Divide and Conquer II
By Selursera

Antony helped Alex into the small tent that Caesar used as a changing room. He prepared a bath for her and helped her into it. Alex's body throbbed from the life that started to flow back into her limbs.

She couldn't help but stare at the man who cared for her. He was perhaps a year or two younger than the emperor was; yet he held the same commanding presence as Caesar. Antony was actually a bit taller than Caesar. He was handsome and his curly dark hair fell into his deep blue eyes; eyes that captured her soul. Alexandra couldn't help but notice his body was lean and muscular. As he turned to help her into the tub he smiled. He actually seemed shy. And his wonderful smile brought his full lips to her attention, lips that were begging to be kissed. She found herself wondering exactly what it would be like to just to do that one little thing. His strong arms helped her settle into the tub and he left to find her something to wear.

The main difference between the two men could best be described in what she saw expressed in Mark Antony's face; there was kindness, a gentleness there. He was the type of man people were drawn to just as they were drawn to Caesar. But they were different; there was life behind his eyes, she could see he had compassion. Being so close to power wasn't new to him she could feel he had grown up with it. She knew that he would be a power to be reckoned with one day and he stirred up some very strong emotions within her.

As the water started to chill she finished washing her body and reached up to wash her hair.  Shock coursed through her as she remembered what Caesar did to her hair. Tears formed in her eyes and Antony, having already returned with her clothes, leaned down near the tub.

"Please don't cry," he said softly. "Caesar will be angry if he thinks I'm not serving you well."

"It's not you, Antony it's my hair, or lack of it, I should say."

"Here let me do that for you."  He gently took the soap and lathered Alexandra's hair. "It's really not so bad. I like it short," he said trying to sound lighthearted. "Besides it will grow back." He grinned at the slight smile that crossed her lips. "I've a uniform for you to wear, its for a smaller man, we'll make it fit you, Alexandra."

Alex didn't know why but she took comfort in having Antony around, his voice alone seemed to soothe her.  Yet, something about him haunted her. "Thank you for your kindness."

Antony helped Alex out of the tub and once she dried off he helped her into the Roman uniform. Of course, Alex didn't want to wear it, but she did rather than get Antony in trouble.

He finally broke the long silence between them speaking softly. "You shouldn't have come here, Miss. Caesar's a great man, but he's dangerous."

"Even in the armor you can't totally hide the fact you are a woman, Alex." Both of them jumped in response to Caesar's voice booming from behind them. "Alex, does Ares have the capability to mind link with you?"

"Yes."

"Two questions then; can you block him, and if so, does that block keep you from feeling him as well?"

Alex hesitated, "Yes. To both questions."

"Then while you are with me I want you to totally block him. Do you promise?"

"No. I can't agree to that. It would be foolish to close myself off completely."

Caesar slapped Alex so hard she fell to the ground. Rising she stood firmly before him.

"Do It, Alexandra!"

She spoke up defiantly knowing full well of the consequences to her.  "No!"

Caesar looked past Alex, his eyes falling on Antony. "If need be I can make you give your word." He took Antony by the hair, placing a dagger to his throat and drawing blood. "Do you agree, Alex?" He shook his head. "I 'will' not ask you again."

Alex could deal with the abuse he heaped on her, but she would not let him hurt Antony. "Stop, Caesar, I agree."

Caesar licked the blood from Antony's neck; he pushed him toward Alexandra. "Fine. I'll take you at your word since you know what will happen if you don't comply."

Alex glared at Caesar. "This should be between us you shouldn't involve him."

Caesar smiled smugly. "Lesson two Alex. Attachments to anyone or anything can be deadly. It makes you weak!"  He walked over to Antony and ran his hand down his cheek. "Any kind of emotional attachment only gets in the way. " Caesar smacked Antony hard. "Oh, and one more thing. Keep your opinions about me to yourself, or you might find out exactly 'how' dangerous I really am."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The four of them stood in the darkness waiting for Caesar and Alex. Ares lit several torches giving them a clear view of the hillside. Iolaus paced back and forth; he was sure this whole thing would blow up in their faces. Alex's safe return depended on their plan; he for one was not convinced it would work.

Caesar, Alex and Antony watched them for a long time. They'd arrived early and doubled back so they would have the advantage of being behind them.  Caesar studied them, waiting to see if he could detect what they had planned.

"I don't think they're coming."

"Iolaus be patient. Caesar will be here. He can't refuse an open invitation. He's way too curious to pass this up." Iphicles said.

Ares just stood there with his arms folded shaking his head. "You mortals would live longer if you would learn to relax." He laughed. "Besides Caesar's been here for quite some time." He nodded in the direction of a large clump of trees behind them.

Caesar, given his cue, walked out of the trees, leaving Alex and Antony behind.  "Well gentlemen I'm here, as you requested."

"We wanted to see Alexandra, not you, Caesar! Iphicles addressed him coldly.

Hercules interrupted. "Caesar, where's Alex?  Did you bring her here as we requested?"

"Would I waste my time, as well as yours, if she wasn't here?" Caesar annoyance at their stupidity shone through as he shook his head disdainfully.

"Then where in Tartarus is she?" Iphicles asked.

Caesar ignored the king and walked toward Iolaus.  "It's been a long time Iolaus, hasn't it? I've missed you."

Iolaus lunged at him, and Hercules quickly stepped in the way. Herc knew all about Iolaus' past with Caesar. It wasn't a pleasant experience and Iolaus would only talk about it once.

"Don't even go there, Caesar.  That happened a long time ago.  This is about Alex; we want to see her!" Iolaus stood firm against his former tormentor.

"Oh--she's here, Iolaus. Alexandra come out for everyone to see."

Alexandra walked out from behind the trees; everyone gasped when they saw her in the Roman uniform her hair closely cropped. They all stared, and Alex was not happy about the situation her voice showed her annoyance, "Am I on parade here?" she snapped.

As Iphicles walked toward her Caesar stepped in between them. "Too close king, I said see her and that's all."

"Alexandra, are you all right?"

"Yes, Iphicles, I'm fine." She smiled at him, then suddenly her voice turned cold. "Why did you ask him to bring me here?"

"We needed to see for ourselves that you're okay, Alex" Hercules interrupted.

"Caesar's proven to be a wonderful host."  Alex's voice held a lot of sarcasm. While she spoke, she looked directly at Ares who was unusually quiet through all of this.

Caesar was also surprised by the god's silence. "Nothing to say, War God?"  Caesar queried.

Ares glared at everyone. "What would you have me say?  Alexandra's where she wants to be, and I've grown tired of all this fuss over a woman.  I'll not stand in her way."

Caesar had enough of their games. "So, if everyone has seen enough of the show, we'll be leaving. Mark Antony," Caesar called out to him. He came from their hiding place. Caesar led Alex back toward camp with Antony following, leaving the four men watching as they walked down the hill.

"Well? Hercules, do you think he suspects?"

"I don't think so, Iph. He knew we would want to see Alex to be sure she was okay."

"I still think this was a bad idea, Herc. I can't shake that feeling." Iolaus made sure he made his point again. He argued against this whole plan from the beginning.  Something didn't feel right.

"Iolaus--we haven't made this any worse by our actions, and we'll soon find out of it helped." Ares told him calmly.

"I don't care what any of you say...something's not right here," Iolaus was sure his worries were a warning of big troubles ahead.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Caesar held on very tightly to Alexandra's arm all the way back to camp as Mark Antony trailed behind them It was late and a lot needed to be done; this little distraction would cost him some valuable time.  Instead of going to Chin himself, he would now have to send Brutus ahead with several of his legions. They could begin scouting the area he'd mapped out.  This would take a week or longer...and that was all the time he needed for his plan's for Alex to be put into effect.

His eyes took on a vacant look, as his mind began to think of the lovely ways he could bring her pain...and pleasure.  Her ability to heal herself would only add to his torturous pleasures; he knew he would be able to use to this to his advantage.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

They arrived back at the base camp very quickly.  Caesar nudged Alex through the flaps of the main war tent. "Guard!" He yelled.

"Yes, Caesar." The guard saluted.

"We're leaving in the morning.  Have Pompey prepare his men; he will be coming with me to Rome. Send Brutus to my tent immediately."

"Rome?" Alex asked, surprised that they were heading there.

"Yes, Alex, you'll face me on my home ground.  Does that displease you?"

Brutus rushed into the tent saluting as he entered. "Caesar, you wished to see me." He seemed startled to see Alexandra standing there dressed in a Roman military uniform.

"Brutus, This is Alexandra. She's now part of my personal guard, and will be with us for a while.

"Really--a woman, Caesar?" His voice held a sarcastic tone.

"This woman is responsible for slitting Claudius' throat, I think she can handle the job of protecting me from others."

"Yes mighty Caesar--but who will protect you from her?" The later words he spoke softly into Caesar's ear.

Caesar looked at him, and turned his attention to the others. "Antony, I need to speak to Brutus alone. See Alex to my tent. For tonight, you may sleep at the foot of my bed."

"Like pets, Caesar?" Alex interjected.

"Yes, like 'favored' pets--if you listen and behave, you will be rewarded. If you do not, then you will be punished."

Antony quickly grabbed her arm and led her outside to Caesar's personal tent as instructed.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

"Are you crazy, Alex? You really need to know when to pick your battles.  Confronting Caesar in front of Brutus would surely have gotten us 'both' severely punished."

"Fine, so now I have to watch out for you as well as myself?"

"Take care woman, I can watch out for myself!"

Alexandra looked at Antony. **His tone--those words--it was as if--**

Her thoughts were interrupted as Antony grabbed her and pulled her harshly toward Caesar's tent. Once inside, Antony twirled Alexandra around to face him. "Just so you know Alex, I care what happens to you; after all you saved my life earlier. But--I'll do whatever it takes to survive.  Is that clear?  No matter what my cousin asks of me, I 'will' do it."

"Your 'cousin'? You--you're related to Caesar--you're so different!" Alexandra finally came to the realization of what had been haunting her about Antony. She had seen his face before.  He was the man she had seen in her dreams. The dreams she had kept hidden from Hercules. The dreams of the blood, the daggers, the chaos--the death of an emperor. He would not be there to stop it; she could feel his anguish, his pain. She knew at once; he loved Caesar.

"Everything's perfectly clear Antony." Alex knew that Antony was Caesar's only true ally, he would be of no 'real' help to her when it came down to deciding loyalties. "Perfectly." She whispered through clenched teeth. Something was strange though; she could not pick up on these feelings now. It was as if someone else stood before her.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Alexandra awoke early the following morning, stiff and sore from lying on the cold hard ground. Antony came back sometime after she had fallen asleep. He'd positioned himself next to her, placing her head upon his arm. The warmth from his body, her only comfort. He started to stir and opened his eyes; when he looked at Alexandra; a smile came to his lips.

"Did the two of you sleep well?" came a sarcastic drawl.

"As well as can be expected from sleeping on the floor, Caesar," Alexandra said paying no attention to Antony's warning from last night. She rose to her feet. "Caesar, may I talk to you about going to Rome?"

"You're not changing my mind, Alex. We're all ready to leave."

"I'm not trying to change your mind. I want to know why?  You were headed for the East. Conquering Chin's too important for you; suddenly you do a total turn around.  Why? And I find Pompey a strange choice to take to Rome."

Caesar arched an eyebrow.  "Do you really? Why?"

"It's a well known fact that there's no love lost between you and he. I thought it would be best to keep your enemy as far away as possible."

Caesar walked toward Alexandra and went nose to nose with her. "Very good Alex, you have done your homework and are paying attention. Don't you think that it's best to have your enemy right in front of you at all times, so you are aware of what he's doing?"  Caesar escorted Alexandra from the tent. "No matter. I feel no need to fill 'you' in on my plans, let's go."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Caesar, Antony and Alexandra walked toward Pompey and his men. Alexandra took in the situation ahead of her. There were twenty of Pompey's finest men in all. They stood near the dirt road at the ready. Pompey was standing with one of his men who held the reigns of the three horses that were saddled and waiting for their riders.

"Not good odds," Alex muttered clearly concerned.

"Did you say something, Alexandra?"

"Twenty men against three, Antony. I said that's not good odds."

Antony put stock in Alex's observations he clearly showed his concern. "Do you think Pompey and his men will try something?"

"No. Not yet, but-- eventually he might. When we get closer to Rome perhaps?"

"So, Caesar, do I have the honor of addressing your new personal guard? Alexandra, isn't it?" He snickered. "I hear she easily cut a man's throat." He turned to address Alex. "Is that really true, dear?" Pompey asked sarcastically.

Alexandra rested her hand on her sword; her eyes locked onto his. "Pompey, I do whatever's necessary, whenever I have to. You can be assured of that."

"I, for one, am reassured," Caesar laughed.  "Let's go, we are wasting time here."

Antony and Alexandra mounted their horses and rode off behind Pompey's men.  Caesar and Pompey followed behind them.

"You'd better keep an eye on her, Caesar, or soon they'll be addressing her as Alexandra the Great." Pompey laughed and heeled his horse.

"I'm not the one who needs to keep my eyes on her, Pompey. If I were you I'd be the one worrying. After all, Alexandra's on my side."

"Is she, Caesar?  We'll see." Pompey had his own plans for Alex. If Xena couldn't help him, perhaps Alexandra would. Now if he could only get close enough to her to find out. He would be watching her closely with great interest for the first opportunity.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The trip back to Rome would take a day by land and two days by sea. Caesar did not want to stop and even rest the horses. Finally he agreed the best thing to do would be to make camp for the night and get started early in the morning.

They had already made camp when a group of travelers happened upon them.  There were two large families traveling with small children. They were startled when they came upon the Roman soldiers. And they soon became panicked when they realized that Caesar stood before them. The guards roughly herded the travelers toward the emperor. The women were trying to quiet the crying children as the small ones clung to their skirts. Even the men showed signs of worry, but tried to be brave for their family's sake.

"Where are you headed?" Caesar addressed the man near the front of the group.

"Great Caesar, we are heading for Thessaly, we'd plan to settle there."

"You travel on these roads at night with your families Don't you know it's not safe? You should be punished for putting your family in danger."

Alexandra could sense this was not going well. She wondered if anyone would help her stand against him, and quickly knew she stood alone, determined not to let any innocent blood be spilt.

Caesar walked over to the leader of the group and flung him to the ground. Addressing one of Pompey's men he shouted, "Kill him now for putting his family in danger!"

"Caesar?" The guard started to question, but before he could continue, Caesar stabbed Pompey's man, killing him instantly.

"Caesar!" Pompey shouted, enraged at the brutal act. He would do nothing against Caesar for killing these commoners but killing his own man was another matter.

Everyone in the group became alarmed. The children began to scream and the women wept. Some tried to flee but the guards herded them closer together. Alexandra watched Caesar closely as he killed the guard. She could swear he actually came as he killed the man. The look on his face was pure ecstasy.  There was hardly time to think before Caesar quickly moved toward the man cringing at his feet.

Alex walked toward the emperor. "Caesar they are of no threat to you. They are two small families. Let them go, please, I beg you." She whispered into his ear

He said nothing.

Alexandra looked at Caesar; it was as if he wasn't all there. He just stared off into the distance.

Antony walked over to Caesar. He whispered something into his ear. Finally Mark Antony spoke up.  "Mighty Caesar agrees to let you go. Now gather your things quickly before he changes his mind."

The confused men and women quickly gathered what few belongings they had and rushed from the encampment. Antony led Caesar to his bed role near the fire.

Pompey saw his opportunity and took advantage of this time to speak to Alexandra.  "Is being here with Caesar 'your' choice, Alexandra?"

"Yes, Pompey, it is," she said coldly. She knew this man would not rest until Caesar's bloody body lay at his feet.

"Foolish girl. You'll not find what you seek with Caesar."

"What do you think I seek, Pompey?" She turned away from him to look over at Caesar and Antony.

Pompey swung Alexandra around. "Knowledge, power, submission, domination.  He won't really share with you.  You know, he will just 'use' you to his ends and then discard you."

"Thank you for your concern, but it's my problem," Alex said, as she pulled herself free, and started to walk to her bedroll.

"Just remember, there are always alternatives."

Alex turned to look at Pompey. "Not for me," she said and she continued on toward the fire. When she finally reached Caesar and Antony the concern was etched on her face. She was actually worried about Caesar and what just happened back there; she went to touch Caesar's cheek but Antony stopped her.

"Don't, he won't like it," Antony cautioned.

"He won't like what?" Alexandra said confused at this meaning.

"Your pity," Antony said.

"I intend no pity." Alex knew she had seen this before. "He's ill isn't he?"

"Yes, Caesar suffers from a strange malady that causes him to stare and have seizures."

"Epilepsy?"

"Yes. He's been able to keep the seizures under control, for the most part. He hides it well, and no one will even admit they know about it. He's killed men for having this knowledge."

"I won't bring it up, you have my word."

"Better for all of us if you don't.  Goodnight, Alexandra."

"I think I'll stay awake for a while, Antony." Alex felt that this long night was far from over. "I'll see you in the morning."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Morning came early, and Alexandra never slept, and it was wise that she didn't. During the night a guard made an attempt on Caesar's life. The guard was killed and left hanging from a tree, as a message.

Pompey and Caesar both found him hanging by his ankles; he had been gutted, and stripped naked. Several of the other soldiers threw up at the site. Alexandra stood next to Antony, saying nothing.

"Did you do this, Bitch?"  Pompey asked, the anger at the loss of a second man clear in his voice.

"Pompey, why do you ask me?  I'm Caesar's personal guard.  If I killed your man, then it would mean that he tried to kill Caesar. If he did this, then it would be possible he did so under your orders."

Pompey knew defeat, and went no further. "Cut him down and bury him, we need to be at the harbor in a few hours." Pompey was seething; he turned away from the woman promising himself that this was far from over between them.

"If I were you Pompey, I wouldn't bother with any type of revenge toward Alex. From what Caesar tells me she is a favorite of the Greek war god."

"I don't bow to Greek gods, Antony. And neither should Caesar." He smirked. Pompey watched them cut down his man from the tree. "But I will keep that in mind."

Caesar walked toward his horse with Alexandra, keeping his voice soft, he spoke, "You're very clever, Alexandra, but don't get too comfortable with that thought. In any situation there's always one variable you can't count on." Caesar started to walk away but he paused turning to look at her he added, "Oh, and thank you for saving my life last night. It hasn't gone unnoticed."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The emperor's massive fleet stood ready in the Harbor. Forty ships, their sails bearing the royal purple and gold of Caesar's crest, floated silently on the horizon. Alexandra felt very small against all of this majesty. Upon their arrival, they boarded the swiftest of his vessels and began the voyage back to Rome.  Alexandra loved the sea; the air was so fresh and alive. She remembered fondly her visit to Rome with her father. The happiness and the joy that they shared; she felt this time the trip would not bring her any pleasure.

It became clear that Caesar was agitated by the episode from the other night.  He was worse than ever, attacking most of the crew with inane demands. At one point, Alex made the mistake of getting in between Caesar and one of the younger cabin boys. He was going to have him thrown overboard for disobeying a direct command.

"Please he's just a child! You can't seriously be considering this?" Alex said as she grabbed his arm.

Caesar looked at Alex and removed her hand from his arm. "Did I give you permission to touch me, Alex?" He slapped her. The blow stung, but Alex did not back down, and remained between Caesar and the boy.

"I will not let you take him, Caesar." Alex wasn't sure what she would accomplish but she had to try; everyone else just stood around and would just let him throw the boy into the sea.

"You do not have a choice. Antony, see to Alex now!" Caesar commanded. "You need to be punished for questioning me, Alex."  Antony came up behind Alexandra, when their eyes met she could see his compassion but he quickly restrained her. Facing him he forced her arms in between them, and held her tightly.

Caesar walked up to Alex, having picked up a cat o' nine tails, and ripped the back of her outfit. "This is what anyone gets who disobeys me, Alexandra!" Caesar yelled, as he began to flog her in front of the men. Fine strips of crimson appeared down Alexandra's back, as she flinched from the pain of each blow.

She buried her head in Antony's chest; the leather from his uniform cutting into her skin as she bit on her lip to keep from crying out. Not wanting to give Caesar the satisfaction he sought.  The pain seared into her body till it felt as if it was on fire. Blow after blow he continued on relentlessly, never stopping. Her blood ran down her body matting the uniform she was wearing and dripping onto the deck. She began to get dizzy and her legs became weak. Caesar finally finished, and forced Alexandra to watch as he personally threw the boy overboard.

"Nooooo!" She cried out in anguish trying to wrench herself free from Antony's grasp; he held her tightly.

Caesar's eyes were filled with blood as his body heaved in anger. "Antony, take her and chain her in my cabin. Wait for me there; I'll be along shortly." He commanded, as Antony quickly ushered Alex below.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Antony lay Alex on the bed careful not to set her on her back.  He went to get a cool cloth to rinse her wounds as he started to tend to them. There were no marks. He ran his hand over her back in disbelief; a shudder ran through Alex's body.

"How is this possible?" He asked bewildered.

She turned to face him. "I've the ability to heal myself, Antony." Tears started to form in her eyes. "It doesn't keep me from feeling the pain; that's very real.  It just enables me to heal any wound faster."

"Caesar knows about this, doesn't he?

"Yes he knows, that's part of his plan.  Since I heal quickly, he wants to see exactly how far he can push me.  For a man like Caesar it's a tormentor's paradise. Bring me to the brink of pain; then force me back to the edge of pleasure."

"And you accept this?"

"When I learn what I need to know, then there will be no need to."

"You are very foolish, Alexandra," Antony said to her; she could see the suspicion in his eyes.

Alexandra started to say something but Caesar interrupted them. He walked into the opulent room and threw the cat o' nine tails, still caked with blood, on the large table in the center as he began to undo his armor.

"So, Antony, you know Alexandra's little secret. Interesting isn't it?"

"And you, mighty Caesar, are going to exploit it aren't you?" Antony was now angered by his cousin's manipulations.

"After all, Antony, isn't that what I do best?" Caesar sat down in a large chair behind the massive table with a smirk on his face. "The problem here is Alex doesn't believe pain can be erotic. You didn't believe watching two men together could be erotic either, at least not at first, did you? But you soon changed your mind."

Alexandra was very surprised by that revelation, but made sure her face hid it well. Interesting. Caesar 'did' speak with Ares about me. Otherwise how could he possibly have known about my beliefs, and about watching two men? she thought.

He smiled and folded his hands together resting his chin on them. "Antony, would you do whatever your Caesar asks of you?"

Antony could only guess where this was heading. He was sure Caesar wanted to fuck him or at the very least he expected a blowjob. The man had a sex drive as big as the Aegean Sea. He became use to the demands of his cousin at an early age; Antony had seen the bulge rising when his cousin was beating Alexandra. He went to rise from the bed, but Caesar raised a hand to stop him.

"Stay there, Antony; just answer the question."

"My Cousin knows he has my undying loyalty. I'd do whatever he asks."

"Good." Caesar poured some wine. "Suck me."

Antony dropped to his knees and took Caesars cock between is lips. He worked his mouth back and forth taking in the entire length. Caesar feeling himself near release started fucking his mouth furiously as he came shouting Antony's name. Antony swallowed his come and Caesar bent down kissing his lips savagely.

Caesar got off of the bed and fixed his uniform. "You will both sleep here for tonight. Chain her to the bed."

"But, Caesar--?"

Caesar quickly cut Antony short. "Chain her, Antony, I need you up on deck. Get dressed. Now!"

For the entire voyage Alexandra remained chained to Caesar's bed. She would watch, as the two of them would disappear only to returned in a while, the look and sent of sex flowing from them. The last time they left her she could hear Caesar taking Antony in the hallway against the door. She could hear Antony groaning Caesar's name as the emperor called him pet and slut. Alex found Caesar's sexual appetite astounding.

When they finally arrived in port, Caesar had Alex dressed in the finest military uniform and she lead his entourage into the palace. Caesar purposely left Antony behind to see to some business before he would return to the palace. The emperor had plans for tonight that he didn't want Antony meddling in.

Once they arrived he made it clear to everyone that she was part of his personal guard and they were to treat her as such. After a full tour of the palace Caesar led her to his quarters and slammed the doors closed. The guards in the hallway faced the front as their emperor led the woman into his chambers.

The sounds that emanated from the room would have horrified anyone. Knowing their emperor well they glanced at one another and smiled. Throughout the night they could hear the woman scream over and over in agonizing pain. They were sure she would be dead by morning; yet neither man moved because to interfere would have meant certain death.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The following morning Mark Antony came to Caesar's room early. He was due in the senate and Antony was to personally escort him to the forum. Upon entering the room Antony couldn't believe his eyes. There was blood everywhere and the bedclothes were ripped and strewn around the room. Caesar's bloody dagger lay at the foot of the bed and Antony picked it up and silently cursed him. He grasped the blade tightly cutting into his own flesh.

Panicked he continued to survey the room looking for Alex. Finally his eyes settled upon the large Venetian marble table in the corner. As he approached Antony could see the pattern of blood swirled through the marble veining, and a chill ran down his spine.  It held the unmoving body of Alexandra firmly secured to the legs by torn strips of the bedclothes; they cut deeply into her wrists and ankles turning them black and blue. Her body was caked with dried blood and semen, finally she moaned. Relieved she was still alive Antony cut her free and carried her into Caesar's bath.  To his shock he found the emperor lounging in the steaming marble tub eating fruit.

"Bastard," he spat out at his cousin. "You could have killed her!" His look was one of total disgust.

"Really, Antony don't be so dramatic," Caesar's tone was cold and void of all feeling.

Antony lowered Alex's body into the warm water. Her moans became louder as it enveloped her. The clear water now ran red as he carefully sponged her clean.

"You are insane. Why would you want to do this to her?"

"Because I can." Caesar stood, his magnificent body dripping with water; Antony watched as it flowed down his body, caressing it, accentuating every chiseled feature. Antony unconsciously licked his lips and Caesar smiled. "Have her bathed and ready, I want her to accompany me to the senate and the forum today."  He left the room and Antony continued to bathe Alexandra. She sat there not saying a word.

Her wounds had healed quickly so there was nothing more he could do for her. Once she was cleaned and dressed he tried to make her eat something. She didn't even look at the food. Antony looked at Alex's face and gently caressed her cheek. She just starred passed him.

"Please Alex you need to eat something; you need your strength." He pulled her close to him and hugged her tightly. Finally her body relaxed and she began to cry.  "Bastard," he softly whispered.

 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

No words were spoken between them as Antony and Alex joined Caesar on his trip to the forum. They hung back from Caesar and the contingent of guards that surrounded him. Alex was sure she had never seen the sky quite so blue before. Slowly, she started coming back to herself and she marveled at the magnificent buildings before her. A slight smile came to her lips as a warm breeze caressed her; she could clearly remember her visit with her father over ten years ago. He had walked her through this magnificent forum and the wonderful architecture within.  So much had changed. Antony had told her that Caesar had planned a vast transformation of the city since her last visit. Rome was to be the center of the world; all roads would lead there

They continued on passing through the Arch of Septimius Severus up large marble steps and through an expansive courtyard. They walked passed a large building to the right of the Rostra, a round building where the orators spoke.

"That building is new." Alex said. "The one next to the Tabularium."

"That's the Basilica Julia," Antony told her. "Caesar built it in his honor. Things must have changed quite a bit since you were here, Alex."

"Egomaniac," she murmured. Antony hearing her comment smiled, as Caesar turned in her direction eyebrow raised. "Yes, It's really amazing. Rome is truly wondrous." Alex said smiling in Caesar's direction.

"Those three buildings over there are the temple of Apollo, and the two across from it belong to Bellona, the Roman goddess of war. And the temple of Mars, 'our' god of war." Antony beamed proudly. Alexandra could see he was proud of his heritage.

"They are beautiful a fitting tribute." Alex's thoughts wandered to her god of war. She would not let herself think about him as she quickly pulled herself to the present. She knew he was right, she should have listened and stayed in Greece.

They continued their walk past the temple of Vesta, where the Vestal Virgins kept the sacred fire of the Urbs burning. "Is the penalty for breaking the vow of chastity still being buried alive?" Alex queried.

Antony looked surprised. "Yes, you're 'very' familiar with our customs, Alex."

"Barbaric as some of them are. I've always made the study of Rome a passion of mine." She noticed Caesar was watching her again. "It was something my father and I shared." Alex eyes looked deeply sadden at the mention of her father. She was becoming more and more home sick. Antony noticed her distress and they continued on in silence.

As they approached the senate Alexandra could see the Colosseum at the end of the plaza. It stood directly behind the temple of Venus and Rome.  The amphitheater was one of the largest buildings in the city. It stood three stories high, and it was covered with an enormous velarium, an immense awning, that would stretch out over the crowd to protect the spectators from the sun. It's polished marble glowed eerily in the bright light of the day.

Alexandra also began to notice the Romans walking through the open forum; they were awed by Caesar's presence, they truly seemed to love him. The children danced around them fascinated by Alexandra. They chanted and ran around her laughing; Antony shooed them away before they could annoy Caesar or his guards.

As they came closer to the building that housed the senate Alex became keenly aware of a feeling of dread that was building inside her. With each stride up the large marble steps, Alex could see the carnage, the knives. Blood pooling around the body, already growing cold. Blood running through the senate, over the marble floor and steps out into the streets of the city. Panic--people running screaming Rome would never be the same. She never noticed the strange glow from the pendant Ares had given her.

Caesar was greeted by several of the top Roman senators upon his entrance.  Alex watched as they held out their arms in greetings. All saying, hail mighty Caesar. She saw their smiles and felt their malice. Suddenly the room began to spin and she felt as if the walls were closing in on her. Grasping her chest Alexandra cried out in pain as she fell to the floor.

Mark Antony rushed to her side to help her up. "Alex, what's wrong?" He looked down and found blood all over her hands. "Alex, are you all right?" He quickly examined her. "There's no wound"

"Caesar, perhaps you should leave here and return to the palace," Alex's voice was shaky.

Caesar walked over to her and spoke softly through gritted teeth. "I don't know what this little show is about Alex, but I am staying. I have a meeting, 'you' can return to the palace." He turned his attention to one of his guards. "Escort her now!" He commanded.

The guard saluted. "Yes, Caesar."

Alex looked panicked. "But Caesar, please reconsider--"

Caesar cut Alexandra short. "Enough!" He grabbed her arm roughly and pulled her to the side where no one could hear them speak. "How dare you question my orders in front of my senators." He struck her across the face. "Never! Do that again."

"Caesar, you don't understand. I'm not--"

He roughly pushed her to the guards. "Return to the palace 'now'--and she is to be restricted to her quarters!"  Alexandra didn't argue any more; she followed her escort back out of the senate pausing to look through the large doorway. The guards were just closing the large gilded bronze doors. She watched Antony; his eye's held such compassion for her. Yet he stood fast next to his cousin. She could barely hear Caesar making some comment about Greek women needing a lesson in obedience, as the doors closed drowning out the senator's laughter.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Alex spent the rest of the day in her quarters. She was the curious type and had plenty of time to explore. It was interesting how many secret passageways she found that led throughout the place. She chuckled at the fact that the moronic guards never even realized she was gone.

She also thought it was odd that her room was the only one that led into Caesar's private chambers. Having a secret passage to his quarters would leave him vulnerable to attack. The passageway was well hidden behind a tapestry that was behind a large marble statue of Mars. Alexandra marveled at the eerie resemblance to her very own god of war. The hair was shorter and the beard was gone, but he really did look like Ares.  Then Alex realized that the room she was staying in was the one that Caesar reserved for his lovers: noblemen, statesmen, and kings. Men, who thrived on decorum, yet lived on their passions. She closed her eyes and in her mind she could actually see Caesar as he fucked a visiting king their bodies sweating, moaning loudly. Passion, forbidden desires. Alex was pulled from her dream by a knock on her door.

"Enter," she called out. Alexandra watched as Pompey entered her room with several servants carrying trays of food and drink. He motioned for them to put the trays on the table and leave.

"My dear, Alexandra, you must have really done something to displease Caesar today. He's ordered your meals to be served in you room; you my dear are to stay here until he comes for you."

"And you decided to bring me that news yourself, Pompey? How thoughtful of you."

Pompey chuckled. "Do enjoy your meal Alex, you never know when the opportunity to eat again will present itself."  Before Alexandra could question his statement he left, locking the door behind him.

"What is that bastard up to?" Alex asked out loud. She walked over to the trays of food but really wasn't hungry. On an earlier exploration of the secret passages she wound up in the kitchen and ate her fill. She poured a goblet of wine and went to drink as she brought the glass to her lips an acrid odor caught her attention. "Damn him!" Alexandra threw the wine out the window. "I will not fall for that again, not this time." Alex made quick work of hiding the food in one of the passageways and then quickly lay down on the bed and waited. She could hear the key in the lock and the room was quickly cleared of all of the traces of food and drink. The door softly closed behind her and locked once again.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Caesar had already returned to the palace and partaken of a large dinner with his illustrious guests. He spent most of the evening being extremely pissed off at Mark Antony's attentions to a younger statesman. The emperor watched patiently as Antony gloated over his fury.

A soft touch of the younger man's cheek, an over enthusiastic laugh, leaning in way to too close so he could rub against the younger man's firm body. His cousin knew how to inflame his ardor; and he would take him tonight riding him hard and long. His cock was growing painfully hard at the thought. He marveled at exactly how well Antony knew him. Caesar smiled sipping his wine as he continued to mingle with his guests. When the party was over Caesar grabbed Antony's arm and steered him to his chambers. He pushed him onto the room and up against the wall.

"What was that little show with Octavian about? Did you think it would piss me off?" Caesar growled.

Antony looked dazed but he was smiling. "Apparently it worked!" He said his eyes glowing fierily.

Caesar pushed back against Antony savagely. He attacked his lips with a bruising and punishing force knocking the breath out of his cousin. Breaking the kiss, he walked over to the table as Antony undressed. Caesar poured himself a glass of wine, as he removed his royal blue toga with one hand. It pooled at his feet and stepping over it he handed a glass to Antony.

Caesar stood before him his cock thick and semi erect jutted out proudly from his well-muscled body.

Antony let out a soft moan.

Caesar kissed him and ran his hand down Antony's neck and firm shoulder then down across his hard stomach. "You are so fucking beautiful, Marcus," he purred into his ear as he started to lick Antony's neck. "And I'm going to enjoy ramming my cock into you. But first--" Caesar pushed Antony onto the bed the wine spilling all over his body.  The emperor slowly fell to his knees and started to lick the spilled wine from his cousin's chest. Antony moaned at the sensation of Caesar's tongue on his nipples, The wine had pooled around the base of his cock and Caesar was lapping it up like a hungry lion. His tongue worked expertly all around Antony's long hard cock yet he made sure he never touched it directly.

Caesar stopped abruptly and Antony moaned in frustration as the emperor reclined back across the bed. He grasped his cousin's head with his free hand and guided Antony's lips to his straining erection. "Suck me," he commanded with a fevered edge to his voice. "Do what you do best--make me come."

Antony took a sip of the wine and put the goblet on the floor. He drew his finger softly along Caesar's cock; he could feel the heat flowing off of it. While still holding the wine in his mouth he guided the wonderfully thick beast between his lips. Caesar gasped at the pleasure the sensation of the cool wine had against his hot skin, and thrust his hips forward into the wonderful suction created by the fluid and Antony's soft warm mouth. He closed his eyes tightly as he gave himself over to the pleasure that enveloped him.

"Yes, my god, yes," Caesar moaned putting his hand on Antony's head forcing him down, Antony shifted himself so he could take all of Caesar easily. He pushed against the base of Caesar's cock forcing his balls down; he drew back to the tip and slowly began his decent down the full length of the shaft until his lips met his hand. The emperor moaned loudly.

Caesar could not hold back any longer, screaming as he came, spurting his come deep against the back of Antony's throat. He pulled at his cousin to lift him so he could taste the come on his lips, but Antony wouldn't move, he continued to lick and suck Caesar's cock and tease his balls until the emperor was once again hard.

By now Caesar knew Antony needed release, as he tried to arch his hips and move his cock toward the emperor's lips but Caesar pushed his hips down and removed his cock from Antony's mouth.

"Lie still, Antony," he commanded. "I'm gonna fuck you now and I don't want you to come until 'I' say so."

Caesar reached between the headboard and the soft mat that covered the bed and withdrew two long cords that were already tied to the bedposts. Lying across Antony's body he quickly bound his wrists. "Tell me what you want, Antony." Caesar purred as he trailed his tongue across his neck pausing to bite his ear.

At the sharpness of the bite Antony pulled on his bindings. "I--I want" His voice sounded horse as Caesar ground his hardness against Antony's own cock. Antony swallowed. "Please--I want you inside me. I want to come" he moaned.

Caesar trailed down his cousin's neck and bit him hard on the shoulder. Antony cried out in pain and the emperor laughed. "If you are a good boy and please me I might let you come. Are you still so tight and warm Antony?" Caesar slipped his arms under Antony's legs and moved them to the front of his chest. "You haven't been playing with too many others, have you?  With no preparation he placed his cock against Antony's opening and pushed the tip inside far enough to cause his cousin to wince at the pain.

"Caesar, there is oil on the table--please?" Antony begged.

Caesar shook his head as he began to thrust into Antony. "No, I don't want anything between us. I want to feel your tightness, your pain. He pushed inside until his balls smacked against Antony's ass. Antony screamed at the pain his entire body jerked as he thrust himself against Caesar. His breathing was ragged and he tried to slow his breathing and relax. Caesar waited until Antony adjusted and then began to move in and out of Antony at a slow and rhythmic pace. He still avoided any contact with his cousin's cock and watched as it jerked and pulsed, begging to be touched.

"By the gods, Caesar--touch me. Let me come," he growled. "Or I swear--"

Caesar cut him off. "What do you swear, Antony?" He asked snidely.

"Bastard!" Antony said through gritted teeth as he thrust his head back in ecstasy from the feelings of pure pleasure from Caesar's unrelenting cock.

Caesar released Antony's legs letting them fall to the sides and he bent forward while still sheathed inside his cousin. Leaning far enough forward he took Antony's cock between his lips and drew it into his mouth.

"Yes--oh by the gods--yes!" Antony screamed as Caesar began to work back and forth biting, nibbling and sucking on the head. He could still feel Caesars hardness deep within him and his mouth working so expertly sucking him it wasn't long before he was coming spilling his seed down Caesar's throat as the emperor greedily swallowed everything Antony had to offer.

Antony collapsed and Caesar leaned forward kissing his cousin, their tongues mingling so Antony could taste himself. "So sweet." Caesar murmured as he once again began thrusting into Antony's tightness. Antony arched his head up opening his mouth so Caesar would once again claim it. He did, locking their lips and tongues together as the emperor's strokes quickened becoming faster and harder and he soon came filling Antony with his seed.

Both men lay entangled in each other's embrace; exhausted needing rest. It had been a long day and they were tired. Caesar took a small dagger from under the pillows and cut away the bindings. He pulled Antony close to him, playing with his black curls. "My beautiful, Marcus. Do you love your cousin? Would you do anything to please him?"

Antony smiled his cock throbbed in anticipation. "Caesar knows he has my undying loyalty. Whad'ya have in mind?" He grinned.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Hours had passed and Alexandra had fallen into a deep sleep, she could see Antony and Caesar fucking in her dreams, The savagery, the beauty, she stirred in her sleep moaning, wanting. Then a flash and a gleam of a sharp blade. Alexandra was to her feet and through the secret passage before another sand could flow through an hourglass. She emerged in Caesar's chamber sword drawn standing over the two sleeping men. It pained her that Antony slept soundly in Caesar's embrace embrace. She tried to hold her emotions in check as she raised her sword high above them. And stepped through the gauzy curtains that hung from either side of the bedposts.

"Antony!" Was all she shouted, as metal clanged against metal and the battle began. Her scream woke both Antony and Caesar in time to see the men who had entered his chamber. Swords drawn ready to attack the emperor and his sleeping lover. Caesar reached down and grabbed the sword hidden beneath his bed, as Alexandra threw Mark Antony his sword. The two men took over the battle and Alexandra stepped aside leaning her back against the cool marble wall, she watched as both men worked their way through the assassins killing them one by one. Alexandra noticed the gleam in their eyes as they worked together and the joy as they both plunged their swords into the last would be killer.

Once they were finished Caesar opened his door and found his two most loyal men with their throats slit "Damn, 'guards!' He yelled.

Alexandra watched as Antony walked toward her his breathing hard and irregular. "You know who did this don't you?"

"Yes."

"Then tell me. I have to protect him. They've managed to get too close this time."

Alexandra looked away. "No, I will not. I only came in here to save 'you'." Tears welled up in her eyes. "After what Caesar did to me the other night, he means nothing to me. If you weren't with him I'd have let them kill him."

"Alex, please help me." She shook her head no. "How did you know I was here?"

"I saw you were here, together -- fucking him in a dream. Just as I saw them coming to kill the both of you."

Caesar threw his sword to the ground, and he walked over to Alex and Antony "It seems I owe you again for saving me Alex."

Alexandra looked into those eyes. "You don't, Caesar. I didn't save you; I saved Antony. You being saved was just a bonus--for you. That's all. Do you understand?" Alexandra's eyes were cold and void of any feelings.

Caesar looked into them for a long time and finally smiled. "Yes, Alexandra actually I do." He turned to the guards that had entered the room. "Dispose of this filth," he ordered. Just as Pompey and his guard arrived at Caesar's door.

"Well, Pompey it seems that Alex has stopped another attempt on my life. She has proven herself invaluable again."

"Yes--were all grateful to her for saving you of course." Pompey bowed slightly to Alexandra. He followed the last of the guards as they removed the dead bodies from the room.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The night ended quickly and Alexandra never slept. She sat looking out her window at the glories of Rome.  She heard Caesar enter but didn't turn to face him. "It's time Alexandra," Caesar said softly.

"Time?"

Caesar snickered. "Yes, time to go home, little girl. The games are over and all bets are off. It's time!"

Alexandra's looked at her tormentor. "Game? I don't understand, Caesar. This wasn't a game to me. I really wanted to learn from you."

"Well all I ever wanted out of this was someone's attention. And I've gotten that now--so it's time to go home."

"I don't understand, whose attention?"

Caesar walked over to the table and popped a grape in his mouth "Ares of course, I only agreed to let you come to Rome with me to annoy him. You see your suspicions were right. Ares did come to me. He asked me to turn you down not to take you with me to Chin." Caesar poured some wine. "I told him there was a price for asking favors from Rome--well he turned down my advances--so I decided to take you instead!"

"You fucking bastard!" She snipped.

"Precisely, once I realized how 'close' you and Iphicles were, I knew the king would eventually get Ares to come looking for you. You see I know Iphicles 'very' well. You served your purpose--Ares came last night after that little fiasco and fucked me senseless. He is quite a lover, and we both had quite a time pleasuring Antony."

Alex lunged from the window and pounded on Caesar's chest. "You are an animal. You tortured me, so Ares would fuck you?" Alexandra could hardly control her breathing; her chest rose and fell in rapid bursts as she fought against him with all her strength. "You laid a lot on the fact that Ares would want me back." Caesar easily grasped Alexandra's wrists pinning them behind her pulling her close.

"The torture was just a pleasant bonus, for me!" He pulled her closer. "Don't flatter yourself. I originally planned to take the king, and would have done just that, if you didn't work. You just fell right into 'my' plans.  I wanted to fuck the god of war--and I did."

"Some day I will get even with you for this, Caesar--trust me."

Caesar threw Alexandra to the ground. "We leave in an hour. I'll send Antony for you, until then stay here in your room. I don't want you getting into trouble."

Alexandra collapsed onto the cool marble floor she screamed, "Noooooooo!" She wanted to cry but couldn't.

Caesar turned to look at her as he left the room. "I'm sure you won't discuss what happened here in Rome with your war god. I mean you wouldn't want your king to get a report full of glorious details on your sexual behavior, now would you, my dear?"

Alexandra rose and threw a full tray of fruit at the Emperor. It was too late as Caesar had already closed the door behind him. His laughter echoing in the halls.
 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The entire voyage back Mark Antony made sure that Alexandra stayed clear of Caesar. She slept in his room by his side. He had become her only comfort and he knew it was best to get her home. Caesar had news that their scouting trip was successful and the battle for Chin could finally begin.  They returned to Greece quickly arriving at Caesar's encampment. Brutus was already there with his men waiting. Once they were settled Antony led Alexandra to Caesar's tent.

"I have already had Brutus send word to King Iphicles; Hercules, and his little blond friend, will come and get you, it's not up for discussion." Caesar stood there with Antony.

"Fine, once again it seems that I have no choice."

Caesar chewed on his lower lip, as if deep in thought. "For once we agree, Alex." He turned and pushed Alexandra towards the opening of the tent. Caesar and Antony watched as Alexandra walked out of their lives. "So, do you think the others suspect anything?" He turned to look at the figure standing beside him; and cocked his head to the side. "Oh, and did you bring the real Antony back to me?"

"Done. He's already outside waiting for you with your army. They don't suspect, I wasn't to leave Alex's side remember." The figure of Antony said, as he morphed into Ares.  The God of War snickered. "I made sure they thought, it was all Iphicles and Hercules' idea." Ares shook his head. "They'd never suspected a thing. Strife didn't even know what was going on when I asked him to pretend to be me on that hillside."

"One of them seem to suspect something," Caesar stated bluntly.

"Well maybe that damn hunter did." Ares felt full of himself as he stretched and smiled broadly. "This ploy of mine pretending to protect Alex from 'you' was a good idea. It gave us complete freedom to totally control her, without the others meddling."

"You owe me big time for this, god of war. I vaguely remembered seeing her in that damn little village. I would have never bothered with her if 'you' didn't ask and I didn't 'owe' you. Although she is --interesting." Caesar actually smiled. No matter, your plan proved to be pure genius."

"Yes, I gave to agree," Ares said crossing his arms and smiling at his success.

"Are you sure you put all of her thoughts about leaving your king out of her mind, Ares?"

"The whole purpose of this was to teach her a lesson.  She knows her place now, and who she belongs to, she'll return to Iphicles, and this learning nonsense will be all over with."

Caesar was uncharacteristically silent for a moment as if distracted by something. "What if she ever figures it out? What will you do then?" Caesar smiled coldly.

Before Ares could answer Caesar's guard announced the arrival of Hercules and Iolaus. The hunter and the demigod walked into Caesar's main tent. Iolaus shifted his stance uncomfortably as if the tent walls would collapse on him at any minute.

"Ares, what are you doing here? Hercules eyed his half brother suspiciously.

Ares had to think quickly, he didn't want a confrontation with his brother in front of Caesar. "I heard from Iphicles that Caesar was sending Alex back and decided to escort her home myself."

He glared at his brother. "Caesar, we've come to escort Alex back to Corinth; where is she?"

"She's outside waiting for you." Caesar started to walk toward the tent opening.

Iolaus shook his head. "No she isn't. Believe me if she was we wouldn't have bothered coming in here to look for her."

"I just sent her outside not more than ten minutes ago to wait for you. Caesar opened the tent flap his eyes locked on a lone man standing there with his arms crossed. "Pompey, Come here," he beckoned. "Did you see Alexandra outside?"

"I saw Alex a few minutes ago. She was at the side of the tent and she seemed to be listening to whatever was going on inside. She saw Hercules and Iolaus, coming down the road, and before I could confront her she jumped on one of the horses and rode off in the other direction.

"Damn!" Ares bellowed.

Caesar look mildly annoyed, "You of course didn't think to come and tell me about this right after it happened."

Pompey smiled. "Of course I did, but I was distracted by an altercation between my men. I would have told you eventually," He said as he exited the tent.

"So she overheard something between you two and ran off?" Hercules threw his arms in the air. "Lets go, Iolaus. I'm afraid we have some explaining to do to Iphicles."

"Herc, we promised to bring Alex back with us, shouldn't we go look for her?" Iolaus asked.

Hercules turned to his half brother. "Can you feel where she is, Ares?"

"No, she's blocking me." Ares jaw was clenched the muscles in his cheek throbbed. Alex was now running blindly because of him. Iphicles would never understand.

"Then for now, we return to Corinth. I assume you will be leaving for Chin Caesar, don't let us keep you," Hercules sneered as he and Iolaus left Caesar's tent.

The god of war strode toward the emperor. Ares grabbed Caesar by the arm. "You saw her didn't you?"

"Really, Ares I don't know what you mean," Caesar smirked.

Ares struck him. "Bastard, you saw her, at the tent flap, when you asked me what would I do if she figured it out!"

"Alexandra isn't stupid. You didn't think you could keep it a secret forever Ares, did you?" Caesar laughed.

Ares struck Caesar so hard he flung him to the ground. "Don't fuck with me little emperor."  The god lifted Caesar high into the air and threw him again sending him flying into the large table at the center of the tent. "Believe me, you won't like consequences."  Ares grinned as he waved his hand.

Caesar found himself bound and gagged across the large table. His arms splayed wide to expose him to whoever walked into the tent. He pulled at his bindings but they were so taut he had no room to move. Ares ran his hand across the emperor's gloriously naked form

"I figure I owe you for this as well as for what you did to Alexandra that night." Ares held back his rage; leaning close to Caesars ear. "Did you really think I'd condone the awful things you did to her? That was 'never' part of our deal!" He grabbed him by the hair and pulled his head closer to his face. "Did you!" Ares gagged the emperor and disappeared from Caesar's sight but stayed to watch the festivities. He loved payback and it was high time Caesar was on the receiving end.

Ares watched and started to laugh deeply as a lone figure entered Caesar's tent. Caesar struggled with his bonds. Leaning down he whispered into Caesar's ear, "Well, well...Pompey's back." The god watched as Pompey ran his hand across Caesar's ass. "Looks like divine justice, I'm afraid," Ares doubled over with laughter as Pompey freed his cock and plunged deep into Caesar's ass with no preparation. The emperor roared in pain and bit down on the bit in his mouth.

"Pompey is rather a well endowed individual I'd say. Pain's a 'bitch' isn't it, emperor?" Ares snickered watching in delight as Pompey thrust savagely into Caesar; beads of sweat forming on his head.

"Yes, So hot--so tight!" Pompey moaned loudly biting his lower lip as he came filling Cesar with his seed.

Pompey leaned forward and removed the bit from Caesar's mouth. "Ahhh I've fucked Caesar and I lived to tell about it. I had originally come back to let you know I've decided to take my legions and go back to Rome; they will follow only me now." He rubbed Caesar's ass. "This however, was a nice surprise." Pompey gloated

Ares snickered and released one of Caesar's arms before he left for Corinth. Pompey stepped back once Caesar was free. "Really Pompey is that the 'best' you could do?" He untied his other arm.  "Fine, leave. If it's civil war you want that's exactly what you will get." Caesar wrapped his cloak around himself. "Guards!" he yelled as Pompey quickly exited his tent. Caesar stood there a smile slowly came to his lips. He languidly stroked his erection and closed his eyes shuddering as he came.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Alex rode for almost an hour until she finally arrived at the only place she felt truly safe. She ran blindly and tore through the castle doors; the late afternoon sunlight flooded the large room. And her footsteps echoed off of the stone floor. She sought shelter, help, and solace, running to the only one she could turn to now.

The one being who would always take care of her. The one who brought her into their fouled fold and tried to teach her.

"Methos," she cried out his name and it echoed off of the chamber walls. Alex collapsed on the chamber floor broken and betrayed. "Methos, I need you--please."

Before Methos had heard her voice echoing throughout the castle. He had already felt her presence and was headed for the main hall. "Alex, my darling--what's wrong child?"

"Methos, I need you," she sobbed as she threw herself into his arms.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Back in Corinth--

Iphicles was pacing the floor of his throne room. He had already thrown out his advisers and was focusing on his brother and the god of war. Ares had arrived shortly after Hercules and Iolaus and now the trio stood before the king trying to answer his questions.

"Damn it, Herc. How could you let her run away again? After all we went through to put an end to all of this. You told me to stay in Corinth! To take care of business, I trusted you to bring her back here. What went wrong?"

"Iph, apparently she was outside waiting for us and she went back to the tent and saw Ares and Caesar together and then she ran."

The king looked at his lover. "You were with Caesar, Ares. Why? You were supposed to switch places with Mark Antony, giving him your memories, and come straight back here."

Ares couldn't look at Iphicles as he struggled with what to say. "Caesar knew I was pretending to be Antony." Ares said not wanting to lie anymore.

"Great! Ares, just Great!" Hercules said. "You know this doesn't surprise me."

"Damn I knew something wasn't right with this plan. Caesar accepted that damn meeting too easily!" Iolaus said shaking his head as he saw Iphicles walk over to Ares and grab him by the arm.

"He knew you were pretending to be Mark Antony? You betrayed all of us? Betrayed 'me'?" Iphicles was so furious he hauled off and struck Ares square in the jaw.

Hercules eyebrows shot straight up as Iphicles nursed his throbbing hand, shaking it to ease the pain. "Bastard," he spat at the war god. "I've had enough of these manipulations." Iphicles headed for the door. "I'll go searching for Alex in the morning. She couldn't have gone far." His last word cut off by the sound of the door slamming.

Ares was stunned into silence; he rubbed his jaw and moved toward the door to go after Iphicles. "Just where do you think you're going? Don't you think you've caused enough trouble for one day, Ares?" Hercules grabbed the god by the arm.

Ares turned toward his brother with fire in his eyes. "Don't try and stop me, Hercules. I've made a mess of things and I have to put it right," he said as he removed his brother's hand from his arm and walked out the door.

"Well what do you make if that?" Iolaus asked looking totally stunned.

Hercules had this horrified look on his face. "Ares really cares for him? By the gods why does he have to have feelings for 'my' brother?"

Iolaus choked back a giggle; he enjoyed the irony of the situation. "Ahem--Herc don't you think we need to get some rest if we are going to help Iph look for Alex in the morning?"

Hercules put his arm around his lover. " You're right Iolaus we need to go to bed," Herc paused. "I just want you to know I'm not tired." Herc smiled for the first time in the past few days.

"I was counting on that." Iolaus pulled Hercules down into a passionate kiss.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Iphicles was in a foul mood, entering his chambers and locking the doors behind him he yelled to his guards no one was to disturb him or it would mean 'their' heads. Taking off his robe of state he threw it onto a nearby chair. Next he took off his crown and placed it in a niche along the wall, pausing he ran his hand through his hair as he pondered all that went along with wearing the crown. Not long ago he yearned to be a regular man with regular problems, but for the most part he was happy now and would never give up this life.

He poured himself some wine and sat down to remove his boots. That finished he stood and started to undo his leathers and a hand encircled him tightly and moved his fingers aside.

"Let me do that," the war god's voice purred silkily in his ear. "Locking the door won't keep me out, king."

Iphicles brushed Ares' hands aside and moved from his grip. "Damn you, Ares. Cut that out; I'm not in the mood for this."

Ares walked over to Iphicles. "I want to apologize Iphicles, I want to make it up to you."

"You! Apologize? Even if you were capable, you can't Ares. I thought we were past the lies and the manipulation. I thought we were on a more equal level." Iphicles ran his hand through his hair again. "I'm not stupid--I know you are a god--you are war. You don't 'have' to tell me anything. But I've become stronger because of 'you', and what you've done here has made me wonder about our relationship."

"Look Iphicles, I can't always explain what I do and why I do it to you. You have to trust me." Ares voice tightened.

The king laughed and took another swig of wine. "Trust! You have the nerve to talk to me about trust! Alex was important to me for more reasons than you'll ever understand."

Ares embraced the king. "I want to understand, Iphicles. Tell me."

"You've made me so much stronger than I ever believed was possible. After Rena and our child died; most of who I was died with them." Ares could feel the king's body tense; his muscles become rigid with the memories. "Running Corinth was the last thing I worried about. Then you changed all that. You made me realize I was important. Life 'was' worth living and Corinth deserved a strong capable ruler. Besides, proving I could do something well and finally shut Hercules up had its appeal." Iphicles chuckled.

"Then what's the problem?" Ares asked while he bit Iphicles neck.

Iphicles started to moan and caught himself he pulled away and faced his lover. "Ares, you are a god with many responsibilities. You can't be here with me all the time--Alexandra made up for that. While you were gone and she was here with me I felt a closer link and bond to you. Alex was something we shared on an equal level." Iphicles paused. "Or so I thought. Damn! I even betrayed her by telling you what she asked of me--and you, and Caesar used that against her."

" I told you I would get her back. Tomorrow we'll find her, with Strife's help I don't think she will be able to block both of us."

Iphicles looked hard into his lover's eyes he thought he could see the sincerity behind his words. "I doubt after all of your lies she'll want to come back."

Ares kissed him softly on the lips. "If I want her back here she will stay." Ares noticed the look in Iphicles eyes. "No matter what I will bring her back, we can all talk and then decide what's best--together."

Iphicles leaned into Ares' warmth. "I've put up with everything because I've grown to love you. Alex was lost and scared. Like I was so many years ago. I could understand her, and I wanted to help her. There is more to her than either of us are aware of. I'm sure about that. You made me stronger and I wanted to do the same for her. It was important."

"You'll have your chance." He raised Iphicles' face to his. "Enough of this, now kiss me."

The golden haired king reached up and softly pressed his lips against those of the war god's. Breaking the kiss abruptly. "I can't do this, Ares" He walked away from his lover and gulped the last of his wine as he lay on his bed laying his arm across his eyes. He could feel the god's anger from across the room. No one walked away from Ares and got away with it. He was waiting for an explosion but it never came.

He felt Ares gently sit down on the bed next to him. Ares started to undo the ties of the soft cotton shirt Iphicles was wearing. He leaned over and gently kissed the kings lips and softly trailed kisses down his neck.

"Okay, who are you? And what have you done with Ares?" The startled king said.

The god chuckled and looked into Iphicles eyes. "I want you and I want you to forgive me? But I will not force you to be with me tonight. It has to be your decision. I will leave or stay here with you--any way 'you' choose."

"You mean it, don't you?"

"Yes, I've learned the backlash of trying to manipulate those I care for. It's not worth losing you."

"You haven't lost me, Ares, I just don't know how I can begin to forgive you."

Ares kissed Iphicles softly and nipped behind his ear. "Let me show you," he growled.

Iphicles nodded and Ares pulled him into a sitting position to help him remove his shirt. "What no making them disappear?" Iphicles quizzed.

"No, I want to undress you slowly, enjoy exposing your body to me. I'm going to give you a massage, to relax those tight muscles."

Iphicles wasn't sure he heard right but he turned over.  "Sounds nice." Iphicles shivered with the thought of the war god's, well oiled hands roaming all over his body.

Ares finished undoing Iphicles' leathers and slowly peeled them off of him he leaned back on his heels admiring the beautiful body before him "No breechcloth?" His eyebrow raised.

The king stretched flexing his tight muscles. "I've decided they're too cumbersome."

"Flip over, I'll start on your back."

"Do something for me first?  I want to watch you take off your clothes for me."

Ares smiled and slowly undid his vest; he removed the buckle to the large belt that hung to one side at his waist. He let them both drop to the floor. The god's body shone in the candlelight, casting an immense shadow against the stone wall. The king's eyes were transfixed as he slowly undid his leathers peeling them off and cast them aside.

Iphicles breath caught in his throat. "Fuck me," Iphicles demanded in his most kingly tone.

Ares moved to the bed and sat facing the king. "As you command, my king." Ares pulled Iphicles onto his lap gently easing him onto his well-oiled cock. The king threw his head back and moaned his pleasure squeezing his eyes tightly shut and breathing to adjust to the size of his lover. Ares didn't move, he waited until Iphicles smiled and threw his arms around him; his body once again tightened and his breath became ragged. "By the gods what you do to me," Iphicles panted.

"I was having the very same thoughts about you." Ares moaned as his lover pushed his hips down.

Ares lowered Iphicles back so he rested on his elbows. "I want to watch you as I fuck you," he growled.  Ares slowly began to move in an out of his lover as Iphicles met his every thrust. Both sets of eyes were locked on each other, as they became lost in the movement and the feeling between them.

Iphicles was enraptured by what Ares was giving him. For too long it had always been about what Ares wanted, or needed. The god would come and take whatever he wanted from the king. More often than not Ares would come first then take care of Iphicles' needs later. Until now that never bothered Iphicles before. He just felt that was a part of being the lover of war. Tonight was different, he finally realized that Ares was trying to show him they did have more of a partnership rather than just a god dominating him. Ares reached over and started to stroke Iphicles cock in time to match his own movements.

The king bit his lip hard and Ares could smell the blood as it started to flow across Iphicles lip. "Together," Ares moaned as God and King came both exploding and filling each other's need.

Ares couldn't bear to pull away from his king. He pushed back and gently moved to his knees and lay on top of Iphicles kissing him still sheathed inside of his tightness. Iphicles moaned as their tongues intertwined, Ares pulling and sucking on it as if he was a starving man.

"Forgiven?" Ares looked directly into Iphicles' eyes; he knew this was the only time he would ask him.

"Of course I forgive you, but remember forgiving is not the same as forgetting, you have a lot to make up for."

Ares continued to kiss the king's swollen lips, growling, as he tasted his blood. "I gave you my word, one way or another I will bring Alex back here and fix this mess." He traced down his neck and began nipping near his collarbone as he started to slowly move his hips back and forth, his fully erect cock plunging into Iphicles' tightness.

Iphicles writhed beneath him as Ares hit his pleasure spot with each thrust. "Your--word...yes-- fine," Iphicles panted. "Now just fuck me."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The night had passed and morning had come. Methos sat very still absorbing everything Alexandra had told him about Rome. He was leaning forward in his chair resting his head on his hands, his foot tapping nervously on the floor. Alexandra was sitting at his feet still shaking from reliving all of the torturous details that Caesar put her through.

He had known all about what happened to her here. He had actually helped her with the man who came to assassinate Caesar at the camp about two week's back. He had strung him up from the tree and gutted him kissing her softly on the cheek as he disappeared into the darkness. While she was in Greece he had been watching--protecting.

He was worried, Alex was different, and he could see the anger and the coldness in her. He blamed himself he never should have let her go through with this. He could see death in her eyes; and it was his fault. His stories of his times with Ares were the reason she sought the god out in the first place.

"I want revenge for what he let Caesar do to me! All of them! They were all part of it! They should suffer like I did."

"Don't worry Alex I'll take care of everything.

Alex looked at her friend. "Methos you can't go up against a god you may be immortal but--"

"Ah but there's where you are wrong, child." Methos interrupted. "I can go up against Ares and I know I can win." Methos hugged her tightly. "He can't get away with ruining your life too. I thought he learned his lesson long ago, apparently not. I'm not going to let him destroy you, like he tried to destroy me. Ares is good at that when he doesn't get what he wants."  Methos raised Alex face and looked into her eyes. "Its going to be alright Alex I promise. We will do this together."

The End