The Battle of the Muses
by Ili

<----Ana's POV---->

I sat at my desk, furiously working on the next installment of the Tycho!Clones story. I wanted to get it done as soon as possible so that I could send it to everyone in the WAAS. Tycho had just left, saying that An' needed him for something she was doing. I decided not to ask any questions and kept on writing. Soon, though, I could feel the presence of someone behind me, watching me. Slowly I turned to look over my shoulder...

Standing there, watching me with an infernal smirk on his face was Byron. My eyes narrowed, Byron had been my muse for Highlander fiction a year ago before he'd left me, and consequently, left me with no inspiration for Highlander fics. Eventually, I'd even closed my Highlander fic page because I just had no interest in Highlander anymore. Of course, this was after Tycho had come along and gotten me started on Star Wars. I didn't know why Byron was back now, but I knew that if I let him stay around, I wouldn't be able to get rid of him. He was just one of those kinds of people that you can't say no to.

Byron leaned down so that he was practically nose to nose with me. I couldn't help but stare into his eyes and already I could feel my anger with him at being neglected for a year starting to dissolve. Byron just had that sort of effect on me. He had that sort of effect on everyone. "Aren't you even going to say hello?" he asked.

I finally tore my eyes away from his gaze and turned back to my roommate's computer and the fic I was writing. I took a deep breath, "What are you doing here, Byron?"

I could hear the hurt tone in his voice as Byron replied, "Why, to see you of course."

"You haven't been around for a year, I've moved on." I countered stiffly.

I think about then was when he actually looked over my shoulder to see what I was writing. "You're writing about Star Wars." he said in a flat voice, "Tycho!Clones?" he read some of my story aloud, "She pointed to a Tycho!Clone lounging by the doorway, he was in low-slung tight blue shimmery pleather pants and shirtless. However, his chest, back, face, and arms was had had matching blue and silver body glitter applied liberally....What in the nine hells is this, Ana?"

I could hear the betrayal in his voice but I resolved not to give in to him. Not this time. He was the one who'd betrayed me after all, I'd just moved on. I mean, after all, he didn't really expect me to welcome him back with open arms and a ready pen did he? He must have, because I turned to face him again now that I had my courage and wits so that I could chew him out properly. As I stood and stared him down, I could see the sadness in his eyes. Oh, those beautiful eyes...but I digress. I stared him down and said in a reasonably firm voice, "Byron, you've been gone for a year. How could you expect me to be able to write anything Highlanderish after that long? I had to move on, and I like Star Wars too, anyway. So when Tycho came along, I wasn't about to turn him out."

Byron's eyes blazed at my statement, "Would you like to know where I was?"

"If you want to tell me." I tried to say flippantly.

"I was helping someone who needed a lot more help than you. You, my dear can write, you just need inspiration-"

"Isn't that where you're supposed to come in?" I interrupted.

He sighed, "You don't need a muse to inspire you, you are one of the few that can write without the help of a muse."

"Then why did you even bother coming back?" I asked. Byron's face clouded up. "Ah hah! I've got him there." I thought. And it seemed as if I really did because he didn't say anything and just thought for a few moments....

<----Byron's POV---->

I had finally returned to Ana. It had been a long year for me, but my musely duties had required me to be elsewhere, namely inspiring authors who'd needed more help than Ana had. I was sure she'd understand why I'd been gone so long. Ana always understood things like that. However, things didn't go over nearly as well as I'd hoped it would. I was standing there, waiting for her to realize that I was there - didn't want to interrupt an author while she was writing, after all. I should have read what she was writing. It would have saved me a lot of trouble. I could have just left without her ever knowing I was there and gone back to Harem and Ana could have kept her "new" muse. Oh well, I didn't look, and she did realize I was there. She turned, and was just a pretty as I remembered. "Why did I stay away so long?" I wondered. Ana just stared at me and didn't say a word. To break the silence, I asked her if she was even going to say hello. That must have been the wrong thing to say because she turned away from me and back to the computer and asked me what I was doing here. I must say, I was shocked. That was the last thing I'd expected Ana of all people to say to me. I thought she liked it when I came, so it was about this time was when I got a serious inkling that something was very wrong with this situation.

Well, at any rate, I told her why I was there, "Why, to see you of course."

That's when she told me she'd moved on. Moved on? Forgotten about me? How could she? I thought she loved me. She'd told me once that she did, and that she'd never forget me. But, moved on? "Maybe she just means a new muse, like Methos..." I thought, that was slightly tolerable after all. One couldn't really blame her if she had a Methos Muse. I looked over her shoulder to see what she'd been writing. It was Star Wars! Not only had she forgotten about me, she'd forgotten about Highlander. It was almost the ultimate betrayal. When she spoke to me again, it was in the coldest voice I'd ever heard her use, "How could she be so cold towards me? I didn't do anything that bad..." I thought. She told me that she'd had to move on. That after I'd left her, she couldn't write Highlander anymore and that when this, this, TychoMuse had come along she'd welcomed him in with open arms. Of all the nerve!

I had to tell her where I'd gone, so she'd understand. Because, as much as I was angry with her for forgetting about me, I couldn't bear to see her angry with me. So I told her. There had been other struggling authors in more need of me than her. She can actually write, after all, she just needs a slight push from time to time. I'd thought she'd understood that. Of course, when I told her she didn't really need me, she asked the inevitable question, "Then why did you even bother coming back?" This was what struck me to my core. It wasn't that she needed me, it was that I needed her. It has just taken me a while to realize that and I didn't know if I'd ever get Ana to understand that.

I'm not sure how long I stood there, thinking about what Ana'd just told me when the subject of all this strife, Tycho - speak of the devil...- appeared...

<----Tychos's POV---->

I was just coming back from, uhm, "inspiring" An'Arie to see how Ana was doing on her latest fiction, all about me. Needless to say, I was quite flattered. As I came into the room there was Ana, my dear Ana, standing and staring down this...guy. He was a muse, like me, that much was obvious. What was also obvious was the way that he was looking at "my" Ana. Like she was a long-lost love who had just spurned him, or something along those lines anyway. Since neither of them seemed to have noticed yet that I was here, I cleared my throat. As if they were one person, both the Muse and Ana turned to look at me. The look on Ana's face was undefinable - partially like she thought she'd been caught doing something she shouldn't have, part annoyance, and part relief. The muse's face, however, had a very definable look - anger. He glared at me, "You! you're the one that caused this mess!"

I stared at him in shock. I mean, after all, I had just gotten there, how could I have done anything. "What're you talking about? Who are you?"

The other muse sighed in obvious exasperation. "I'm Byron. 'Lord' Byron, at that. I'm her 'original' muse." he stated, pointing to Ana.

I looked between Ana and this Byron character and back to Ana, "Ana, dear, what's going on here?"

She seemed to be avoiding my gaze as she replied to me, "Tycho, meet Byron. Byron was my Highlander muse a year ago and now he's suddenly come back." Although it looked as if Ana didn't think much of Byron, there was a peculiar look in her eyes, as if she was hiding something.

"Oh. Mmm...okay." I said, "So what exactly is the problem?" I mean after all, I didn't mind sharing Ana, and it's not like I'd have been competing with Byron for similar stories. Besides, I wouldn't feel so guilty leaving Ana to see An'Arie. It all seemed to work out to me. Obviously, though, to them it wasn't all worked out and there was a major problem. The look they both gave me when I asked what the problem was confirmed 'that' hypothesis.

"Tycho, you aren't helping any." Ana said in a plaintive voice. Well, I wanted to help, but I didn't see how I could help. This seemed like something that was 'their' problem. Not mine. I didn't realize at the time just how involved I already was in this whole hullabaloo.

To be continued...

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