Welcome to Dragon & Tiger

Title and Chapter Number: Morgan's Song 1/?
Fandom: Xena/Hercules
Rating: NC17
Disclaimer: Xena, Ares, and other Herc/Xenaverse Characters are owned by their respective creators and they retain all rights. OC's are owned by me.
Special Warning: None
Beta: None
Cast: Ares, Xena, OC Female
Timeline: This story was originally written long before there was a "Rift", so it doesn't really fit in the time line anywhere, but you may want to consider it somewhere between 'Sacrifice II' and 'A Family Affair'
Spoiler: Not really, since this never happened
Notes: If you came here for the subtext, there isn't much, and you probably won't like how it turns out for Xena in the end. If you continue to read and don't like Ares getting the girl, please don't send me flames, this is your only warning.

It was a nice village, all in all. But it would be good to be home again. After tonight, they would ride victorious back to Tellus. Two days hard ride would bring them home, but for the sake of the wounded, a slower pace would be kind. 5 days was an awful long time for her to wait.

~Patience Morgan. Patience~, she told herself. They had won. The invaders from the north had been thoroughly routed. They would not be back. Of that she was sure. They all deserved a good nightís rest after 3 months of non-stop battle.

~So here I sit, a victorious General in this dump of an inn, drinking piss-stale beer with my people. But we're alive. Thank the Gods for that,~ Morgan mused.

Losses had been mercifully low, and thanks to that warrior woman, Xena, even most of the worst wounded survived. From the far reaches of the West, Morgan had heard. Not only was she a demon in battle, but her knowledge of nursing was invaluable.

Glancing around at her tired warriors, Morgan caught Xena staring at her. ~My imagination. Must be.~

But Xena rose and made her way through the drunken warriors to Morgan's side. Morgan raised a toast to Xena. "To our fallen comrades and to Xena for helping make them few!" A resounding cheer went up from a hundred throats.

"No, Morgan. It was your leadership that brought your people through. I'm just a bystander. TO MORGAN! To friendship!" And aside, to Morgan alone "And soon, to bed!"

Morgan gave her friend a one-eyebrow-raised look at the strange tone in her voice. She had to be imagining things, Xena couldn't mean that!

Xena caught the look Morgan had thrown her way as she upended her stein. She leaned across Morgan to place her empty mug on a table, and got an evil stare from the Lieutenant, Cooper, who was, as always, at Morgan's back.

~If he wasn't always in my way, he wouldn't be a half bad guy,~ Xena mused. ~And he sees right through me! Pity Morgan can't take a hint.~

As Xena straightened, she purposefully brushed her hand across Morgan's thigh.

Morgan jumped at the contact. ~I'm not imagining it, she is hitting on me!~ Her eyes widened as Xena gently stroked her shoulder with one finger.

A shy inviting smile crossed Xena's face. She was nervous. She hadn't been with anyone since Gabrielle. Even now the thought of the bard made her heart clench. But Morgan was so different from Gabrielle, such another being entirely and Xena so lonely...

Morgan was shocked to say the least. Flattered yes, but such a thing had never really entered her mind before. She was also tempted. She considered for a moment. With one short nod, she took Xena's hand and led her from the tavern.

Cooper was appalled. He stood in the cold space that the women had left. How could Morgan do this to him? Of course, she could do whatever she pleased; she had no inkling of his feelings for her. Funny, Xena seemed to know exactly where his heart lay. He abandoned his half-full mug and went out to check the horses.

Quite unnecessarily, he walked near Morgan's tent. ~A glutton for punishment aren't you?~ he asked himself. ~Just can't stand to only be in a little pain. What kind of fool rubs salt into his own wounds?~ He berated himself on the short walk to the stables.

"Ya know, Ares, it seems to me that you just haven't been yourself lately. What's eatin' ya man? Haven't hatch a good plan to get Xena back lately have ya?"

Ares glared at Strife from his perch, lounging across his throne.

"C'mon Unc, this will be fun, I promise!" Strife climbed the dais to stand in front of Ares, one foot on the top step. "Pretty pretty please?" he whined, "Just hear me out?"

"All right! Out with it! My time's valuable ya know."

Xena and Morgan ducked giggling into Morgan's tent only breaths after Cooper had passed. They fell laughing into the open tent flap and half onto Morgan's bedroll.

~Gods it's good to laugh again~ Xena thought, trying to remove her boots and armor and not make enough noise to wake the dead.

Morgan tried desperately to not laugh, which of course, only made her laugh harder. Her dignity already gone, she unceremoniously yanked off her boots and threw them at the door. Somehow Xena found that hilarious, and started another gale of mirth. Morgan tried to sit up, only to realize that she'd had a tad more ale than she should have and flopped back onto the roll. Eventually, both women either ran out of breath or were just too tired to produce even a chuckle.

They lay side by side staring into space towards the top of Morgan's tent. Xena turned her head towards Morgan, watched her chest rise and fall, her pulse beat in her throat. She rolled onto her side, propping her head up on her hand.

Morgan looked up at her friend and soon to be lover. "Xena, I - I've - don't - " she stammered. Her nerves were getting the better of her. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.

"Ssshhhhhh... I know." Xena leaned over and kissed Morgan lightly on the lips. A tingle spread through her.

Morgan hesitated. These strange and unaccustomed sensations thrilled her. Tentatively, she kissed back.

Slowly, both women relaxed into the embrace, deepened the kiss, and released their inhibitions.

Xena, knowing her partnersí inexperience, proceeded slowly. She gently placed her hand on Morgan's thigh, softly rubbing, all the while holding her breath for a protest. When none came, she moved her hand to Morgan's chest. Again no protest. She broke this long kiss, looked into Morgan's eyes for confirmation before continuing.

Morgan smiled up at Xena. This was a new adventure for her, somewhere she'd never thought to go, and she wasn't about to turn back now. In the weeks and months since Xena had joined her little army, the two had grown to be exceptionally close friends, they new each others deepest secrets, and Morgan trusted Xena implicitly.

Xena tugged unsuccessfully at the top tie of Morgan's shirt. She was rapidly becoming frustrated when Morgan suddenly sat up and flipped the shirt off up over her head, then just as suddenly lay back down, patiently waiting for Xena to continue. A mischievous smile lit her face.

It was then that Xena realized that Morgan was in this for the long run, and stopped treating her with kid gloves. She stroked Morgan's breasts, pinched her, kissed her lips and neck, and finally lowered her lips to suck Morgan's nipples. She traced lines of shivers across Morgan's abs with just the tips of her fingers.

Morgan arched her back into Xena's attentions, tangling her fingers in Xena's long dark hair. Her breathing quickened and small moans escaped her lips. She started to squirm beneath Xena's hands.

Without stopping or pausing, Xena found the ties of Morgan's pants and with better luck than before, released the strings. Her long fingers slowly descended Morgan's body until she felt the soft curls of Morgan's womanhood. With one finger she entered the soft wet slit that hid the pearl of Morgan's pleasure. She stroked it once before Morgan stopped her.

Morgan sat up panting. Xena was at a loss, when suddenly Morgan stood and pealed her leathers off. She stood naked before Xena, her legs long for her height, tight thighs, the ass of a goddess, breasts Aphrodite would kill for, hair the color of flame.

She sat back down before Xena realized that she was still fully clothed. Hastily she removed her leather dress as Morgan reclaimed her place reclining next to her. Morgan lay quite relaxed, one hand behind her head, one knee bent and curled. Xena stretched out next to her, placing more kisses on her face and lips. Her hand founds its place once more within the curls at Morgan's crotch. Lightly she stroked the pearl within her loverís nether lips. Her fingers slipped across the spot over and over, sending Morgan into spasms of pleasure.

But Xena wasn't about to let Morgan off so quickly her first time. She changed her tactics, ever so gently sliding her index finger deep inside. Morgan gasped, her eyes wide as she looked up at the warrior, at her lover. Without removing her hand from its warm wet place, Xena shifted her body, over Morgan, then down and between her thighs. Her free hand pushed Morgan's leg up and out, over her shoulder. Morgan spread her legs as wide as she could, allowing Xena room to work.

With both hands now free, she could both rub the pearl and still keep a finger inside. But instead, she decided that her tongue would be an appropriate tool. At first only a little, then taking longer and deeper strokes, Xena licked at Morgan's warm juices. Her tongue flitted over the pearl, then darted into her only to be replaced immediately by her fingers, which she curled and twisted inside Morgan.

Without warning, Morgan came, rippling muscles pushed out Xena's fingers and her juices with a howling moan. She lay panting, spent.

Xena curled tight to Morgan, cupping a breast in her hand.



"When is it my turn?"

The revelry continued long into the night.

Ares looked dubiously at strife from under lowered brows. "I'm through with mortal generals. They're worthless. When they bungle one of my perfect plans all they do is whine and blame everyone but themselves. No more mortals."

Strife rubbed his hands together in anticipated pleasure. "But, this one is a woman."

"ESPECIALLY NO WOMEN!" Ares bellowed, it seemed all Olympus shook.

Strife instinctively ducked and covered, finding slim protection behind a large potted plant. Peeking out he offered, "Just-just look? I really think-"

"Ya know what your problem is? You think too much - and look where it's gotten you."

In the forest, not too far from the village where Morgan and Xena slept, Ares and Strife looked over the pitiful remains of an invading army.

"This is all that's left? What am I supposed to do with this?"

"You can do it my lord. Just give them a little push, and they'll be on their way to the village, and destroying Xena."

"Hummmmmm...not much of a challenge. A bunch of defeated excuses for warriors attack a sleeping village? What's the point?"

"Xena will be the only one able to fight! That whole army is asleep in a drunken stupor. Even she can't defeat 50 desperate men with the God of War behind them."

"I guess it'll be good for a few laughs anyway."

So Strife's plan was set in motion. By dawn, the tattered remains of the Ismal army would be ready to attack the hung over village.

As false dawn broke, The God of War took his place as a spectator on a hilltop overlooking the town. Even his horse was bored, cropping grass idly as, through the gloom, Ares watched the band of savages approach the sleeping town.

A cold, oppressive dew had settled on the town. Even the crickets had ceased to chirp. Nothing stirred. The sight of the defenseless town emboldened Strife's warriors. One suddenly broke from the group, war cry on his lips, and bolted for the village with a torch in his hand.

Whether he had meant to throw the torch, or had simply fallen, no one would ever know. As the torch landed on the nearest roof, a dog started to bark, shattering the unnatural pall of silence that hung over the town.

Villagers woke, dogs barked, livestock bolted as the pillagers hit the town. Chaos greeted the tired warriors of Tellus as they emerged from their huts.

Xena was the first to confront an opposing soldier, and Morgan was right by her side. Instead of killing him immediately, she put the pinch on him, learning that Ares was behind their raid. Morgan didn't understand why the God of War would suddenly bother himself with their conflict when it was finally over. But Xena knew. He was after her. But how could she tell her ally and friend that all this carnage was her fault? Fortunately for her, the battle was too intense for questions.

Morgan and Xena fought back to back, defending the village. The red and black streak that was the friends cut down every foe they met. But the village was on fire. Sword and Chakram couldn't put out flames.

Ares had to admit, Strife did have his uses. He had been right about this general. She was an amazing warrior. The sight of Morgan and Xena fighting together was awesome. The only thing better would be if they fought each other.

The battle continued. Fighting not only the remains of the invading army, but the fires. Morgan's lieutenant fought his way to her. There were children trapped in a house. The village elder grabbed Xena just as they turned to the burning house. He fell into her arms, mortally wounded, begging her to save them.

From the hilltop, Ares looked down upon his handiwork - and was disgusted. How could he have let himself be played like this? This was pointless. War should be fought with some honor, not this sneak attack on children and elders. Yes, people died in a war, but if a warrior died, there was honor in that. For his family. There was an order to war. This...this was chaos.

Disentangling herself from the dying man, Xena looked up in time to see Cooper run from the burning house behind three children, another one in his arms, just as it collapsed. As Morgan emerged behind the last of the children, a burning beam came crashing down on her.

Ares would put an end to this. He was about to summon Strife when a building collapsed. Morgan had been inside. It would be a damn waste to loose such a warrior to an accident. If this scene could rightfully be called an accident.

Spurring his night black horse into the middle of the fray, Ares leapt from it's back into the rubble of the burning building that had buried Morgan. Xena could only watch as he lifted her out of the remains of the house and carried her off across his saddle.



The fires were out, the wounds were dressed, the dead were buried.

Xena knew that she had to get Morgan back. The Tellus warriors were despondent without their general. They wouldn't go back without her. But Xena couldn't let them risk anymore trying to retrieve their general. Not when it was her fault that Ares had been here in the first place.

So the wounded were sent home with enough able bodies to get them there safely. As many as could find an excuse to stay did. The gods knew there was enough work to do rebuilding the village. And without an elder, they needed all the help they could get.

"But I was the closest to her. I should've tried...to do something. Anything!"

"It's not your fault, Cooper. There was nothing you could've done. That was Ares, the God of War. He would have killed you as soon as look at you if you got in his way," Xena tried to console the despondent man. "Besides, you saved all those children."

Cooper raged. "You don't understand! When her brother died I promised him that I'd take care of her. When she was old enough, I'm the one that taught her how to use a sword. I got her here. I only joined this Gods forsaken army to keep an eye on her! I'm no warrior, I just make the plans. Now she's gone - to the Gods only know where and there's nothing I can do!"

Turning, "No. I know where..."

A crescent moon had barely risen when Xena left her tent. Cooper and the rest of the troops were finally asleep. A watch had been set for any leftover Ismal scum hanging around looking for trouble. Fortunately for Xena, the guard was asleep. And fortunately for the guard, Ares had wiped out every last one of the attacking force in a fit of rage. Strife hadn't fared much better.

Xena knew that she'd need help. Ares would have taken Morgan to his Palace on Olympus. Only another god could gain her access. But who had it in for Ares bad enough to get involved?


After Ares had played that little body-switching trick, Hades had been looking for ways to even the score. Steeling his sword, and therefore his godhood, had backfired a little. Especially since it didn't work.

Finding Hades, however, might pose another problem.

~Well~ Xena thought, ~this was a battlefield, lots of dead, where better to find the God of the Underworld?~

Ares burst into his palace carrying the girl, limp in his arms, her red hair brushing his knees. "Servants! Attend Me! Call for a healer!"

As the mensch of the palace scurried about doing Ares bidding, he took her to his chamber. Pushing back the curtains he placed her gently on the bed. The white satin sheets were instantly stained red. When he removed the hand that he had used to cradle her head, it came away sticky with her blood.

Having been awakened by the attack, there had been no time for her to put on her armor, or even anything more protective than her nightdress. She'd only grabbed her sword. Ares had seen corpses in better shape. Morgan was bruised from head to toe, where you could see her skin through the blood. The back of her head was cut badly. Even considering that minor head wounds bleed considerably, this looked bad. How much blood did mortals have? Not much more than this, he'd wager.

Her eyes were shut. Her skin under the blood looked deathly pale. Her chest barely rose with breath.

Ares sat lightly on the edge of the bed, looking down at the dying warrior woman, for he had no doubt that she was dying. He tried to gently brush the hair from her forehead, but streaks of drying blood stuck it there.

Was this guilt? He didn't know. Surprise he knew. His stint as a mortal had left its mark on him, much as he denied it. He did not enjoy this blood on his hands. He found himself wishing that Xena were there to take charge of this girl. As intense as their rivalry was, he respected her strength. Damn It! He hated needing that wench! Ares had long since stopped trying to regain her favor. He didn't think he'd ever understand her need to fight for those pitiful mortals when she could have been Princess of War. Zeus! She could have taken his sword for her own and been sole Goddess of War! But power no longer tempted her. He no longer tempted her.

All this emotion was not appropriate for a God! Conflict was his specialty, but he was unaccustomed to it within himself. Guilt. He felt responsible for this woman's injuries. Confusion. Why did he care so about her fate; many warriors had fallen at his hands. Helplessness. Healing was not his department. Fury. At Strife - and himself - for letting this pointless battle happen. Irrational anger at Xena. For not being there to help Morgan. What could he do? Never had a God been so utterly helpless to his own mechanization. Zeus would be none too happy as it was. He was still a tad miffed about that whole "Hind" fiasco. Meddling directly in the affairs of mortals again would win him no points with his father. And anything he did from here on would just get him in deeper. He could almost feel the quicksand around his chin now.

He dropped his beautiful head into his bloody hands and fought with himself while Morgan lay bleeding to death on his pillows.

Xena had no experience summoning Hades. Did she have to die? She was desperate. She couldn't loose another friend. "Damn it Hades! HADES!"

A bolt of lightning struck the ground, leaving a deep crack in the earths crust. A mist floated up from it, and before her stood the imposing, leather-clad figure of the God of the Underworld.

"Xena! Back in your own body I see! It's been too long."

"Not long enough, Hades. I need your help..."

A slamming open of doors accompanied the entrance of Hades and Xena. As they burst into Ares palace, the guard confronted them.

Bowing to the God of the Underworld, but never taking his eyes from him, the captain of the guard and three of his best barred Hades and Xenaís way. "My Lord Hades! I'm sorry, but you weren't expected. You'll have to leave. Lord Ares is otherwise occupied-"

"Of course he is! But I believe I AM expected!"

"I'm sorry, but you'll have to leave. Lord Ares has left explicit instructions that he is not to be bothered." The guards advanced a step, sparing a glance for Xena, reluctant to disobey their lord, but wary of Hades.

Hades temper was on the verge of breaking. He had had quite enough of Ares manipulations. Xena was on edge herself. Zeus only knew what Ares had done since he had taken Morgan from the village. Too much time had passed.

"I think not! My services will soon be in demand here." The guards, having misinterpreted Hades statement as a threat, backed away, as Xena drew her sword. "Ares WILL see me! I demand an audience! NOW!"

"What is this!? Did I or did I not tell you that I was not to be disturbed!?" The rattling of swords and Hades bellowing had broken Ares reverie. Seeing and identifying the cause was a shock. Xena, accompanied by Hades. This could not bode well.

"How dare you come in here!?"

"We have a little score to settle, Ares. A small matter of you invading my domain? This is only what you should have expected."

"Where is Morgan!?" Xena demanded. Let the Gods have their battle. Morgan was her only concern. But they ignored her.

Staring coldly into each otherís eyes, sparks had begun to fly, and the air became thick with power.

Xena, grabbing each by the shoulder, "You can destroy each other latter. Where is Morgan?"

Shocked by the sound of her name, Ares looked at Xena with only small understanding. Turning, Hades and their fight forgotten, Ares took Xena by the shoulders, searching her face. "Can you help her?"

"What's wrong with her? Let me see her."

As Ares and Xena turned, Hades grabbed Ares' arm. "This isn't over."

"Not by a long shot."

"Out." Xena stood defensively between Morgan on Ares' bed and the God. "I said get out. I can't do her any good with you standing over my shoulder."

Reluctantly, Ares left the chamber. Turning to the bed, Xena saw how pale Morgan was, and how much red was on the sheets. "What has he done to you?" she muttered under her breath. Xena leaned over Morgan, feeling her throat for a pulse and listening for a breath. ~Please don't let me be too late~ she thought. "Damn you Ares."

"I said get out. I can't do her any good with you standing over my shoulder."

With a last glance at the bed, Ares reluctantly left his chamber. He was cold. Even Hades glaring at him from across the hall wasn't enough to warm the hatred in his blood. Ten minutes ago he had felt too much, but now, this numbness had taken him. As if he only had so much emotion to expend. He tried to remember when it was that he had lost control.

Hades turned to Ares. "We need to have a little talk."

"This is not a good time Hades!

"On the contrary, I think this is the perfect time. That girl in there, she's dying. You know it, and I know it. The question is, who else needs to know. Zeus will not be happy."

"Since when have I cared what makes Zeus happy?"

"Since maybe he's been thinking about taking away your powers. How would you like that, Uncle? Seems only fair, after your involvement with the Hind. Loosing your powers is the least Zeus could do to you."

He snapped. Fury flooded him; replaced the numbing cold. He could only take so much of Hades taunting. Impotent rage seized Ares. Wasn't he suffering enough? He'd been mortal, and it wasn't fun. Come to think of it, didn't Hades have something to do with that too? "You let Sisyphus loose to steal my sword didn't you? Revenge for switching Xena and Calisto's bodies while Calisto was in Tartarus?"

"Bringing Xena here was just the beginning."

The leather clad gods stood face to face, neither giving an inch. A battle of wills had begun.

Hades' certainty that Morgan would die made Ares reckless. "The way I see it, it's my turn!" A bolt of blue lightning flew from Ares fingertips, knocking Hades back against the wall.

The noise of Tartarus breaking loose outside the doors of the chamber made Xena look up. She sat on the edge of the bed, holding Morgan's cold hand. This couldn't be happening. She couldn't die. Nothing Xena had done had made any difference. Morgan had already lost too much blood. Damn Ares! If he hadn't taken her from the village Xena might have had time to help her. "I swear, if it takes my last breath, Ares will pay."

The smell of ozone filled the palace. Since lightning had proved mutually ineffective, the Gods of War and the Underworld had finally resorted to their swords. The clash of metal was deafening. Sparks flew from their blades with each thrust and parry. Hephestus' work was being put to the test. They fought down the hallways of Ares Palace, knocking over suits of armor, up and down stairs, through audience chambers and into the kitchen. Scattering servants ran for their lives.

For what seemed like hours they fought, neither gaining a decisive advantage. Hades felt it when Morgan's heart beat for the last time, and it caused him to falter. Ares hit him hard with the hilt of his sword, knocking him over a table. Hades, stunned, looked up, Ares sword at his throat.

"Not a good idea Ares."

"And why not?"

"Morgan Just Died."

Ares was visibly shaken, but his instincts kept him from loosing his advantage. "Why should that stop me from killing you?"

"Because I'm the only one who can bring her back."

"You want to trade your life for hers?" The offer tempted him. Ares sword arm relaxed a bit. His mind raced. One tiny mortal soul couldn't be worth a godís life. He stepped back from Hades. How would he explain this act of mercy? If to no one but himself? Never had he let a beaten opponent regain his feet. But he'd never before felt such direct responsibility for a mortal's unnecessary death. He should have just killed Hades and been done with it. If it hadn't been for Hades and Sisyphus, Ares wouldn't have become mortal, and therefore subject to mortal desires and weaknesses. Hades had defeated him after all.

Xena rose from the bed. Nothing would stop her. The old hatred was back, this time all for Ares. If Hades hadn't already killed him, she would. Heading for the chamber doors, she drew her sword.

As Ares and Hades entered the room, Xena, standing, sword drawn, between them and the bed, confronted them.

"Get out of my way Xena!" Ares growled, his eyes flashed in determination.

"Not a chance, Ares!" Xena said as she attacked him.

Ares, caught off guard, tried to sidestep her charge and failed. He just managed to catch her sword hand before it came crashing down on him. Xena, being nearly as tall as Ares, had the advantage of momentum. It carried them into the wall, where Xena grabbed her Chakram from her hip with her free hand, and held it to Ares throat.

During their struggle, Hades had moved around them to the bed. The cold figure of Morgan lay there, in a sea of white satin and blood. "Quiet! Stop your bickering for a moment and let me work!" Turning back to the bed, he touched her forehead, closed his eyes in concentration. He ran his fingers over her closed eyes and down her face to her lips, then down her body to her chest, to the place just above her heart.

Xena turned at Hades tone, confused. Seeing the power that glowed from Hades hands, she forgot Ares, and approached the bed again. Released, Ares sagged against the wall. Xena watched as Hades moved his hands over Morgan, the blue light of power turning her skin an even sicker shade. "What are you doing? Leave her alone!" Xena raised her sword, as if to attack Hades, but Ares rushed her, grabbed her from behind and lifted her, pinning her arms to her sides.

"Stop it," he hissed in her ear. "Let him work."

Xena's shock at the death of her friend and at these two gods seeming to work together made her strong. Breaking Ares hold on her, she grabbed Hades by the arm, throwing him into Ares. The two gods simply glared at each other, the temporary truce held.

Xena looked down at Morgan. Was she breathing? Morgan's eyes fluttered open for just a moment. Seeing Xena, a small smile crossed her lips. Xena took her hand.

"Xena? What? Where?" she croaked.

"Don't try to talk now. Just rest. You've had a rough day," Xena whispered, her voice cracking.

Hades and Ares stood by the bed opposite Xena. Hades sat down on the edge of the bed, and took her other hand. Ares hovered just out of her sight, hidden by the curtains.

"But how did I-" seeing Hades, "-I was dead, wasn't I?"

"Yes. But I'm a little backed up right now." Standing, "Come on Xena. Time to go."

Squeezing Xena's hand, Morgan fell into a deep sleep.

Xena's shock at seeing the dead girl live changed to protectiveness. "I'm not leaving her here. Not with him."

"She'll be fine," Ares said. "You have my word Xena. Remember, a God need never lie."

As Hades passed Ares, "You owe ME one now. I'll be back to collect."

"I'm sure you will."

Waking, Morgan examined her surroundings. She was lying on a large, curtained bed. The room was dark; the curtains had been pulled against the afternoon sun. She felt like she'd slept for days. She was stiff, and felt as if she needed a bath. Her head was throbbing. She tried to remember what had happened to her, but thinking made it hurt worse.

The sound of movement in the room with her caught her attention. She couldn't see past the bed's curtains. "Who's there," she croaked. ~Is that my voice?~ she thought. "Who's there?"

As Morgan's eyes adjusted, a man appeared out of the darkness, standing next to the window. The sound had been him brushing the curtains. Candles on the bed stand lit spontaneously. Dressed in a shirt the colour of clouds and black leather riding pants and boots, he moved almost silently to the side of the bed.

Pulling back the bed's curtains, he settled gently on the edge of the bed. A little sweetness just might do the trick. With this warrior at his side, they would be invincible! She could easily be convinced that she owed him her life, and convincing her to give him her body would be almost as rewarding.

Morgan's eyes widened. This must be the God of War. Xena hadn't warned her that he be so beautiful. In the light of the single candle, his hair shined blue/black; his eyes were too dark to read.

"How do you feel? Up to eating? It's been two days, you know. You must be famished."

Now that he had mentioned it, she was starved. She nodded warily.

With a gesture, the table holding the candle was filled with food and the window curtains opened, admitting the golden afternoon sunlight. Fruit, bread and cheese, and a pitcher of something. Morgan hoped it wasn't wine-her head hurt bad enough as it was. Seeing her glance, Ares filled a cup from the pitcher. When he saw her hesitation as he handed it to her he said, "It's just water. I promise it won't hurt you. Nothing here will hurt you."

Struggling to sit, Morgan realized how weak she was. Ares saw it too. Setting down the cup, he stood. Leaning over her, he rearranged the pillows to let her lean on them and eat. Taking the cup from him, she felt so helpless. This was not a good position for a warrior to be in. ~I suppose if he wanted to hurt me, he would have. What could I do to stop him? And would I want to?~ She sipped her water. Ares offered her a chunk of bread. When she took it from him, their hands touched. Morgan looked into his eyes, searching his soul.

"What happened to me?" Morgan asked. " Last thing I remember Cooper and I were in a burning house, getting the children out...I think I remember falling...I don't know."

Ares had to look away from her before he could answer. "The roof collapsed on you. Xena tells me that you got all the children out safely."

"And Cooper?"

"He's fine. Xena also brought your horse. She thought you'd want to make sure he was alright for yourself."

"I died didn't I? I saw my brother in the Elysian Fields. He told me I was dead. How - how did I come back? Really."

"Hades owed me one."

Morgan took her time eating. As hungry as she was, she didn't want to seem so in front of a god. Her headache was subsiding and she was becoming tired again. She yawned.

"You should sleep. If you need anything, I'll know." With a wave of his hand, the food was gone, and an aura of peace settled over her. A godspell. She had no choice but to sleep. And to dream.

Morgan woke the next morning, golden sunlight streaming in the windows. She was still a bit stiff, but her main concern now was a bath. Ares' most trusted servant had been sent to wash what blood and dirt she could from Morgan as she recuperated, and change the horribly stained sheets, but a good long soak was what her sore muscles really needed.

There was a light rap on the door. "M'lady, it's Hezza."

"Come in," she called.

A serving woman bowed into the room. "M'lady, Lord Ares has sent me to show you the bath."

"Lovely!" Morgan sat up and stretched. The woman offered her a robe, which she wrapped around her loosely. Ares had said that he'd know if she needed anything, and this was just what she needed. "Hezza, how long have I been here? What day is it?" she questioned as she was led across the chamber.

Hezza opened wide the double folding doors that led to the bath. "Three days is all M'lady."

They entered the vast white and black marble bathroom, Morgan had never seen such a thing, even the King of Tellus had nothing near so grand. The huge tub bubbled and steamed, beckoned her with assurance of soothing heat. Hezza chose a bottle of oil from a shelf and poured just a touch into the swirling water. Morgan untied her robe and climbed the steps up and into the water. She sank slowly into the tub, eventually ducking her head to soak her tangled hair. Hezza retrieved a comb from yet another shelf and offered to comb Morgan's hair as she rose again to the surface.

"That's OK, I can do it myself," she said, taking the comb from the woman's hand. "You can go, I'm perfectly capable of bathing myself. I just came back from the dead hon, I'm not an invalid!" She winked at the nervous woman, trying to lighten her spirits a bit. ~Ah well, when you're a servant, you're a servant.~ Only after continued assurance did she finally agree to go, leaving Morgan alone with the water and her thoughts. She leaned on the edge of the tub, supporting herself with her elbows on the edge, stretched her legs across to the other side, resting her crossed ankles on the opposite edge. She leaned her head back onto the bunched up robe and finally relaxed. The swirling, bubbling water eased her sore muscles as well as her troubled mind. She drifted into a meditative state, calming and soothing.

She came out of it suddenly when she heard a tap on the floor.

"I'm sorry my dear, I didn't mean to disturb you. When Hezza said you'd sent her away, I wanted to make sure everything was alright." The God of War stood by the edge of the tub near her feet.

Morgan was completely self-conscious, totally in awe of Ares. But some of her stubborn pride had returned to her, and she refused to move from her comfortable, if slightly exposed position. She did glance down at herself, and realized gratefully that the bubbles effectively concealed her.

Ares noticed her glance and correctly interpreted it. Of course, if he'd wanted, he could see right through the water, ~but what would be the fun in that?~ A half grin crossed his face. "Here, I've brought you something appropriate to wear," he said, offering a white silk dress and a pair of sandals hung across his arm. He placed them on a marble bench near the tub.

"Thank you," Morgan managed to finally get out. "For everything."

"My pleasure my dear," Ares beamed.

"Are all of the guestrooms here so grand?" Morgan asked, indicating with a nod of her head everything around her.

"Not exactly," Ares answered, "These are my rooms."

Morgan blushed many shades of red before Ares let her off the hook by asking, "Will you do me the honor of joining me for supper this evening?"

"Of course My Lord."

"Excellent! Hezza will return when you're finished here, I've arranged for your horse to be kept here, she will take you to see him." He paused near her feet again on his way to the door. He put one foot up on the steps and gentle as a breeze kissed the top of her right foot. He hesitated a moment to steal a glance up at her. Morgan's eyes were wide and her breath held. After a second, Ares released her foot and left the bathroom.

Morgan mentally shook herself. He wasn't for her. A God! No, besides, he was dangerous, Xena had told her story after story about him and his wicked plots. But he had saved her life... He must have alternate motives. He must. Morgan sat upright in the tub and began to untangle her hair. Mustn't he?

Ares sat in the great hall, contemplating the trophies that lined the walls, trying to drive Morgan out of his thoughts.

He hadn't been so obsessed with a woman since Xena. A peculiar twist, Xena seemed to be quite taken with Morgan.

She'd visited daily for the last week, since Ares had brought Morgan to his palace. Argo and Conner at least were enjoying the walks in the garden. But Xena hadn't come today, and Morgan was walking alone.

~Zeus! Why can't I get that girl out of my head?~ Ares shook his head and stood.

His desire to recruit this woman to his cause had some how morphed into obsession. Tender feelings had no place in his heart. He'd banished them. They made him weak. If his stint as a mortal had taught him anything, it was that.

Damn it, he would have her! He knew no other way than to possess her.

The air had a peculiar quality here on Olympus: Everything shimmered.

Morgan couldn't bear not walking barefoot in the sweet cool grass. She came upon a fountain - rearing horses in obsidian. She stopped to sit on its edge, splash her face with cool clear water. She bent to re-tie the loose lace of her sandal, but the temptation was too great. She untied the other and dropped them to the ground.

The grass of the path was cool and soft between her toes. And where she stepped the crushed vegetation left a sweet scent in the air.

As Morgan strolled, she passed other fountains, and orchards of exotic fruit. Lord Ares had promised that nothing in his garden would harm her, so when her stomach rumbled, she didn't hesitate to pick a huge peach as she walked. It was larger than both of her hands balled together, and more orange than pink. The fuzz covering its skin brushed off under her fingers. Sweet and juicy...her hand and chin were soon covered and sticky. The next fountain was ivory. A tiger dragging down an antelope. Setting her sandals aside in the grass, she washed her hands and face again.

Sitting on its edge, Morgan noticed that there were fish in this pool. Fish of every colour under the sky, and they seemed to shimmer too. Or that could be the ripples of the water. Friendly, curious fish - they came to nibble at her fingers trailing in the water as she watched shimmering birds in as many colours flit from tree to tree in the grove surrounding the tiger fountain.

Lost in formless thought, a vision of her Lord Ares materialized in her mind. He emanated power. Not just his muscular body, but his aura. It shimmered too. The same as, but at a greater intensity than, the creatures of the garden. Even if he hadn't possessed such a dark beauty, he'd never be mistaken for a mere man.

Morgan shook herself. ~Foolish mortal~ she chided silently. But when her mind wasn't otherwise occupied, her Lord Ares invaded her thoughts. And sometimes when it was.

Xena had warned her over and over again, nothing good could come of this, she'd said. They'd argued about it, Xena had stormed out of the Garden, and not returned today.

Morgan stood. Suddenly the garden wasn't where she should be. The walk back to Ares' palace was a short one. She'd already come almost full circle. She considered stopping at one of the last fountains to wash the grass from her feet, but never seriously.

When she reached the palace entrance, no one was around. Supper wasn't for hours yet and she was glad to have eaten the peach. She turned for her chamber, when a handmaiden appeared and bowed low to her. Morgan waved off her attempt to take her sandals.

"Our Lord Ares wishes to see you My Lady," she whispered. "Shall I tell him you've returned?"

"No Hezza. I'll find him myself."

"Yes M'lady," and Hezza bowed away.

Morgan knew where he'd be. The main hall, supervising the rearrangement of the trophies on the walls. Again. The whole palace was decorated with such trophies and armor. Silver and gold, polished to blinding brilliance, standing in the corridors, lined up on the black and white marble squares. Between the tall narrow windows, hung near the high ceilings were tapestry after tapestry depicting glorious battles. Axes or spears hung crossed over doorways. The doors themselves were hung with shields.

She pushed the doors lightly. They swung soundlessly on their hinges, bringing Ares out of his thoughts as the subject of them appeared in the arch. A vision. Blood red curls fell to her waist. Sea green eyes held oceans. Her white silk dress rippled around her as she approached - carrying her sandals? The God of War he may be, but he knew a beautiful woman when he saw one. He must possess her. On the battlefield she cut a swath through her enemies. If she applied that passion to all of her occupations...

"My Lord Ares?" She stepped into the hall. Still carrying her sandals, she felt a bit silly coming into a godís presence barefoot. "You wished to see me?"

"Indeed I did."

The room was empty but for the two of them. The armor on the walls was polished and neat. The long table had already been set. The sun was still high, and the curtains of the high windows were drawn open, admitting a light breeze as well as spears of sunlight. He sat directly in one, on his throne on the top of a short dais. He hadn't yet changed from his riding clothes: A white laced silk shirt and black leather pants and riding boots.

"And how was the garden? Tired of it so soon? Do the wonders of Olympus bore you already?"

Golden sunlight fell directly onto his black hair, glinted off of his silver sword earring and rams head belt buckle. Ares' aura sparkled. Morgan caught herself staring, gave herself a mental slap. She stood straighter and approached the god with a warriorís confidence.

"Your garden is magnificent, My Lord," ~just like you~. She faltered, blushed. Very unwarrior-like. "I was thinking of you," she stammered.

Ares had risen and descended to the floor to meet her. "And I you."

Her resolve was gone. They stood close. Face to face. The moment lengthened. Silence stretched. He reached for her. His fingers touched her cheek almost before he realized he'd moved. He cupped her cheek in his hand. His other hand on the small of her back, he drew her to him and bent to kiss her. Softly. Harder when she took fistfuls of his shirt. He could feel every curve of her through her clothes. She raised her hands to his neck, and her breasts pressed against his chest. His goatee tickled her face. Ares tightened his fingers in her hair. Morgan's breath caught in her chest. Her strength had left her. If he hadn't been holding her so tightly she'd've fallen. She leaned heavily against him. Her very presence made his heart pound. His need for her was overwhelming him.

~Zeus!~ he thought. But even a god cannot resist his nature as a man.

Morgan pulled at his shirt-the laces gave way under her insistence. Her nails accidentally left trails of tender pink flesh across his now bare chest. She kissed them. To her great surprise, the God shuddered, goose bumps raising all over him.

His lips were now soft on her throat. He drew her with him to the top of the dais. As they reached the top, she pulled away. A question in his eyes.

She reached for his belt-touched the rams head buckle. His eyes went wide in surprise. She smiled and gave the buckle a tug. He lifted an eyebrow.

"Is this what you want?" the god said with a wicked smile and a twinkle in his eye. Ares touched the eye of the ram and it fell away. He shrugged out of his already torn silk shirt.

She'd done almost as much damage to his skin as to the shirt. Morgan suddenly felt very self conscious and quite ashamed of herself. ~What have I done?~ She shrank away from his touch as he reached for her again. Her horror at what she'd done was apparent to him.

"I am The God Of War! What Are A Few Little Scratches To ME?" He reached for her again, but this time when she cringed, he grabbed her anyway. He held her wrists tightly, while placing butterfly light kisses on her face and shoulders. "You Fear Me," he whispered, a touch of amusement in his voice.

"Yes, my Lord," she breathed, barely able to speak. How did such a man -even a god- have the power to make her want him so?

Her hands had risen without her knowledge to his chest. Desperate courage made her draw her fingertips across his shoulders and up his neck to tangle in his baby soft curls. Her thin silk shift did nothing to disguise how cold it suddenly felt. But Ares must have felt it also, because she could feel his nipples harden too.

She had to touch them. She couldn't stop herself. This time, gentle nails left only phantom tracks of gooseflesh on his skin. She leaned to kiss them, her hands wandering to trace the lines of his stomach. ~He trembles?~

Some of her fear left her as saw that she had an effect on this God. She reached for him and he drew her in. Ever so gently, her fingers crawled down his stomach. The curls that grew downward from his navel seemed to pull her hands with them. Gentle fingers touched warm skin and hair.

Ares hands tightened on her shoulders. With both hands Morgan softly stroked him. His breath became ragged. She was so afraid of hurting him again with her nails that she shook. They were quite a pair: her hands trammeled, his knees were weak.

He reached behind him with one hand for the arm of his throne for balance, but his legs failed him and he dropped into it instead. Morgan fell with him and knelt in front of him, between his knees. She kissed him. The god dropped his head to the back of the throne and shifted his hips forward, towards her. His hands gripped the arms of the wooden throne until they creaked.

She stroked the insides of his thighs with her fingertips, then took him onto her mouth. His hands flexed as he reached for her. His hands crept to the back of her neck. He jerked and groaned, lifted his hips involuntarily. She used her teeth and nails to her best advantage. She tried to be gentle, but his hands on her neck and in her hair urged her to greater exertions.

The gods eyes were closed to the sight of her blood red hair spread across his black leather wrapped thighs.

His fingers tightened in her hair - then pulled her head away. His eyes were wild. By her hair he pulled her to him, took her mouth hard. Ares kissed Morgan savagely, lifted her onto his lap. The wide chair more than accommodated her knees beside his hips. Her arms around his neck, she slowly lowered herself onto him. His hands gripped her waist tight, every muscle in his body tense; his jaw was clenched, and his eyes closed.

He groaned and she gasped as she finally took his full length. His hips lifted her; he bit her throat, and never let go of her hair. They rocked together, making the chair squeak. Morgan twisted her fingers in his hair; Ares grasped at her, pulled her tight against him.

Ares was loosing control. Morgan was purposely teasing him. Squeezing at just the right moment, relaxing at just the right moment. ~Damn Her!~ But his body betrayed him, pumping his god-seed deep inside her. He twitched against her as his climax faded. ~Bitch!~ No one would have the better of him!

As Ares recovered, Morgan climbed down from his lap. She stood in front of him, straightened her dress. Ares put himself in order and looked at her, just in time to see her smile and glance at him out of the corner of her eye.

Seeing him look up Morgan curtsied, and with a sly smile, "Is my Lord pleased?"

Ares jumped to his feet, "You Should NOT Get Smart With A GOD."

"And why not my Lord? What will you do? Beat me?"

"I just might." He grabbed her arm and dragged her to the uncleared table. With a sweeping gesture, he knocked every piece of silver, every plate and cup to the floor in a terrific crash.

Ares pulled Morgan to him, his fingers brusingly tight on her wrist. With his other hand he pulled at her shift; the straps broke, the seams gave, and she stood before him, clad only in her waste length red curls.

He loosed her wrist and lifted her to sit on the edge of the table. Morgan pulled her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them. Without taking his eyes from hers, Ares stripped of his leathers and boots with an uncommon grace only a god could possess.

He reached for her, stroked her cheek with the back of his knuckles, as he climbed onto the table. He towered over her, she relaxed back to the table beneath him. He stroked her breasts, her tanned skin soft under his touch. He lowered his lips to her hard pink nipples. Gently he pinched, licked, sucked and bit her.

She stroked his hair, his neck, his shoulders, his back. He bit her suddenly, and her nails dug him. He bit harder. He kissed and nipped his way down her stomach, tickling her with his goatee. He kissed her navel. His fingers parted the soft curls that hid the soft wet flesh that beckoned him. He stroked her gently, found her opening. Slid a finger inside her. She gasped, tightened her fingers in his hair. He added a second.

She wanted to pull his face into her, his goatee would feel marvelous, but she knew that she was too full of his god-seed.

Ares moved his mouth to her lips, and moved himself over her. She spread her legs further. She reached between them and took him in her hands. He slowly lowered himself down to her, as she guided his member in. She reached around him to his wide hard back. Slowly he started to move in her. Her fingers curled on his back, scratching him lightly.

Ares lowered his lips to her and kissed her lips gently. She kissed him back, her tongue teasing his lips. He moved to her neck, collarbone, shoulders, constantly, slowly, pumping her.

Looking in to her eyes, he suddenly slammed his hips against her hard. Morgan screamed, raising hot red scratches across his back and ass.

Slowly again, he moved in her. When she relaxed her grip on him and moved her hands to his hair, he nailed her again. A strangled cry broke from her throat. She pulled his head back painfully, but involuntarily. Releasing his hair quickly, Morgan pulled him to her with her hands on the back of his neck. She kissed his face, silent apology.

Morgan now relaxed again, Ares pushed into her savagely, then gently, then hard again. She arched her neck and back into him, raised her legs to wrap around him. Ares broke a light sweat, just enough to make his skin shine.

This time he saw her hair spread out - over the cherry wood table. Their eyes locked. The rippling squeeze of her inner muscles sent Ares over as well. The wild, intense look on his face was beauty itself. She could feel him inside her, throbbing, pulsing. He could feel her still squeezing him, pulling every drop out of him.

After a moment, he rolled off of her, laid next to her on the table, both of them breathing hard. Morgan leaned up on her elbow, looked down at the God. ~Who knew the God of War would be so good at making love?~ Morgan leaned over to him, gave him a light kiss on the lips, and rolled away, to stand on the floor. She collected her ruined dress and turned to Ares with a sly smile. "You still owe me one." Morgan headed for the door.