AresJoxerCupidStrife - Ares Desciple


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Title: Quartet the Younger years
Rating: G
Fandom: Herv/Xenaverse
Pairing: A?J, C/S, I/I established
Disclaimer: They are not mone, I havn't made any money and I dont know the real actors.
Warning: Minor Angst
Summary: Following on from the Quartet, these a fics covering the younger years of teh young Gods, they can either be read as single fics of together.


Quartet the Younger years

After my house got filled with bunnies by some of my readers I thought I would give it a try. There have been requests for more background on the young gods in Quartet so here it is. The fic’s can either be read separately or as a single fic.


Ares was taking the opportunity to catch up on petitions from his priests and followers; none of the petitions were as genuine as Joxer’s had been. Ares knew the importance of War when it was for the greater benefit of Greece. It angered him when people would only pray to him to get revenge or for pure greed.

The only thing that was stopping him from throwing a fireball at the table with all the petitions was the fact that Cyrus was playing nearby with his small warrior models that one of the city carpenters from Corinth had made. Cyrus turned to see his father looking at him as Ares patted his knee. Cyrus dropped the warrior dolls and toddled over with his arms outstretched. As he reached Ares he was picked up in his father’s large, strong arms as he was lifted onto his lap. As soon as Cyrus was seated he wrapped his arms around his father’s neck.

Joxer and Ares had agreed that each of their children would spend time with each of them as they attended to their godly duties, except when Ares had to actually go to the battlefield.

Ares lent forward to kiss his son on his forehead to be met with a squeal, “Ewwww, daddy ucky kisses,” his young son giggled.

Ares laughed heartily; since the birth of the twins and his joining with Joxer he felt, for the first time in his long life, contentment. Whilst he had other children, he was never able to be directly involved in raising them. Whilst he helped with Cupid and Anteros, they were still living with Dite and Heph and although they both went out of the way to include Ares, it wasn’t the same as to waking up to the sounds of laughing children.

Cyrus got himself comfortable on his father’s lap looking for a parchment to draw pictures on; his chubby, little arms reached forward just as Ares quickly moved them out of the way.

“Daddy, when nanty Dite kisses me, she makes me smell all ucky flowers.”

Ares laughed at his son’s announcement, “Cyrus, I promise not to make you smell like ucky flowers. Do you want to help me? I have a really important mission for you……Now you see all these parchments. They are from people who pray to me. I need you to pick important ones for me so I can answer them.”

At the thought of helping his father Cyrus fidgeted happily as he began to reach for parchments, before passing them to his father he would have a look at them. Ares smirked at the sight of his son trying to read them whilst holding them upside down or on their side. With Cyrus’s help the task became much more pleasurable.

By the time the table was clear Cyrus looked pleased with himself and looked into the dark brown eyes of his father, “Daddy, can yous twain me to use awooow like Bliss and Coopid use pwese?”

Ares hugged his son gently, “Sure little warrior, Uncle Heph has just made some special arrows for you, but you still have to be extra special careful and only use them when me or daddy Joxer is with you….ok?”

Cyrus wrapped his small arms around his father’s neck, “K Daddy, luves you.”

Ares pushed his chair back, as he stood he picked his son up by his ankles and carried him out to the garden at the back of his Olympian Temple earning him an earful of his son’s giggling and squealing.

Once they were outside, Ares materialised the special arrows that his brother had made for him. As Ares was putting the quiver of arrows on Cyrus his son asked, “Daddy will I be a warrior like you when I get big?”

Ares looked down at his son, “Cyrus, you are the son of War and Justice, you are part of us both, but when you grow up you can be what you want, but don’t forget you are a god yourself.”

His son replied, “Daddy, what is I a god of?” Ares thought hard about answering his son. Although they were only five years old, Cyrus and Hypatia were filled with unusual questions. Ipecles didn’t have any better luck; at a packed banquet Heron decided to ask his father how babies were made.

“Cyrus you are the God of Destiny,” Ares explained kindly.

Hearing a new word Cyrus tilted his head to the side, “What that mean?”

Ares sat on the ground next to his son, “Well, before you were born, Daddy Joxer was one of my followers. He would travel with your big sister Xena and a horrible woman called Gabrielle. Your Daddy really liked Gabrielle, but it wasn’t his Destiny to be with her. His destiny was to marry me and be your and Hypatia’s daddy, you make special things happen.”

Cyrus looked wide eyed at his father; happy knowing that he was so important. “I do, I have bestest daddies.”

A lump came to Ares’s throat; he knew that at such a young age a child needed to know of their importance and how cherished they were. Ares vowed never to turn out as his father had done.

The rest of the morning was spent with Cyrus practicing with his bow. His big brothers, Cupid and Anteros, were teaching him how to fly, along with Heron. Cyrus happily showed his proud father what he could do.

After an enjoyable morning Ares led his son to the clear stream to freshen up; whilst they could do it easily with a wave of his hand, Joxer and Ares had decided not to allow their children to rely on their godhoods. As Ares lent forward to splash water on his face Cyrus brought his wings back and brought them forward sending a wave of water over his shocked father. With water dripping from his brown curly hair Ares turned to his son. “Ahhh, so that is how you want to play.”

After they were both soaking wet Ares surrendered to his son, with a wave of his hand Ares dried them both off. “Come on you little terror, time to meet Uncle Ipecles for lunch.”

“Yahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!” Cyrus cried out. Ares picked up his son and sat him on his shoulders as they walked back inside the temple towards the portal leading to the Royal Apartments.

******************

Cyrus and Heron were playing tag by the large oak tree. They didn’t notice the big burly guard that was taking a short cut through the grounds. Not noticing the guard, Heron bumped into him.

With a snarl, the guard, said, “Look where you’re going you little freak.” Heron stood as tall as a young three year old boy could with his best friend standing next to him and replied as Cyrus kicked the man in the shin, “I is not a freak, howwible man.”

In a bout of anger Xenon reached his arm back as if to strike the young child, “You little bastard,” he roared.

Akakios rushed forward with his sword drawn, “Take one more step and it will be your last!” he spat out.

With utter contempt in his voice Xenon replied, “Well if it isn’t the Royal Catamite.” The sight of Akakios standing protectively in front of the two young gods began to draw more and more guards; who were rushing over. Xenon turned and stalked off.

Once Xenon had left Akakios dropped to his knees to check on the well being of the two young gods; the last thing Corinth needed was a furious Olympus. It didn’t bear thinking what Ares or the King would do when they found out.

With a smile Akakios asked, “You two little warriors ok? Isn’t it time for you two to go in for lunch?” Heron just nodded quietly, hurt by the cruel words. Cyrus and Heron each took one of Akakios hands as he led them inside. As soon as they reached the royal apartment Heron ran forwards into the security of his father’s arms and began to sniffle. Ipecles was radiating anxiety which Iyolas felt and flashed into the room. Cyrus spoke up, “Nuncle, what does fweak mean, nasty man called Heron it so I kickeded him in the leg then Akai sent man away.”

Ipecles’s eyes went wide in fury as he looked at Akakios who was kneeling on one knee before the King. Cyrus continued his rambling, “Bad man said Aki was woyal cat…cata…..catamite, what that mean nuncle?”

Ipecles’s anger was growing more and more, Iyolas could sense this as he knelt in front of his nephew, “Cyrus, it is a bad word horrible people use, you can’t use it, promise.”

Cyrus nodded his head, “K nuncle Las, pwomise, can me and Hewon go play now?”

Iyolas held out his arm to his son who took the comforting hug from his other father. Ipecles turned to his partner, “Thank you Iyolas, I want to talk to Akakios.”

Worriedly Heron struggled out of his father’s arms, “Daddy, Akai not in twouble?”

The end of Ipecles’s mouth rose in a slight smirk, “No Heron, he isn’t in trouble.”

Not fully convinced, “Daddy, Pwomise?”

Chuckling slightly, Ipecles smiled at his son, “I promise; now take Cyrus with you and Daddy Iyo and get ready for lunch.”

Once his son and nephew were out of the room a furious mask came across Ipecles’s face. “What happened?” He demanded.

Petrified Akakios stuttered, “Majesty……please forgive me……I was not quick enough….”

Ipecles’s anger was growing, "Akakios, tell me now what happened to my son?”

The young soldier replied, “The Prince was playing with his cousin, he bumped into one of the guards. I did not hear what was said, but whatever it was upset the Prince and young Cyrus kicked the guard in the shin. As he was about to hit the Prince, I drew my sword. Majesty, I am sorry, I know I will be punished for not protecting the Prince.”

Ipecles could see how devastated the young soldier was; he knew how deeply he cared for Cyrus, Heron and the other godlings, plus there was his promise to his son. Ipecles would never lie to his son.

“You have done nothing worthy of punishment, only my unreserved thanks for protecting my son, do not fear young Akakios. Now tell me the name of this person.”

Heron turned to his father, “Daddy, I is not a freak?”

Iyolas wrapped his son in his arms, “No you are not, you are young, brave and the best thing that has ever happened to your father and I. You are perfect.”

Seeing his best friend upset Cyrus toddled over. “You is not a fweak, you is my bestest fwiend.” Young Cyrus declared reassuringly.

Ipecles was rushing through the corridors of the palace towards the main barracks. As he reached the double wooden doors, Ipecles kicked them open with a loud bang; the soldiers inside scattered grabbing their swords. As soon as they saw their king they dropped down on their knees.

“Where is that bastard Xenon?” Ipecles demanded. The king was known throughout the kingdom for his calmness. They had never seen him in such a fury. Not wanting to anger their King any further, and knowing full well who his family were, they pointed to the burly man asleep on the bed at the back of the barracks.

Ipecles stormed over tipping the bed over, without seeing who had done it Xenon shouted, “What bastard did that.” You could hear the other soldiers draw breath, not only had Xenon angered their King but had insulted him as well. Ipecles grabbed the guard tightly around the throat, threw him hard against the wall and began raining blows down on him.

Once Xenon was a bloody pulp, Ipecles ground out. “You dared to insult my son and try and strike him. I am mortal and can only inflict mortal wounds; however the other child you threatened was the son of my brother.”

The guards could not believe what they were hearing, what they heard next filled them with fear as their King shouted, “ARES!!” With a loud clap of thunder the God of War appeared. It was well known how close the God of War was to his brother.

“What’s the lowlife done to piss you off then brother?” Ares enquired; he had never seen Ipecles this angry. Without taking his eyes off of Xenon Ipecles replied, “He insulted Heron, tried to hit him and threatened Heron and Cyrus.”

All the mortals could feel the change in atmosphere as a cold shiver rushed down their spines and caused their hair to stand on end. Ipecles continued, “I can’t take him to Tarterous, so I thought you would like the pleasure.”

Ares was so angry his teeth were grinding as he reached forward with his fist into the chest of the person who dared to threaten his beloved son and nephew ripping his heart out; before the body died, he said, “Hades and I will meet you.”

One of the other guards came forward; “Please Majesty, is the Prince ok? We did not know what had happened.”

Ares still looked as if he wanted to rip anyone who angered him any more limb from limb, but all he could sense was genuine concern. He sent a thought to Ipecles, ///Iph, they didn’t know.///

Ipecles was still fuming as he turned around. “Do not worry. Heron and young Cyrus are fine. Dispose of this waste,” he commanded. He turned to Ares, “Hey fancy doing your god thing and getting rid of the blood and gore?”

Ares chuckled. He really did love his brother. It was hard to believe that they were both related to that bastard Hercules.

**********

Xena was sitting on a chair watching her husband, Autolocus, playing hide and seek with her little sister Hypatia.

After all the years of bloodshed and seeking redemption, Xena finally had a family; she had two beautiful children, a little brother and sister she adored and a very over protective father, domestic life suited Xena and her young family.

Hypatia walked over to her big sister, who was sitting on a chair preparing the vegetables for the evening meal. “Zeena, can yous shows me how to make warrior noise like you?” Hypatia asked expectantly with hope filled eyes.

Xena chuckled at the thought of her father putting up with his overactive daughter screeching at the top of her lungs, besides wasn’t it her duty as an older sibling to try and annoy her parents. Xena smiled, “Sure Hypatia, but don’t tell Daddy Ares, lets make it a surprise.”

Up on Olympus Cupid was sitting on the lush grass in the gardens behind his temple with the love of his life sitting between his legs with his back pressed against Cupid’s chest. Cupid wrapped his arms around Strife’s chest whilst Bliss played nearby.

Strife arched his back and moaned, “Cupe, you have a wicked sister. Xena is going to teach Hypatia her war cry and wants it to be a surprise for your dad.”

Cupid laughed. “You know Strife; I think all of Dad’s kids are full of mischief.”

Bliss called out from overhead as he was performing aerial acrobatics, “DADDY STRIFE, DADDY STRIFE, watch me fly.”

Cupid kissed the area behind Strife’s ear sending shivers down his lover’s back, “You know Strife, you’re a great dad. Bliss adores you and you are a great father to Anthousa.”

After performing some loops in the air Bliss landed next to his fathers, “Daddy Strife, can I go with you next time you do Mischief stuff please? I have spent time with Dad when he does the Luvy stuff. I want to see what you do too, do you mind?”

Strife had centuries of insecurities to overcome, but between Cupid, Bliss and Ares they were tearing those insecurities away with great enthusiasm. “Sure Bliss, I am going to the Halls of Time later, but you can’t interfere in what you see.”

“K Dad, I promise to be good.”

Strife and Bliss left Cupid caring for Anthousa back at the temple as they made their way to the Halls of Time, “Daddy Strife, did Dad give you that pendant?”

Strife laughed at the memory, “Yes he did thanks to you and the other little terrors…….As the God of Mischief when ever someone does something mischievous, I receive the energy; when it is gods who do it the energy is stronger, when I get lots of energy I ……erm…….well you know….”

Bliss looked up at Strife, “Ewwwwww dad, I don’t want to imagine you and Dad; its bad enough he’s a screamer.”

The look on Strife’s face brought a huge smile to Bliss’s face, “See pops, if I can make the God of Mischief blush, it just shows what a great teacher you are, but what did we do anyway?”

Sitting on the steps of the halls of time, Strife began to explain, “Well it was like this.”

<<>>

Bliss turned to his co-conspirators, “”Right everyone, I have Daddy Strife’s book of pranks, we have to get the grown ups back for stopping us from having a mud war. They need to chill out. So we have to get Granpa Res, Granpa Heph and Granma Dite as well as Dad. I have a wicked spell that makes a persons hair change colour when ever they flash anywhere or use their powers. Anyone got any ideas what colours we should start with?”

Cyrus looked at his sister, thinking of the best colour for their Dad and cried out, “I knows, it would be bestest if Daddy’s hair were pink, he hates pink when nanty Dite visits.” Hypatia clapped her hands in excitement.

Heron was the next to speak up, “Nanty Dite should bees black, she says it is ucky, Nuncle Heph should be blues like the sky.”

The plan was all set. The following day there was a Council meeting on Olympus. They would get Ares and Cupid first as they always arrived together. Then they would get Hephaestus and Aphrodite. None of the young gods had any idea the effect their prank would have on Strife.

That morning at breakfast Cupid was in the Halls of War chatting with his father. The four young Gods were hiding out of sight as they chanted the incantation; as soon as Cupid and Ares appeared in the council chamber their hair would be different.

Once the incantation was said, the young gods crept out of the Halls of War and started over to the Halls of Love; as they crept out giggling they bumped into their favourite uncle, Hades.

From their giggling Hades knew they were up to something; as he reached the young gods he held out his arms and they each hugged him, “What are you terrors up to? Anything I can help with?”

Bliss looked at the other three young gods; they knew they could trust their Uncle Hades not to say anything as he often gave them some cool ideas, for a grown up he was pretty cool.

Bliss, being the oldest, was the speaker for the group; he explained what they were going to do. Once Hades had stopped laughing he promised to have a mirror to record everything that happened in the council chamber so they could all watch it next time they visited him and Aunty Sephey.

The young gods took their hiding places in the council chamber. Inside the chamber Strife came over all giddy from the huge burst of energy. Luckily he was sitting down, because of how strong the burst was he couldn’t trace it back to the cause.

Hades noticed the faint look on Strife’s face and went over, “Don’t worry Strife, just sit back and watch the fireworks. As you would say, it’s going to be soooooo rad.”

The rest of the council were seated waiting for Ares and Cupid to arrive; with the sound of thunder Cupid and Ares arrived to an unusually hushed hall. Cupid and Ares looked at the assembled gods who were sitting around the table; many of whom had their chins dropped. Apollo, for some reason, looked as if he was struggling not to laugh at something.

As he brought his hand up to point Apollo lost the struggle, as soon as he began to laugh the hall erupted. Hades was laughing so hard he had tears rolling down his face. As the King of the Gods, Hephaestus was trying his hardest not to laugh.

As Cupid and Ares looked at each other they cried out in an unusually high pitched voice “YOUR HAIR!!”

Apollo took pity on his brother and handed him a mirror, as soon as Ares saw the bright shade of pink, his legs started to get weak, he handed the mirror to his formerly blond son with jet black hair.

Both Gods glared at Strife who was thumping the table as he was laughing so hard. Hephaestus and Aphrodite came over; Hephaestus stood in front of his brother, whilst Aphrodite stood in front of her son.

From their hiding place, the young gods chanted their incantation again to work on Hephaestus and Aphrodite. As Hephaestus and Aphrodite held their hand out to try and change the colour, with a flash, Aphrodite’s hair turned jet black whilst Hephaestus’s turned bright blue, any control the other gods had was lost.

Aphrodite shrieked loudly when she saw the jet black reflection in the mirror, Hephaestus’s cry was some what more masculine when he saw the shade of blue. With all the Mischief energy in the room, Strife was overcome and fainted.

Hades called out; as soon as Cupid saw Strife on the floor he rushed over. As Apollo was checking Strife, Bliss ran out crying “DADDY STRIFE, DADDY STRIFE.” He was followed by three young, tearful godlings.

The council meeting was cancelled for the day as Cupid took Strife back to their temple. As the other gods were leaving laughter could still he heard, Gaia couldn’t stand up, she had been laughing non-stop at the antics of her grandchildren.

<<>

“So you see Bliss, now you don’t have to worry about me OD’ing on the energy again.”

Bliss looked sadly at his father “Daddy Strife, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

Strife grabbed his adopted son, “You never hurt me and you never knew, but it *was* a great prank.”

Having cheered up slightly Bliss replied “Well, Uncle Hades has a mirror with it all on, should we remind Dad and Granpa?”

Strife burst out laughing.

***********

Young giggles could be heard at the back of the Halls of Intellect; the young gods were on a Mission. They wanted to play with the Golden Sun Chariot that their Uncle would use to bring in the morning sunshine. Heron was keeping watch whilst Cyrus and Hypatia snuck into the stables housing the chariot and white winged horses Apollo used.

Cyrus and Hypatia had just gotten onto the Chariot when a loud booming voice could be heard, “GET OFF OF THERE NOW AND GET OUT!!!”

In shock Cyrus lost his balance, falling off of the chariot as he kicked out, scratching the side of the chariot with the heel of his sandal.

Not happy at her brother falling Hypatia stomped over, “I tell daddy, you made my bwuver fall.”

Seeing their two friends in need, Heron and Bliss levitated some Pegasus manure, as Apollo chased the two young gods out they dropped it on his head. With a loud roar the young gods disappeared.

The young gods appeared back in the Halls of Love to be met with Strife, “What have you all been up to, I just got a great buzz?”

“Uncle Polo shouted at Cyrus and Hypatia so Heron and me dumped some horse shit on him.” Hearing his son swear Strife called out “BLISS!!! Watch your language.”

Looking suitably chastised Bliss mumbled, “Sorry Daddy Strife.” Strife replied “Well don’t cause any more mayhem; I have to help your Granpa with a skirmish.”

Strife flashed out chuckling at the thought of Goldilocks smelling of horse dung. He appeared in the Halls of War chuckling, as soon as he told Ares the God of War was laughing heartily at the thought of his brother. Joxer, on the other hand, wasn’t impressed.

“ARES!! It’s not funny. I know the kids can be mischievous, but they can’t go around doing things like that all the time.” Strife held back a smirk; there was only one living person who could make the big, bad God of War pout like a naughty child. “I am going to find the children and talk to them, you two behave or else!” Joxer said as he disappeared.

Once he was gone the two remaining gods looked at each other, “Fuck unc, what’s with Joxer, didn’t he get any this morning?”

Joxer appeared in the halls of War and called out, “CYRUS, HYPATIA, come here NOW!” he shouted out.

Bliss and Heron appeared with their two friends, who were looking worriedly at their cross looking dad; he never looked cross.

“Would you care to explain to me what has been going on this morning?” Joxer asked.

Cyrus, still looking down replied, “Me and Hypa wanted to pway with nuncle polo’s charwiot, he shouted and made me fall off.” Hypatia interrupted “I told nuncle Polo that he was bad for making Cywus fall and I was going to tell Daddy Awes.”

Joxer was furious at the behaviour of his children, “I am so disappointed in the pair of you, having the God of War as a father does not mean you can act like spoiled children. You had no right to play with your uncle’s chariot. It is dangerous. You are both grounded to the temple; don’t expect Bliss and Heron over to play for at least a week. Bliss and Heron, what do you have to say for yourselves……Well I don’t have all day….”

Bliss and Heron looked guiltily at Joxer, and both replied “Sorry Joxer.”

After explaining what had they had done Joxer called Cupid and Iyolas. Once the two gods appeared Joxer explained. “Thanks for coming guys; these four seem to think they can get away with whatever they want because of who their parents are. They decided they wanted to play with Apollo’s chariot, when they got told off they dumped Pegasus manure over Apollo. As a father I have grounded Cyrus and Hypatia; however as God of Judgement I am going to talk to Apollo.”

The jokes that the young gods would play were well known throughout Olympus, however Joxer had been hearing an increasing number of stories of their antics crossing the line into bad behaviour.

Cupid looked angrily at his son, “Bliss, you can expect the same, you will not leave the temple either. I am so disappointed in you. You can forget helping your dad with any Mischief for a while too.” Bliss looked absolutely crestfallen at not being able to help his Daddy Strife.

Heron was the last to hear from his father, “You will stay in your room for the rest of the day; then you will not leave the Royal Apartment, no exploring or playing in the Palace or getting the guards outside the doors to play with you either. That lasts for a week or until Apollo forgives you, whichever comes first.”

Joxer reappeared in the Halls of War with two whimpering godlings, “Both of you go to your room.”

Ares looked at his husband. “Jox, aren’t you being too harsh? They are only godlings.” Ares asked, pulling back at the angry glare on Joxer’s face.

“No I am not, and I am glad you are both here. I am all for a laugh and mischief at the right time, but over the past week, I have had complaints from several other Gods. They have pulled up flowers in Hera’s garden. They have broken one of Gaia’s vases, ripped a tapestry in Artemis’s temple and now THIS!! Its not mischief it’s bad behaviour.”

“Why in Tartarus did no one tell me?” Ares called out angrily.

Not finished with his rant Joxer replied, “They wouldn’t tell you as you seem to have your head up your ass when it comes to the children. They have done wrong and need to be punished.” Ares gave a resigned look; he knew that Joxer was right. Joxer continued, “The four of them seem to think that they can do whatever they like because of who their parents are. I can’t answer for Bliss or Heron, but I will NOT allow my children to be spoilt brats. Now I am going to see Apollo, before anyone calls for Judgement.”

Once Joxer had gone Strife and Ares looked guiltily at each other; Strife knew he would be on the end of a similar lecture from Cupid.

Once Joxer appeared in the Halls of Intellect to see a clean, but fuming, Apollo who glared at the intruder “I suppose you are here to defend what they did?”

Remaining calm Joxer replied, “No, I am here to apologise.”

“Oh.” Apollo clearly wasn’t expecting the reply he got.

Joxer could tell that there was more to the incident, “Apollo, I know they shouldn’t have done what they did, but why are you so angry?”

Apollo sat down with a thump and held his head in his hands, a tear started to trickle down his check. “It happened a couple of centuries ago; my only mortal son wanted to prove to his friends that I was his dad, so he borrowed my chariot. He was showing off to his friends when he flew too high, fell off and died. Zeus hated him as his mother had chosen me instead of Zeus and banished his soul. I love the little terrors, but I couldn’t bear the thought of them getting hurt.”

Not sure what else to do Joxer put his arm around his brother-in-law’s shoulder, “Well they are all grounded. My two are in the temple at the moment, come with me and they can apologise.”

Apollo smiled slightly, “I’m not to sure if Ares will appreciate me turning up after shouting at the twins.”

Joxer just smiled, “Don’t worry about him; leave him to me.” At the look on Joxer’s face Apollo wondered if he would have to patch anyone up after Joxer was done with them.

*********

Joxer and Apollo appeared in the Halls of War, as soon as Joxer appeared Strife and Ares looked sheepishly at the new arrivals. Both Strife and Ares both spoke, “Sorry Apollo.”

Apollo was taken aback; it was the last thing he had expected to hear. Joxer led them all to the private rooms, as they all sat down Joxer began to explain why Apollo had shouted. Apollo just sat quietly looking into the fire; knowing how much they loved their own children Strife and Ares could fully accept why Apollo did what he did.

Ares walked over, “Listen Apollo, although we are brothers we have never been really close. I am truly sorry about what the twins did. I am sure if we went to see Uncle Hades we can make sure your son is ok in the Fields. All that this means is that I hate Zeus more for doing that to you and causing grief between us, no more.”

True to his promise Ares took Apollo down to see Hades. Hades was incandescent with rage when he discovered that Zeus had interfered in his domain and masked the soul of Anatolius. After a quick search the young soul was found playing with a group of children in a luscious meadow in the Elysian Fields; by now Apollo had tears streaming down his face.

Hades turned to his nephew, “I am sorry. I can’t bring him back, but you can spend as long as you like.”

Apollo just nodded as at his uncle as he walked over. The young boy saw the blond figure approaching him; “Hey daddy,” he said as he held out his arms. Apollo grabbed his son as he began to sob.

Ares was fuming as he said to his uncle, “If Zeus was here I would tear him apart. Is there no end to the pain he has caused?”

Knowing no different Anatolius ran off to carry on playing with his friends after his father let him go. Apollo walked over to Ares and Hades, “Thank you both.”

That afternoon Joxer had made all the young gods go to each of the gods who had complained to him and made them apologize to all of them.

There had been a remarkable change in the behaviour of the youngest Olympians after being grounded; whilst they were still full of mischief, it was tempered knowing that they would also be punished if they were naughty.

Apollo and Ares had started to get along better and better. Ares knew full well that there were some of his brothers and sisters who he would never get along with; but he had learnt that the most important thing to him was family. Apollo had also made a few appearances to visit with his other half brother King Ipecles.

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

It was the day of Ipecles’s birthday. Cyrus and Hypatia were looking forward to the party, so their excitement had gotten them up just before the sun rose. They quickly picked out their favourite clothes. They rushed into their fathers’ room; as soon as the door opened Joxer looked up, sleeping heavily next to him was his snoring husband. Hypatia cried out as she wrapped her arms around Joxer’s neck, “Morning Daddy, we go see nuncle Iffekeys? It’s his birthday.” Joxer lent forward and kissed her on the forehead; behind he could see Cyrus getting Ares’s boots. Cyrus began to push his sleeping fathers shoulder, “Daddy gets up, its nuncly Iffys birthday.” The impatient godling called out.

Ares just mumbled and pulled the heavy fur blanket over his head, “MMmmm….. later…….”

“Daddy gets up,” Cyrus called out. Leaning over near her father’s head Hypatia drew in a deep breath and gave a loud warrior screech that would have made her big sister Xena proud. Hearing the sudden sound in his ear Ares cried out as he sat bolt upright in bed, “ARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!”

Joxer was beside himself in laughter. With a pure, innocent look on her face Hypatia announced “Daddy, you is so silly, you gots to get up so we can go see Nuncle.”

Ares rubbed a hand across his face, “Ok you two, go and wait outside whilst we get ready.” Once the twins had left Ares glared at his still laughing husband with tears streaming down his face, “JOXER, you are no help. I bet you knew Xena was teaching her that.”

Once they had gotten ready they took to twins over to the Halls of Intellect to meet Apollo.

Joxer had invited Apollo down to Corinth for Ipecles’s birthday. Whilst the city had official celebrations Ipecles was having private celebrations with his family. When the gods from Olympus arrived they were met with the sight of the King of the First City of Greece on his hands and knees playing Horsey with his son sitting on his back. Cyrus, seeing the fun his friend was having, grabbed his father’s hand, “Daddy, pwese, we play.” Shortly afterwards the room was filled with deep laughter as Cyrus and Heron were digging their heels into their fathers’ thighs as they called out, “Faster daddy, faster.”

Not wanting to miss the opportunity Joxer passed Apollo a small scrying mirror to record the sight of Cyrus and Heron.

Ipecles and Ares were busy trying to knock each other over as they tried to pull each others arm out from under them, Cyrus and Heron were squealing with delight. Hypatia just sat there tutting and saying something about “Boys.”

Ipecles and Ares collapsed in a breathless heap on the floor. Once Ipecles had got his breath back he sat down on one of the cushioned chairs, the twins came forward with their present. “Nuncle Iffekeys, happy birthday,” they both said as they presented him with a picture they had both done of their favourite uncle with their daddies. They also took it upon themselves to take credit for the presents from their fathers. Ipecles placed the picture to the side and hugged the two young Gods. Cyrus was the next to speak, “Nuncle, we got you nuver pwesent, a peshal armour from Daddy Heph.” Ares snapped his fingers as the bright, freshly made armour appeared. Ares hugged Ipecles, “Happy birthday Little Brother.”

Apollo came forward shyly; he had never before been included in a family gathering. You could hardly call the gods and goddesses on Olympus a family. He stepped forward, “Ipecles, I know you like going hunting, so here is an enchanted bow, it will always strike true.”

Ipecles’s jaw just dropped, he could not believe what Apollo had just given him. Apollo held out his arm to Ipecles who just pulled him into a warm embrace, “Thanks Big Brother.”

Wanting to lighten the mood, Apollo tried to sound indignant, “Hey, you look far older than me.”

The group laughed, Ipecles replied, “I may look older than you, but you’re still over five times as old as I am, BIG brother.”

Bliss appeared shortly followed by Cupid and Strife who both cried out “Happy Birthday Unc.”

When he noticed that Ares and Ipecles were distracted by Bliss, Apollo pulled Strife and Cupid to one side. He pulled a copy of the mirror he had recorded earlier out of his pocket and had it start playing back as he handed it to them. Then he sat back to watch the expressions on their faces. He may be new to this whole family thing but he was pretty sure embarrassing your brothers was part of it. "You guys can keep that one I have more." Then he walked over to Joxer and winked at him.

As he walked away he heard Strife say, “I’m impressed Unc. Thanks, I owe you one."

END



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