AresJoxerCupidStrife - Scribe

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6

Title: Mine's Better Than Yours!
Author: Scribe
Fandom: Xena
Pairing: All Implied A/J, C/S, X/G, H/I
Status: WIP
Sequel/Series: Answer to pageant challenge onAJCS
Archive: Sure, but tell me where.
Disclaimer: Don't own any of 'em. If I did, they'dall be hale, hearty, and humpin' like bunnies. Nomoney gained.
Websites: and
Summary: Strife's and Ares's bragging on theirrespective sweeties leads to competition.
Warnings: Y'all've read my stuff before, right? Silliness, and possible spew warning.
Rating: R

Mine's Better Than Yours! Part One

*Ares sits on this throne, scowling at nothing inparticular*

(FLASH!) *blue sparklies, and a pale, leatherclad manappears in the Halls of War*

Strife: "Hey, Unc. Gee, yer lookin kinda dark, evenfah you."

Ares: "Thank you. You're looking chipperyourself--sort of curdled instead of just skim milk."*Strife pouts* "Can it, I'm not in the mood. Why areyou here?"

Strife: "I'm lookin fah Cupe. I've hardly seen 'imfah tha last two day."

*music, and many tiny voices singing "It's a smallworld after all*

Ares: QUIET!

*squeals, and music stops*

Strife: "What tha fuck was THAT?"

Ares: Our Beloved Author's attempt at humor. It'sbecause the source of our present discontent is thesame. I haven't seen Joxer long enough to even suck ahickey on his neck for ages."

Strife: *frowns* "Whassup?"

Ares: "They're together." *crackle* "And snuff thatfireball right now! It's perfectly innocent. They'reworking to stop a village fued. It's between twofamiles called the Hatfieldae and the McCoyus. They're working on having a boy from one family and agirl from the other fall in love and get married. Itisn't easy, because for some unexplained reasonthere's a high percentage of homosexuality in thatvillage."

Voice: *AHEM*

Strife: "What was that?"

Ares: "Our Beloved Author clearing her throat. Anyway, they should be done soon. I think they'retrying to keep the respective in-laws from killingeach other over the seating arrangements."

Strife: *sigh* "Damn, I hope so. I miss Cupie sobad. I can't wait ta run my fingah's through hissilky blonde hair."

Ares: "Joxer's hair is softer than Mjau's fur."

Strife: "An' Cupid's skin is tha most beautiful honeycolor." *eyebrow wiggle* "All ovah. First time 'polsaw 'im sunbathin nude he almost drove his nags intatha sea."

Ares: "Joxer's skin is as pale as cream, except when Imake him blush. You know, he blushes all the way downto his little pink nipples?"

Strife: *a touch aggressively* "Yah? Well, Cupe's gotbig, broad shouldahs, and a six pack o' abs."

Ares: *getting pugnacious* "Joxer is slim, but sturdy,and graceful as all fuck in bed, even if he IS a klutzout of it."

Strife: "Yah? Well, Cupie's cock..."

Ares: "Don't go there. I know we gods are kindaloosey-goosey on the whole incest thingy..."

Strife: "Witness our history."

Ares: *ignoring interuption.* "But I'm notcomfortable discussing my son's genitalia with hislover."

Strife: "Well, I got nothin against Joxie, but let'sface it--I won tha nookie sweepstakes."

Ares: "I love Cupid like a son... Wait a minute--heIS... nevermind. But Joxie's the bestest bed toy increation."

Strife: "Sez you." *Ares puts his hand on his sword**hasitly* "Prove it."

Ares: *hand drops* "Happy to. How?"

Voice: "A pageant."

*Strife lookes around, then looks at Ares*

Strife: "Beloved Author again?" *Ares nods* "Ya know,actually, that's a good idea."

Ares: "You can't have a contest with just twocontestants."

Strife: "So we call it tha 'Best Lover Pageant', an'open it ta anyone who wants ta enter their sweetie. We know that eithah Cupid or Joxie is gonna be thawinnah."

Ares: "Sounds good. We'll limit it to gods anddemi-gods and their lovers, or we'll have everyambitious mortal in creation entering."

Strife: *bounces excitedly* "We'll have an emcee an'a panel of judges, an' sashes, an'..."


*pink and blue sparklies, and fluttering hearts*

*Cupid and Joxer, both looking tired and relieved,appear*

*Cupid hugs Strife, and Joxer flops down on Ares'slap*

Joxer: *groans* "Thank Gods that's over with! Thosehill people are SO stubborn." *tweaks Ares's beardplayfully* "Almost like certain Gods of War I couldname."

*Ares give Joxer a tonsil tickling kiss*

Ares: "Tired, my little cream cake?"

*Joxer bats his eyelashes. Ares lookes to make sureStrife noticed how long they are*

Joxer: "Not too tired for you, my hunk of lustfulaggression."

Strife: "How 'bout you, Cupe?"

*Cupid grabs Strife's ass and kneads like he's tryingto make dinner rolls*

Cupid: "What Jox said."

*Strife turns sideways so Ares is sure to notice howadept Cupid is at butt caressing. Ares turnes theloveliest shade of pale green.*

Ares: "Glad to hear it, boys. Because after Strifeand I get through screwing you two through themattress, we have something planned."

*There is the sound of near maniacal giggles**everyone looks at Strife*

Strife: "Ain't me. Must be our Beloved Author."

*Joxer and Cupid turn pale, exchanging worriedglances.*

Cupid: "Uh-oh. The last time I heard that sound weall ended up on the Jerry Springer Show."

Title: Mine's Better Than Yours! Part Two
Author: Scribe
Fandom: Xena
Pairing: Implied only
Status: Finished
Archive: Receiving lists. Otherwise, ask.
Disclaimer: Not mine. No money made. Happy?
Websites: and
Summary: The pageant. First off--formal wear. *snicker*
Warnings: Might wanna make sure you don't have a mouthful of liquid at an inopportune time.Notes:
Rating: R

Mine Is Better Than Yours! Part Two

*heavily filled arena, stands bulging with assorted gods and godesses from all the worldwide pantheons, unnumbered demi-gods, brave and/or foolish mortals, and a huge contengency of nymphs, satyrs and creatures who STILL haven't been identifed, except by a few people currently sitting in padded rooms, wearing jackets with sleeves that buckle in the back*

*A tall bearded man, handsome, but with the smooth, untrustworthy look of a professional thief or used car salesman is shoved out onto the stage*

Auto: "No! I don't wanna! I'm telling you, however this turns out I KNOW someone is going to find an excuse to whip my ass! There's just too many divine egos involved."

*low, threatening God of War Growl (t).*

Auto: "Okay, okay!" *spreads arms wide, gives big, cheesy smile* "Helloooooo, Greece." *happy hometown roar* *pissed off, snubbed visitors roar* *hastily* "and all our awesome out of town visitors! I'm your host for tonight--Autolycus. Hey, it's a great day here at The Apollo. As you know, the regular blues and comedy review has been cancelled for the first ever Best Lover Pageant. We have a full house tonight--they stopped counting when they reached MMMMM. That doesn't cover all the millions watching this event on scrying pool or mirror. There are rowdy Pageant Parties right now in taverns and temples all over the globe, with people rooting for their favorites. The betting is kinda like the contestants--hot. We'll see if we can get odds later from Jimmie the Greek, the famous handicapper, bur right now it's time to explain the rules and introduce the contestants."

*looks serious*

Auto: "The contestants will compete by appearing in swimsuits and evening wear. There will be a talent competition and a question and answer session to test their poise, because we all know that this is not a beauty contest alone..."

*catcalls* *Mjau runs across the stage, looking around for who wants him* *Joxer runs out and picks him up, taking him back stage*

Ares voice: "Did you see that? He's good with animals."

Strife's voice: "Woof, woof! So's Cupe."

Gabrielle's voice: "Xena, you told me this would be a poetry review, and I could read some of my verse."

Xena's voice: "You will, you will. Hold still while I put this lip gloss on you."

Iolaus's voice: "Hey, lip gloss!"

Hercules voice: "NO! One of these days I'm going to learn not to make bets with you, but for now, no lip gloss."

Iolaus's voice: "Aw, Herky. I'll do that trick with the sponge that you like."


Hercules voice: "Give me the damn lip gloss."

Auto: *louder* "The winner will be chosen by a distinguished panel of judges. First off, head judge and King of the Gods--Zeus."

*Zeus stands and bows* *lukewarm applause* *Zeus starts to form a fireball* *CHEERS!*

Auto: "Next, one of the glam gods, that Solar Roller himself--Apollo."

*Apollo stands, throwing kisses to his screaming, fainting fans--male and female* *Zeus pouts because Apollo didn't even have to threaten anybody.*

Auto: "Then we have that expert of purple passion, that lady of love, that expert of the erotic and, may I say so, one hot chick..."

*zap* *small lightening bolt hits Auto in the butt* *small, psychotic brunette sitting on judges panel shakes red sparklies off her index finger*

Auto: "OW! Eris, bubeleh, it's part of the speil, I promise! The Goddess of Love, Aphrodite."

*Aphrodite stands, giggling and wiggling*

Auto: "We'll wait a moment for you men to adjust yourselfs." *pause* "Next we have the baddest chick I've ever known, and I mean that in a good way. Let's hear it (and I mean it, folks, PLEASE applaud) for the Goddess of Discord--Eris."


*Eris stands for a second, smirking*

Auto: "And last but not least, someone who actually has experience at judging. Mister 'Hey, I'm as inevitable as taxes'--Hades, God of the Underworld."

*Hades stands briefly*

Hades: "Can we get on with this? They're paving the road to Tartarus, and I need to keep an eye on them. They won't get it done with good intentions alone."

Auto: "Right you are! First up, the swimwear competition. Ah, won't it be wonderul to see all that pulchritude, both male and female, revealed before our bulging eyes..."

*Hermes runs out and whispers in Auto's ear.*

Auto: "What do you mean, they refused?"

Hermes: "Well, the bard said that it was sexist and exploitative and promoted the view of woman as a sex object. The others just said 'what the Tartarus is swimwear? We always skinnydip'." *Hermes blushes* "The mental images were a little too much for Strife, and Ares had to dump ice water on him to get him off Cupid. Strife wasn't pleased. I'd stay out from under heavy lighting fixtures for awhile."

Auto: "Well, what the fuck are we supposed to do now?"

Hermes: "Go straight to the evening wear competition."

Auto: "Fine." *Hermes runs off* "Sorry, no swimwear competiton. We'll just have to hope for plunging toga lines and short chitons. So, we'll bring out the contestants, and their proud partners. First up, Joxer..."

Ares voice: "Joxer the Mighty."

Auto: "Joxer the Mighty." *Joxer edges shyly out on stage, nudged along by Ares. Joxer is wearing a mini-toga that only comes halfway down his thighs, and a long, spectacular cape of peacock feathers. There is a coronet and a matching belt of golden leaves, and his sandals lace up past his knee.* "Whoa, Joxer. New look for you."

Joxer: "My brother Jace designed it for me. You should have seen it before I talked him out of the sequins and beads."

Ares: "Do the turn, do the turn."

Joxer: *sigh* "All right." *Joxer walks down the catwalk that extends out into the crowd. At the end he poses, hand on one hip, chin tipped down, then turns with a swirl of the cape and swings back up the walk, cape flowing behind*

Auto: *fans self* "Wow, not bad at all, Mighty One."

Ares: *God of War Growl (t)*

Auto: *raises hands* "Hey, you WANT people to think he's sexy, right? Next up, Cupid."

*Cupid walks out, pausing long enough to shake Strife off his leg. Cupid wears tight black leather pants with a strip of pink hearts running down the side of each leg. He wears a pink silk shirt, open to the navel, with cut outs in back for his wings.*

Cupid: "A piece of advice? NEVER let your lover and your mother get together to dress you."

Auto: "Hey, I like it. Pink and black--very fifties color scheme."

Cupid: *blank* "What?" *suspicious* "Auto, did you sneak into the Halls of Time again?"

Auto: "Moving right along we have our first non-Olympian contestant. Hey, maybe he didn't get a double dose of the ol' ambrosia flavored blood, but there are a lot of people who think he's simply divine, including the lover who entered him in this fiasco... I mean festive event. Here we have the Golden Hunter's entrant--Hercules."

*Hercules shuffles out onstage wearing an open shirt with billowing sleeves and lots of lace, and a plaid kilt. He glares at Iolaus.* *Auto stares, and opens his mouth*

Hercules: "Don't ask. Something to do with time travel and an immortal named Duncan he met while he was on vacation."

Auto: "Lastly we have this competitions only female entrant, who also happens to be the only full blooded mortal. But according to her lover, Xena, the Warrior Princess, this girl's blood is not only full, but hot. Welcome Gabrielle."

*Gabrielle, arms crossed over her chest, comes out in something that resembles a strapless seafoam green 1960's prom dress. Xena follows, beaming proudly.* *Gabrielle stares at Auto sullenly*

Gabrielle: "She made me wear crinoline petticoats. Two of them."

Auto: *shrugs* "Well, they should be an effective defense mechanism. I don't see how anyone could get anywhere near you while you're wearing those."

Strife: "Can't see why anyone would WANNA get near her, rustlies or not."

Gabrielle: "Xena, my staff is in the corner. Get it and bop him for me."

Xena: "Why can't you do it yourself?"

Gabby: "Because if I uncross my arms this dress will fall off."

Xena: "Gabrielle, will you quit getting distracted. And smile! Smile! What do you think I rubbed olive oil on you teeth for if not to have them glisten?"

Auto: "Aren't they lovely, people?" *whistles, stamps, hoots, drool, howls, and shouts of both 'show us your tits' and 'show us your naughty bits'. Security goes to find out how the Monty Python crew managed to crash this fiction.*

Joxer: *eyeing Gabrielle's dress* "Tell me, did you ever do anything to personally offend the Beloved Author?" *Gabrielle scowls, shaking her head.*

Author's voice: "No, but I'm firmly convinced that a certain person named Michelle was her direct descendant, and I still haven't forgiven her for what she painted on my forehead in drama make-up class."

*Hercules shivers*

Hercules: "I'd consider tossing in the towel, Gabby."

*Gabrielle squares her shoulders. The prom gown slips to half mast*
*wild applause* *Gabby snatches the gown back up*

Gabby: "No way. I'm not a quitter. Besides, do you have ANY idea how much shit I'd have to take from Xena?"

Iolaus: "As bad as missing an anneversary?"

Gabby: "Let me put it this way--suppose a woman could have her period, menopause, and labor all at once, and have it last for about six months."

*Massive shiver by every male within hearing*

Strife: "Ya know, that would explain a hell of a lot about Mom."

Auto: "Well, they're all lovely, aren't they, but only one can be the winner. After this break for a short message, we'll return for the talent competion, and the all important poise section."

*Everyone leaves the stage to change clothes, and Salmoneus takes the stage*

Salmoneus: "Friends, don't miss the chance to support your favorite. Vendors are passing among you right now with togas advertising your choice for Best Lover, Also available are souvenier scrolls containing candid bios and sketches of each contestant. We also have vendors with a wide assortment of refreshing beverages and snacks. Figs, grapes, honeycakes, fried locust, and for the more refined, candied lark's tongues. All you gods, ambrosia is available at Demeter's stand on the third level. For you mortals there's a refreshing choice of wine, mead, or ale. For those on a budget we have the Tavern Leftover Special. You know that. It's what the wenches empty out of the tankards after the barbarians fall into a drunken slumber. Guaranteed to contain only a tiny percentage of drool, and only one copper for all you can drink..."

Title: Mine Is Better Than Yours! Part Three
Author: Scribe
Fandom: Xena
Status: Wip
Archive: Sure, if I sent it to you.
Disclaimer: Only the Beloved Author is me, er, mine. All others belong to REnaissance. No profit made.
Websites: and
Summary: We move on to the talent and poise part of the the competition.
Warnings: Might want to stretch some Saran Wrap over the computer if you're going to be drinking anything while you read. :)
Rating: NC-17, to be safe.

Mine Is Better Than Yours! Part Three

Auto: "All you people on chamber pot breaks--two minute warning!

Gabrielle's voice: *SCREAM!* "My scroll!"

Strife's voice: "Hey, ain't my fault they didn't leave enough rags near tha facilities."


Strife's voice: *snicker* "Hey, I just thought tha papah could be put ta bettah use."

Xena's voice: "Calm down, Gabby."

Gabby's voice: "You think I'm scared of that skinny, pigment deprived maniac?"

Xena's voice: "Have you been taking DRUGS?! You SHOULD be scared of him. And if not Strife, check out how Cupid is scoping you right now." *Gabrielle notices the laser look Cupid is giving her. He's fingering an arrow.* "I happen to know that that particular arrow causes the one hit to fall in lust with the first person to use a cheesy pick-up line. For some reason he calls it his 'Disco Special', and it's WICKED. Do you really want to find yourself doing the nasty with some barbarian who says, 'Hey baby, you look like an VIII. Let's get together and make XVIII'?"

Gabby's voice: *whine that causes goblets in the upper levels of the stadium to shatter* "But Xeeeee-na! That was my best poem, and I don't have it memorized! What am I going to do for the talent?"

Xena's voice: "You'll just have to improvise."

Gabby's voice: "I suppose I could do some impromptu verse, but that's SO unprofessional."

Xena's voice: "Gabby, this is the Best Lover Pageant, not the Best Courtesan contest, it's SUPPOSED to be amature. Anyway, your on the spot poetry couldn't be any worse than some of the other talentss. I hear Hercules is planning to make maple syrup by squeezing a tree."

Auto: *very loud* "Welcome back! On to the talent competition now. First up we have Strife's entrant, Cupid." *Cupid, back in his usual attire and followed by Strife, comes out on stage* "Cupid, what terrific talent will you demonstrate for us today?"

Cupid: "Well, Auto, Strife had some suggestions, but since this event might be viewed by children, I vetoed them." *Cupid makes a 'shame, shame' motion at Strife, who shrugs* "So I decided to stretch myself and show off my archery skills.*

Apollo: *snort* "THERE'S a surprise."

Strife: "Shaddup, jealous."

Cupid: "I will shoot an apple off my lover's head."

Apollo: "Big woo."

*Strife stands on the far side of the stage and balances a golden apple on his head.*

Strife: "Ta make things more interestin, Cupie will be usin tha 'instant uncontrolable lust' arrow. Whoeveah it strikes will have tha hots fah tha first creature he sees--man, woman, in-between, or beast."

Apollo: "Huge sacrifice for you, since you'll be staring directly at Cupid."

Strife: "Shaddup, or alla yer nags get tha runs. Won't it be fun flyin behind 'em THEN?"

*Dramatic music as Cupid draws his bow. Well, as dramatic as you can get with lyres and flutes.* *Cupid's finger twitches as he prepares to release the arrow.*

Gabby's voice: ~"COUGH!"~


*The arrow narrowly misses Strife's right ear and flys off stage. There is a loud whinny.*

Xena's voice: "Argo!"

Salmoneus's voice: "She's okay, Xena! The arrow barely nicked her, it's just a scratch. Yes, you're okay, aren't you girl? You... you... Argo, why are you looking at me like that? Why are you licking your lips? You aren't going to bite...? OH, MY GODS!" *Salmoneus races across stage, followed closely by a cantering Argo, tail swishing flirtateously.* "Cupid! How long will that damn arrow last?"

Cupid: *calls after the disappearing pair* "There's no set time limit. Since she's in heat, just try not to get between her and any stallions. It could be messy."

Auto: "Next up, the sonnet stylings of that noted bard, Gabrielle."

*some groans, lukewarm applause* *Gabrielle comes out on stage with Xena*

Gabby: "I am unable to perform my chosen work due to what I consider to be sabotage by another pageant participant." *glares at Strife*

Strife: *making an 'isn't it just AWFUL?' face* "Awwww."

Gabby: "Therefore I must resort to extemporaneous poetry. I will take a suggestion from the audience and compose a poem from it.*

Aphrodite: *bouncing excitedly, causing several men to get whiplash* "Oo, oo! Nipples!"

Gabby: *pained* "Perhaps something a little less frivolous?"

Zeus: *puzzled* "Nipples are frivolous?"

Gabby: "Well, on guys, they are."

Strife: "Well, ain't THAT just a sexually prejudiced remark!"

Gabby: "Come on. They serve no purpose."

Iolaus's voice: "They're nature's thermometer. If they pop, put on more clothes."

Cupid: "They're great lie detectors in certain situations. Watch." *turns to Strife.* "Strife, do I turn you on?"

Strife: "Nah."

*Cupid grabs Strife and kisses him stupid, then rips open his shirt and points.*

Cupid: "See? His lips say 'nah', but his nipples say 'oh, baby!'"

Gabby: "No, no, no! They serve no NATURAL purpose on a male. They were designed specifically to nurse babies!"

Strife: "An' just how tha fuck d'ya think I been feedin' my lil Impetua tha last two months, ya ditz?"

*Gabrielle turns green, shrieks, and tries to run off stage* *Xena holds on to her*

Auto: "Quit trying to dodge the issue, Gabby. The subject is 'nipples'. Versify us.

*Gabrielle collects herself*

Gabby: "Okay, I'm a bard. I can do this. Give me a minute." *Strife materializes an hour glass and upends it, staring at the trickling sand. "I MEANT THAT FIGURATIVELY."

Strife: "As Xena prob'ly said tha first time she groped ya, 'tough titty'. Get on with it."

Gabby: "OH! Ooo, you..." *ahem* "Nipples, nipples... Okay. 'When Nature made her finest creatures, male and female made she them. Strength and grace in harmony, yin and yang, butch and femme. Copper, brown, or sweet rose pink, they adorn each chest. Bared on naked, smooth skin, or hidden in a furry nest. They pout when passion rises, eager for a touch, a kiss, a lick, a gentle squeeze, but pinching is too much..."

Strife: "Sez who? Depends on who, when, and..."

Cupid: *Cupid pinches him, guess where?* "Shut up, babe."

Strife: "Ooooo. 'kay."

Gabby: "Whenever we start love play, they add a special zing. All hail the lovely nipple! Let us its... uh their praises sing!"

Aphrodite: *blows nose* "That's so beutiful."

Author's Voice: "Why the heck didn't y'all choose nipple RINGS? I could've probably come up with something better."

Gabby: "What do you mean 'you' could've?! This was MY work!"

Strife: *whispers to Cupid* "She's CLAIMIN it?"

Gabby: *stamps foot* "Mine, I tell you! I created it!"

Author's voice: "Hasn't anyone explained to Blondie yet how this fanfiction thing works?"

Xena: "It's not like we haven't tried. I thought she would've gotten the message after the Jerry Springer fic, but her head is as hard as that damn staff she carries."

Author's voice: "We don't have time for this now." *very patient voice, as if speaking to a slow five year old* "Whatever you say, Gabby. Just step aside so Joxer can have his turn."

Joxer's voice: "Um, that's all right."

Gabby: "Oh, HELL no. If I had to go through this humiliation, so do you. Get your ass out here."

*Ares comes out, dragging Joxer*

Joxer: "Rees, please! I haven't done this for ages! Besides, I'm the God of Peace now, it doesn't APPLY! Let me juggle instead."

Ares: "Last time you tried that you were knocked unconscious by an apple and almost lost a toe to a dagger." *He pushes Joxer to center stage* "Sing."

*a large portion of the audience rises and starts to leave.* "Excuse me." "Pardon me." "Scuse." "Comin' through!" "I wanna get to my chariot before the traffic gets too bad."

*KRACKLE* *Ares blasts a hole in the stage* "I'd advise anyone who ISN'T leaving to grab and hold onto anyone who IS, because I'm not going to bother to pick and choose my targets." *everyone sits down again* *Ares repairs the stage* "Do it for me, Joxer. Sing to me, baby!"

*sigh* *Joxer straightens, then throws his chest out boldly*

*sings* "He's Joxer, the Mighty, known both far and wide! When they're choosing teams he's picked for the first side. A maverick and a loner, but he doesn't have to be! He could have a million friends, or even thirty-three. Joxer the Mighty, he goes from town to town, righting wrongs and saving lives, the toughest guy around..."

*sound of pattering feet* *several dozen teenage and pre-teen girls come thundering down the aisle and throw themselves against the stage* *Joxer blinks, but keeps singing*

"He's Joxer the Mighty, a bold and brassy dude! But he's polite to ladies, and never, never rude. Unless you are a bandit or warlord on a tear. Then he'll kick your sorry butt and never muss his hair."

*squeals and sighs* *lots of bouncing up and down, but not as much as there COULD be, since most of the teenboppers haven't grown boobs yet* *Someone yells* "DANCE!"

*Joxer throws a helpless look at Ares, who gives him a 'go on' motion* *Joxer starts to dance.* *lots of clanking from 'armor'*

"Joxer, the Mighty! So handsome it's a crime. When he chats the ladies up, they always have the time..."

*Everyone, except the girls and Ares, is watching, open mouthed* *Cupid and Strife exchange glances* *They move up on either side of Joxer, and the three of them start doing choreographed dance moves*


*Joxer is a little surprised about his sudden back-up, but takes it in stride*

"Hangin' with his posse, you ladies best beware! Hang on to your hearts and knickers, we will soon be there!"

*free style boogie by all three*

*pandemonium among the teenyboppers* *they swarm the stage* *somene stuffs a dinar down Joxer's pants* *Joxer yelps. It's a coin--it's COLD* *one of the smaller girls tries to climb Strife*

Strife: "Censor alert! Come get tha jailbait!"

*Praetorian guards, who are moonlighting as security, peel the sobbing girl off Strife and begin to haul off the other hysterical fans* *one of the girls steals Joxer's helmet as a souvenier* *she is chased off by a jealous, screaming pack of friends* *Cupid materializes a quill and signs an older girl's bare shoulder*

*as the last girls are hustled from the stage, they call back* "You guys have a fan club, right? Right? I'll start one!" "Ohmygawds! Cupid SMILED at me!" "He did not, you skank! He smiled at ME!" "They're so CUTE!" "Are they gonna play the marketplaces? I won't mind going for my Mom if they do!" "They're hotter than Pythagoras and the Triangles!" "I'm gonna get my dad to hire them for my sweet XVI party!"

*finally the stage is clear of hormonally hyped females*

Beloved Author: "Huh? No, no. Aphrodite and Eris aren't on the stage, they're on the panel. Pay attention."

Auto: "Well!" *cups a hand to his ear* "That noise you hear is the Muses, having fits. Our final contestant is Hercules."

Hercules's voice: "If you think I'm following THAT, you're nuts!"

Iolaus's voice: "C'mon, Herk. We put you in a loincloth, you shimmy to some lyre music. Flip the hips at some of the matrons. JOXER got a dinar, for heaven's sake, Think of the money we could make."

Hercules's voice: "NO!"

Iolaus's voice: "All right, but the next time we can't afford a room, I'm going to remind you of this."

Auto: "Okay, one contestant opts out of the talent competition. Judging from some of the participants, I'm not sure if that shouldn't count in his favor. The last section is coming up next--the poise competition!"

Joxer: *groan* "Can I go home now?"

Ares: "Joxer, chill. You've done fine so far."

Joxer: "All right. But so help me, if they ask me what I'd do to promote world peace..."

Title: Mine Is Better Than Yours! Part Four
Author: Scribe
Fandom: Xena
Status: finished
Archive: Sure, if I sent it to you.
Disclaimer: Only the Beloved Author is me, er, mine. All others belong to REnaissance. No profit made.
Websites: and
Summary: The all important 'poise' competition, and finish.
Warnings: Might want to stretch some Saran Wrap over the computer if you're going to be drinking anything while you read. :)
Rating: NC-17, to be safe.

Mine is Better Than Yours! Part Four

Autolycus: "Okay, our contestants are taking a few moments to change back into their usual outfits..." *boos* "Yes, I must agree that there were some tasty knees on display, but all good things must come to an end."

Strife's voice: "Sez you!"

Cupid's voice: "Hon, you have to quit humping me so I can get dressed again."

Auto: "Ooooh-kay. Now then, each competitor will be asked a different question, which is designed to showcase their characters, their ethics, their hopes, their dreams, an' all that othah good shit."

Strife's voice: "Plug accomplished. You'll find yer dinars back at yer inn room."

Auto: "Everybody back on stage now, or Salmoneus may try for another commercial break."

Xena's voice: "Not likely. Argo has him cornered up a tree. Sheesh, I always thought she had better taste." *the contestants and sponsors troop out on stage* "Contestants, please take a seat on these impracticably high stools, which will give the judges and the audience one more chance to get a good gander at your legs." *everyone settles* "All right. Our contestants will now be questioned by our distinguished panel of judges. First contestant--Cupid."

Cupid: *Cupid stands up and goes to the front of the stage* "Please don't ask me about promoting world peace. I can only think of one way, and if I shot that many arrows my arm would fall off."

Zeus: "Me first."

Practically everyone, all over, whispering under their breath: "Big surprise."

Zeus: *glares* "There's too many of you to zap at once, so I'll let it go--this time." *clears throat* "Okay, Cupid, let's hear just WHY bestiality isn't such a bad thing."

Cupid: "GRANDPA!"

Salmoneus's voice: "No, PLEASE! Don't YOU sanction it! I'm..." *CRACK* "OH SHIT!" *thump* *thunder of hoofbeats* *Salmoneus bolts across the stage, Argo in close pursuit* *housekeeping rushes out and mops damp spots up off stage*

Aphrodite: "Stop it, you old goat! Just because YOU like to run around as a swan or bull boinking anything with an innie instead of an outie..."

Zeus: "All right, all right! Um..."

Cupid: "No, uh-uh, no WAY I'm answering anything now. I have to sit down while my stomach settles."

Eris: *looking alert* "Morning sickness?"

Strife: *hugging Cupid* "Ma! Aintcha evah heard of family plannin? We KNOW what causes it, an' Imp ain't gettin anothah sib for some time. Right, Scribe?"

Beloved Author: "Geez, Eris, I've only done the first couple chapters of What a Difference a Deity makes. I've got this one and Stranger in a Strange Land, and that's just in the Xenaverse. If you go into my Dracula or Sentinel fic..."

Strife: "I thought we had an agreement, Toots. You write our stuff first--I don't crash yer computah."

Beloved Author: "Yeah, well, what about this month long forceful separation from the net, huh? What about THAT!?"

Strife: "That one ain't mine. Quit downloadin' shit without scannin it first."

Auto: "GETTING BACK TO THE MATTER AT HAND. Second contestant--Joxer. Step up and face off."

*Joxer rises, helped along by a goose from Ares*

Joxer: "Arry! What's gotten into you?!"

Ares: "This whole thing has just reminded me very forcefully of what a sweet little stud muffin you are, Joxie. When this is over and I get you home, Greece is going to have a period of unparralleled peace, because I'm going to be busy fucking you into oblivion. I've located some Mesopotanian pottery that has some very interesting variations we haven't tried yet."

Joxer: *blinks* *gets dreamy look on his face*

Apollo: *sounding bored* "Okay, my turn. Uh, um... Oh, hell, let's go with a cliche. What would you do to stop war?"

Joxer: "Are you fucking KIDDING? Absolutely nothin'!"

Aphrodite: *nods vigorously* "Works for me."

Auto: "Contestant three--Hercules. Stand up so we can benefit from your sparkling personal observations."

Hercules: *stands up* *suspicious* "Auto, are you being sarcastic?"

Auto: "Moi?"

Hades: "I'm next. If I'm going to take this much time off from work, I want a chance to put someone on the spot. Hercules, as you know I exist to judge people when they come to the end of their mortal span. You've just appeared before me. Tell me why I should let you into Elysium instead of kicking your butt into Tartarus?"

Hercules: "Oh. Uh. Well, I'm neat, punctual, respectful to my parents, temperate..."

Strife: "Hah! I got scryin mirror records of a numbah of tavern incidents."

Hercules: *protesting* "I hardly EVER pass out! I protect the vulnerable, fight evil at every opportunity, try to end violence..."

Ares: "By the usual method of whooping someone's ass."

Hercules: *ignoring him* "I help old ladies across the road so they won't be run down by chariots. I don't take rewards for my assistance. I'm kind to animals."

Gabrielle: "As long as they're cute and fuzzy. How many minotaurs, hydras, harpies, wolves and such have you killed?"

Hercules: *doing what most people do--ignoring her* "I'm upright, and filled with moral rectitude..."

Strife: "Upright? Try uptight 'cause of that stick up your rectumtude."

Hercules: "And I provide a shining example for the young people of Greece."*violent gagging noises from Ares, Strife, and Eris*Hades: "I have to check my records when I get back home. I MUST have sent him through the Void at some point--no one could POSSIBLY get that prissy in one lifetime."Auto: "And last, but not least..." *pause* *looks at Gabrielle* "Or possibly not. Gabrielle."*Gabrielle, long suffering look firmly in place, gets up* *panel of judges whisper together*Eris: "Acting as designated spokesbitch for the judges, I'd like to say that we decline to ask the Blabbster a question. Apollo is of the opinion, and I agree, that listening to her too much would make even an immortal's ears bleed." Gabrielle: "HEY!"*glass shatters* *a harpie thumps to the ground, stunned* *Argo stampedes across the stage, a dazed and rumpled Salmoneus clinging to her back*Xena: "Argo, you slut! You KNOW he won't cough up any colt support!"*Xena dashes off after Argo*Gabrielle: "Wait! This may be the perfect case to strike a blow against speciesism!" *trots after Xena*Auto: "Looks like Xena's entrant forfeits her chance to be named Best Lover. Anybody out there lose any money on her?" *silence* *sound of lonely wind rushing through arena* "What a surprise. Okay, judges, it's time to make your decision. Retire to the decision room to discuss your picks. You'll find plenty of beverages and a nice grape and fig platter if you feel the need to nosh." *Gods and goddesses adjourn to adjacent room* "In the meantime we have an Etruscan dance troupe imported from Rome to entertain."*Etruscan dancers come out and do very provocative dance. Six out of every seven veils hit the boards* *Cupid and Strife do not notice. They are making out under the judges's table**door to judges's room opens* Apollo's voice: "Yo, we need a little more supplies."Auto: "Parchment? Quills?"Apollo's voice: "Wine, mead, and ale." *whisper* "Oh, and Aphrodite needs a double helping of Preatorian guards."Auto: "Oh. Okay." *Praetorian guards carry in supplies* *intense giggles*Guard's voice: *Lady, PLEASE! At least let me set down the tray!"*more dancing* *Ares pulls Joxer onto his lap*Joxer: *squeak* "Ares! Let me up!"Ares: "Just for a second." *Joxer stands up, blocking the audience's view of Ares.*Ares: *untie, adjust* *Ares grabs the hem of Joxer's tunic* *flip* *jerk* *Ares pulls Joxer down on his lap again* *somehow Joxer seems to settle a lot farther down*Joxer: *eyes wide* "YIP!"*Strife peers out from under table*Strife: "Floor show! Floor show!"Joxer: *panting* "NOT on the floor! This stage is fucking splintery."*door to judges's room opens again* *grunts, groans, moans, yelps, whines, whimpers, and lots of slapping sounds*Zeus's voice: "Ares! Get Joxer in here, right now! He's the God of Peace, not the God of Piece, and we have little enough respect from the mortals as it is."Ares: *gets up, holding Joxer in place, and staggers into the judges's room* "What respect? Make do with fear and envy, like I do."Aphrodite's voice: "Send in the Etruscan dancers!"Auto: "But what about the audience?"Aphrodite's voice: "Let 'em make their own entertainment."Zeus's voice: "Hey! Hades found a keg of nectar in the mini bar, and he isn't sharing!"Hades's voice: *very slurred* "Screw sharin! *hic* "Hermes! C'mere, cutie! Let's knock winged boots!"Apollo's voice: "Uncle Hades... I think you've had a little too much, man. Let me help you to this sofa and..." *mmmph* "Hey! Look, I got a dancer waiting for me, and I don't..." *mmmmmmmmph**lick* *nibble*Apollo's voice: *muffled* "Screw it. I can get Etruscan dancers anytime, but this..."Zeus's voice: *fascinated* "Hades, is that an entirely sanitary way to eat grapes?"Eris's voice: "Oh, wow. That is so... so... AUTO! Get your butt in here! NOW!"Auto: *wincing, but adjusting a sizeable boner as he walks* "That's a strap-on tone of voice if I ever heard one. Coming, Mistress!" *enters judges's room*

*Cupid and Strife exchange looks* *both get up and hustle into the judges's room* *various bits of brown and black leather come flying back out, along with a couple of feathers*

*The stage is now empty, save for Hercules and Iolaus*

Iolaus: "Do we win by default?"

Hercules: "I don't think so. I think a decision has to be declared, but judging from what seems to be going on in there, it may be some time, and they may all have forgotten WHY they went in there in the first place."

Iolaus: "So now what?"

Hercules: "You promised me the sponge trick."

Iolaus: *grinning* "So I did." *throws arm around Hercules and they stroll off together* "There's a nice inn just across the street that provides private baths. Let's see... I'll need soap-on-a-rope, a rubber duckie, and a BIG soft bath sponge..."

*the stage is empty* *crowd mutters discontentedly*

*clop clop clop*

*Salmoneus leads Argo back onto the stage. He's weaving* *If horses can grin, Argo is grinning* *Salmoneus throws an arm over Argo's neck* *Argo nuzzles his cheek*

Salmoneus: "The First Annual World's Best Lover Contest is declared null and void due to desertion by all participants. All are invited to re-enter next year in the Second Annual World's Best Lover Contest, and Invitation Only Orgy. It is expected that next year the contest will focus more logically on what makes a good lover, such as Thoughtfulness, Gift Choosing, Important Dates Remembering, Losing an Argument Gracefully, Finding Your Partner's Erogenous Zones, and Doing the Wild Thing. We hope by then to have initiated changes in who is allowed to compete. Don't we, pookie bear?"

Argo: "Neigh."

Salmoneus: *disappointed* "But I thought you WANTED to compete."

*Argo and Salmoneus exit*

*credits roll while the Muses sing 'Love Is a Many Gendered Thing'*

Beloved Author: "I wonder if the bit with Argo and Salmoneus will get me banned from ff.n?" *thinks* "Nah. If the Winnie-the-Pooh slash didn't do it, nothing will."

Title: Mine's Better Than Yours! 2: The Second Annual Best Lover Pageant, or REVENGE! 1/?
Author: Scribe
Fandom: Xena/Hercules
Pairing: All Implied Ares/Joxer, Cupid/Strife, Xena/Gabrielle, Hercules/Iolaus, Eris/Autolycus
Status: WIP
Sequel/Series: Sequel to Mine's Better Than Yours!
Archive: Sure, but tell me where.
Disclaimer: Don't own any of 'em. If I did, they'd all be hale, hearty, and humpin' like bunnies. No money gained.
Websites: and
Summary: It's the Second Annual Best Lover Pageant, and the former contestants figure turn-about is fair play. Most of their respective lovers are NOT amused. But Strife--hell, I don't even need to say it, do I? :)
Warnings: Y'all've read my stuff before, right? Silliness, and possible spew warning.
Notes: *scene setting, sound effects, stage business, and general comments* //thoughts//
Rating: R

Mine's Better Than Yours! 2: The Second Annual Best Lover Pageant, or REVENGE! 1/?
By Scribe

*It's Happy Hour at the Freebitch Tavern* *What makes this different from Happy Hour at any other tavern is that most of the drunks present are female--specifically Amazons, or other bad-ass femmes* *the few males in attendance are generally quiet, meek, and nervous* *this is very wise, considering the usual attitude of a drunk Amazon*

Xena: *bangs empty tankard on table* "Barboy!"

Barboy: *good looking guy wearing a loincloth and studded leather straps around wrists, biceps, throat, and (cough) possibly another barely hidden portion of his anatomy, hurries over* "Yes, ma'am, your Princesship?"

Xena: *shows him the empty mug* "What's wrong with this picture?"

Barboy: "It's not a pitcher--it's a tankard? " *hey, I said he was beautiful, not brainy*

Xena: *sighs* "I don't have to be crucified to be martyred. It's EMPTY, Sweetcheeks."

Barboy: "Eek!" *rushes away* *rushes back with jug of ale and begins filling tankard while babbling.* "I'msorrywe'reshorthandedIcouldn'tgetthekegopen Itrippedoverthecatsomeoneliedtomeandtoldmeyouhadplenty..."

Xena: "Breathe."


Xena: "Better?"

Barboy: *small, breathy voice* "Yes, thank you."

Xena: "Good. Now, have you seen my girlfriend, Gabrielle this evening?"

Barboy: *frowns in concentration* "The blonde?" *Xena nods* "The one with blonde hair, wearing that itty-bitty tied on top?" *Xena grins and nods* "The one with the voice and attitude of a harpy in molting season?" *Xena stops grinning and reaches for her chakram* *hastily* *cough* "I mean the one with the delicate, musical voice and the winsome, gracious air?"

Xena: "Can you lay it on any thicker?"

Barboy: "Hand me a trowel. I saw her headed out the back door. She was carrying a scroll, so I assume she's going to the *ahem* 'facilities'."

Xena: "Hey! She'd never use one of her scrolls to wipe! I remember last year when Strife did that, and she had a fit the likes of which..."

Barboy: "I meant for reading material."

Xena: "Oh."

Barboy: "If I remember correctly, she had date-and-fig cake for lunch. She may be there for awhile."

Xena: "Okay. Just be sure to keep the ale coming. She's going to be reading one of her historic epics later, and I need to be good and pissed if I'm to make it through."

Barboy: "I'm glad you warned me. I'll send someone for another keg--we're likely to have a rush." *bustles off*

*Hercules and Iolaus enter* *there are immediate wolf whistles, cat calls, and obscene suggestions* *some of them involve what the crowd would like to see Herc and Iolaus do together* *it's fairly obvious that a number of AresJoxerCupidStrife listsibs must be lurking about* *Hercules blushes* *Iolaus winks, bows, and accepts phone numbers* *yes, someone should call the Cross Dimensional Anachronism Police* *they join Xena at her table*

Xena: "Hi, guys. What brings you here?"

Hercules: "A sudden, undeniable impulse."

Iolaus: "Translation: Scribe is bored with her works-in-progress, and was bitten by an aggressive plot bunny."

Xena: *anticipating, but apprehensive* "Ooo, this could be interesting--and you know that in Chin they curse you by wishing that you may live in interesting times." *she thumps her fist on the table* "BARBOY! Haul that fine ass!"

Barboy: *rushes over* "Already? Look, I'm terribly fond of my spleen and would rather keep it inside my body, but for your own good I must say that if you're going to chug it like that, maybe you should look into a twelve-step..." *spots sitting hunks* *eyelashes suddenly grow long enough for a Maybeline ad, and flutter* "Well, helloooo." *he's looking mainly at Iolaus* *Iolaus piously ignores his obvious interest* *snort* *I hope I don't go to Hell for lying like that* "How may I serve you--please? I make a fantastic Kahlua Cream Brownie Surprise."

Hercules: *surprised* "You have chocolate?"

Barboy: "Honey--we serve Amazons. Do you think we'd dare NOT TO have chocolate available for when the monthlies strike?"

Xena: "I'll be damned--not ALL men are idiots. They'll have the same as me."

Hercules: "I'd prefer mead."

Xena: "I'm buying."

Hercules: "Bring a pitcher."

Xena: "Gabby's going to recite later."

Iolaus: "Any chance of you rolling a keg over here?"

*There is an outraged shriek from outside* *Gabby rushes in*

Gabby: "THERE'S A MAN OUT IN THE FACILITIES!" *every Amazon in the place grabs a weapon and jumps up, snarling* "It's Strife..." *every Amazon in the place drops her weapon, sits back down, and tries to look busy* *some of them look up at the ceiling and whistle* "Cowards." *she stomps over to the table and sits down* "I'm going to kill him."

Iolaus: "Let's put aside Strife's whole 'been there, done that' bit about death, and the fact that you don't have any hind's blood. What was he doing out in the facilities?" *everyone stares at him* "Well, that would be the obvious reason, but with Strife..."

Gabby: "All I know is I'm sitting there, minding my own business..."

Xena: "Doing your business."

Gabby: "How much have you drunk? Minding my own business, when someone in the next stall..." *Interdimensional Anachronism Police are alerted for another violation* "...reaches under and snatches away the scroll I was reading. I knew who it was immediately."

Hercules: "If all you saw was a hand and arm, how could you know for sure?"

Gabby: "For one thing, NO ONE mortal has a reach that far--it had to be divine license. Either that, or he's made of that Silly Putty stuff Salmoneous is trying to market to help make scroll copies. Secondly, two words--black leather, and chrome."

Hercules: "That's three words. Actually, it's four, if you count the conjunction."

Gabby: "Shut up. Don't you talk to ME about grammar, Hercules!"

Hercules: "I wasn't. I think it was more a question of math, and..."

Iolaus: "Hercules? You're actually trying to argue with her? Didn't you learn anything from the time you had to clean the Aegean Stables?"

Hercules: "Don't deal with any more shit than you absolutely have to. Gotcha. Go on, Gabby."

Iolaus: *wince* "I didn't say encourage her."


Barboy: "I can't think of any way we can stop you." *death glare from Gabby and Xena* "And who'd WANT to? More, please. I'm salivating to know your final bit of proof."

Gabby: "He giggled."

Everyone in the Tavern: "Ooooh." *mass shudder*

*shower of blue sparkles* *Strife appears*

Strife: "Blabby, ya gotta start usin a softah grade of papah. Cupe won't like it if my tushy gets raw." *looks around at gaping audience* "As ya were--unless ya really WANNA find out what it's like ta have yer underwear fulla earthworms." *everyone looks away* "Mortals are so easy. Actually, it's a pretty interestin sensation. It's kinda like..."

Iolaus: "Strife? Please no?"

Strife: *pinches his cheek* "Only fah you."

Xena: "Strife, why are you here?" *Strife gives her a look* "I mean aside from tormenting Gabby--not that you seem to need any other reason."

Strife: "Ya got that right, toots. But I am here fah a reason." *Strife snaps his fingers, and a scroll appears in his hands* *he unrolls it and reads* "Be it known by decree of his Grand Horniness, King Zeus, that all eligible are hereby invited ta enter in the Second Annual Best Lovah Pageant."

Hercules: *groans* "Oh, my lord..."

Strife: "Callin on yer daddy won't help ya this time, Herc. It's partly his idea, an' he plans ta emcee this year. Pageant is ta take place at tha same place as tha last one, in one week's time, so ya have a little time fah primpin an' practicin. Once again gods, demi-gods, an' their mortal significant othahs are eligible. An' as he's sorta in charge of performances, Apollo asks that ya all take a little more effort with yer talent. Last year kinda gave him hives."

*Xena and Iolaus are smiling* *Hercules and Gabrielle both look like they just stepped in something brown, and it wasn't chocolate cake*

*Gabrielle and Hercules speak at once*

Gabby: "I refuse to allow myself again to be part of a public display that glorifies the objectification of..."

Hercules: "There's no way I'm going to make a spectacle of myself again, not even for the sponge trick, and..."

Strife: "Chill. You two ain't competein."


Xena: "Oh, WAIT a minute!"

Iolaus: "I agree!"

Strife: *giggle* "They ain't competein cause they ain't eligible. I fahgot tha last rule. Since this is gonna be an annual event, in tha interest of fair play, no one is allowed ta compete two years inna row." *gapes* "That's right." *Strife flicks a finger at Xena and Iolaus, then at himself* "It's our turn, an' before ya start squawkin--it's mandatory fah tha original couples, though we are open ta new ones." *Xena gets up* "Where ya goin, Zeen?"

Xena: *to Barboy* "Where do you get your ale?"

Barboy: "The brewer is just down the block."

*She starts to leave*

Hercules: "Xena, where are you going?"

Xena: "Vat swimming."

Iolaus: "This is going to be so cool! I'm going to need a new outfit--no, several new outfits. What do you think my talent should be, Herc?" *he smirks* "I can't demonstrate my OBVIOUSLY best talent if they're going to broadcast this again." *pats his hair* "I wonder if Jayce is available for make-up and hair styling? Maybe we should put together an entourage..."

Hercules: *gets up* *calls after Xena* "Wait--I'll join you."

Title: Mine's Better Than Yours! 2: The Second Annual Best Lover Pageant, or REVENGE! 2/?
Author: Scribe
Fandom: Xena/Hercules
Pairing: All Implied Ares/Joxer, Cupid/Strife, Xena/Gabrielle, Hercules/Iolaus, Eris/Autolycus
Status: WIP
Sequel/Series: Sequel to Mine's Better Than Yours!
Archive: Sure, but tell me where.
Disclaimer: Don't own any of 'em. If I did, they'd all be hale, hearty, and humpin' like bunnies. No money gained.
Websites: and
Summary: The aftermath of the announcement
Warnings: Y'all've read my stuff before, right? Silliness, and possible spew warning.
Notes: *scene setting, sound effects, stage business, and general comments* //thoughts//
Rating: R

Mine's Better Than Yours! 2: The Second Annual Best Lover Pageant, or REVENGE! 2/?
By Scribe

Part Two

Several Hours After the End of the Last Section

*A frazzled looking man is arguing with the Barboy* *Gabrielle is nearby, sketching busily on a scroll* *it appears to be a, you should pardon the expression, 'fashion' design* *Beloved Author advises more sensitive or style conscious Cherished Readers not to look too closely* *Beloved Author seriously considers putting this in the header under WARNINGS*

Brewer: "One of you HAVE to come get Hercules and Xena."

Barboy: "Not me. They're not my responsibility."

Gabby: *distracted* "Don't look at me. The last time I tried to stop Xena when she was on a binge she managed to give me a wedgie--and I don't wear underwear."

Barboy: "Ew. Thank you for that. What the Tartarus am I supposed to do, now that Psyche is no longer Goddess of the Mind, and I can't pray to her to remove those mental images?"

Brewer: "They've ruined two vats of ale! Well, they DRANK one of them, but I can't sell any of the second because I think they peed in it."

Barboy: "What makes you think that?"

Brewer: "The goofy looks on their faces while they were swimming. Haven't you ever watched people swimming in a pond, or at the beach? They get 'that look' on their face, and you just KNOW." *Barboy thinks about it, then nods*

Gabrielle: *nods, not looking up* "I've learned to bathe upstream from her."

Brewer: "Besides, the ale temperature was warmer than it should have been.

Gabrielle: "Nothing quite as alarming as a sudden burst of warmth when you're bathing in a river."

Brewer: "What am I supposed to do with a vat of *cough* 'fortified' ale?"

Barboy: "Hold on to it till the next barbarian horde comes through, then hand it over when they demand your best wares in tribute. Think of the giggles you'll have watching them swill it down."

Brewer: *brightens* "Say... But I still need to get them out of my brewery. They're laying on the floor, singing bawdy songs, burping and farting."

Gabrielle: *finally looks up* "Oh, great--now she's bonded with him! How is she going to have a competitive edge if she's bonded with the patron of a rival?"

*Iolaus enters, staggering, since Hercules is sort of half-draped over him*

Iolaus: *panting* "By DAMN, you're solid, Herc!"

Hercules: *hic* "Coooome to me, my melancolic baaaaby..."

Beloved Author: *OMNISCIENT voice from above* *Scribe puts check mark next to notation reading 'Get SOME use out of six years of college* "That's the third violation. The Cross Dimensional Anachronism Police are bound to ask about this fiction, but I'll them the wrong dimensional address, and buy us some time. Hercules, that's 'melancOLY' babe."

Hercules: *hic* "But if it's a baby, dun't it make more sense if it's colic?"

Beloved Author: "Damn, he's drunk."

Iolaus: "Oh, and whose fault is that?"

Beloved Author: "Don't start."

Iolaus: "I'm getting a hernia, trying to lug him around. Please do something."

Beloved Author: "Since it's you asking."

*sound of wind chimes*

Iolaus: *looking interested* "Did his virginity just renew?"

Beloved Author: "Fat chance. No, with that you get the colored shimmer, too. I just drastically lowered his blood-alcohol level."

*Hercules is suddenly semi-sober*

Hercules: *winces, gripping head* "Ow. If you're going to make me sober, couldn't you have bypassed the hangover?"

Beloved Author: "Nah."

Iolaus: "It's one of those 'you must be prepared for the consequences of your actions' things, Herc. Right, BA?"

Beloved Author: "Uh..." *thinks of how much fun Herc-torture is* "Riiiight."

Hercules: "My sole consolation is that Xena drank at least as much as I did, and when you consider her smaller body mass..."

Beloved Author: "Herc, did someone make you take that 'Serving Alcohol' course? Are you going to start trying to take the cart reins away from drunk companions? I gotta warn you--I personally think that the number of lives that move saves may be offset by the number of well-intentioned reins-grabbers killed by pissed drunks."

Hercules: "Anyway, Xena should end up feeling like her head had a close encounter with an axe."

Xena: *swaggers in, swaying only slightly* "I couldn't finish that last vat. It tasted like pee."

Hercules: *hopeful tone* "Does your head hurt, Xena?" *Xena smirks* *Herc sighs* "Surely you're going to have SOME aftereffects. Maybe you need some coffee--black?"

Xena: "Bleh!"

Beloved Author: "What do you get when you feed black coffee to a drunk?"

Everyone: "What?"

Beloved Author: "An alert drunk. Just to be fair..." *more wind chimes*

Xena: *turns green* *leans quickly over bar* "Urk."

Barboy: "Oh, CHARMING! Figures she would have had the root vegetable stew for dinner."

Xena: "Urk."

Iolaus: "Damn."

Xena: "Urk."

Beloved Author: "Hey, don't blame me. Only that first one was mine. I guess it's just that it's sort of self-perpetuating."

Xena: "Urk."

Barboy: "We're going to start hitting innards any moment now."

Xena: *weakly* "I think I just became reacquainted with a mess of beets my mother made me eat when I was seven."

Hercules: *urp* *note: 'urk' is upchucking--as you may have deduced. 'urp' is merely the prelude* *swallows hard* *turns green* "Please stop talking about it. I'm just hanging onto the raw edge right now. One more reference and..."

*blue sparkles* *Strife appears*

Strife: "Salt pork an' raw oysters."

Hercules and Xena: "URK!"

Strife: *cackles* "I hadda, an' ya all know it." *disappears*

Iolaus: *sighs* "Well, we have a week. Maybe by then the smell will no longer linger. It could be worse."

Barboy: "Speak for yourself. I need to go find a shovel." *pinches nose* "And a clothespin."

Beloved Author: "Okay, try not to laugh in derision because I'm going to suggest this, but I don't think clothespins have been invented yet."

Strife: *appears again* "Allow me." *puts small squeezing device on Barboy's nose.*

Barboy: *goes cross-eyed trying to look at it* "What is that?"

Strife: "Nipple clamp, acourse." *pinches his ass* *Barboy starts to remove clamp* "That's been on Cupid, ya know." *Barboy decides not to remove clamp* "Thought so. See ya." *disappears again*

Iolaus: *grabs Hercules again* "C'mon. We'll go out back to the well and get you sluiced off. There ain't no way you're sharing my bed in this state, and if I leave you out in the hall, some barbarian is liable to come along and try to take advantage of you, and you know I can't sleep when you're tearing someone apart. They squeal so." *they stagger out*

Xena: *finally seems to have reached depletion* *sits at table weakly* "I hope I never go through anything like that again. Morning sickness was a gentle inconvenience compared to that."

Gabrielle: *eagerly* "Xena, I've been trying out designs for your formal wear costume! This is so exciting! I mean, I know I'm immensely creative in the literary arts, but I never dreamed I was so talented when it came to COUTURE." *Beloved Author puts second check on 'make those tuition fees count!' list* "Look!" *shows design to Xena*

Xena: "URK!" *design and Gabrielle are both now *cough* 'decorated'*

Gabrielle: "BARBOY!"

Barboy: "I'll wipe down the table when I get time, but you're cleaning yourself up, honey. They don't pay me enough."

Title: Mine's Better Than Yours! 2: The Second Annual Best Lover Pageant, or REVENGE! 3/?
Author: Scribe
Fandom: Xena/Hercules
Pairing: Implied Ares/Joxer, Cupid/Strife, Hercules/Iolaus, Xena/Gabrielle, Eris/Autolycus, possibly others.
Rating: R
Summary: Preparations for the pageant.
Archive: Mailing lists, WWOMB, and the AJCS Archive
Status: WIP
Disclaimer: I did not create the characters here, I don't own them. I derive no profit from this effort. I mean nothing but respect for the creators, owners, and the actors and actresses who portray them.
Websites: and
Notes: To a Skylark was written by Percy Bysshe Shelley, genius poet and notorious womanizer--who was declared 'mad, bad, and dangerous to know'. Xena's second response to a 'dramatic bit' is from My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Mine's Better Than Yours! 2: The Second Annual Best Lover Pageant, or REVENGE! 3/?
By Scribe

Chapter Three

Meanwhile, on Olympus

Ares: "I have to wonder if Zeus WANTS to be deposed, because I tell you, if anything has ever made me want to kick his imperial ass it's being ordered to participate in this pageant nonsense."

Joxer: "You had no problem with ME participating."

Ares: "But I'm the God of War, dammit. If I compete in anything, I'm expected to literally slaughter the opposition. What is the audience going to think if, by some unearthly happenstance, someone else wins?"

Joxer: *trying not to smile* "You think that's a possibility?"

Ares: "Hey, the Beloved Author is running this show, remember? There's no telling WHAT might happen."

Beloved Author: "You got that right, Sugarbun. The lists have been dead, my Sims game hasn't arrived yet, and I'm bored stiff. At this point, I'm almost as dangerous as Strife."

Ares: *shudder* "See?"

Joxer: "Complaining is getting us nowhere. Can we get back to your talent?"

Ares: "How did I let you talk me into this?"

Joxer: "Spectacular sex."

Ares: *smile* "Oh, yeah... I mean... *harumph* Really? Refresh my memory."

Joxer: "Nice try."

Ares: *sighs* "Look, Joxer, I know I have to compete in the talent portion, but couldn't I give a demonstration of sword skills?"

Joxer: "That would be too obvious. It would be like Poseidon swimming for his talent. No, dancing is the ticket. After all, you have to be graceful to be a really good swordsman. I should know." *hysterical laughter from unseen source* *Joxer looks up* "I mean from my own lack of grace."

Beloved Author: *sniff* "Sorry."

Joxer: "It's okay. The clumsiness is one of my more endearing qualities. Besides, I always have an excuse to knock people into manure piles, or fall against someone sexy."

Ares: "EXCUSE ME?"

Joxer: "Not so much the second one these days. Are you ready to practice?"

Ares: "We don't have music." *sounds hopeful* "We need to choose another talent. The musicians are awful."

Joxer: "Well, if you didn't insist that they play blindfolded... Anyway, I've taken care of that. I have a music making device. I got it from Strife."

Ares: *bares teeth* "I must remember to thank my nephew properly."

Joxer: *sets tape player down on table* "He provided device that actually holds the music. He said there should be something on it we can use--to just run through it." *Joxer punches PLAY* *bagpipes play Scotland the Brave*

Ares: "Hardly." *Joxer pushes FFW.* *Polka oompa-pa and accordion music blares forth.* "No."

Joxer: "I can understand that. But it seems strangely appropriate for your leather pants."

Ares: "For some reason I'm craving beer."

*Joxer punches FFW again.*//"Play that funky music, white boy..."//

Ares: "This has potential."

*music continues* //"That's the way, uh-huh uh-huh, I LIIIIKE it, uh-huh uh-huh..."//

Joxer: "I'll say, but not for your dancing." *pushes FFW* //tinkle-tink tink chingle tink tink...// "Oh, I LIKE that!"

Ares: "What the Tartarus is that? It's making my teeth ache."

Joxer: "There's a note. Lessee... 'The sicky-sweet one at the end is The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy. It's going to be a hugely famous ballet theme. Strife'. Hey, ballet! That's the type of dancing I was thinking of!"

Ares: "NO!"

Joxer: "Don't worry, I'm not going to insist that you get up on your tippy-toes--that takes a lot of training. But you should be great at the spins and leaps. And wait till you see the costumes." *waves his hands* *Ares is suddenly dressed head to toe in painted-on leotard and tights* "Yowza!" *clears throat* "Maybe the practice can wait for a couple of hours."

Elsewhere on Olympus

Eris: "I'll set you back on Earth AFTER the pageant."

Autolycus: "Whatever you say, Mistress. It WILL be soon, though, right?"

Eris: "Couple of days. Why? Anxious to leave me?"

Auto: *quickly* "Perish the thought!" *under his breath* "A lot better than perish me." *raises voice* "It's just that I've already been away from Earth for a week now. If I don't steal something soon, people are going to start doubting my claim to supremacy in the area of irregularly acquired goods."

Eris: "Be a good boy and I'll let you cop something from someone's place up here. Apollo has some nice knick-knacks laying around."

Auto: "Yes, just what I need--to antagonize the God of the Sun, who could easily fry my ass, or cause sudden burst of light at moments I'd much rather have it dark. Oh, and lest we forget, God of Medicine and Healing. Of course I'll never need a physician again."

Eris: "You're going to need one any minute now if you don't stop busting my chops. Now, practice your talent."

Auto: "I can't--I need a pigeon." *Eris materializes a pigeon* *coo* "Cute. You know what I mean."

Eris: "Practice on me."

Auto: "You mean to tell me you have pockets in that outfit?"

Eris: "Well, no."

Auto: "I once managed to steal a brassiere off a merchant's wife, and a set of knickers off a traveling Vestal Virgin."

Eris: "You think I wear underwear?"

Auto: "I love you."

Eris: "Practice can wait. Haul it over here."

Elsewhere on Olympus

Jayce: "Hove course I theenk you'd win, Pussycat. Hwhy don't chu let me enter you in the pageant?"

Apollo: "Because everyone will say that I'm just doing it to satisfy my enormous sense of vanity."

Jayce: *smirks* "Leettle do they know that hyour vanity ees not the most enormous theeng about you." *squeeze*

Apollo: Ihappy sigh* "It's so nice to be appreciated."

Jayce: *ahem*

Apollo: "Of course, it would take a superior individual to be able to recognize my own superiority."

Jayce: "Thank chu."

Apollo: "As a matter of fact, if I'M not going to be entered, YOU certainly should be."

Jayce: *gasp!* "Chu mean?"

Apollo: "Yes. The universe must be made to acknowledge our... I mean YOUR obvious excellence. I'll tell Hermes to add your name to the list of contestants. Now, we have to decide what your talent will be for the competition."

Jayce: "Hyes, that weel take time. I have so many to choose from."

And Yet Another Place on Olympus

Cupid: "I'm conflicted. Remembering how much I hated that last pageant, I ought to resent the fact that you're enjoying this so much. But I love seeing you have a good time, so..."

Strife: "I can't help it. This whole shebang is feedin me energy at a steady clip."

Cupid: *smooch* "You're a lot of fun when you're buzzed."

Strife: "Yer such a softie." *squeeze* "Metaphorically speakin, of course."

Cupid: *pant* "Any thoughts about what you want to do for the talent portion?"

Strife: "Well, I could demonstrate how ta give body piercins, if I can get a volunteer." *bats eyelashes at Cupid*

Cupid: "I love you, but no fucking way."

Strife: "We could use Aether. Anythin I pierce on him, it'll just gradually close up anyway."

Cupid: "It will?"

Strife: "Mist drifts. Ya know how wispy he is, right?"

Cupid: "Yeah. He'd be willing?"

Strife: "Maybe not technically..."

On Earth, the Freebitch Tavern

Gabrielle: "Okay, talent. Recitations always impress the judges."

Xena: "Are you going to seriously suggest that I recite as my talent?"

Gabrielle: "It's a classy talent. Don't you know any verse?"

Xena: "Sure."

Gabby: "Great! Maybe we'll just need to make a selection and fine tune it. Give me an example."

Xena: "There once was a man from Nantucket..."

Gabby: "Wait. I don't like the direction that one's going. Anything else?"

Xena: "The boy stood on the burning deck, eating peanuts by the peck..."

Gabby: "What are peanuts?"

Xena: "Tartarus if I know. What's a peck?"

Gabby: "What else?"

Xena: "Hail to thee, blithe spirit. Bird thou never wert..."

Gabby: *grimaces* "Where did you ever pick up dreck like that? It sounds like it was written by some wimp wannabe poet. Okay, maybe you should do a dramatic scene. Let's see, what's a good, dramatic monologue for a woman?"

Xena: "Nothing, really. You're forgetting that only men can really get anything performed in public these days, and most female roles are played by males, so even if it's written for a woman, it's written for a man."

Gabby: "Wow, you sound bitter. You must be starting to listen to my indoctrination... I mean carefully thought out reasoning. So, do you know any dramatic bits?"

Xena: "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers..."

Gabby: "Hey, that sounds..."

Xena: "...and a sharp sword."

Gabby: "Pretty typical."

Xena: "Greek women, we may be lambs in the kitchen, but we are tigers in the bedroom."

Gabby: *blink* "Okay, THAT is not typical. Where did THAT come from?"

Xena: "I have no idea. It just struck me as funny." *mumble* "Say what?"

Gabby: "Nothing."

Xena: "Yes, you did! You said 'you think that's funny, wait till you see your formal outfit'!"

Gabby: "I wore green chiffon for you, Xena. You owe me."

Xena: "I'll take out a loan."

Gabby: "I had to wear poofy undergarments. That reaches the COSMIC debt level."

Xena: "So I'll dedicate my next couple of lifetimes to paying you back."

Gabby: "You're going to wear whatever I provide and like it."

Xena: *hand on chakram* "Excuse me?"

Gabby: "Okay, so you'll wear what I provide and bitch us both sick. But you'll wear it, or... I'll tell your mother."

Xena: *silence* "You wouldn't do that."

Gabby: "I happen to know that when you were six she entered you in the Little Miss Amphipolis Angels contest. You had to dance and sing 'One the Good Ship Baklava'."

Xena: *silence*

Gabby: "She had your hair in long ringlets."

Xena: *shudders* "You don't fight fair."

Beloved Author: "She's this world's version of a Pageant Mom. Be afraid--be VERY afraid."

Xena: "I can't believe you're letting this happen!"

Beloved Author: "I can't help it. I'm having a crisis in my life."

Gabby: *whips out quill and parchment* "Oh, you poor thing! Tell me all about it. You'll want an accurate record available, and I'll cite you as my main source."

Beloved Author: "I'm bored."

Xena: *Xena is much more experienced in this than Gabrielle* *She also has a lot more working brain cells, despite the liberal application of intoxicants* *In any case, she reacts quickly to threats* "RUN!" *grabs Gabrielle and high-tails it out of the tavern*

Beloved Author: "Foolish fictional character. Mwha ha ha haaaaaa!" *sniff* "Hee. No wonder Strife loves fucking with peoples' minds so much. Okay, let's see... What other cheesy pageant standards can I skewer in the next section? You, Constant Readers--g'wan. I can't work with you looking over my shoulder."

*Constant Readers take off to the fertile fanfictional fields of the Internet--probably.

Title: Mine's Better Than Yours! 2: The Second Annual Best Lover Pageant, or REVENGE! 4/?
Author: Scribe
Fandom: Xena/Hercules
Pairing: Implied Ares/Joxer, Cupid/Strife, Hercules/Iolaus, Xena/Gabrielle, Eris/Autolycus, possibly others.
Rating: R
Summary: More preparations.
Archive: Mailing lists, WWOMB, and the AJCS Archive
Status: WIP
Disclaimer: I did not create the characters here, I don't own them. I derive no profit from this effort. I mean nothing but respect for the creators, owners, and the actors and actresses who portray them.
Websites: and
Notes: (real Greek gods) Amachania--Greek goddess of female helplessness. ^ from Round the Dial with Xena. ^^First chapter of Cupid's Little Helper. Jose Cuervo by Shelly West. Tears in My Beer by Hank Williams.

Mine's Better Than Yours! 2: The Second Annual Best Lover Pageant, or REVENGE! 4/?
By Scribe

*Zeus is sitting in his study, reviewing a list* *Hera enters* *Zeus looks up*

Zeus: "I didn't hear a knock."

Hera: "I'd laugh myself sick, but that wouldn't be dignified. What are you doing?"

Zeus: "I'm reviewing the list of the contestants for the Second Annual Greatest Lover Pageant."

*Hera peers over his shoulder*

Hera: "Iolaus and Xena. No surprise there. Ares. Oo, I bet Aphrodite and Cupid got a HUGE boost out of that."

Zeus: "How so?"

Hera: "Joxer must've screwed his brains out to get him to agree to it. But I see more here. Who else is crazy enough to enter?"

Zeus: "Hey! Winning would be a great honor."

Hera: "Competing will put a strain on the relationship nearly as bad as a holiday spent with the in-laws--on both sides."

Zeus: *shudders* "No wonder Strife giggles every time it's even mentioned."

Hera: "Autolycus?"

Zeus: "You know that Eris has been keeping company with him for awhile."

Hera: "Yes. I also know that there's been a sharp rise in misplaced objects since he's been up here. Since it's been limited to the more minor godlings I haven't done anything about it. I mean, there's not much point in raising a stink because Amachania is missing a few gold hair ribbons, or Aether's ivory fan has wandered off. I keep telling him he shouldn't mess with fans--he keeps blowing parts of himself away. And speaking of wispy--Jayce?"

Zeus: "He's being entered by Apollo." *Hera raises an eyebrow.* "You know what I mean, though I'm sure there's a lot of that going on, too."

Hera: "What?! The last I heard Jayce was ready to rip Apollo's nuts off for daring to steal his make-over show idea.^"

Zeus: "That was nasty, all right. There was a confrontation. Wow. Well, you know that Apollo is in charge of theater, and Jayce is a natural drama queen, so it was pretty spectacular in the screaming, threatening, and declaiming department. But apparently Jayce is beautiful when he's angry, and Apollo flattered the crap out of him, then apologized and offered to make him fashion consultant for some group he's thinking of organizing to help bring some style to the peasants. Something called Gay Greeks for Straight Freaks, or something."

Hera: "Catchy. What's this crossd out one?"

Zeus: "Narcissus. I had to disqualify him when I found out that he'd entered himself."

Hera: "Not a big roster, is it?"

Zeus: "We're keeping it manageable."

Hera: "Translation: everyone hauls ass like a scalded cat when asked if they'd like to participate."

Zeus: "I prefer to look upon it as a chance to limit our participants to only the finest."

Hera: "Gabby is participating."

Zeus: "You couldn't RESIST reminding me of that, could you?"

Hera: *smiles sweetly* "I'm your wife--it's my job to rain on your parade. Sprinkle, sprinkle."

Zeus: "Refresh my mind as to why I haven't divorced you."

Hera: "Two things--The Furies are good friends of mine, and community property."

Zeus: "Oh yeah--that."

Elsewhere on Olympus

*Cupid walks in on Strife, who is studying something pointy.*

Cupid: "Strife? Why is Aether in our front room, bound with Hephastean chains?""

Strife: "I need ta practice my talent, don't I?" *Holds out object* "Test that for me, willya?"

Cupid: *touches fingertip to point* "Ouch! That's sharp!"

Strife: "Crap." *starts to dull point*

Cupid: "Is the gag necessary?"

Strife: "Tha pleadin was gettin on my nerves. Besides, if he starts yellin, I don't want him wakin up Impetua. Ya know how hard it is ta get her ta nap now that she's teethin. I might be tempted ta get a little sloppy with tha peircin."

Cupid: "Maybe we should rethink this..."

Elsewhere on Olympus

Jayce: "Hokay, chickie." *holds up swatches* "Gold lame, or silver lame? Scarlet, or aqua? Canary yellow, buttercup yellow, lemon yellow, or sunshine yellow?"

Apollo: "Did you really need to ask the last one?"

Elsewhere on Olympus

Autolycus: *holds up swatches* "Black, black, or charcoal?"

Eris: "Let's get daring--midnight blue."

Elsewhere on Olympus

Joxer: "Black is too cliche. I can come up with something that's both suitable, and dignified. Trust me."

Ares: "You've been hanging around Salmoneus again, haven't you?"

Joxer: "Well, he needs SOME support. Being a father when the mother doesn't want you involved in the kid's life is hard enough, but when you add in the cross-species factor..."

Ares: "I don't want to hear about this."

Joxer: "I can understand Argo being a little touchy about it, but the man is TRYING..."

Ares: "ENOUGH! Tartarus, the very thought gives me nightmare fodder for months."

On Earth

Hercules: "For the last time--NO! You may NOT cut the ass out of your formal wear pants."

Iolaus: "You're right. It would give me an unfair advantage, and that wouldn't be sporting. Now, about the material--I'm thinking either cheesecloth or gauze."

Hercules: "No."

Iolaus: "There's a new type of fabric out called 'net'."

Hercules: *sigh*

At the Freebitch Tavern

Barboy: "I wasn't expecting you two back. I haven't seen anyone move like that since the time that near-sighted mercenary came in here by mistake, asked the bar in general if there were 'any broads here who wanted to get lucky', then realized where he was when the growling started."

Gabrielle: "It wasn't easy to pry Xena out of that cave, let me tell you."

Barboy: "What finally did it?"

Gabby: "As much as I'd like to claim credit, it was that Beloved Author person. She threatened to write an AU where Xena is reincarnated as a Preppie Princess who wears headbands, sweater sets, and pearls, is married to someone named Skip (who looks and acts a lot like Joxer), and has kids named Muffie, Bunny, and Chip. Two of them are sons, by the way. She didn't specify which."

Barboy: "Scary."

Gabby: "Yep, but it worked."

*Xena enters*

Xena: "All right, you said you had another idea for talent."

Gabby: "Music!"

Xena: "Could be. I know a lot of drinking songs." *sings* "I got tears in my beer 'cause I'm cryin' for you, dear. You are on my lonely mind..."

Gabby: "Since when do you twang?"

Xena: "Okay. How about..." *sings* "Jose Cuervo, you are a friend of mine! I like to drink you with a little salt and lime..."

Gabby: "Considering the crowd we're likely to get, do you really want to talk about 'drinking' something with a guy's name?"

Xena: *stares at Gabby* "I sobered up, and I started thinkin' that you ain't much fun since I quit drinkin'."

Gabby: "That song has possibilities."

Xena: "What song? I was just stating facts."

Gabby: "Since when did you quit drinking?"

Xena: "Ten minutes ago, and I can feel a fall off the wagon coming. Barboy?" *Barboy sets a full pitcher in front of Xena* "Are you psychic?"

Barboy: "Like anyone couldn't have seen this coming down the road. And I tell you what, we can work out a deal so that I keep them coming--with no charge."

Xena: *deep gulp* "Do tell?"

Barboy: "This pageant..." *Xena winces* "I'm sorry, but I can't discuss this without mentioning it. Would it be safe to say that it's likely that the audience is going to be looking for a good bit of liquid refreshment?"

Xena: "They'll want to get blitzed, if that's what you mean."

Barboy: "Someone's going to need to supply the booze. I can work out a deal with the brewer for a percentage of the sales. We'll both get rich."

Xena: "I'll see what I can do. But didn't I ruin at least one vat of his best ale by swimming in it?"

Barboy: "He's going to use that as a selling point to the kinkier members of the crowd. He figures he can get double the usual price for ale that's been all over your body."


Strife: "Works fah me."

Gabby: *waving hands* "Oo! I have an idea, if I can get a piece of the action. If you and the others would consent to wine baths... We could have Strife Sangria, Cupid Cabernet, Ares Asti Spumanti..."

Strife: "Ya remembah tha weddin I messed up just before me an' Cupe got tagetha?" ^^ *Gabby nods* "Remind me ta tell ya some day about what I did to tha reception wine." *Xena looks suspiciously at her ale* "Nah." *giggle* "Not this time, anyway."

Gabby: "Why are you here?"

Strife: "Dear, dear. I feel unwanted."

Barboy: *VERY quickly* "I'm GLAD you're here. You raise the tone of the place."

Strife: *jerks his head toward Barboy* "Smart kid. I'm here cause Zeus has come up with anotha wrinkle fah this shindig. Tha contestants an' sponsors are gonna submit tha questions ta be used in tha final part of tha pageant."

Gabby: "Great! We'll come up with one that will be sure to showcase Xena's keen intellect, savvy world view, and compassionate soul.' *Xena belches* "Or something along those lines."

Strife: "You wish. Nope. The question ya submit will be given ta anotha of tha contestants, ta be determined latah."

Barboy: "So, like, Xena could end up answering a question Jayce helped come up with, and Ares might have to answer one Gabrielle came up with?"

Strife: "Ya got it."

Barboy: "I'd better tell the brewer to figure on doubling the amount of supplies."

Beloved Author: "Mixed drinks?"

Strife: "Scribe, there's bound ta be a few kiddies lookin in. Ya really wanna expose them ta what Olympians might get up ta afta a few Zombies, Hurricanes, an' Sex on tha Beaches?"

Beloved Author: "Damn."

Strife: "They won't be able ta see you. No reason why YOU can't get blasted."

Beloved Author: "Oo!"

*every one of the characters suddenly shiver happily*

Gabby: "That felt GREAT! What was it?"

Strife: "Warm fuzzies, courtesy of tha Beloved Author."

Beloved Author: "This will be a great chance to come up with some funky names for fictional drinks. Let's see... I could have the Philistine Filibuster, made with almond liquer and pistachio ice cream. A Screaming Harpy, a Salty Cerberus--that's a triple, by the way..."

Xena: *whispers* "I suggest we sneak away. This should keep her preoccupied for some time." *they all sneak out*

Beloved Author: *giggles* "They're so easy."


Strife: "Not all of us, toots."

Beloved Author: "Ah, but you're special."

Strife: "Yer so perceptive. Gotta go. I'm pretty sure that Aether will have gathered himself back tagetha by now." *giggles*

Beloved Author: "What did you do to him?"

Strife: *hand over heart* "Nothin, I swear. Didn't get tha chance. He literally shook himself ta pieces an' drifted all ovah tha temple. When last seen Cupid had enlisted Bliss ta help gather 'im up. Priss was 'helpin' so it was slow goin. I guess I'll hafta think up somethin different fah my talent."

Beloved Author: "I trust you." *blinkblink* "Did that just come out of MY mouth?"

Strife: "Kid, ya GOTTA start gettin more sleep. Give Tha Sims a rest."

Beloved Author: "Strife, I have Makin' Magic. I can turn people into toads."

Strife: "I love ya."

Beloved Author: "Flatterer. It may be a little while before I get to the next segment of this thing, so you know what to do."

Strife: "Sex, sex, sex, mischief, mischief, mischief, sex, sex, sex..."

Beloved Author: "Right--business as usual for you."

Strife: "I love ya."

Author: Scribe
Fandom: X:WP/HtLJ
Pairing: Multiple implied: Ares/Joxer, Cupid/Strife, Hercules/Iolaus, Xena/Gabrielle, Eris/Autolycus, Apollo/Jayce
Rating: FRM
Summary: On with the show
Archive: Mailing lists, Beyond Canon, the WWOMB, others ask
Status: WIP
Disclaimer: I did not create the characters here, I don't own them. I derive no profit from this effort. I mean nothing but respect for the creators,

owners, and the actors and actresses who portray them.
Websites: and

Mine's Better Than Yours! 2: The Second Annual Best Lover Pageant, or REVENGE! 5/?
By Scribe

Part Five

*Halls of War*

*Ares is pissed* *Joxer is trying to soothe him*

Joxer: "Now, Ares, I'm sure that Zeus wasn't TRYING to miff you when he asked the favor."

Ares: "I'm telling you, he's getting ready to introduce a new event at the Olympics--Ares Irritating." *sigh* "Crap. I might as well get this over with."

*concentrates* *waves hand*


*Jett appears in a burst of red energy* *He stumbles forward as he continues the down stroke he was making with his blood-stained knife*

Jett: "Hey! I was in the middle of something!"

Ares: "I need to ask a favor."

Jett: "Do you think I'm going to feel like doing favors if my reputation suffers? Let me go back and finish that. Hurry, before he can call the guards."

Ares: "Damn." *snaps fingers*

*FLASH* *Jett is gone* *Ares looks at Joxer*

Joxer: *shrugs* "Look, you know how YOU get when someone interrupts you in the middle of work."

Ares: "You're right." *they wait* "He should be done now." *waves hand*


*Jett reappears* *He's a lot calmer, and is cleaning his knife*

Jett: "Sorry to snap, but I take payment in advance, and I have to give money's worth if I'm going to keep getting business. Now, what can I do you

for? Who do you want killed?"

*Ares starts to make a suggestion, but Joxer elbows him sharply*

Ares: *sigh* "Nothing like that. I'm formally inviting you to act as master of ceremonies for the Second Annual Greatest Lover Pageant."

Jett: "Oh, yeah, exactly what I want--to be the focus of attention for hundreds of thousands of beings all over Greece and the world. I'm the

fucking King of Assassins. Public exposure is NOT in my best interests."

Joxer: "You could wear a disguise."

Beloved Author: "I'll help. I know a fool proof way to disguise someone in a fanfiction universe."

Jett: "You showed me the story, remember? We don't HAVE eyeglasses in this time period."

Beloved Author: "Like that's ever stopped me?"

Jett: "It MIGHT work. Give it a try."

*brzzapt* *A pair of heavy, hornrimmed but plain glass glasses appear on Jett's face* *He looks even cuter geeky*

Jett: *looks at Ares and Joxer* "Well?"

*Ares draws his sword.*

Joxer: "Who are you, and what have you done with my brother?"

Jett: *looks up* "Okay, I'll do it." *takes off glasses* "Guys?"

*Ares and Joxer blink*

Joxer: "Jett, what happened? One minute you were here, the next there was some strange guy wearing glass over his eyes, then you were here

again." *brightens* "Was it you? Have you learned how to use a glamour?"

Jett: "Something like that."

Beloved Author: "You're cute. Go visit with my avatar after you're through here." *Jett leers* "She can thank me later. Remember to lock the cats

out of the room. You know how much they like a moving target. Okay, let's see... What pageant cliches haven't I dragged in yet? Ah, I know! The

pageant mother!" *sparkle*

Persephone: *voice drifts in through open window* "But Mother, it's the Best Lover Pageant, and I'm your daughter! That would be too kinky even

by Olympian standards."

Demeter: "I'll sign Hades' name to the entry form."

Persephone: "I don't think he'd approve."



Ares: *goes to window and yells out it* "Demmy, shut the Tartarus up! Even if Hades didn't try to smack you stupid for suggesting it, the entries are

closed. She CAN'T enter."

Demeter: "What? Denied! Oh, the world hates me!"

Jett: "Yup."

Beloved Author: "Uh-huh."

Joxer: "That isn't nice."

Ares: "It's true."

Joxer: "Maybe so, but it isn't nice. Besides, I think you could make a case for Gaia being 'The World', and SHE doesn't hate Demmy. They work


Ares: "Yeah, but last time I saw Gaia she mentioned that she was thinking about another Ice Age so that Demeter could have a little 'down time.'"

Joxer: "Beloved Author, isn't it about time that you got on with the pageant?"

Beloved Author: "Not yet. I still have hilarity to commit with the choice of costumes."

Jett: "Surely that would be more effective if you revealed the ridiculous garments in the actual pageant?"

Beloved Author: "Say, you've actually been LISTENING to my avatar, haven't you? Consider yourself smooched. I'll do a partial reveal at the

pageant, but I want to show some of the contestants being tormented. Which means Ares needs a fashion consultant." *sparkle* *Jayce appears.

He's wrapped in a length of golden gauze, and not much else*

Jayce: *Hands on hips* "Heck-scuse me?"

Beloved Author: "I need to you to fashion consult for Ares, and drive him batty with your flamboyant suggestions."

Jayce: "Not this time, honey. Hih am saving all my gloriously gaudy ideas for myself this time."

Beloved Author: "But..." *sparkle* *Apollo appears and grabs Jayce*

Apollo: "Try that again and I'll report all of your for fashion espionage." *Flash* *They're gone*

Beloved Author: "Exactly who does he think he'll report me to? I'd be irritated if you guys weren't so gosh darn cute when you try to act assertive.

Okay--I'll just have to do this quickly." *zap* *Ares is dressed in super baggy pants (complete with a rim of Calvin Kleins at the top), athletic shoes,

and a baseball cap turned around backward. That's it.*

Ares: "Oh, TARTARUS, no!"

Joxer: "I like it from the waist up, except that thing on his head. What's the white ring around his waist?"

Beloved Author: "Underwear."

Jett: "Say what?"

Beloved Author: "I REALLY like you. I never actually liked that look, anyway. It's just an easy target for ridicule." *zap* *Ares is dressed in a neon

lime green polyester leisure suit*

Ares: "For some reason I can't decide if I'd rather pluck out my eyes, or rip off my skin."

Joxer: "I think I may throw up."

Beloved Author: "Say what you will--I thought that was really hot when I was back in high school."

Jett: "I'd wear it."

Beloved Author: "Yes, but you're a male slut when it comes to trying to get into my, or my other incarnations' pants--bless you. Aaand again..."

*zap* *Ares is wearing a paisley Nehru jacket, crushed velour pants, and love beads*

Ares: "Aaaaargh!"

Beloved Author: "Hey, it works for Austin Powers." *zap* *Ares is once again in his normal clothing* "Choose your own costume. I'd suggest

something made of leathe and perhaps small pieces of metal, and lots and lots of Ares. Excuse me. I have to go speak to Gabrielle. I have a one

word suggestion that should be good for driving Xena to the brink of choking her."

Joxer: "What sort of single word could have that sort of power?"

Beloved Author: "Gingham."

Mine's Better Than Yours! 2: The Second Annual Best Lover Pageant, or
by Scribe

*Once again the huge, multi-tiered arena is filled to bursting with gods, goddesses, demi-gods, creatures, and mortals.* *Beloved Author is heard sniffing and muttering nostalgically about State Championship football play offs somwhere called 'The Astrodome'* *Jett is standing backstage, peeking through the curtains at the crowd*

Jett: "Damn. There are two people I've done work for just in the front row." *looks up* "This better work."

Beloved Author: "Or what? You gonna kill me?"

Jett: "Well..."

Beloved Author: "Ya can't. Nyah."

Jett: "I could cut off sex with your avatar."

Beloved Author: "Ha. Like you could resist. Anyway, why should -I- worry about that?"

Jett: "I'll tell her it's because of you, and remember, BA--this IS you we're talking about."

Beloved Author: "Oo. Myself pissed at me. You're right, I don't want that. Don't worry--it'll work." *zap* *A pair of horn rimmed glasses appear in Jett's hands--complete with a fake nose and Groucho Marx moustache attatched.* *Jett glares up at her.* "I had to try." *zap* *The glasses are now plain.*

Jett: *Jett slips on the glasses.* "Well?"

Beloved Author: "I've always found geeky kind of sexy. Wear those when you see my avatar later, and suggest that you play 'professor giving personal tutoring to co-ed'."

Jett: "I love you--all your incarnations."

Beloved Author: "You guys are so easy. Get this party started."

Jett: "Here goes nothing. And I mean that literally. I've seen the talents they have ready." *Jett whips open the curtains and steps out.* *There is an immediate confused murmur* "Settle down, rabble." *He may be disguised, but he can still do the 'I'm lethal. I'd advise you to LISTEN to me' voice (patent pending)* *Rabble settles down* "Right. Welcome to the 2nd Annual Best Lover Pageant. We're here to determine which one of the entered main- squeezes fits the bill. I wasn't allowed to make an entry."

Scribe: *From offstage* "LET IT GO!"

Jett: "I've been asked to make a few statements. First of all, there ARE chamber pot rooms on each level, so don't go peeing in corners. And you know damn good and well I'm including the OTHER bodily function in that directive. Gods and goddesses, Bacchus is running a special on mead fortified with nectar. If you have mortal companions, don't go slipping them any. It tends to give them delusions of invulnerability, and do you REALLY want to have them picking fight with the war dogs that have been assigned to security? And finally, Salmoneus is once again in charge of the concessions, and he urges you to pig out. He could use a few extra dinars to finance his current custody suit." *Loud whinny from off stage* "Don't blame me, Argo. You wouldn't have this problem if you'd just ease up on the visitation restrictions." *Shrill, much younger sounding whinny* "See? You're only hurting the kid with this fighting." *looks out at audience* "Sorry about that. I get a little choked up over family, and anyone who laughs at that can expect to lose an internal organ of my choice. Now, let's bring out the contestants for the introductory parade."

*Musicians start playing 'A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody, but a Hot Guy Really Rocks'*

Jett: "First up, because he threatened to wait till I was asleep and put pink streaks in my hair--Apollo's entry, Jayce."

Jayce: *Jayce floats out onto the stage, shimmying in rhythm to the music, wearing more bright gauze than a Dancer of the Seven Veils* *Somehow, though, the veils seem to cover less ground* *sings* "Hiyam too saxy for my shurt..."

Beloved Author: "You know, the video has that done with strapped T- shirts, but this works, this works."

Jayce: *keeps dancing* "Hand hayam too saxy for my cat. Poor, poor pussy cat..."

*multitudinal chorus of mews from offstage* *cats charge out onto the stage* *Cats love stuff that flutters* *The rest of the veils don't last long*

Jayce: *shriek* "Hyou mischeevious moggies!" *Strife's cackle is heard* "Sabotage! I hwasn't planning hon doing the full Monty!"

Scribe: *offstage* "Go, kitties!"

Jayce: "Scribe!"

Scribe: "Okay, okay. The big fluffly Persian that looks like a cross between a fur muff and a powder puff big enough for Tammy Faye? I rescued him. He's declawed."

Jayce: "SAVED!" *Jayce snatches up indicated Persian and manages to hold him in front of his crotch just as the last wisp of cloth is shredded by the other cats.* *Jayce starts to edge off stage, while the crowd cheers.* "Hwell, that weent better than... Kitty, don't start purring NOW!"

Jett: "You know, if he had a cat for each hand he could whip them back and forth, letting the audience think they're bout to see something, but..."

Scribe: *offstage* "They'll do it in the future but use feathered fans and balloons."

Jett: *sounds interested* "Really? You never took me anywhere they had that when we were in your time."

Scribe: "I took you to Hooters, and I gave you permission to visit a titty bar. What do you want from me?" *Jett leers* "Don't answer that in public. They don't have fan dancers in my time. Society built up to them, then shot right past them. The vast majority of the population do not want to be teased--they want it pushed in their face. Now will you get on with it?"

Jett: "Moving along to our next contestant. From the floaty to the fierce. Welcome Gabriella's entry into this farce..."

Beloved Author: "A-HEM!"

Jett: "You've called it that yourself. Welcoming Gabrielle's entry into the competition--Xena." *Xena comes out. She's dressed approximately like Jayce was.* "Whoa."

Xena: "Don't start. A true warrior will use every trick at her disposal, and feminie charms happen to be one of them." *Music starts, and she begins to belly dance* "This has gotten me into more than one tent."

Jett: "Where the hell's the tiara? She wins."

Scribe: *Offstage* "You're getting it when this is over. Or rather you're NOT getting it."

*Xena shimmies. Xena wiggles. Xena shakes her cakes.* *Bloodpressure goes up among the males of the audience as their survival instincts war with their libidos.* *Xena finishes the dance with several of her trademark flips, landing in a split, which causes everyone in the audience to groan--from admiration, lust, or sympathetic pain--take your choice*

*Huge applause* *Xena bows, then swaggers offstage*

Jett: "Day-um. All I can say is that there's gonna have to be some pretty spectacular talent to beat that. Next up--Autolycus."

Autolycus: *comes out on stage* *cheers and hisses* "Thank you, thank you, fans and former targets. For my talent I shall demonstrate the skill I developed when I began my career. Mistress?"

*Eris comes out, waves her hand, and creates an object in a shower of red sparks, pinches Auto's butt, and strolls out.*

Autolycus: *rubs his bottom* "Please observe my demonstration model. As you can see it is a typical tailor's dummy, dressed in the garb of a successful merchant."

Heckler: *calls from audience* "Or a sober dressed jester. What's up with all the jingle bells?"

Autolycus: "If you'll shut up I'll explain. I was just coming to that. As you can see, there are a multitude of tiny bells sewn all over the garments, clustered especially thickly around any area that might be used to store valuables. Before I begin my talent, allow me to demonstrate how this works. I need a volunteer who is generally assumed to have a nimble and precise touch."

Scribe: *offstage* "ASK THE EMCEE!"

*Jett mimes a kiss at her*

Autolycus: "I was thinking something more in the line of a craftsman or someone in the medical profession."

Apollo: "I'll do it."

Autolycus: "Sorry, but you have a vested interest in the competition. How about Asclepius?"

Ace: "Okay." *Comes out on stage.*

Autolycus: "Ace, where would you think that a man would be most likely to carry his valuables?"

Ace: "You mean other than that money belt hanging on his belt in front of Zeus and everybody? I'd say his trouser pocket or possibly inside his vest."

Autolycus: "Yes, those are the most typical areas. Now, there are several dinars hidden on that figure. Try to find one without disturbing the bells. If any of them rings, that means that your touch probably wasn't light enough to go unnoticed."

Ace: "Oh, come on. I'm a healer--I work with my hands. My touch has to be precise and delicate." *Ace is reaching for the moneybag hanging on the figure's belt.* *jingle* "Um... Okay, I wasn't really making an effort. Let's try that again."

Autolycus: "Go right ahead."

Ace: *tinkle* "I wasn't ready. This time..." *chinktinkle* "Aether, are you blowing a breeze up here?"

Aether: *offstage* "I'm waiting to see if anyone wears something floaty during the dress up part. They're gonna end up with it over their heads."

Jett: "Are you sure you want to do that, considering the significant others of the contestants?"

Aether: "I have to. Strife threatened to go through with that talent he considered for the last pageant."**

Ace: "I know. It's just that the moneybag is more sensitive to motion. I bet if I try for the dinar in the vest pocket..." *JINGLE! * "Oops."

Autolycus: "Thank you. I believe that illustrates my point."

Ace: "Oh, yeah? I'd like to see you do better." *Auto hands him something.* "What's that?"

Autolycus: "The moneybag."

Ace: "Wha-huh?" *checks* *Yep, it's gone, but Ace isn't about to admit it* "I didn't see you take that. I'll bet you had a duplicate hidden, and..."

Autolycus: *cracks his knuckles* "Stand aside, and you in the audience--remain quiet." *Hoots and derisive remarks* *Auto looks at Jett* "If you would?" *Jett steps toward the audience, scowling* *Audience shuts the Tartarus up.* "Thank you." *Auto slinks up to dummy, slithers hand into right pocket* *silence* *Hands dinar to Ace* *moves to other side* *slips hand into left pocket* *PROFOUND silence* *hands Ace another dinar* *slides hand inside the dummy's vest* *crickets chirp, wind blows* *hands Ace the last dinar*

Ace: "I'll be damned." *starts to leave*

Autolycus: "Wait a minute. Let's have the dinars back. I had to supply my own props." *takes back dinars, and Ace leaves*

Jett: "Very impressive, but I hardly think you could do that well with an awake and aware victim."

Autolycus: "Oh, yeah?" *hands Jett a small wad of black material*

Jett: *Jett examines it* "What is this?"

Scribe: *offstage* "It's the underwear I gave you for Winter Solstice!" *Jett quickly slaps a hand on his butt, feeling, then quickly stuffs briefs in his pocket* "I'm touched. I didn't think you wore them any time but when you visited me."

*Autolycus bows to applause, and leaves stage*

Jett: "Another reason to keep your moneybag on a chain instead of a belt, gents. Our next contestant is a master of the Art of War. Let's see what else he's artistic at. Presented by Eirini, God of Peace (also known as Joxer)--Ares, God of War."

Joxer: *As Ares walks out, Joxer calls from offstage* "And he doesn't want you to take his divinity into consideration when you vote!"

Ares: "I don't?"

Joxer: "Ar..."

Ares: "Oh, all right." *mutters* "He's gotten even more obsessed with fairness since we had Accord." *raises his voice* "I finally agreed to sing for my talent, but Joxer..." *he looks off stage* "I'm sorry, babe, but I will NOT sing I Know That My Heart Will Go On."

Beloved Author and Scribe in chorus: "THANK YOU!"

Ares: "However in deference to the Beloved Author I will sing a song from her formative era. Credit to Strife for getting me the music for this." *Music starts*

Beloved Author: "That DOES sound familiar."

Ares: *starts singing* "Somebody's going to hurt someone before the night is through." *His tone of voice makes it a promise* "Somebody's gonna come undone--there's nothing we can do..."

Beloved Author: *screams* "HE'S SINGING THE EAGLES! I LOVE THIS SONG!"

Apollo: "Oh, like this isn't fixed!"

Beloved Author: "Shut up or I'll screw up the shocks on your chariot."

Ares: *He's not exactly boogying, but he's moving to the music in a cool, pantherish way* *Panties are dampening all over the arena* *Some loincloths are getting stretched, too* "We can beat around the bushes, we can get down to the bone, we can leave it in the parking lot but anyway there's gonna be a heartache tonight, a heartache tonight, I knooooow..."

Scribe: *Offstage* "Do Hotel California! Or Life in the Fast Lane!"

Beloved Author: "I'll send you an 8 track, but we have to get on with this thing."

Scribe: "Poop."

Beloved Author: "This is for adults lists."

Scribe: "Well, then shit."

Beloved Author: "You're welcome. Next?"

Jett: "Next up--Hercules, presented by Iolaus."

*Iolaus and Hercules come out on stage. Hercules is pushing a small, tarp draped cart.*

Hercules: *mutters* "This is embarrassing."

Iolaus: "Why are you embarrassed? I'm the one who's going to be juggling."

Hercules: "But people are going to think I put you up to it."

Iolaus: "Don't sweat it. This will just prove that I'm good with my hands." *Iolaus whips the tarp off the cart* "I will now juggle this wine bottle..." *checks it* "Empty, darn it. These two hard boiled eggs, this hatchet, and this live mouse."

Beloved Author: "What the fuck? I thought it was going to be rubber balls and Indian clubs."

Iolaus: "Boring."

Beloved Author: "But safe. I disavow responsibility for whatever happens next."

*Iolaus starts to juggle* *Say, he IS good with his hands* *The objects whizz through the air, rising and falling in a steady rhythm* *When the bottle is at the top of the loop, the cork pops out* *glug* *Sour wine splashes down on Iolaus*

Hercules: "I thought you said it was empty."

Iolaus: "It WAS, I swear! I emptied it myself last night. It was light and fruity, with a grassy undertone and a strong bouquet. Plus a high alcohol content." *Iolaus hasn't lost a beat, though he tosses the bottle out of the loop* *SMASH* *YELP!* "Sorry about that! Ace--front row."

Ace: "On it."

*Iolaus keeps juggling.* *One of the eggs bobbles, then drops, landing right on Iolaus' head* *smeck* *Bits of shell and bright yellow yolk drip down his face* "Herc! You were supposed to get these hard boiled."

Hercules: "I DID! You should be able to bounce them."

*The second egg breaks open in mid-air* *Iolaus finds himself juggling a peeping chick* *Cats immediately run out and surround him, avidly watching the tiny chicken and the mouse*

Scribe: "Oh, no, you don't! Get back here, you heathens." *Cats leave the stage, grumbling* "Yeah, yeah--I know. All cats are naturally heathens. It was just a figure of speech." *calls* "Keep going, Blondie. Grace under pressure is sure to win points."

*Iolaus tosses the chick to Hercules. He tries to toss the mouse, but somehow his aim goes wonky* *Demeter isn't showing much cleavage, but that's where the mouse lands, and immediately heads South*

Demeter: *SHRIEK!*

Beloved Author: "I haven't seen that kind of dancing since the mosh pit at a punk club."

*All that's left is the hatchet* *Audience holds its breath* *Sure enough, Iolaus reaches for it, and misses.* *Crowd gasps* *The only thing the hatchet cuts before it buries itself in the stage is the waistband of Iolaus' trousers* *snapwhishplop* *Iolaus is now wearing only a shirt and a VERY skimpy loincloth* *CHEERS!*

Apollo: "He did that on purpose! He's trying to unfairly influence the crowd." *crowd is still cheering* "And it seems to be working."

Beloved Author: "Get your toga untwisted. Remember, this isn't a popularity vote. The judges are going to carefully weigh the merits of each contestant and... and..." *bwha ha ha!* *sniff* "I'm sorry. I can't say that with a straight face."

Jett: "Moving right along, prepare to be awed by the talent of our final contestant--Strife, God of Mischief."

Strife: *strolls out on stage* "What just happened ta Blondie? That WAS my talent." *A small table bearing three walnut shells appears before him* "But if ya must have somethin else, I can show ya somethin I learned from Salmoneus." *Lifts walnut shell* "Keep yer eye on this pea, an' try ta remembah which shell it's undah..."


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