AresJoxerCupidStrife - Carrie


Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8

Title: Bonds of Love
Author: Carrie
Fandom: Xena/Herc
Pairing: None
Rating: R
Status: Complete
Series: Bond's Series. Sequel to Bonds of Friendship.
Archive: If you like it, you can have it. Just let me know.
Feedback: Sure. carriedemarchi@hotmail.com
Website:
Disclaimer: Not mine. =|
Notes: Thanks to my beta, Moj.
Warning: Cliffhanger at the end. *Ducks yucky cabbage thrown her way*.
Summary: More time spent together. *Glances at the title*. Uhm...

~ Part 1 ~

"And, he's doing very well in his training, not so shy anymore. I'm proud of him. He's already ahead of schedule, so he has time off for now. I wanted to continue on with some extra sparring while he's home, but he declined," Ares finished.

"Well, Ar, maybe the kid wants to have some time to himself?" Aphrodite suggested. "I mean, he *has* just been around mostly soldiers and, well, you," she smirked, "for how long? Little stints with Athena aren't exactly much for company to a godling like Strife."

"I guess you're right," Ares said, "I'll just corner him and lay out when he has to be back."

"Oh, why don't you make it a nice encounter, hon? Have a nice dinner with him so he doesn't dread going back, or something."

"But, he's been enjoying it with me!" Ares pointed out, defensively. "More than our son ever did," he pouted slightly. A nephew is as close to a son as he got to spend this much time with.

"I'm sure he has, Ares. And if you want to get to know Cupie and spend more time with him, why don't you *try*? Just because he isn't interested in slaughter and bloodshed doesn't mean you can't try to spend time with your son. Even if you don't get along too well anymore."

"I guess." 'Dite was the only person he could ever talk like this to. And she was right. He missed a big chance in spending time and nurturing Cupid as a father when he was younger because he was upset about his not staying in the House of War.

"Hey, why don't you ask Cupid to dinner as well?" Aphrodite suggested.

~

Cupid materialized in his bedroom and dropped his bow on the floor where he stood. He began to walk towards his bed, taking his quiver of arrows off his back and throwing them on the floor, a few spilling out, scattering across the floor.

He plopped down onto his bed, on his stomach. He sighed and closed his eyes.

Aphrodite shimmered into view, bringing the scent of roses into Cupid's room with herself. Cupid groaned inwardly, what did she want?

"Cupie?" she questioned, "I have something for you." The Goddess of Love made her way to her son, with a scroll in her hand.

This made Cupid a bit interested in why she was here. He rolled onto his side as his mother sat down on the side of his bed. She held up the scroll and he took it from her with a slightly confused face.

"It's from your father," she said, "I didn't read it." Of course, she was lying, but, well, Cupid didn't know what. It wouldn't hurt anything for her to have known about it before hand, either.

Cupid unrolled the scroll and read it. It was an invitation to come to dinner at his father's temple. "Aww, Mom, do I have to go? He'll just talk about some boring war or something," Cupid whined.

"Yes, you have to go," Aphrodite reprimanded him, "I don't care if you two don't get along much; he's your father and you should have a good relationship with him. You're going there tonight and you won't act like a spoiled brat."

~

Cupid transported himself into his father's temple, into the dining room. No one else was there in the room so he thought he'd go out to the garden and wait 'til his father called him. The young Love God turned around and was a bit startled.

"Strife?" Cupid questioned, smiling.

Strife had on a different outfit than he usually did. More velvety with shiny silver rivets on it. Along with the pure black cape he had on, Cupid thought he looked really, really good.

"Cupe," Strife smiled and took the hood down and set it neatly behind his head, "What are you doin' here?"

"Dad asked me for dinner. I didn't know you were going to be here. At least now I won't be so bored listening to him talk about some stupid war or something."

Strife giggled, "Yeah, he does get a bit carried away sometimes."

Strife walked the rest of the way into the room beside Cupid and held out his arms to his cousin. Cupid gladly hugged him back and inhaled the scent of his favorite cousin. They let go and Cupid kept a hand on Strife's shoulder.

"I like this," Cupid said as he rubbed his forefinger in little circles on Strife's upper arm. Slipping his hand inside it and onto Strife's shoulder, he commented on Strife's choice for more formal apparel, "Soft."

They both smiled shyly and Cupid could have sworn he saw a slight blush creep onto his cousin's cheeks.

Ares flashed into his Olympian temple, into his bedroom. He knew both of his guests were present and he was just checking his appearance before greeting them. He made his way to his dining room.

Cupid jerked his hand away and they both turned slightly away from each other when Ares showed up in the doorway. He frowned slightly as he walked to the table. He didn't know what was going on before he got there, but, obviously, he could tell he had interrupted something.



~Part 2~

"Sit," Ares said and gestured to the table; two chairs, side by side, slid out from the table for his nephew and his son.

Strife glanced at Cupid before he undid the clasp on his cape and draped it over the back of his chair and sat down. Cupid smiled at him, admiring the beautifully carved cheekbones and the parted lips as Strife took a deep breath as he sat down.

When he saw the boys were settled, Ares sat down himself and snapped his fingers, commanding that all his selected foods appeared on the table before them.

A few minutes of silence and the occasional look between all three of them passed before Ares started talking.

"So," Ares began. Cupid groaned inwardly, he hoped this didn't last long. He wanted to spend time with Strife, but he didn't know how long he would be staying this time and he wanted to make it count.

"Cupid, how are your archery lessons going?" Ares asked, put a fork full of food into his mouth and looked at his son expectantly.

"Good," Cupid responded, "'Pol is a self centered prick, though," Cupid said absent mindedly as he took another bite of his own food.

"Cupid!" Ares chided, "You shouldn't use that language at meal times, or at all about your family."

"Oh, please, Dad," Cupid scoffed, "You used worse when I was three years old."

Ares frowned and decided to let it go, he gestured his now empty fork towards his nephew.

"Your cousin has been doing well in his training," Ares commented.

Strife looked up from his plate and grinned, "Yeah, I'm gettin' real good at the whole mischief gig. Plus the throat slittin' and intestine spillin' I learn from War."

Ares shook his head, he wasn't going to try and stop two teenagers from using whatever language they decided to use. At least he could say they made it to this age before it seeped in.

Most of the time, Strife was quiet. If he did talk he talked in spurts and then felt stupid, although, that was passing and he didn't care much anymore. "I'll be having more time off lately 'cause I'm ahead of what was set out for me to do for now."

Cupid perked up at that, he was happy. This time he'd have more time to spend with his favorite cousin. He smiled and proceeded to ask little things about what Strife had been doing.

Strife looked like he was enjoying talking to Cupid. Ares thought he hadn't seen Strife that happy for quite a while, not since he learned how to use his daggers. He sighed quietly and decided to leave the boys to themselves; they were ignoring him anyway. 'I tried,' he thought as he flashed out of the room.

~

"So, how about you? What training are you doing with Apollo?" Strife asked. They'd just talked about the warfare tactics and strategy Strife had learned. Cupid *did* have an interest in it after all, just his father went overboard and got obsessed with it.

"Well, I got my bow and arrows. There's no spells on them, yet, but there's gonna be spells on them," Cupid grinned, "Then later, like, in a year and a half I get my crossbow. It's really cool, I saw it already."

Strife listened to Cupid talk about his weapons and smiled at how enthusiastic he was about his crossbow.

"And Apollo's son, Ace, I met him. He helped me with a spot on my hand that I kept cutting on my bow. He's pretty cool." Cupid got a nostalgic look on his face, apparently remembering his time with Ace.

Strife actually got a little jealous. He missed Cupid when he was gone and he knew Cupid would begin his own training, too. But he never thought Cupid would find someone else to hang out with. He laughed at himself inside, to think that Cupid would be his. Only his friend and no one else's.

"Ace?" Strife questioned.

"Yeah," Cupid responded.

"Asclepius, Ace?"

"Yeah, have you meet him, too?" Cupid asked.

"Nah. Wasn't he goin' out with Persephone?" Strife asked. Maybe it was his nature to create mischief and strife, or maybe it was spending too much time around the grudge carrying, broody War God.

"Actually, yeah. Still is, I think," Cupid thought about it, "How did you know that?"

"I did my time with Aunt Demeter already, I met 'Seph when I was there. She's pretty," Strife put the same look of remembrance on his face that Cupid did, doing his best to hit Cupid back with it.

And he took the hit. Cupid bit back his jealousy and continued to have a casual conversation with his best friend. "As pretty as everyone says?"

"Prettier," Strife said and smirked.

Cupid got the thought of choking on his much 'bitten back' jealousy. He supposed he couldn't feel jealous, he got to know Ace. Even if Ace had a girlfriend, Cupid didn't care, he was just someone to talk to. He didn't even particularly like Ace, just no one else was around.

But Persephone was different, she was really pretty and a girl. He wondered if Strife had a crush on her, or anything.



~ Part 3 ~

"Striiiiiiifeeeeey," Cupid called into Strife's bedroom. Strife was sprawled out on his stomach, bare skin on all his limbs sticking out from under a thin red sheet that was laid over him.

"Urrrhmm," Strife protested. He didn't quite want to get out of bed yet; he was having the most wonderful dream...

He slowly rolled over onto his stomach. Cupid had came into his room and was waiting for Strife to get mobile for the day. When Strife had made it over onto his back he blinked his eyes open and looked at Cupid.

"What?" Strife asked, Cupid was all red and staring at about the middle of his bed. Strife made a face and looked towards where Cupid was looking. "Shit," he said quietly as he got up swiftly and bundled the sheet in a pile over top of his crotch.

Cupid stared at the tented sheet. The sheet that was tented directly above Strife's groin. The sheet that was tented upwards by Strife's erection.

Strife swore and Cupid turned away, blushing a deeper red. "Uhm," Cupid started. He couldn't get the sight of his cousin's pale body, accented by the pretty red sheet, and the most prominent in his mind, Strife's cock.

There was a slight tingling sensation he felt and he shuffled a bit. "Ok," Strife said.

"Ok?" Cupid hoped that wasn't a squeak in his voice.

"You can turn around again," Strife said as he sat up from his bed, fully dressed.

Cupid turned back around slowly, peeking over his shoulder first. It was all clear, Strife was dressed in his usual leathers.

Cupid gave him an awkward grin and suggested his plan for the day.

~

Sitting inside a small tavern, Cupid had a glamour over his wing's and Strife had his cape on with its hood up. Of course, what would people think of a young man with big, white, functional wings on his back? And Strife didn't want any soldiers to possibly recognize him from any armies he'd spent time with, with Ares.

Strife was having a good time, getting a bit drunk. So was Cupid, he assumed. Strife supposed, with being at more of the parties Cupid's mother throws, there was probably more drinking there than what Strife ever did with Ares.

So, Cupid might not be too far gone yet. Not as much as Strife was at least. They were still mostly talking about what he had been doing in his training, 'Cupid sure is interested in this', Strife thought, 'and me.'.

They had spent the day just bumbling around doing random little things they could think of. Cupid showed Strife his bow and arrow and showed him how to use it and showed off a bit. Strife didn't have much practice with archery, though. He was mainly being trained with daggers, some sword maneuvers, just so he knew how to handle the most common weapons.

Strife had shown him the engravings in his daggers, a little spider and some vine type things twisting around it; he thought it was cool. Cupid's bow had hearts engraved into the metal caps on the ends of it, a bit too love-y for either of their tastes. Cupid didn't think a weapon should have hearts on it

Other than that, it was a pretty masculine weapon, godly and deadly. Cupid got a thought. "Hey," Cupid said, picking up the dagger of Strife's that was sat on the table.

"Huh?" Strife said, looking up from his mug of ale. He took a drink and set it back down again. Cupid was looking intently at his dagger.

"What are ya lookin' at?" Strife asked.

"Th' symbols on your dagger. Doesn't your mom use lot's of daggers? Well, look at my bow, there's hearts on it. I mean, I know *I'm* a Love God, too. But so is my mom. And the masculine, deadly weapon air of it screams it's meant for battle. And what does my dad do?" Cupid let that question speak for itself.

"So, you have a dagger from your mom, and the vines and stuff? What about your dad? You don't know what he is a God of, right? Just what pantheon he's from. So, what if he's Demeter and 'Seph's equal, in the Celtic Pantheon?" Cupid looked up, sure he was so right about this.

"Sure, could make sense," Strife commented vaguely. He deduced that Cupid babbled when he was drinking. Sure, it gave him ideas that were running through his head. He didn't get on too well with his mother and he had never even met or heard anyone speak of his father. He usually just never brought it up. He was happy with Ares.



~ Part 4 ~

Strife looked out the window near to them, he had previously heard the rain hitting the roof of the tavern when Cupid was babbling. Oh, he was listening, just not paying his utmost attention to his cousin. He *was* babbling, you know.

Cupid looked to the window when he saw Strife's attention had been swayed. It was raining, getting pretty heavy, too. He saw faint thunder and lightning off in the distance.

Strife chuckled lightly, Cupid barely heard him. "What?" he asked.

"Nothing, just thinking. I'm always kinda envious of Zeus, gettin' to play with such powerful elements of the skies," Strife said, "Even if he does get zap-happy with it. *I* wouldn't be like that."

"Oh, Ace got in trouble with Zeus a while back, too," Cupid said.

'Oh, here we go about Ace, again,' Strife made a face at Cupid, in his head. "Oh? Like what?" Strife asked.

"He killed him," Cupid said, seriously, "For bringing some guy back to life."

Strife looked a bit shocked. He had never met Ace, but never wished the guy was dead. He felt bad for being jealous of Cupid's relationship with him, now.

"But, 'Pol went down to the Underworld and brought him back before Hades had even known he was down there," Cupid continued, "And made him a full God, using his golden apple. I guess all of The Twelve got one to give to whoever they want, no question's asked."

"Oh, was that what those fuckin' big tremors were? Oh, yeah, I remember that storm afterwards, then. Pretty light show it gave off in the Northern sky," Strife said, changing the subject.

"*Really* muddy camp tents of soldiers after, though," Strife giggled, "Dirty."

Cupid looked back to Strife, from the window. He wondered if Strife had ever had sex with anyone before. He already knew he was fully functional for it. Cupid felt himself get a bit embarrassed, so he kept talking.

"Yeah. Ace is gonna be the God of Medicine," Cupid said, a bit too late though, kind of stopping the conversation. He was actually going to say it before Strife had said what he did, invoking the sexual thoughts Cupid had now running through his head

'Ace, Ace, Ace,' Strife thought, 'He's got a new friend now and won't want me around.' A stupid childhood friend was all he was. Strife sighed quietly. He guessed they'd just grow apart now and barely ever talk. Like him and his mom.

Alcohol is a depressant, you know?



~ Part 5 ~

Love and Mischief appeared, apparently, deep into the woods. "Where are we?" Cupid asked, confused. Why were they in the middle of a forest? He looked to Strife who was already a few steps ahead of him.

Cupid followed behind him and took a few quick steps to find himself side by side his cousin again. "I want to show you somewhere," Strife said.

It was really a present from Ares, he supposed. A place to go where no one else would bother him. No mortals knew it was there. Only him and Ares. And he wanted to show Cupid. He shared his uncle's garden with him, so why not this?

It might keep their relationship alive. Strife hooked Cupid with opening up and sharing things with him before, why wouldn't it work now? Strife looked to his cousin and saw him looking around the trees. He looked at his wings. They were so soft last time he touched them. It was a nice feeling. He wondered what it would be like to have them brush against his cock. Strife shook his head to clear those thoughts out of his mind. Like Cupid would ever want that kind of relationship with him.

A ways down through a small hill in the forest, they came to a more used path. A small trail was worn into the earth; the grass and small plants parted, making way for easy travel. Strife hopped down into the familiar path.

Cupid noticed Strife seemed happier being around here, and his happiness was growing as they got closer to where ever they were going. He looked around again, seeing if he could spot what they were looking for. He looked up the trail and clued in that it led up to a cozy looking cabin.

A loud sudden crack of thunder made the two young God's stop, startled. They looked at each other before Cupid looked up to the sky, "It's gonna rain."

"Yeah," Strife agreed, "Come on." Strife grabbed Cupid's hand and tugged him along as he started jogging up the path and, indeed, straight up to the cabin.

~

Of course, they could have transported themselves the rest of the way, but it's more fun to walk through the rain. Strife thought so at least. Cupid had bitched about wet feathers quite a bit.

"Oh, shut it," Strife said jokingly, "they'll dry off."

"Yeah, easy for you to say. Do you know what they feel like? Uh-uh. Gross."

Strife had slowed down back to a walk again and they had just reached the cabin. He waved his hand over the lock on the door and shoved it open. He looked behind himself at his cousin and stepped into the house. "Come on," he said.

Cupid was happy to get out of the rain. He followed Strife inside and looked around. It was a nice cozy little cottage, he thought. Strife must like it, 'cause he brought him here. There was a big window, open still, facing out towards a small herb garden behind the house.

Clueing in, Cupid asked, "Is this yours?"

"Yep, all mine," Strife answered, happily. He turned around and faced Cupid, lifting his arms and gesturing to the entirety of his small home. "Like it? Whadda ya think?"

"I like it," Cupid smiled, "Neat and cozy."

Strife grinned and thought of something. He went into the bedroom, off to the side of the house and brought out some animal furs. He went over to the beautiful stone fireplace and dropped them down in front of it. Flicking his wrist towards it and creating a glowing warm fire.

"It's where I stayed most of the time, after the first few months," Strife said, gesturing for Cupid to sit on the furs and let his wings dry off by the heat emanating from the fire.

Cupid sat down and got comfy, twitching his wings, shaking a bit of water out of them. "How'd you get it?"

"I'm not quite sure how it came to exist. I think Unc whipped it up when I started annoying the crap outta him," Strife grinned and giggled slightly, "Then he showed it to me and I got it after that year of training was over."

"Cool," Cupid thought it was nice of his father to do that; he even knew how irritable Ares was with most people.

Strife moved from where he was standing and sat down beside Cupid. Quite close, actually. The furs weren't exactly that big. Their arms were touching, side by side, as they watched the fire and chatted casually about things.



~ Part 6 ~

A few hours had passed, Strife thought, when he opened his eyes. They'd fallen asleep in front of the fire. Cupid's head was lying on his stomach, close to his chest really. An arm flung over his body, too. With a hand resting on his chest, close to Strife's neck.

He didn't remember Cupid purposely putting his body there. Wait, he had fallen asleep first, he remembered trailing off and not even finishing the sentence he was saying. Maybe Cupid did lay like that on purpose?

~

They had gotten onto the subject of the future, starting with where they were going to be. Cupid was describing his dream temple, which he would get in about three years, when he was twenty-one.

"And the garden. Remember the garden I mentioned a few years ago? We were sitting in Ares' garden, by the pond," Cupid's voice was low. It had gotten quiet in the cabin. Only the light voices of the two God's and the occasional crack of the wood burning in the fireplace.

Strife had moved and laid down on his back, Cupid on his stomach propped up on his elbows beside him. Cupid smiled and chuckled softly. "I could name it after you, 'Erin's Garden' or 'The Garden of Erin'. You gave me the idea for it, after all."

Strife smiled, "And you can make a huge damn statue of me, prop it up in the center of the whole thing."

Cupid laughed quietly, it was a cute image in his head. "Yeah, and have a fountain all around it, or something. Vines growing all over, or carved into the marble."

"Make it like one of 'em fountains of you when you were just a baby cherub, except make it all lewd like," Strife got an evil grin on his face, "Like make me naked and pissin' or something, the fountain water spurtin' out my cock."

Strife started laughing at his own silly image, making his body shake. Cupid just looked at him like he was nuts before he joined him. Trying to not let the image of a naked statue of Strife in his back yard taunt him in the front of his mind.

Strife sighed when he stopped laughing and yawned. He was kinda sleepy. The nice glow and warmth from the fire, the casual conversation from his cousin. It was all comforting and he felt like he would feel really nice staying like this.

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, "Anyway, go on," he smiled. Cupid saw his smile, he moved his wings, making them rustle slightly as he got comfortable.

Cupid proceeded to tell him about his garden, with Strife interrupting to name off random pretty flowers he'd discovered at Demeter's. By the time Cupid was finished his long winded description of his dream temple, he looked at his cousin. Not having heard a peep from him in quite a few minutes.

"Erin?" Cupid questioned. 'Wow, I think he fell asleep,' he thought to himself. He glanced around the cabin, unsure of what he should do. Well, he didn't want to leave - he knew Strife didn't want that.

Cupid decided he should stay right where he was. He couldn't get comfy just lying where he was, though. He tried resting his head on Strife's side. Finding that much more comfy and getting no objections from his cousin.

He put an arm over his Strife's body and let it rest on the floor on the other side of him. He put his head down onto Strife's stomach, slowly letting it's full weight down onto his cousin. He shuffled his body close to Strife's and relaxed.

Cupid found this position very comfortable. He prepared to fall asleep, and hopefully wake up, beside his cousin. Pushing any sexual thoughts out of his head to make sure he didn't do anything stupid during their time asleep or in a half asleep, dazed state. He smiled to himself and drifted off to sleep.

~

Strife didn't know what to do. Cupid was laying on him, asleep. How was he supposed to move? To get up? He looked down and saw the blonde hair of Cupid's head. It looked even softer than his wings did. 'Okay, we have to get up now,' Strife thought.

Oh, Gods, how was he supposed to do this? Faking something would just look bad and make Cupid think he didn't like him or was mad at him for laying there how he did.

Okay, a good approach would be to just wake him up, right? Just wake him up.

'Just wake him up, Strife,' he told himself. He gently brought his arm up and set it on Cupid's shoulder. It felt warm to his colder fingers and the palm of his hand.

"Cupe," he said, "Wake up." Gently shaking Cupid's shoulder, moving the rest of his body back and forth. He thought he heard a small mumble come from Cupid's mouth.

Cupid's mouth, with its lips that were very close to his body. Of course, the layer of clothing between them made it a lot less exciting, but still exciting, nonetheless. Strife shook him again, a little harder this time.

Yeah, that was a mumble he heard. He heard a louder one this time, and a small shuffle as Cupid woke up and then, froze. Oh, Gods, he'd fallen asleep on Strife and Strife had woken up and was upset, he wanted him to move.

A slight fear of rejection came to Cupid as he lifted his head up and looked at Strife. "Sorry," Cupid said quietly.

"Nah, it's ok," Strife smiled sweetly at him. Cupid gave a weak smile back, glad that Strife wasn't mad at him or anything.

Cupid sat back onto his knees and Strife propped the top half of his body up and brought his legs up and sat cross legged. Strife smiled again. He was happy that Cupid wasn't upset and that it went well. He hoped it really had. There was always the chance that Cupid was just playing along and really was upset. Strife didn't have that much knowledge of reading these kinds of emotions.

Cupid didn't feel any negative emotion's from Strife. Good ones, actually. He finally settled on Strife being happy that Cupid was still here and that he was comfortable with him enough to sleep like that.

Now what? They both were unsure of where to take this now. "Oh," Strife said, startling Cupid out of his dazed and confused state.

"What?" Cupid asked. Blinking his eyes and trying to wake up a bit more.

"Come outside," Strife said as he got up and made his way to the door, exiting the cabin.

Cupid looked confused but got up from the furs and followed Strife outside. Slightly irked that it was still raining, still the middle of the night, for that matter.



~ Part 7 ~

Strife was standing with his back to Cupid, at the corner of the cabin, under the slight overhang of the roof. Cupid tried to stay as dry as he could, but failing, never minded the rain and stood beside his cousin.

"What?" Cupid asked, trying to see what Strife was looking at.

"Look," Strife said. He moved out of the way, to the side a bit and Cupid moved into his spot.

"At what?" Cupid asked, confused. He didn't know what he was supposed to be looking at.

"The web," Strife said pointing at it. Just then a fairly large spider came crawling down said web. "I call that one Spidey."

"Very original," Cupid said smiling.

Strife glared at him, before breaking out laughing. He had to admit, it wasn't that original.

"They're cool," Strife said, "I've sat here for hours watchin' them. Just sitting here thinking."

"Wow," Cupid responded, looking back at his cousin. "I've never really paid attention to these kind of things before. I guess it could be calming."

Strife looked back and grinned. Cupid watched a particular drop of rain fall from Strife's cheek, down to his mouth and drip off of his bottom lip. Another slipped into Strife's mouth and he unconsciously licked his lips, tasting the rain.

A vague thought of how his cum would look dripping off, or into, Strife's mouth crossed Cupid's mind. Cupid had had a lot of time to think of dirty, sexual thought's while Strife was gone. Plus his major role in the House of Love surely spurred it on more quickly.

He wondered if Strife felt the same way, or had the same thoughts. They were really close friends but Cupid couldn't help but wonder if Strife was thinking about anything more than that. The feelings Cupid sensed from his cousin helped him in his thoughts.

He wasn't getting any bad vibes from his cousin. If anything, Cupid could assume Strife was almost having the same thought's as he was. Maybe not as many, but they must be there.

Strife stood watching Cupid think and stare at his mouth. He imagined the pretty picture would have to be presenting for Cupid to look at him like that. He smiled, giggled and started to walk away, quickly gaining speed so that his walk turned into a jog, into the trees.

Cupid was jerked out of his thoughts to hear Strife giggle and run into the woods. His natural reaction was to follow him, so he did. Cupid got to the edge of the trees and looked around for the Mischief God. He didn't see him.

Strife laughed and came out from hiding behind a large tree, right beside Cupid. "I love the rain, Cupe."

"Do you? I hadn't noticed, what with how many times you've dragged me into it today, alone," Cupid smirked. He couldn't help being a bit of a smart ass. It was his father in him, he guessed.

A loud snap of thunder sounded in the distance and Cupid's eyes went wide and he instinctively grabbed onto the nearest safe object; Strife. "Oh, Gods," Cupid sighed.

Strife was just trying to hold back his laughter. "Shut up," Cupid smiled and felt a bit silly for being scared by a bit of thunder, "I've never been down here during any storms like this."

"It's ok, they kinda scared me to start with, too," Strife admitted. He noticed Cupid was still hanging onto him. He shook his arm and Cupid's grip was lost on him.

"Hey, don't. What if I get lost or something? It's dark out, you know," Cupid said reaching out to take hold of Strife's arm again.

"And yer a God, stupid. Flash yourself home or something," Strife replied dodging out of the way of Cupid's grasping hand.

Cupid's slight fear of thunder and lightning and wanting to be holding onto Strife soon escalated into a game of tag. And Cupid was it. He began chasing after Strife, deeper into the trees. Following his laughter, Cupid stopped and checked behind a tree or two.

Strife came out from behind the one he was behind and stood behind his cousin. Cupid knew he was behind him and he swiftly turned around and grabbed onto Strife.

"Gotcha!" he exclaimed and Strife giggled as he tried to free himself. This turned into a bit of a wrestling match. Their laughter growing louder and unaware of the lightning striking the ground so near to where they were.

Finally, they stilled in their struggle and stood there laughing and staring at each other. Suddenly, before either of them had any time to react, lightning struck. Straight above them it hit the tree and broke off a rather huge bough and it creaked and cracked as it fell very rapidly through the air.

Cupid looked up to see a huge mass of branches and leaves fall to the ground. Strife was more concerned about the massive bough, part of the trunk, actually. Without quite thinking, Strife pushed himself at Cupid and knocked him to the ground. The last thing Cupid felt was the air being pushed out of his body and feeling a great weight on his body before everything went black.

~ Part 8 ~

The second Cupid regained consciousness his eyes flashed open. Memories of last night flooded back to him, right before the pain hit him. Gods, he hurt. He was squished, so were his wings.

Strife was slumped over top of him, still out of it. Cupid shuffled his arms a bit under the heavy bulk of the tree. Freeing one, he pulled it out over his head and worked the other out. He tried various ways of how to get out of this situation before he actually managed to do it.

He shifted sideways until his cousin was safely laid beside him. Cupid started to wiggle and worm his way forwards until he wasn't caught under anything anymore. He stood up shakily and stretched his wings while he surveyed the scene.

Cupid knelt down beside the tree and called all his godly power to his body. It wasn't much, but it would help. He put his hands in position to lift the tree and got his knee ready to prop it up on while he got Strife out of the way.

The tree slowly was lifted up and Cupid shuffled forward and stuck his knee under it to hold it up. He leaned over and took hold of his cousin, under his armpits and pulled him to the side, out from under the tree.

Cupid gently set down the tree after Strife was safely away from it. He then moved to his cousin and set him in a sitting position, with Strife's head in his arms.

"Strife?" Cupid pushed the dark, strangely life-less hair from his cousins forehead.

"Strife," Cupid said again, "Wake up, man."

He shook him gently, then a bit more vigorously. He was starting to become worried. Worry turned to fear. He was scared. Strife wasn't waking up. Strife wasn't a heavy sleeper.

"Oh, Gods, Strife," Cupid said with tears in his eyes, "You can't do this to me. Wake up."

Shocked that he was all alone here, Cupid shook his cousin harder and held onto his body tighter, he didn't want to lose him. He leaned down to Strife's head and laid a gentle kiss on his forehead. "Come on, wake up."

The teary eyed Love God blinked his eyes, letting the droplets run down his cheek. Everything was wet already, why not cry? He saw blurs of browns and greens. Mud and the forest. Pale skin and dark leather.

"Strife," Cupid called again, "I love you, Strife, wake up." He began shaking Strife's body and slowly his breathing became quicker as he began to hyperventilate.

He was frantically kissing Strife's head and telling himself and his cousin that everything would be ok, between his sobs. Everything will be okay. "I love you, Strife, it'll be okay. Just wake up."

Cupid's vision blurred together again and he felt light headed. He made sure he held on tight to his cousin. Swearing on his life that everything would be ok. With that thought secured in his mind, everything went black again.

The End.


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