The whispers didn't escape them; they heard every word that floated from the servants' mouths. The prince had a "dog" instead of a queen.

They all viewed Morgiana as a beast.

She wore the title of general, of friend, of companion, of watchdog and bodyguard, but she was also the Imperial Queen of Balbadd, though many forgot once her red eyes peered into theirs, beastly and shrewd and unforgiving. She seemed to garner a horrible reputation despite her sweetness; her kindness to those of lower rank was completely forgotten in the wake of her background. One glimpse of the blood-drenched princess and all respect was forgotten, buried beneath resentment and fear.

Their King was an angel of fire; he came with justice and dignity and inherent love for his people, but none understood while a hellish creature like a Fanalist stood by his side.

In turn, Alibaba would question them softly. "Why are you afraid of her?"

Answers usually ranged from her bloody, savage form to her silent, preying eyes or her questionable and even deplorable history. However, no one could answer when he said, "Why do you think I love her?"

They asked that question themselves, because she was a creature more than a person, a slave instead of a woman, a Fanalist instead of a general. Her red hair and eyes were exotic, yes, but her figure was a strange sort of muscular that shouldn't have looked right on a lady. Her physical attributes-what they could see with their eyes- and her past-what filtered through the vine- were nothing a royal should bear or be proud of. Instead, they continued to murmur and silently ask in their minds, why does he love her?

They asked the question so often, in such derogatory tones, that she started to question it herself.

One night, she actually posed the question. From his place by the window, Alibaba looked like she'd slapped him over the head with a fish, or something equally ridiculous. Bewilderment clearly scrawled across his face, he staggered across the room, took her by the shoulders and said with a dumbfounded, flat voice, "You do realize you're the finest woman there is, right?"

Well, she couldn't say she didn't expect an equally absurd and unhelpful answer, but it made her feel a bit better. "Be honest with me."

He smiled slowly, before cracking up and dropping his head to her shoulder, desperately trying not to laugh out loud. His shoulders were shaking with it, to the point where Morgiana began to feel silly for even asking. Regardless of his male pride (because generally, he let her do as she pleased when it came to things like this), she picked him up and carried him to the bed, ready to get off her feet after a long day and, due to circumstances perhaps, unwilling to break physical contact. It was not her plan, however, to be tackled into the lush feather mattress, a sharp, sweet bite suddenly stinging her neck in a ticklish way.

"You're the finest thing on two legs, Morgiana," he whispered devilishly. It sent a creeping feeling down her spine, because she hadn't intended for anything to happen, and yet her husband was practically daring her to stay platonic, daring her to backpedal now that she had, apparently, hit a very tricky switch. He let his lips play against the hairline behind her ear as he murmured, "They may be my people, but damn they have no eye for women."

He really wasn't answering the question, but she was hardly in the state of mind to complain as his hands pressed and massaged their ways down her back, fingertips paying special attention to her tough, knotted muscles as they passed, thumbs caressing her ribs teasingly with just enough pressure not to tickle. His mouth played across the shell of her ear, hot breath sparking off pleasure as he nipped at the lobe, voice husking, "I love you," in the sweetest way.

The lust, the reverence, the desire she felt in his arms was melting away her doubts, replacing them with needs regardless of want, and yet he leaned back from their melded forms and gazed at her with an torrid heat as he hooked a hand behind her scarred right knee and brought it to his lips.

"I love these legs that strike down my enemies, and dance with joy in my presence. I love their strength and grace, and the boundless possibilities they've given me."

He kissed the scars that crisscrossed there, leftovers from her days of slavery and trophies of their wars. He propped the calf on his shoulder and allowed the hand that supported it to wander lower, gliding slowly down her thigh to her hip as she watched, mesmerized, the way he lavished attention on her leg. She hardly noticed as his right hand pulled the sash from her robes, tossing it off the bed without a thought. Glazed honey eyes met crimson, heat seizing their veins and eating them up with pleasure. Without looking away even once, Alibaba undressed her; hands feeling her, as if sculpting her, as if lifting her up with just a touch, he explored her body with them and whispered warmly, "I love this body that could overpower me, but instead submits. I love how it moves under my hands with pleasure, how the heart that beats in that breast thrums and quickens for me, and only me."

He nipped his way down her inner thigh, pale in contrast to her tanned calves, and laved his tongue across her defined pelvic bone. Morgiana felt the ripple of anticipation seize her muscles as he pulled her hands to his shoulders, eyes telling her what he wanted- what she wanted, and had only to take in hand. It was no trouble to lean up and slip the heavy court garb from his shoulders, hands tossing away the pounds of cloth as easily as he had ridded her of that singular, simple belt. He was right; her heart was speeding up ridiculously, just witnessing that adoring smile on his lips, the softening of his eyes on hers. She couldn't find words to describe the feelings, both of heart and body, that surged up and choked her to silence as their noses brushed, then lips, barely-there butterfly kisses dusting cheeks. For a moment, their hands simply stayed as they were- his unmoving as the circled her waist, and hers sinking thoughtfully into his smooth shoulders- and they soaked in what could only be described as love, because it was that overwhelming, eat-you-alive feeling that no one else could give them. It was painful and sweet and bitterly terrifying if they thought about it, but instead it all went to their heads in a rush before their lips met in one more kiss.

From the barest brush of lips to the soft way he suckled at the corner of her mouth, to the way she nipped at that plush skin offered to her, it was so innocent, so tender that it broke their hearts and laid them bare. His hands smoothed up to her shoulders again as he laid her back against the pillows, eyes meeting hers in a heartrending way.

"I love you, the woman who pulled me up when I was smothered in despair. You, who chose me when you didn't have to chose anyone, even when I was unworthy and wretched, petty and indecisive. Your infinite kindness, boundless strength of heart, soft voice which admonishes me for my benefit and lifts me up when I feel beyond my power. I love you. I can't say it enough. I can't say I love you enough."

He couldn't. She could hear his heart breaking, bursting at the seams with the things he couldn't convey in the few words humans had created. He couldn't translate all the reasons he loved her from the mess in his head into an understandable sentence, beast or slave or soldier regardless.

He lavished her body with affection. Without attachment, he tossed aside their ornaments and coverings, and as if her heat were all that would fend of the cold touch of isolation he moved against her, wrapping himself around her tightly in an embrace that said more than his lips ever could. Alibaba combed his fingers through her hair, and Morgiana returned the affection with a measure of bewilderment as she explored the shivering muscles of his back, taut with restraint. His chest against hers, their hearts beating in wild tandem, he gasped into her ear again, "I love you."

Her body opened up for him- rather, like quicksand it pulled him in to an invisible void. The void was that terrible place inside of her that doubted. It was the corner of her heart that whispered about slavery and masters and beatings and scars with a sibilant, terrifying voice, and he filled it all with his voice, echoing through every corner, vibrating through every bone.

"I love you, Morgiana. Love you… love you so much."

The bites that colored her shoulders like flowers were tags of desire. They were the physical proof of his heart which cried out for her. They were tears that stained her skin the color of his deepest, most possessive, most crazed and chaotic thoughts. The hands that raked across her skin, across her breasts, her heaving torso, her straining hips that met his, spoke of an overwhelming passion with no other way of expression than to touch, to adore, to worship her with all that he could offer.

He wasn't a king in her arms, but a single man. Whether she was a bloody demon or an ephemeral angel or simply a hungry beast, he offered himself to her.

His sweat-laced forehead met hers, roiling eyes like a thousand fluttering golden birds staring in to hers, and he made it final and eternal. He wouldn't have her ever doubt him. She kissed him only because there wasn't anything more to say, even if she could have spoken.

Servants be damned. They could doubt all they wanted.

AN: I can't seem to find a proper ending for this work, but I suppose it gets the idea across. Magi has a severe lack of anything higher than K+ when it comes to straight fandoms, and I would very much like to put an end to that. Here's a beginning to it. Reviews and critiques appreciated as always. This is my first time attempting something quite this long, but I'll hope you will look at it kindly.