by Ri


Disclaimer: This is the fourth part of my Time Flies series and it is really imperative you read the other parts to understand this one. It is the most entwined part I have written (G) The girls really wanted to do this one though so I indulged them. I claim nothing from the worlds of the Xena or Lara Croft, Tomb Raider; they belong solely to the powers that be. This series of stories about the characters are from my own fevered imagination however please don't try to filch it. There is a loving committed same sex relationship in this story and mild violence if either of these bothers you please don't read any further.

I'd like to thank all my friends who helped me with this one especially Larisa for her support. Thank you.

        Sarah was walking and reading the fax in her hands. It was the latest research from North Carolina. She was so deeply engrossed in reading she didn't see the man coming from the other direction.

        Brice's head was full of the matrix of the new game that he was creating. He didn't see the small blonde walking right toward him in time to stop the collision.

        "Sorry," said both distracted people and then they looked into each other's startled eyes and busted up laughing.

        Smiling at her friend she asked quietly, "Have you seen Lara, Brice?"

        "Yep, she is in the playroom. I have it on automatic so I was just going to get some tea..."

        A worried expression crossed Sarah's face; "She could get hurt..."

        "Are you kidding, Sarah? She always beats the crap out of my Simon."

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        Lara was alone in a dark Peruvian chamber. She was dressed in her normal working clothes, black shorts, black tank top and boots. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail by an antique silver barrette, a gift from her Angel. It was their six months anniversary and Sarah wanted to celebrate every month, which made the tall brunette smile affectionately.

        She carefully moved through the chamber keeping her eyes open for any booby traps. Suddenly she came up to the alter with a huge smile on her face. It was of the purist old Incan design she looked at her map and moved to the pedestal. She went to the back of the pedestal where the old map said the relic was hidden. Suddenly two electronic limbs burst through a panel.

        "Shit!" Cried the Raider as she back peddled away from the buzz saw coming right for her face. She did a back flip off the pedestal to get away from a forward strike toward her neck. She landed on her feet and pulled out her guns shooting at the beast without stopping her forward momentum.

        She backed the monstrosity into a wall till the robot lost its balance and fell onto its head. She laughed and walked back to pedestal. She opened the panel to get her prize putting her hand deeply into the hidden panel. She pulled out a puzzle box and followed the script till she opened it, she saw that it held what she was after. She held the velvet box close to her heart closing her eyes and sighing happily.

        Then she looked at Simon and said, "Your Master is not going to be happy, Simon old boy."

                ***                ****                ***                ***

        Sarah arrived at the entrance of the playroom just as it opened to allow Lara to pull out a badly injured Simon.

        "Awww, Poor Simon."

        "Hey! He would have taken my head off..."

        "That's only because you bully Brice into making his programming tougher and tougher."

        Lara dropped Simon and shrugged, "I like it to be a challenge..."

        "Isn't life challenging enough?"

        Lara walked to the smaller woman and despite being very sweaty she pulled her close and said softly into a beloved ear, "Only when I'm with you, My Angel." Then she gently lifted Sarah's head by her chin and kissed her passionately.

        ***                        ***                ***                ***

        The two women were gently washing each other in the huge sunken marble tub that was the centerpiece of their large bedroom suite in London. Soft Indian music played on the sound system as Lara relaxed against the chest of her wife as she washed her hair. The soft touches and scrapes sending her into an almost meditative state.

        She sensed through their link that something was disturbing her love so she sent out a question through their continually developing connection.

        What's going on in that beautiful mind of yours, My Angel?

        Sarah had stopped her gentle massaging of the conditioner into her loves beautiful black hair and shook her head. Then she sighed as she gently continued to wash the beautiful hair she sent a thought through their link.

        You know it's really hard to protect you when you can feel me so easily.

        I don't want or need to be protected, Angel. Now what is bothering you? Sent Lara as she enjoyed the feelings that ran through her as gentle fingers stroked and massaged her scalp.

        We have a very confusing scroll...there is something in it that hit

        In your gut?

        Yes, love.

        Lara turned around in the tub till she was facing her love. She pulled her onto her lap and kissed her tenderly. Then she pulled back and asked out loud, "What's is the scroll about?"

        Sarah lost herself for a moment in the pale blue eyes and then smiled sweetly and said, "You are so beautiful..."

        "Thank you My Darling, so are you." Then she kissed her passionately pulling her as close as she could. Then she pulled back and tapped the little chin till she could see into the shy green eyes, "So what's it all about?"

        "A Dragon's Egg..."

        Blue eyes widened in shock, "I didn't realize that it existed in our Grandmother's time."

        "I, Gabrielle also mentions something I have never heard of its called the Zoan Li 12..."

        "What?" Laura straightened suddenly as she scooped her wife out of the tub. She grabbed a towel drying her quickly.

        "What's wrong?"

        "I do know what that is Angel. We need to read that whole scroll now!"

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        They were now in Lord Croft's old library. Lara loved this room and she spent almost all her free time here before she fell in love with Sarah. Sarah's love of books was one of the many bonds that the girls had and Lara had enjoyed introducing her bride to her special hideaway.

        Lara was looking up at the bookshelves to find a favorite text of hers. Sarah was quietly sitting in a big comfortable brocade chair as she watched her beloved hanging off the ladder from the wrong side on one leg looking for a book.

        "Sweetheart why don't we just read the scroll first?"

        Lara looked down over shoulder chuckling from her high perch and said, "Angel, I think it's important that you know what these things look like...Ahhh! Here it is!" She pulled a large book from the top shelf.

        She then jumped off the ladder landing right in front of the surprised blonde, "Up My Angel."


        Lara's eyebrow lifted and Sarah realized what she wanted, "Oh?" Sarah said getting up with a wry look. Lara sat in the chair with a huge grin and patted her lap. Sarah giggled and sat down on the tall woman's lap. Lara pulled her close and kissed her on the back of her warm neck. Then she took the large book and put it on both their laps. She bent so she could reach her wife's earlobe nibbling it gently. When she heard the purring and felt her love relax in her arms she whispered, "Would you like to look at the pretty pictures or fool around?"

        "Mmm, tough question."

        Lara kissed around the neck till she reached a pulse point and she replied, "What's your answer?" Then she began to suck the point lovingly.

        " first then....uh....fool around..."

        Lara pulled back and smiled into the dazed green eyes and said, "Mmm, sounds like a plan...What about the scroll?"

        Sarah moaned and closed her eyes leaning her cheek against Lara's, "Too many choices."

        Lara rubbed her cheek against the warm one that was pressed gently against her skin. "All right Angel, We'll do business first then play, Ok?" She asked pulling back with a sweet smile.

        Sarah nodded smiling back. She kissed her loves nose and Lara chuckled as she leaned in to rub noses with her love. "Ok, let's see what we're looking for." She pulled the book closer and opened it by memory to the Dragon's Egg. "This is a picture of an actual relic. An American relic hunter found it for a Beijing celebration. Beautiful as well as deadly isn't it?"

        Sarah was looking closely at the picture of the large decorative egg that was filled with liquid explosives as she replied quietly, "Yes, I'd seen it once when it was on display in Washington. They had so much security you'd think it was an A bomb."

        "You've seen this? You little stinker!"

        "Yep, I sure did." Said Sarah chuckling as she kissed her love on the chin.

        Lara chuckled and said, "You could have told me."

        "When did you give me a chance to?"

        "Touché! Well I know you haven't seen these." Said Lara as she shook her head amused. She flipped through the book till she found the page she was looking for. "Ah, here it is. This is an artist's rendition of Zoan Li 12. Each animal is made of porcelain and depicts a part of the Chinese Calendar. They all represent good luck each in a different area of person's life. It is said that if you own all 12 pieces you become indestructible. It was broken up in the 5th century. What does the scroll say about it?"

        "Not much, just that Xena and Gabrielle helped transport it for an old friend."

        "That...I thought....Did they actually mention the Zoan Li 12?"


        "Sweetheart, It's such an early period. How could they even know about it? It was reported to have been created in 1 BCE. How could our Grandmothers have helped transport it?"

        "I don't"

        "Where is the scroll?"

        "Right here..."

        "Good, Read it to me, Angel." Lara sat back and closed her eyes allowing Sarah's sweet voice and her own imagination to display the details of the scroll for her with in her minds eye.

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        I sing the song of Damascus, A kind heart, and a good soul. He was the son of one our dearest friends and would come to mean almost as much in our hearts as his beloved father...

        We were in Giza in Egypt after our return from the trail. Xena had decided that we needed a nice vacation and she was indulging my curiosity by allowing me to explore the wonders of the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Xena was sunbathing beneath the great statue and I was climbing all over the man-beast.

        "Gabrielle will you be done torturing that old boy soon? I'm hungry!" She called up to me as she lay comfortably on a towel with her eyes closed.

        I was on the Paw and used my Amazon training to jump down right next to the totally relaxed warrior.

        "Well your right by our packs why didn't you just start it?"

        "Cause I stink at cooking and you are so incredible talented in that very special area so I just thought that I would call the expert."

        "I think your trying to butter me up, Oh great warrior."

        "No, not now but maybe later," said the relaxed woman with a big smile on her pretty face as she kept her eyes firmly shut.

        I hit her on the stomach and yelled, "Xena!"

        Blue eyes snapped opened looking very amused, "You are so damn adorable when you blush."

        I rolled my eyes and sat down next to her. I turned and lay my head against her stomach, "You should know since you make me blush all the time."

        "It is my greatest ambition to keep you as pink as possible forever." Said the warrior her stomach bouncing under me as I felt her chuckle causing me to giggle my head off.

        "You're too much, did you know that?"

        "Yep. Did you have fun climbing all over the lion man?"

        "Yes I did. Thank you for indulging me."

        "It's always my pleasure to indulge you my Love."

        Suddenly I hear a deep growl from the surface I'm laying on. "Um, I guess I should get cracking on our lunch, huh?"

Xena hugged me and leaned forward to kiss my head, "Thanks, I'd appreciate that."

        *** ***

We set up camp outside the Temple of Karnak. Xena and I were sitting side by side beside the campfire. I was working on my newest scroll trying to get out all the emotion I felt as I went through the Trail to bring my Warrior back to me. As if sensing what I was doing Xena sat very close as she worked on polishing her armor.

        Suddenly she stiffened and brought her sword up to protect us both.

        "What?" I whispered, putting my scroll into my pack.

        "A movement off to the west..."

        "Yes, I heard that but I thought it was..."

        "The wind or an animal?" I nodded and she kissed me on the cheek, "Yes that's what it was suppose to sound like. This one is very good. Get your Sais ready we'll get the jump on this clever intruder."

        I nodded and pulled my weapons from my pack. I followed my stealthily moving Soulmate. Suddenly we stopped beside the temple wall and Xena moved so quickly in the dark I could hardly follow her movement. She had our intruder by the throat her sword just under his chin as she growled, "It's a lovely night out, isn't it?"

        "Are" He squeaked shocked and scared.

        Xena did not let him go and replied in a purr, "Yes."

        "I'm Damascus...You um...know my Dad..."

        "And who is your Dad?" I asked quietly.

        "Autoclycus, The King of..."

        "Thieves," We said in unison as we looked at each other in shock.

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        Lara's eyes snapped open, "Wait a second Sweetheart, When did the King of Thieves have a son? Did it say anything like that in any of the other scrolls?"

        "Not that I remember but...he wasn't exactly a Boy Scout, Lara. He might have...well he may have had... You know!" Said the embarrassed blonde turning bright red.

        Lara laughed and hugged her little one close. She tilted the shy head up till she met the bashful green eyes and brought the sweet lips to her own kissing her passionately. When she pulled back she chucked her under the chin and whispered softly, "You've been hanging around me for well over 6 months and you still can't say it huh?"

        Sarah snuggled into the tall woman's neck and shrugged.

        "Damn you are so adorable I could, let's finish this but let's not forget where we left off, ok?"


        "I want to know what all this has to do with Zoan Li 12.

        Sarah nodded and was about to read when a long finger touched her lips. Sarah looked up into sparkling blue eyes and Lara said in throaty voice, "I'm just marking my place."

        Lara didn't think it was possible but Sarah actually turned a deeper shade of red. "Go on Angel, read."

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        Xena loosened her grip and we looked at each other in shocked silence.

        "Your Autoclycus's son?" I asked quietly.

        The young man nervously shook his head yes. "Dad...well he found out about me kind of late..."

        "How late?" Xena asked moving to stand next to me.

        He shrugged and smiled sheepishly, "I was 22 seasons old and unknowingly following in his footsteps."

        "You're a theif too then?" I asked shocked by the way fate could work.

        He nodded, "Dad and I were after the same prize. We were trying to out con an old Prince out of this incredible necklace. We had both been foiled and we were in a tavern drowning our sorrows when I told Dad my Mom's name and the date of my birth. He put two and two together..."

        "And if I know your Father he suddenly became very protective of you instead of adversarial. Right?" Asked Xena with a grin.

        "Yes, it was odd I mean we were strangers but it was if there was this deep connection. We became partners. Then..."

        "What happened?" Xena asked gently seeing the pain in the familiar blue eyes.

        "He became very sick. He was dying but when he got a message from someone in Chin he insisted on handling it himself. He said it was very dangerous and he was already sick and I was his child...He died..."

        Tears suddenly sprang to my eyes and when I looked up into pale blue eyes I saw that Xena's eyes were full of tears too.

        "Who was the message from? How did he die?" Asked the Warrior her long arm slowly going around my shoulder pulling me close.

        "It was from your adopted sister, Cal Sin. She needed Dad to steal the Zoan Li 12 from an evil warlord..."

        "What's the Zoan Li 12?" Asked Xena I could see her mind processing all the information.

        "It's a set of 12 carvings in some incredibly beautiful form of pottery that makes them almost alabaster white. If you own all 12 according to legend you are suppose to be indestructible. Cal Sin was trying to keep them out of the hands of a Mongolian warlord. Dad had just swiped all 12 pieces and gotten it out of Lao Mao's Palace with Cal Sin's help. He hid them in some hiding place away from Chin when the warlord captured him and tortured him to try to get the information. Dad was already ill so the torture killed him. Cal Sin sent word to me along with this..."He handed Xena a small scroll. It was like a diary from Autoclycus with a hastily written poem at the end.

        "The poem must be where he hid it," I said reading it over Xena's shoulder.

        Xena nodded, "Yes I think it is too. Where is Cal Sin? Is she safe?"

        "She is still in Chin. Yes she is fine. She is a very smart and brave woman. The warlord sent her a dragon's egg but she was warned about it so it didn't harm her. Xena could you and Gabrielle come with me? She wants us to get it out of the hiding place and bring here to Egypt. She says she is old and can no longer protect it."

        Xena looked at me and I could see the plans already forming in my Warriors head. I nodded and she smiled, "Yes we'll come. What's your name?"


        ***                ***                ***                ***

        "That's it," Sarah said looking into the calculating blue eyes, "Gabrielle stopped there," She explained as she handed Lara the fax.

        "Mmm, Yes I see that Angel," said Lara after examining the fax.

        "What are you cooking up in that brilliant mind of yours?"

        "Were going to North Carolina as soon as possible so we can see the original scroll. I also want to see if there are any other references to any of this. I'd like to find Autoclycus original poem."

        "But what good would that do if they already moved it?"

        "If our Grandmother's had time to move it yes that would be quite true. We have a lot of unanswered questions here, Angel. We have to start where we can."

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        Lara sat comfortably on the seat of the privately leased Lear Jet. There were only 7 other people on the huge 747 so it was almost like they were all alone. Lara glanced at her beloved as they flew from London to Charleston. The pretty face was totally relaxed. Her eyes were closed and she looked more angelic then ever.

        Lara closed her eyes and sent out;

        My Angel?

        Yes Sweetheart?

        Were you terribly disappointed that I only gave you a scroll for our anniversary?

        No, why should I be that was such a special scroll. All about Gabrielle's introduction to the Amazon's and how she became a Princess. I loved it!

        Lara opened her eyes and smiled. Green eyes met blue as Lara gently caressed the soft cheek of the woman she loved.

        Yes, I looked for that one especially because it was so special. I have a little something to add to it.

        She pulled out a velvet presentation box from her pocket that she had retrieved from the hiding place in the Playroom. She smiled thinking of Brice's expression when she asked him to hide it in there for her knowing that was the only place that Sarah wouldn't find it.

She handed it to Sarah and said out loud, "Here, My Love."

        Surprised green eyes widened at the velvet box. "What is it?" She asked out loud holding it tenderly.

        "Open it up and see."

        Slowly Sarah opened the box and her face reflected pure shock at the sight that greeted her. Lara smiled sweetly and pulled out the beautiful turquoise and jade necklace from its box. She held the Amazon necklace out and asked with a voice full of emotion, "May I My Princess?"

        Sarah was dumbfounded. She merely nodded unable to bring her thoughts into words yet. Lara smiled and gently placed the necklace around her wife's neck. Then she bent her head and kissed her love deeply. When they pulled back Lara gently cupped both her Angel's cheeks and whispered, "Do you like it?"

        In a throaty emotional whisper Sarah replied, "Of course I do. Where did you get it?"

        "Um, from Xena, she gave it to me..."


        Lara sheepishly shrugged and brought her forehead against Sarah's. "That was Gabrielle's necklace that symbolized her position as a Princess. Do you remember when Grandmother was controlling my body in their tomb?"

        "Of course."

        Lara smiled and chucked her loves chin, "Well she slipped the box in our pack while we were getting ready to go through the booby traps, It was hidden by a torch at the entrance. When we were in our apartment in Athens I pulled it out. It was surrounded by this small scroll." Lara pulled out a scroll from the pocket of her duster and put it on her wife's lap. Sarah stared down at it, and then she slowly picked it up and read it.

My Dearest Lara,

        My Beloved Gabrielle and I decided that her right of caste should not be allowed to just fade away. Our dear Eve has declined it due to some tragic mistakes she made prior to our reunion we felt that this special gift should go to someone of Gabrielle's blood line who is as pure a soul as my Gabrielle was when she accepted the responsibility. That's your Sarah of course. We both love and believe in her and know she will make a great Amazon Princess.

        Give it to her with our love and devotion.


Sara had a hard time breathing for a moment after reading that then a slow stream of air came out of her mouth and she cried, "Wow."

        "So my beautiful Princess, what is your first command?" Asked Lara with a pleased expression.

        "Kiss me, please."

        "Happily, My Love."

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        The two women entered their research facility quietly. It was on the campus of University of North Carolina but it was a private plot of land that belonged to Sarah's father. It was a small bungalow with four rooms; one bathroom, one kitchen and a Loft separated into two halves by sheet for sleeping. It was decorated by Sarah to be a friendly homey environment with a lot of couches and comfortable chairs as well as worktables and computers.

        They were standing quietly by the door watching their staff, waiting for just the right moment to surprise them. Two men were at one of the worktables peering into glass case with a scroll inside. They were both arguing over it while a woman had her back to them she was working at one of the computers ignoring them.

        "But Sam, look at the way it's worded you have it in the wrong context!"

        "I do not. Its perfect..."

        "The hell it's perfect you have the wrong syntax..."

        "No it isn't, your structure is off kilter..."

        "Eh hem," Called Lara leaning against a wall by the door she had her wife nestled in her arms and they were both looking at their team with sweet understanding expressions.

        "Boss!" Called the taller man happily.

        "Thank God you're here Sarah, I need someone who understands syntax..."Said the shorter one.

        Sarah chuckled, "Did you know you two were the Laurel and Hardy of research?" She asked affectionately. They knew she meant it lovingly and that's the way they took it.

        The woman at the computer swirled her chair and greeted the two owners with a huge welcoming smile. "Thank God you two are here, we'll have a few days peace."

        Lara chuckled as she walked toward her staff with an arm firmly around her wife's waste. She looked down at Sarah and winked saying, "I think that's the first time I've ever been put into the same sentence with the word peace."

        "Oh, I don't know I can think of few times I..."


        "Yes?" Replied the smaller woman innocently.

        "That interpretation is for later."

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        Lara and Sarah sat on the floor of the research room that they usually took over when they were in town. Lara was lying on Sarah's stomach reading one scroll. Sarah was leaning against a huge throw pillow reading another.

        "Anything yet, Angel?"

        "Well its all very interesting..."

        "Yeah, I know I just found some of Gabrielle's erotic love poems to her warrior..."

        "Really?" Sarah asked putting down the scroll she was reading to try and get a look at Lara's.

        Lara smiled wickedly and said, "Well take it home tonight for inspiration..."

        Sara pulled the taller woman all the way up her body till they were face to face; "Do we need inspiration?"

        Lara chuckled putting the scroll aside to be put in their pack to take home. Then she put her arms around her wife and looked deeply into the big green eyes, "No you inspire me by just saying "Hi"," said Lara pulling the soft lips to her own and kissing her deeply.

        "Is that how you two study? I need to get myself a new study partner your method looks like so much fun," said Sam with a wide smile.
        Icy blue eyes met his amused brown ones and Lara growled, "Sam get out!"

        He met the icy blue eyes calmly and said, "We found the reference that you wanted."

        Blue eyes met green and Lara rolled those big blue eyes at her wife shaking her head. Sarah smiled and cupped both cheeks in her hands saying to saying to Sam, "Give us a minute."

        "Sure take all the time you need, Tiger. Breathe Lady Croft I think your lips are turning blue." He said with a wink and then turned whistling back to the main room.

        "That man is way too presumptuous."

        "True, but I'm afraid our staff all know that your bark is far worse then your bite. At least with family."

        Lara growled and brought her lips to Sarah's kissing her passionately. Sarah moaned and deepened the kiss. When they parted Sarah said, "We better go and find out what they have or they'll be back."

        "Don't want to," growled the dark woman as she pulled her bride back to her and kissed her way to the top button on Sarah's shirt and began to work it open with her chin as she kissed the chest enjoying the sweet taste.

        "Sweetheart we can bring the scroll home..."

        "What scroll?" Asked Lara too intensely concentrated on her own agenda to really hear full sentences at the moment.

        Sarah's head was flung back and she was running her fingers through Lara's thick hair as she replied in throaty voice, "The sexy one..."

        "Your sexy..." moaned Lara as she freed the breasts and worked her way to claim her prize.

        "Hey are you guys coming or what?" Yelled Sam from down the hall.

        Lara pulled back and rolled her eyes at her wife. Sarah kissed Lara on the cheek as Lara tenderly buttoned her wife's shirt back up.

        "Don't forget where we left off, Angel."

        "Oh I promise you I won't," said Sarah as she made sure the scroll with love poems was securely tucked into her bag.

        ***                ***                ****                ***

        Chelsea looked like she was the cat who swallowed the canary as she showed Lara the scroll. "Here it is, Bosses."

        Lara smiled and tilted her head, "You found it didn't you Chelsea?"

        The other woman shyly bowed her head and nodded.

        Sam and Tom laughed and Tom said with huge smirk, "She was doing an Irish jig a minute ago."


        "It's ok, Chels were very proud of you." Sarah said with a sweet smile. Lara nodded and leaned her head on top of Sarah's.

        Chelsea blushed and said quietly, "Thanks you two. That's the best kind of thing you can hear from the two people who head of our facility."

        "Ok, enough of this mushy stuff," said Sam with a smirk. "Here Sarah, read the scroll."

        Sarah sent through their link, Love, I think Sam needs a vacation.

        My Angel, Its just his way. He's fine.

        They smiled at each other and then Lara said, "Come on, Gimme."

        Chelsea smiled and handed the scroll to Lara. Who glanced at it then handed it to Sarah, "Here read My Angel."

        Sarah took a look at it noticing it was rougher then the other scrolls more like scribbled notes. She tilted her head then took a deep breath and began to read the scroll called "Notes From Tibet".

        ***                ***                ***                ***         

*Notes from Tibet*

The Warlord Mao Pac fights us for the 12
Held in sanctuary
Warlord threatens Chin with several Dragon Eggs disguised as gifts
Autoclycus writes a poem to my Xena

My Xena is pacing angrily in the small cell as we wait for the Warlord Mao Pac to return with his decision of how we are to die. The small cell was all solid wall the only way in or out was the small door that we fell through when the maniac trapped us.

        Xena was growling and pacing. She stopped with her hands on her hips slowly looking the cell over for the hundredth time. She banged her foot on the floor in pure frustration. She stood still as a statue her eyes widening. Then she got on her hands and knees and banged her arm down on the floor in the same spot she stomped her foot.

        "Xena are you ok?"

        "Yeah, Come here Love." She gestured me to come over quickly. Then when I was beside her she banged her arm again. "Did you hear that?"

        "Was that an echo?"

        Xena straightened up and looked at me with a really wicked grin. "Yep, that was a tunnel. The monks must have made several escape tunnels to get away from scum like Mao Pac."

        "So is there a door?"


        "How do we get to it then?"

        Xena stood up and looked up at the high vaulted ceiling and then down at the spot where she knew the tunnel was. "Stand back a bit." I moved back with a confused expression. Xena chuckled and said, "Like this." Then she let out her war cry as she jumped straight up twirled in mid air and went straight down her fists ready in front of her. She broke right though the floor and went straight down.

        "Xena!" I screamed I couldn't see her.

        "Shhh, I'm ok!" She called up through the darkness. "Lower yourself through the hole then let go. I'll catch you."

        "I lowered myself down and then closed my eyes and let go. I must have dropped 10 feet into the warm loving arms. Xena held me close cuddling me as she whispered in my ear, "Nice of you to drop in."

        "My pleasure," Xena brought my lips gently to hers and kissed me tenderly. Then she lowered me onto my own feet and took my hand. "Come on we have go to find that damned Bastard before he sends the Dragons eggs."

        "What about the 12?"

        "It's safe were we hid it for now. Come on" Then she pulled me deep into the darkness.

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        Sarah sighed and looked very frustrated, "That's all. Obviously this was her working draft...that's all there is Lara."

        "Well it does give us a starting off point, Tibet and the name of the Warlord, Mao Pac. Ok, we'll keep looking through the scrolls but now I have second line of inquiry." Lara looked at the three excited faces facing her and smiled broadly. "Let's see, Chelsea I want you and Sam to keep looking through the scrolls keeping mind the new stuff we just picked up from this scroll. Tom, I'd like you to go into our Info structure and find out anything you can on what sanctuary that Xena and Gabrielle were held in. I'd also like any information you can dig up on Mao Pac."

        Three heads nodded and went right to work. Lara smiled as she whispered, "Have you ever seen people so happy to get to work in your life?"

        Sarah smiled up at her and replied sweetly, "That's why they're the best."

        "Yep, so what do you think? Off to Tibet?"

        "It sounds interesting...I've never been there before of course..." Sarah lowered her head unsure of how to express what she felt at the moment.

        Lara very tenderly lifted her head and asked, "What's wrong?"

        "Um, To get to Tibet...we have know climb up...the Himalayas and I'm...well I'm..."



        "Angel, Don't you trust me?"

        "Of course," Sarah replied with a moment's hesitation.

        "Then believe me My Darling, you have absolutely nothing to be scared of."

        ***                ***                ****                        ***

        Lara carried a tray into their bedroom with an excited smile on her face. She loved to surprise her Angel and she knew that one of her favorite things to do was eat. Really it's her second favorite thing, Thought Lara wickedly as she put the tray on a side table by the foot of they're bed. Then she walked to Sarah's side of the bed and sat on the edge. She leaned in very close to her and whispered, "Wake up Sweetheart."

        Sarah growled and pulled a pillow over her head. Lara smiled and gently pulled the pillow out of the strong little hands. Then she bent down and kissed her lovingly along her jaw line. She pulled up and her smile widened as she realized that her love enjoyed the kisses but stayed asleep.

        "Mmm," Lara shook her head. She then slid into bed pulling the smaller woman into her arms very close. She kissed her slowly down her neck to between her breasts tasting the sweet skin and caressing her loves back. When she got to the point between the two pert erect breasts she sucked gently then she looked up into dark green wide-awake eyes. She pulled back slightly and looked at her with a wicked smile saying, "Good morning."

        "You are going to finish what you just started, aren't you?" Asked the small woman wrapping her arms around Lara's shoulders smiling.

        "Hmm, yes but what about the beautiful breakfast that I just brought up to you?"

        "Don't worry. I love cold eggs," Sarah mumbled as she pulled Lara back up to her kissing her passionately.

        The phone on the bed stand rang. Both women's looked at it like it was a snake.

        "I am going to kick the ass of who ever is on the other end of that phone?"

        "I'll help you," growled Sarah making Lara laugh and kiss her on the nose. Then with a growl of annoyance she picked up the phone with one hand while her other hand was busily stroking the skin of her loves warm body. "Yes," she growled.

        "Lara, its Tom. I found where the warlord's lair is in Tibet. You won't believe it, It's under Chinese Headquarters..."

        "Couldn't this bloody wait till we came in, in a couple of hours?"

        "Well you did say as soon as possible..."

        "Yeah but..."

        "The guy was the Grandson of Ghegis Khan who was defeated by..."

        "Xena," interrupted Lara in astonished voice.


        "Ok, we'll eat breakfast and be there in an hour." She hung up and looked into her wife's shocked eyes.

        "Did I hear that right, Ghengis Khan?"

        "Yes Angel."

        "Well Xena turned him into terra-cotta so I guess I'd be a bit pissed too."

        "Yep, so this was also revenge, makes it pretty interesting, huh?" Said the tall woman as she got out of bed to get breakfast. She gently placed the beautiful silver tray on Sarah's lap and then scooted back onto the bed beside her. "So, do you like it?"

        "Oh Sweetheart, You gave me all my favorite stuff plus this," She said taking the fresh pink rose and sniffing it. "Your such a romantic."

        "Only when it comes to you My Angel," said Lara kissing her wife deeply.

        Sarah enjoyed the kiss then when they pulled back she held up a piece of cinnamon toast. "Share?"

        Biting into it Lara murmured, "Yes Angel, after we finish at the cottage can we can go back to exploring the tasty area we were before Tom interrupted us?"

        Licking the cinnamon off her lips, which almost set off Lara's libido again, "Absolutely."

        ***                ***                        ***                ***

        A helicopter landed at an encampment in the foothills of the Himalayas. A man in a warm Parka and an old fashioned Fedora hat waited for the blades to stop so he could escort the paying customers to their quarters.

        "Lady Croft?" He yelled as the blades stopped over they're heads.

        Lara hopped out of the helicopter and helped Sarah by scooping her out into her arms and then safely down onto her own two feet. Then she put her arm around Sarah's waist bringing her wife close to her. Then turning toward the tall man who had called her, "Yes, I'm Lara Croft. This is Dr. Sarah Covington Croft," She said holding her hand out to shake hands with the man.

        "It's my honor to meet you both. I'm Jack Greely, your people asked me about being your guide up to Tibet."

        "Is that a problem?" Asked Lara hearing the doubtful tone in his voice.

        "Well Lady Croft, I know a woman of you reputation doesn't need to be told about what is going on up there. The Chinese are in control and many monks have died trying to protect the sacred sites up there..."

        "Yes, I do know all that but it can't be helped. We have to go to Tibet its imperative. We do have a couple of target cities so hopefully we'll keep out of their way."

        "Well if you need me it will be my honor to guide you."

        Lara nodded as they came to their cabin. "This is where we're all staying I hope it will meet your standards, Ma'am. I do hope you brought your things to climb with since your people told us not bring anything for you."

        "It's all on our backs. Thanks Jack, we'll see you in the morning."

        He gave her a strange look then he nodded his head and left.

        Sarah looked worried and sent through their link, He disturbs me.

        Yes, I know I don't get good feelings from him either. We don't need him if you want me to I can fire him. Lara sent as she gently removed Sarah's pack and then took off her own. She sat down on a chair and looked up into surprised green eyes.

        "What?" Sarah asked out loud, as the taller woman tilted her head looking up with big blue eyes patting her lap gently. "Why is he here if we don't need him?" Sitting on her beloved's lap putting her arms around her neck and drawing her close.

        "He is here for political reasons," Said Lara as she hugged the smaller woman back and nibbled on her little ear. Then she whispered, "I've been up here lots of times we don't need him as a guide at all...Mmm., you are so tasty did you know that?"

        Sarah giggled and pulled back. She met the amused blue eyes and rolled her green ones at the mischief she saw there, "What political reasons?"

        "He's with the Chinese..."

        "What!" Sarah pulled back shocked.

        Lara shrugged and pulled her love back to her, "Yep, He is a spy. I want to use him to find out who it is in our time who is really after The Twelve. Now come back here I'm hungry." Lara purred pulling the smaller woman back and kissing her deeply.

        Once Lara let her catch her breath Sarah looked at her wife with wide green eyes very concerned, "Lara be series, Aren't you setting us up?"

        "No Angel, I'm setting him up. I don't think he's smart enough to see that..."


        "Shhh," Lara put a finger to the soft lips and sighed. "Ok first we'll meditate and go to our safe room I really don't want to be over heard about the rest."

        Sarah kissed the finger and nodded, "Ok."

        Lara smiled and carried her love to their bed so they could be comfortable for what's to come.

        ****                ***                ****                ***

        With in their safe room Lara brought her love close and kissed her passionately sending them both crashing over the edge in pure ecstasy.

        When they recovered Sarah sent, Why did you have to do that?

        Cause I love you so much that I...

        You enjoy curling my toes?

        Let's just say that my toes don't stay very straight either.

        The delightful sound of Sarah's giggle filled their safe room causing Lara to chuckle as well.

        So what's your plan, Love? Asked Sarah once they recovered.

        We will need old Jack he doesn't know that what we want is right under the Chinese fortress in Llaahsa. We need a distraction for the soldiers so he will be that distraction.

        He will? How will you do that?

        Oh I think a stark naked spy in the middle of the Town Square in -50 degrees weather might just attract the soldier's attention.

        Lara Croft you are so very wicked.

        Thank you beautiful, I have a lot to live up to when it comes to wicked plans. After all my Grandmother was an expert at it.

        Oh I think Xena would be proud of how well you live up to it. So what do we do while the IceMan is calling attention to himself.

        IceMan huh? That's very cute, My Angel. Well during that time we have to find the tunnel that was in the scroll and our clues to where the twelve are or at least some kind of clue to where we can start looking for it.

        "And if we can't find either?"

        Then you'll have an amusing incident to add to our memoirs.

        Sarah laughed and sent, You are something else, Lara Croft.

        I aim to please, Sarah Covington Croft, Replied Lara who pulled her wife close and kissed her passionately again, her hands were caressing skin so warm you'd think it was really Sarah. It sent them both floating off into oblivion enjoying the waives of ecstasy as they both flew up and up.

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        They reached the first summit. Lara knew that this climb was very hard but she had been working with Sarah at home on her climbing skills. She knew that the smaller woman was stronger and more agile then she thought she was.

        Sarah was gulping in air trying to relax cuddled deep in her parka against a corner of the ledge of the summit they were on. Two long loving arms came around her stomach pulling her onto the tall woman's lap. When the smaller woman was settled comfortably in her arms she sent through their link, You ok, Angel?

        "I feel better in your arms. I'm thirsty though. Sarah sent back as she snuggled against a warm shoulder.

        Lara pulled out her canteen and brought it to her loves lips. Sarah sipped slowly like Lara had taught her.

        "Your very impressive, Lady Croft."

        Lara looked up at Jack who was in front of them with his hands on his hips. She shrugged her shoulders and said, "I've done it many times."

        "Yes, I can see that. Why do you need me then?"

        "Sarah is new to all this so I need you to deal with the provisions and give directions to the Sherpas while I take care of her." Answered Lara calmly giving Sarah a second canteen that she had all ready for her. She had been expecting him to ask her that question. He had looked shocked as Lara hung upside down to help Sarah over a very difficult ledge.

        He looked at Sarah lapping up water from the second canteen and then back at the calm face of Lara Croft. He asked quietly, "Why did you bring her? This is going to be too much for her."

        "She'll be fine. She's stronger then she knows besides where I go, My Angel goes."

        You bet your ass I do! Sent Sarah giving her love a significant look.

        Lara smiled back at her and caressed her cheek sending, It never even crossed my mind not to bring you, Angel. She looked up at Jack and said out loud, "Thanks for your concern she'll be fine. We still need to make the second summit before we set up camp. Is everyone ready?"

        "Yes Lady Croft..."

        "I thought I told you to call me Lara?"

        "I feel uncomfortable doing that?"

        "Oh Why is that?" She asked pretty much knowing the real reason.

        "I work for you?"


        "It is a way to show you respect."

        "Jack, my title was inherited, I earn respect through my deeds and abilities not my money, title or land. Is that clear?"

        The man gave her that same funny look but he nodded, "Yes Lara."

        "Good, then lets get going before it gets dark."

        He nodded and went off to tell everyone break was over.

        I just got that feeling again, Sent Sarah as Lara pulled the smaller woman onto her feet.

        Yep so did I. He is planing on betraying us but don't worry, Angel. Two of the Sherpas are actually old friends of mine. They are watching him closely..."

        Are they?

        Yes Love, when it comes time they get to do the deed...

        Sarah's face broke out in a beautiful relieved smile as she sent, I am so glad I thought you were planning on...

        Ewww! No thanks!

        I love you Lara Croft.

        Mmm, I love you too Sarah Covington Croft sent Lara as she brought the smaller woman into her arms and kissed her passionately.

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        It was dawn and the encampment on the summit was very slowly coming to life. Shadows moved behind tent walls and flaps opened to allow occupants a view of their day on the mountain. A dark man in the shadows approached the edge of the camp slowly. He moved cautiously toward Lara and Sarah's tent.

        Lara woke up she was tangled in a deep cuddle with Sarah in their sleeping bag. Lara was enjoying the caresses that her love was giving her while still deeply asleep. It was a heady experience to the dark woman to be made love to by her sleeping lover. Lara closed her eyes and held her breath so she wouldn't moan out loud as a small hand cupped her breast.

        Suddenly she stiffened and it wasn't from pleasure as she sensed an intruder outside their tent. She wiggled so she was right by her loves ear and she whispered, "Angel wake up. We have uninvited company."

        Sarah's eyes fluttered open and she gently caressed her loves cheek, "Hi," she whispered sleepily.

        Lara smiled and kissed her love tenderly on the lips, Good morning My Angel, I think we have a guest lurking out there, she sent through their link.


        I have an idea. Shall I try out my theory?

        Sure. Is it who I suspect?

        Lara smiled and nodded, I bet you anything it is. She sent as she pulled on her clothes quickly. She waited till Sarah was dressed and sitting on the cot looking up at her with a smirk. Then she put her hands on her hips and said in a strong voice.

        "Ok God of War, show yourself."

        Aries appeared with a huge smirk of his own, "Man, you two just won't give me a break will you?"

        "If you mean allowing you to sneak up and spy on me, no I won't."

        "Hey, I wasn't sneaking up..."

        "Well what do you call that..."

        "Hey you two stop. Your giving me a headache and I just woke up. Could hold up on arguing till I'm all the way up? Please?"

        Aries shook his head smiling at Sarah and saying, "You won't let us have any fun will you short stuff?"

        "Aries why the hell are you here?" Asked Lara frustrated with him already.

        "To help."


        "I don't want you two getting yourselves killed and I certainly don't want anyone other then me to be indestructible in war. So I am here to help."

        Sarah and Lara exchanged unbelieving looks.


        "You want to help us mortals?"

        Aries snorted, "Yeah right, No I want to stop someone else from being the head honcho in war. It's my game and I don't like competition."

        "Well that's honest for a change, huh Angel?"

        "Yep. So Aries how can you help us?"

        "Your Target is not up there..."

        "We know that, Aries but our best lead is there. We want to get the scroll with Autoclycus poem," replied Lara sitting beside Sarah putting an arm around her shoulders and drawing her close.

        "Here," Said Aries handing them a scroll.

        Lara stared at the scroll in the God's hands in shock. "Why are you doing this?"

        "Cause I know you girls could get yourself killed up there and..."

        "I can take care of us..."

        "Lara, that man isn't just a spy he's an assassin. His assignment is to kill the great Lady Lara Croft in Chinese territory so they have some ammunition against the British. It will give his boss an edge when he finds The Twelve."

        "Who's his boss?"

        "You know him Lara."


        "His name is Sir Harris Templeton."

        Lara's face went from curious to enraged in flash, "That Son of Bitch!"

        Sarah tightened her grip around Lara's waist and asked quietly, "Who is he?"

        "My Uncle, My own beloved Father's brother. My only living relative."

        ***                ***                ****                ***

        Sarah was studying the scroll while Lara packed up their tent and readied their things for travel. Now the upset brunette was sitting by the small temporary fire staring into the flames lost in thought.

        Sarah came up behind her and gently massaged the very tense muscles on the dark woman's neck. Lara rolled her head forward moaning slightly at the relief the small firm hands were giving her. When the small woman was done she bent forward and gave Lara a gentle kiss on the back of her neck and then sat down next to her.

        "Thank you Angel, I can't tell you how much I needed that."

        "My pleasure. Are you ok?"

        Lara put her arm around Sarah's shoulders bringing her close and then answered with a sarcastic edge to her voice, "Oh yes, I'm just wonderful. Considering that my only living relative wants me dead."

        Sarah looked sadly into the angry blue eyes and asked, "Are sure Aries is right about this?"

        Lara leaned her head on Sarah's shoulder enjoying the warmth of her loves body heat. Then she leaned even closer and kissed her gently on the neck right below the ear kissing her way up till she reached an earlobe gently nibbling on one her favorite taste treats. She pulled back feeling slightly better as she looked into aroused and amused green eyes she loved. She kissed Sarah on the nose and softly replied, "He is a God, Angel. He's a pain in the ass but since we've met him he's always been there for us. Also it fits his personality perfectly. I mean it is also a selfish need on his part to remain the only power in the war department. I also simply believe him and unfortunately it fits my uncle all too well to ignore."

        "What do you mean it fits him?"

        "My Uncle has delusions of grandeur, he always has. He was a very spoiled child with none of the talent or the intellect of my Father. Daddy indulged him too and now that he has all his own money and a lot of time on his hands he's trying to make his crazy dreams come true."

        "Why you? You're his only relative. Doesn't he love you?"

        "I have no idea if he does or doesn't. He was never around when I grew up. He was always traveling or in trouble. It's not like he really knows me at all. He may be jealous. What I don't get is how he put all this together. I mean how did he get with the Chinese Government? How was contact made? Who could have enticed him into this cause I don't see him figuring it out for himself. There has to be an unknown element and till we know who that is were simply blowing in the wind." Lara hugged Sarah close and kissed her tenderly. Then she pulled back deciding to change the subject. She looked into the compassionate green eyes and asked quietly, "So my darling, What did you find out from old Auto's poem?"

        Sarah kissed Lara again holding her close. She knew that Lara wanted to focus on something other then her own worries so she pulled back and shrugged. "Not much Love, It just doesn't mean anything to me."

        Lara's eyebrow disappeared into her bangs and she said, "Oh? Let me see it please."

        Sarah blushed at the sweet smile she was getting and handed her the scroll.

        "Gladly, here please take it."

        Lara chuckled and asked with wink, "Its bugging you a bit, huh?"

        "Oh yeah, more then a bit. The King of Thieves had a really weird sense of humor. This poem appears to be a challenge to his old friends. Its full of references I'm afraid that only Xena and Gabrielle would know."

        "Well that's tough on us since our Grandmother's aren't around to ask anymore. Ok, let me read it."

In a storm at sea we used it first
Hidden the same as a castle
When all was about to burst
No disguise is needed old friend
Just breath deeply and there will be no end.

"This is really strange. We'll email it to our team and see what they can come up with. I think the solution lies in the scrolls about Autocylas."

        "I've read all of them but I still don't..."

        "Sweetheart, it's easier to see if you're staring right at the scrolls and the poem."

        "Hmm, I guess..."

        Suddenly Lara stiffened and motioned that they should not speak any more. Then from behind them a throat cleared and they turned to see Jack with a smirk on his face. Lara quietly pulled her knife from it's sheaf but kept it out of sight as she met the cold eyes with her own silvery ones and said, "Yes."

        "Good, your ready. Its time to go if you still want to make your target by night fall."

        "Right, We're ready, we'll be out of here in a second."

        He nodded and headed back for the others waiting by the summit several yards away.

        "Shall we, Angel?" She whispered in her loves ear.

        "What about Aries warning?"

        Lara pulled them both up as she chuckled, "I don't scare off that easily and our friend, the God of War knows that. Come on Love, let's get a move on."

        ****                ***                ***                ****

        They were at a tiny village on their way to their first target City and decided to stay at a small inn since it was almost dark. Lara figured that this was where the assassin would strike. She had been very protective of Sarah all that day. She didn't let her out of her sight. She made sure that she was always protectively near her every second of the climb. She was fearful that the assassin would use her as bait.

        They entered their room and settled in for the night. Sarah looked at the worried preoccupied dark woman with compassion in her big green eyes. The only communication they had all day was through their link. Once safely inside their room Lara had made Sarah stand by the door where she could keep an eye on her as she checked every nook and cranny for booby traps.

        When Lara straightened from checking under the bed Sarah asked with an amused smile, "May I move now?"

        It was the first spoken words between them and they made the anxious brunette smile slightly. "Yes Sweetheart. Sorry I was bit over protective..."

        Sarah hugged the tall woman and looked into her eyes with twinkling green saying, "A bit?"

        Lara laughed and kissed Sarah on the crown of her head then she mussed her hair replying, "Ok, a lot protective." She shrugged her shoulders; "I love you. You're my whole life soooo..."

        "Your protective. Actually I like that. What exactly are you expecting in here? The assassin hiding in the bathtub?"

        "I wouldn't put it pass that twerp," Said Lara softly picking her wife up and carrying her to their bed.

        After they snuggled deep into each other's arms Sarah asked in a very quiet voice, "What do we do now, Love?"

        Lara rubbed her cheek against Sarah's and whispered back; "I'm going to..." She suddenly stiffened and put her finger to lips to silence her love. Then she went to her door and opened it quickly. She looked at the man on the other side with narrowed blue eyes, "Aries."

        "Hey cool down Warrior, I'm on your side remember?"

        "Yeah, this week!"

        "Lara I have never been against you..."

        "You fought my Grandmother..."

        "That was just a little misunderstanding..."

        "Yeah I bet!"

        "It was. I was upset about the scrolls being found I knew that Gabrielle had written a bunch of stuff I didn't like. I was reasonable wasn't I?"

        "After Grandmother kicked your ass!"

        "Listen you juvenile delinquent...!!!"

        "Ok, ok," Sarah got between them and said, "that's a tie. You're going to wake up the whole inn, now Aries why don't you come in?"

        "Thank you, At least Short Stuff has some manners," Said Aries with a wicked smirk at Lara as he passed her entering the room. "Oh I took care of it so no one heard us. Get in here, Tomb Raider."

        Lara rolled her eyes and met equally annoyed green eyes. Lara growled as she closed the door with a bang and went up to the God poking him in the chest. "Angel doesn't like to be called that."

        Aries looked from the outraged Lara to pissed off Sarah with a smirk, "Oh?"

        Sarah put her hands on her hips and looked at the God of War shaking her head, "No, I never have."

        "So why didn't you just tell me not to?"

        "Would that have stopped you?"


        Sarah was stunned. She swallowed and then looked at Lara who shrugged. She turned back toward Aries and said quietly, "I didn't think you would care how I felt so I just didn't say anything. Lara can read my thoughts and well I tell her everything anyway..."

        "So she said I shouldn't interfere no matter how much I wanted to," Said Lara quietly, she was watching her love carefully to make sure that she was handling this confrontation okay.

        Aries sighed shaking his head. "Sarah you have grown so much since you met Lara but obviously you still need to learn to speak up for yourself. If you don't like something say it. Lara has no problem doing it obviously, so why should you?"

        Lara felt her eyes get moist, she simply couldn't believe that something so true could come out of the mouth of the infamous God of War. She looked at Sarah who appeared totally speechless. She went over to her, pulled her into her arms holding her very close.

        He's right my love, Lara sent as she kissed her cheek.

        Sarah leaned into the strong body holding her tightly and nodded. I know, she sent back. Then she looked over Lara's shoulder and said, "Thanks Aries. You are right. It's just a very hard lesson for me to learn. I am trying."

        "Yes you are," said Lara with wink.

        Aries looked at them and said, "Sooooo do you want to know what I found out or do you love birds want to be left alone to do what comes naturally."


        Aries chuckled and said, "They hired an assassin. Who ever it is going to hit you tonight. So don't go to sleep."

        "I wasn't planning to."

        Aries smiled and shook his head; "I figured that. Are you still planning to go to the tunnel despite the fact you have your clue?"


        Aries rolled his eyes, "You're as stubborn as your Grandmother."


        Aries growled and said, "Don't say I didn't warn you." And he disappeared in a flash of white light.

        Lara picked up Sarah bringing her to their bed to continue what she had started earlier, "Don't worry I won't."

        ***                        ***                        ***                ***

        The small dark woman stealthily came to the window. She tried to peek in but it was shuddered as well as having the curtains drawn. She pulled out a tool and skillfully opened it. She pushed the shudders open silently. She crawled through the window and landed softly on the other side without a sound.

        In the dark room she carefully approached the large king sized bed. Taking out her blowgun she blew several deadly darts at the bumps under the heavy quilt. Suddenly she couldn't move their was a strong arm around her throat and the hand with the blow gun in it was held in vice like grip. Lara pushed the pulse point hard so the small woman dropped her weapon then she brought both her arms behind her back and called out, "Now Angel!"

        The lights came on and the assassin faced the surprising sight of Sarah with a gun in her hand. She was steady as rock and the gun was cocked ready to fire if the small woman had to.

        There was huge proud grin on Lara's face as she said, "My Angel, you've been practicing. You're holding that gun expertly."

        Sarah shrugged as she smiled back at her proud mate, "Well considering were always running into people like this I thought I should get better at handling weapons."

        The small Chinese agent looked at the small woman with the gun confidently aimed at her. She was stunned that the sweet-faced woman could be so confident and relaxed as she held the large sawed off shotgun. She was aiming it right toward her head with an easy grace. The agent's arms were held behind her back like she was being held in chains. The grip was strong and firm and she knew she couldn't pull out of it. She glanced over her shoulder into icy blue eyes and she shuddered feeling that she was looking at death herself.

        "I suppose you want to know who sent me?"


        "You want to know why I'm here?

        "Not interested."

        "If I can be paid off," Her voice becoming less tough and more nervous as she realized that the tall woman had no use for her.

        "Nuh ah, I know all I need to know," said Lara as she pushed the small woman against the dresser and secured her hands behind her back with a strong set of handcuffs that she had brought with her just in case of trouble. "Ok Love, you can put the gun down I need you to tie her feet with that knot I taught you."

        Sarah nodded and quickly followed instructions making sure the knots were secure. She then backed up looking up at Lara with a wicked grin. Lara smiled back and winked at her wife then she picked up the smaller woman as Sarah opened their door. Lara walked down the hall and banged on a door with her foot till the Jack answered. When he did the shock barely had time to register on his face as Lara dropped the assassin into his arms.
        "If you try to kill me again, Jack I will tear you and your associate here into tiny little pieces. That's a promise. Now pack up and get out of here. I don't want to even smell you when morning comes." Then Lara calmly turned and walked back toward her Sarah who was leaning out the open door. They were both amused at the expression on swarthy man's face. Lara growled at him and closed the door.

        After Lara saw to a few errands around their room she cuddled in bed with Sarah.

        Are you sure it's safe to go to sleep now? Sarah sent through their link to the woman now holding her close and gently kissing her along her neckline.

        "Yep, I booby-trapped our room window and door. The only one who could break in here is our old friend Aries and he knows better." She whispered into the little ear just before she licked the rim and took the lobe into her mouth.

        Sarah moaned at the delicious sensation. "What are we....ahhhh...going to....umm...use as...dis....tractiooooon..."She tried to say as she whimpered and moaned in delight.

        Lara pulled back smiling then she rubbed her nose against the tiny one next to her. Big green eyes fluttered back open and met deep blue ones full of love and passion. "You are so very beautiful, did you know that?"

        "You are very generous with your compliments soooo, yep," said Sarah nuzzling her head against her loves neck.

        Lara kissed her love tenderly on the top of head and then pulled back gently lifting Sarah's head so she met the eyes she loved most in this world. "Their not just compliments, My Angel they are straight from my heart. You are the most beautiful woman in the world and I love you."

        Sarah face turned a deep shade of red and she whispered back, "Thank you, I love you too. You take my breath away your soooo beautiful," She captured her loves lips and kissed her passionately.

        They explored each other as their hands removed their clothes till they were finally touching soft warm skin. Lara pulled back from the kiss and said, "As for our distraction it will still be Jack. Trust me my Angel, he is not going to give up... and neither am I," She then lowered her head and took her love on a wondrous trip to complete bliss.

                ***                ***                ***                ***

        The smaller woman woke up to the feeling of a warm mouth nibbling between her breasts causing her to breathe heavily in reaction. She moaned and brought her arms around the taller woman. The mouth stopped its steady course and the body pulled back. Sarah opened her eyes to meet big blues ones sparkling with mischief.

        In a horse voice Sarah whispered, "Have you been up all night?"

        Lara smiled as she lay against her pillow pulling the smaller woman on top of her. "Yes, you drifted off to sleep around 230am and I had to keep guard my Love." Then she kissed her passionately bringing them both to ecstasy very quickly.

        Sarah moaned and gently pawed at Lara's shoulder when they finally pulled apart. She was trying to get her breath back as she looked at lidded passion filled eyes. "Did you have to do that? I haven't recovered from last night yet."

        Lara pulled her into another deep loving kiss then lowered her cheek to rub gently against a soft breast relishing the feel of the delicate skin. "Yep, I had to. You know I have to keep my Angel happy, don't you?"

        Sarah kissed Lara on the top of her head and replied in a purr of a satisfied kitten, "You always do, Sweetheart. I'm very worried. How are you going to make it through today with no sleep?"

        "Angel I'm fine, really. We're not climbing today and I have very good stamina. I had to stay alert to protect you just in case that ass hole hired another assassin. Or he could have decided to try and pull something himself." Lara had pulled back so she could look into her loves eyes. Sarah caressed her cheek and nodded saying, "I'm going to worry about you all day."

        Lara sat up and smirked. She then gently pulled Sarah up so she was sitting and reached down to get their robes from the chair beside the bed. "Well don't. I am really fine. Don't I look it?" Asked the Tomb Raider, as she gently put on Sarah's robe and then her own.

        Sarah nodded her head, "Yes Sweetie, I have got to admit it, you look wonderful." She said with a smile that lit her face.

        Lara winked and shrugged, "Told you so. I used my time up very constructively. I worked on our clue."

        "Oh, any progress?"

        "Yeah, I need to call our research team but I have some ideas."

        "Which are?"

        "Do you remember the scroll we read about Xena and Gabrielle helping out the King of Thieves to reclaim a statue?"

        "Yeah it was on one of the Greek islands."

        "Well didn't the scrolls say they went there in disguise and had to hide the statue so they could pull off a con against the man who stole it who also happened to be his brother's killer?"

        Sarah blinked and her face lit up, "You are a genius!"

        Lara chuckled and said, "Were not at all prejudice, are we my love?"

        Sarah shrugged her shoulders as she put her on her clothes watching Lara do the same with an amused smirk. Lara wiggled her eyebrows and as she watched the gorgeous flesh exposed then disappears into a pair of jeans and a warm sweater. She pulled on her tank top and leather pants as she said; "It doesn't explain the sea or breathing deeply. But it is a start, Love."

        Sarah was brushing her hair as Lara pulled on her boots; "You are brilliant Lara." She got up sat next to her on the bed and bumped her shoulder against the tall woman; "Too bad we don't have time to take a nice shower or bath, huh?"

        Lara put a long arm around her loves shoulders and said softly, "Don't worry Angel, we'll make up for it later." She leaned down and kissed her love tenderly on the lips. Then she pulled back and said, "Ready to go get some breakfast and prepare for whatever Jack has up his sleeve?"

        "I'm ready, especially for breakfast."

        "What else is new?" That was answered with a slap on the arm as the two women made their way to meet the rest of their crew.

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        The small man was pacing as he faced his operatives. The Chinese agent was very angry at the failure of one of his best assassins.

        "You mean she captured you that quickly? How was that possible?"

        "I don't know! I was as silent as a panther and it was pitch black. She was incredibly quick, I had no time to react she had me within seconds. That woman is amazingly strong it's like her arms were made of steel. And that girl! She held that gun on me like a pro."

        Jack looked disgusted with the two agents. This was not going to please his employer at all. He had made a deal with the Chinese and part of that was they would get rid of all opposition. "Well you two really blew this one for me. How did Lara know we were working together? I'm out of the loop thanks to you. I have my orders and one way or another Lara Croft has to die." He said to them incredibly angry.

        "I will try again on the way to village..."

        The small man laughed and said, "It should work in our favor you will have the whole Chinese Army to back you up."

        The Assassin looked at the agent and said, "How do you expect to get her in position? Lara Croft is no fool."

        "Neither am I," growled Jack. "She will be going through a thickly wooded area. I'll go after her there. I know these woods she doesn't."

        "How will you do that? She moves like a cat in the dark." Asked the angry woman pacing.

        "I don't know yet but it will be very fast and deadly I promise you that. Those two will not leave Tibet alive."

        Aries materialized outside the cabin that the three were conspiring in. He chuckled very amused by their plans. "Lara and woods huh? Man you don't know your prey very well do you? Even I know that you have to expect Lara to be brilliant in the forest just like her Grandmother, Fools." He whistled cheerfully as he went to find the girls to warn them.

***                ***                        ***                ***

        The small group made their way through the thick forest alert to every movement and sound. Lara had one man in front of Sarah and one on each side while she took up the rear. They all moved very slowly and cautiously.

        Lara had her senses on full alert her body constantly sending out feelers so she could feel the attack before it happened. She was bristling with weapons and had slipped a small knife and gun into Sarah's backpack just to be on the safe side.

        Suddenly Sarah stopped in her tracks her eyes closed and she almost fell over. One of the men was instantly by her side catching her while the other man called to Lara to come quick. Fear gripped her heart because she couldn't even feel her love with in their link. With in seconds she was at her beloved's side pulling her away from the man holding her close as she visually looked for any wounds or marks.

        "Angel! Sweetheart...please look at me! Baby focus on me...please..." cried Lara as she tried to get her love to open her eyes and look at her. Tears poured down her cheeks as she shook her, fear was pumping her heart so fast she thought it would burst if her love didn't open her eyes right then.

        Slowly Sarah's blinked and moaned. She then seemed to fall backward away from Lara who caught her holding her tight. Sarah opened her eyes looking into terrified blue. Lara saw it and asked anxiously, "Are you hurt, Baby?"


        Lara brought her wife into a bear hug tears streaming down her face now in pure relief. "Oh my Angel, my darling I have never been so scared in my whole life." She whispered hoarsely into her ear hugging her tight grateful for the even breathing she felt against her neck.

        Sarah was still clearing her mind but she felt her loves shaking body and the turmoil that she felt within their link. She gently kissed the salty cheek running her fingers through the tangled dark hair. She pulled back slightly and dried the tears with the back of her hand as she whispered, "I am sooo sorry I scared you. was like when Grandmother took over my body. I simply seemed to move aside. I felt there was another soul within me..."

        Blue eyes widened, "But Gabrielle is gone, Love." She whispered back her heart rate slowing again as was the adrenaline pumping through her body brought on by the terror that she had lost her wife because of Jack's treachery. She took a deep breath and looked into confused green eyes.

        "I know...I think its Autolycus..."

        Lara pulled back and stared into Sarah's eyes, "What? How do you know that?"

        Sarah shook her head as if she was trying to clear it and said slowly, "I don't know. I felt like him...I mean..."

        Lara tightened her hold and sent through her link, Shhh, Jack is here Love. We've got to get moving we can't do this now...

        Lara put an arm around Sarah's shoulders and quickly started walking. Sarah stopped in her tracks and sent, Wait Lara. That's it! He's warning us of danger ahead and....something we will find and need in that tunnel.

        What? Lara's eyes wide with shock and a bit of fear.

        The Dragon's egg.

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        Jack and three of his men were carefully tracking the great Lady Lara Croft and her party through woods that he knew like the back of his hand. He was confident he would catch up with her and get her before she even knew he was there.

        Ahead he saw two of Lara's men carefully watching the woods behind Lara and her little girl friend. He realized that his element of surprise was no longer possible and he cursed.

        "God Damn that woman! How the hell does she always stay one step ahead of me?"

                ***                ***                ***                ***

        Lara now walked beside Sarah with her arm wrapped around her loves waist protectively watching her every movement to make sure she was really all right. Sarah did appear to be normal again but Lara wasn't about to take any chances. She was having her men watch from behind and Soli one of her oldest and most trusted friends was ahead tracking the way to their target.

        Suddenly she felt the enemy's presence and knew they were right behind them. She sent Sarah a message through their link, Love do you trust me?

        Of course.

        Good, Then hang on to me tightly, She suddenly felt the need to let out the warrior cry that her Grandmother had when she was inside her and jumped straight up into the trees. Sarah was nestled tightly against her body as she landed on a branch of tree with the finesse of cat.

        Ok Love, put your arms around my neck and legs around my waist and hold on as tight as you can. When she felt Sarah was safely secured to her she used her whip attaching it to the next tree and as quickly as she could swung from tree through the thick woods toward their target.

        She knew that her men knew what to do and could take care of themselves so she just concerned herself with getting her Sarah safely to the tunnel. When they reached a tree where the target was in sight she sent, All right Angel, we're here. Are you going to be ok? My Darling I am so very scared for you and...

        I'm ok now; I am sooo sorry I frightened you. Sarah had been set down on her own feet on the large branch. Lara's arms were tightly around her as Sarah looked into the frightened blue eyes and she gulped. She gently caressed her loves cheek and whispered, "Really Sweetie, I'm Ok."

        Lara searched her eyes and whispered back her voice full of pain; "You mean everything to me. One word from you and we will chuck this whole thing..."

        "No, It won't help. Your Uncle will still be after you and I'm ok now. I just...I was out of it but....It was like he was protecting me..."She looked into the loving eyes and smiled slightly, "Does that make any sense?"

        Lara smiled and nodded putting her finger to her lips as she sensed soldiers coming close to their tree. She then sent, It looks like they beefed up security. Jack probably alerted them. And yes it makes sense Love; the King of Thieves had a heart of gold.

        Sarah smiled and nodded hugging Lara tight. Lara kissed her love on the crown of her head and then sent, Shall we retrieve the egg?

        Sounds like a plan.

        Lara winked at her and brought her lips up to hers so she could tenderly kiss her love. Then she picked Sarah up into her arms holding her tight against her body she jumped off the tree landing on the roof of the garrison with out a sound. She gently put Sarah back onto her feet took her little hand led her toward the back of the building that would lead them to the tunnel.

        ***                ****                ****                ***

        Jack and his men fought against Lara's experienced warriors. He watched with awe, as the dark woman seemed to jump with the prowess of superman straight up into the trees the small blonde tucked tightly against her body. He was so shocked he never even saw the punch that made his head ricochet against a tree. Soli whistled and the rest of Lara's men left to meet their boss and friend.

        Aries materialized with a smirk on his face as he looked at the lumps lying on the floor of the forest. He walked over to their leader and lifted his chin with the toe of his foot and said with chuckle.

        "I told you it was stupid plan. Where are your agent friends, hmm? I think I better lend Lara and Sarah a hand just in case. See ya, Dweeb." And he was gone in a bolt of white light.

        ***                ****                ***                ***

        Lara was helping Sarah into the vent so they could climb through the building to the tunnel entrance. Once Sarah was safely in the vent she lifted herself in behind her and then sent through their link, Ok Angel, Let's roll as they say. She gently slapped her wife on her shapely behind.

        What exactly did I do to deserve that?

        Nothing. I just love your behind so much, its so delectable that even the sound of it being gently slapped turns me on.

        Sarah sat down and turned so she could looked into the wicked blue eyes and she rolled her own.

        Now that's flattering.

        Hmmm, Can't win everytime can I? How's this? I love you more then life itself. She then leaned over kissed her wife tenderly on the lips. She then pulled back to watch those lips curve into a smile and Sarah then turned and started down the vent again, That's much better.

        Hey, I aim to please.

        You always do, Love.

        Sarah had reached a grate to the hallway they needed to go down and was struggling to open it.

        Sweetie, I can't seem...

        Lara gently pulled Sarah back into her arms and tenderly caressed her cheek.

        Shh, I'll do it love, don't worry.

        Lara slipped past Sarah to the grate and felt the edges with her hands. Then with the palm of her hand and one sharp hit dead center popped it open. She hurriedly caught the cover before it fell too far from the vent. Then she cautiously looked out to see the dark hallway, which seemed empty but she felt in her gut that it wasn't. She pulled back and looked at Sarah.

        Angel, we've got company down there.

        What do we do?

        "How about you girls let me take care of it?" Said a man's voice floating over Sarah's shoulder. She almost cried out but she managed to get a hold of herself and turned to look into the black eyes of the man behind her.

        Lara's eyes narrowed glittering with outrage; "Aries what the hell are you doing here?" She whispered practically hissing she was so mad.

        "I'm watching you're back of course so cool it Warrior. The little agent that you caught and her friends are waiting for you down there. I can just snap my fingers and you will be in the damn tunnel without having to get through that mob of soldiers and cut throats."

        "And what will we owe you?"

        "Shit Lara, I told you before..."

        "Yeah, yeah, yeah you want to be top dog in the war business. That does not give me a warm fuzzy feeling inside," she answered between gritted teeth.

        "Well do you prefer walking right into a trap with your wife in tow? Damn it I told you that you wouldn't owe me. What the hell do you want from me as proof?"

        "All I know is that I don't want to owe a favor to the God of War, I've read the scrolls, Aries..."

        "If you two don't knock it off we'll have the whole Chinese army in here." Sarah whispered angrily.

        Lara looked into the angry green eyes and swallowed. She breathed a couple of deep breaths to calm herself down and smiled sweetly, "Sorry Angel. You're right this is getting us no where. Ok, what exactly are you proposing and what do you want from us in return and it better not be like you did with our Grandmothers."

        "I told you brat, I don't want anything from either of you. What the hell do I have to do to convince you bring Xena and Gabrielle here as babies so their souls can convey the truth."

        Lara looked at him through narrowed eyes and waited silently. Aries rolled his eyes and said, "Look, all I want to do is get the Twelve. I want to be the only force on earth that controls war. A mortal would just muck it up and I know what I'm doing..."

        "Gee, that gives me such a feeling of confidence..."

        "Lara you are such...."

        "So are you..."

        "Could you take this up some place else? We're in enemy territory and surrounded and it's not the best of times to have this dumb fight! Lara we have to trust him we don't have any choice." She looked into astonished blue eyes determined to get her point across then she looked at equally astonished black eyes and said, "Aries just do it, we'll discuss the consequences later."

        The two dark haired people looked at little blonde as if aliens had kidnapped her. Lara looked into her loves eyes and shook her head. She leaned close and kissed her cheek sending through their link, You are soooo right my love. I am sorry. I should learn to control my temper around him.

        "Its ok Sweetheart, I know that Aries rubs you the wrong way but he does care about us and....Sweetie it's cramped in here.

        Lara's smile widened and she nodded whispering to the waiting dark man, "Ok War God, do your thing."

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        They suddenly appeared in a pitch-black tunnel under the garrison. Suddenly there was a circle of light around Aries. Lara realized he was holding an old fashioned lit torch. She smirked shook her head and pulled out a large flashlight from her backpack and nodded that Sarah should get hers as well.

        She turned on her flashlight, which lit the whole tunnel and pointed to the torch in Aries hand sayings, "These torches are more efficient then those and they won't blow out."

        "What can I say I'm an old fashioned God."

        Lara rolled her eyes and Sarah giggled. Sarah took her flashlight and lit both paths from where they stood saying, "I have no idea which way we're suppose to go."

        Lara looked at the War God and asked, "So holder of all wisdom which way do we go?"

        The tall dark man shrugged his shoulders and said, "I haven't the foggiest."

        Sarah suddenly moaned and fell forward. Lara dropped her flashlight and caught her before she could hurt herself. She anxiously cradled her love close and said to Aries, "I wish it didn't knock her out totally when he merges with her like this. It's scary as hell."

        "I guess he can't help it, he liked both your Grandmother's very much so I'm sure he wouldn't want to hurt Sarah. Besides the King of Thieves always did go over the top maybe his spirit can't help doing it too?" Said the dark man as he bent down to scoop up Sarah's flashlight as he got rid of the torch with a wave of his hand.

        Lara growled at the War God. She brought her cheek against Sarah's rubbing against it lovingly. Feeling anxious because once again she couldn't even feel her love with in their link. "Come on Autolycus, show us the way." She said quietly.

        Slowly Sarah's arm pointed straight out away from her and Lara down the passage to the right of them. Lara smiled and kissed Sarah on the cheek walking down the path in that direction without a word.

        "Hey wait up, Lara!" Called Aries who was leaning against a wall and not paying attention till all the light except his flashlights was gone.
        Lara stopped and looked over her shoulder saying impatiently, "Well come on and hurry we don't have forever down here."

        When the God caught up they started to walk again. Sarah suddenly changed the direction of her arm almost hitting Aries in the face. That caused a tiny smile to curl on Lara's lips but she kept the chuckle from bursting out considering that they would need the War God to get the hell out of there.

        Suddenly they were at the end of a path at what seemed to be a dead end. Sarah's hand moved the flashlight in Aries hand till shined on ragged rock that stuck out slightly from the rest. Lara kissed her love on the palm of her hand and then brought it to her cheek. She then walked to the rock and pressed it.

        She stepped back and waited. Suddenly there was large groan and the wall of the cave swung back to reveal a small room. Lara shook her head in admiration since there was not even a crack to show the tiny door was there.

        Sarah moaned and her head fell against Lara's shoulder as the spirit of their Grandmother's old friend left her again. Green eyes blinked open meeting the warm blue ones looking directly into them. Lara gently ran a finger through the soft blonde hair as she waited for Sarah to get herself centered again.

        Welcome back, My Angel. Lara sent as she rubbed her cheek against Sarah's.

        Sarah nuzzled the warm cheek next to her and sent, Thanks Love, did I miss much?

        A bit. Looky what you helped us to find.

        Sarah stared in disbelieve at the small room. "Wow, I don't remember coming here at all...I..."

        "Shh," Lara kissed Sarah tenderly then pulled back and said, "Yep, as you see my sweet you led us here." She then gently deposited her wife on her own feet bringing her arm around her waist so she still held her close. "Ok War God, Now what do we do? How the hell are we going to get an ancient ceramic egg full of liquid explosives out of tunnel that's guarded by an entire regiment of well trained soldiers?" She tilted her head and looked with narrowed blue eyes at the tall man. She had one or two of her own ideas in case the dark man failed them.

        "Hmmm, really good question...Tell you what, I could hold on to it for you and..."
        "I knew it!"

        "Knew what?"

        "You're after the dragon and you..."

        "That's not true..."

        "Come on Bro, you know she's absolutely right!" Said the musical voice of the blonde Goddess of Love. Both women looked at the beautiful Goddess with delight and ran to give her hug and a kiss.

        Aphrodite was very happy to see the girls enjoyed giving them a hug and kiss. "Hey, just because you don't see me doesn't mean I'm not keeping an eye on two of my favorite mortals. Your always in my heart don't you forget that."

        Lara smiled at her and nodded as she brought Sarah close to her with an arm lovingly around her wife's shoulders. "Well it has been a while, Not since you joined us..."

        "Yep, but I have been watching you two and I'm so proud of both of you. Especially Sarah, you have grown so much it's really beautiful to see. And you Lara, you have really allowed her completely into your heart and that is also wondrous."

        Both women blushed and Aphrodite laughed affectionately brushing a hand against each of their cheeks. "Now that a certain sibling is trying to use you two for an agenda of his own I thought I'd make an appearance and protect you."

        Aries growled at his sister and then met the accusing eyes of the two humans.
"It's not what you're thinking....."

        "Oh really?" Asked Lara more of bark then a question.

        "Yes really, I wouldn't hurt you two, you know. I just have this rival that's backing your Uncle and...."

        "You wanted me to throw him off track right?" Growled Lara.

        "No that's not it. I just wanted to make sure you two stay safe at the same time I want to defeat the son of bitch."

        "Who is your rival, Aries?" Asked Sarah quietly.

        "My first cousin, Mars. The Roman God of War."

        ****                ***                ***                ***

        Sarah and Lara looked at Aries stunned. Lara then looked down at Sarah who shrugged and asked the tall man quietly, " I always thought that Mars was just what the Roman's called you. I mean you were involved with Romans and when you tried to turn Eve toward your ways she was Roman citizen..."

        "I did not try to do anything to Eve she had already taken that path I merely encouraged her..."

        "Grandmother didn't see it that way..." growled Lara angrily.

        "Yeah well she had slept for over twenty five years, what did she know..."

        "Because of you..."

        "No it wasn't it..."

        "Hey we're in a miserable tunnel, it's yucky down here could you hold off on this till later?" Asked the blonde Goddess very annoyed.

        Sarah smiled at her and she winked at her little friend that reminded her so much of her favorite bard it made her pretty blue eyes tear up.

        "Well I was just going to explain that Mars is our cousin just like Venus. They were lesser Gods till the Roman's started to elevate them. Who knew that they would become so powerful or last so damn long? Our legends all merged but believe me we are not the same at all. Let me ask you this you oh so wise professors of ancient studies. Who do you think were crueler in battle The Greeks or The Romans? Mars became powerful because war and conquest was all the Romans ever thought of, I'd never get our boys going the way he did they were too distracted especially in Athens. Now Sparta..."

        Lara groaned and said, "Come on Aries the Greeks could be just as tough and focused. How about Alexander the Great, if he lived he would taken the territory away from the Romans he was that good and he was an intellectual at the same time. He also believed in religious and cultural freedom. Your saying that Mars made the Romans so focused? How?"

        "No, I'm saying that it was just their way and the old boy took advantage of that. Really girls, That God makes me look like a Boy Scout and you two know what I am so imagine what he's like! He has no heart. I'm a real sweetheart next to him..."

        "I'm afraid that is true girls, Not the sweetheart part but Aries does have a heart and can show mercy. Look at what he did for Eve and Gabrielle. I can't stand Mars and even sweet Venus hates his guts and that girl likes every one." Said Aphrodite sincerely. "By the way Cousin Venus is willing to help us."

        Aries looked excited for moment then shook his head, "That would be great but I doubt that Sis. She'd be too scared of the creep. Who knows him better then she does he seduced and raped her. I would never have done that you and you damn well know it."

        Aphrodite nodded and looked sad, "Yeah, I do." She went to her brother and gave him hug shocking not only Aries but the girls as well. She kissed him on the cheek and then put her arm around his waist turning to the stunned mortals beside them. "It is true little ones, as much as he is a royal pain in the ass he would never hurt me. In fact he's saved me many times. He is viscous when it comes to war though, She looked at her brother who was slightly blushing and said, "You can be a creep but you aren't as bad as Mars. What do you girls think? Should I talk to Venus?"

        Lara looked at the two Gods then her wife. She met the confused green eyes and felt just as off balance as her love was. "Um, I guess. It couldn't hurt all she could do is say no. That she's too scared. If we are fighting a God that makes Aries look that decent then we will need all the help that we can get."

        "Ok Sweetpea, I'm out of here!" She was gone in flash of pink sparkles.

        "Aries, can you get us out of here? This tunnel is giving me the creeps." Asked Sarah quietly.

        Aries smirked and nodded, He waved his hand and the three of them were a few feet from where they had set up to meet their people if they had been split up. "Ok, this is where you wanted to be, right?"

        Lara nodded, "Thanks. So we wait for your sister?"

        The dark man was leaning against a tree playing with large leave as he nodded. "Be careful you two, Jack and his assassin's are still out there."

        Lara's eyes widened, "You really do care about us, don't you?"

        "Shit Lara, What the hell do I have to do to prove it to you? Become mortal again? I've already done that for your family once isn't that enough?"

        Lara smiled wickedly, "Welllllll?"

        "Lara! Forget it. Been there done that, Never again!" He vanished in a flash of white light.

        Sarah shook her head and chuckled meeting sparkling blue eyes glowing with amusement. "Did you know I love you despite the fact that you can be so darn mean?"

        "Yep, I know that. I do like Aries and he has been good to us he just..."

        "Rubs you the wrong way?"

        "You got it Love. Come on lets get going I want to put this thing in bubble wrap before we get on the trail again. I can't wait to get the hell out of here!"

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        The two women were wrapped around each other deeply asleep in their own bed in London a few days later. They were both exhausted from their voyage back to England for several reasons. The climb down and the short hops from place to place by plane got to Sarah who was barely able to walk when they got to the large mansion. In fact Lara carried her from the private car that she'd arranged for upstairs to their room. Lara was exhausted by worry. She was worried about her Uncle and this other powerful God and wondered why they had to keep crossing the paths of viscous Gods like this.

        The Dragons egg was hidden in a secret room her father had showed her when she was a little girl. She used to run to hide there when she was mad knowing she would be all alone and could sort things out. She was sure that no one would be able to find it the only other living person who knew where it was now cuddled deep in her arms and owned her heart and soul.

        She sat up and her eyes opened suddenly in a panic. She realized she was safely beside her Angel and glanced wearily at the clock sighing she kissed the sleeping woman tenderly and nuzzled her cheek against the warm neck. She had been awakened by a horrible nightmare and couldn't go back to sleep so she would now silently and protectively watch over her love as she peacefully slept.

        She put a protective layer around her thoughts so she wouldn't wake her very tired wife up. I wish I could just snap my fingers and fix this, My Darling. I despise the thought that you are now in danger because you're married to me. All I can do is use every skill I have learned over the years to protect you. I know I wouldn't be able to send you away till this is over or have you stay here protected in this house because you wouldn't do that. I just wish that this thing with my Uncle didn't some how include you too. It does though...She gently ran her fingers through the soft blonde hair and pulled back so she could look at the face of the woman she loved. She couldn't resist lowering her lips to slightly pouting lips below her and kissing her gently.

        Two little arms came around her neck and pulled her close deepening the kiss. They enjoyed the delightful taste of each other till they ran out of air and then pulled back. Lara smiled into sleepy green eyes and said, "Good morning."

        "Good morning to you too."

        "Sorry my beauty but I just couldn't resist that sweet mouth of yours anymore."

        "Mmm, Don't be sorry I enjoyed it as much as you did."

        Two sets of eyes looked at a figure in pink that suddenly appeared floating above their bed. The Goddess chuckled and shook her head in wonder.

        "What are you doing here?" Lara growled at the beautiful Goddess very annoyed at the invasion of privacy.

        "I am keeping my promise, Warrior. I said I would tell you what was happening as soon as possible..."

        "Not while were..."

        "Hey! you were just kissing and talking...I wouldn't do that you know.
I am the Goddess of Love I know when not to interrupt." She looked pretty upset now too.

        "No, you would have watched."

        "Lara! Um, you wouldn't do that Aphrodite, would you?"

        Aphrodite smiled at her shy pretty friend and nodded her head making the young woman blush but making Lara smile, "Sweet pea, Of course I do I'm the Goddess of Love. I've got to keep up with all the couplings in my flock. I wouldn't do that with you two though. Your special and you're my friends. Though I think it would be kind of interesting to watch though I mean your both so creative..."

        "Aphrodite!" Warned Lara shaking her head no at the Goddess, she didn't care about herself but she knew her Angel was very shy even with her and this was not something she would enjoy. She pulled Sarah close and kissed her cheek comforting the upset woman in her loving arms.

        "Sorry. I don't watch you Sarah so calm your little self down. Ok? You and tough chick over there are my favorite mortals. You're my family and I would never intrude on your privacy like that. Pinkie swear." Sarah peeked at the blonde who winked at her and made her smile. "I love you guys and I would never do that to someone I love."
        Lara smiled up at the Goddess and Sarah's eyes filled with tears as she nuzzled her wife's shoulder.

        "Thanks Aphrodite." Said Lara quietly smiling at their friend.

        "You are both very welcome. Now do you two want to hear what Venus told me or not?"

        "Of course!" Said Lara as she pulled herself and Sarah up against the pillows and headboard but still safely hidden under the covers of they're bed.

        "Well, she said her creepy brother had granted your jerk of an Uncle's requests with the thought of how easy it would be to control him. One of the jerk's conditions was that he be set up with a powerful hit squad so Mars got this rogue General to help the slime. He wants your creepy Uncle to be the next Julius Caesar and he would be the power pulling the strings that would give him a huge edge over my brother."

        "That fucking Bastard! So why would he be after me...?"

        "Lara, my dear girl, let's put modesty aside here shall we? You are the true apple off the tree. You're exactly like your father in every way. Your also just like the Warrior Princess, which is a very formidable combination. If anyone could stop him..."

        "It would be me?" Asked Lara watching the blonde Goddess's head nod she sighed and leaned her head against Sarah's neck seeking comfort. "How am I going to protect My Angel from that mad man?"

        Sara pulled back and kissed Lara on the nose, "Don't worry about me, Sweetie we will stop him together..."



        "Ummm, some advise Warrior, Don't even try leaving her behind. It never worked with her Grandmother and it won't with her either. Logic won't work, nor harsh words and not even one of your crafty tricks cause she is way to smart and she has something that Gabs never had, She can read your thoughts so just ease up for you own good."

        Sarah smiled brightly at the Goddess who winked back. Aphrodite then looked into the very worried blue eyes of her other friend and knew she understood even better then Xena did that she had to allow her soul mate to make her own choices.

        "Lara, I love you. We're in this together. I am not scared as long as I'm with you so don't even try to make me stay away."

        Lara's eyes filled with tears as she nodded because she knew they were both right which just made her task tougher. She sighed and pulled the smaller woman onto her lap.

        "Ok My Angel, We're in this together."

        ***                ***        ***                ***

        They sat in Lara's office surrounded by pages down loaded from their email. Their staff sent them all the scrolls that had any reference to the King of Thieves in them. They were trying to find a way to figure out the clues in the poem and this was the only thing that Lara could think of. "This is like a bloody needle in a hay stack!" growled Lara as she threw the stack of pages she had been reading in the air.

        "Which one was that?"

        ""A Royal Couple of Thieves" it's when they first met. Which one are you reading, Angel?"

        "The Quest." Sarah looked up at Lara with tears streaming down her cheeks.

        "Was it that sad?" Asked Lara as she reached across to dry her loves eyes.

        Sarah sniffled and replied, "It's the one where Gabrielle became the Amazon Queen of her tribe when she thought Xena was dead by internal bleeding. Meanwhile Xena was using our friend's body so she could get her body back before Gabrielle and the tribe burnt it to send it to Artemis. It was also the first reference to Xena kissing her Gabrielle and declaring her love for her...."She lowered her head and cried some more.

        Lara scooted over the mounds of paper and pulled Sarah onto her lap holding her close. "Did it have a happy ending?" She whispered into a little ear kissing her below it.


        "Good, keep that one aside for me. I'd like to read it later."

        Sarah looked into loving blue eyes and tenderly kissed her wife. Then they pulled back slightly and she said, "Ok. Would you like to take a little break?"

        "That is sooo tempting but I'd rather finish this so I can really concentrate solely on you." Lara looked into the beautiful dark green eyes smiling and kissed her nose, "Come on Love, How many more are there?"

        Sarah sighed and held up four fingers.

        Lara kissed each finger and then handed Sarah a story from the unread pile grabbing one for herself as well. "Let's forge through, Sweetheart. The sooner we finish the sooner we can play."

        "Lets hurry then," Said Sarah as she started reading causing Lara's smile to widened.

        About twenty minutes later a cry of joy escaped from Lara's lips as she put down a stack of sheets with a triumphant smile on her face. "I figured it out, Sweetheart."


        "He was a crafty devil."


        "He had quite an imagination."


        Lara smiled and purred as she came closer to the smaller woman. "You really do look beautiful when your over tired and over worked."

        Sarah crawled closer to the exasperating woman and gently slapped her on the leg; "Will you stop torturing me?"

        Lara chuckled and pulled her on to her lap. She kissed her tenderly and held her very close then as she continued to kiss her along her neck she sent, Ok, my Angel no more torture of that kind...He hid them on the Island of Mykanos. It seems he and our Grandmothers hid an entire statue there at one time. We have to find where this old castle was that Gabrielle referenced and we'll find the twelve. It's behind a false wall.

        Sarah was enjoying the string of kisses and it took a minute to process the information that Lara had just sent. They pulled apart and Sarah looked up into sparkling blue eyes she gently cupped a cheek and replied quietly, "Yes, that make sense. He'd put it where the Chinese would never find it."

        "The Mongolians were the ones after it Love..."

        "Lara, I am way to exhausted to be picky right now. Are you going to keep your promise?"

        Lara smirked and tilted her head then she stood straight up with Sarah in her arms and said, "Yep." She walked carefully over the piles of pages and straight out of the room to their best form of relaxation.

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        An angry bald headed red-faced older man was walking back and forth behind his desk in central London barking into a phone.

        "Jack what the hell do you think I'm paying you so much money for? How on Earth did you miss killing them on mountain for God's sake?" He yelled pounding a fist against his desk.

        "Do you know your Niece's capabilities? She moves like a mountain goat and she fights like a wild cat!"

        "Well didn't her little girlfriend slow her down?"

        "Hell no! She pulled a gun on my assassin after Lara silently disarmed her and her arms are like steel by the way!! And yes, the girl is not as good a climber as your Niece is but Lara never let her out of her sight for a second. She even carried her when she needed the help. Lara is as strong as an ox. The question is why didn't warn me about that?"

        "I haven't seen her since she was a little girl at her Dad's funeral. I inherited my house and this building and that child got everything else. He made sure that I would never be near her and she grew up into this powerhouse. I knew she was hell on wheels but I had no idea she was this formidable. Jack, I need to talk to my backer and see if he has any ideas. We can't reach our goals with her out there and I am going to reach my goals. We have to stop Lara despite her being so damn good."

        "Good doesn't even describe it!" growled Jack.

        "Ok, just relax. I'll get back to you." The older man slammed down the phone and sat down in chair. He crossed his arms and yelled, "Mars!"

        A very handsome man dressed as a Roman soldier of ancient times appeared leaning against the closed door to large palatial office. He had a very annoyed look on his face as he answered quietly in a low voice.

        "Maybe I should rethink my plans. I thought you were a capable ally..."

        "Don't you give me that! You are supposed to be an all seeing God. So why the hell didn't you foresee Lara Croft?"

        "I did hope that since she was related to you that you might already have had some insight into that, Harris."

        "Well I am so sorry to disappoint you but I haven't laid eyes on her since she was a kid. How the hell did I know she would grow to be Wonder Woman!"

        "So what are you going to do about it?"

        "I think War God the question is what are you going to do about it?"

        "Hmmm, Yes that is a good question. I'll do a little research and get back to you." The angry Roman God of War disappeared in a flash of lighting.

        "Well make it fast I have a world to conquer."

        ***                ***                ****                ***

        Lara and Sarah were now at their estate outside of Athens. They brought Brice because they wanted him to help find the ruins of the old Castle on Mykanos.
They were also waiting there for intelligence from Aries and Aphrodite.


        "Yes My Angel?" Answered Lara sweetly they were lying by the pool resting after working in the computer room with Brice for hours going through every possible site for the ancient castle.

        "How are we going to get to the island once we're ready?" Asked the smaller woman who was nuzzled close to her companion's body. Her head was lying on a warm shoulder and she was enjoying the sensation of long strong fingers running through her hair.

        Lara leaned down and kissed her on the cheek and then replied softly, "I have a nice boat for us to go in."

        There was soft giggle below her which made her own smile broaden as Sarah replied, " Don't tell me it's a yacht?"

        Lara lifted the head with gentle fingers to look into amused eyes and nodded, "Yep, It's a 12 foot launch. Wait till you see what I named her."

        Tears suddenly sprung to Sarah's green eyes confusing Lara, "What?"

        Lara pulled Sarah's sunglasses off and saw the teary green eyes clearly. She shook her head and dried them gently, "Why are you crying Angel? I changed the name of my boat when we came back from our Grandmother's tomb but why would you cry?"

        "You are so sweet."

        "Sweetheart, I haven't told you the name yet and I can't feel you touching our link so why are you crying?"

        "I just have the feeling I know what it is."

        "Oh? What do you think?" Asked Lara bringing the emotional woman closer kissing her neck and waiting for an answer that she pretty much knew would be pretty close if not exact.

        "Angel." Whispered Sarah enjoying the string of kisses.

        Lara pulled back and smiled again wiping the tears. "That's very close Love. I called her My Angel."

        "Oh Lara..." Sarah was so touched she broke down crying against the strong woman's neck. Lara just held her tight and sent through her link. I love you so much, My Angel.

        ***                ***                ***                ****

        Brice was working on the exact location of the castle. He was reading the scrolls constantly to try to find where it might be on the large island.

        A tall dark man leaned against a wall watching the hard working young man with an amused smirk. He cleared his throat making Brice jump bumping his head on the overhead above his computer.

        "Who on Earth are you?"

        Aries laughed and replied, "Well Kid, I'm not exactly from Earth. Where are Lara and Sarah?"

        "Whom may I ask is calling?"

        Highly amused Aries replied, "Tell Lara her spy is reporting for duty."

        "Her spy?"

        "Just tell her I'm here she'll understand."

        "Um okay," He stuttered as he picked up the phone with shaky hands. He dialed Lara's extension to her office and waited for his boss to pick up the phone.

        "Um Lara, There is this guy...he's um...he says he's your spy." He listened for a minute and looked over his shoulder and then turned back to the phone and whispered, "He's this tall dark guy with a mustache and well built. Really intense and kind of smug...Oh? Ok if you say so."

        He got up and said, "Follow me please."

        Aries snorted but followed the nervous computer geek to Lara's office in the other wing of the large estate. They found the girls hard at work at two separate computers side by side.

        "Well this reminds me of Egypt," Said the God of War with an amused smirk.

        Brice was very fidgetedy as he stood by the door. Lara glanced at her nervous friend and said, "You can go Brice, we can handle him."

        Brice looked Aries who suddenly growled him which sent the poor man scurrying out of the room. Aries thought this was hilarious but Lara and Sarah looked at each other and rolled their eyes at his antics.

        "You shouldn't do that Aries, Brice is Sweet and he is very loyal to Lara."

        Aries shrugged unconcerned, "He's ok I guess but he reminds me too much of Joxer. He just kind of irritates me."

        Lara's eyebrows shot up as she remembered when Xena met Brice while she occupied her body. "That's what Grandmother said."

        "Xena was right. Sooo, what are you two up to now?"

        "We are trying to figure out where Jack and his motley crew are going to go to find the Twelve. We have been emailing some of our friends to try to get a line on him. We are also using some of my Father's State Department sources to find out about my Uncle and what he might be doing."

        "Any luck?"

        "Very little. Apparently they are both keeping a low profile till they get the relic. So Spy, What news do you bring us?" Asked Lara smirking as she sat on the edge of her desk with her arms crossed.

        "I found out that your Uncle is pretty pissed and so is Jack that you escaped them on that mountain. Now they are trying to bait a trap that will capture you and torture you both into helping them. They'd use Sarah as bargaining chip to make you do all their work for them. They are a little shocked at what a fortress this is though. They thought they would have Sarah by now."

        "Bastards! Well you know that I learned a long time ago to protect the people I love. What plot do they have on their tiny little brains? You know I will never let them near my Sarah."

        "Right now they want to capture Sarah and threaten you with her death then once you get them the Twelve they intend to kill you both. Especially you Lady Croft you're a bit too formidable even if they do get their hands on the Twelve."

        "Subtle." Sarah said quietly from her chair looking into the worried blue eyes across from her.

        "Ain't it though?" Said Lara getting up and walking to Sarah. She gently began to massage the very tense muscles with long strong fingers. She looked at Aries over her wife's head and asked, "What else there must be more?"

        "Your pretty subtle too, Lara. No I think both your death's would be enough."

        "Why would they kill My Sarah? She is not like me. I don't get that."

        "To be honest I'm not worried about either of you. Your hard to kill I know that for a fact. I also know for certain that you would do anything to save Sarah so they will not get far in their plans. Short stuff is also tougher then she looks..."

        "Aries!" Growled Lara.

        "Oops, I forgot. I still think it's a cute name. See ya!" And he was gone in a flash of light.

        Sarah looked up into Lara's worried eyes and asked, "So what are we going to do, Sweetie?"

        "Get there first and get those pieces hidden."

        Sarah's eyes were still worried and so she sent to Lara through their link, Do you trust Aries with all that...?

        Power? No Love, I don't. Lara stood up and then pulled Sarah out of her desk chair and into her arms holding her in a loving embrace. I have a few ideas up my sleeve about both our powerful new toys.

        Do you think he knows you already hid the dragon's egg?

        He knows me very well so I'd say yep! Don't worry My Angel, Everything will be all right.

        Lara pulled back and brought her beloved closer till she could look deeply into those beautiful green eyes. She smiled sweetly then kissed her tenderly. The link intensified the gentle kiss tenfold till they were both weak in the knees. Lara then pulled back picked Sarah up and carried her out of the room.

        I think Angel, we should continue this where we would both be more comfortable, Ok?

        Yes Love.

        Good I think so too.

        ***                ***                ****                ***

        They were in their boat getting ready to go to Mykanos. Brice was in the forward of the boat doing an engine check. Lara was in the stern checking all their gear to make sure it was stored well. Sarah was down in the galley checking on the food that they had stored.

        "Hi Sweetpea," said the soft of voice of the blonde Goddess behind Sarah.

        Sarah jumped and then breathed a sigh of relief when she saw it was Aphrodite, "You scared me."

        "Sorry Sweetheart, Where's your beautiful shadow?"

        "Right here," Said Lara at the entrance of the Galley trying to catch her breath.

        "Why do you look so winded?"

        Lara looked at the Goddess with an ironic look and then said quietly, "I like running across the entire ship like a maniac...I felt my Angel's fear so I ran all the way here to see what was wrong. I am very glad it's you." Lara sat down on the step trying to get her heart back in her chest. Sarah approached her looking concerned so Lara smiled and held her arms out for her little love. Sarah smiled back and snuggled onto the tall woman's lap.

        "Awww, you two are sooo cute. I don't remember Xena and Gabby being as cuddly as you two..."

        "Oh from what we've read in the scrolls I'd have to disagree with you on that," Replied Sarah sweetly.

        "Hmm, I'd like to take a peek at those scrolls sometime. Um, I really need to warn you about what I heard from Cousin Venus. She told me that her creep of a brother is planning some kind of ambush for you at the castle..."

        "How the hell does he know about the God Damn castle! It took us weeks of hard work to find that site!" Lara had pulled away from Sarah so she wouldn't hurt her ears but Sarah was trying to calm her by bringing her back and gently stroking her hair and kissing her cheek and neck.

        Aphrodite was unfazed; she had early training in how certain Warriors over reacted to things from Xena. So her Great Granddaughter reaction was not a big shock. "Well Mars is a God so he used his abilities. It's what us God types do Sweetpea. The Thing Venus isn't exactly sure of is how he plans to attack you. I have a feeling it's those creeps from Tibet."

        "Which ones?" Asked Lara she was now calmer, She was stroking her loves back with one hand and running her fingers through the short blonde hair with the other.

        "I'd say it would be Jack and his assassin," Said the Goddess grimacing.

        "Oh Goody," said Lara rolling her eyes, "Would you mind doing us a favor?"

        "Sure, what would like me to do?"

        "Distract Jack."


        "Yeah, use your charm."

        "Kind of yucky, but it is a sort of fun challenge I can bring him to height of ecstasy and then drop him like cold potato," said the Goddess her musical laugh ringing through the small room. "What about the Assassin and his men? What about Mars?"

        "Well, if Jack is too busy then his men will be will be directionless and his assassin will not get the order to strike. At least I hope so."

        "Sounds like a plan, See ya!" The beautiful Goddess sparkled out of the small room.

        "And if it doesn't work?"

        "Well deal with each disaster as it comes my Love. I'd rather have either Mars or Jack but not both if I can help it. If I do have to deal with it I will."

        Two small hands touched each side of Lara's face so she was looking deeply into the sea green eyes.

        "We will."

        Sarah could feel a slight panic in their link and determined glint came to her eyes. "Lara."

        Lara swallowed and slowly nodded her head in agreement whispering, "We will."

                ***                ****                        ***

        Jack was alone in his tent on the island. He was pouring over ancient text and maps of the area so he could zero in on the site he was after. His boss told him the location of the old castle but they had gone where it was suppose to be and didn't even find a foundation for the ancient structure.

        He was more then a little frustrated suddenly he felt fingers running through his hair. He whipped around but there was no one there.

        "It has to be my overworked, overtired imagination." He said out loud as he put his own hand through his hair and slowly looked around his tent in a circle.

Suddenly he heard a soft giggle in his ear and stiffened as very soft fingers now ran over his shoulders very seductively.

        He used his hands to straighten his hair and almost jumped through the top of his tent when her heard a voice, "Stop that I like it all mussed up."

        "Who? What?"

        Aphrodite appeared before him in all her glory. She was not wearing a stitch of clothing. She had a perfect body and the mortal nearly fainted at the sight.

        "Hello Jack, My name is Venus."

        " Venus?"

        Aphrodite giggled, "Yep, the one and only." She said with soft caress of his cheek and wink. I hope Venus understands my borrowing her name but I can't let Mars know I'm around or he'll suspect Aries. The Goddess thought as she brought the mortal close and kissed him tenderly on the lips. He immediately fainted, as she knew he would. She popped him into his bed naked and tucked him in. Then she sat on the edge of his bed and smirked saying; "This should give my girls at least 4 to 5 hours of interrupted dig time." And she was gone in flash and a flutter of pink sparkles.

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        The "My Angel" was anchored in a hidden cove well below the site of the ancient castle. Brice was staying with the boat as the girls went up to the excavation site. They climbed carefully up the mountain face and looked around the foundation of the old castle.

        "I don't see Jack or anyone here yet."

        "Nope, I really thought that they'd beat us here..."

        "Well they would have my Dear, if I hadn't helped you out a bit." Said Aries as he leaned against an old foundation wall with a smug smile on his face.

        "What did you do to them?" Asked Sarah leaning against Lara trying to catch her breath from the climb.

        "Well I kind of hid all this from their sight..."

        "How?" Asked Lara an arm around Sarah gently rubbing her back till her love got her breath back.

        Aries tilted his head and asked, "Well how the hell do you think?"

        "So where are they?"

        "Down there a few miles. My sister is giving old Jack a run for his money." He said chuckling with a very wicked smile.

        They looked off about 100 yards down the coast where a large encampment was obvious. Lara smiled slightly and shook her head, "What about Mars? Any word on him yet?"

        "No but if I know him he will show up at the worse possible moment."

        "Just great! You're a lot of help..."

        "Hey I'm not an oracle..."

        "Well your suppose to be a God..."


        "So tell us all seeing one..."

        Aries growled and it was obvious to Sarah who was now back to herself that they could go on with this battle for a while. And they didn't have the time for it so she rolled her eyes and whistled.

        They both looked at her in shock. She smirked and said quietly, "May I suggest you table this chat for a later date? We have a limited time to find the Twelve before the others figure out that what Aries did."

        Lara chuckled and nodded, "Yes Sweetheart, your right. So War God are you willing to help us with the dig?"

        "I don't do manual labor." Said Aries disappearing in spray of angry sparks.

        "Lazy!" yelled Lara at the spot where he was.

        Sarah giggled and said, "Come on Sweetie, Lets get moving. It'll be dark really soon."

        Lara smiled and bent down so she could kiss her love tenderly on the lips. Then she took her hand and led her to the site so they could start looking for the hidden wall where their goal was hidden.

        Several hours later they found the courtyard mentioned in Gabrielle's scroll. Sarah took one side and Lara the other as they carefully began looking for the false wall that was mentioned in the poem.

        "Angel, come here."

        Sarah crossed the old courtyard area and Lara moved aside so Sarah could see down the horizontal hole that the Tomb Raider was carefully making by a foundation wall. She took the a small piece of pounded down brick and moved it back and forth and smirked up at Sarah when the wall gave to the slight movement.

        "He used some sort of mortar and parchment and created this thin brick like wall. He was a pretty clever guy, huh?"

        "So what do we do now?" Asked Sarah confused, "This can crumble so easily."

        We go very slow and pray the damn thing doesn't break before we find the Twelve."

        ***                ***                ***                ***


        "Damn for a beautiful woman you sure can yell like a fish wife!"

        "Oh shut up! Can you hide the exposed wall while we go back to boat to sleep."

        "First you tell me to shut up then you ask a favor?"

        "Aries," growled the tired woman.

        "Ok, Where's short stuff?"


        "Hey she's not here and I don't get why she doesn't like to be called that. I think it's cute."

        Lara actually chuckled and shrugged, "Well I think it's cute too but she doesn't like it so..."

        "And what ever Sarah wants..."

        "My Angel gets," Said Lara stretching and yawning. "She is on out boat starting our dinner. I think we should find the Twelve first thing in the morning that is if its still there and ancient treasure hunters didn't find it."

        "After all this it better still be there," Growled the War God and he was gone in spray of angry sparks.

        "Well it's been here for over 3000 years so you never know till you actually dig down and look." She yawned again and headed down to her boat.

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        The next morning at dawn the girls were back at work. They were about to start going carefully down the side of the wall again when Lara felt intruders coming toward the castle.

        "Angel, you start going down that section of wall I'll be right back..."

        Sarah grabbed her wrist and said with a worried expression, "Lara what if its Mars himself?"

        "Shh," She hugged her love and through their link sent, I can handle it if it is him though I think Aries wants him all for himself. He won't let Mars hurt us since we're so close. He is fond of us you know love, in fact if the God of War tells me to back off on this one I will though I am itching to go against this creep.


        Shh, I won't. I promise. I love you. I'll come back to you I promise, my Darling I promise. She then pulled back wiped the tears she could feel falling on her neck and then kissed her love tenderly. "Now get back to work," She whispered into her ear after she pulled back. She gently slapped her love on the butt and smiled saucily at the look the small woman gave her.


        The tall woman chuckled as she pointed to the wall. Then she watched the small woman get to work. She sighed and walked toward where she felt the intruders.

        ***                ***                ***                ***        

        Jack kept yawning annoying the hell out Ye his assassin as they approached where Jack believed the castle once stood. The small woman was the only person that their boss trusted to go with Jack to attempt to get the Twelve for himself and his backer.

        The site looked deserted except for Sarah who was carefully working a section of the site all alone.

        "I think luck may finally be with us this time, Ye."

        "I don't trust that dark one, Jack. She must be around somewhere she would never desert that small one willingly from what I saw before."

        "Well lets go over power the little bitch and worry about the big one later," He said as he signaled to slowly approach the small woman as silently as they could.

        As silent as death Lara stalked the two from above as they made their way through the thick forest that of trees that hid the place where the ancient castle once stood. She smirked at Jack's presumptions. She glanced at Sarah and saw that she was carefully working on the wall with total concentration. She smiled and then crouched down to listen as they stopped about 100 feet away from her Angel.

        "So what plot are you hatching? Do we capture her or kill her?" Asked the assassin as she readied her weapons just in case.

        "No, stow that stuff. I want to capture her. Then we'll use her to make Lara do all the work for us and give us the Twelve."

        Lara rolled her eyes and thought, Lazy asshole aren't you? Well I think there will be a change of plans for you two. Silently she jumped from the tree behind them and waited for a chance to pounce.

        Jack was slightly ahead so Lara easily snuck up on Ye and hit the small woman with a sharp Karate chop to the neck. She caught her and quickly tied her up behind a tree. Then she looked up and smirked as she saw that the tall man didn't even notice that his cohort was no longer behind him. Idiot, She thought as she slowly stalked him waiting for a chance to strike.

        Jack waited at the edge of the clearing for Ye to catch up wondering, She is sooo slow, I wonder why she's thought to be so good at her job. He looked over his shoulder to look to see where she was and was punched right in the nose by Lara who was right behind him. He was knocked off his feet but quickly recovered and said, "Lara, nice to see you again."

        "Well it isn't nice to see you, Ass hole." She growled as they carefully circled each other.

        He pulled out a gun from his back pocket but Lara was too quick she kicked it out of his hand sending the gun flying a great distance away. She then turned gracefully and slugged him in the stomach knocking him right onto his back down to the ground. When he tried to stand up she kicked him on the jaw knocking him out cold.

        "Pathetic," She said with a cold smile. She then tied him up and gagged him making sure he could breath since she was pretty sure she broke his nose. Then she ran off to join Sarah at the excavation below.

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        Lara was just coming over the ridge when she felt excitement soar through Sarah with in her mind. She smiled and practically jumped the last few feet to land beside her exuberant love.

        "I found them!"

        "Wonderful," Said Lara hugging the excited woman. "Calm down, Love. They have been here 3000 years they can wait till you get your heart beat back to normal." Said the tall woman smiling gently rubbing the smaller woman's back.

        They both had huge smiles as they opened the ancient skin and turned it upside down and waited a breathless moment to see if anything would fall out of it. First a piece of parchment then twelve exquisite carving fell into their anxious hands.

        They beamed at each other. Then Lara carefully slid them back into the skin handing the scroll to Sarah. She was about to put them into her jacket pocket when a voice rang out of no where.

        "I'll take those Lady Croft."

        Lara automatically stepped in front of Sarah putting the wineskin purposely in her pocket. Her eyes met the cold angry eyes of Mars as he suddenly appeared before her.

        "I have heard so much about you, We meet at last." Said Lara with cold look of her own.

        "Yes, and I have heard much of the wondrous Lady Croft. You and your little friend do live up to your reputation. Your anscstors would be most proud."

        "Yep, they are I assure you cousin," Said the lilting tone of Aries.

        "Aries show your self!" Yelled the angry God.

        "Okey Dokey, Here is my wonderful self." Said the Greek War God who appeared protectively in front of the girls.

        Ok you two split, this is my fight.

        Lara stood her ground and sent back. No we can help you.

        Lara for once in your life would just do as I ask. This is going to get ugly take the twelve somewhere safe and get the hell out of here!

        Lara growled but grabbed Sarah's hand and ran as quickly as she could. They ran back to the boat and as far away from what she knew would be a very violent confrontation between the two powerful War Gods.

        "Cousin, are you manipulating them for the power of the Twelve?"

        Aries laugh echoed through out the island, "You haven't been paying any attention have you Mars? No one controls Lara Croft. She does exactly what she wants to do. I just had to brow beat her to leave here. Lara knows I have my own agenda with you so as a thank you she letting me have my own little confrontation with you. Her only interest in the Twelve is the best interest of Mankind. Believe it or not I respect that, it reminds me of Xena."

        "Yeah, I heard you had the hots for her."

        "Actually I loved her. I know that's a concept you don't understand."

        "And you do?"

        "I was human a long time. Yes I do. Lara doesn't know it but she and Sarah mean a lot to me. I trust her. So I will let her do what she will with those pieces. I also know I can't trust you so I can't just let you go off to do more evil."

        "So this one will be to the death?"

        "Well oblivion, we are Gods after all."

        Great, I am looking forward to this challenge."

        "Oh so am I."

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        The "My Angel" was out at sea. Brice was topside steering the boat back to Athens. The girls were below at a table in the Galley they had the Scroll on the table and they were both carefully studying it.

        "This wasn't written by Autolycus was it?"

        "No Angel, I don't think so. I really feel it was written by one of our Grandmothers."

        The scroll was very different from the others they had encountered. It wasn't decorated. The writing was very straight forward not loopy like the other scrolls either. It was more like a letter then story.

        "Its more like Xena's personality, I think she wrote it."

        "This is a different syntax then Gabrielle's. I think your right, Love."

        ***                                ***                        ***

I know these dangerous pieces will now only be in very safe hands. Hands that I would trust my life or Gabrielle's life with out a worry in the world. That is because only a descendent would find a way to our hiding spot. You've done well children and we know we can trust you to deal with these dangerous pieces so mankind will be safe from the cruelty and greed they would cause.

We love you Children,
Thank you,

                ***                ***                        ***

        "What does XOA stand for?" whispered Sarah as tears fell down her cheeks.

        Lara gently dried her tears and then her own as she replied, "I think its Xena of Amphipolis."

        "Wow! How did she know?"

        Lara grinned and shrugged saying, "Well she knew one of her and Gabrielle's descendants would find it cause that's the way they set it up. I mean we were the heirs to all their scrolls but it could have been Janice and Mel too. I don't know if she knew it would take 3000 years before they would release them back to the world but she knew who would get them when they did."

        "Oh I think she knew it would be a while, The Warrior babe had a hell of a lot insight." Said Aphrodite leaning against a wall with smug look on her face.

        Lara looked at the peach outfit that covered the Goddess up very becomingly but no skin showed and no pink. Lara and Sarah were surprised it was out of character.

        "No pink today?"

        "Naw, I'm in a rut I needed a change of style today."

        "Thanks for distracting Jack."

        "Hey that was easy Kiddo, It was kind of fun. I did a little experiment on the wild side with some heavy duty S and M. I also used Venus's name..."

        "S and M?" Asked Sarah stunned.

        "Why Venus's name?" Asked Lara gently closing Sarah's mouth very amused.

        "Cause, I didn't want Mars to know we Olympians had anything to do with it."

        "Crafty Goddess," Said Lara admiringly. "Any word on your brother?"

        "No, not yet. Don't worry he is very good at fighting..."

        "Yeah I do know that."

        "So what are you going to do with those pieces?" Asked the Goddess very concerned.

        "Hide them."

        "Good, No mortal should ever get near them again. Um, well no God either not even my brother."

        "You are a lot smarter then you let on aren't you Love Goddess?" Asked Lara with an affectionate smile.

        "Oh you know I am. I would never have gotten away with have the stuff I have if people knew just how smart I really was so I don't. Where are you going to hide them?"

        "Top secret," Said Lara with a smirk. Lara leaned down and put her head on Sarah's shoulder cuddling close. Sarah automatically started to stroke the soft dark hair.

        "Even from me?"

        "Only Sarah and I will know."

        Aphrodite shrugged, "I guess it's safer that way."

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        Lara contemplated the only problems left by this adventure. She knew the world was now safe from the Twelve but her Uncle was still out there. And she hated to admit it but she was very worried about Aries. She and Sarah had reluctantly grown fond of the War God and hoped that he won over his evil cousin.

        Brice had left for London a few days before and the girls were alone in their villa in Athens. They were on the back patio cuddled together looking at the stars and the Pantheon.

        "I hope you girls hid those things well because that was one ugly fight on that island. I'm very glad you listened to me for once and left."

        Both girls popped up delighted, "Aries!" They both said at the same time causing the dark man to smile.

        "Who else?"

        "I'm glad your ok." Said Lara quietly Sarah shook her head in quiet agreement.

        He smiled back and shook his head at them. "Oh yeah, why?"

        Lara smirked and said, "Despite all your bluster and picking fights with me, we do like you."

        A soft chuckle came from the War God as he replied; "I like you both too. You remind me so much of your Grandmothers it's almost like having them back. I miss them....If you repeat any of that I'll deny it."

        Lara laughed and replied, "We won't but we can sure tease you with that knowledge huh?"

        "So it would seem. You know girls, Lara's Uncle is still out there somewhere."

        "I know," replied Lara quietly pulling Sarah into her arms and hugging her tightly.

        "I could pull a..."

        "No Aries, I'll just be careful. I can't do it even if he would kill me. He's my Father's brother."

        "And you don't want to owe me?"

        "Yes, there's that too."

        "Ok, I'll see you two brats soon." And he was gone in flash.

        "Bye you leather bound pain in the ass!" Called Lara after him then she led Sarah off the patio and into the house.

        ***                ***                ***                ***

        Sarah was cuddled in Lara's arms in their bed when through their link she asked, What do you think happened on that island?

        I'm not sure. I mean I know he won but how he defeated another War God I don't know.

        Weren't you shocked that he's letting us keep the Twelve?


        Lara then proceed to lick her loves nose. Sarah yelped and slapped her wife on the ass. Lara!

        You are so adorable.

        You are a brat.

        Lara laughed and brought the smaller woman close and kissed her till they were both shivering with delight.

That's what old Aries said.

        She sent as she kissed her love along her soft tender neck.

        Hmmm, He did, didn't he?

        Uh-huh he likes us...and I think he's ...well ok...

        Oh dear what a shock, Teased Sarah playfully. Lara pulled back and tickled the smaller woman till she yelled out the magic words out loud.

        "I love you!!!"

        Lara chuckled and said, "And I love you with all my heart," she kissed her love passionately slowly stroking the soft skin around the breast till they were so erect with need they ached. She then proceeded to kiss her way down the small body till she reached a breast pulling a nipple in her mouth she sucked on it. The link intensified this so strongly that they both fell over the edge screaming each others names both with in the link and out loud till the windows rattled.

        When they recovered from their passion Lara crawled back up to pull her wife close and kiss her gently on the cheek.

        Sarah rubbed her cheek against her loves and hugged her tight.



        "I'm worried."

        "About what, Angel?"
        "About your uncle, What are you going to do about him?"



        "Angel, I don't want to become what he is. I will not kill my only living relative just retaliate for what he tried to do with us. Unlike him I have morals..."

        "I know that and I agree but I wasn't thinking along those lines..."

        "Oh you mean Interpole?"


        "Mmm. I'll think about it."

        "You are such a good person, Sweetie."

        Lara tenderly caressed her loves cheek and said, "I'm not as good as you are, Darling."

        "Oh I think I could debate that point with you."

        "Don't I have a much better idea."

        "Sweetie I really don't want to move I'm tired and right now I'm very comfortable cuddled like this with you..."

        "Were not going to move....well not out of this bed."

        Sarah giggled and kissed Lara on the nose, "That is an excellent idea."

        "Mmmm, I do try...Damn I'm tired." Lara had cuddled down so that they were both against a stack of pillows and each other. Lara was starting to drift off as she whispered, "I love"

        Sarah who was going into a deep sleep herself was only able to say, "Hmmm," in reply as she fell fast asleep in the warm safe arms of the woman she loved.

                                                The End

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