AresJoxerCupidStrife - Mistress


Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11 Part 12 Part 13 Part 14 Part 15 Part 16 Part 17 Part 18 Part 19

TITLE: The Gods Themselves Do Tremble
AUTHOR: Mistress
CROSSOVER: Buffy TVS/Xena-Herc
PAIRING: Ares/Joxer, Strife/Cupid, Xander/Spike, and many more as my wicked mind comes up with them
SPOILER: Right up until Buffy goes to get rid of Glory...she doesn't die...I didn't like that at the time....and it doesn't work with my story so I am just throwing it out....besides that then nope...my own little world
DISCLAIMER: I don't own anyone....the wonderful creators of both shows...Joss, and who ever created Xena and Herc,,,I have no clue....they own them...I just borrow them some times...but I always give them back...honest
DESCRIPTION: Someone must be protected....(I suck at descriptions...)
RATING: Eventually NC-17....but so far... PG-13
ARCHIVE: Please ask first...please
NOTES: You know how inspiration can hit at any point...at any time...well this one was weird...I have no clue where it came from...I was just washing dishes...not really thinking of anything imparticualar....and it just hit....smack dab between the eye's....Oh and I think I am getting all the words for the slight spoilerage that I have at the very beginning....if not I am working from memory so please forgive me....so I hope you ENJOY!!!



"I'm also a swell bowler."

"He has his own shoes."

"The Gods themselves do tremble."

And somewhere above them. Somewhere lost long ago. Somewhere above the clouds, forgotten with time by those that use to worship them, they did.

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"Is that him? He's such a cutie! Oh, I hope it's him!" The bubbly voice rose around the room in excitement.

Dark, hard eyes rolled and s shudder ran through braud shoulders. "Yes, that's him."

Deep, soulful eyes met exasperated ones. "But he's so young. I didn't think...he's just a child."

"Not for his life. Not for his world." Exasperation turned into a tired wariness. Looking up from the mirror once more, he met a wild, blue gaze. "Watch over him. Protect him." A soft smile graced his hard features. "Keep him safe." He watched as the young man grew serious, manic smile disappearing all together. And he blinked out. "Keep him safe."

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It was dark. But it was always dark. Always. THere was never any light. But he was use to it. He found comfort in the dark. The dark was what he knew, what he understood. It carried him, held him close like a new born child held to his mother's breast. But he longed for the warmth. Because that was what he missed. The warmth of light beating down on him. The brilliance of day. He missed the warmth.

But then, he was the night. He was the shadows and the darkness. He was the cold, cold of stone. Cold of night. He had been for years. A hundred plus. And he would be for eternity and beyond, if he was lucky. That was his curse, his gift. The gift of youth, of strength. And all it cost was the warmth of the sun. Never to see the day or have the light on his face. And he accepted it. Except when he missed it.

"Ya wanna lighten up for a sec? Talk about bringin' a guy down." The sound of laughter tainted with madness flitted through the cold, dead air.

"Who to the 'ell's there?" He spun, leather billowing around him. But there was no one, nothing. The room was empty, except for the lone candle lighting the corner of his crypt. "Must be loosin' my bleedin' mind."

And then a flash of blue and purple, a spark in the center of nothing. "Nope, thin, bleached and obviously undead. Not loosin' it. But I'm biased on the subject. Nobody hear but us ghouls and gods." Bright, blue eye's flashed about wildly. smirk firmly in place.

He could feel the shift in his features. The slight pain he always felt when his guise left and the demon took over. His finger's curled into claws, his ankle pivoted, ready to attack. "Who the bleedin' 'ell are you?"

The stranger, tall, pale and thin, leaned casually against a near by wall. His spiky hair was jet black, making his pale skin glow in the darkness. Tight shiny leather encased his slim frame. "Relax, don't get your panties in a bunch. Sit down, take a load off." And he found himself seated in a near by chair, arms pinned down by invisible bonds. "You might want to hear this." The stranger snapped his fingers and dozens of candles lit around the room, blinding and hot. "See, I have a job for you. I can't be always be there and someone has to stay close."

A snarl ripped through his body as he fought against bonds that weren't there. "Fight, I don't care. You ain't goin' nowhere." And he relented, for the moment. Until he could move, until he could get the man's throat between his hands.

But suddenly he was face to face with the intruder. Blue eyes burned into his. "Like I said; I have a job for you, Spike." That caught his attention. "You see, you're one of the only beings around that can protect him. And he has to be protected."

"Who mate?"

"Xander."

Part 2

He watched it all play out. He watched it unravel and come together. They were all very good. They hit the mark, they stepped back but didn't give up ground. They relied on each other to see them through. They were good. They each did their part, their job. It was like watching a ballet, a rehearsed act they all knew by heart.

The slayer; strong, deadly and beautiful. Thrust and parry, kick and punch. She was graceful in her attack. The demon falling back as she advanced with beautiful force. Spinning kicks, hard hits, twist's and turns. She never faltered. When she was in the thick she had no equal, but her life, her soul, her emotions and mind were in turmoil.

The vampire; strong and fierce. Deadly in his own way. A slick rock star, enthralling and dark. His aura was black with hate and rage. But there was still a glimmer of hope, of light. A spark of humanity left in him. His soul holding on to the barely there thread of light. But he was deadly, make no mistake. His movements were destructive.

The witches; lovely, loyal and dangerous. The power they hold separately is awesome but together it's consuming. They could topple cities, rain down hell fire and destroy lives. But an inner light shown in them, pure and brilliant. They were the grounding force for each other.

The watcher; light and dark mixing into grey. He was power. He was danger. But he was control. He had a lust for blood, tempered and reined in. The children in his charge were he only concern.

And the boy; just a simply boy. But his loyalty and strength surpassed them all. He had no great gift, except his heart. He had no power, except the strength of his soul. And he gave them willingly and completely. He was the heart and soul, the center of all their lives. And they didn't even realise it.

And he watched. It was fascinating. And they were all he had. All the hope of the world, of his very existence was wrapped up in those six individuals. He had to keep them safe. He had to protect them. Especially the boy, the center of it all.

He watched as they fought demon after demon. It was relentless. He watched as the mortals seemed to work as a unit, fighting with a fierce determination. And slowly the numbers shifted, the tides turned. They were winning. They were beating the odds.

His breath caught in his throat as a demon went strait for the dark haired man. He went down, arm bleeding and face drawn into painful lines, a curse on his lips. But the vampire was there, protecting him. He was enraged, deadly. The demon let loose a blood chilling howl before falling lifeless to the ground.

"You've been watching them for day's love, he'll be fine." The voice of his love drifted through the room. Ares nodded but never looked up from the scene playing out in front of him. "He has his protectors, he's safe. Please Ares, get some sleep, I'll watch them for a while."

Smiling tiredly he nodded, lifting his face to his mate for a soft kiss. "I love you." And he flashed out.

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Spike walked wearily into his crypt, the sun threatening the horizon. He needed rest and something to eat, because it had been a long hard night. But they were all long. And they were all hard. But he had a job to do, and he did it the best he could, the best he knew how. With everything he had and was.

But he didn't know how many more nights he could follow the man home and stay hidden. How much longer was he supposed to pretend. Because somewhere over the course of the last few months something had changed. Something deep and primal. Something basic. It changed and he couldn't ignore it. Because he could see the boy hurting and he wanted to reach out to him.

Kneeling down near a corner table he lit a single candle, bowing his head in concentration. The first time he had done this, he had laughed to himself at the picture he must have made. Whoever heard of a vampire praying. But now it was natural. He prayed every day, as the sun rose and as the sun set.

When he had first met the God Of War he had been struck silent. He could see the power, pure power and destructive force in him. He was the power. And Spike knew he was lucky to be under his protection. He knew he was supposed to have his own god, the god of all vampires. But his connection, his love and loyalty was with Ares. It was a bond he could feel. And so he prayed. And he protected Xander. At first out of duty and now for something more.

He let his mind slip free of all thoughts, only the name of his God echoed over and over in his mind. He concentrated on the bond between them. He felt a shift in the air, heard the slight pop of someone flashing in behind him. He sense eye's on him. Turning and standing in one fluid movement, he kept his head bowed in greeting before he looked up.

"Who?" The man before him was smaller than Ares, thinner. He had a gentleness around him, a warmth. His eye's were kind, if sad. Where Ares was hard to those not under his protection, this man held a kindness and a caring about him.

"It's nice to finally meet you." His voice was soft and serene. "I believe you know my husband, Ares." He smiled gently at the look of shock on Spike's face. "I'm Joxer, the God of Peace."

Somewhere in the back of his mind, he could feel the love his God held for the man in front of him. The perfect antithesis for his hard God. Someone to love him unconditionally and completely. Someone to balance him and someone for him to protect. "It's nice to meet you."

Joxer nodded. He had been watching this one for a while. There were certain things he contradicted him self on. To the rest of the world he was crude, rude, and vulgar. He was street smart with street ethics. But to his God, to the Gods, he was sophisticated and educated, respectful and cultured. It was a quirk he found endearing and could understand and relate to. "Ares is resting and I though it best not to disturb him, and I wanted to finally meet you."

Spike felt his body grow heavy with exhaustion. He felt it roll over him and try to claim him as he battled to keep him eye's open even as he stood and tried to stay away. He didn't want to offend the man who was in his home. But it called to him relentlessly. Joxer smiled and with a flick of his wrist Spike was in bed, covers pulled up to his chin. Joxer touched his brow before bending down and kissing his cheek softly. "Sleep, Ares will be here when you wake up." A sad smile tugged at his lips. "You need your strength." And he blinked back to his husband.

Part 3

Desperate fingers trailed over his body, scalding lips claimed his in a fierce, needy kiss. A strong, heavy body pressed him into the matress, silk sheets caressing his bare skin. His hands roamed down a braud, muscled back, slick with want and desire. Their bodies moved together sensually, sweet friction building. Fire ignited over heared blood to boil. He could feel that delicious cock pressed against his own, moving with purpose. That wet, knowing mouthmoved down his jaw, latching on to his neck. Blunt teeth scraped along sensitive skin. Biting, sucking, trusting, moving, moaning. Trying to reach that perfect release. And when it found him he shouted, arched and shuttered. Gasping out the dark eye'd man's name. His cool, dead seed coated his own belly.

Spike's eyes flew open as he shook with pleasure. Alone. He was alone. His crypt was dark, a slight chill biting in the air. His body still held that sweet dream of a warm body pressed into his and he sighed in frustration. His own sheets clung to his cool body and he cursed inwardly. This was ridicules. He couldn't even find peace in his dreams. They were haunted by images and sounds, touches and scents that were only real in his mind. How much more was he expected to take? And it got worse with each passing night. If he ever met Morpheous, the damn dream god, they were going to have words. His fragile sanity couldn't take much more.

"It doesn't get any easier." That deep voice was filled with a warmth that he had only heard on occasion since meeting him. Sitting up, he smiled at the man now standing in front of him. He was suck a contradiction to his reputation. He was supposed to with out feeling, with out emotion. A cold, ruthless killer. Starting wars for his own pleasure. He was supposed to be indifferent and uncaring to those around him. He was supposed to be a mean, cruel bastard. He wasn't supposed to be a caring father. He wasn't supposed to be a loving, attentive husband. He just seemed determined to contradict the myth.

"Guess you would be the expert." His soft british lit was a complete 180 from his usual cocky tone. It was getting harder and harder to pretend to be the brassed off brit with the attitude of 6 men. He now knew what multiple personalities felt like. Having to show the mouthy vamp with the biggest wrinklies to the slayer and her groupies, and then being the soft spoken gentleman around his god was giving him a complex. If Dru could see him now.

"Hey, I'm the role model for denial." Ares let a lop sided grin grace his lips for only a second before pulling his more serious, firm expression into place. "Anything new we should know about? Anything that we may not know that you found out?" He watched as Spike silently went over bits and pieces of information in his head, browsing for anything in particular and then shaking no. "How is he? I mean, I know he's safe, but...how is he?"

The worried tone in his god's voice was nothing new to him. "He's good. I watch him at night and Strife helps out when he can. Hell, I barely take my bloody eyes off him," He could feel his skin grow warm with embarrassment but he kept his head high and his eyes forward in stubbornness. "So the whelp won't hurt himself."

Ares smile was indulgent and understanding. "Protect him, William." His eyes widened at the use of his given, mortal name. "Protect him, keep him safe." A warm, surprisingly gentle hand cupped his cool cheek. "And keep yourself safe as well." And he was gone, the flash of blue and black the only sign he had been there.

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Something was off. Something just wasn't right. He couldn't put his finger on it. He couldn't name it. But it was there. He had lived on the hell mouth too long not to notice it. The way he could always feel eyes on him, someone watching him even when no one was around. When he would trip or make a snarky comment no one thought was funny, he could still hear laughter in the air.

And it felt different. The air felt different, as in not normal. Not that anything could be considered normal in Sunnydale. But it was definitely not normal. It felt thicker, like more people were in the room with the scoobies during an all night research party. Sometimes he could see the air move, like someone walking through a smoky room. He could almost make out the outline of a person before it was gone. No one thought twice about a candle that flickered when there was no breeze. No one seemed to notice when a closed door would push open for no reason. Or the way a book would fall 'accidentally' and it would open to the exact page they needed. No one else noticed or maybe they didn't care.

And if that wasn't enough to raise the freaked wiggin's meter up a notch, there was always Spike. The evil, undead that had run ruff shot over Europe. The bleached menace that loathed him. The man who would rather see him lying in a pool of his own blood that to look twice at him. The same man who said he wasn't even worth biting, was risking his own neck to save him. Was protecting him. Was looking at him with something more in his eyes than just contempt and hate. He was almost friendly. And it was starting to get freaky.

Xander sat alone in his bed, his apartment felt lonely now that Anya had decided that the freedom of the world was better than marrying him. He couldn't blame her but it was depressing. But lately, it felt less and less lonely. Looking up at the ceiling and then at the empty room he sighed. "I..I don't know if you can hear me. I don't know who you are or if you're even real. I may finally be goin' nuts." He clasped his hands and smiled at no one. "But I just wanted to say...thank you." Turning out the light, he stretched out and pulled the blanket up around his chin. Before sleep took him over he could feel the whisper light touch of a kiss brush against his forehead.

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He smiled gently down at the sleeping man. he was little more than a child. But he was so brave, facing demons and hell everyday of his life. ANd he never faltered. He had no superpower or strength. He knew no magic to protect him. But he still fought. Even when those around him treated him like a helpless, puppy he still stood tall.

"He's cute." Warm, strong arms came around his waist as his lover materialized behind him. Strife couldn't help the small sigh of contentment at being in those arms. They had seen each other so rarely since this had all started. It was just nice to be held, it felt special and right.

"Yeah, maybe Unc will let me keep him when this is all over. Instead of goin' with him." The man was perfect for him, to be his follower. He could cause so much trouble, so much mischeif. Just walking down the street caused such mayhem and he loved the power, the rush it gave him.

"He has a warriors heart and soul. I think that automatically makes him dads by default." Gentle lips kissed his neck and he sighed. "But that means he's be in the House of War so you can still see him. When this is all over maybe you can be friends." His voice was distant and weary, knowing how mucgh still lay ahead and how much rested on blind luck.

"Yeah." He smiled, glancing down on last time before throwing up a protection shield that would last until dawn, when his vigil would start all over again. "Come on Cupe, let's go home."



NOTES: well I know it's been like a week since I posted but here is the next part...it will probably be a week or even longer for the next one but I will try my damned-est to try to post earlier if I can...also there are going to be two new possible couples in this chapter and tell me what you think...I was actually thinking of the last one hinted at before the last part was sent out but the other one...you'll know which I am talking about...someone suggested it and I just couldn't resist...it was too cute...*winks at HB* So there are two new possible couples mentioned and tell me what you think of them.

Please see part one for disclaimer

"But..."

"No."

"But.."

"No."

"But I could..."

"No!" The look in his eyes spoke serious consequences if any further argument was heard. The young man in front of him just rolled his eyes, oblivious to the blatant warning.

"But Dad! I could help! I could keep an eye on them too! I could, I could do something, anything." He flung his arms about wildly. It was just so boring. And he felt so helpless, useless. The least he could do was help, just a little. Why couldn't any of them just trust him and relax.

"No. It's too dangerous. And this is important. You don't know everything that's going on. You'd end up in trouble, in the way or worse. I'm sorry. I know you want to help but there's just nothing for you to do." Cupid knew it wouldn't stop Bliss from begging but maybe it would keep him out of trouble. Just for a little bit.

"You never let me do anything!" With that the young, winged god stormed off to his room. It wasn't fair! He wasn't a kid anymore. He was a god for Zeus sake! And his dad still treated him like a baby. Like he couldn't do anything of his own. And Daddy Strife was worse! He couldn't go to his grandfathers, they would never understand. Bliss stomped around his room angrily. Fine! If they didn't trust him to help out then he would just do it on his own. Who needed those stuffy adults anyway!

Concentrating on himself he felt a glamour settle over his body. It wasn't hard, it was one of the first things Daddy Strife had taught him. That way no one would recognize him when he visited the mortals. Looking in one of his many mirrors he smiled. his hair was the same color, dirty blonde, but now it was longer, pulled back in a tie. He wore a faded pair of blue jeans and a loose t-shirt with the words Got Milk? emblazoned across the front. A stylish leather jacket and black combat boots finished the ensemble. Smiling to himself he blinked out.

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"It isn't fair! I'm not a kid anymore. I wanna help too!" Dawn stood with her hands firmly planted on her slim hips, glaring at her 'family'. She couldn't believe that they still treated her like a little kid. She could take care of herself. And she could certainly handle a little research. It wasn't like looking at some dusty, musty old books would hurt anything.

"Dawn, do your homework." Buffy didn't even bother looking up from the book in front of her. No one else seemed interested or even remotely concerned with the pending teenage outburst on the horizon.

Dawn bit her lip, fighting back the urge to call her sister and everyone else some unkind, unteenager like words. She couldn't even say the few demon curses she knew cause Spike was there. And since he and Buffy had come to a firm truce, she couldn't get away with it. "Fine!"

She didn't even bother to try and not stomp, slamming the door to the back room loudly behind her. It wasn't fair! She was a teenager now, in highschool. They were all doing research and fighting the bad guys when they were in highschool. Why couldn't see just help, a little. Picking up a random book she paced angrily before throwing it against the wall in frustration. "Fine!" If they didn't want to trust her to do research, then she would go out on her own. She could take care of herself. Picking up a few stakes, shoving them into her jacket pockets, she stormed out the back entrance.

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It was dark and chilly, scary for someone without godly powers. It was a good think he was a god. Bliss shivered, pulling his jacket tighter around his chest and looked around wearily. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. He couldn't go keep an eye on everyone like Daddy Strife and Grandpa, they would notice him right away. His shields weren't that good. But besides watching them and helping out, there wasn't really anything else to do. And it was starting to get creepy.

A shrill scream filled the air and he jumped back unconciously. Running tot he sound he stood frozen for a split second. A small, petite brunette seemed to be trapped, held against a tree by a vicious looking man. He held her by the throat and didn't even feel the hits and kicks she threw at him. Bliss could see the man, evil smile on his face and fangs filling his malicious mouth. The girl let out another ear piercing screech before the man hit her hard across the face, knocking her out cold.

Before he could think about the consequences, before he had time to care if anyone could see him, he flung a fire ball at the man. He seemed to burst into flames and the young god stared horrified as the attacker brunt and faded into a cloud of dust. He felt nausious, almost falling away in a dead feint. But his eyes focused on the girl beginning to stir on the cold ground. Kneeling next to her he held her hand and brushed a stray hair out of her face.

"Are you ok?" He watched as her eyes fluttered open and a dark bruise began to form on her cheek. Without startling the young woman, he brushed he hand against her abused flesh, healing it serindipulasly. Her eyes slowly focused and she blinked in confusion. "He...he left." He didn't know if she would believe him, but he couldn't tell her that he had incinerated the man.

"He..left?" Her mind was a fog as she tried to clear her head of the persistent ringing. Man, he hit hard! "Oh, this was such a good idea..." She could feel the headache setting in. It pounded in her ears, blurring her vision for a moment before she blinked furiously. Looking up at her savor she tried to smile, a wince was as close as she got.

"Thanks." She took his warm hand and let him help her to her feet. Maybe Buffy and everyone was right. SHe just wasn't ready to face down the demons. She knew it wasn't the greatest idea to go out alone at night, but she had been so man. "Thank you, I don't know what that guy would have done if you hadn't been here." She knew exactly what would have happened and she thanked every god she had ever heard of that the handsome stranger had showed up. "My name is Dawn, Dawn Summers."

"Michael...Michael Bliss." So it was a small lie. But who would believe the truth. Besides he had heard the name in the newest religious fad and it sounded cool. And he knew he looked like an angel when he let his wings show, so it wasn't a complete lie, just a small one. So he played on it a little. "Are you gonna be ok?"

"Yeah." Dawn smiled. "I guess I should know better than to walk around at night alone." She laughed slightly, touching her face and wincing again. Hopefully it wouldn't bruise too bad. "At least you were around to help. Thank you again."

Bliss shrugged, trying not to blush. She smiled again and he could feel his skin heat up. She was cute. Her hair was long and looked so soft. She had bright, innocent eyes and a young, shapely body. "It's no big." He tried to keep his voice neutral but could hear the tremor in it and his palms began to sweat slightly. "So um...why were you out alone anyway."

It was Dawn's turn to blush. She stepped off of the grass and on to the sidewalk, motioning for Bliss to walk with her. "I..I just needed to think, to get out." She couldn't meet his eyes and she knew he could tell she was lying. "Just...I hate getting treated like a little kid and I had to get away from my sister and her friends for a while."

He nodded in understanding. Looking down the dark street he sighed. "Tell me about it. My parents are the same way. They don't think I can do anything. I had to get out." They smiled at each other, laughing at the similar circumstances that hand brought them both out into the night.

"Dawn Summers!"

Dawn jumped as her sister appeared before her, an angry, pissed off expression on her face. "Oh great..." It was barely muttered but Bliss heard it. An equally annoyed group of people followed behind her.

"There you are!"

Bliss groaned and closed his eyes in defeat. Turning, he saw his Aunt Eris stalking up to him. She wore an dangerous, worried look on her face. "Hey Aunt E" His sheepish grin faded as he saw his fathers and grandfather trailing behind her. This was not good.

"What were you thinking Dawn?"

"I told you to stay at home!"

"Young lady, I can't believe..."

"Do you know how worried..."

"When I get you home!" This last one was said in unison by both the blonde slayer and the God of Love. Looking at each other Dawn tried to smile as the adults all glared at them and wore matching expressions of retribution.

"If we're both not grounded till we're old and grey, do you want to meet tomorrow of a soda?" Bliss smiled and nodded. "Noon, the Magic Box. It's saturday so I'll be there." Gently taking his hand she squeezed.

"It's not a question of IF!" Buffy snatched at her younger sister's arm and shoved her roughly at Giles. Smiling at the teenage boy and his family she nodded in thanks. "Thank you for keeping Dawn company, she knows better than to go out at night on her own." The last part was said with a snarl as she glared at the younger summers. "Will you guys walk Dawn back to the shop, Spike and I need to run and 'errand'."

The Godly groups nodded in farewell to the mortals, Cupid practically dragging Bliss away by his ear. Strife was on the other side of the young god, holding his arm forcefully. The two groups split and went in opposite directions, Buffy and Spike heading away from them all. A pair of dark eyes followed to two blondes as they slipped away into the night.

"Hey, come on! We have to go."

Eris sighed and walked into the tree's. A wistful glace back at the blonde huntress and she sighed. What a body! She blinked back to her olympian



Hard, dark eyes watched the young man walk alone to his apartment. Seemingly alone. Because he never was. One of them was always there. They were always watching, hanging close but in the background. Ready to aid, to protect. And then there was the vampire. He was always there. Following, protecting, helping, and watching. The man was never really alone.

So they knew. But did they? They knew something was going to happen. Something was going to happen and it would be big. ANd they knew that this one man was the center of it. But they didn't know where or when or how. They only knew who, and they knew why. But other than that, they were to coin a popular phrase, clueless. And they would stay clueless until he let them know, until he let them see.

They were pathetic. Running around, exhausting recourses to protect one child. And they knew they didn't stand a chance in Hades. But they still tried. They still stood tall and ready. No matter if death and destruction were the only rewards. He had to give it to them, they were persistent and loyal. Too bad. It wouldn't help them. They would fall all he and his would win.

His eyes drifted off the smooth pool of water, the scene continuing to play out. But his attention now rest on the smooth expanse of skin exposed to the night air. A shapely thigh shown from the dark silk sheets covering his bed. Such a lovely body. SMooth and creamy, hot and tight. And so insatiable. Only leaving the bed for food, always wanting just one more time. Craving the sexual experience and pleasure.

She wasn't demanding, but provocative. Sweet and secure in her role in all of his plans. She knew what she wanted and what was really happening. She had no illusions. She had no visions of marriage or love. She knew that was the last thing she would get. She was in it for the pleasure. In it for the ecstasy.

He knew getting her would be perfect. He could use her, use her to get to him. It was so easy. And what made it perfect was that she came willingly. She needed no persuasion. She had come to him. She was his ace in the hole. And it was their own damn fault. They trusted her. Hell, the boy loved her. She was one of them. One of the group and they would never suspect her.

"Are you done yet?"

His deep laughter echoed around the room. "Awake already? I must be losing my touch."

She hummed in appreciation as he walked towards the bed, kneeling over he naked body. "Never." Her slim arms brought him down on top of her and he smiled wickedly. It was perfect.

------------

"We need to talk."

The soft request made him jump in surprise. His mind had been drifting over one of his favorite fantasies. He rarely let himself be distracted. Not when he was supposed to be working. Not when he was supposed to be on guard and alert. But it was a slow night, a night to relax and do casual research. There was no real threat on the horizon, no apocalypse to avert. At least none that the Scooby gang knew of. And his mind had drifted away.

But now he looked at that beautiful, elfin face. The blonde hair and soft sad eyes beseeching trust and protectiveness in anyone she met. But now. Now there was a knowing about her. There was a question he could see rolling around her that he wasn't sure he could answer. But he nodded and followed her into the back, away from the research party.

"Wot's on your mind, luv?"

She could feel that old nervousness that she had fought so hard to get past start to bubble up in her chest. Taking a deep cleansing breath she forced herself to stand still and meet his cool, blue eyes. "What's happening?" She knew that with Spike it was just best to cut right to the chase. She watched as his whole body language changed. His expression became serious and his disinterested slouch disappeared. "Something's happening, or it's going to happen. And no one can see it. But I think you can."

"Not sure wot you're gettin' at pet..." Spike watched as the young Wicca woman seemed to pick and choose her words before saying them. he could see her mind working through all she knew and thought she knew. He watched as she gathered her strength and her nerve.

"The..things are different...somehow. I can...see things. You...you've been protecting Xander. You go out on patrol with him, but it's differnt somehow. You use to go out hoping to get into fights. You didn't care if anything happened to Xander. But now...you do." She saw his expression go soft at the mention of Xander, about caring for Xander. And she had to smile. "And...there's more. Things around here are different. I...can see things. When were just sitting in the store, the air is thicker somehow. Like more people are in the room than just us. I can see their aura, the air shifts. Like someone's watching us. And I think I know who." She paused taking a deep breath. "Last night when we were looking for Dawn, those people we met. Their aura's were so strong, so bright. It's the same, toned down a little in the shop, but it's the same. And I think you know what I'm talking about."

Spike couldn't keep the smile off his face. She was a smart one, she was. She didn't see the world with blinders on like some he had met. She didn't ignore what was going on around her and dismiss it as just another thing to forget. But he didn't know what he could tell her, what could he say. He couldn't tell her the truth. But amazingly he didn't want to lie to her. The decision was taken from him as a flash of blue and black shown on either side of him.



She watched. She watched and studied. She knew something was off. She was being kept out of the loop some how. And she hated that. She hated not knowing, not being included. And she could tell it was something big. It was like icy fingertips on the back of her neck. When ever they got together to research or patrol. She could feel it. It was a knot in the pit of her stomach and it only got worse.

And she knew who was involved. It was so easy to see if you just paid attention. Behavior had changed. Attitudes were off, glances and gestured were out of place. Things were different and she wanted to know why. She knew she was going to be involved somehow, she could just tell that Slayer action would be required. She could feel it in her bones and she wanted to be prepared.

Spike, that's what triggered it. He changed somehow. His attitude wasn't as biting, even to her. But for other people it was almost non-existent. She missed the snippy, quick nastiness that had existed between him and Xander, and now it was gone. That's what had tipped her off. He wasn't as snotty or condescending to the goofy young man. He was one of her best friends and she loved him but even she had to admit that Spike could always make her laugh. Even if it was only inside her head. His snide remarks had always lifted her spirits and now they were gone.

And he wasn't the only one. He was the first but now more people were acting strange. Xander himself was an example. He was quieter, more observant. It was almost like he was looking for something, he would stare off into space expecting to see something come into focus. Then he would shake his head and chuckle to himself, muttering it was just his imagination. And then he would be right back at it again.

And now Tara. It was strange. It wasn't rally like she had changed, nothing outwardly noticeable. But if you looked close enough you could see it. Something was off just a little. She seemed to watch what went on more closely. Sometimes it was like she was listening to something, someone no one else could hear. She would chuckle or blush for no reason, a small smile always graced her lips like she was enjoying a private joke.

Buffy watched as Tara and Spike quietly talked in the corner of the shop. It was weird and different and not of the norm. Shaking her head, both to clear it and try to organize her thoughts, she started to gather her things. She had to get away, think with out seeing the evidence of weirdness in front of her. Standing she smiled as she picked up her bad and waved goodbye to the others.

"See ya, Buff."

"I'll be back later."

And the bell sounded behind the door, cutting off Xander's response. Closing her eyes she lifted her face to the sun, soaking in the warmth. She caught Giles waving goodbye through the window. Some things would never change and Giles would never get his head out of those books.

The sweet, addictive smell of fresh coffee drifted around her and she found herself walking to the newest coffee shop that had sprung up in town. She sat without ordering, just enjoying the peace and quiet that never really lasted, was never really there.

"Excuse me?"

Sighing, an ironic smile of her face, Buffy looked up.

"I hate to disturb you but can I sit down for a minute?"

"Sure." Buffy observed the young woman sitting down across from her. She looked familiar. Dark hair fell down her back, dark clothing seeming darker off set by pale skin. She looked almost child like, until you looked into her eyes. They were deep and dark, full of knowledge and strength. Funny, she was always told that she had an old soul. Now she saw one in someone else.

"I'm not sure you remember me, I'm...Michaels aunt."

"Oh right, that guy who walked with Dawn the other night and came by earlier. Thank him again for walking with her, she know's not to go out at night alone." She smiled at the other occupant of the small table and reached out a slender hand in greeting. She was shocked by the spark of warmth that seemed to jump between their joined hands before pulling back. "My name's Buffy."

"Eris."

Cocking her head, something triggered in her memory. "After the Greek Goddess Discord?"

A sweet laugh danced around her. "Yeah, I caused enough of it I guess." So a small lie, nothing major. "I'm surprised someone actually made the connection, not many people do."

Buffy actually found herself blushing slightly. "Oh well, I really liked Greek Mythology in school and I guess it just kinda stuck. Besides, Eris is a beautiful name." 'For a beautiful woman' her mind echoed but she quickly squashed that thought. Until she looked up from her coffee and her breath caught in her throat.

Eris was flushed, a deep crimson blush to her cheeks. She looked so shy, so fragile. A pink tongue came out to dampen suddenly dry lips. When their eyes met it was warm and inviting. "Thank you." Her hand came across the table, wanting to touch but stopping just short. "I think Buffy's a beautiful name."



They all sat there, staring at the figure standing in front of them. They looked to him for leadership, for guidance. They looked to him for reassurance and trust. And it was a lot to take in. He could feel all of their hope and confidence and it was staggering. Looking at all the wide eyed men and women he sighed. It was time to act. It was time to finally tell the truth, to protect, and to guard. It was time to get it all out. There was nothing else they could do.

"We have to tell them." His husband's face shown with resolve and acceptance. "They can help protect him better if they know, know everything we do." Taking his hand, Ares smiled down at the love of his existence.

"Yes, we have to tell them. We can protect him, but they need the protection and the safety of knowledge as well. Ignorance will just get them killed." Ares squeezed Joxer's hand, needing him for support, for strength, for love. "We all know that he will stop at nothing until Xander is dead and we are all gone. And we all know what will happen then. His desire to be immortal, to finally be a god, it's driven him mad." His laugh was bitter. "I always thought that if he would just accept his family, his blood and what he was, that he would finally see. But..." He didn't need to say any more, they all knew."

"So we tell em'. You know they're gonna be pissed." Strife sat on Cupids lap, Bliss standing behind his two fathers. "They're gonna blame Spike. They'll think we're nuts. Or they'll think we're the bad guys. They ain't gonna believe us!" Cupid nodded, he knew how the close net Scoobies would react.

"It doesn't matter. All that matters is their safety, Xanders safety. What ever we have to do to convince them, we will." Ares looked at what was left of his family. So few had survived. A handful of gods to protect a handful of humans and the whole world at stake. "Let's do it."
-----------
*FLASH*

Spike didn't even jump as his god appeared in front of him. The night was morbid, some how. Darker than usual and there was something in the air that just stank of ominous trouble. Looking at Ares, Spike grabbed his jacket and slipped into it. It looked like it was gonna be one of those nights. "So, tellin' em' are we?" It wasn't really a question though, more of a statement. "Right, let's go."

Ares nodded, touching the platinum vampires shoulder before flashing back out.
------------
*FLASH*

Two figures, one dark...one light, flashed into existence in the shared room. Two young girls jumped, one is surprise, the other in acknowledgement. Strife reached out to the blond young woman and she went willing into his out stretched arms. The blonde man, tan and built with snow white wings growing out of his back, smiled at the stunned red head still sitting on the bed. "Trust us."

Willow didn't know why but she did. The man's voice was like a soothing waterfall and she took his hand with her's.
------------
*FLASH*

The young teenage heart throb materialized in the boys bathroom, glamour firmly in place. High school, what a midevil idea. Bliss shuddered and thanked the heavens he was born a god and not a mortal. Walking casually out of the stall, he nodded to the fey boys washing their hands.

In the hall he saw his target, the young teenage girl laughing with her friends. Her eyes caught his and her smile could have rivalled the suns. She was dressed for a party, the loud music from the gym, a school dance in all it's glory.

"Michael, what are you doing here?" Dawn ignored the gaping girls standing around her, totally focused on the gorgeous man in front of her.

"Can I talk to you for a moment?" He looked at the drooling pack of hormones following her and he smiled. "In private." Taking her hand gently in his he led her away from the people, the music. Finally when they were alone, he turned to face her. "Do you trust me?"

Dawn just smiled, squeezing his hand in hers. "Of course I do." No sooner were the words out of her mouth than he pulled her tight against his chest and his lips were pressed softly to hers.
------------
*FLASH*

Buffy Summers walked casually down the streets of Sunnydale. To any passer by she looked like any other young woman on her way home. The night was like any other to most, but to her it was ominous and foreboding. Her every sense was tuned into it. She focused on every sound, smell, every shadow. Her body, her steady pace seemed so relaxed. But Eris could see the tension in her arms, her legs, and knew she was ready for anything. Stepping out of the shadows she smiled at the blonde directly in front of her.

"Eris?" Buffy was almost shocked to see the young woman who had occupied her thoughts since she had met her. She took her cloths and expression. She nearly melted at the barely there tight leather and dark makeup that only made her look more exotic. But the look on her face told her something was up. "What's wrong?"

Eris smiled, a real soft smile that flitted across her face for a mere second before disappearing again. "Buffy, I..." She didn't know where to begin. "Buffy, I need you to trust me." She saw the confusion on the blondes face and reached out to touch a pale cheek. her thumb caressed that soft flesh. "I know this is weird but...please." She stepped back slightly, holding her hand, palm up, out to the woman in front of her.

Something about the woman in front of her screamed danger, secrecy. Her slayer senses were buzzing in over time. And she wanted to know why. But a larger part, a bigger part deep inside of her told her to trust. To take the hand. "I trust you."
-----------
*FLASH*

Joxer appeared in the chair next to the gentleman. Neither talked for several minutes, Giles jotting down an incantation from an ancient book. "My lord." The ex librarian, ex demon worshipper, current watcher never even looked up.

"Ripper." Joxer poured himself a cup of tea. No one made tea like the Englishman. "I keep forgetting to ask what you put in this, it's so delicious."

'Ripper' just smiled, closing his book to look at the youthful god next to him. "I suppose I should get ready for company."

Joxer smiled in return and nodded.
-----------
Ares and Spike blinked into existence out side the small apartment complex. The blonde man dressed all in black looked up and sighed, exhaling his frustration and fear from his none existent lungs. "I'll wait until you call me." Ares soft words and gentle touch on his shoulder did little to calm his nerves. Slowly he made his way into the building.
----------
The pounding at the door finally roused Xander from his peaceful sleep. Clad only in his boxers, he trudged tiredly to the door cursing who ever had interrupted that wonderful dream that had captivated him. He could still feel the hard, muscled body against his own as he thrust into that dreamy coolness. He could almost feel those strong hands gripping his back as long lean legs wrapped around his waist. Who ever was on the other side of that door better have a damn good reason for waking him up.

Flinging the door open in frustration and early morning anger, he glared at the worried looking vampire. But he couldn't help noticing how his jeans encased his long, lean legs. He couldn't help noticing how his shirt clung to his tight, sculpted abdomen. And he couldn't help noticing how his duster made him seem darker and larger than life. More deliciously dark. Shaking those unwanted thoughts from his mind he glared harder. "Spike, unless the world is coming to an end then take a walk. Preferably in direct sunlight."

Spike just seemed to snap out of a trance as Xander's words echoed around him. 'Nummy, skin, naked, want, need, love, now' His mind screamed at him to grab the youth and drag him into the bedroom but for once in his existence he ignored his baser instincts. "Xander." The brunette immediately sobered. Spike never called him by his name, never. "We need to talk."

Something told Xander that this wasn't another plot, a scam. Maybe it was the way he stood, tense and nervous. Or was it the pleading in his eyes, his voice. "Come in." Xander couldn't believe that was his own voice as the vampire walked in through the door and stood nervously in the living room. "What's wrong?"

Spike just stared at him, his eyes taking in the semi nude man. Being a laborer does a body good. But there were more important things at hand than his raging hormones. "Not sure you'll believe me." He turned away, looking at the half empty room. 'Bird must have took all her stuff when she left.'

Eye's narrowing in suspicion, curiosity. "Try me."



The silence in the room was thick and oppressive. It hung in the air like a blanket, smothering. Two sets of eyes stared hard at each other, daring the other to look away. Admit defeat. One pair crystal blue like the ocean, deep and ancient. The other the color of rich chocolate, rich and sweet. One stubbornly refusing the other silently pleading.

"Give it up Spike. I'm not biting." Xander's voice was snide and disbelieving. Refusing. He stood, glaring down at the sitting vampire. He couldn't honestly expect him to believe that load of bullshit, could he? Xander's mind laughed in derision. He wasn't that stupid, and he wasn't falling for it. But a tiny part of his mind, somewhere hidden deep down inside him, chided faintly. 'It would explain all the weird stuff that's been happening lately. And he has been protecting you.' So, he shot back. He's just setting me up for a good laugh, and I'm not falling for it.

"Xander." Again with his name. Xander couldn't help the small shudder that went down his spine every time the blonde said his name. "I know it sounds absurd, ridicules, but I'm telling the truth. You have to believe me." Finally Spike looked away, looked down at his clasped hands in his lap. There was something different in his voice. It was softer. There was no cockiness, no cruelty in it. It was, lord, it reminded Xander of Giles.

Xander began to pace, waving his arms for dramatic affect. "Let me see if I have this strait. For the last few weeks you've been working for a God. Not just any God, but Ares, the God of War." His voice started to rise in volume. "Now he tells you that you, William the Bloody, the Scourge of Europe, have to protect me. 'You' have to keep 'me' safe. Cause other wise something really bad is gonna happen." All his energy seemed to drain from him and he sagged into his arm chair, trying to keep some distance between himself and the blonde. "My question is, why the hell do you care? Did you forget? You're EVIL!"

Spike knew it was truth time, Xander wouldn't believe him unless he laid all his cards out on the table. He slid off of the couch and sat on his knees in front of the brunette. Daringly, he rested his hands on the young man's legs, savoring the warmth coming from the jean clad thighs. He was amazed that the male slayerette didn't jump away from the small touch. "Xan, I know it seems crazy, but it's true." Unconsciously, his thumbs started making small pattens on Xander's thighs. "I know I'm supposed to be evil. I'm supposed to laugh and celebrate your impending death. But I can't." He sighed. "I don't want to see you die. At first, I was protecting you because I had to. Now, now it's because...I want to." This last part was said so softly, a whisper. Spikes eyes were full of emotion as he looked directly at the man in front of him. The room seemed almost deathly silent. The blond vampire couldn't seem to take his eyes off Xander's mouth, watching as a pink tongue slipped out between full lips to moisten.

He was lost, burning, freezing, dying, living. He couldn't stop himself. His mind screamed at him, but his body wouldn't obey. And before he could stop before he could think about his actions, talk himself out of it, he moved. He lunged forward and pressed his lips against the mortals. A sweet meeting of lips pressed against lips. Soft, firm, warm, cold, tender and hungry. Melting and becoming one.

Then it was over. Spike pulled away, turned away because he couldn't stand to see the hate and disgust in those deep chocolate eyes. And he waited. Waited to be shoved away. Waited for the shouts and screams and condemnations. Waited to be turned to dust because he knew it would happen. He didn't expect the soft inhale of breath or the gentle fingers on his face. He didn't expect the tender urging pull on him, turning him back to face the man in front of him. He was shocked to see a soft smile on those beautiful lips or the twinkle in the rich brown eyes. He gasped at the slight caress of thumb against his cheek. And then those pliant lips pressed against his again. And he could feel his dead heart beat in that single solitary moment. He knew heaven as a warm mouth opened to him and he moaned in pure ecstasy.

And as they pulled away, neither turned away. Smiles lighted both their faces. Xander let his thumb trace over those beautiful, kissable lips again. It was like every dream he had had came true with those few gentle kisses. But he still, in the back of his mind thought could this only be a joke to the vampire, could he be setting me up for something. Xander wanted to banish those thoughts, but two kisses and a gentle look couldn't just erase all those time in the past when the man had tricked him, lied to him, berated him. It wasn't that easy.

He was about to voice his own thoughts when a flash of black and blue light heralded the entrance of someone new. "I thought that maybe you could use my help." A dark haired man stood in the middle of the room, dark and foreboding. He was dressed in leather from head to toe and he looked dangerous and powerful. Xander didn't know why but for some reason he wasn't afraid. The man seemed almost familiar in some way. Like he had seem him in a dream or far away memory. "Alexander." His voice was deep and melodic, but menacing. Xander knew he should be afraid. He should be worried and fearful of this new arrival but he wasn't. "I see William told you. Why don't you believe him?"

Xander sat, still staring at the man now standing in his living room. "I...I don't know." He wished he could explain, could fight past his fear of uncertainty and hesitation where the blond man was concerned but he couldn't. "I...I don't want to get hurt." He felt a strong, but gentle hand take his own and looked down into open blue eyes. Spike, William's eyes.

"Oh, Xander, everyone can get hurt. But you have to move beyond the fear or you will always be afraid, and alone." The man smiled briefly before walking closer to the two men. "William, it's time to go." Spike stood, bowing his head to the man standing before him. "Xander, don't be afraid, he's telling the truth. All of it. My name is Ares."

Xander gasped, not knowing what to do. His mind whirled around everything he had been told. Not minutes before he had admonished the blonde vampire for lying and now he found himself wanting to believe him. And the man standing in front of him only led him to trust more deeply. Ares reached his hand out to the brunette and Xander took it with out hesitation. Before he could take another breath a flash of light and dark shimmered around him.
-------------
Flashes of light beamed around him, heralding the arrival of his guest's. But it didn't phase him. Nothing could any more. He had seen too much and done too much for anything to really get to him any more. All he knew was that he had one job, protect. Protect the children in his charge and keep them safe. Giles sat calmly in his chair, the young God of Peace sitting on the couch beside him sipping his tea. As people and God's alike started to arrive he simply offered tea and a smile, a smile that promised to explain to those who had no clue.

Bewildered looks and shocked faces greeted him as his young charges flashed in with various gods. He knew some of those young people, Tara for one, already knew and understood. But he could see the questions blossoming on the other's faces. With one final flash of light, Xander, Spike and Ares were the last to arrive. "My Lord." Giles nodded his head toward the God of War and offered him a hot cup of tea. "I trust you are well."

"As well as can be expected Ripper." Ares took the offered cup and sighed as the warm liquid slid past his tongue, no one made tea like Ripper. Smiling, he sat calmly on the arm of the couch, next to his husband. The room was surprisingly calm, quiet as people and gods all waited for explanations and questions. "Well, guess it's time for some explanations" Ares looked around the room at all the open, worried and concerned faces and sighed. This was going to be a long night.

His whole body was numb. Numb from shock, too much information overloading his mind Too many sensations beating down on him at once. As the dark haired man started to talk, to explain the inevitable upcoming apocalypse, he stood. He needed a drink, a stiff one. He needed to just be moving, standing.

Without a word he shuffled passed the ensembled people, gods, whatever, and escaped into the kitchen. He just needed to breath. Get some space. Get away from everyone and everything that had turned his life upside down recently. Just for a moment. Leaning against the cool counter he closed his eyes and sighed. Why him? That's all he wanted to know. Why him? If someone got possessed, nine times out of ten it was him. If someone got kidnapped or used it was always him. Was it a test, a cosmic joke. What?

And now, not only was his life in apparent danger, he now had Spike to figure into the equation. They hadn't talked about it, about the kiss. About the several kisses. They really hadn't had time. But the blonde hadn't let him get more than two feet from him all night up until when he walked into the kitchen,

"Pet?"

"Speak of the devil." Xander muttered under his breath. Looking up he saw the blonde vampire standing nervously in the door way. His hands were shoved deep into his pockets and he shifted from foot to foot. SPike, nervous, something was wrong with that picture. "Hey."

"Hey."

Neither man really knew what to say. The emotions they felt and the situation they were both in was a bit overwhelming. Suddenly it all hit Xander like a Mack Truck. His eyes misted over and he stubbornly refused to let the tears fall. But a single, lonely drop squeezed out of the corner of his eye, trailing down his cheek.

Before he could even wipe it away Spike was there. Standing so close he could smell the leather and smoke. A gentle touch brushed the moister off of his face and he leaned against it, turned toward that comfort slightly and sighed. Soft lips pressed against his own and he wrapped his arms around the muscularly compact man in front of him.

The kiss was gentle and reaffirming. Comforting and sweet. Slowly they drew apart, finally looking each other in the eye. It was all there to see, the affection and emotion. The want and the lust. The conviction of feelings and uncertainty of the unknown. And something deeper and purer than either of them had ever known.

Their mouths came together again, fierce and needy. Pressing together and opening wantonly. They were heedless of the people just outside in the living room. Heedless of everything but that moment. Hands gripped tightly, roaming and caressing tingling flesh. Cool hands slid under loose cotton to press against warm, muscled chest. Bodies pressed tightly together, banishing all space between them.

Xander felt the world tilt as Spike lifted him in deceptively strong arms and set him on the counter top. His long legs wrapped tightly around that slim waist as that cleaver mouth moved on his. Tongues duelled and fought for supremes. Strong hands gripped his ass, squeezed, pulling his against that sculpted chest. They clung to each other, desperate for the touch, the connection. Agile, nimble fingers worried the fastening on tight, restricting jeans as a cool mouth devoured and nibbled gently on Xander's neck.

Xander pulled back, gasping as that cool mouth attacked his shoulder, refusing to give up even the slightest touch of skin. "Spike...please..." Those clever fingers opened the button, intent on their mission to touch heated, hard flesh. "Wait...please....oh God, Wil stop..."

The desperate plea, his name whispered with that husky voice jerked Spikes attention away from that beautiful column of flesh he was feasting on. "Luv?" Xander was beautiful. Flushed, panting, chest heaving with needed breaths.

"Everybody..." But he really didn't care. He didn't care if any one walked in on them. He didn't care if every walked in and saw them in the act. He didn't care if the house fell down around then or the world stopped turning in that exact minute. All he wanted and needed was the man in front of him. He couldn't say anything else, he could just stare at that wonderfully wicked mouth as it turned into a sly smile.

"I wouldn't worry about anybody else at the moment. Now one will disturb us. At least for a bit." Spike smiled seductively before bending back in and nibbling that warm ear hidden in the soft chocolate curls of hair. He knew they didn't have much time, Ares dark voice had echoed in his mind. He could give them for a little bit but not for long. And he wasn't going to let a perfectly good opportunity go to waist.

Nimble fingers went back to work, lowering a zipper before slipping inside. Cool fingers brushed through wiry, course hair before grazing over a hard, wanting cock. Xander gasped, arching slightly as those delicious fingers teased and tortured. Then he was being lifted and was standing on his own feet again as Spike pushed his pants and boxers down his thighs, dropping to his knee's in front of the man.

The sight of Spike kneeling in front of him, staring with hunger at his straining cock sent shiver's down Xander's spine. Slowly, so agonizingly slow, that platinum head moved towards him, a slick tongue coming out to taste him. Xander's hands grasped the counter edge behind him, holding him upright as that cool, wet mouth slowly engulfed him. In that back of his mind he couldn't believe that he was receiving a mind altering blow job from Spike in Giles kitchen. But he quickly told that part of his mind to shut the hell up and mind it's own damn business as Spike swallowed him to the root.

Spike had a new addiction, Xander. His scent, his touch, his flavor. He couldn't get enough. The feel of smooth, hard, heated flesh pulsing over his tongue. The play of strong muscles as he gripped his thighs, his ass. It was consuming. Xander began to softly thrust as the his inhibitions began to fade. These new feelings and desires, the desire to feel the blonde thrusting into him, to be thrusting into that cool body. It was exhilarating.

Spike sucked and nibbled, licked and worshipped Xander's flesh. His hard cock slipped in and out of that cool mouth and the brunet's hips moved faster and with more force. He shuttered, gasping and groaning softly at release blinded him and the vampire sucked him dry. Letting the softening flesh slip from his lips he gently kissed the head, before standing smoothly to pull the boy into his arms. "You taste good, pet."

He couldn't help it. He could feel the heat seep up his chest and neck and stain his face in a deep red hue. "How...how much time do we have?" He couldn't really believe he was asking, but he could feel Spike's hard cock bulging against his own naked thigh. His own skin formed goose flesh in the cool air conditioned room. His own pants hung low on his hips as he stood on shaky legs, partly held up right by the counter and partly by the blonde holding him.

"Why luv? What do you do you have in mind?" The knowing glint in Spike's eyes told Xander that he knew exactly what he had in mind. This time nervous fingers fumbled with the fastening to tight black jeans. The blonde vampire hissed in relief as his cock, painfully hard, finally was released from the constricting material. Warm, hot, hands tenitively touched, stroked and caressed along the cool flesh. "Just do what ever you feel comfortable with. I know this is your first time."

Xander smiled at the blonde and his touches became more sure, more bold. Wrapping one arm around Spike, Xander drew him tight against his chest, the other pumping that perfect cock. "I just...I wanna touch you." He could feel the almost permanent blush resting on his cheeks but he didn't care any more. Because Spike was whimpering and shuttering in his arms. Because that pale flesh in his hand was leaking precum and those slim hips were thrusting softly. Because the gasps and moans were caused by him. The Zeppo, dough nut boy, Xander. He was causing the Big Bad himself to beg for release. He couldn't help but feel powerful, wanted, needed, desired.

Spikes cock throbbed, the tension building almost unbearably in his gut, his thighs. And then Xander's other hand came down and gently caressed his balls and his world simply exploded. White light so bright it scorched and flashed behind his eyes as he convulsed uncontrollably. Cool liquid coated Xander's hand as he pumped the slowly withering cock gently. Looking into Spikes half lidded eyes, he brought his hand to his mouth, licking the sticky liquid off slowly. Savoring the flavor.

Spike watched, mesmerized my the erotic scene. Xander's tongue and lips cleaned is own damp flesh and he growled low in his throat. Diving in, he captured those innocently wicked lips with his own, kissing, nibbling, tasting himself. Erotic, beautiful, sensual, addictive. All those things wrapped up into one. But they both kew why they had to draw apart and they pulled on clothing, adjusting themselves.



Stealing one final, almost chaste kiss from the brunette, Spike smiled
and took that warm hand in his. "Come on. He's done talking, and
stalling. It's time for question and answer." Gently, he led Xander
back into the living room area of the flat, ignoring the shocked stares
from the scoobies at their entwined hands and smirking at the Gods
knowing glances. Seeing only a single, small area open on the couch,
Spike seated himself before pulling the young man down to sit on his
lap. He wrapped his arms protectively around his waist and Xander
leaned back into him.

"William. Alexander. So nice of you to join us, finally." Ares
knowing look and the sly smirk on his face made Spike chuckle. Xander
was certain that the deep crimson flush staining his cheeks was never
going to fade. Spike's arms tightened around him and Xander turned to
face him. They looked at each other for only a second as Spike's smirk
melted into a genuine smile and Xander's blush vanished. Without
worrying about anyone else in the room, Xander leaned down and pressed
his lips against Spikes.

"Boy's, enough already." Ares plea was amused and gentle but the two
broke apart, if reluctantly. "I don't think everyone has to see the
show." Xander glanced at his friends, ready for an explosion of anger
and questions. But that was none. Maybe it was the shock of the whole
situation. Maybe they didn't care. Maybe they finally trusted him to
make up his own mind. For what ever reason, it was silent. "Now, if
there are any questions I will try to answer them."

At first it was quiet. ANd then the sound of movement as the small
blond stood, feeling small in the room full of larger people. "Ok. Let
me see if I have this strait." Buffy's normally whiny tone seemed more
mature all of a sudden. "You're" She pointed to all of those not with
the Scoobie gang. "Olympians, Gods. You basically got kicked out of
you home and some of you killed by this immortal hero turned psychotic.
Now to do this he teamed up with you daughter. "She pointed to Ares.
"And this bard bitch started spreading word of 'The Way' that eventually
led to Christianity." Several heads nodded and she smiled with
satisfaction and pride in herself. "Now, our hero turn evil bad guy is
back. And you guys could come back. And Xander is the key to it all.
What I don't get...well I get that you had to make sure we wouldn't
freak first. And I get that you had to protect Xander and all of us.
But why is this guy after you all? How exactly does Xander fit in to
all of this? Why tell us now? It's just, I get it. I do. But at the
same time I don't? Ya' know?" Buffy looked at all the people in the
small apartment. It was amazing that he claustrophobia hadn't kicked in
yet. It was a little known secret but she really hated crowded or small
places. They just gave her the wiggins. She glanced at Eris, the
goddess was sitting close to her family. SHe looked so young. It just
messed with her head that the woman was centuries old. But then again
Angel was over 200 so it shouldn't bother her.

"The God doing this wasn't always a god. He was a demi-god. My half
brother Hercules. I don't know what happened. When we were kids we
were so close then one day he hated me and didn't want me around any
more. And I got pissed and it just escalated. He was always stopping
my wars, which had to be started to ensure the prosperity of the people
in the first place. But he never saw that." Ares look was one of great
sadness and deep seated anger.

But then a short blonde man stepped forward. he was compactly built
with a kind face. "I haven't been introduced yet. I'm Iolaus.
I...Herc was my best friend. But even I didn't understand why he did
some of the things he did. I remember one of the last times we talked
as friends. It was right after he became a god. He got his hands on
some ambrosia, i don't even know how. He was erratic, not ale to sit
still. Rambling, I could barely make sense of what he was saying." His
body gave a slight shudder at the memory. "He kept going on and on
about how he knew how to get rid of them. About how there would finally
be peace. But except for a few small fights there was peace. It was
like listening to the ravings of a mad man."

"If Hercules hated Gods so much how come he was friends with you?"
Willow's deep green eyes held knowledge, power and an inquisitive nature
that just made her endearing. Iolaus smiled at her gently.

"I wasn't always a god. I was mortal and I have died more times than I
can remember. But when Herc became a God the other Gods thought that if
I was one too it would stable him out. But he just got more obsessive.
Since a few of the gods liked me I got to hang around with them and I
survived." He smiled at Strife, his co prankster. "I never really had
any hang-ups with the gods. Not like Herc and Xena. Sometimes I think
they twisted things around in their minds to justify their actions."
His looks was sad and pained but accepting.

"OK, so I sorta get why he's pissed. But why Xander? Why is he stuck
in the middle of it?" Buffy still stood away from the crowd in the
middle of the room. She felt at ease with these people, but she still
needed answers.

Strife stepped forward, Cupid holding his hand tightly. "Well it's like
this." He took a deep breath. "I died a while back and I was gone, for
good I wasn't supposed to come back. But I did. On one condition.
That part of me stay behind. Kinda like you sacrifice an arm or a leg
to save the rest." He smiled brightly at the idea until he noticed the
grimaces from the mortals. "Sorry, my bad. Well it wasn't an arm or
leg but part of my soul. This 'part' would be reborn as a mortal who
would eventually claim a place at my side. Kinda like a little brother.
Mischief." He pointed at himself, then at Xander. "And Mayhem."

Strife let go of Cupid's hand and walked to stand directly in front of
the young man. "I been waiten' centuries to find you." He pulled the
stunned mortal into a bone crunching hug. Xander shivered as
electricity rolled down his spine and he felt calmly at ease for the
first time in his life. Pulling apart the two dark haired men looked
eerily similar. Mischievous smiles lit both faces.

"Bloody hell. Just what we needed, two of them." The entire group of
people turned to Giles and he sighed. "Buffy, the reason Xander is the
key, so to speak, is because being a 'god' and living on the hellmouth
all his life, he's part of it. He's in tune with it. If Hercules were
to kill him, hell of earth wouldn't begin to cover it. The demons would
take over and there would be no spell to stop it, no sacrifice or last
minute chances. The Gods would be gone and dead, humans over run and
earth destroyed." There was a heavy silence as it all finally sunk in.

Xander sighed loudly and flopped back onto his lover. Spike grunted but
didn't complain. "Why me?"

Buffy grunted in pain and frustration as she punched the sand bag in
front of her. She still couldn't quite believe everything that the Gods
had told them. Oh sure, she believe they were Gods. She believed that
she and the other scoobies had to save the world once again from someone
hell bent on destroying it. And to some extent she believe all they
said about Xander. How else could be have survived on the hellmouth for
so long. He was clumsy and silly. He tried but he just couldn't get
the coordination of fighting. And he did cause trouble whether he meant
to or not. But her mind just couldn't seem to wrap around the whole
idea of well, everything.

She threw another half hearted punch at the hanging bag. Maybe it was
just sensory overload. Too much info in too short a time. She just
needed some time to get use to it. But she felt that she really didn't
have the time she needed. She just needed to get over it is what it
was.

"Hi."

Buffy jumped at the softly spoken word and whiled around to stare at the
petite brunette that now stood in the door way. And she was another
thing to think about. Eris. After meeting her and talking to her that
first time over coffee she hadn't been able to get her out of her head.
There was just something about her. But was it only a god thing. A
spell or something to make her trust the woman easier. She wasn't sure.
"Hey."

"I hope I'm not interrupting." Eris' voice was hesitant and tentative.
"I just thought, maybe we should talk or something."

Buffy nodded and motioned to the couch pushed against the wall. As they
sat she noticed how Eris' hand seemed to reach for hers but the woman
stopped and laid it gently in her lap instead. "What do you want to
talk about?"

Eris looked at the blonde ready to bolt. "I...I wanted to apologies
I'm sorry you got dragged into this. And I'm sorry for the deception.
But we couldn't tell you until we were sure."

Buffy nodded, then met Eris' eyes with her own. "I know. I mean,
you're a God right? You don't have to explain anything to me. I'm just
Buffy, just the slayer. I's a god-thing. I get that." She paused at
Eris' shake of the head.

"No Buffy. I'm centuries old but it took me a long time to realize a
few things that have always been true. I can't manipulate peoples lives
for any reason, and especially not for my own whims. There's a saying
that mortals have. With great power comes great responsibility. It's
true." She sighed and inched closer. "Yes, we're Gods. nd what we do
is very important. From love, to war, to dreams to crops to livestock.
We govern and keep it all in balance. And it took me a long time to
figure that out." Her hand finally reached out and took the blondes.
"I'm sorry for lying, and I'm sorry you had to get involved. I really
like you Buffy. I was hoping you liked me too." Could she sound more
pathetic.

But before she could berate herself for sounding childish and stupid,
warm lips pressed against hers and she gasped into that welcoming mouth.
Her arms slid around the slayer and they shared their first kiss.
------------
"So, you're a God."

"Yeah."

"And you're dads are Cupid and Strife."

"Yeah."

"Oh." The teenager stood away from the young God, not sure what to say
or do. Dawn looked at him, his wings finally visible. He was even more
beautiful. "Michael's not your real name is it? And if Cupids your dad
then what are you the God of?" And she was babbling.

"My name is Bliss and I'm also the God of it. I can feel what people
are feeling and I know if they are lying. Weather or not they are
feeling love or hate. It's kinda corny I know..."

"No it's not." Dawn stood right in front of Bliss, startling him
slightly. "I think it's pretty cool. You can tell when people are
lying. Like if someone is being nice but really they hate you. Or if
they are always so mean but secretly they have a crush on you. It's
gotta be a lot less confusing. She easily took his hand and smiled at
him.

He smiled back, pulling her against his chest and wrapping her in a
tight hug. "Yeah it is."
----------
He just needed to breath. For just a minute. The small area behind the
shop was quiet and full of shadows. But he wasn't afraid. He knew that
if anything tired to come after him he would have more people protecting
him than he ever knew in highschool. It was funny. He always
considered himself to be the expendable one. He didn't have slayer
strength or watcher smarts. He didn't know magic. Hell, except for a
short possession by a hyena he couldn't even claim that. And now he was
a God. Talk about a mind jerk.

It was just too much to take in while people surrounded you and it all
seemed to crowd in. Maybe it was a mistake. Gods can make mistakes,
can't they. Maybe they just got the wrong guy. Maybe that was it. It
was one big mix up. Like the rest of his life. But he could still feel
the power surge he had gotten when he hugged Strife. He could feel his
skin tingle and his blood felt hotter running through his veins. He
felt stronger, healthier. And deep down he knew it couldn't be a
mistake. No matter how simple his like would remain if it was. Well
simple as it ever was anyway.

And that made it scary. That made it beyond scary, strait to
terrifying. Because that made everything else they had told him real.
That meant there was some insane God out there wanting him dead. And he
was tied to the hellmouth some how. Which made sense in a twisted sort
of way. It made sense that all the crap that happened seemed to happen
to him. What with being a demon magnet and being possessed. Made sense
that he would be more susceptible, even more so than a witch or a
slayer.

Oh and lets not forget the new complication at the top of that list.
The absolute most confusing thing about the whole damn situation.
Spike. He had no doubt about Spike's feelings. He knew what ever the
vampire felt for him was real, at least to him. And he had to admit the
passion was real and very intense. And he wanted more of it, soon. But
it just seemed to be another complication on top of a long list of
complications. And what did he feel. Lust, definitely lust. That one
emotion was at the forefront of all the others. But there was something
else there as well. Affection. A genuine caring for the blonde brit.
It was just too consuming and over powering.

"Hey."

Xander jumped at the soft word. He really needed to pay more attention.
But instead of Spike standing behind him when he turned the dark God
Ares stood at the back entrance. He stood with ease and almost
predatory grace. His eyes seemed to take in every shadow and suspicious
looking area in one single glance. "How are you?"

"Fine." Xander wanted to laugh. How was he? What kind of question was
that? "I'm fine. This sorta thing happens all the time. I'm being
told very other week I'm a God and someone is trying to kill me. It's
an every day occurrence for me. Nothing new here." And he was
babbling. Constant and not making too much sense in his own ears. The
tears that had threatened to fall earlier silently trailed down his
cheeks and he wanted to turn away. He was weak. He couldn't handle it.
It was too much. And it all crashed in on him.

Ares was there to catch him when he stumbled and almost fell. Strong
arms crushed him to that broad chest and surprisingly gentle hands
soothed him "It's alright. I know it's hard. It's scary and big and
overwhelming. And you have every right to be afraid and angry and what
ever else your feeling." He held him tight trying to block out the
surrounding world. "But you're not alone. You won't be alone. We all
are going to be here to help you and protect you. And not just to save
the world or to protect our own asses. We, all of us, Gods, mortals and
one blonde vampire are going to protect you because we care about you.
Love, respect or what ever, we care about you"

Xander's tears just seemed to flow stronger and more persistently. His
own arms wrapped around the dark God and he for once in his life felt
safe and protected. Ares kissed his head softly and felt the emotion
drain out of the young God. He could feel the young child in his arms
sag against him and he shifted to support his weight. A slight noise
alerted him to Spike's presence and he motioned with his head for the
vampire to come closer. With very little difficulty Ares moved and
allowed Spike to take his place. //You should explain. He needs to
hear it.// The gentle voice sounded in Spike's mind and he nodded to
the dark God.

Spike held the trembling, exhausted man close, supporting his weight and
soothing him. "Shh, I've got you. Nothing's gonna hurt you. I
promise.' His words were soft and gentle and slowly Xander's silent
tears stopped and his trembling eased. But Spike's arms never let him
go, didn't loosen in the least. He held the brunette close, almost
clinging to him even as he held and comforted.

"Xan." And his hold slackened slightly to let the other man look him in
the eye. "I need you to listen to me and really hear me. And I don't
want you to interrupt me." At Xander's nod he took a deep unnecessary
but needed breath and steadied his own nerves. "When Strife told me I
had ta' protect ya' I was like why me? Why do I have to protect the
White Knight? I'm the Big Bad. I'm an evil vampire and I don't go
around making sure the good guys survive the night. But hey, he was a
God. Who's gonna argue with a God, at least for long." He laughed
silently at himself. "And then I met Ares and I started to really pay
attention. To you, to me, to everyone else. I started to watch what
was really going on around me. And I realized, I like fighting for
something. For someone."

His arms tightened and he savoured the feel of the mortal in his arms.
"And I started to really see you. Hell I didn't have much choice, did
I. And I noticed something. You weren't who I had you pegged as.
You're smart and funny. You go out every night with nothing but a cocky
grin to fight against God knows what. You had every right to say Fuck
It and get the hell out of Dodge. But you stayed." He smiled at the
embarrassed blush that crept into the boys cheeks, kissing his nose
gently. "You fight because you want to. Not because it's your duty or
sacried right but because you have heart and courage and a strength
about you that was there a long time before these God's showed up."

Xander shook his head, refusing to listen to the soft words spoken in
that british lit. "Spike..." But a gentle finger pressed against his
lips quieted him.

"I'm not finished." His smile was soft and affectionate. "Like I said
I watched and really paid attention. And something happened. I wasn't
expecting it or asking for it. But it happened anyway. I started
feeling things that I hadn't felt in a very long time." His smile was
gentle and sweet and Xander could swear he was seeing William, not
Spike." Kinda like spending your entire life in a dark, cold room with
not window's and no light. And then finding yourself outside, free of
wall and cold. Being warm after centuries of freezing. Standing in the
sunlight."

Finally Spike pulled away, turning his back on the dark haired man that
made up his heart. He had to say the rest at a distance. Because this
was it. And Xander could leave. And he knew he couldn't handle the
rejection but he had to know. He had to tell him. "You're my sunlight
Xander. I thought I knew what love was, that total and utter devotion.
I had no clue. What I feel is so intense and powerful. It's eats me up
inside. I can feel it burning through me till all that's left is you."
Turning back to the person he knew could shatter his world he smiled
though his own silent tears. "I know I'm a vampire. I know I'm the
kinda of creature you have spent your entire adult life fighting
against. But I love you." And he said it. Out loud and to the one
person who needed to hear it.

The silence seemed so heavy and dead, it weighed down on them. Neither
could look the other in the eye and SPike had the distinct urge to run
and bury himself in a very deep grave. "Spike, I..."

"Yeah, silly isn't it. Hey, just chalk it up to the chip blowing a
circuit and old age insanity or something like that. It's no big deal.
Shouldn't you be getting back in. I know that the..." A warm finger
pressed against his own lips and silenced his nervous chattering.

"It's my turn." Bright, open blue eyes started into deep chocolate ones
and the vampire nodded. His smile was understanding and gently
accepting. Without hesitation Xander pressed his lips to SPikes and
gently kissed his cool mouth. It was brief and tender and totally
loving. It stole both their breaths and rocked them to their core.
Pulling away, Xander looked at the grinning vampire who's arms were
wrapped securely around his waist. "Don't hurt me." That was all he
said. All he needed to say. 'Don't hurt me because I am giving you my
heart. Don't leave me because I'm falling in love with you. Protect me
from the darkness, from myself.' Those three words spoke volumes.



He smiled, his once handsome face was contorted with madness and hate.
They were such fools. They couldn't protect the boy. No matter what
they did. He would die. He would die and they would finally be gone.
Banished from the world they had corrupted and used as their own
plaything. It was perfect.

He watched as they all gathered close, trained and prepared for a battle
they could never win. And they knew it was hopeless. How could they
defeat him? How could they hope to stand a chance against him and his
slowly growing army of demons. They were out numbered and out classed.
The pathetic band of mortals and Gods didn't stand a chance in Hell..

The dark pool of water shifted and the image changed to show his own
troops. Preparing their own way. Blood flowed from the lips of the
night walkers as they gained strength and power. Demons forged weapons
of power, magic and death. And his smile grew darker and more
psychotic. It was almost time.

Waving his hand he banished the images playing out in front of him and
turned to the woman slowly dressing. His ace in the hole. His wild
card. His secret weapon. Hercules let his eyes roam over the blonde
demoness and smiled. "My dear, are you ready?"

Anyanka smiled and nodded curtly. Pulling her leather pants over her
slim hips she sighed as Hercules stepped up and ran a wanton hand up her
inner thigh. "Don't start something we can't finish." But her body
contradicted her own words and see moved closer to him, running her
hands down his own muscled chest.

Hercules laughed and pulled her into a brutal kiss. "We will finish
this, later." He had been so clever. Getting the little wench to pose
as a mortal. Getting her to seduce the young, naive boy. No one
suspected the spy among them. She was the perfect weapon against his
enemies. They trusted her. THey fell for the dumb act and accepted her
into their lives. And now Hercules knew everything he need to about
them all. He knew their weaknesses and strengths. Their loyalties and
their misgivings. And she would be the key to defeating them. It's
time lover. It's time to play your part and be rewarded. You will sit
by my side as Queen."

It had been so easy to get her. To make her his own. And she would be
the perfect consort to a King. Beautiful, cunning and deadly. No love
lie between them but he knew she would follow him to the end. "Play
your role well, it will be the performance of a life time."
------------
Sweat rolled down his body as he panted for breath. Adrenaline and long
suppressed ability and emotion flowed through is veins. Every muscle in
his body was heavy and exhausted, tingling with exertion. Xander
shivered as the cool air caressed his over sensitive flesh and sighed.
He had never been so physically and emotionally spent in his entire life
and all he wanted was to lie down and sleep for a week.

But the weight in his hand reminded him that he still had a lot to do
before he could rest. Strife smiled in understanding, or maybe just
reading the thoughts that went through his younger brothers head. "We
ain't done yet." Strife's own body glistened with exertion and sweat.
Both men had shed their shirts early on and now their chest's heaved in
harmony. "We got a lot of work to do. You got talent. But we got to
get it to perfection. And we ain't got a lot of time to do it in."

Xander nodded, hefting the sword up and to the ready. Parry, thrust,
swing arches and the sound of metal clashing against metal. And sword
play was only a part of his training. Spike and Buffy were relentlessly
teaching him hand to hand combat. Spikes knowledge of the martial arts
was extensive and Buffy's own unique style gave him and edge. An edge
he needed.

Ares had been adamant about Xander's training. He wanted to young God
to be able to defend himself when the need arose. He didn't want to
leave him helpless. Strife was only one of his weapons instructors.
Ares and Cupid were teaching him different moves and techniques. Iolaus
instructed him in tactics and battle plans. He also made him study
every move Hercules had in his repertoire, at least all those the blonde
God could recall. Eris was teaching him knife throwing and how to
attack with the short blades.

Giles was teaching him focus and he and the two witches were making him
study arcane works. Protections spells, deflection and wards were at
the top of this list.

And every night Spike held him and eased the ache in his muscles with
tenderness and love.

He needed it all and pushed himself father and more relentlessly than
any of the others. Because he finally understood. Yes he needed to be
protected, yes his life was the most important thing. But so was
everyone else's. He depended on them as much as they depended on him.
So he pushed himself to the limit and beyond. He studied harder and
more ruthlessly than he ever had in highschool. Because yes he would
defend himself. And he would win. But he would defend the others as
well. They were his life, his love. His family.

Quiet. Blessed quiet. What a rarity and joy. No one questioning, no
one chattering about nonsense and boys. No sounds of fighting, of
practicing and working out. Not even the silent sound of pages turning
for research. It was quiet. No other soul in the room, in his home,
except for him. And it was a gift from the Gods themselves. Because he
needed the silence to prepare himself for the impossible. He needed to
focus the silence gave him to plan and prepare.

Sitting silently still as a stone on the couch, he lifted the glass to
his lips. The amber liquid poured down his throat and warmed his chest
and stomach. Just something to help him unwind and relax, to clear his
head and let him think strait. He needed these times when no one was in
his home, no thoughts in his head. When no one could get in and see
what a mess he was and he could just lose himself in the silence and the
stillness. It was his only release.

And it was so hard to find now a days. Now that they were here. Now
that he had to see them every day. Now that he had to see him. Now
that he had to work side by side with him. Now that he had to be
pleasant and polite because they all needed that calm from him. He
couldn't be petty or snide. He couldn't show what was in the inside
because they all couldn't afford it. They couldn't afford the
distractions. But it was so damn hard.

It was hard to look at him and not want to leave the room just to get
some peace from his own heart. It was hard not to see him and remember
all the times they had and all the experiences they shared. It was hard
to see him as a God and not as the man he had known so many years ago in
his youth. Because that's all he knew him as. Because that tormenting
man that haunted his dreams had lied and betrayed his trust. He had
only told the truth after he had discovered it. And it was too late.
The damage was done. The betrayal and deceit were there for all to see.

And he felt like such a fool.

A fool for believe that anything he said or did meant anything. A fool
when his heart betrayed his mind and begged to forgive him. When his
body was traitorous and wanted to lean against him and feel that touch
just one more time. A fool for ever thinking that he was loved by the
man who broke his heart. The God who had toyed with him. What a fool
he had been.

What a fool he still was. Because no matter what he does, no matter how
he refuses to admit it it's still there. The feeling, the devotion.
The want to be held and caressed. And after everything, after years and
years apart how can he still want the man. After the betrayal of his
lie how can he want to be held and want to hold. Perhaps it was just
fate or destiny playing with him.

A flash of light and a shift in the air brought him out of his self
loathings and musings. He had no reason to look to know who it was. He
could still just sense him in the room and know it was him. Even after
all these years, his body still remembered. "Speak of the devil. Or
should I say God." He couldn't keep the sneer out of his voice or the
hurt. The God knew what he had done.

Iolaus looked at the man sitting so defeated on the couch. He should
never have let it go on this long. He should have never let it happen
at all. He should have never lied. Because that beautiful spirit that
he loved so much was tainted and dwindling in the man's heart. But how
do you explain that you are a God. How do you explain that you were
once a mortal man and now you have power and health and immortality.
How do you explain that you have seem hell and heaven because you have
died several times only to be brought back.

He couldn't.

But he should have tried. He should have trusted the heart of the man
he had loved and tried to explain. He should have trusted the man to
understand or at least accept. Instead he had lied. Lied to himself
and others. Lied to protect his own heart from aching when the man
left. And he had. But not for the reason he thought. He thought he
would never accept what and who he was. But he was stronger than that.
He could. It was the lie and the deceit he couldn't accept. And it was
all his fault.

"If I said I'm sorry would it make a difference?"

Rupert snorted and finally looked up. All the pent up emotion and heart
ache was shining in his eyes and Iolaus wished he would turn away again.
Because how could he be strong and noble when he had to look at those
beautiful eyes. Eyes that carried a soul he was now watching die.
"Sorry for what exactly. For not trusting me. For betraying me, my
feelings. For lying to me. For telling a stupid boy you loved him and
would never hurt him. But you did. Because he trusted you with
everything and you couldn't trust him at all. You lied. You lied to me
and you lied to the others. You told them that I was no one. That I
was just someone that you fancied for a time. That I was a convenience.
You told me only minutes before that you loved me and then you tell them
I'm nothing." He snorted again and wiped away a stubborn tear that
refused to stay hidden. "You have a lot to be sorry for. And I don't
really want to hear it."

Iolaus knew all of it was true. He had lied. He had not trusted him.
But, and his heart lit up with hope. "You're right. I lied to you. I
couldn't trust you with the one thing I knew you would accept, the
truth. I lied to everyone about you. But only because I was scared. I
was scared you would leave me and hurt me. Because Gods can be hurt by
mortals. And I knew you left it would kill me. Because you would take
my heart with you." He sighed. "I know I'm saying this all wrong. I
rehearsed this so many times in my head I should know it by now but I
just can't keep my thoughts strait. Rupert, I am sorry. I'm sorry I
lied. I'm sorry I didn't trust you. Because I know I could have. I'm
sorry I hurt you so badly. Please forgive me."

Rupert heard it all and his soul lifted only slightly. Because there
was something missing. Something said between the lines but not out for
all to see and it was killing him. Why couldn't he just say it.
Standing, he smiled sadly and walked to the kitchen. He needed for
brandy. "I understand. I was young and foolish and I shouldn't have
had so much faith in a single being. You are forgiven." He sighed and
turned his back on his 'guest'. "It's late and I have to be up early.
If you'll excuse me."

He expected the God to go. He expected the feel of the air shifting
once again and the silence to weigh in on him. He didn't expect the
strong arms that wrapped around his waist or the gently kiss on the back
of his neck. He didn't expect to be pulled back against a broad chest
and to feel the warmth and safety he had missed for so long. "But I'm
not sorry for loving you." His whisper was cool against his skin but
hot at the same time. Hot enough to burn and sooth and make his body
tremble. Those soft sure lips brushed against his ear and he sighed,
not in disappointment or loss but in longing and want so strong it hurt.
"Because I still do."

And he was crying, like a baby in the arms of the one being he knew he
needed more than life. He was crying because he wanted it to be real
but couldn't bear it if it was. But those arms didn't disappear and
they didn't falter.

Turning he pressed his lips against those he had remembered in his
dreams and he felt those arms hold him impossibly tight. Salt and
sadness, happiness and laughter wrapped up to fold them in warmth and
need and love and longing and forgiveness. They lost themselves in each
other and in the feel of emotion and craving that surrounded them. And
as they moved silently to the bedroom, never releasing the other,
somewhere between the living room and the bed the words were whispered.
And they were meant and cherished and felt. 'I love you.'



Her eyes scanned all the dark places on the street. Her senses open and
taking all the dangerous movements or suspiciously dark corners. She
needed to unwind and let lose. She had been so tense. Concentrating so
hard on preparing and planning that she could feel herself thrumming
with built up tension. She needed to work out the frustration of
waiting and planning and practicing with some good hunting. That's what
she needed. A honest to goodness hunt to take her mind off of
everything else for a while.

She glanced at the woman beside her and smiled slightly. Normally this
was the sorta thing she did on her own. The hunting, stalking and
killing bit. The bit where she wasn't the slayer but a huntress on the
prowl. Something that was all hers. But the brunette had insisted on
coming and something in her gut told her she would understand. She was
the Goddess of Discord and she had a feeling she would appreciate a bit
of time alone away from everyone else.

Buffy let her mind drift for a moment and just clear. Eris. Such a
pretty name, almost as pretty as the woman who owned it. They had been
spending so much time together. Getting ready for the end all fight of
fights to come. But she still hadn't been able to be alone with the
goddess. They hadn't had the time to talk or even just be. But she
knew she wanted to get to know the woman better.

She had never even been remotely attracted to women before. But then no
other woman was like Eris. She was soft and beautiful but at the same
time you could see this hard edge to her. It was all in her eyes. The
way they could be deep and bottomless with affection with just a look.
Or hard as diamonds. There was something that called to the blonde
slayer. A power and force that wouldn't let go of her.

Suddenly small hands grabbed her shoulders and shoved her hard against
the wall in a dark, secluded alley. Buffy cursed, she had lost her
focus and was caught off guard. She tried to struggle but lost all her
fight when soft pliant lips pressed against hers. Her arms wrapped
around the soft frame of the woman in front of her and she moaned. They
had only kissed a handful of times and it was different every time their
lips met. Before it had been hesitant. Or shy. Sometimes just a quick
caress of lips in passing. But this. This was intense and hard and
full of need and promise. A promise Buffy wanted to cash in on. She
wanted to drag Eris to her house and lock them away from the rest of the
world for days. She wanted to have the brunette to spirit them away
somewhere no one else could find them.

Eris pressed her slender frame up against Buffy's and slid her tongue
into the hot mouth of the other woman. Such a sweet taste. Sunshine
and french vanilla. Sadness and innocents and strawberry. Strawberry
lip gloss. Eris hissed as Buffy's hands slid down her spine and pulled
her hips flush against her own. Her own hand wrapped in shoulder length
blonde locks as the other eased down to a rounded breast. They seemed
to be energized. Needy and wanting of touch and scent and taste.

*CLAP, CLAP, CLAP* "My, my, my. What have we here?" The thick,
sarcastic voice broke the two apart, Eris jumping to snarl at the
intruder and to easily slip a throwing knife into her palm. Buffy
sighed and gave the stranger a 'what the hell do you want' look. She
could feel the stake hidden in her sleeve and flexed her arm slightly to
have it slid into her own hand. "What pretty little treats you are."

The familiar tingle running down her spine told Buffy that this was a
bad guy, of the undead variety. "Can we help you?" She eyed the vamp
for a moment. Not very old looking but that didn't tell you anything
where Vampires were concerned. Spike looked maybe 20 but in reality was
closer to 150. She didn't recognize the man himself so he must be new
in town. And that meant he didn't recognize her.

The vamp leered at them and smiled a wicked smile before his face
morphed and eyes flashed a glittering gold. "Just looking for a bite to
eat."

Buffy sighed. Definitely not very old. Only the young ones tried to
sound dangerous. The older ones would just pounce, either that or get
closer and then make their move. This one was giving them plenty of
time and space to move. Big mistake. He seemed almost startled when
neither she nor Eris appeared frightened. She started to pace and
mutter to herself. "You would think with everything going on in my life
I could have just a little uninterrupted time with my girlfriend but no.
No, the powers that be just can't let it rest. They have to remind me
that even I don't get a day off. You know what I mean." She looked up
at the vamp and smiled.

Before the demon could nod he burst into dust, the stake in his chest
falling to the ground. Eris smiled and stood back to admire Buffy's
work. She was impressed. She had distracted the vamp, and moved before
he could even follow it. She was good. Before she could even open her
mouth to compliment the blonde it was her turn to be shoved against the
wall and hard, demanding lips pressed against her.

It was brief but intense and when Buffy pulled away Eris was panting and
reaching out to pull her back. Buffy just shook her head and smiled.
"I think it's time we got home." The tremor in her voice told the
brunette that sleeping wouldn't be on the order of things they were
going to be doing.


tbc A date. He had a date. A real, honest to goodness date. A movie and
dinner date. With a girl date. An alone together, no parents, guardians
or friends around to mess up date. Bliss hyperventalated as he looked in
his body length mirror. He had a date, with Dawn. An honest to Gods
date.

They had spent so much time together. At the shop both training. Both
helping where they could but mostly staying out of the way and simply
watching. Finally both parental units on both sides agreed that they
couldn't face an all out war unprepared. They were both being included,
if only slightly. But they were both working and helping and learning.

It felt great to be included. To be treated as an adult instead of being
brushed aside as a child only getting underfoot. He knew he wasn't ready
for an all out fight to the death. He was no where near ready but at
least he was given the chance. The knowledge to defend if it became a
reality. But both he and Dawn were told in no uncertain terms to 'Stay
Out Of The Fight'. To hide and stay safe. But at least he wasn't as
helpless.

So why did he feel so helpless and out of control now. They had both
been shocked silly when Buffy and his dads came up to them. The adults
had simply smiled and said they should go out. Enjoy a night with each
other and be kids. Buffy reassured Dawn that she knew she would be safe
with Bliss. Daddy Cupid had made it clear that if there was 'any'
trouble to 'port them strait to Olympus. They had agreed. Both being
eager to jump on the opportunity to relax and just chill together.

And now he was scared stiff. He had a DATE. A date with a beautiful girl
who he liked. He was terrified.
------------
"Does this look ok?"

Buffy moaned silently and forced a smile. How many outfits, hairstyles,
and accessories had she been forced to comment on now? She lost track
after the sixth apparition of her sister. She couldn't take much more. A
gentle squeeze to her hand calmed her nerves and she smiled at Eris.

"It's beautiful, perfect Dawn." Eris smiled softly at the young girl.
Had she ever been that innocent. She couldn't remember that far back.
"Bliss will love it."

"Really?" Dawn seemed to vibrate in place with the excitement she felt.
She wanted to Bliss to like her outfit. She wanted the night to be
perfect and wonderful. It was their first date and she just wanted one
night to a 15 year old girl and enjoy. She wanted to be like everyone
else and have fun. Of course with Bliss being a God and all she figured
she had one up on all the girls at her school. But she did live in
Sunnydale after all, you never could be sure.

"Really, really." Buffy stood and hugged her younger sister. She
couldn't really believe she was going on her first real, approved of
date. "You're beautiful and will have a great time."

A knock at the door startled them and Dawn jumped to answer it. Bliss
stood in complete shock.

Dawn was gorgeous. Her long brunette hair had been pulled up into an
artfully messy twist, scattering down around her shoulders and back. She
wore tight jeans with a simple white button down shirt. A black tank top
showed through the thin material showing off her gentle curves but only
just so. She wore no makeup or jewelry, just let her natural beauty
shine through. He swallowed hard and help up a long stem white rose.

Dawn was speechless. He was perfect. His blonde hair was messy and
naturally lay in soft waves. He wore casual jeans and a simple blue
t-shirt to match his eyes. A brown suede jacket finished the out fit and
make the look just...work. A small part of her mind hoped that her
friends would see them together and drool. Taking the rose she brought
it up to her nose and inhaled the delicate scent. "Thank you."

Bliss grinned. "It is how these things are supposed to go, or so I'm
told." He blushed and ducked his head, could he sound any more lame.

Dawn giggle and took his hand.

"Dawn, eleven o'clock." The young girls shoulders dropped and she was
about to protest...

"Same for you Bliss. If you're not back home by eleven I will come
looking for you. And I'll bring Strife." Eris stood and glared at the
two as they turned and looked at her. Planting her hands on her slim
hips she dared either to argue.

"Yes Aunt E. Promise."

The two adults nodded and smiled as they teens made their escape. Buffy
slipped her arms around Eris' waist and kissed the back of her neck. "So
what are we gonna do while the kids are away?"

Eris turned in her arms and smiled. "I think we can come up with
something." After all, since the night of the patrol, alley and vamp,
they had hardly had any time alone. Why waist it.



Books were scattered over the quilted bedspread, the top of the desk and littered the floor. Papers lay everywhere, some with highlighted sections, others crumbled into balls and throne into the corner. The heap of paper balls was starting to overflow the small trash can in the corner. Pencils lay heaped haphazardly on the bed like small stakes ready to annihilate the information demon as soon as it was found. And to add to the clutter and chaos currently accumulating in the small room, a steady procession of empty soda cans began to pile on the floor.

But the young woman in the middle of the current disaster area didn't seem to notice. She didn't seem to care in the least. Her eyes scanned page after page of text, hand moving blindly. She took notes, scratched out useless information and highlighted need to know. Maybe it was a bit obsessive, even scary to witness such blind determination. But it was normal. At least it was for Tara as she watched the red head continue in her search. Search for what she wasn't sure. Just her never ending need to search.

She wasn't really worried. Willow always knew when enough was enough. But it was getting a little redundant and disturbing. Their lives had narrowed into a tunnel like vision state. They would wake before dawn and head to the Magic Shop. They would spend hours before and after school there; training, teaching, preparing. Then they would go on patrol. By the time they made it home all Tara wanted was to curl up with her mate and pass out. But then Willow would start her own research.

And now it was time for Tara to put her foot down. Willow needed to sleep before she burnt herself out and was no good to anyone. And selfishly, she wanted her girlfriend back. She missed just being with her. Yes, she realized the end of the world could possibly be fast approaching, but if they lost the focus of what they were fighting for how could they appreciate what they had. It was useless unless they knew mind, body, soul and heart what it was that was at stake. None of them could afford to lose that.

Silently she maneuvered through the debris strone about the room until she stood in front of the woman sitting haunched over on the bed. Squaring her shoulder she snatched the book out of Willows lap and glared down at her girlfriend. She need to be firm for this. "Enough."

Willow stared up at her lover in shock. "What?"

"Enough Willow." Tara sighed. "Take a break for one night. You've been at this for days. It's almost obsessive. I don't know what you're looking for so I can't even try to help. For one night just stop." Her eyes were pleading, begging really.

"I can't." Willows own voice cracked, her eyes cloudy with her own desperation. "You don't understand. I have to find enough spells. I have to protect him. He's my best friend and I'm not going to let some maniac try to kill him." Her friendship and love for Xander ran so deep it was almost scary. He was one of her oldest friends, her only connection to her own childhood. He was her brother in every sense of the word and if it was in her power she would protect him.

Tara's stance softened and she reached out to brush a lock of hair out of Willows face. "I know sweety. But you're gonna wear out at this rate. Take a night off. Relax and don't think about it. Start fresh tomorrow and I'll help you." Leaning down she pressed a gentle kiss against soft lips. "I miss you."

Willow gasped softly as she seemed to realize how much she had been brushing Tara aside. She suddenly felt horrible ass eh realized that the woman she loved has silently stood there and let her. Without hesitation she shoved all the books and paper off the bed. Reaching out she jerked on Tara's arm causing the other woman to fall, landing beside her. They giggled, holding one another tightly. "I miss you too. And you're right. I need a break." The look in her eyes said loud and clear that even though she was indeed taking a break and relaxation was the end result, rest wasn't on the order of things.




TITLE: The Gods Themselves Do Tremble
AUTHOR: Mistress
E-MAIL: america_bad_ass_babe@yahoo.com
RATING: NC-17
FANDOM: Buffy/Xena CrossOver
SUMMARY: Xander is the key to the Olympian Gods return. Hercules is beginning to wage all out war against our heros and everyone is trying to just survive. This is a glympse at two of our warriors and how they spend time before the battle actually begins.
DISCLAIMER: I own none of these characters, they and the company that created them own them. I am making no money off of this, it is simply a work or my imagination.
ARCHIVE: Those that have it already can take this one as well, those that want it just ask.
NOTES: Ok, it's been like a year and a half since anything for this has been posted. Wow, how time flies. I don't know if it was laziness, bordom or writers block but I finally wrote something for it. It's short but I hope you like it. Oh, and for those that remember me and remember how I write...BRING ICE...this parts kinda HOT!

"Oh, GODS!" The slinder body arched and writhed in sensual pleasure as the larger one moved above him. A dance older than time it's self. Hands grasping at sweaty flesh, emotions flying higher and higher as they thrust together in sensual, passionate need. Long legs wraped tightly around a muscular waist, pulling closer. "Please..." A low moan sounded as they began to grind against each other with increasing strength and speed.

Cupid sighed, grunting as he pressed deeper and deeper with in his husbands slick, hot body. "You never need to beg...not for anything...never." Bracing himself with one arm he slid the other down between them, grasping Strife's straining cock.

Strife shouted in relief and sobbed his need as Cupid's hand began to move in time with the thrusts of his pounding hips. His world narrowed, focusing on that one sweet, unbarable sensation; finally shattering into that bright release of orgasm. And as that one minute in time froze in beautiful ecstasy he knew he would always remember it as perfect.

Cupid's thrusts increased in intensity, his body straining as Strife's release spasmed around him. He wasnted more. Needed more. It would end too soon and then the harshness of reality would slap him in the face. The final battle, the darkness that loomed over all of them, threatening to end all he had. If this was the last time then he wanted it to last for eternity.

But passion and want ripped his release from him violently. scortching his blood and boiling his insides. Collapsing in exhaustion he panted as sweaty trembling arms surrounded him. "That was amazing." Strifes raspy voice was almost drowned out by the thumping of his own heart. "Intense." He looked at Cupid as the man lay a top him and kissed his glistening brow. "What is it?"

He wanted to laugh. After so may years together he could read him with just a glance, just looking into his eyes. "Is this it? Is this the last time? The last time we'll ever be able to do this, be like this?" He wanted to show Strife just how much he meant to him, how much he loved him. He ws terrified that he would some how never know.

Strife smiled, sad and full of realistic acceptance. "I don't know. No one can really tell the future. All there are are guesses and hopes and fears at what might really happen tomorrow or the next. We don't know how big a force we are up against, we don't know what's going to happen. But I do know this, we're ready. Xander, the Witches, the Slayer, we are all ready. We will do what ever we have to to win and survive. And no matter what happens, I will always love you." He sighed as Cupid pressed a gently kiss into his lips.

"How did you get so smart?"

"You. You make me better."

Cupid could feel the tears well up in his eyes and tried to fight them back. There was so much he wanted to say, so much he wanted to tell him. And the most imprtant thing of all he couldn't even share with his husband. If Strife knew then he would not be allowed to fight. And he had to be there. He had to protect his family. If it all ended then that's where he wanted to be, along side his father, son and husband.

But it was so hard not to tell him. He wanted his husband to share in the joy he had only just discovered. And if they won, if Olympus was finally set free, then he only had one wish. He wanted a daughter. A little girl with jet black hair and the deepest blue eyes. A single tear slid down his cheek as he briefly consentrated for only a moment on that tiny life force growing with in him.

"Love?" A gentle touch brought him back and he stared down into Strifes saphire eyes,

"I love you so much." He couldn't tell him, not yet. "I don't want to lose you."

"You wont, no matter what, you won't."




NOTES: OK, one more part that I finished and then I have to work on more. And I promise it won't be another year before you get a part. I wonder if anyone is even still reading this or even remembers this one...oh well.

They lay together, curled around one another as they stare up at the ceiling. Neither wanted to break the silence but both knew there were questions that needed answers and things that needed to be said. But they just lay, holding each other, praying. Neither knew if there was anyone that would answer a God's prayers but if there was they hoped they were listening.

Joxer lay with his head on his husbands chest, savoring the feel of closeness and warmth. They had seen so little of each other. They both had been preparing for the up coming battle and it felt so good just to be back in his lovers arms.

"We're going to win." The deep husk of Ares voice broke the stillness that surrounded them. "We're ready to battle anything that Hercules throws at us. We are greatly out numbered, the odds are stacked so high against us. But I can just feel it. We are going to win. We are going to beat Hercules and win, our family will be free. I just...I know it."

Joxer looked up at his husband, searching his eyes for truth and meaning. A slow smile spread over his face. "I'll hold you to that. And after this is all over, I want us back here. And I don't want to leave this bed for a very long time." He smiled even brighter into Ares hard his before settling back against his chest.

"I'm glad Xander accepted Strife as his brother. He needs family in his life. He's been so lonely." Joxer's tone was soft. "When are we going to tell him"

"When this is over. He needs to concentrate on his training, on winning. He doesn't need any distractions right now." Ares wanted to tell him, to explain. But now was not the time.

"Cupids pregnant."

"What!?!" He tried to sit up but the weight of Joxer against his chest kept him on his back. "How do you know?"

"I can sense it. When ever he's close I can sense two life forces with in him. His and his child's. Strife doesn't know, and I think I know why. Cupid wants to fight in the final battle, if Strife knew he would try to keep him hidden and safe. Right now Cupid needs to be with family. He has to stand with them. And Strife would only care that he kept himself out of harms way."

Hares nodded. He understood. No matter what the consequences, they all had to be there. "I won't say anything. It's his decision. I just hope he knows what he's doing and he's careful."

"He will be." Joxer stared off into the shadows of the room and sighed. "We will all be careful."

Ares held his husband tight, imprinting in his memories and senses this moment of peace. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I have been so distracted. This war is crucial to our survival. But even more important is the truth of knowing you love me. And I have taken it for granted lately. I shouldn't have." He kissed the top of Joxers head. "You are the most important thing to me in all existence. I was cold and dead before you warmed me to life with you smile, touch, and love. I need you to know that."

Joxer just smiled and smuggled deeper under Ares arm. "I know. I've always known. And nothing with ever change that."



tbc


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