AresJoxerCupidStrife - Hergerbabe

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7

Title: Tears of a God
Author: Hergerbabe
Fandom: Xena
Pairing: Apollo/Strife, Apollo/Cupid, Ares/Joxer (a little), Cupid/Strife
Rating: NC-17
Category: drama
Archive: AJCSfic, RCOS, CKoS, Blackheart (if ya want it hon!)
Disclaimer: not mine *sigh*, but who said life was fair
Notes: Not written in this style before, so sorry if it doesn’t quite work
Summary: Strife doesn’t like the way Apollo treats Cupid
For Christine, you is the Woman!

Tears of a God

He’s very beautiful you know. Apollo, I mean. Maybe that’s what Cupid sees. Psyche was very beautiful too. I can see that. He’s a Love God, he needs beauty in his life. Guess that counts me out, huh?

But Apollo isn’t beautiful underneath, oh no. On the surface, he’s all light and grace and sweetness, everybody’s favourite. Even Unc Ares likes him, in his fashion. But I know what he’s really like. Emotionless, twisted, sadistic. He takes whatever he wants like it’s his right, believe me, my ass has been and continues to be there.

Do you know what he said when I begged him to stop that first time? That I should be grateful! That I was just an insignificant God-wannabe that nobody liked, and nobody would believe me anyway.

At least Unc Ares asked when he needed release. Okay, so I wouldn’t have dared say no, but at least he asked. ‘Course he’s got Joxer now. Now that’s what I call love!

You could have knocked me down with a beat of Cupid’s wings when those two got it together. Nobody, and I mean *nobody*, ever expected Unc to fall in love, least of all with his most inept warrior. But you know, they are so good together. Fucking hot too, but you didn’t hear that from me, got it?!

There is just no comparison between their relationship and Cupid and Apollo’s relationship. I’m watching them now. We’re all having a ‘nice family meal’ together.

Unc Ares and Joxer are sitting so close, Joxer might as well just take up his usual position in Unc’s lap. Oh, Unc just glared at me, must have been leering at them again. Back to the bittersweet torture of watching Cupid I guess.

He’s sitting just as close to Apollo, but that’s only because Apollo dragged him that close. How come no one else saw Cupid wince when Apollo squeezed him? How come no one else sees how uncomfortable he looks sitting down? How come no one else sees how he tries to hide the fading bruises on his back with his wings?!

I guess you have to know, to be looking. I know what Apollo’s like and it just kills me a little more each day that I watch, helpless, knowing I can’t do anything.

What? Why can’t I do anything? Don’t you remember? I’m just an ‘insignificant God-wannabe who nobody likes, no one would believe me anyway’.

Sometimes I’m tempted to tell Joxer, I know he’d believe me. But he’s such a gentle soul, it would devastate him. Besides I know Cupid would deny it. He’s already tried to convince me how happy he is, what a perfect couple they make.

Shit, they’re all staring at me, I think I snorted. “What?!”

“You’re very quiet Strife, are you okay?” Joxer asks me. I have to smile, people don’t tend to worry about whether I’m okay or not, but Joxer is a sweetie. I see Apollo narrowing his eyes out of the corner of mine. He hates Joxer, the shit! Doesn’t like mortals being allowed equality with Gods. It’s a good thing Joxer’s with Unc Ares, Apollo doesn’t dare try anything.

“Strife?” Joxer asks me again. Fuck! What is with me?

“I’m fine,” I say hurriedly. “Just making some plans.” I try to grin mischievously. You’d think that wouldn’t be a hard thing for me to do, right?

Cupid chuckles at me, but stops suddenly. I think Apollo just hurt him again, but Cupid’s smiling like everything’s hunky-dorey. I have to really struggle not to jump on Apollo and beat the living shit out of him, well try to anyway.

I can’t take anymore, I leave before I do anything stupid, giving some crappy excuse so I don’t make Unc mad.

So of course I’m on my own when he comes for me. I don’t speak, I don’t struggle, I don’t fight, I never do anymore. It’s just… easier. I let him smack me around a little as he rants about all the supposed injustices in his life and what an idiot Ares is allowing some mere mortal to have so much power over him.

He rips my clothes off, and before I can do anything to protect myself he’s in me, shredding my insides with his vicious pounding. All I can think is maybe he won’t be so hard on Cupid later if he’s taken his aggression out on me. Fuck Strife, pathetic much?!

He’s finally gone and I can barely move. He’s torn me badly again, like when does he not?! I don’t even bother trying to hold back the tears. I’m not crying for me you know, well maybe a little, but mostly for Cupid.

At least Apollo only hurts me when he’s pissed off with Unc. Cupid lives with him, he suffers all the time. The only thing that keeps me from going mad is, I know, I *know*, the bastard has never touched Bliss. I don’t think he would, Cupe is *very* protective of Bliss.

It takes me a while to heal, I’m walking like I’ve got a corn cob stuck up my ass for a couple of days. Damage inflicted by other Gods takes longer to heal, especially if you can’t go to Asclepius. Ain’t life a bitch? Still, life goes on. And on, and on, yeah, life’s a bitch all right *sigh*.

After everything that’s happened, I’m totally unprepared for Cupid suddenly appearing midair in my room. He drops to the ground, a naked, beaten and bloody mess. He’s barely conscious.

FUCK! The bastard even broke his wings! I’m two seconds from getting Unc Ares, when he moans my name. I have to run to him. I try hard not to hurt him as I gather him in my arms.

I can’t believe this is happening. What in Tartarus do I do? Without even thinking about it, I transport us both to my secret hideaway and lay him carefully down on my bed. I put up all my own shields, plus a couple of extras, before I do anything else.

I stare at Cupid helplessly. Gods, Apollo fucked him up good! His hair is dyed pink from the blood and his face is unrecognisable. Eyes swollen shut, nose smashed, split lips. His body is just as bad, black and blue, great gashes all over, welts on the backs of his legs.

And his wings, oh Gods, how even Apollo could sink that low.

It is physically painful for me to see him in this state. I flash in some water and cloths and start to clean him up. There’s so much blood, even I start to feel sick. Maybe because it’s his blood. Nobody should be shedding Cupid’s blood, especially not like this.

I have to wipe the tears from my eyes continuously so I can see, I don’t want to hurt him anymore than he already is. I try to avoid looking at his wings, because I know I’m going to have to straighten them.

Now he’s clean, I put some healing slave on the worst of the cuts and bruises and bandage him up. I know I have to check inside him, I know Apollo will have torn him, but I dread to think how badly, considering the state the rest of him is in.

Gently, I turn him onto his stomach and part his legs. He whimpers fearfully and tries to pull away. Even unconscious, he’s terrified.

“Shh, Cupid, it’s okay, I’m not going to hurt you,” I whisper soothingly.

Very slowly, I part his buttocks and I nearly puke. Instead I burst into tears again and just sit in between Cupid’s legs, bawling like a baby. But you don’t see what I see. My God, how could Apollo do this, how?!

I don’t touch Cupid anymore. I materialise as much healing, cooling salve into his ass as I can.

“Cupid, if you can hear me,” I whisper, stroking his still slightly bloody hair, “I have to straighten your wings, it’s going to hurt, but I’ll try to be quick.”

I have to take a moment to psych myself up, I can’t bear the thought of hurting him. But I know it has to be done before they start to heal properly. So I grasp one wing and close my eyes before I pull hard. There’s a sickening crack and I’m deafened by his scream of pain.

It takes me a while before I can breathe properly again and I open my eyes. Gently, I fold up his wing and stroke his head again.

“I’m sorry, so sorry,” I whisper, before I take hold of the other wing. I pull it straight, as quickly as possible. There’s a smaller crack, but the scream is filled with just as much agony.

I have to take a deep breath to stop trembling, and fold his wing carefully. He’s still whimpering.

I shift to the head of the bed and sit up against the wall, gently pulling Cupid’s head onto my lap so I can stroke his hair.

“Rest, my love,” I whisper, “It’s okay, I won’t let anyone hurt you anymore, I promise.”

And I won’t. In fact, I’m going to keep Cupid here, until he faces what Apollo’s doing to him, until he decides to leave the bastard and hopefully tell Unc Ares what’s been happening.

I fall asleep stroking his hair.

When I wake up, his head’s still in my lap. A position that not long ago, I would have loved to have been in. But this isn’t a dream, it’s a nightmare.

Cupid’s still out, but I don’t know if he’s asleep or still unconscious. Carefully, I lift his head and slide out from under him, replacing my lap with a pillow. He mumbles something and I see him wince. I’m not surprised, his lips are split in three places, swollen and bruised.

Some water would probably do him good, but I’m not sure how to get him to drink without hurting him or drowning him. Finally I decide on the only thing I can think of.

I take a sip of water and lean over him. I feel a bit perverse as I can’t quite resist brushing my lips very gently over his mouth. He moans slightly, and his lips part, so I allow the water to trickle very slowly into his mouth from mine. I watch him carefully to make sure he’s swallowing it and not going to choke.

“Strife,” he whispers suddenly. I pull back, he’s staring at me, his expression unreadable, of course the swelling doesn’t help. Now he’s awake, I flash in a mug of water and gently lift his head, holding the mug to his lips so he can drink. I don’t say anything.

After a few gulps, he pulls away and I put the mug down.

“Thank you,” he whispers. His voice sounds hoarse, and I can see why, vivid purple bruises have developed round his throat.

I shake my head, trying to hold back more tears. “Why?” I whisper, I can’t help the question.

He looks at me, silent for a moment, he knows what I’m asking. His face is blank, but I can see the pain in his eyes.

“He loves me,” Cupid is so quiet, I can barely hear him. I can’t help my reaction, I laugh. I can’t stop until tears are pouring down my face and I’m sobbing again. “Strife?” he looks confused.

“How can you say that? *How* can you *say* that?!” I can’t help almost shouting at him. “You are the *God of Love*, you of all people should know that’s not love!”

He flinches, “I, I…” he stops.

“Have you looked into his heart?” I ask quietly. He looks away. “You haven’t, have you? Why not?”

“Strife, please don’t,” he begs me quietly. The pain and loneliness on his face just breaks my heart, so I shut up.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper, “Why don’t you rest now?”

He nods mutely and lies back down. I get off the bed and he touches my hand. I look back down at him.

“Thank you for looking after me,” he says quietly. I nod, unable to speak and I have to walk away quickly.

He sleeps most of the day while I try to read, but all I do is watch him. I change and clean his wounds without waking him. His body is working overtime to heal him, but I’m going to have to wake him so he can eat.

I try to wake him gently, but he startles awake with a frightened whimper. After that, he refuses to meet my eyes as I feed him. His shoulders are still so bad, he can barely lift his arms.

He refuses to talk to me too, but every so often, he squeezes my thigh where his hand is resting, and I know he’s not mad at me, he’s just not ready to face me.

I’m quiet too, after all I know how he feels. Hades, my ass is *still* sore from Apollo’s last little ‘visit’. I haven’t told him yet that I’m not letting him leave. He’s still too hurt to get up anyway!

I suddenly think of Bliss, although I’m not too worried as Cupid’s not said anything about him. “Where’s Bliss?” I ask him.

He still doesn’t look at me, “With Mom,” he says quietly. I nod. I’m relieved that the bastard hasn’t got Bliss in his clutches. I expect they’re all starting to worry about Cupid though, he’s been here over a day now.

Well it’s tough shit really, no one knows where we are, and Cupid can’t leave until I take the safety shield, I pinched off Zeus, down. He’s staying with me. That actually makes me happy in a sick kind of way. I may be holding him hostage, I suppose kidnapping isn’t far off the mark, but at least he’s safe.

He’s settling down for the night and I move to go and sit down again, but he stops me. He *still* won’t meet my eyes.

“What is it?” I ask quietly.

“Would, would you sleep with me, please,” he whispers.

I try not to sigh and crawl back onto the bed to lie beside him. Hesitantly, he puts his head on my shoulder and I wrap an arm round him carefully so I don’t hurt him. I hear him sigh happily and that makes me feel a little confused.

I’m lying here, listening to him sleep and my emotions are all over the place. Happy, sad, lonely, aroused, scared, very scared. All of this scares me. What will the repercussions be? What if Cupid refuses to leave Apollo? What will Unc do to me for abducting Cupid?

But the thought of Cupid getting hurt again is a fear that overwhelms all the others. I fall asleep still unsure.

I wake up suddenly. Shit, Cupid’s crying. He’s trying to hold it in, trying not to disturb me I guess.

“Cupe?” I whisper, “It’s okay.”

He looks at me, “I just, I just… Strife, I’m so scared.” His face crumples and the tears come full force. I hold him tightly, rocking him. He’s sobbing so hard, I can hear him gasping for breath. I wonder if his ribs have healed yet, it’s got to hurt, crying that hard. He quietens slowly and I’m happy to just hold him, hopefully comfort him.

“I just wanted someone to love me,” he says suddenly.

“What?” he’s startled me.

“A long time ago, I fell in love,” he starts, his face buried against my chest, words slightly muffled. “Still am in love, in fact, but I know it could never be.” He stops, his breath is hitching. “I, I tried to move on, I got so tired of being lonely. I just, I just wanted love.

“Then I met Psyche, for a while I was almost happy. But then, nothing was ever right, what ever I did, said, it was never good enough, just never enough. Then of course, she left me, for some, some mortal.

“I was so scared of being alone Strife, so scared, even though I had Bliss. When Apollo came to me, well I mean, he’s Apollo, you know?” I nod in understanding, most Olympians would love to get Apollo in the sack.

“He said he loved me. Everything was fine for a while, but then he started getting really angry over little things, weird things. But he was always really sorry. The first time he hit me, he said it was my fault, that I shouldn’t make him so angry. Gods help me Strife, I apologised!” His voice just broke and I have to squeeze my eyes shut to hold back tears. I just rock him gently.

“I was frightened. Frightened of him, frightened of being alone. I need love in my life.”

“Not like that,” I whisper softly, “You deserve better than that, you deserve someone who loves you completely, no matter what. Someone who won’t hurt you.”

“I know that in theory, but who?” he whispers back.

“Cupid,” I have to chuckle. “Do you have any idea how many people would give their right arm to be with you?”

“Not the one I want.” I barely catch the words.

“ How do you know?” I ask him.

He sniffs and shuffles his head against my chest. My heart clenches painfully, I ache to tell him how I feel, but I can’t. I can’t make it seem like I was using this to get close to him.

“I don’t for sure,” he shakes his head, “It’s just not…”

I sigh, I wish I was lucky enough to have Cupid love me. “What are you going to do?” I ask him.

“What do you mean?”

“When we go back.” I feel a shudder go through him.

“I’m going to go home,” he whispers. I feel myself go tense, but he continues. “No, not to him, to Mom. Strife, he, he hit Bliss…”

“WHAT?!” I’m so mad, I almost flash right out to find Apollo.

“Strife,” he says quietly. I look at him, his face is almost normal except for being an interesting shade of purple, and I can’t bear to leave him. “As soon as he did it, I knew, I realised what I’d been doing. I sent Bliss straight to Mom. That’s why he beat me, because I was leaving him.”

I have to shut my eyes, I’m so happy he’s already made the decision, even if it took such a drastic thing to do it. I take down the safety shield.

“Would you like to go now?” I ask him, even though I want to spend more time with him.

He nods and actually grins at me, “I’ve got some things to tell Dad.” I have to smile, this I can’t wait to see.

As he’s still feeling weak, I transport us to Aunt ‘Dite’s temple.

“Cupid! Strife! Where in Hades have you been?” Unc Ares roars.

“Oh Gods, Cupe!” Aphrodite whispers in shock.

I find myself dangling from Unc’s hand which is wrapped round my throat.

“Ares!” my Mom screams at him.

“Ares, put him down. You know Strife of all people would never hurt Cupid,” Joxer is peeling Unc’s fingers from my throat. Unc looks at him, then at me. Then he sighs and lets go.

“I know,” he says, “I’m sorry, Strife.” I can only shrug.

“Cupid, what happened to you?” ‘Dite asks worriedly, “You look awful, are you okay?”

He smiles at her, “I’d look a lot worse if it wasn’t for Strife,” he says quietly. “But it’s by no means the worst beating or raping Apollo has ever given me.”

Unc Ares and Aunt ‘Dite stare at him in stunned silence. Mom looks pretty shocked too. I wait expectantly, watching Unc’s face. I’m waiting for the explosion. I’m not disappointed. His face slowly turns an ugly shade of purple and his eyes flash furiously.

“Cupid, Strife, we’re going to pay Apollo a little visit,” his voice is menacingly quiet.

“Count me in,” says ‘Dite suddenly, her voice almost makes me flinch with the raw anger in it.

“I’m in!” Mom says enthusiastically.

Unc nods and we flash into Apollo’s temple, Joxer stays behind to watch Bliss.

“Cupid! Oh my Gods, I was so worried, are you okay?” Apollo glares when he sees me, but doesn’t notice quite how Aunt ‘Dite and Unc are glaring at him.

“You little shit! *You* had him didn’t you?” he shouts at me.

Then he notices Unc and ‘Dite advancing towards him. He starts to back away but I can see his eyes bulging, the way they do when he’s really angry.

“You complete fucker!” he roars and jumps on me before anyone can stop him, “I told you to keep your mouth shut, you miserable fucking whore!”

I lie there unmoving as he smashes my head against the floor. I guess old habits die hard.

“You fucking bastard, I’m going to kill you!” I hear Unc roar.

I’m slightly dazed when Unc drags him off me, but I can only lie on the cold floor.

In the background, I can hear Unc kicking the shit out of him, but Cupid wrapping his arms round me is a little distracting.

“Oh my Gods, Strife! He does it to you too.”

It’s not a question, so I don’t say anything, I just look away and watch Unc swinging Apollo round by his balls. “Son of a bitch!” he yells.

“How long?” Cupid asks. I flinch. “How long has he been hurting you, Strife?”

I squeeze my eyes shut and shrug, “I don’t know,” I lie.

“Strife! Don’t lie to me, please.” It’s the please that does it. Do you have any idea how little I hear that word?

“Two hundred years, give or take,” I answer flippantly. I flinch again as I realise my Mom has been listening, and I see her face. I’ve never seen an expression like that on her face before, she looks so angry and so sad at the same time. She stalks off.

Cupid is shocked, I can see him searching for something to say, “But, you were just a kid! Why didn’t you tell me. Tell someone, anyone?!”

I laugh bitterly, “Riiight! Tell me, Cupid. When you got it together with Apollo, if I’d come to you and said, ‘Cupid, Apollo beats and rapes me every time he’s mad at Unc, don’t hook up with him.’ Would you have really believed me?”

He’s staring at me, I think in disbelief, “Yes.”

It’s my turn to gape, I must look really attractive! Not! “I, w-what? You would?”

He’s nodding slowly, “Strife, you don’t lie, not about important stuff.”

Well, I admit, I’m fucking stunned, “How do you know?”

He smiles painfully, “Because, I know you.”

A scream interrupts us and we look up. Mom’s got her hands on Apollo now and Aunt ‘Dite’s helping.

"...touched the only thing I love..." I don't catch it all, but Mom is punctuating each word with jabs to shithead's eyeballs, while Aunt Dite looks like she's trying to pull his brain out through his nose.

I almost feel sorry for the bastard. What am I saying? No I don’t! Go Mom, go ‘Dite! Besides, I’ve got more important things to think about.

“What do you mean, you know me?” I ask nervously. He reaches out and touches my cheek. It takes a lot of will power not to lean in to the touch.

“I,” he stops. “You remember I told you I fell in love?” I nod, but can’t stop frowning in confusion. “I love *you*,” he whispers.

I start to laugh a split second before I flash out of the room and back to my hideaway; before the laughter turns to tears.

He *loves* me? He loves *me*? I never credited him with being so cruel. I have to sit down, before I fall down. I curl up on my bed. It smells of him, and I have to squeeze my eyes shut. But I can’t hold back the great, heaving sobs that are overwhelming me.

The bed dips beside me and strong arms pull me against a broad chest.

“How’d you find me?” I ask.

“You didn’t shield yourself.” Typical, how could I forget that? “You just broke my son’s heart, you know that?”

“Right, Cupid loves *me*!” I say morosely. Unc pulls back and lifts my chin, forcing me to look up at him. I blink in shock, there are tears in his eyes.

“I’m sorry, Strife,” he whispers. “I’m sorry Apollo hurt you so much, I’m sorry I made you feel like you didn’t deserve any better. I’m sorry I never told you that I love you.” He hugs me close again and all I can do is cry. I mean I knew he loved me, in his way, but to hear it…

I’m vaguely aware of being passed from one set of arms to another, and recognising the scent, I bury my face in Cupid’s chest.

“Thanks, Dad.” I hear him whisper, and Unc leaves us alone.

“You ran away,” he whispers, as my tears dry up. I nod, not knowing what else to do. “You laughed at me.”

I shake my head, “I wasn’t laughing at *you*,” I whisper sorrowfully, “I was laughing at myself for the split second I believed you, when you said you loved me.”

“Oh Strife, he really did a number on you didn’t he?” he says quietly. “Why would I lie about that?”

He’s got a point, I have no idea why he would lie about that. I shrug and mumble, “I don’t know.”

“Okay, Strife, that’s it. I’ve never invaded your privacy before, but…”

Before I can stop him, his hand is on my heart and his power is coursing through me, laying my soul bare.

“No!” I scream and push him away. I regret it immediately, when he hisses in pain.

“Too late,” he gasps. I wait for more pain, more hurt. He holds more power over me now, than Apollo ever did. But he just takes me in his arms again. “You have no idea how much I love you, Strife,” he whispers.

“You know how you told me, I deserve someone who loves me, no matter what?” he asks. I nod dumbly. “Well, so do you. And I, I’d like to be that person, if you’ll let me.”

I can’t quite get it through my head. He really does love me, maybe even as much as I love him. “I’d like that,” I whisper. He sighs and hugs me closer, pulling us down onto the bed. I snuggle back into his arms, feeling safe for the first time, in well, ever!

“What happened to Apollo?” I ask quietly. He tenses slightly, then he just laughs.

“When I left, your Mom was pulling out his pubic hairs one at a time with pliers.”

I have to smile, “That’s my Mom!”

He chuckles, “Yeah, you think I should be worried?” He says it jokingly but it makes my insides freeze.

“Why? You planning on hurting me?” I snap, pulling away from him.

“What? Strife, no! Strife, I love you, I’d never hurt you intentionally,” he insists, quickly pulling me back into his arms. I don’t struggle, I can see he’s still in some pain.

“I love you,” he whispers over and over, rocking me, until I relax into his embrace. When he kisses my neck, I tense up, I can’t help it. “Shh, Strife, I’m not going to do anything to hurt you. I know neither of us is ready, but it can be good, it doesn’t have to be like it was with… him,” he whispers, still rocking me.

I smile, “I know,” I whisper back.

“Really, who?” he asks curiously. I’m hesitant about sharing the fact that his father used to fuck me. “Who?” he asks again.

“Unc Ares,” I breathe, hoping he doesn’t hear me.

“Dad?!” he exclaims angrily.

“It’s okay,” I stop him from pulling away and going after his father.

“No, it’s not!”

“Yes it is. Cupe, he never forced me, ever, and while he wasn’t always gentle, he never hurt me,” I stroke his arm as I talk, trying to soothe him.

“You promise you’re not just saying that?” he asks.

“I don’t lie about the important stuff, remember?” I smile at him, and he finally smiles back. It’s quite a sight, even with the now fading bruises mottling his skin, it takes my breath away.

“Would you like to go back now?” he asks hesitantly.

I shake my head, “Can we just stay here for awhile, just the two of us?”

“Of course,” he sighs happily, pulling me back into his arms and back down onto the bed. And we just lay there, happy to have found each other finally, knowing no one can hurt us again, as long as we’re together.

the end

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