did the same tonight."
"For giving it to me, so I could give it to her."
Gabrielle kissed Xenas neck as she snuggled closer. "Im happy to have helped."
"I love you Gabrielle."
"I love you too."