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"Ares, do you mind if I bother you for a minute?" Hephaistos asked quietly as he faded into being.
"Anytime Heph... I mean, you *are* king of the gods after all." Ares said as he kept his power flowing into Joxer.
"I'm not visiting you as a king, it's as a brother." Hephaistos said as he produced a chair for himself and sat beside Ares.
"What's wrong Heph? You sound really worried." Ares asked with concern.
"It's Aphrodite..." Hephaistos said with pain.
"What's wrong with Dite?" Ares asked and turned his full attention to Hephaistos.
"This whole pregnancy thing plus all the marriages are kind of overloading her godhood." Hephaistos said with worry.
"Marriage and Childbirth... I can see how that could happen." Ares said as he stopped the flow of power and took Joxer's hand to hold.
"She needs to be pregnant." Hephaistos said in a pained voice.
Ares stared as he thought about that.
"It's about the only thing I can't do for her... and she needs it." Hephaistos said with anguish.
"Heph, if you're asking what I think you're asking, I can't... I'd never do that to Joxer." Ares said firmly.
"I know. What I'm asking is for you to help me find someone... it will kill me to do it... but I need to find someone to make her pregnant." Hephaistos said with tears forming in his eyes.
"I don't know." Ares said as he thought.
"Arry?" Joxer said in a weak voice.
"Joxer? How are you feeling? Do you need anything?" Ares asked immediately.
"Drink." Joxer said in a whisper.
Ares produced a glass of water and helped Joxer sit up so he could drink it.
"Thanks Ar, what's wrong with Aphrodite?" Joxer asked with concern.
"When the seal on Greece was broken the increased power base made everyone super-fertile, so every couple there... and a few others... became pregnant. Aphrodite is feeling the power boost from her godhood plus the super-fertility and it's hurting her." Ares said with concern.
"Is that? Am I?" Joxer puzzled.
"Yes, you're pregnant with our baby." Ares said with a glorious smile.
Joxer pulled Ares to kiss him deeply.
"I'll come back later." Hephaistos mumbled.
Joxer pulled out of the kiss and said, "No, please don't."
Hephaistos waited with a look of question in his eyes.
"Ar, I heard you talking before, what you said, and I love you more than ever because of it. But you have to understand how I feel." Joxer said with determination.
"I want you to do it Ar. I've never been jealous of Aphrodite for even a minute since we've been married. She's the mother of all your godly children and that's just her part in our family. I know you love her, but you're in love with me, and I trust you completely. Go and make her pregnant, then come home to me. Do it for our kids mother if for no other reason." Joxer said in a begging tone.
"I never thought it was possible to love you even more..." Ares said with tears in his eyes.
"Go ahead and do it Ar, she's suffering." Joxer said with a smile.
Ares eyes defocused. A heartbeat later Anteros and Senscie appeared in the room.
"What is it dad?" Anteros asked with worry.
"Will you stay with Joxer while I go help Heph with something?" Ares asked quietly.
"Sure. Will you be gone long?" Anteros asked casually.
"No longer than I have to be." Ares said with a tender smile directed at Joxer.
"Okay, we'll be fine." Anteros said and took the seat that Ares vacated.
"Oh, and get him to eat some ambrosia, the baby needs it." Ares said as an afterthought.
"Will do." Anteros said and produced a bowl of ambrosia.
Ares waited for Hephaistos to join him and watched tenderly as Anteros said, "Come on Poppa Joxer, open wide."
* * * * *
As Jace awoke, he recognized the sensation of being held.
//Than?// Jace asked hesitantly.
//How are you feeling, my love?// Thanatos asked with such intensity that tears came to Jace's eyes.
//Confused. We were talking about putting in a garden, then... I'm here. What happened?// Jace asked as he snuggled closer into Thanatos' chest.
//You're carrying our child.// Thanatos sent with such absolute joy that Jace couldn't help but pull Thanatos into a deep kiss of passion.
When the kiss finally broke, the words really registered in Jace's mind.
//I'm pregnant?// Jace asked in confusion.
//Yes my love. You've given me a gift that I'd never thought possible. We're having a baby.// Thanatos sent in glorious rapture.
Jace felt a tear fall on his cheek and looked to see the tears of joy freely flowing from Thanatos' eyes.
[I've never done anything to deserve such a wonderful gift as Thanatos. I can never be worthy of such love. But I swear by all that is good and holy in the universe that I will do everything in my power to provide the happiest, best home that Thanatos or the baby could ever dream of.] Jace thought to himself.
//Here, drink this.// Thanatos thought hurriedly and produced a chalice of Blood Wine.
Jace obediently drank the wine, then pulled Thanatos into another kiss.
[A baby, our baby.] Jace thought in wonder.
* * * * *
Ares and Hephaistos appeared in the private rooms of the Main Temple of Olympus.
"Ares came to help us with our problem." Hephaistos said quickly at Aphrodite's inquisitive look.
"No Hephy, I can't do that to Joxy. It violates their marriage vows." Aphrodite said immediately.
"Joxer asked me to come here and make you pregnant." Ares said quietly.
"What?" Aphrodite asked with wide eyes.
"He said that you are the mother to all of our godly children, that's your part of our family. You're suffering, so I'm to come over here, make you pregnant, then come home." Ares finished with a great smile.
"Oh Ar, you'd better appreciate him. I can't think of anyone else, god or mortal, who would do that." Aphrodite said as tears formed in her eyes.
"He's my one true love." Ares said with a tender smile.
"Then let's not keep Joxy waiting." Aphrodite said with purpose.
Ares and Aphrodite began walking to the bedroom as Hephaistos watched.
"Come on Heph, we're making your child, you need to be there." Ares said gently.
Hephaistos stared apprehensively.
"He's right honey bunch. This is going to be our baby, and I want it to be conceived in love. Ares is going to provide the seed, but you need to provide the love." Aphrodite said as she gazed into her husband's eyes.
Hephaistos finally smiled and said, "I can provide all the love our child will ever need."
Ares and Aphrodite pulled Hephaistos to walk between them and led him into the bedroom.
* * * * *
Ganymede opened his eyes hesitantly as he felt something... off.
"How are you feeling Ganymede?" Apollo asked as he moved to Ganymede's side.
"Um, okay, I guess." Ganymede said as he looked around.
"Let me help you sit up so you can eat some ambrosia." Apollo said professionally.
Ganymede allowed Apollo to help him to a sitting position, then noticed Asclepius on the next bed over.
"ACE?" Ganymede said with panic.
"Shhh, let him rest a while longer. He'll be fine, I promise." Apollo said as he held a spoon full of ambrosia before Ganymede's mouth.
"What's wrong with h..." Ganymede started to say, but was interrupted by a spoon of ambrosia being popped into his mouth.
"He's pregnant." Apollo said as he withdrew the spoon and loaded it again.
Ganymede's eyes went wide and his mouth dropped open slightly... and it was promptly filled with ambrosia.
After swallowing the mouthful of ambrosia, Ganymede asked, "How is he? How's the baby?"
Apollo smiled warmly at Ganymede and said, "Both are fine... but there's more."
Ganymede looked at Apollo warily.
"You're pregnant too." Apollo said, waiting to catch Ganymede if he had to.
Ganymede's eyes went wide and jaw went slack again.
Apollo couldn't resist the opening and hurriedly spooned in some more ambrosia.
Ganymede looked at Apollo with irritation and swallowed before asking, "How? I mean, we only tried it once."
"Gan, once is all it takes." Apollo said with a look of apology.
"So we're both pregnant... by each other... please tell me that's all the news." Ganymede asked as he looked into Apollo's eyes with begging worry.
"Yeah, that's all the big news. Except that just about every godly couple on Olympus is pregnant." Apollo said as he eased Ganymede to lay back on his bed.
"Ace is really okay?" Ganymede asked with worry.
"Just fine, he should wake up soon." Apollo said with a gentle smile.
Ganymede nodded and turned to watch Asclepius sleep.
"Ganymede?" Apollo asked hesitantly.
Ganymede turned slightly to look at Apollo.
"I don't remember if I said it before... Welcome to my family. I can see how much you and Ace love each other... I don't know how else to say it..." Apollo said unsteadily.
"I understand. This all came up so fast that we didn't ask for your blessing or approval. Thank you for giving it." Ganymede said with a sincere smile.
"Yeah, that's what I was trying to say." Apollo said with relief.
Ganymede nodded and turned his gaze back to Asclepius.
* * * * *
"What's going on Poppa Joxer?" Anteros asked when the last of the ambrosia had been eaten.
"Your dad is making your mom pregnant." Joxer said with a peaceful smile.
"Really?" Anteros said in surprise.
"Yeah. I don't really understand it completely, but all I know is that she was suffering because she needed to be pregnant and Hephaistos couldn't do it for her." Joxer said, looking into Anteros' eyes for understanding.
"And you're really okay with that?" Anteros asked hesitantly.
"Yes Ter, I really am. Your father and I both love Aphrodite as part of our family and... I don't know if I can explain it except to say that it feels right." Joxer said in tranquility.
Anteros got a distant look, then a smile flooded across his face.
"What is it Ter?" Joxer asked curiously.
"My new godhood... Everything is going to be fine." Anteros said, looking like he was about to cry with joy.
"Tell me." Joxer said, in awe of Anteros' expression.
"The essence of Brotherly Love. Dad and Hephaistos... it's beautiful. Oh gods Joxer, I didn't understand this type of love before... I've got the best godhood ever." Anteros said as the tears began to fall.
"I guess that means that Heph and Arry are both at peace with this." Joxer said happily.
"Yeah. I think dad is doing this out of love for Hephaistos as much as love for mom. It's so beautiful..." Anteros trailed off.
"Good, every child should be conceived in love, their child will be a child of the romantic love of Hephaistos and Aphrodite, brotherly love of Hephaistos and Ares, and the physical love of Ares and Aphrodite... the child is blessed." Joxer said peacefully.
"There's one more..." Anteros said, drawing Joxer's attention.
"What's that Ter?" Joxer asked curiously.
"The spiritual love that you have for Daddy Hep and Mom. You're there with him in spirit, dad carries you with him." Anteros said with certainty.
Joxer placed a hand on his abdomen and said, "Their child will be a brother or sister to my child..."
"And you'll be Poppa Joxer to both of them." Anteros said contentedly.
"And if she'll allow it, Aphrodite will be my child's mother, just like she's mother to the rest of my children." Joxer said in realization.
"So both babies will have a Dad, Mom, Daddy Hep and Poppa Joxer." Anteros said joyfully.
"That sounds perfect Ter. Do you think it can work?" Joxer asked hopefully.
"We'll make it work Poppa." Anteros said happily.
* * * * *
"I love you." Hephaistos whispered to his wife as he kissed her.
"I love you too Hephy." Aphrodite said after the kiss broke.
"How do you want to do this?" Ares asked hesitantly.
"The easy way." Aphrodite said and their clothes vanished with a thought.
Hephaistos blushed deeply and he turned away from Ares slightly.
Ares looked at Aphrodite curiously and she nodded.
Ares moved to Hephaistos and put a hand on his shoulder.
"Heph, we'll only do this if you're really okay with it. I'm here for you as much as Aphrodite." Ares said seriously.
Hephaistos nodded and turned to look at Ares.
A look of surprise came over Hephaistos when he saw the peaceful and joyous expression of love in Ares' eyes.
"Thank you." Was all that Hephaistos could say as he was led by Aphrodite and Ares into the bed.
The three settled in quietly, then gentle petting began in prelude to the act of love.
* * * * *
"What are you doing out of bed?" Joxer asked seriously.
"Need my Poppa." Deimos said shyly as Tad and Senscie led him to the other sofa.
"Do you need anything right now?" Joxer asked while Deimos was getting settled.
"Don't know what's gonna happen. Never thought I'd be pregnant." Deimos mumbled.
"To be honest, I don't know what's going to happen either. But we'll all be going through it together." Joxer said peacefully.
Phobos and Charise walked into the room next.
Phobos looked around, then produced an overstuffed chair for Charise to sit in.
"How are you doing Charise?" Joxer asked with a smile.
"Pho won't let me lift a finger to do anything. He treats me like I'm made of glass." Charise said as she took Phobos' hand and held it to her heart.
"Good for you Pho." Joxer said proudly.
"Thanks Poppa." Phobos said shyly.
Anteros blushed a little and produced a chair for Senscie.
"It's okay Anteros, I could have done that." Senscie said with a chuckle.
"I should have thought of it earlier." Anteros said hesitantly.
"Don't start with the guilt already, I'll make you a deal. If I need you to do something, I'll tell you. How's that?" Senscie asked seriously.
"Poppa?" Deimos said carefully.
"Yes?" Joxer responded.
"What would you think if me and Tad got married?" Deimos asked carefully.
"Why do you want to get married?" Joxer asked slowly.
"Cause I don't want to be without him." Deimos said hesitantly.
"How do you feel Tad?" Joxer asked, liking Deimos answer.
"The same. I want to be with Demi." Tad said as he looked into Deimos eyes.
"Guys, I think it's a good idea. You two should talk to Aphrodite and get her advice on how best to proceed. Her godhood is marriage and she should be able to give you the best advice." Joxer said peacefully as he absently stroked his stomach.
"Thanks Poppa Joxer, we'll do that as soon as I'm allowed to get up." Deimos said quietly.
"Yes, thank you..." Tad trailed off, not knowing the proper address for Joxer.
"Call me Poppa Joxer, Tad. I'm going to be your father-in-law and grandfather to your child." Joxer said with peace and joy.
"Okay, thank you Poppa Joxer." Tad said with a watery smile.