Usual disclaimers apply.
We were three days from home and so far, our trip on the road had been uneventful. I was still wary, but had decided not to borrow trouble, as Yaya would say. Still, I knew something wasn't quite right and it made me very uncomfortable.
I had been riding point slightly falling behind Mama and was using the time in the saddle to run things through my mind. I knew that Rory and I would be joining the ceremony and party for those receiving their first feathers and for some reason I just couldn't bring myself to be excited for this rite of passage. All I wanted to do was write but being on the road hadn't afforded me the opportunity to pick up my journal and try and clear my brain from the thoughts swirling there.
We had stopped for a late lunch in a wonderful spot and I imagined we'd be camping here for the night. We were all ready for an early evening and I was grateful for the break. Sitting down next to Mom I leaned against her and watched as she stirred the stew. "Mom, tell me again why I'm receiving a feather."
Putting her arm around me Mom pulled me to her and kissed the top of my head, "Why is this bothering you so much, Sammy?"
"I don't know." I answered honestly. "I guess because I wasn't expecting it. I mean I called out gods. Foreign gods at that," I sighed. "And I guess I realized things are changing again."
"Things are always changing, Sammy."
"I know," I felt the tears then and brushed at my eyes. "You know how I feel about that," I spat before rising as quickly as I could and running to the woods surrounding us.
"Gabrielle?" Xena watched her oldest run into the woods and looked with worried eyes to her eyes.
"Go after her, Xena."
Nodding briefly the warrior took off as fast as she could only be stopping when she no longer saw her daughter's footprints. Looking up, she smiled and shook her head. "Little one, come down, please."
Hearing the sigh, Xena waited for a few moments and then smiled as Sam dropped in front of her.
"Never forget to, "Look up." I replied with Mama.
Leaning into my Mama, I began to cry in full and couldn't stop. I finally stopped the tears and was grateful for the cloth she gave me to wipe my eyes. "Come on, little one, let's go find a place to talk."
"What kind of talk?" I asked.
"I'm not sure," she answered. "Your mom told me to go after you, so I did."
"Sometimes Mom is a little vague," I supplied as we sat under a tall tree."
"Sometimes," Mama agreed.
I waited for Mama to lean against the tree and snuggled against her the best I could. "I hate being so tall." I complained.
"I haven't heard you say that for a long while," Mama commented before I leaned my head on her shoulder and wrapped my arms around her. Feeling her rub my back and kiss the top of my head I closed my eyes and tried to pretend that we were in the future. That I was little again and not here, that I wasn't about to earn my first feather, but rather we were just enjoying time after a long ride.
"Talk to me, little one. Tell me what's going on in that head of yours." Mama's voice was quiet, and my eyes slowly opened.
"I wish I could," sighed deeply and tried to snuggle into her further. "I'm confused for one thing. I know you and Mom told me the reasoning behind the first feather, but I mean, I called out a god. And not just any god, but a foreign god, without any adult back up. Rory and I were expecting to be walking home." I explained honestly.
"You still hate growing up, I see." Mama's low timber caused the tears to resurface and I angrily wiped them away.
"Why, Mama? I don't understand. Rory is over the moon about her first feather and all I can think of is that I didn't get my tail roasted."
"What else are you thinking and feeling?"
"That more is coming. I keep feeling…" I trailed off trying to find the words for what it was I needed to convey. "I feel as if something is trying to come to the forefront. To take over, something can be more powerful than any gods or humans. It's making me feel as if there is nothing I can do to defeat it and that every victory is just another small battle to a still ultimate defeat."
"Anything else?" Mama pressed.
I shrugged my shoulders and it was Mama's turn to sigh. "You really don't understand why we didn't call you on your decision to call out Indar do you?"
"No, I don't." I turned myself and laid my head in her lap. "Even Rory said we'd have our asses handed to us on a silver platter for doing that. I mean Indar showed up along with two older gods just because. The Olympus gods couldn't help us until the Rune began to work. What if it hadn't worked? What if he'd hurt Rory or somebody else I cared about in Amphipolis. What if he'd destroyed or done something to Amphipolis or it's people? I took a huge risk and got lucky, Mama. Why am I getting a feather?"
"Tell me, little one, two years ago, even a year ago, would you have thought of all those things?"
"Probably not. Not all of them, not in the way I do now." I answered honestly.
"And that, my little one, is the difference. You weighed all of that against the benefits of calling Indar out to find the answers that you needed. You had a backup plan if things went south…."
"How did you…." I interrupted.
"I would have," Mama chuckled.
"And I'm too much like you not to have a plan in place as well." I finished.
"Yup." Mama chuckled, and I relished the feeling of her fingers carding through my hair. "Think you're ready to head back?"
"I suppose." I finally answered. "I still don't like it though."
"Well, maybe I can help there." Mama grabbed me suddenly and before I could get my barings I was over her lap and had received a flurry of swats.
"Mama!" I hollered. "The swats hadn't really hurt but it had been a surprise. Mama's laugh as she helped me sit up caused me to laugh with her.
"Feel better now?" she teased.
"Much." I hugged her once more and then stood. "Bet I beat you back to camp!" I yelled as I was already running towards our campsite before Mama was even on her feet.
I made it back to camp before Mama and spent the time I had talking to Mom about what Mama and I had done in the woods.
Mama finally came walking into camp carrying a couple of dressed rabbits with her smiling and whistling only to stop when Mom turned to glare at her. Taking the rabbits from her Mom handed them to me, "Get these ready and put them in the stew."
I took them and started to do as I was told before Mom turned on Mama, "How could you do that to Sam, Xena?"
"How could I what, Gabrielle?" Mama looked at her in confusion.
"After everything, and then to do that?" Looking confused Mama's hands went to Mom's back when Mom threw her arms around Mama in a hug. "You are a wonderful, mother, Xena." She whispered low enough for only Mama and me to hear.
"Aw, the big warrior princess needed a hug…." Rory teased before seeing the ornery look on Mom's face about teasing her wife. "Uh-oh," Rory commented before standing and taking off into the woods as fast as she could followed closely by Mom while Mama's laughter followed.
I know that this is a short chapter, but it needed to get out. My internet has been having issues and I figured I'd get this out while I could.
Please let me know what you think.
More Glee should be on the way as well as more Sam.