Xena: Little Warrior - Little One

by Hamutal

General Copyright/Disclaimer: Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle, Argo and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way.

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When Xena was a very little girl she didn't speak. She didn't even make the slightest sound. Her father was very worried about that. He thought it indicated that there was something seriously wrong with her. He always urged her to speak, using manipulations, bribes and even threats, but her mother, Cyrene, always said that he should leave the child alone and that she would speak when she's ready.

Cyrene always told her friends that she wasn't at all worried about her daughter for even without speaking and at a very early age, Xena had something very powerful about her. She had the ability to get everybody to do everything she wanted, especially her brother Toris who, despite being older than Xena, was completely wrapped around her little finger.

One day, while Xena watched closely as her mother was mending some cloths she was suddenly startled by an alarming expression on her mother's face. She opened up her big blue eyes and kept looking and there it was again. It looked like her mother was in pain. Xena was very worried. Cyrene called Toris to her "Quickly, run to Diomeda. Tell her it's time." Diomeda's hut was on the other side of the village, but it was a small village and Toris knew the way.

In the meantime Xena was becoming more and more anxious. Being a sensitive little girl, she wished to help her mother in some way, so she approached her and caressed her face, her hair and her arms, like her mother did to her when she was in pain. Her mother smiled at her daughter's attempts and kissed the top of her head while embracing her. Still Xena was very troubled.

Finally, Toris came in with Diomeda, her daughter Ioannina and Cyrene's friend Selenia who gathered the two children and told them they had to go. Xena refused to move. Selenia tried to get her to move, noting to herself that the girl was extremely strong for a child so young. Finally she was able to pick her up and carry her out. The little girl didn't revolt or start to cry, but bestowed on her surrounding a piercing gaze.

When they arrived to her hut, Selenia gave the children permission to play outside. Toris was about to suggest a game but Xena didn't even look at his direction as she started running. "What are you doing, Xena?" her brother called after her. "I'm gonna tell Selenia on you." But Xena didn't listen. She ran home as fast as her little feet could carry her.

Finally she arrived very closely and crept quietly to the entrance. She knew she couldn't afford to be caught. As she stood at the entrance her eyes opened up with amazement. What she saw both scared and excited her.

Her mother was lying in bed, Diomeda and Ioannina on her sides, holding her hands. She was red and wet and looked like she was suffering. Xena wanted to run to her, but she knew she would only get sent outside again, so she just stood there and stared for the longest time.

Finally her mother noticed her and smiled faintly beneath the tears and the sweat, trying to reassure her daughter. Just then Selenia appeared behind Xena and seized her. "I'm sorry about that, Cyrene," she said. "I came as soon as Toris told me". Xena knew there was nothing she could do. She didn't even try to resist this time, but suddenly Cyrene whispered "Let her stay."

Xena looked and saw Diomeda wrapping something and putting it in her mother's arms. "Come here, my little one," Cyrene called and the girl approached her, still bewildered. "Look," Cyrene said. "Here's your baby brother." Xena examined the tiny purple face with avid curiosity. "You've got to look out for him now," Cyrene said. "You're his big sister". Big sister. How strange that sounded. She knew that Toris was her big brother and that she was his little sister. What did it mean to be somebody's big sister? She stretched her hand and tried to touch his face very gently. Her mother used her free arm to pull her closer and kiss her hair and face.

In the middle of that night, Cyrene woke up to a strange sound. She couldn't determine what it was at first but then she realized where it came from. In the moonlight that came through the cracks in the ceiling she saw Xena, standing by her baby brother's crib, singing him a lullaby. Cyrene couldn't decide which was the most amazing part of the whole event - the fact that Xena had finally opened her mouth? The fact that her voice was so clear and her singing so beautiful? Or the fact that she remembered the whole lullaby, although Cyrene hadn't sang it since Xena was a few months old?

This was the beginning of a unique bond between Xena and her brother Lyceus. Xena looked out for Lyceus more like a second mother than an older sister, while he completely idolized everything she had said or done.

And ever since that night in her early childhood, whenever Xena is excited or moved she begins to sing.

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