AresJoxerCupidStrife - Joint Effort Fiction


Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

Title: Watching and Waiting
Authors: Hergerbabe and Star Earth Angel
Fandom: Xena
Pairing: A/J S/C
Rating: I'm sure we'll get to NC-17 eventually
Category: first times
Warnings: we'll let you know
Summary: Two couples need a kick up their collective asses



Part one

Strife stood in the corner silently as he watched Cupid, who was watching Ares and Joxer. Cupid had been trying to get Ares and Joxer together for quite some time now, but that pair kept dancing around their emotions every time they had a chance to become more then friends. Strife watched as Cupid looked down at the pair from an ivory white balcony, Strife on the other hand, preferred to hide behind a near by tree.

Strife moved his eyes from the love god and down to the pair sitting shyly beside each other on a bench in, what was oddly enough, Aphrodite's garden. Strife couldn't quite make out what they were saying, but by the looks of it Cupid knew what they were saying and seemed a bit worried.

Strife let his eyes wander back to Cupid, leaning on the balcony rail. Strife examined Cupid who was concentrating on the two mortals below.

((I HAVE been meaning ta tell him, maybe I should do it today,)) Strife thought softly as the winged god smirked at what was being said between the two mortals. ((But what if he rejects me? If I told him I loved him and he didn't love me, what would I do.)) Strife thought with a slight frown. ((I need ta find a way ta see if he cares for me that way I care for him..)) Strife continued to think looking down at the grassy garden floor, ((But how?)) He continued looking up and back at the balcony but Cupid was gone.

"Spying huh?" Cupid's smooth voice came over his cousin's shoulder.

Strife grinned but didn't turn around to face his cousin. "Look who's talkin'" Strife shot back smiling to himself. Cupid placed a hand on Strife's shoulder and squeezed it gently. Strife felt his heart skip a beat as he took in a shaky breath.

"What's wrong?" Cupid asked quietly.

Strife shrugged and gave a forced laugh. "Nothin' why?" Strife acted as casual as possible.
Cupid gave a big sigh,

"You’re love sick, I can tell." Cupid said quietly. Strife spun around and faced his cousin. Cupid smirked in triumph, "So you are love sick." He repeated crossing his arms.

"Uh no, no, no, I'm just...uh worried about Joxer and Ares." Strife lied.

Cupid gave a grin and shook his head. "What's REALLY wrong?" Cupid asked again leaning against the tree.

"I said I'm worried about Joxer and Ares!" Strife repeated stuttering slightly.

"You should be!" a menacing voice interrupted them. Cupid and Strife turned around to see Ares standing with his arms crossed glaring at the pair.

"Oh, sorry Unc we were just uh, just, just," He looked at Cupid urgently.

"Looking for mom." Cupid finished calmly.

"Good," Ares scowled, "Now beat it! I'm trying to talk to Joxer here." He finished, turning around and walking back to the bench where Joxer was waiting. Cupid and Strife disappeared together in gold and blue light and reappeared inside of Aphrodite's temple, now unable to see the two men out side.

The two Gods looked at each other in silence before Cupid spoke.

"Gods, Ares is so clueless sometimes! This isn't good at all!" Cupid raised his voice in frustration.

"What's not good Cupe?" Strife asked curiously.

Cupid glared at Strife, "Lets just say, Its not good." Cupid managed smirking slightly.

"Cupid, what exactly were Joxer and Ares talking about?"

@>*~

“What was all that about?”

Ares sighed, “I don’t know. I have the feeling they were spying on us.”

“What? Why?” Joxer asked in surprise.

“Don’t ask me!” Ares exclaimed. “I don’t understand those two anyway. Every one can see they’re panting after each other, so why aren’t they together?”

Joxer shrugged. He wasn’t that surprised really, he of all people knew how hard it was to get the courage to reveal feelings to someone. He sighed, getting a slightly concerned look from Ares. “Anyway, you were saying?”

Ares had to stop to think for a moment. “Oh yeah. I’m not sure about this anymore, I think you should stop.”

“But Ares we agreed…”

“I know what we agreed, but I just, I worry,” Ares admitted reluctantly.

Joxer smiled, “You worry? There’s nothing to worry about, you know that.”

Ares pulled a face, “Maybe, I just never thought it would take so long for it to get through my daughter’s thick skull!”

Joxer grinned, “She’ll get it, eventually. Now come on cousin, let’s go eat.”

Ares watched Joxer stand and start to walk away. It wasn’t till Joxer turned and raised an eyebrow at him, that Ares realised he’d been distracted yet again. He wished he knew what Joxer’s reaction would be if he told him how he felt. Quickly, Ares stood up, trying not to scowl and followed his young cousin back to Aphrodite’s hall.

@>*~

“It was so frustrating!” Cupid pouted, not knowing the effect it had on Strife. “The situation was perfect, and what do they talk about?! Xena!”

Strife tore his gaze away from Cupid’s bottom lip. “Are they dense or what?!” Strife agreed.

“Maybe I should have a word with Great Unc Pos’,” said Cupid thoughtfully.

“Are you kidding?! Pos’ son with Ares, he’d go nuts!” Strife exclaimed.

Cupid frowned at him, then stared at him. Strife wasn’t looking too well. “You okay cuz? You look a little… I don’t know.”

Strife shifted uncomfortably, “I’m fine.”

Cupid raised an eyebrow, “Still trying to convince me you’re not love sick, huh?” Strife glared at him. “Hey it’s nothing to be ashamed of. We’ve all been there.”

“Yeah sure, like *you’ve* ever been there,” Strife scoffed. Cupid looked away. “Cupe? Oh Gods, you have!” Cupid determinedly wouldn’t meet his eyes. “You *are*?!” Strife realised as he felt his heart shatter. Cupid was love sick too, what possible chance did he have now?

Part Two

Cupid appeared in Aphrodite's chamber and saw his mother digging through a wooden chest at the foot of her bed.

"Oh hi Cupie babe, help me find *something* to get Ares and Joxer together already." She finished getting to her feet, leaving a pile of items on her pink floor. Cupid smirked and crossed his arms casually leaning slightly.

"Well actually I was thinking of going to Uncle Pos' and telling him," Cupid began.

"What? Are you crazy!?" Aphrodite interrupted, pushing her son's chest a little harder than he expected.

"It was just an idea mom!" Cupid whined.  His mother just rolled her eyes and began to rack her brain for any ideas.

"Wait! I got it!" She announced as a huge smile spread across her face. Cupid cocked his head to the side and smirked waiting for his mother to announce her idea. "You and Strifey can....encourage Ares and Joxer!" she said with triumph. Her son stared back at his mother, puzzled. The love goddess sighed in annoyance. "You can bug Ares and Strife can bug Joxer until they're ready to admit their feelings!" She explained crossing her arms impatiently.

Cupid shrugged and nodded. "I guess it could work, but I'd have to work with Strife a lot." Cupid tried not to smile at the idea and acted neutral. The love goddess grinned, very proud of herself. There was a moment of silence as the two love gods stood glaring at each other.

"Well..?" Aphrodite questioned. "Go find Strife,” she sighed.

Cupid raised his eyebrows. "Now?" he asked snapping out of the thought of him and Strife working together.

"Duh!" She finished shooing the winged god away. Cupid smiled and disappeared in a flash of gold dust. When her son was gone Aphrodite sighed and gave a little smile. "If working together doesn't get them to confess their love," the love goddess said to herself. "Then *nothing* will!"

@>*~

Cupid appeared behind Strife who was hiding behind a tree, again. Cupid laughed silently at his cousin who was watching Ares and Joxer walk through the woods. "Hey." Cupid announced his presence as his cousin darted around, surprised.

"Fuck, Cupe! Stop doing that." Strife said rather angrily.

"What's wrong?" Cupid asked, moving next to the other god. Strife gave a frustrated sigh and looked over at his cousin.

"Them! They're alone, *again*, and they are talking about Xena *again*! And now they're going ta find her 'cause she is too stupid ta figure out the obvious!" he finished, exasperated and annoyed. Strife felt his heart skip a beat as Cupid wrapped a comforting arm around his shoulders.

"Its ok, we got a plan now." Cupid announced, squeezing Strife's shoulder.

"Plan?" Strife asked, trying to forget about Cupid's hand on his shoulder.

Cupid nodded, "Yeah we're gonna get Joxer and Ares together, once and for all!"

Strife nodded. "But how?" He asked, frowning as Cupid removed his arm from his cousin's shoulders.

"You take Jox, I'll take Ares and we'll tell them to admit their true feelings," he said simply, looking at the men who stopped and sat on a nearby log.

Strife gave a forced laugh. "Easier said than done." He sighed sadly, "Admitting feelings for another person isn't easy Cupe, there's always that fear of, ya know, rejection."

Cupid moved in front of his cousin meeting his eyes. "Strife, what's wrong?" he asked beginning to worry. Even if Strife loved someone else, he didn't want him to be sad.

Strife forced another laugh and looked down. "Its nothin' Cupe," he sighed.

"Strife, maybe I can help." Cupid said softly, touching Strife's shoulder again.

"What about you?" Strife quickly changed the subject. "You’re love sick too, who is it?" He asked curiously.

((Here goes nothing!)) Cupid thought very nervously. "Strife, I…" the winged god began. But he never finished his sentence. The sound of Ares flashing out from the forest interrupted the two men. Cupid turned around and gazed at Joxer. Joxer stood up as Xena and Gabrielle approached him. "This should be interesting." Cupid said quietly as his cousin agreed, nodding.

@>*~

“Tell me I was dreaming, Joxer?!” Gabrielle exclaimed.

“Joxer, was that Ares?” Xena asked quietly.

Joxer nodded, “We were having a chat about something important. There’s uh, we need to, uh, Ares well he,” Joxer sighed. “Oh let’s just sit down, please?” He stared at his stone-faced friends.

“Since when were you on first name terms with Ares,” Gabrielle spat the War God’s name at him.

Joxer flinched. “Since we were kids,” he replied quietly.

“I, what?” Xena stuttered.

“Did you get hit on the head again, Joxer?” Gabrielle sneered. “Since you were kids, ha! That would mean you were… Oh my God!”

“That’s right,” Joxer replied quietly, “God of Sea Mammals to be precise.”

Xena shook her head, “I don’t believe it! Has Ares put a spell on you or something?! He has, hasn’t he?! He’s trying to screw with my head!”

Joxer sighed, “No he hasn’t, look Xena, I’ve been travelling with you because Ares and I wanted to try…”

“You’re working for Ares?!” Gabrielle screamed, “You traitor!”

“I’m not a traitor!” Joxer frowned at her, “ This was never about Ares trying to get you back, Xena, it was about trying to get you to remember.”

Xena frowned suspiciously at him, “Remember what?”

“When you were a kid, Ares used to visit you. Read you stories, played with you.”

“He did not! Ares isn’t capable of being paternal, anyway I’d remember,” Xena said firmly.

“One, yes he did, two, yes he is, just ask Cupid and Strife if you don’t believe me. And finally, you don’t remember, because you won’t let yourself remember.” He sighed and waved his hand to light a fire. Both women jumped in shock at his display of power. “Do you realise how much planning went into getting you to realise he was your father? How much pride he had to swallow to let you beat him?”

Xena bristled angrily, “He did *not* let me beat him!”

Joxer laughed, “Oh please, you really think you could beat the God of War, even with your full potential realised!”

Xena frowned, “What do you mean, my full potential?”

“Xena, you’re not a Demi-Goddess,” Joxer said quietly.

“But, one of my parents is a God, of course I am!” Xena exclaimed.

Joxer nodded, “Xena, both your parents are Gods.”

“W-what? No!” Xena gasped.

“Don’t be an idiot, Joxer! We’d know if Xena was a Goddess,” Gabrielle sneered.

Joxer shook his head, “Xena’s mother never told Ares about her, she hid her with a mortal family out of revenge, because Ares didn’t love her. By the time Ares found out and found Xena, she thought she was mortal. Ares visited her often, but when he finally told Xena who her real parents were, she refused to accept it, told Ares she hated him and never wanted to see him again.”

He turned to Xena, “Ares was so hurt, he left you alone, until you became a warrior, and he saw his chance to be a part of your life again. You needed a ruthless, terrible God at that time, so that’s what he was for you, what he is for most of his warriors. He doesn’t know how to get you to see more than that.

“I persuaded him to let me travel with you, so we could try to show you slowly who you were, are. But Ares is getting nervous, he needs you to know who you are and who he is. You’ll be needed and soon.”

Xena blinked and shook her head, “Why you?”

Joxer shrugged. “We’re best friends, even if Dad does hate his guts,” he smiled ruefully, “I wanted to help him.”

Xena nodded, “Okay, I think I believe you.” She ignored a snort from Gabrielle. “Who’s my mother, and what Goddess am I?”

@>*~

“Well, that went okay, I think,” Cupid commented. Strife nodded. “So what do you think of the plan?”

Strife chewed his lip thoughtfully, trying to ignore the fact that Cupid was standing so close that he could feel his body heat. “It’s good, direct, can’t think why nobody did it before!”

Cupid shifted closer, staring at Strife’s mouth. “Why don’t you come over to mine for dinner and we can discuss how to approach them,” he whispered. ((Might as well do it right)) he thought.

Strife looked up and gulped, Cupid’s face was just a couple of inches from his, and they were sharing breath. “Um, y-yeah, sure, why not?” he stuttered. He held his breath momentarily as Cupid leaned in as if to kiss him, then pulled away suddenly.

“Come on then,” Cupid grinned. Things were looking up, he’d seen something in Strife’s eyes, something he was sure was positive!

“Now?” Strife gaped.

“Yeah, why not? It’s getting dark, Bliss is with Hestia, we’ll have the place to ourselves,” Cupid smiled.

“That’s what I was afraid of,” Strife muttered quietly. Cupid turned and raised an eyebrow questioningly. “Nothing, let’s go,” Strife smiled hesitantly, and promptly lost his breath again as Cupid’s smile lit up the forest.

@>*~

Part Three

Cupid and Strife exited the dining room in a mass of laughter before
entering a different room, which appeared to be a sitting room. Strife
let his eyes wander around his cousin's gold and white sitting room,
nicely furnished except for a bright pink couch set in front of a
fireplace.

Strife raised his eyebrows. "Aunt Dite?" he asked knowingly nodding
towards the couch with a smirk. Cupid rolled his eyes and shrugged.
Strife smiled and sat down onto the couch, placed in front of an empty
fireplace. Strife shifted uncomfortably as Cupid walked over and sat
close beside him. The two men avoided each other's eyes and allowed
their eyes to wander. Cupid shyly brought his eyes to Strife's and
smiled. Strife smiled back nervously, before tearing his eyes away and
sighing.

"So now that dinner's over with, what do you think we should do about
Ares and Joxer?" Cupid asked trying to avoid slipping into complete
silence. He failed. The pair went into deep thought leaving the room
stone quiet.

"Any ideas?" Cupid reluctantly broke the silence with no suggestions of

his own.

Strife frowned. "Beats me," he sighed. The pair sat in a moment of
silence before Strife perked up and got to his feet.

"I got it! Your place here, its kinda romantic, *anyone* would want to
get together in this place. And lets face it, anyone who comes here
*will* end up together," Strife said rather quickly.

Cupid raised his eyebrows. ((Is he saying what I think he's saying?))
he wondered, allowing a smile to creep onto his face.

"I mean," Strife began to blush, twisting his shirt in his hands. "I
mean if we got Unc Ares and Jox here, the...they could be alone, ya
know, romantic like." Strife stuttered fidgeting.
Cupid began to chuckle.

"What do you mean?" Cupid asked, slightly bemused at how nervous his
cousin was becoming; and wondering *why* the other god was becoming so
nervous.

Strife waved his hand and a happy fire appeared in the fireplace,
casting shadows around the two gods. Strife then waved his hand once
more and sheer pink curtains appeared, blocking the entrance to the
room. With one last snap of Strife's fingers, candles appeared on all
the tables, chairs, and lined the whole room.

"See...Romantic." Strife sighed nervously. Cupid chuckled again.

"Its good, but don't you think it's a bit much?" he smirked. Strife
rolled his eyes and urged the winged god off the couch.

"Okay, okay," Strife began. "To find out how this'll work, we need to
get inside their heads, see what makes em tick," he said simply,
smiling proudly to himself. Cupid raised his eyebrows, slightly
puzzled. Strife sighed in frustration, not so much at Cupid not
getting his idea, but the fact that they were by themselves, alone, in
a very seductive setting.

"I'll be Joxer and you be Ares and we'll act it out, ya know? See if
it'll work." Strife suggested.

Cupid nodded his head grinning. "Ok I get it!" He finally announced.
"Wait, how come I have to be Ares?" Cupid suddenly protested.

"Cause I'm Jox!" Strife stated.

"But I'm the love god." Cupid shot back.

"So?" Strife sneered.

"So? Duh! Love, war? Hello!" Cupid said, slightly resembling his
mother.

Strife rolled his eyes.

"Look, just do it, okay?" Strife snapped. He flashed on some beaten up
armor with a matching helmet. Cupid burst out laughing.

"What *are* you doing?" Cupid laughed in between laughs, gasping for
air.

"Getting into character!" Strife stated, chuckling himself.

Cupid took another look at his cousin, this time noticing how cute he
looked in his geeky outfit. Cupid got a hold of himself and flashed on
a black leather outfit resembling Ares'. Strife bit his lip and forced
bad thoughts out of his mind before getting serious.

"Ok, now be Ares." Strife finally spat out, trying to ignore his
lustful thoughts about his Cousin. Cupid cleared his throat and began
to speak.

"Joxer, what should I do about Xena?" Cupid imitated the war god,
laughing slightly.

"Nothing now c'mon, lets fuck." Strife stated moving towards Cupid.
Cupid crossed his arms.

"Joxer wouldn't say that!" Cupid stated with a smirk. Strife rolled his

eyes and got back into his Joxer character.

"Oh I'll tell her, its ok, blah, blah, blah, blah." Strife babbled.

"Are you sure she'll take it alright and believe?" Cupid said in a deep

voice.

"Of course Ares, but I don't know about that stupid bard bitch." Strife

shrugged.

"I'm sorry she hurt you Jox. But you know, I'm always there for you."
Cupid moved in and ran a hand down Strife's arm. Strife shivered under
his cousin's touch and took in an unexpected breath.

"What do ya mean?" Strife looked up into the love god's eyes.

"I love you," Cupid whispered, losing his 'Ares' voice.

Cupid moved in slowly and kissed his cousin softly on the lips. Strife
kissed the love god back softly as a moan escaped his lips. Cupid moved

his hand up and cupped Strife's cheek. Cupid parted Strife's lips with
his tongue and slowly began to explore his cousin's mouth. Strife
responded by massaging the winged god's tongue with his. The two men
finally pulled away from each other gasping softly of air.

"I love you too, Cupe. I MEAN, Ares." Strife shook his head. Cupid
looked at his cousin

"Strife," Cupid began moving in towards his cousin's lips but was
interrupted by a burst of rose petals.

"Aw Shit!" Cupid cursed moving away from the other god. Aphrodite
looked from Cupid to Strife with her eyebrows raised.

"A costume party and I wasn't invited?" The love goddess smirked
looking the pair up and down. With a flash of gold dust, Cupid returned

the pair's normal clothes.

"What do you want mom?" Cupid whined crossing his arms. Aphrodite
shrugged.

"Oh I don't know, an explanation maybe?" She laughed slightly.

"What are you talking about Dite?" Strife asked trying to act puzzled.
Aphrodite chuckled in disbelief.

"Candles, a fire? C'mon guys!" She stated placing her hands on her
hips.

"It was a act mom, for what's gonna happen with Joxer and Ares when
they're alone." Cupid stated matter-of-factly. The goddess rolled her
eyes slightly annoyed.

"Then how come Strife said, 'I love you Cupe?' huh?"

Cupid looked toward Strife, mostly hoping he really did love him and
that he didn't just make a mistake. Strife looked back at Cupid sadly.

"Strife?" Cupid asked hopefully.

"Cupe I..I," Strife panicked and flashed out.


@*>~


Joxer looked at Xena with a frown.

"Well Joxer? Who is it?" Xena asked eagerly. "Who's my mother, Joxer?"
Joxer sighed deeply and looked deep into the Warrior Princess' eyes.

"I wouldn't feel right telling you Xena, I couldn't." Joxer frowned.
Xena began to protest but Joxer interrupted. "But, I know someone who
can," he finished looking over to his side.

"Ares?" Joxer asked and was answered by a flash of light. The war god
appeared suddenly next to Joxer.

"Xena, there's something I've been meaning to tell you." Ares sat down
next to his cousin with a sigh. "I uh, I did try to tell you when you
were a kid. What I didn't know then, was that your mother," he said the

word sarcastically, "Had compelled you to believe you were mortal. Of
course that had weakened as you grew up, and once you *finally* worked
out I was your father, it was broken."

"Hey, what do you mean, *finally*?" Gabrielle snapped.

"Oh please," Ares glared at her, "I've given her plenty of clues, and
chances to realise who she was, look what it took for her to get that I

was her father, and if we hadn't sat down and just told her, I
seriously doubt she'd have ever worked it out!"

"Hey, 'she's' right here, thank you very much!" Xena exclaimed. Ares
glared at her.

"You were a little rude, Ares," Joxer said quietly. Ares pouted, then
sighed.

"Sorry," he muttered. Xena and Gabrielle exchanged astonished glances.
"Anyway, you're not entirely Greek, she, your mother is from another
pantheon. She uh, offered herself to me in marriage and I said no." He
was interrupted by a snort from Joxer, and he glared at his cousin.
"What?!"

"Oh please, you said you'd rather feltch Hades than look at her,
let alone marry her!" Joxer chuckled.

Ares flushed, "So I was a little rude," at Joxer's look, he sighed,
"Okay, so I was a lot rude, but still, it doesn't excuse what she did.
She denied me my child and denied Xena the life she should have had."

"What? You bringing her up to be some bloodthirsty bitch like
Discord?!" Gabrielle spat. Ares growled menacingly at her, but Joxer
touched his arm warningly.

"Excuse me, Gabrielle, have you met Cupid? Or how about Harmonia? You
really think Dite brings up her children? Tartarus no!"

"Joxer, don't. Dite loves her kids," Ares started.

"I know that," Joxer smiled gently, "Of course she does, she's just not

the mothering type, that's all I'm saying."

"What, and I am?" Ares laughed.

Joxer chuckled, "Actually, yes, it's one of the things I lo… uh, like
about you." Ares frowned and Joxer hurried on. "Anyway, you were
saying."

Ares turned back to his daughter. "Yes, well, as I was saying, she
wasn't exactly happy with me," Xena snorted. "During an inter-pantheon
gathering, she uh," he flushed and looked embarrassed, "She drugged my
drink, got me into bed, I didn't even know anything about it cos she
wasn't there when I woke up."

"Fine, so she tricked you, that's great, but who is she?!" Gabrielle
exclaimed impatiently.

"Gabrielle!" Xena frowned at her friend, "This is my life we're talking

about, I was conceived and born for revenge!" she shook her head and
looked away from them all. "Who is she?" she whispered.

Before Ares could answer, there was a dark blue flash and Strife
appeared. The Godling looked around wildly, then jumped on his uncle.

"Unc, Unc, hide me please, hide me!" he begged.

"What?" Ares peeled Strife off him, "What's going on? Hide you from
who?"

Strife made a squeaky noise, "Cupid, I let it slip, I think he's mad at

me. Oh please hide me, please!"

Ares sighed, and grasped Strife's shoulder. Another flash lit the
clearing and Ares turned and gripped his son's neck as he appeared.

"Hey, Dad!" Cupid struggled.

"Enough of this, I'm trying to talk to Xena here! Cupid, Strife is in
love with you," he yelled. Strife went pale and squeaked again.
"Strife, Cupid is in love with you, now work it out! Preferably
somewhere else!" He threw them into each other's arms and they
vanished.

Ares turned round to find three pairs of eyes staring at him, "What?!"

Joxer stood up and hugged him tightly, he wanted to kiss him really,
but settled for the hug. Ares' breath caught in his throat and he
relished the feel of his slim cousin in his arms. He let go reluctantly

when he felt Joxer move back.

"What was that for?" he asked quietly.

"I'm proud of you, you big softy," Joxer grinned at him.

Ares cleared his throat, trying not to blush at the warm feeling
Joxer's words gave him. "Yes, well, where were we?"

"My mother?!" Xena glared at him, her patience at its limits.

"Oh, yeah. She's, well, she's Kali."

"Kali?!" Xena shrieked.

"You have heard of her then?" Ares grimaced. "Look she's not that bad,
you know, or you wouldn't be Goddess of Redemption."

"Redemption?" Xena asked in a quiet, toneless voice.

Strife and Cupid appeared in Ares’ temple in a flash of light, falling hard onto the floor. After bothering Ares, neither of them dared to move an inch and try to bother the war god further, he seemed to be busy with whatever he was talking to Joxer and Xena about. Cupid and Strife exchanged glances as they both smiled nervously.

"So, I guess I should explain." Strife muttered looking down at his feet.

"Yeah, you should!" Cupid retorted crossing his arms.

Strife paused and gave a deep sigh.

"Well I guess, I guess I have well, feelingsforyou," he muttered under his breath.

"Huh?" Cupid asked, straining to hear.

"I HAVE FEELINGS FOR YOU!" Strife yelled loudly. "I love you."

The winged god eyed his cousin, wondering if this was another one of his cousin's pranks, but judging from the look and color of red on his cousin's face, he knew he was serious.

"And, and I know you probably hate me but," Strife paused to shrug. "I can't help it Cupe, I love you, it's always been you." Strife managed and turned his back towards his cousin.

"Its ok, I understand if you don't feel the same way," he practically whispered.

Strife waited for his cousin to reply and say something, ANYTHING, but it never came. Instead of a reply, Strife was surprised when he felt hot, soft lips press against his neck. Strife took in a deep breath and closed his eyes, giving a huge sigh of relief.

"I love you too, Strife." The winged god whispered hotly into Strife's ear.

Strife turned around and seized Cupid’s lips in a passionate kiss. As they explored each other's mouths, the love god flashed the pair into one of the temple's bedchambers and down onto a large bed. Strife moaned with passion as Cupid’s hand moved down and began to rub his hardening cock.

Strife gave a surprised gasp as Cupid flashed their clothing away and began to trace smooth, wet kisses down his chest. The winged god sighed as he moved down to his lover's cock and sheathed the entire length with his hot mouth. Strife moaned loudly but resisted thrusting up into Cupid's mouth. "Gods, Cupe, I want you, so bad." Strife managed between soft moans.

Unable to take it anymore Strife drew Cupid's head back up to his and kissed him lightly, rubbing their painfully hard cocks together, making his cousin cry out in passionate desperation.

"I want you inside me, Cupid," he gasped kissing Cupid’s neck. "Make love to me, Cupe," Strife finished, turning over revealing his soft skinned, firm ass to the winged god.

"Oh Gods," Cupid gasped, taking in the beautiful sight.

Cupid urged Strife onto his knees and prepared them both with a thought as quickly as he could, yet still trying to take it as slow as he possibly could. Cupid slowly placed his leaking cock at Strife's tight entrance and began to slowly push inside of his new lover.

Strife moaned loudly and pushed back, wanting his cousin to go faster. "Please, Cupid, need you so bad," he whispered with lust.

Cupid licked his lips and began to push further into Strife. The love god slowly began to thrust into his cousin slowly at first but quickly speeding up. Strife moaned as the winged god changed the angle of his thrusts and hit Strife’s pleasure spot again, and again. Cupid reached around Strife's writhing body and began to pump his hard shaft in time with his own firm, hard movements. Strife cried out his new lover's name before he came hard, covering the love god's hand with his hot seed. Cupid bit down on his lip and thrust back into his cousin one more time before filling Strife with his warmth.

The two men collapsed next to each other as Cupid slipped his softening cock out of his cousin. Strife turned to his cousin with a smile.

"I'm glad Unc' made us talk this over," he said with a grin, catching his breath.

Cupid grinned back at Strife.

"Yeah, me too," he said taking Strife in his arms and kissing his forehead softly. "I love you." The winged god added.

"I love you too," Strife smiled.

"Now if only we could get Ares and Jox together this easily."

Strife chuckled. "Yeah, no kidding," he smiled

"We could always use your temple idea, it seemed to work for us!" Cupid joked.

"Oh, don't worry Cupe, I'm sure we'll think of something," Strife sighed. "But we should get some rest first," he yawned, snuggling into the winged god.

"I think you’re right," Cupid said softly, closing his eyes and he wrapped his wings around the two of them.

@>*~

“Redemption?” Xena repeated.

“Well, not quite yet,” Ares modified his earlier statement. “Because of being compelled to believe you were mortal, you didn’t develop the way Gods usually do. Your powers were mostly suppressed.” He sighed and looked down. Joxer rubbed his shoulder gently and he looked up at his cousin with a small smile. Again he wished he knew what Joxer would do if he kissed him now.

Joxer smiled back gently, wishing he could do more, to help his cousin, but also to comfort him, love him. Sometimes the urge to say Tartarus with it and just kiss Ares was almost overwhelming, like now. He leaned forward, slowly, then caught himself, breath hitching. Was he stupid? He couldn’t risk losing his best friend.

Ares sighed in disappointment as Joxer pulled away from him. He’d really thought for one tiny second that his cousin might kiss him.

“So what does that mean?” Gabrielle asked.

“Huh?” Ares tried to remember what he’d been talking about. “Oh, yeah. Well, basically, once you broke your mother’s spell, you started to become more connected to your Godhood. But it seems that you needed to feel redeemed yourself, before you could claim it. You’re pretty much there.”

“I am?” Xena asked quietly.

Ares smiled gently at his daughter, “Yeah, you are.”

She smiled back tentatively.

“Oh, I get it!” Gabrielle exclaimed suddenly, “Now Xena’s finally reaching her full potential, you figured it was best to get her back on your team. I can’t believe I nearly went for it!”

Xena started to frown. “You bastard!” she exclaimed suddenly. Her eyes shone suspiciously. “I actually thought you gave a shit.”

Ares blinked, he started to look angry, but Joxer recognised the signs of confusion and pain in his dearest friend and his soft heart clenched tightly.

“Like you could ever care about anyone but yourself!” Gabrielle spat at him. “And you, Joxer, are either a fool for believing him or a traitor for betraying us like this!”

“Shut the *fuck* up, bitch! Don’t you ever speak about him like that!” Ares was on his feet, with Gabrielle dangling from his fist. “He’s been nothing but a good and true friend to you, and you have *never* deserved it!”

“Put her down!” Xena had drawn her sword and levelled it at Ares, who hissed at her.

“Enough!” Joxer shouted, shocking Xena and Gabrielle. With a wave of his hand, he disarmed Xena and froze her in place. Then he strode over to his cousin.

“Put her down, Ar,” he whispered softly. Ares stared at him, almost uncomprehendingly in his fury. Joxer slowly put his hand on Ares’ arm. He’d dealt with his cousin in a bloodlust many times, he was the only one who could actually talk Ares down from the red haze. “Arry, calm down, they’re not worth it.”

He gently stroked Ares’ arm until he felt him start to relax, then he tried again, especially as Gabrielle was starting to turn blue and Xena had nearly broken his spell. “Ar, please, let her go now.”

Ares licked his lips and nodded, slowly releasing the bard. She dropped to the ground, gasping for breath, just as Xena broke free. She ran to her lover and crouched down, holding her protectively. She glared up at her father.

“You say I’m almost redeemed?” she spat, “Well, *you* never will be!”

Ares sucked in a stunned breath and dropped to his knees. “No,” he whispered.

Joxer frowned in terrified concern, he’d never seen his cousin like this. “Ares?” Ares didn’t answer him, he just stared at Xena unblinkingly. Joxer gathered Ares into his arms and hefted him to his feet. “I’m not going to let you break his heart anymore, you don’t deserve a father like Ares. Find your own teacher, we’re not going to help you.” So saying, Joxer transported them both back to Ares’ home.

His cousin was almost catatonic and Joxer was frantic with worry. He didn’t know who to turn to, he knew Ares wouldn’t appreciate anyone seeing him like this. He settled for putting his friend to bed and waiting till morning. As Joxer gently lay his larger cousin onto the bed, Ares clutched his arm. He looked into sad, despairing eyes and felt his heart break all over again.

“Ares, what is it? Please talk to me,” he whispered.

“I can’t,” Ares whispered back, “Just stay with me, please?”

Joxer blinked away tears. “You know I will.” He got onto the bed next to his cousin, stifling a surprised and happy sigh at being pulled into a strong embrace.

Ares closed his eyes and held tightly, enjoying the feel of his beloved cousin in his arms, but it was tinged with despair. How could he ever meet Poseidon’s conditions now? Xena had been his last hope of redemption.

tbc


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