Chapter Four

Finally they could see the house. Xena smiled as she saw it. She could not wait to get into some dry clothes. Hercules hopped off first and than helped her down. She grabbed the bags and he went to put Argo in the barn. She went inside and took in the familiar smell that still lingered.

Shivering she went over to the fireplace and found the wood in the dark. It was obvious Hercules had restocked it before he left. She was shivering like mad as she managed to get a fire started. It lit up the room to reveal the bearskin rug she was kneeling on. She dropped their bags in a corner, but than stood close to the fire to feel it's warmth, before she went in the back room and brought some more logs to the front just as Hercules came in. He shut the door with very little difficulty.

"Hey come on let's get you into dry clothes." Hercules said seeing the blue around her lips in the dark. He took the logs from her, and set them down. He rubbed her arms with his cold hands to create heat as they went upstairs.

"Stop it doesn't work when we're both cold as ice." Xena said. Hercules stopped.

"Can't blame me for trying." Hercules said. Xena didn't even glance at the door next to their bedroom. Hercules did however, and a sad look came into his eyes. He masked it though when Xena asked him to light a few candles. He hurried downstairs, and got a candle. He lit it from the fire place and went upstairs lighting the hall candles on the way. He than lit the ones in their room. He managed to use the last of the wood in the room to light a fire in the fire place.

In the room was a huge bed they had both worked on together as a way to spend time together. She could have just left it up to him. At the foot of the bed was a trunk full of old weapons of hers or so he thought. She kept it locked, so he had no way of knowing that inside it was full of sexy lingerie and regular chemises. In the room there was also dressers made of oak just like the bed and trunk.

One dresser was for her and the other one was for him. There was also a vanity with a mirror he'd found in Athens, and just had to give it to her. They'd had to leave for a time, but when she came back he had just set it up. She liked it because he'd gotten for her.

"Are you ok?" Hercules asked seeing she was still shivered even though she had a dry undergarments, pants, and tunic on. She nodded and took her wet things downstairs. With some rope she hung their wet clothes to dry, before sitting down on the bearskin rug before the fire. She remained silent thinking of nothing as she slowly started to get warm. Hercules came downstairs and went into one of the back rooms. Than back upstairs. Neither of them spoke. He came back down again and went back to one of the back rooms. He set more wood by the fire from their supply of fire wood. Than he went to one of the back rooms again.

"Hey guess what I found." Hercules said.

"A blanket?" Xena asked not looking at him.

"Yes, but that's not what I'm talking about."

"Well I don't know." Xena replied quietly. He showed her a small bundle before wrapping a fur blanket around them both. Thunder clashed outside as it started to rain harder."What is it?" She look at him not seeing what he had held up.

"Close your eyes and no peeking." Hercules said."But is this better?"

"Yeah, a lot better thank you," Xena said."So what exactly did you find that I have to close my eyes?"

"Close your eyes, and I'll show you," Hercules said. She sighed and closed her eyes. He put a cloth in her hand. She opened her eyes and looked at him questioningly.

"Open the cloth up and see," Hercules said. Xena looked at him and than down at the cloth. Slowly she opened it, and held up a baby's rattle. She'd made the rattle for what would have been her second child. But this time she was going to be a mother to him or her. Hercules even talked about getting a six year old Solan at the time, and bringing him to live with them. But now Solan was dead, and so was that child. She'd miscarried at six months, and the midwife didn't think to look at the sex of the baby. Hercules had been trying to find a special plant that would help stop the miscarriage, but Xena couldn't hold the baby in and the baby wouldn't stay in. Besides that he or she was already dead she realized later. The baby didn't die after it came out. It died way before it came out.

"I thought I lost this," Xena said.

"Yeah, I know," Hercules said."I found it in a pile of blankets. You must have accidentally put it in there when it was your turn to do laundry."

"Probably," Xena said as she shook the rattle a little bit."What do you think we had a boy or girl?" She leaned back against him.

"I don't know, but I always thought we'd have a little boy first," Hercules said.

"Really, I always thought we'd have a little girl."

"We can always have both," Hercules said. Xena didn't reply. They sat in silence once more.

"You know before Solan died he wanted to come with me," Xena said.

"Yeah, but I got the feeling Gabrielle was leaving something out," He said.

"She was at my request. She left out that I told Solan I was his mother," Xena said. She felt like she could tell Hercules anything."The last thing he said to me was mother." A sadness filled Xena's heart as tears ran down her cheeks.

"It'll get better, remember how it got a little better for us both after the miscarriage," He said trying to comfort her.

"Its not the same and you know it," said Xena,"I just felt so empty after losing the baby, but now I feel like a part of me died." She cried, but than she stopped. Hercules was at a loss at the moment, but than decided that she probably just needed to cry. Usually women just felt better after they cried.

"Are you alright?" Hercules asked.

"Yea, I guess," Xena said wiping her eyes."It's just..." Xena sighed.

"It's just what?" Hercules asked.

"I miss Solan, and it hurts to have given a way a child and than when you finally come back into his life, a year later he's murdered by your best friend's demon child. And six years earlier you miscarried a child three months away from being born."

"I know," Hercules said trying to comfort her.

"And that's another problem right there. As a woman I know you'd never understand the feeling as much as I do, because your a man. I want you to try and understand, but than I don't, because when you try to understand you essentially make it worst nine out of ten times."

"Xena, I do understand," Hercules said understanding what she meant. He'd only fathered his children. He hadn't a womb to keep them warm and safe in for nine months before going though horrible pain, and giving birth. He knew women and children bonded during the months of pregnancy. Their pain was truly from the heart. No not the heart, but the soul. His came from his heart, but it hurt a lot worse when part of your soul died.

"Do you?" Xena asked. When she said it. She was asking him did he really understand her pain. Did his pain go as deep.

"My pain doesn't go as deep I understand that, and I know you feel like part of your soul has been taken from you just as I feel my heart has been ripped out when I lost every last one of my kids, Deinaira, and even Serena. And especially when we lost our child. It was like my second chance too." Xena turned away from him when he mention Serena. She wiped a tear off her cheek.

"From my understanding you have a big heart. Only you I can believe can understand my pain, but others ... Sigh ...gods I know it'll never happen." Hercules remained silent. He wished he understood her pain more. Than maybe she wouldn't be compelled to cry as she did now. That in itself was rare.

"You know what?" Xena asked.

"What?" Hercules asked.

"I think I would have just died that night if it had been a girl. Don't get me wrong I wouldn't have minded having another son, but ever since me and my mother developed a bad relationship I just had to have a girl if I ever had kids," Xena confessed." The worse part about it all is even though I never checked before the midwife took the body away I think it was a girl."

Xena started crying all over again as her emotions just ran free. Hercules tried to comfort her the best way he knew how. She got a handle on her emotions enough to fall sleep. He gently lifted her up without removing the blanket from around either of them. He carried her upstairs to their room. He gently laid her on the bed, and put the furs over her. He tried to quietly walk out.

"Hercules." Xena called looking at him. He turned around.

"Yes?" Hercules asked. He'd tried really hard to wake her up.

"Where are you going?" Xena asked.

"To sleep in one of the other rooms I assumed you wouldn't want to share a bed." Hercules said.

"Stay with me tonight please." She said. Hercules hesitated."Besides it's your room too." He was silent and than walked back to the bed. He climbed under the covers as she held them up. She snuggled up close to him, and went back to sleep. Hercules was happy he wasn't being kicked out of the room, because he loved her and this bed with its fond memories. Soon he drifted off to sleep comfortably with his arms around her.