Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11 Part 12
Title: Bringing the Inside Out
Pairing: A/J, some C/S
Series/Sequel: sequel to ‘It’s What’s On the Inside That Counts’
WARNING: Contains scenes of bestiality, do not read if this squicks you, I won’t say I told you so!
Disclaimer: they’re not mine okay, happy????
Thank you to whoever it was on the JP3_Alan_and_Billy list whose phrase ‘fucking like bunnies on speed’ I used at one point
Again for Toby, thanks for the beta, the title and help making it into a decent story. And my real friends, most of whom I’ve never even met, isn’t that sad
Gee, can you tell I’m in a bad mood?
Bringing the Inside Out
Ares paused in the middle of battle, he had the feeling he was being watched. His eyes flicked over the battlefield until he saw two figures, fighting side by side. One of them turned briefly to look at him, as if feeling his gaze. He grinned and turned back to the fight.
Quickly and easily, he fought his way to the centre. He stopped again, growling when he saw Hercules, and fighting at his side, Iolaus. Then he frowned, his expression slowly turning to shock.
He didn’t even flinch when a sword was plunged through his shoulder. Calmly, his eyes never leaving his brother, he caught the warrior, pulled him under his arm and broke his neck. He pulled the sword from his shoulder, lifted it, and threw it straight into the chest of another warrior.
The battle was drawing to a close, most of the warriors still living from the opposing force were starting to run. Ares grunted in satisfaction, then turned his attention back to Hercules. He stalked over to his brother. Hercules glared at him, putting his hands on his hips.
“ So, brother,” Ares’ voice held a hint of amusement, “ Was it just my imagination, or were you fighting on *my* side?”
“ Don’t get any ideas, Ares,” Hercules snapped, “ I was fighting on the side of right.”
“ Excuse me?” Ares raised his eyebrows, “ Doesn’t me fighting on one side constitute wrong automatically?”
“ We found out what was going on, and made our choice accordingly,” said Iolaus.
Ares snorted, “ You mean, you stopped Hercules from rushing in against me, found out what was really going on and made him see sense.”
Iolaus ducked his head, but not before Ares caught a guilty grin. Hercules flushed, continuing to glare at his brother.
Strife watched his uncle with Hercules and Iolaus, then he looked down. “ I think we should go over there don’t you?” He reached down and petted the wolf by his side. It snorted at him and pulled away, then growled lightly in the back of its throat.
“ What? How is that cheating?”
The wolf cocked its head and made a whining noise.
Strife shuddered, “ Okay, okay, maybe you’re right. Anyway, what you still doing here? He’s gonna wonder what you’re doing.”
The wolf sneezed and shook its head. Then it turned and ran over to Ares.
Hercules and Iolaus backed away slightly when a huge wolf bounded across the field towards them. Ares grinned. The wolf stopped next to him and butted its large head against his legs. Ares crouched down and wrapped his arms round his neck.
“ Hey, where’ve you been?” he asked, gently stroking the thick fur. The wolf whined in the back of its throat and started to lick his face, cleaning off the blood.
Hercules and Iolaus exchanged confused glances as Ares groaned and allowed the wolf to push him back onto the ground, where it continued to lick him.
“ New pet?” Hercules asked sarcastically. To his surprise the wolf lifted its head and turned to stare at him. Then it growled, baring its teeth. Ares caught the wolf around the neck.
“ Baby,” he whispered. The wolf turned his attention back to Ares.
“ Baby?” Hercules whispered to Iolaus.
“ Um, Herc? It could just be me, but are they, uh are they *kissing*?”
Hercules stared at his brother in complete and utter shock, and not a little revulsion as he watched the wolf dip its tongue between the God’s lips.
Strife sauntered over casually. “ So, Jerkules, what you doing here?”
Hercules dragged his eyes away from Ares, to look up at Strife. His mouth opened and he stared almost pleadingly, then pointed at Ares, who’d started to moan.
Strife looked down at the pair and snorted. “ For Hades’ sake, would you two get a room?!” He winked at Hercules and Iolaus. “ You know what newlyweds are like, always fucking like bunnies on speed!”
Hercules choked, “ Newlyweds?”
Strife frowned at him,” Haven’t you spoken to Xena?”
Hercules gagged as he shook his head. Iolaus just blinked, continuously.
“ Ahh!” Strife nodded knowingly. He looked down. “ Yo, Uncs! Will you give it up? We’re getting an audience here!”
The wolf backed off and Ares sat up with a sigh, glaring at his nephew, then at the surrounding warriors who had cautiously approached.
“ What?!” he snapped. “ If it hadn’t been for your featherbrained husband, we’d still be on our honeymoon!”
“ Oh, I see. When he’s featherbrained, he’s only my husband, may I remind you of his parentage?”
“ Strife, don’t push it,” said Ares quietly. “ Now what was it you wanted?”
“ Xena hasn’t spoken to Jerkules and Blondie here yet,” Strife snorted, “ He thinks you’re makin out with a wolf!” He bent over and started to laugh.
Hercules stared at him, “ But he *was* making out with a wolf,” he shuddered.
Ares stared at his brother, his lips twitching in amusement. He reached over to the wolf and pulled it into his lap. The wolf whined and nuzzled his neck.
“ Shall we end the suspense, baby?” he asked. The wolf yipped and began to lick his mouth again. Hercules, Iolaus and the warriors brave enough to stick around, watched in horrified fascination as the wolf’s legs began to slim down and lengthen. Its muzzle shortened and its ears shifted down its head, becoming rounder. The pelt melted into clothing. Within a few seconds, a young man sat in Ares’ lap, kissing him hungrily. The last few soldiers, broke and ran.
After a couple more seconds, he pulled away and turned to Hercules and Iolaus, grinning.
“ Hi guys!”
“ J-Joxer?” Iolaus exclaimed. Hercules couldn’t even speak. Ares stood up, carrying Joxer with him. Gently he deposited his husband on the ground, then wrapped an arm round him.
“ Well, I was going to make an official announcement but, whatever. Hercules, Iolaus, you know Joxer the Mighty, meet Joxer, my consort, immortal werewolf and 1st Protector of War.” Hercules’ jaw dropped.
Joxer elbowed Ares in the stomach.
“ Protector of War?” Joxer raised an eyebrow. Ares shrugged.
“ Sounds good to me,” said Strife with a grin. Joxer smiled at him.
Iolaus finally managed to pull himself together and smiled, sort of, “ Wow, I’m guessing there’s quite a story here.”
Joxer nodded, “ Yeah you could say that.”
“ Why first protector?”
“ Jett and Jace,” said Strife.
“ You mean they’re werewolves too?” Iolaus asked in surprise.
Joxer nodded, “ It’s how we were born.”
“ Well, it explains how Jett manages to pull off some of his stunts,” Iolaus chuckled.
Ares pulled Joxer round into a hug, “ If you don’t mind, now we’ve sorted out Cupid’s mess, Joxer and I have things to get back to!” He gripped Joxer’s hair and kissed him fiercely, then the couple disappeared. Strife smirked at the empty space.
Hercules finally snapped out of his daze, “ Cupid’s mess?”
“ Yeah, Flyboy got a bit arrow-happy,” Strife chuckled, “ Managed to make this girl fall for the wrong guy. She wasn’t pleased when she found out he don’t swing that way, if you know what I mean?” he winked.
“ And that caused all this?” Iolaus asked, looking round at the carnage.
“ Yeah, she went crying to her Warlord daddy.”
“ Wait, I’m confused,” said Hercules.
“ So what’s new?” Strife giggled.
Hercules frowned at him. “ Ares said Cupid was your husband?”
“ Yeah, that’s right. The Love dude and I have been together for like, ever!”
“ But Psyche?”
Strife snorted, “ That was cover man! Mortals don’t deal well with pregnant Gods, you know. Bliss is my son, mine and Cupe’s.” He paused, “ Talking of my honey, what am I doing here with you? Unc had the right idea, see ya!”
“ Wait! What about…”
“ If you want to know bout Unc and Jox, ask Xena. I’m outta here.” Strife flashed away.
Hercules stared at Iolaus, who shrugged. “ Let’s find Xena and Gabrielle.”
“ Yeah,” Hercules nodded vigorously. Joxer rolled Ares onto his back and pushed his arms over his head. He stared down at his husband and smiled, then leaned down and kissed him. Ares moaned, sucking on lips and tongue as they teased his mouth.
Joxer shifted slightly, rubbing his cock against Ares’. Ares moaned again and thrust his hips up. He tried to lift his arms and was surprised when Joxer pushed them back down. Then he grinned at the smaller man. Joxer smiled down at him, continuing to grind his pelvis against him.
Joxer transferred Ares’ arms to one hand and reached down. He lifted up slightly and grasped Ares’ shaft.
“ Oil,” he growled. Ares moaned and with a thought, lubricated his cock and Joxer’s ass. Joxer guided Ares’ erection to his opening and pushed down, growling again. Ares sighed, his eyes closing briefly as he was engulfed by tight, hot flesh. Joxer sat all the way down, impaling himself.
He leaned forward again, pinning Ares’ arms back with both hands. Ares bucked impatiently and he grinned. He stared down at Ares, smiling, but not moving. Ares blinked questioningly and tried to lift his arms again. Joxer pushed them down.
Joxer lifted up, barely an inch and sat down again. Ares groaned.
“ Jox, please.”
Joxer shook his head, then clenched his ass. Ares gasped and his hips bucked again. Joxer closed his eyes, growling quietly in the back of his throat. His form began to shift and Ares felt claws start to dig into his wrists.
Joxer leaned down and began to lick his neck, tongue growing slightly, becoming rougher. Then finally he began to move, lifting his hips and slamming back down. As his teeth lengthened and sharpened, he nipped gently at Ares’ skin.
Ares groaned and writhed under him, thrusting his hips up to meet each downward stroke.
“ Joxer,” he gasped, “ I want to touch you.”
Joxer finally let go of his arms and Ares left thin trails of blood down his back as his hands slid down to his ass. Using his formidable strength, he lifted Joxer until he was almost off him, then pulled him back down, hard.
Joxer threw back his head and howled, his claws tore at Ares’ chest, drawing blood. He fell forward onto his husband’s body, panting harshly as their pace increased. Ares began to push into him, more and more urgently, and Joxer growled continuously, as he hit his pleasure spot again and again.
As Joxer’s body began to shudder, he opened his jaws and laid his teeth against Ares’ skin. Ares tipped back his head, exposing his neck, at the same time he reached between them and stroked Joxer’s shaft.
Joxer jerked hard and his jaws clamped down on Ares’ neck. Sharp teeth sliced through skin; hot, coppery blood gushing down his throat as his seed jetted into Ares’ hand.
“ Jox, baby, yes!” Ares grasped Joxer’s ass, pulling him down hard, as his come shot deep inside Joxer’s shuddering passage.
Joxer collapsed bonelessly on top of Ares, gently licking the blood from his skin as the wounds healed under his tongue. He nuzzled Ares’ neck, sighing happily as his husband wrapped his arms around him. He melted back into human form.
“ I love you, my beautiful wolf.”
Joxer sighed again, and kissed the clean, smooth skin beneath him. “ I love you, Ares”
He lifted his head and leaned forward to drop a kiss onto Ares’ lips. Then he got up and shifted round to the top of the bed, lying on his side. Ares pulled him closer, resting his head on his stomach as he transformed into a wolf. They fell asleep curled up together.
Ares woke suddenly and scanned the room. He had the distinct impression something was wrong. Seeing nothing, he reached out his power to search the area for anyone or anything that shouldn’t be there. Again there was nothing.
He sighed, deciding he was being paranoid and snuggled back into Joxer’s fur. Joxer snuffled in his sleep and Ares gently stroked his ears until he quietened.
When Ares woke again, Joxer was huddled in the corner of the bed, whimpering, large tears rolling down his muzzle. Ares sat up and pulled the shuddering wolf into his arms.
“ What is it, baby?”
Joxer sniffed and whined, nuzzling at Ares’ neck. Then he pulled back and snapped his jaws in the air.
“ What do you mean you’re stuck?” Joxer whined again. “ You can’t transform?” Joxer shook his head. “ Try again.”
Joxer’s eyes filled with tears again and he shook his head. Ares hugged him, hiding the slight panic he was feeling.
“ It’s okay baby, I’ll fix it, I promise.”
He transported them to Hera’s temple, dressing himself on the way.
“ Mother!” he yelled.
“ Ares, do you have to shout?” Hera appeared. “ Hello, Joxer.”
“ Mother, something’s wrong. Joxer’s stuck in wolf form,” Ares couldn’t quite keep the worry out of his voice. Joxer nudged his hand and he crouched down, gently stroking his ears.
Hera frowned, “ That isn’t possible. Joxer was born a werewolf, both wolf and human are his natural forms.”
She stepped forward and crouched in front of Joxer. “ Joxer, will you try to transform for me?”
He nodded. Nothing happened. He whimpered and Ares buried his face in his neck, whispering comfortingly.
“ I don’t understand,” said Hera in confusion, “ Nothing feels wrong.”
Ares looked up suddenly, “ Something was wrong during the night.”
“ What do you mean?”
“ I woke up and it felt like someone had been there, or something, but when I checked, there was nothing. Except Joxer’s sleep was a little disturbed.”
“ Have you checked to see if Jett and Jace are affected?”
Ares shook his head, trying to comfort the shaking wolf in his arms.
“ Strife, Cupid,” Hera called her grandsons. After a couple of minutes, she tutted, “ Boys, here, now!”
Two very dishevelled and sulky looking young Gods finally appeared. They took one look at Ares’ face and the crying wolf and turned to their grandmother.
“ What’s happened?”
“ Joxer is stuck in wolf form,” she explained. “ I want you boys to find out if the same has happened to his brothers.” The couple nodded and vanished.
“ It’ll be fine son, I promise.” She squeezed Ares’ shoulder, tactfully ignoring his hitching breath. A few minutes later Strife and Cupid reappeared, each with a triplet in tow.
“ Joxer?” Jace hurried over to his brother. He transformed into a wolf and sniffed him. Joxer whined at him and Jace licked him. Jace transformed back.
“ He says he can’t feel his human form, I don’t understand,” Jace looked worried.
“ If he can’t feel it, it isn’t there,” said Jett.
“ What do you mean?” Jace asked.
“ I’ve been to a lot of strange places with my work, I’ve had the opportunity to research our people.” He looked at Hera, “ As no one’s ever bothered to explain it to us.” Hera flushed.
“ So, how about you explain it to us,” Jace said sarcastically.
Jett stared at his brother coldly, “ Well, we’re an ancient immortal race. We can’t make other werewolves by biting or scratching others, despite the legends. We can mask our presence from the Gods, “ he smirked, “ And they can’t read our minds, although they can understand us in animal form to a certain extent. The only thing I’ve ever heard about losing one of our life forms, is punishment by elders,” he explained.
“ So an elder werewolf may have taken Jox’s human form?” Jace asked. Jett nodded.
“ But why? Since when does Joxer deserve punishment like this?” Ares demanded.
Jett shrugged, “ I don’t have those answers.”
“ Where did we come from?” Jace turned to Hera.
Hera sighed, “ I suppose I should have spoken to you, after you saved Ares.”
“ You think?” Jett asked sarcastically.
“ You were taken from your parents at birth, to hide your origins. Your mother, Jalaya, is the oldest living werewolf in existence. Your father is dead, he was also a werewolf. Immortal you are, unkillable you are not. The legend about silver is true,” she sighed. “ The main reason I didn’t tell you is because we can’t find Jalaya. We had hoped to reunite you and let her explain your people to you. There are very few werewolves left, and even I don’t fully comprehend them.”
“ This is fascinating, I’m sure, but how do we find out who did this and fix it?” Ares snapped.
“ We can mask our presence from Gods, but not from each other,” Jett smirked, “ I’m sure we could find whoever did this.”
“ Let’s go then,” said Ares, getting to his feet.
“ You can’t come.”
“ I beg your pardon?” Ares gripped Jett by the throat in a lightning move. “ I’m coming whether you like it or not!”
Joxer butted him in the legs and growled. Ares let Jett go.
Jett glared at his brother-in-law. “ You can’t come, because as far as I can tell, our people don’t like the Gods. Your presence might jeopardise our chances.”
“ I have to go. If I have to be mortal, so be it,” Ares growled.
Jett raised his eyebrows in surprise, “ Fine, have it your way.”
Joxer whined and Ares crouched down beside him. “ I have to baby, you know that.” Joxer licked his face gently. “ I’ll be fine. It’s you I’m worried about.”
“ Do you want us to come?” asked Strife.
“ No, thank you, keep an eye on things up here. You know the plans,” Ares replied.
Strife nodded, “ No probs.”
“ I can’t come, I’m sorry Joxer,” said Jace quietly. Joxer whined and Jace smiled at him, “ I love you too, brother.”
“ Well, I got nothing on right now, but, I don’t know. You think we might need help?” Jett asked Hera. She nodded.
“ Why?” Ares growled, “ Even mortal, I can beat anyone. And Jett is almost as good as Xena.”
“ Thanks,” Jett said sarcastically.
“ Because,” Hera raised her voice warningly, “ You don’t know where you’ll be going, for how long, or how many people will try to kill you while you’re mortal.”
Joxer whined and nudged Ares.
“ Okay, okay, we’ll ask Xena.” Joxer whined again. “ Well, she’s not going to go anywhere without her is she?”
“ What about Hercules?” Jett asked.
“ What about him?” Ares growled.
“ Well, he’s a friend of Joxer’s and that Iolaus is a cute, ah, good guy.”
Ares had to bite his lip to stop himself from laughing. “ Fine, we’ll ask them too.” He turned to Hera, “ Can you ask father about making me mortal? And some way to get my Godhood back quickly if there’s an emergency.”
She nodded and concentrated. There was a flash.
Ares looked down at himself. “ Damn, I hate being mortal!”
“ He says just call him, it’s unusual enough that it’ll get his immediate attention.” Ares nodded. “ Jace, I’ll send you home, the rest of you to Xena and Hercules.” The last word was hissed more than spoken. Ares’ lips twitched with amusement.
“ Good luck Pops, Joxer,” Cupid hugged the wolf and then his father before he could protest. Ares nodded.
“ Yeah, g’luck Uncs,” Strife waved at them as they disappeared.
“ So that’s the story,” Xena finished.
“ Wow,” said Iolaus, “ And it turned out Ares had always loved him?” She nodded. “ I didn’t think he knew Joxer even existed.”
“ I know, me either.”
“ You didn’t know about the demon, Gabby?” Hercules asked.
“ Didn’t have a clue,” Gabrielle replied.
There was a flash and the four leapt to their feet.
“ Ares!” Hercules exclaimed.
Xena smiled at the wolf and glared at Jett. “ What’s going on?” she asked Ares. “ I thought you two would be, well, you know,” she gestured vaguely.
“ Yeah well, we would be if, one, Cupid hadn’t started a war, and two, if Joxer wasn’t stuck as a wolf,” Ares said angrily.
“ Never stopped you before,” Gabrielle muttered. Ares glared at her.
Xena stared at Joxer, “ Is it true?” she asked. Joxer nodded. “ I’m sorry Joxer.” The wolf whined quietly.
“ So why’s Joxer stuck as a wolf?” Iolaus asked.
“ We think another werewolf has taken his human form,” Jett replied, staring at him. Iolaus met his eyes and his cheeks pinked. He looked away quickly. “ But why?” he asked.
“ We’ll find out if I let them live long enough to explain,” Ares snarled, “ Once we’ve found whoever it was.”
“ I take it you’d like us to help?” asked Xena. Ares stared at her, until Joxer growled at him.
“ Yes, we’d like you to help,” he said quietly.
“ Man, you are so whipped,” Jett chuckled.
“ Fuck you!” Ares snapped.
“ No thanks, I like blonds,” Jett glanced sideways at Iolaus, who flushed again. Joxer made a noise that sounded like laughter. Ares crouched down beside him and stroked his ears.
“ You’re no help, you know that?” he whispered. Joxer snorted and licked his mouth, slowly and deliberately. Ares groaned, his grip tightening in Joxer’s fur as he kissed back.
“ Euw, do you have to do that?” Gabrielle exclaimed. Hercules was pale and staring intently at his feet. Ares pulled back and glared at her. Joxer whined. “ I’m sorry Joxer, I know it’s you and everything, but it’s still gross.”
“ Get used to it,” Ares snapped. He dropped a kiss on Joxer’s muzzle and stood up, resting a hand on Joxer’s head. “ Will you help?” He looked round at the four. Xena, Gabrielle and Iolaus nodded. He stared at Hercules, who sighed.
“ Okay, okay.”
“ Good, let’s go.”
“ So, where are we headed?” Iolaus asked Jett as they walked in front of the others.
“ I’ve heard of a place that’s supposed to be like a gathering place for werewolves. I thought it would be a good place to start.”
Iolaus nodded. He watched Jett walk out of the corner of his eye. Then he realised Jett was watching him watch him, and he looked away quickly.
“ So, how have you been?” Jett asked quietly.
Iolaus cleared his throat nervously, “ Uh, fine, good. You?”
Jett flashed him a grin, “ Better for seeing you.”
Iolaus choked. He choked so badly he had to stop and bend over. Jett watched him with hooded eyes and then sniggered as Hercules ran forward.
“ What’s wrong? What did you do?” He glared at Jett.
Jett raised his eyebrows, “ Nothing, just exchanging pleasantries.” He smirked when he caught the glare from Iolaus.
Ares frowned and crouched next to Joxer, “ What’s with those two?” he whispered.
Joxer made a strange noise like he was trying not to laugh. Then he yipped and whined.
“ No way?!” Ares chuckled, “ You mean they…? I’d never have guessed!”
“ What is with everyone?” Gabrielle stared at them all in astonishment; Ares, Joxer and Jett all sniggering, Iolaus still recovering from choking and Hercules glaring at Jett.
Xena shrugged, “ I think this is going to be an interesting journey.” She smiled at the group.
Once everyone was back under control, they started walking again. Joxer trotted forward to walk beside his brother, now that Iolaus had dropped back with Hercules.
He whined. Jett looked back then shrugged and morphed into a wolf. Ares watched Iolaus curiously and was surprised to see no disgust, only awe on the hunter’s face.
Xena and Gabrielle fell into step with him and he glanced at them.
“Are you worried?”
Ares sighed, “Yes.”
“What will happen if Joxer doesn’t get his human form back?” she asked.
Ares frowned at her, “Nothing. Wolf or human, Joxer is Joxer and I love him.”
Xena sighed, “I guess. It’ll be hard though, won’t it?”
Ares shrugged, “Not for us.”
Xena stared at him for a moment. “Make sure he knows that,” she said quietly.
Ares looked thoughtful, it wasn’t something that had occurred to him, that Joxer might not realise that it made no difference to him if he ever got his human form back, except maybe for missing the sound of his voice. “I do, I will, every day.”
He glanced up at the two wolves leading the way. As if feeling his gaze, Joxer looked back and their eyes locked. Ares smiled sadly and Joxer turned and ran towards him. Everyone stopped to watch Ares drop to his knees and catch the large wolf in his arms.
Ares buried his face in Joxer’s fur, “Oh my beautiful wolf,” he whispered. Joxer growled, then whined. Ares pulled back and stroked his ears gently. “I’m fine. Whatever the outcome, I’ll always love you, Joxer,” he whispered.
Joxer nuzzled his neck and gently nibbled his ear. Ares chuckled, “ Later, baby.” Joxer snorted and licked his face. Ares hugged him once more, then stood, resting his hand on Joxer’s head. They looked at the other’s who were staring at them.
“What?” Ares asked almost defensively.
Hercules shook his head, “I just never would have thought to see you so loving.” Gabrielle nodded in agreement.
“I just like seeing you two together. Although I certainly didn’t expect the God of War to be one half of the most beautiful couple I’ve ever seen,” Iolaus said quietly.
Joxer whined and trotted over to Iolaus where he licked the hunter’s hand.
“He says thank you,” said Jett quietly, having transformed back to human form.
Iolaus glanced at Jett and gave the assassin a shy smile. “ I meant it,” he said quietly. Jett smiled at him.
“As long as Joxer’s happy, I’m happy,” said Xena finally.
Ares put his hands on his hips. “ Now that we have everyone’s opinion, can we please get underway?!” he glared at his companions.
Jett smirked at him and they all started walking again.
“It’s too dark to carry on, can we please stop now?” Gabrielle asked. Ares glared at her, but kept silent when Joxer nudged him.
“Yeah, let’s find somewhere to camp, “ said Hercules with a barely stifled yawn.
They walked a little way off the trail until they found a clearing. Gabrielle lit a fire while everyone settled their belongings.
“It’ll be quickest if Joxer and I hunt for dinner,” said Jett. The others nodded in agreement.
Ares stroked Joxer’s ears. “Be careful, love,” he whispered. Joxer snorted and licked him. Jett morphed into a wolf and they trotted off together.
Iolaus watched them disappear into the trees until he felt Ares’ eyes on him and he looked away, flushing. His emotions were all over the place. He had thought he’d gotten over his feelings for Jett, but obviously not.
They’d had a thing for a while, regular, casual sex whenever they’d bumped into each other. But he’d withdrawn when he’d realised his heart was involved, knowing the assassin would never feel the same way.
The fact that Jett was a werewolf didn’t change anything. And the way Jett was acting was making him rethink the possibilities. Iolaus shook his head with a sigh, it really wasn’t a good idea to get into wishful thinking.
It didn’t take long for Jett and Joxer to return, Jett back in human form carrying several rabbits and small birds. Joxer carried an already half-eaten rabbit in his jaws.
Gabrielle grunted at Jett when he handed her the food and he rolled his eyes at her.
“Greedy pig!” Ares chuckled at Joxer, “Couldn’t wait?” Joxer cocked his head and whined. Ares smiled at him. “I know, I hate being hungry. I *hate* being mortal.”
Hercules and Xena looked up, “You’re mortal?!” they exclaimed simultaneously.
Ares glanced at them, “Yeah, what of it?” he snapped.
Hercules frowned, “Why?”
Ares was tempted to tell Hercules where to go, but for Joxer’s sake he decided to maintain the peace. “Because, werewolves apparently don’t like Gods.” He ignored Hercules’ nod, “My normal presence would possibly have jeopardised our chance to help Jox. And there was no way I wasn’t coming along,” he glared at Jett, who just smirked at him.
Hercules nodded silently. He still couldn’t quite get over his brother’s relationship with Joxer. Xena watched the whole proceedings silently, as she sharpened her sword.
“Yo, Gabrielle, any chance of some food this decade?” Jett drawled.
“If you want it cooked, you’ll have to wait!” she snapped irritably.
“Doesn’t bother me, chuck me one now,” he said.
She glared at him and threw a half-cooked rabbit at him. He smirked at her and transformed into a wolf, bolting the rabbit down in two snaps of his jaws.
Iolaus and Ares stared enviously at the two wolves as their stomachs rumbled. Gabrielle looked faintly nauseated and Hercules grimaced in disgust. Xena continued to watch in silence.
Finally the food was ready and they all ate ravenously, despite it being slightly burnt on the outside.
“Oh, that’s better,” Ares groaned, lying back, pillowing his head on Joxer’s forelegs. Joxer lifted his head and licked him. Ares smiled and closed his eyes, relaxing against Joxer’s warm fur. The camp was silent as everyone dozed quietly.
Ares woke to Joxer nuzzling his neck. “Hey baby,” he whispered. He looked round the camp, everyone else was still asleep, except for Iolaus, who was nowhere to be seen. Jett was still curled up in wolf form.
“Want to slip away for a while?” Ares whispered.
Joxer answered him with a slow, suggestive lick on his lips. Ares grinned and stood up. They slipped quietly away.
Jett lifted his head and watched them go. He looked round the camp then stood and sniffed the air, before trotting off in a different direction.
Iolaus sat with his feet in the river, staring up at the moon. Jett watched him for a while, then approached him quietly, licking the unsuspecting man’s ear.
“Hades!” Iolaus swore in shock. “Jett, shit, don’t sneak up on me like that!”
Jett transformed into his human form, chuckling slightly. “Sorry. How’d you know it was me anyway?” he asked curiously.
Iolaus shrugged, “Just did.”
Jett sat next to him and pulled off his boots, dunking his feet in the river. He lay back on the grass, closing his eyes and sighing contentedly. Iolaus felt distinctly awkward as he stared down at Jett.
“Relax,” said Jett, not opening his eyes.
Iolaus blinked and lay back next to him. “So, how come you never told me about the werewolf thing?” he asked quietly.
Jett turned his head, staring at Iolaus. “It was a secret. Besides, I didn’t think it would be an attractive feature, if you know what I mean!” Iolaus hmmm’d thoughtfully. “So, why did you break it off?” Jett asked.
Iolaus frowned, “Break what off? We fucked occasionally.”
Jett’s face was inscrutable. “Was that all it was to you?”
Iolaus flushed and looked away, “Wasn’t it to you?”
Jett turned onto his side and propped his head up. “No,” he said softly.
Iolaus’ eyes snapped back to Jett’s face. He stared searchingly at the assassin. “Really?” he whispered. Jett nodded seriously. “Oh,” Iolaus breathed out heavily.
“Why did you break it off?” Jett repeated.
“Because I wanted it to be more than just a casual fuck,” Iolaus whispered.
Iolaus sucked in a breath and blinked. He smiled shyly up at Jett, who smiled back, his face, for once, completely open. Jett lay back again, his hand moved over to find Iolaus’ and they wove their fingers together.
“What’s it like? I mean, you know, when you’re a wolf?” Iolaus stumbled nervously over the question.
Jett smiled, “I don’t know, never done it, not even merged.”
“Yeah, you know combination of wolf and man,” Jett explained. “We could go see though,” he muttered to himself.
“What?” Iolaus turned his head to frown at Jett.
Jett sat up, “Come on.” He pulled his boots back on and waited for Iolaus to do the same. He hauled the hunter to his feet and dragged him along.
“Where are we going?” Iolaus asked.
“Shh, you’ve got to be really quiet,” Jett whispered.
Iolaus became aware of noises and followed silently. Jett stopped in some trees and pushed aside a branch, beckoning Iolaus over. Iolaus peered through the gap and barely held back his gasp.
Ares and Joxer walked a reasonable distance from the camp before they stopped. Ares took a deep breath and sighed happily, staring at the clear sky. Joxer nuzzled his groin gently.
“Oh Jox,” Ares groaned, hardening quickly at Joxer’s insistent nudging. He quickly pulled off his vest and knelt down, pulling Joxer’s head up. Joxer lapped at his mouth and he sucked on the large, rough tongue. His own tongue flicked out occasionally, stroking carefully over sharp teeth.
Joxer whined and pulled away. Ares quickly took off his boots and pants and sat down. Joxer lifted his forelegs onto Ares’ shoulders and pushed him back onto the ground. Ares sighed deeply as Joxer’s warm tongue lapped his neck and down his chest.
He reached down and slipped his hand between Joxer’s hind legs, gently rubbing the hard length emerging from its sheath. Joxer growled low in his throat, continuing to lick Ares thoroughly.
“Yes, lover, so good,” Ares panted. Joxer moved out of his reach and he lay back groaning again when Joxer’s tongue started on his cock. “Oh Gods,” he gasped quietly.
Joxer bathed his shaft with long, firm licks leaving him breathless and writhing. “Wait, Jox.” Joxer looked up, whining in surprise. Ares smiled at him and rolled over, getting on his hands and knees. Joxer whimpered softly.
“I know, I didn’t think to bring oil,” Ares whispered. “But I need you, baby.” Joxer paused for a second, then he licked Ares’ ass. “Oh yes… good idea.”
Joxer swept his large, rough tongue across Ares’ asshole, before plunging it into him. Ares jerked under him and dropped to his elbows, pushing back, urging Joxer deeper.
After thoroughly licking his husband, Joxer slowly withdrew and lifted himself over Ares’ body. They were vaguely aware of a noise, but ignored it as Joxer’s heavy cock slid slowly into Ares.
Ares’ eyes closed in ecstasy as he was stretched and filled to the hilt. “Yes, love, deeper,” he groaned. Joxer paused for a moment and Ares groaned again. Joxer dipped his head and licked the back of Ares’ neck before he started to move again, agonisingly slowly.
“Oh,” Ares’ breath hitched. Joxer’s cock brushed over his pleasure spot with the whole stroke. Each thrust was slow and deep and left Ares panting for more.
“Jox, Jox, please,” he begged. Joxer gently took Ares’ neck in his jaws and continued his tortuous pace. Ares shifted his weight onto one arm and reached between his legs to grasp his aching cock.
Joxer growled lightly and his teeth grazed Ares’ skin. “Need to, love,” Ares panted, tugging hard on his erection. Joxer whimpered and started to move faster.
“Yes, baby, yes!” Ares yelled, his entire body stiffening as he came hard. Joxer threw back his head and howled, jerking into Ares, filling his husband with hot seed.
“Oh my dear love,” Ares whispered contentedly. Joxer licked away the small amount of blood he’d drawn with his teeth, then gently pulled out. Ares collapsed onto the ground and reached round to pull Joxer close. He snuggled up to the warm fur.
Joxer licked his face and yipped.
“I love you too, my beautiful wolf,” Ares whispered with a smile.
Iolaus snapped his mouth shut and started to back away. Jett gave him a slightly panicked look. “Iolaus?”
He cursed himself inwardly, maybe spying on Ares and Joxer hadn’t been such a good idea. It hadn’t helped him either. Now he’d seen how it could be, he wanted to have the same, someone who accepted all of him. More, he wanted that someone to be Iolaus.
He followed Iolaus who continued to back away. “Iolaus?” he said again cautiously. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t, it was too much.”
“Shut up,” Iolaus whispered. Jett blinked, then without warning, Iolaus dragged him forward and kissed him, clutching his face as he plunged his tongue into his mouth.
When Iolaus eventually let him go, Jett was panting hard.
“Oh,” he gasped. Iolaus took his hand and pulled him back to the riverbank. Iolaus was almost beyond coherent thought. All he knew was, he loved Jett and he was intensely turned on. He kissed the assassin again, softer this time, lips lingering, tongue exploring gently.
“Jett?” he whispered, pulling away.
“Can I… can I see you merged?”
Jett stared at him, searching his face. Seeing only curiosity and lust, and maybe something more, he took a deep breath and allowed his form to change.
Iolaus watched, fascinated as Jett’s face elongated, teeth growing longer and sharper. His shoulders thickened, hunching slightly and claws sprouted from his hands. Iolaus was speechless. He was speechless long enough for Jett to worry, wondering if that was it.
“Wow,” Iolaus reached out and touched Jett’s face gently.
“Well?” Jett asked apprehensively.
Iolaus moved closer, putting his hands on Jett’s shoulders. “I want you,” he whispered, and carefully kissed him. Jett groaned with relief and desire. He lifted Iolaus up into his powerful arms and returned the kiss, being careful his sharp teeth didn’t hurt the hunter.
He put Iolaus down and they broke apart, eagerly ripping their clothes off. Iolaus stepped forward again, tilting his head wonderingly. Unconsciously, he reached out and touched Jett’s furred chest, trailing his fingers down to the hard cock.
Jett hissed as Iolaus wrapped his hand round his shaft and stroked lightly. He pulled Iolaus forward roughly, wrapping an arm round his neck and kissing him hard. Iolaus pulled back breathless.
“Wow, your tongue is huge.”
Jett smirked, “Want to feel more?”
Iolaus’ eyes widened, “Oh Gods, yes.”
Jett pushed him to the ground and licked him all over. Iolaus moaned and writhed as the large, rough tongue bathed his body everywhere but where he really wanted to feel it.
“Please, Jett,” he gasped. Jett looked up at him and grinned evilly. Iolaus groaned and dropped his head back. Finally Jett settled between his legs and slowly licked the length of his cock.
“Oh Gods,” Iolaus whimpered. He clutched Jett’s hair. Jett smiled to himself and continued to bathe Iolaus’ shaft with long, slow, firm licks. He teased Iolaus mercilessly, but finally he took pity on him and flicked his tongue quickly.
Iolaus gasped and exploded all over Jett’s face. Jett chuckled and continued to lap Iolaus’ groin, cleaning him up. Iolaus dragged him up his body and licked his face clean, before claiming his mouth in a fierce kiss.
“Take me now,” he ordered.
Jett lifted his head and stared down, “But…” Iolaus shook his head and shh’d him. He reached out to drag his pants over and rummaged impatiently. He pulled out a tiny vial of oil and handed it to Jett.
“Now!” he repeated. Jett nodded mutely. He poured some oil onto his fingers and pushed Iolaus’ legs back, reaching between them. He slid two fingers carefully into Iolaus, reducing his merged form so the claws retracted.
Iolaus squirmed impatiently, “Please Jett, fuck me already!” he moaned.
Jett growled and quickly withdrew his fingers as his body shifted closer to the wolf. He rubbed oil over his aching length and quickly pushed into Iolaus. Without pausing, he started to thrust hard.
“Yes, Jett,” Iolaus groaned, “Missed this, missed you.”
Jett’s breath hitched and his stroke faltered. He stared down at Iolaus, a question in his eyes.
“I love you,” Iolaus whispered.
“All of me?” Jett asked quietly. Iolaus pushed him away, gasping as Jett’s cock slipped out of him. He touched Jett’s face reassuringly and turned onto his hands and knees.
“All of you,” he whispered, “I love the wolf too. I want the wolf too.”
Jett groaned and closed his eyes, “Are you sure?”
“Please.” Jett shimmered slightly and he morphed fully into the wolf. “Please,” Iolaus repeated. Then he gasped as Jett leapt onto him and plunged back inside him. Iolaus rocked back urgently against Jett’s hard thrusts.
He yelled in surprise when he came for a second time as Jett’s cock rubbed over his sweet spot. Jett growled low in his throat and jerked into Iolaus, shuddering with his completion.
Jett whimpered and licked the back of Iolaus’ neck before pulling out. Iolaus dropped to the ground and rolled over, smiling up at the wolf. He blinked and Jett was smiling down at him in fully human form.
Jett leaned down to kiss his lover softly and found himself pulled into a tight hug. Jett smiled. Iolaus was the only person, besides his brothers, who didn’t treat him with extreme caution, who actually trusted him, who loved him. With Iolaus, he could be something other than a cold, emotionless killer. And it felt good.
Ares and Joxer snuck quietly back into the camp and curled up together.
“I wonder where Jett got to,” Ares whispered. Joxer nudged his neck, whining softly. “Yes dear,” Ares chuckled. He closed his eyes obediently and quickly drifted off to sleep.
A little later, Joxer opened his eyes and watched his brother and Iolaus share a lingering kiss before returning to their bedrolls. He sniffed the air and snorted in surprise. He stared over at his brother who met his inquiring gaze and smiled. Joxer whined and closed his eyes again.
Ares was woken abruptly by a kick to his leg. Without opening his eyes, he reached out quickly and grasped an ankle, knocking over his assailant.
“Damn it,” exclaimed Gabrielle, as she hit the ground. “What did you do that for?”
Ares opened his eyes and glared at her, “Think yourself lucky you’re not dead,” he growled.
Gabrielle blanched and backed away as he sat up. “Anyway,” she muttered, “Breakfast.”
Joxer lifted his head and yawned widely. He stretched and whined happily when Ares scratched behind his ears.
“Morning, lover,” Ares chuckled at his husband’s submissive posture and gently stroked the soft, thick fur. Xena walked over to them and dropped a bird in front of Joxer. “Thank you,” Ares said.
Xena smiled, “I’m sure you both need to build up your strength.” Her lips twitched at Ares’ slightly stunned expression.
Ares cleared his throat and nodded. “Stop it,” he whispered at Joxer who was chuckling at him. Joxer yipped and whined at him. Ares frowned, then grinned. “We’re not the only ones, huh?”
Joxer nodded and whined again. “You smelled sex and wolf, so?” Ares frowned in confusion. Joxer growled and snorted at him. “Sex *and* wolf. Oh, you mean, as in…?” Joxer nodded. “Wow!” Ares stared at Iolaus with new respect.
Then he started to chuckle helplessly. Joxer tilted his head inquiringly. “H-Herc-Hercules,” Ares managed to gasp, collapsing in an uncontrollable fit of laughter. Joxer snorted and started to snigger.
“What’s so funny?”
Ares looked up at Hercules and howled hysterically. Hercules frowned and stalked off in disgust. Eventually the couple calmed down and everyone gave up trying to find out what was so funny. Breakfast was eaten quickly and they tidied the clearing, carefully burying the fire.
“Right,” said Jett, “I don’t think we’re far now, I’m guessing about half a day’s walk.”
“And then what?” asked Ares.
“Then we see if we can find a werewolf, I don’t know! I’ve never been there,” Jett put his hands on his hips.
“Okay, okay,” said Ares. “Lead on.”
Gabrielle and Xena followed Jett, who stalked off. Ares and Joxer watched Iolaus stretch gingerly and join Hercules, then after sharing a knowing smile, followed them.
Xena dropped back to ride next to Ares and Joxer. Ares glanced up at her and waited.
“So,” she said eventually, “Jett and Iolaus… are they?”
Ares raised an eyebrow, “Are they?”
She frowned at him, “You know what I mean.” He smirked and nodded. “They are?”
“Gods,” Xena groaned, “I can just imagine Hercules’ reaction.” Ares started to chuckle again and Joxer sniggered.
“Ah,” she nodded, “I see you’ve had this conversation.” Her lips twitched, then she snorted.
Gabrielle and Hercules looked round and frowned at them.
“Was there something in the food?” Gabrielle whispered.
Hercules shrugged, “There’s something going on, but I’m not sure I want to know what. What do you think, Iolaus?” He turned to his friend who appeared to be staring into space. “Iolaus?”
Iolaus jumped and tore his eyes from Jett’s ass. “What?” he asked.
Hercules shook his head, “Never mind.” He paused and stared at Iolaus, “Are you okay? You seem distracted.”
Iolaus nodded, trying not to let his gaze wander back to Jett. “Yeah, I’m fine. Um, I’m going to walk with Jett for a while,” he mumbled.
“What? Why?” Hercules exclaimed.
Iolaus looked at Hercules, “To be nice, he’s been walking on his own all morning.”
Hercules snorted, “Yeah, I wonder why!”
Iolaus frowned, “You can be a real dick, you know that?!” He said, stalking off to join Jett.
Hercules exchanged an astonished look with Gabrielle. “What did I say?”
Gabrielle shrugged, “Everyone’s being *really* weird!” she muttered. Hercules nodded in agreement.
Jett glanced over at Iolaus and smiled. “Hi,” he whispered.
“Hi,” Iolaus smiled back shyly.
“How’re you doing, you know after…?”
“I’m a little sore, but it feels good,” Iolaus grinned.
Jett chuckled, “Really?”
“Yeah, it’s almost like I can still feel you inside me,” Iolaus whispered.
Jett groaned, “I wish I was.”
Iolaus swallowed and adjusted himself surreptitiously. “Jett?”
“I was just wondering, I mean, it’s nothing really,” Iolaus stopped.
“What is it?” Jett raised an eyebrow inquiringly.
“Well, is there any particular reason why we both seem to be keeping this quiet?”
“Oh.” Jett frowned thoughtfully. “Well, I guess, generally, it’d be safer for you if we kept it quiet. But with this lot,” he shrugged, “I suppose I assumed you didn’t want Hercules to know.”
“Why?” Iolaus asked quietly.
“Oh come on, Iolaus, this is me we’re talking about!”
“So? I love you, if Hercules is really my friend, he’ll accept it.”
“If you say so,” Jett mumbled.
Iolaus stopped and yanked him forward, kissing him hard. “Yeah, I say so,” he said, letting Jett go again. They stared at each other for a moment, almost glaring.
“Oh Gods.” Jett took Iolaus’ face in his hands and kissed him, so softly and gently that Iolaus gasped. Jett let him go and blinked in surprise. Iolaus was the only person in the world who could make him lose his self-control. He wasn’t sure if that terrified or thrilled him.
“Oh gross, gross, gross!” Gabrielle exclaimed.
Iolaus turned slowly and glared at her. Then he reluctantly turned his gaze to Hercules.
Ares, Joxer and Xena had stopped, absolutely stunned when Iolaus had kissed Jett and then Jett had kissed Iolaus.
They watched Hercules in morbid anticipation.
Hercules gaped blankly, all higher thought processes were momentarily paralysed. He was vaguely aware of his name being called and someone laughing loudly, but couldn’t quite get it together enough to react.
“Do you think he’ll be all right?” Gabrielle whispered to Xena.
Xena nodded, “Yeah, he just had a shock, he’ll get over it.”
“I notice you don’t seem surprised,” Gabrielle commented.
Xena shrugged, “I guessed, and Ares confirmed it.”
“You mean *he* knew?!” Gabrielle glared at Ares, who was still laughing.
“Well, Joxer is Jett’s brother, he was bound to know.”
Joxer growled at Ares. “Okay, I’m sorry. I know I’m not helping,” Ares chuckled. He forced himself to calm down.
Jett had an arm round Iolaus’ shoulders, “Don’t worry, ‘Laus, he’ll be fine.” He felt a little awkward, he wasn’t all that experienced with comforting people; especially when he was trying not to laugh.
“Yeah, I guess,” Iolaus said quietly. “I just wasn’t expecting a reaction like this.”
They all started walking again, Gabrielle leading the catatonic Hercules.
“I think this is it,” said Jett gazing around the clearing in awe. It was more of a gap in the trees than a clearing, leading to a small cave entrance. The rock around the entrance was carved in intricate detail with humans, wolves and merged figures, all in very interesting and explicit positions.
“Gathering place, huh?” Iolaus raised an eyebrow at Jett, who shrugged and smirked.
“Okay, so I left out the orgy part,” he smiled mischievously. Iolaus chuckled at him.
Joxer explored the clearing, sniffing every surface until he reached the cave. He stood at the entrance and sniffed the air. Then he whimpered in distress and backed away, almost falling over in his hurry.
“What is it, baby?” Ares asked in concern as Joxer ran over to him.
Jett frowned and morphed into wolf form. He trotted to the cave and sniffed. He sneezed, then snorted. Transforming quickly back to human form, he too backed away from the cave, an unattractive shade of green.
“Jett, what in Hades is going on?” Ares demanded, holding his trembling husband tightly.
“I think maybe we shouldn’t go in there,” Jett said with a small shudder.
“Why not?” Xena asked quietly.
“I, I don’t know. It’s hard to explain. It smells wrong, bad.” Jett accepted Iolaus’ comforting hug, almost snuggling into his arms, he was so shaken.
Joxer whimpered and buried his face in Ares’ neck.
“I think we have to go in there,” said Xena.
Ares nodded. Joxer whined. “I have to see what’s affecting you so badly, love, it could be important.”
“I can’t go in there, I’m sorry, I just can’t,” said Jett quietly.
“Okay, you stay here with Joxer and Hercules. He doesn’t look like he’s going to snap out of it any time soon.” Ares stood up. Joxer moved to stand in front of him and whined again.
“It’ll be okay, my love.” Ares lifted Joxer’s chin and smiled gently, bending down to kiss his muzzle.
“Let’s go,” he said to Xena, Gabrielle and Iolaus. They nodded and followed him into the cave.
The entrance was long, narrow and dark, but soon opened out into quite a large cavern, lit by a whole in the roof. It was empty except for a large statue in the middle.
“I assume that’s the problem,” Xena said, approaching the statue cautiously. It was huge, depicting a masked man holding a spear. At his feet were dead wolves and merged werewolves. The statue was coated in what appeared to be dried blood.
“I think someone has it in for werewolves,” Ares frowned, this was complicating matters.
“But I thought werewolves were immortal,” Iolaus said quietly, staring horrified at the statue.
“Mostly, silver can kill them.” Ares circled the statue in barely suppressed fury. “Gods damn it!” he swore. Something about the statue reminded him of something, but he was damned if he could think what.
“Do you think this is connected to what happened to Joxer?” Xena asked quietly.
Ares span round, “I don’t know!” he snapped. A howl pierced the cave. “Joxer,” Ares whispered. He drew his sword and ran out of the cave, closely followed by the others.
Joxer was crouched, ready to pounce, between Jett and Hercules. Hercules looked furious and Jett was holding a dagger, glaring at him.
“Hercules, Jett, stop!” Iolaus yelled at the pair.
They both turned towards him. Hercules glared at him. “I can’t believe you’re fucking this, this…”
“Hey!” Jett interrupted him before Iolaus could say anything. “We don’t fuck, you asshole! We’re in love.”
Hercules snorted, “Oh please, you wouldn’t know the meaning of the word!”
“Shut up, Hercules!” Iolaus pushed him out of the way and stared at Jett. “We?” he asked.
Jett blinked and replayed what he'd just said in his head. Wow, he hadn't even realized.
Jett shook his head slightly, his feelings were now clear. "Yeah, we."
Iolaus’ smile was blinding. Hercules growled and shook his head. Iolaus turned and raised a finger, pointing at Hercules. “Just don’t, okay?!”
Hercules glared at him, then looked away. He blinked and took in his surroundings. “Hey, where are we anyway?” he asked.
“Werewolf gathering place,” said Xena quietly.
“A very creepy statue in there,” Gabrielle pointed at the cave.
“A statue?” Jett asked from the circle of Iolaus’ arms.
Ares nodded, “I think this place has been cursed. We’re not going to find anything here, it’s been deserted for a while.” He sighed and crouched down to hug Joxer, “Sorry, love.” Joxer licked his face gently.
“So, what do we do now?” Gabrielle asked only slightly impatiently.
“Let’s just get out of here and find somewhere to camp. Then we can decide what to do,” suggested Jett.
Joxer yipped. They were both eager to get away from the cave.
Ares nodded, he didn’t like the way this place was affecting his husband. “Any particular way you want to go?”
Jett raised an eyebrow and shrugged, “Just away.”
Joxer trotted over to a trail and whined.
“Let’s go then,” Ares followed his husband into the trees.
“Gods damn it!” Gabrielle exclaimed, wrenching her dress free from brambles for the fourth time. “You just had to pick this way, didn’t you?” She glared at the snickering wolf.
Joxer yipped and snorted. Ares let out a bark of laughter.
“What’d he say?” Gabrielle asked.
“He said…” Ares stopped and burst out laughing.
Gabrielle snorted in disgust. “Forget it, I don’t want to know!” she snapped.
If it hadn’t been for Xena, the attack would have been a complete surprise. She jumped onto Argo’s saddle and threw her chakram as they were confronted by heavily armed men. With a loud cry, she leapt from Argo’s back catching her chakram and drawing her sword before she landed.
“Show off,” muttered Ares with a small grin at Joxer. He drew his sword and joined his daughter, Joxer at his side.
Jett actually hesitated momentarily, then he grinned evilly and morphed into wolf shape. He leapt at one of the men and ripped his throat out. Twisting round, he growled and rushed at one of the two men attacking Iolaus.
He turned back into human form and pulled out a dagger, sliding it between the man’s ribs.
“Get Ares!” someone roared. Ares frowned. Xena slashed a man across the throat and turned to him.
“Back to back,” she said. He nodded and they positioned themselves to guard each other’s back. They systematically began to dispose of the men who were attacking them.
Joxer leapt between two men, twisting mid-air so he landed facing them. He leapt at them, knocking them to the ground. One connected with a tree, but the other pulled a dagger and slashed out. Joxer howled as the dagger caught him across his foreleg.
Gabrielle whacked his attacker across the head with her staff and brought the end down to crush his throat.
Joxer whimpered. Ares frowned. “Jett, watch out, silver weapons, get Jox out of here!”
“Damn!” Jett swore and dragged his brother out of the fray.
Furious, Ares forgot he was mortal and fought without thought for his safety.
“Ares, down!” He ducked just as a man flew across the trail and into a tree. He glanced round briefly and grinned at Hercules, who actually grinned back. Finally all the attackers were dead.
“Joxer!” exclaimed Ares, he ran over to where Jett was holding his brother. “Baby,” he whispered.
“It’s not serious,” said Jett. “It’s healing already, but it’s going to scar badly because of the silver.”
Joxer whined and licked Ares’ face reassuringly. “Are you sure?” Ares asked. Joxer nodded.
“Is he okay?” Xena asked quietly.
Jett nodded, “He’ll be fine.”
“What in Hades is going on?” Hercules frowned. “They knew you’re mortal, they had silver edged weapons!”
“We’re making someone nervous, I think. Someone who knows where we are and what we’re doing,” Ares said, his face dark with anger.
“Someone Godly?” Iolaus suggested.
Ares nodded. “I need to think,” he said.
“Let’s get away from here and find somewhere to camp,” said Xena quietly.
Joxer yipped and struggled to his feet. “Joxer,” Ares frowned at his husband and gently hauled him into his arms. Joxer whined in protest. “We’re not going far, it’ll help you heal quicker.”
Joxer growled lightly and licked his face. Ares chuckled and hugged him, then followed after the others as they left the slaughter behind.
“What?!” Ares snapped.
Hercules raised an eyebrow. “I was just wondering if you’d like me to take him for you.”
They’d been walking longer than they thought they would, and while Ares was strong, he was mortal. Ares *was* struggling, but he refused to admit it. Besides, he was the *only* one who was going to carry Joxer.
“No!” he snapped. Joxer nudged his neck and whined slightly. Ares clenched his jaw stubbornly. Joxer nipped his earlobe. “Ow! Okay! No, thank you, Hercules,” he muttered.
Hercules couldn’t quite help a chuckle when Jett murmured, “Whipped!”
Ares’ growl rivalled one of Joxer’s.
“Oh, let’s just stop, shall we?” Xena sighed.
“Good idea,” Gabrielle muttered.
They made camp quietly. Ares put Joxer down gently and checked his wound. “It’s healing,” he sighed. Joxer laughed quietly and licked him.
There was silence as Ares tried to think what it was he was missing. Xena and Gabrielle sat quietly, building a fire. Jett and Iolaus leaned against each other, dozing quietly while Hercules stared at them. Joxer lay with his head in Ares’ lap.
“Well,” said Jett suddenly, opening his eyes, “I’m hungry.” He kissed Iolaus and turned to his brother. “You wanna hunt, Jox?” Joxer yipped. “Cool!”
“What?” Ares frowned. “I don’t think so.”
“He’ll be fine, you don’t want it to stiffen up,” said Jett.
Joxer nuzzled Ares’ neck and licked his ear, making small whining noises. Jett bit his cheeks and looked away to keep from laughing as Ares groaned.
“Okay, okay. But be careful, please,” Ares gave in.
Jett snickered and morphed into wolf form. He hopped over to Iolaus and licked his mouth.
Iolaus grinned, “See you later.” Jett ran off into the trees and Joxer followed carefully.
“What?!” Ares glared at Xena and Gabrielle who were smirking at him. Hercules stared at Iolaus in disgust, and Iolaus glared at him. Hercules eventually looked away. Iolaus sighed. A little later, Ares shifted closer and Iolaus looked up in surprise.
“Jett’s very lucky,” Ares said quietly. “There aren’t many who would have accepted him just as human, let alone as a werewolf.”
Iolaus shrugged, “I see what’s inside him, that’s why I love him. The same way Joxer sees inside you and loves you for all you are. We aren’t the only ones who looked beyond appearances you know,” he commented.
Ares raised his eyebrows in surprise. “I suppose you’re right.”
“Of course I am,” Iolaus laughed, drawing a stare from Hercules which he steadfastly ignored.
“You and my asshole brother going to be all right?” Ares asked.
Iolaus chuckled, “Do you actually give a shit?”
Ares shrugged. “Not really,” he grinned.
Iolaus was prevented from replying by Joxer trotting back into the clearing. He dropped the bird he was carrying and leapt at Ares eagerly. Ares caught him easily, and chuckled as his husband pushed him down and lapped his face enthusiastically. Ares caught him by the neck, pulling him back so he could join in the kiss.
“For Hades’ sake you two. Tone it down or get a room,” Jett sauntered casually back into the clearing.
“What’s up?” Iolaus asked curiously, gesturing at the unrepentant couple who were still kissing, much to Gabrielle’s and Hercules’ disgust.
Jett shrugged, “I guess he missed him.”
Iolaus stood slowly. “Did you miss me?” he whispered breathily. Jett growled and dropped the food he was holding to step forward and drag Iolaus up to him.
“Yeah,” he whispered, dipping his head to kiss Iolaus fiercely.
“Oh please!” Hercules yelled. “Enough, all of you. No one wants to see it!”
“I don’t know, they’re kinda hot,” Xena muttered. She blinked innocently at him when he turned his stare onto her.
“Fuck off, Jerkules. *I* don’t have any rules preventing me from killing you!” Jett snapped.
Hercules frowned and advanced on him. “Try it!”
“Stop now, or I’ll tie you both up and gag you,” Xena said quietly. Both men stopped. They continued to glare at each other, but Jett allowed himself to be drawn back by Iolaus.
Ares, who now had Joxer in his lap chomping down on the bird carcass he’d brought back, was snickering.
Gabrielle got up and gathered the food Jett had dropped. They ate mostly in silence with a lot of glaring all round, before settling down for the night.
Iolaus curled up with Jett in the same manner as Ares and Joxer, with his head resting on Jett’s belly and haunches, once he’d transformed into a wolf.
Ares woke with a start and sat up.
“You okay?” Xena asked.
He stared at her. “You on watch?” he asked, avoiding her question.
She nodded. “You okay?” she repeated.
“I don’t know,” Ares sighed. “I know I’m missing something, I just can’t think what.”
Xena frowned thoughtfully.
“Any clues from the statue?” she asked quietly.
Ares stared blankly at her. “Yes!” he said suddenly, “I got distracted by Joxer, but there was something.” He closed his eyes to picture the statue, trying to think what had caught his attention. Then he froze.
“What? What is it?” Xena realised he’d remembered something.
Ares shook his head, “No, it can’t be.”
“Ares, what?” Xena snapped impatiently.
“The statue was of a man, right?” Xena nodded. “Then how come he’s holding Artemis’ spear?”
Xena’s eyebrow’s climbed up her forehead, “Are you sure?”
“Oh yeah,” Ares frowned. “What in Hades is going on?”
“I don’t know, but I can’t see Artemis working with a man, can you?”
Ares shrugged, “It’s happened.”
Jett lifted his head and growled at them.
“Don’t be rude,” Iolaus muttered, turning over and hugging his lover. Ares raised an eyebrow at the couple. Jett snorted and lowered his head again.
Ares stared into the fire, trying to figure out why Artemis would be linked to the destruction of the werewolf people and possibly to what happened to his beloved husband. “I think it might be time to…”
There was a bright flash and the group found themselves in a cave, caged and bound.
“Wha’s going on?” Gabrielle asked sleepily.
Ares wasted no time, he twisted so his wrists were next to Joxer’s mouth where his husband proceeded to chew at his bonds. Iolaus followed his lead with Jett. Hercules tested the strength of the ropes and managed to break them as Ares and Iolaus got rid of theirs and untied their respective wolves. Hercules untied Xena and Gabrielle, then tried the bars.
“You won’t get through them,” Ares said quietly. Hercules ignored him and continued to tug at them. Jett yipped and Ares, Joxer and Iolaus started laughing. Jett transformed into human shape and looped an arm round Iolaus’ waist.
A small whimpering noise distracted all their attention. Joxer sniffed the air and then whined in distress.
“Puppies?!” Ares exclaimed.
“Who’s there?” came a voice, “Who are you?”
“Hello?” Ares called, “Are you a prisoner too?”
“Yes,” the woman sounded very depressed. “Who are you?”
“Um, well, four heroes, two um wolves, and a God?” Ares said carefully.
They heard a gasp. “Oh no, they promised they wouldn’t.” She sounded tearful. “I’m so sorry, this is all my fault.”
“How? Who are you?” Jett asked suddenly.
“My name is Jalaya.” Jett gasped. Joxer yipped.
“Mother?” Jett asked quietly, hesitantly.
“Yes, child,” Jalaya answered gently.
“How is this your fault?” Ares asked.
“I’m sorry, it was I who took Joxer’s human form.”
“What? Why?” Ares growled.
“They threatened my babies,” Jalaya whispered.
“Who’s they?” Hercules asked.
“A werewolf, named Junar. He, uh, he’s obsessed with me. He thinks I don’t love him because he’s not pureblood, that’s why he has me locked up. But, I don’t love him because he raped a young girl while she was in wolf form so he could become a werewolf,” she started to explain.
“Whoa, wait a minute,” Iolaus interrupted. “Are you saying you become a werewolf if you have sex with a werewolf in wolf form?!”
“Yes. Why?” Jalaya sounded puzzled.
“Um,” Iolaus blinked.
“Oh Gods!” Jett exclaimed, “I didn’t know, I swear Iolaus, I didn’t.”
“Oh, oh gross!” Gabrielle made a hacking noise.
“Please tell me you didn’t?!” Hercules gasped in disgust.
“Are you okay, Iolaus?” Xena asked quietly.
Iolaus blinked again, “Um, yeah, I think so. I just didn’t expect…” he shook his head.
“I’m sorry,” Jett whispered.
Iolaus turned to him, “I know, it’s okay, it’s not your fault.”
“What’s going on?” Jalaya asked, sounding concerned.
“It’s okay. Can you tell us why you took Joxer’s human form?” Ares asked.
“Junar hooked up with Artemis, they’re working together. It was she who demanded I take Joxer’s human form.”
“But why?” Ares frowned in confusion.
“Because it’s disgusting!”
Ares swung round, “Art, why?”
Artemis snorted, “It’s bad enough seeing you all lovey-dovey over some man, but over one of those freaks?!”
“Hey!” said the man standing next to her.
“Shut up, Junar!” she snapped.
“I’ve had enough of this!” Ares growled. “Father!” Nothing happened.
Artemis laughed. “He can’t hear you, no one can hear you in here,” she smiled.
Ares’ eyes narrowed , “What are you going to do now?”
“Kill you all. And Junar here,” Artemis gripped the rogue werewolf by the neck, “Is going to get the blame.”
“What? But…” Junar squealed.
“You really are quite stupid aren’t you?” she laughed. She twisted suddenly and stabbed him through the heart with a silver dagger. She sniffed and let his body drop. “Of course, he committed suicide after going mad and killing you all,” she laughed at the stunned gazes.
“Art? You forgot something,” Ares said quietly.
“Oh really, what would that be?” Artemis laughed scornfully.
Ares disappeared and reappeared behind her. He grabbed her tightly, knocking the dagger from her hand. “You can’t block prayers,” he whispered into her ear. He blasted her point blank with a fireball and she dropped to the floor unconscious.
Ares waved his hand and the cages opened. Joxer leapt over to him, followed by the others. They turned to see Jalaya walk out of her cage, with her pups. She smiled hesitantly.
“Joxer, come here please,” she said quietly. Joxer trotted over to her and cocked his head inquiringly. “Change,” she whispered. Joxer shimmered and stood before them in human form.
He grinned. “Ares!” he exclaimed and leapt on his husband. “I love you!”
Ares caught him and swung him round joyfully. “Oh, Jox,” he laughed and kissed him soundly. He pulled back and stared at Joxer, stroking his face wonderingly. “I missed hearing your voice.”
“I missed speaking,” Joxer grinned. He turned back to his mother, “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” she smiled nervously, “I’m only sorry I had to take it from you in the first place.”
Joxer slipped out of Ares’ arms and crouched down by the puppies playing at his mother’s feet. She smiled down at him as he tickled one.
“Are they…?” Jett stepped forward hesitantly.
Jalaya smiled at him, “Your brothers and sisters? Yes.” She gazed at her two grown up sons longingly, reaching down to touch Joxer’s hair gently.
“My beautiful boys,” she whispered, “Where’s Jace?”
Joxer stood up and hugged her, “He didn’t come with us.” She hugged him back tightly, blinking back tears.
She looked at Ares, “You are a good mate for my son, I’m glad they were able to save you.”
Jett cleared his throat nervously, looking back at Iolaus. Iolaus smiled reassuringly at him and when Jett held out his hand, he stepped forward and took it.
Jalaya smiled, “Jett, is this your mate?”
Jett stared questioningly at Iolaus. Iolaus smiled and nodded. “Yes,” Jett whispered.
Jalaya touched Iolaus’ cheek and gasped. “You are so lucky!” she exclaimed. Jett blinked at her. “He is changing, that means he has accepted all of you. That is truly rare.”
“I have a question,” said Xena suddenly. All eyes turned to her. “If sleeping with the wolf makes a human change, what does it do to a God?”
Jalaya raised an eyebrow at Ares, who nodded. She sighed happily. “Honestly, I have no idea, I’m afraid.”
“It means that he becomes God of Werewolves.” There was a flash and Zeus and Hera appeared. Ares raised an eyebrow at his parents. “As you were mortal when you slept with Joxer in fully wolf form, you began to change, now that you have your godhood back, it has become part of that.”
“Jalaya, we never thanked you for giving up your sons to save ours,” said Hera gently. “We’d like to invite you back with us, so you can get to know them again. Cupid has gone to fetch Jace.”
Jalaya nodded, “Thank you.”
“Ares, you may do as you wish with Artemis for the period of one month,” Zeus said quietly.
Ares smiled darkly, “Thank you, father.”
Ares turned to his husband, “Yes, love?”
“Don’t, don’t be too hard on her, please.” Joxer stepped closer and pressed his body against Ares’, sighing as Ares’ arms came up to hold him. He nuzzled Ares’ neck. “She let ignorance and prejudice cloud her judgement, she needs help, not punishment.”
Ares sighed, “We’ll see.”
Joxer smiled and kissed him softly. “Thank you,” he whispered.
“Shall we go? I love family reunions,” said Hera with a smile.
“Um, what about us?” Xena asked quietly.
“Well,” Hera glanced at Hercules and sighed, “I guess you’re all family.”
Zeus hugged her, “Thank you, dear.”
“Yes, well,” she cleared her throat, “Shall we go?”