AresJoxerCupidStrife - Dame J


Prologue Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

Disclaimer: Characters belong to MCA/Universal. No infringement
intended. No money changed hands.

Pairings: A/J, C/S(implied)

Archive: AJCS, Joxererotica, fanfiction.net (anyone ells ask and ye
shall receive)

warnings: Some OOC , slight AU ... total disregard for timelines in
both x:WP and H:TLG... OH .. and slash slash aslah .. he he .. guess
a moth warning on this site ..

First fic .. be nice to me .. please...

Beta : thanks 'karisma' .. your a lifesavior..

prequel:

Ares stood looking out over Mount Olympus . His watchful dark eyes
scanned the surroundings. Many of the gods rarely even looked up at
the large black temple standing upon a hill. Its dark exterior in
sharp contrast against the white marble more often used. He was War,
necessary but feared. The dark man sighed and turned and walked back
into the temple.

"Strife, front and center.. NOW!" He called as he sat down on his
throne. His nephew appeared in a flash of light.

"Ya bellowed Unc?!" The dark younger man grinned up at his feared
uncle, eyes filled with a true affection.

" A progress report? " Ares face was blank and professional. Strife
looked at the older man and straightened. He was not the Right Hand
of War without reason. Despite his reputation for being quite mad, he
had a sharp mind - a twisted mind, but sharp nonetheless.

" The plan is going forward as planed , Kauyer is doing his part
after the last meeting. Jerkules is inbound , but I put a few
little , surprises in his way , just as ya ordered." The sentence was
ended with a maniacal giggle. Ares smiled down at the man.

"Great work Strife , keep it up. And give your mother the orders as
well, divide the burden between you. " The older man grinned at the
young god. He knew exactly what the younger man would be doing during
his free time , or rather -- who.

Strife grinned and disappeared from the war god's temple, without a
doubt reappearing at the temple of Ares' son. The war god stood and
flashed out, reappearing miles away from any humanity.

The forest was nestled into a valley no mortal man or god other then
him and his grandmother, Gaia, had ever set foot into. He took a deep
breath and felt all the tension that was his life draining from him.

A pitiful moan from behind him made him turn. A ball of energy
instantaneously appeared in his hand as he whirled around. His dark
eyes scanned the surroundings. A huddled form only feet away caught
his eye. He walked over the energy bolt still in hand. It was a
mortal.

'Impossible, this place can't be found by either mortal or god…'
he
thought as he kneeled by the figure. The body was battered and
bloody. The god turned it over and saw that it was a man. The face
was even more of a mess then the body was... He lightly touched the
man before transporting both himself and the injured man to his home
in the valley. The man lay on the large four-poster bed in the
beautiful cave as Ares flashed out again to get his brother.

--------

Appearing in Apollo's temple the dark god bellowed.

"APOLLO!!" Seconds later, the blond god appeared. A scowl was on his
face, showing just how alike the two brothers were.

"Yes Ares?" The sun god raised an eyebrow at his dark brother. "What
do ya need?" Ares walked over.

"I have a mortal who needs your help. He showed up at my retreat. " A
startled gasp from Apollo.

"Not even Zeus could find it! How could a mortal?" The sun god looked
shocked. Blue eyes wide in disbelief. Ares nodded, a small growl
escaping his lips.

"That is what I would like to know. But to do that, I will need him
to be alive." Ares put a hand on his brothers arm and transported
them to the cave. Apollo looked around and spotted the man. Dismay
crossed his face, mixed with a bout of pity. He went to work at
healing the man.

---------

Joxer opened his eyes, a blinding pain shooting through his body. He
moaned quietly. Feeling liquid on his lips, he poked out his tongue
lapping on the water. A soft voice murmured quietly at the edge of
his consciousness. He sighed and opened his eyes. Still black. He
blinked.



The voice murmured again. 'Why can't I see?' He spoke the question,
he knew he did, he had felt his lips move. But he could not hear his
own voice. He began to panic. The voice murmured again some how
calming him. Not soon after, he felt a warmth over his ears. A hand,
he guessed.

" Can you hear me now?" the voice was light and almost airy. Joxer
nodded. "Good. My name is Apollo, I am going to try to heal your eyes
now." The hand moved to his eyes, he felt the warmth spread once
more, seeping into his skin. Nothing. He was blind. The wheels in his
mind started turning

// ..Apollo… no . .. couldn't.. // someone spoke, his voice low
and
rough.

"Apollo god of healing ?" his shocked voice was faint. A darker
chuckle reached his ears, were had he heard that chuckle before?
Apollo laughed lightly.

"Yes, I am he. And the man who found you is my brother, Ares." The
shocked gasp of Joxer made the two gods chuckled once more. Joxer
found his voice again.

"What happened, Lord Apollo? Why can't you heal my eyes?" Joxer asked
quietly. He looked in the direction of the source of the voice. The
two looked down at the wounded mortal.

"I don't know…" Apollo said, watching as the now light golden
brownish eyes close together in sleep once more.

--------


Chapter 1:

Ares looked down at the now sleeping man with a frown on his face.
Something about this was nudging something at the back of his mind.
He shook his head, turning his dark brown eyes back to Apollo.

"What is going on, Pol, why can't you heal his eyes? " The blond god
looked up at his dark brother, his light blue eyes sad.

"Honestly, I don't know. It is as if his body is rejecting the
healing, like it's not meant to happen…" the dark haired man looked
at his brother, both brown and blue eyes widening at the same time.

"The Fates..." spoken in the same second. Apollo looked at his
brother.

"You go, I'll stay right here "

Ares nodded and flashed out, reappearing in the cave of the fates.
The three women turned to him, speaking as one. "What do you seek ,
Ares God of war and dispute?" Oddly coloured eyes peered at him, as
the three almost identical women looked at him. Ares straightened and
spoke the almost ritualistic words.

"I seek answers to my questions…"

He felt a reed of power reach into his mind. He showed it the reason
he came. The three women chuckled softly and turned to the tapestry,
only seconds later they turned back.

Clotho, the spinner, who spun the thread of a person's life, spoke
first. Lilac eyes peered out from under blond hair. Her voice young
and childlike and her verse sounded like a child's rhyme:

"When war finds justice blind.
when justice finds his peace of mind
the joys of peace will be found."

Lachesis, the apportioner, who decided how much time was to be
allowed each person, spoke second. Silver eyes looking out from under
raven black hair, her voice mature, that of a grown woman:

"Mortal flesh turns into immortal coil.
blood spilled on sacred soil.
Consort, champion, mate and bane.
war is just not only in name."

Atropos, the inevitable, who cut the thread when you were supposed to
die. Her eyes were a deep bronze colour, peering out from under
silver coloured locks. She spoke third, her voice filled wisdom and
age, resonating with death.

"Two become one
and one becomes three
as peace on Olympus
comes to be."

Ares stood stunned. But what should he expect? The Fates were known
for their cryptic answers. He flashed back to the cabin finding
Apollo in the kitchen eating.



"What did you find out?" The blond god stood and looked at his darker
brother, still eating a apple. Ares told him what the Fates had said
and watched with amusement as Apollo started trying to figure out
what was going on .

"Joxer obviously have something to do with this prophecy. It's called
the `coming of peace'. And tells of a time when war, that's you, will
join with justice. And peace will be brought forth from that union."
He stands, ignoring Ares. "He is sleeping at the moment. I can't do
more then this, the rest must heal on its own." He handed Ares a
pouch, "make sure he takes this tea two times a day, " the blond god
flashed out .

Ares sighed moving back into the bedroom. He sat down on the bed and
watched the man. Deep brown hair framed an almost painfully normal
face. He knew that the once-chestnut-brown eyes were now light and
almost golden in colour. He caressed Joxer's cheek, the skin was baby
soft and pale. He chuckles as Joxer turns into the caress.

Ares unclothed with a thought and lay down on the other side of the
bed. The bed, large and luxurious, was as if two normal were beds
pushed together. Ares soon fell into a restless sleep.



Waking slowly Joxer blinked. It was still dark . The day before came
crashing back to him. He tried to sit up wen a strong hand pressed
him down.

"Rest little one , your body is still weak. " The voice was dark and
he recognises it instantly as the voice of his god.

"Ares.. ." said reverently like a prayer. Golden coloured eyes found
the source of the voice and stared unseeing up at Ares. The young man
swallowed. "Thank you for taking me to Apollo."

Another dark chuckle reached Joxer's ears. The sounds around him grew
richer, more vibrant. His lips curled into a smile. Joxer could hear
the god shifting , a hand coming around him, lifting him. Supporting
him as a cup was placed at his lips. Joxer drank from the hot liquid.
The sweet tang fell on his tongue and he moaned softly.

"Shhhh little one , its some herbs to help your recovery ." Gentle
hands helped him drink a couple of mouthfuls. Joxer sighs as the cup
was removed from his lips.

" It tasted good.. " It had tasted good. The bitter fluid had a sharp
tang of apples. Joxer laid back down, head resting on the cool
pillow. He heard Ares walk around the room. The wannabe warrior could
almost feel were Ares was, his hearing slowly becoming sharper and
sharper.

"Where are we? " he could only hear the absolute stillness around
him. Only Ares made any kind of noise. It was freaking him out. He
could feel the dip as Ares sat down on the bed once more.

" We are at my retreat." Ares took a deep breath. " What do you
remember about the last few days… Joxer?" The name was said with some
hesitation, as if he wasn't sure that it was correct.

Joxer frowns. He thinks back. "The last thing i remember is, leaving
Athens … then nothing… then waking here ." He shook his head and
sighed in frustration. He turned his head as he heard Ares mutter
softly.

"When I find out who did this, I'll .. " Joxer smiled to himself ,
eyes closing ones more. Soon he was asleep. His body's bruised state
and the rapid healing his body had gone true exhausting all his
reserves.


------



Chapter 2

Joxer's recovery was slow, but steady. Within three weeks, he was
walking around, learning where everything was. His leg pained him
somewhat, but Apollo assured him that it would lessen with time.

He was adjusting to his lack of sight. His hearing sharpened enough
to hear the soft tread fall of Ares. All his senses had sharpened.
They helped him adjust to his life as a blind man. Learning to walk
outside was a challenge. But he found out by using a stick he
could `feel' the ground before him. Therefore, he would not stumble
as much.

And all the while, Ares watched Joxer.

The God had hardly left the cabin during the weeks that Joxer had
been there. The mortal had become less of a klutz, amazingly enough.
His movements became graceful. Ares didn't think that Joxer was aware
of the beauty he possessed now. Dressed in brown linen pants and soft
silk shirt in a gentle cream color. His hair longer. His face
peaceful. Joxer had stopped hiding behind the facade of `Joxer the
Mighty' and come into his own.

As he stood thinking to himself he failed to notice that Joxer had
heard him.

***

The wannabe warrior smiled in the direction of the god, golden eyes
unseeing. "Hello Ares… "

Joxer wondered how he always seemed to sense when someone was around.
It was almost as if he felt the slightly misplacement of air around
him. He could sense Ares taking a seat beside him on the bench by the
entrance of the caves. He had been sitting there for over an hour
now, lapping up the sun, like a cat lapped up cream.

"So, how are you doing, Jox? " Ares' voice spoke quietly from beside
him. Joxer smiled softly.

"I'm fine Ares... merrily enjoying the sun. It seems to be so much
more of a pleasure these days." The silence fell again between the
two. And they continued to sit, Ares enjoying the long lost pleasure
of sunlight upon his face.

Joxer enjoyed the close proximity to the god of war. His thoughts
seemed to drift. So it was not surprising that he was spooked by
Ares' next words. "Would you like to get something to eat Joxer?"

The newly blind mortal was startled, jumping slightly before turning
towards Ares and nodding.
"That sounds good." Ares took Joxer by the arm and let him inside.
Soon they both were sitting at the table. A mixed green salad with
goat-cheese, accompanied by a flaky fried fish. Fresh spring water
filled their goblets.

Ares studied the man in front of him eating. It had taken Joxer some
time to relearn how to eat by himself. But by true, pure
stubbornness, the man had done it. From the time that he was well
enough to hold the knife himself, he had fed himself.

"Do you remember anything about what happened Joxer? " It was still a
mystery how Joxer had come to the valley. The wannabe warrior's
sprits fell a little, reminded that Ares only kept him here to solve
the riddle of his `being' here in the valley. His face reflected his
inner emotions.
Ares frowned. What had he said? He wanted to figure out who beat
Joxer up that badly. He was one of War's most loyal followers. He
shook his head and waited for the other man to respond.

"No Ares, I don't. It's still hazy... like I can't focus on the
memory…" Joxer placed his utensils beside the plate." Its like it
slips between my fingers every time I try to remember." He massaged
his temples.

//Flash back//

Joxer heading out of Athens, singing his theme song- "Joxer, Joxer
the Mighty!" - The dirt road ahead of him... passing a creek. He
hears a sound and he turns to it….

//end flash back//

Joxer gasped softly. Ares was at his side in a heartbeat, thinking
the warrior was in pain.

"Joxer, what happened? " He laid a gentle hand on Joxer's shoulder.
Golden eyes looked up at Ares, filled with pain. His voice was faint
as he spoke.

"I remember... it was by a creek … " And he passed out.

"That is IT, " he swept up the smaller man in his arms. " I am taking
him to Olympus." Flashing out, Ares reappeared in his temple on
Olympus, bellowing.

"APOLLO!"




Chapter 3:

Laying his burden down upon a nearby loveseat, he waited for his
brother to arrive. His eyes travelled down the face he had come to
enjoy watching these last few weeks. *Don't even think it Ares. Just
don't. Remember who you are … *

In a golden flash, the Sun God enters Ares' temple, his features set
in a slight frown.

"What is it, bro'? " He spots Joxer. Kneeling beside his dark
counterpart, he speaks softly. "What happened? "

Ares quickly explained just what had happened. That Joxer had a
flashback, indicating it gave him head pains and weakened him before
collapsing. The dark god looked at the man lying on the loveseat, the
soft face of the mortal constricted into a pained frown.

Ares looked to Apollo as the golden god's hands shimmered over Joxer,
sending small amounts of power into the mortal. The power came back
to him, a faint echo. Apollo frowned. He could sense a familiar
signature on the mortal... well several, Dite and Ares included. But
one in particular that he was familiar with but didn't recognise.

"This is strange…. "

Before Ares could speak, Eris flashed into the room. Her black hair
was tussled and in disarray, her leather outfit bloodied. It seemed
that the battle had started. Oh well. His sister could handle it, Ares
decided. He had left detailed instructions anyway.

"Ares, where in Tartarus have you been ?" She tossed her black hair
over her shoulder, her blue eyes flashing at her older twin. She had
been trying to get a hold of him for days.

Ares looks up at his sister, an angry snarl on his lip and dark brown
eyes flashing. "None of your damn business, Discord…. " He turned
back to the injured man on the loveseat.

Eris raised an eyebrow and walked around the loveseat, watching Ares'
face as he watched Apollo work. She could easily read every shift of
emotions: the puzzlement, the fear, the warmth. What was going on
here?


:::::::

Apollo looked up from his task, smiling faintly at Ares, his blue eyes
holding a reassurance.

"He is physically fine, Ares. It's his mind that I worry about." The
sun god stood up and moved to a nearby table, a pitcher of water
appearing. He sat down in a chair, gesturing for Eris and Ares to do
the same. The twins sat down looking expectantly at Apollo.

"What is it `Poll? " The being called Ares looked at his brother, his
dark eyes imploring, "Please tell me … "

Apollo nodded. He slowly outlined the damage done to Joxer before he
had healed him just weeks earlier. "He had internal bleeding in his
lungs and his head… and his spleen was bleeding as well. His legs were
crushed and a joint severely damaged. But the most damage was to his
Brain. Otherwise it was mostly bruises and smaller cuts." He didn't
mention that the man had been slowly bleeding to death, both inside
and out. He took a deep breath and continued, watching his dark
brother clench and unclench his fists. He glanced at Eris. but the
Goddess of Discord mostly looked bored.

"His memory was altered… no, that's not the right word. More like the
memory was locked into his brain by an outside force. I did not
realise that until now. I believed his memory loss to be from the
previous swelling in his brain. " Apollo looked at Ares, and Discord.
Ares looked worried. He hadn't realised his brother had come to care
for the mortal. Discord… well if you looked very closely you would see
a sliver of disgust in her eyes.

"It's not a natural state and the brain is trying to `re-open' those
memories, as Joxer wants to remember them. But the seal is fighting it
and so it causes Joxer pain to even try to think about it. That is
what is causing his head-pain. " He runs a hand through his blond
hair. He took a deep breath. "I can try to remove the seal. It is
possible… "Ares looked hopeful , " But... and it's a big but... it
might kill him. "

Ares shot out of his seat and started pacing. His natural curiosity
wanted to say 'do it' to find out just who did this to Joxer. Who had
dumped the mortal in his valley. If this Being was a threat to Greece.

But at the same time, the part of him that wanted to keep Joxer close
was screaming 'NO'. That he could loose the goofy mortal that had made
him laugh.

*For the good of Greece , Joxer .. or my own heart? *

A decision was made. Ares looked at Joxer, his face twisted in pain.
To live like that. His brain fighting itself? He smiled sadly. It was
no decision, he could not allow Joxer to live like that.

He could feel Eris' eyes on him, calculating and finding a weakness in
his icy shell. Wondering what had changed. *Everything * Ares thought.
Tartarus, he had showed her more of himself now than he had in over
2000 years.

Ares looked at Apollo. Meeting his light brothers eyes.

"Do it … "

::::

*POV – Apollo*

To try to enter someone's subconscious mind is not easy… even for a
god. A mortal's mind is complex, every layer of thought must remain
unharmed.

What I am about to do has not been done since the time of the Titans.
I have tried it myself, but I lost the patient. I was young then, and
I pray to the mother that I do not lose Joxer, I feel he will have a
grave impact on us all.

I stand and ask Ares to transfer Joxer to a bed. He does so without
even the slightest fuss. Normally, I would get at least a token of a
protest. I follow him and am slightly shocked that Ares brings the
mortal to his own private bedroom. I knew that they had shared a bed
at the retreat, but here? With the magnitude of guestrooms?

I raise an eyebrow at Ares and, surprise, surprise, Tall, Dark and
Handsome growls at me. I glare back at him.

"Thank you, Ares." Shooing him out of the room, I call my son to me as
well as Psyche. As Ace and The Mind Goddess appear, I quickly explain
what it is I am preparing to do.

"Psyche, I need you as a anchor and as support. You are the goddess of
mind and should on a instinctual level know what to do. Ace... " I
turn to my son, "I need you to keep tabs on us all. If he grows
unstable, tell Psyche to withdraw and she will bring me with her. Do
not take any chances, OK? "

I gently touch Ace's shoulder and he smiles at me. A small nod and we
get to work.

:::

Psyche stands behind me, both hands on my shoulders as I sit next to
Joxer. I take deep breath and feel Psyche doing the same thing.

"Ready? " I ask and I get a nod from my son and a faint yes from the
woman behind me. I lay a hand on Joxer's forehead and gently slide
into his mind. This is different from reading or even sharing
someone's mind. I must tread carefully so I do not do any damage.

I can feel his chaotic mind. He truly is a work of art. I have always
thought him to be slightly crazy. But as I healed him that first time,
I healed his brain completely, removing the damage of beatings long
ago.

But his mind. Had I still been in my mind I would have shaken my head.
Such a mess. But at the same time, that mess come together creating a
whole that is simply beautiful.

Soon I find the 'closed off' memories, I can see the mind struggling
with them still. I reach out with my senses . I feel Psyche doing the
same. Together, we gently start to unfold the block around the
memories like a flower shedding its pedals.

This is the part that becomes painful. Each `pedal' that falls is a
struggle for both him and for us….

*End POV*

Aesclepius watched all this with a frown, his power spread over all
three beings in his care, monitoring them. As he saw his father
collapse, he reached out to steady both him and Psyche as she had
fallen onto his father's back…

"Goddess, I hope they are ok… "




Chapter 4

Apollo awoke a day later, his reserves exhausted. The mind goddess
had awoken just hours after. The task had been natural to her - being
a mind goddess it was a lesser strain on her small well of power.
They met in the main room of Apollo's temple to compare notes and
write down a report before flashing over to the war god's temple.

Psyche had moved into Apollo's temple when she and Cupid had
divorced. They had been too different, their marriage ripped apart by
Cupid's love for Strife. She had fought tooth and nail to keep Cupid -
who wouldn't? One night, she had gone over to Strife's room at the
temple of war, and she had found the two asleep together. That night,
everything had come into perspective.

//Flashback//

She took a seat on the bed, her angelic face tilted to the side as
she watched her husband and his cousin sleep. They looked very sweet
together, lying still dressed upon the covers, Cupid embracing his
smaller cousin and Strife nestled under Cupid chin. She watched them
sleep and noticed that Strife was twitching a little. The young god
was awakening. She leaned back against the pillar of the bed, looking
tired and resigned.

Strife's blue eyes snapped open as he became aware of another in the
room with him and Cupid. His eyes scanned the room, coming to a halt
at the sight of the mind goddess. He sat up abruptly and started to
babble quietly.
"Psyche this isn't what it looks like.. I swear .. Cupid would
never.. I mean…. I would never… weeeell maybe I would …. But ya
know?!"

Psyche held up a hand and silenced the babbling god.

" I know, Strife… I know that my husband is faithful to me. I am also
aware that it is slowly killing him, that he loves you… " She saw
Strife's eyes widen is disbelief. Before he could start babbling
again she added. "Just as you love him."

Strife now became aware of Cupid - he was awake, and sitting up
behind Strife.
"I'm sorry Psyche… " Cupid was also hushed. The mind goddess leaned
forward and kissed Cupid gently on the lips. Then she turned to
Strife, kissing him on the forehead.

"Don't be sorry Cupid, Strife … be happy. I hereby relinquish all my
claim upon Cupid, God of Love, what love we might have had is now no
more. We share no bond between us except for Bliss… and maybe a bond
of friendship, in the future." Her lips curled into a smile. Standing
she moved out of the room. "I will talk to Hera in the morning, make
it official."

She smiled as she heard a faint "You love me..?" from Strife, the
dark god's voice soft and maybe a bit insecure.
//end flashback//

Psyche smiled as she spotted Bliss playing with Strife and Cupid.
They were friends now, Bliss's 3 parents, and that worked out
wonderfully. She was ripped out of her musings by a shrill "MOMMY!!!"
She laughed and embraced her little bundle of joy.

"Bliss.. having fun with Daddy and Daddy Strife? "

As the winged baby god started to babble happily, Psyche looked over
at Cupid and Strife snuggled up together on a love seat. Finally, her
life seemed to be going in the right direction.

***
Apollo moved out of the room going into Ares' private quarters where
he could still feel his son's presence. The war temple was a literal
maze of rooms and chambers, with the war god's bedroom in the very
back. Opening the large oak doors, he crossed the threshold into
Ares' inner sanctum.

"Has he awaken? " He asks his son seated beside the bed. At Ace's
slight shake of his head, Apollo took a seat beside Joxer as well.
The sun god lay his hand against the sleeping mortal's cheek. For a
second, they both glowed, Apollo golden and Joxer in a pale blue
light. Apollo allowed his godhood to flow through Joxer, the mortal's
aura becoming tinted with gold. Removing his hand , he looked to Ace.

"He will be fine. Can you mix up some headache draught and something
to keep his muscles from weakening?" His son nodded and flashed out
of the room. All that lingered was the scent of healing herbs.

Apollo turned to Ares and smiled. His brother was seated by his
personal desk going through paperwork. He looked stressed and ragged,
his hair mussed from running his fingers through it often. It was
obvious that the god was worried over his mortal friend.

"You made the right decision Ares.. "

Ares stood and started pacing the room. He ran a hand through his
hair once again, mussing it up even more. He could feel his emotions
welling up inside him. Choking him. Threatening to overwhelm him.

"Did I ? Will he make it through this? " All while he spoke, his eyes
sought out the still form on the bed. Joxer's skin was pale and he
was still breathing, but that told him nothing. He turned his eyes
back to Apollo.

The sun god spoke softly. "Physically he is fine. I will have Psyche
look into his mind once again to make sure we didn't do any harm. Do
not worry yourself brother. He will live."

Ares shook his head and looked at Apollo once more.

"Yes, but at what price? "

***
For seven days and seven nights Joxer slept. And for seven days and
seven nights, Ares put aside his duties for the mortal. No war was
fought, no tributes did he attend. He sat in his bedroom, watching
and waiting.
***

-Ares POV-
Why do I feel such an affection for the mortal? He isn't very
handsome, nor is he a warrior. He is not like any other who has
caught my eyes before this… All my life, I have had lovers from the
warrior caste, great beauties and cunning men and women.

Simplicity has never attracted me much, and neither has complexity. I
have not enjoyed complex relations. I had lovers. But never
companions.

Why does my heart now scream that Joxer could be both for me?
-end pov-

Eris watched Ares during these seven days and seven nights. She
watched him watching Joxer. She observed each and every flicker of
emotion in her brother's dark orbs. He was a enigma to most. But
through thick and thin, as his twin sister she could read him like no
other soul could. Ares had lost his heart. But was not aware of it as
of yet.

She safeguarded Joxer and Ares through the nights and the days,
sometimes joined by her son and her son-in-law. Even Apollo would
take a seat beside her outside the war gods bedroom, silently
watching as well.
---
Olympus was buzzing with gossip, rumours flying about Ares' strange
absence. Some said that the war god was missing or that he had found
himself a new godly lover. Aphrodite smiled and shook her head. She
loved most of her family, hated a few, and was patently blase about
the rest. But she knew Ares… and Arry was up in his neck in it … head
over heels… the dumb brute just wouldn't admit it!
"But then again, denial isn't just a river in Egypt. "




Chapter 5:

The pounding was what made him aware that he was alive. His head
felt like it was about to explode! He let out a faint groan and
almost jumped a feet in the air wen he felt a hand on his forehead.
Well Joxer would have, if he hadn't been in so much pain.

"Owch"

The hand on his forehead disappeared only to move to his neck.
Lifting him gently and pressing a cool cup to his lips.

/Hum... feels familiar... / the tangy concoction slid down with out
much effort. He feels back against his pillow, sighing as he felt
his head ache disappear. He almost whimpered in relief. But he bit
his tongue has he finally placed the scent from the hand that helped
him. Leather, woods and believe it or not a tang of lemon.

"Ares ... "he breathed out. A deep chuckle was heard true the room.

"How did you know? " Ares asked the still dazed man. His brown eyes
ones more seemed to sparkle with light, as they before had been flat
and dark with worry. He halted his hand just quarter of an inch
above Joxers cheek.

//Get a grip Ares! Control yourself.//

"You smell like leather, woods and lemon…. "Joxer drifted of to
sleep before he could add /and I could recognise your chuckle
anywhere... /.

Ares pulled the cover up over his sleeping friend. //yeah right
buddy, keep telling you that! // His inner voice sounded allot like
Dite. Ares shock his head and smirked. //I must be going Crazy! //

***
For 3 day Joxer drifted in and out of sleep, his head needing to
heal. He seemed pretty coherent wen he spoke to Apollo or Ares.
Psyche had looked him over as well, and said that she could not
sense any "scars" on his psyche from the intrusion. They all had
breathed a sigh of relief wen that had happened.

Ares went back to his duties, ones more trying to push down the
feeling he was having for the mortal. Still his mind slipped back to
the mortal recuperating in his bed, at any time of inactivity. So he
kept his mind busy.

***
Joxer was seated in the large bed. He was now coherent and awake
most of the day.
He always seemed to have fallen asleep when Ares came back home. And
he never seemed to be awake as the God left.

He sighed and leaned deeper into the down pillows that he rested
against. He missed the war god's easy companionship. He missed how
they had spent time together in the cave. Joxer sighed. He was in
love with his god. He knew that, he had been carrying a torch for
the dashing being for years. But spending whole days together, it
made him se more then just the sexy war god.

//my life... my future… but he will never know that … he does not
feel what I feel… // he sighs and pushed the blankets of his legs.
He needed to get up and move. Settling on the edge of the bed he
took a breath and stood on shaking legs. He was afraid to stand,
because he knew that his legs would be weak from being bedridden for
so long. Without his sight he felt like he was walking into a void.

He grappled on the wall closest to his bed. Finding his walking
stick, still standing there, were Psyche told him that she had left
it. He breathed a sigh of relief and took a step forward. His knee's
feel like they were about to buckle. Taking a firmer grip on his
staff he used it to support his weight.

After a few steps his gait was surer and less wobbly. He smiled to
himself and started to feel his way out the door of the bedroom. He
started to get familiar with the temple, moving slowly from room to
room. Sometimes he bumped into people, furniture and things.
Absentmindedly humming a tune he had heard somewhere long ago. The
tune had been stuck in his head for days, for no apparent reason.

"By the god's bloodied floor, by the just ones hallowed doors…. "He
whispered into the air of the temple. He found his way into
different chambers. Stumbling into a torture chamber, a study…
before finding the exit to the gardens. He could tell it was the
gardens, or at least a door to the outside, because of the sunshine
warming his skin. He found that the stone steps out into the garden
made a quite comfortable perch. He took a deep breath. Magnolia
blossoms, olive three's, and roses mixed together in an absolutely
breathtaking mix. He sighed deeply and leaned back on his hands.
Tilting his face up against the sun. It didn't warm as much as it
did back in the valley.

"I thought I might find you here … "A deep familiar voice, spoke
from behind him.



Ares had been standing watching Joxer for a few minutes. He allowed
his eyes to drink in the sight of the lithe body, the beautiful
brown hair, and his golden eyes. He repressed a naughty shiver as he
thought about what he wanted to do to that body.

He had been fighting the urge to spend time with the young mortal.
He had told himself that he was needed elsewhere. He had for days
called himself a complete fool. Leaving before the break of dawn and
had not come home until he was sure Joxer was asleep. He had spent
hours gazing down into Joxers face, desperately trying to find
something. Something to explain, why he felt so captivated by the
mortal.

He had not discovered any answer in the mans face. Nor in his body,
he was ashamed to admit that he had sneaked a peek during the
mortals bath.

"I thought I Might find you here … " Ares walked closer to Joxer ,
and took a seat beside the mortal on the steps. ".. Wen I found the
bed room empty."

Joxers smile could light up a room. His sightless eyes seemed to
sparkle in the gentle sunlight of Olympus.

"Well you see Ares , I was going crazy just laying in bed. I am used
to walking around you know."

Ares smiled and unconsciously leaned closer to Joxer. He licked his
lips, stopping a inch from Joxers lips. Holding his breath , he
froze indecisive for a bare moment.

"Ares?" Joxers voice was faint , and held a questioning note to it.

It was Joxers sweet voice that spurred him into action. Closing the
gap between them , capturing Joxers lips with his own. The motion
was made in a almost involuntary fashion. He lost control of his
head for a brief moment, and followed his heart.

Joxer's eyes widen as he felt lips descent on his own. The shock
kept him from responding, for a small window of time.

/What are you doing man , the god of your dreams are kissing you!
kiss him back you fool!/

Listening to his inner voice he melted into the kiss , parting his
lips for Ares questioning tongue. A small whimper escaped his as
Ares plundered his mouth.

The sound of that whimper , was what snapped Ares out of his
passion. He was panting for breath , his eyes closed as the kiss
replayed over and over in his head. His voice was rough as he
whispered to Joxer.

"I'm sorry… " Before disappearing with a rush of air.

Joxers eyes widens as Ares disappears. He sits there for a while,
like he was cast in stone. Only the breath leaving his body, told
the tale if he was alive or dead.

// why did he run , did he make a mistake ? was it pity that made
him kiss me ? or .. what did I do wrong , something I must have
done. What did he mean by `I'm sorry?' . Was he sorry we kissed , or
was he sorry for some other strange reason?//

All those thoughts was running true his head. Giving him a bit of a
headache. Standing up on shaking legs he walked back into the
temple. All the way he was fighting tears. He knew you who to call ,
sure that she would help him. How he was not sure jet. But he was
sure that he would figure it out.

By the time he had got back to his room , and gathered what small
amount of worldly things he had. He was sure of what he would do.
And he was sure of just who would help him.

"Afrodite?" he whispered into the air. Barely 30 seconds later the
air around him filled with the scent of the love goddess perfume.

"What's the matter Joxie? My boys been bad towards you?" Her voice
was cheerful as always but with a under tone of worry.

"NO ! " Joxer almost screamed, " They have been great.. very nice
and welcoming. But… I can't stay , could you please return me to the
mortal realm?" His voice was soft , and Afrodite, as a love
goddess , could feel the heart break coming of him in wawes.

(Oh Ares what have you done?) "Sure thing sweetums!" She snakes her
arms around Joxers waist. "Where too Joxie?"


The ones so jokeable warrior smiled at the goddess that embraced
him.

"Athens… were this mess started.. "



tbc


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