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Cupid walked across the room and sat on the edge of the bed.
Psyche walked past the bed and sat on the chair. She looked at Cupid's silent form and, through her godhood, she realized that the spells on Cupid were broken.
Cupid noticed as Psyche paled. "Yeah, the spells are broken, it seems that Obsession and Infatuation couldn't stand up to the godhood of romantic love." He looked up to see the fear in her face. "Don't worry, I'm not going to do anything to you, I just want to talk."
Tears started running down Psyche's face as she started to tremble.
There was a part of Cupid that wanted to hug her to comfort her, but there was a bigger part of Cupid that couldn't stand the thought of touching her again so he just sat until she calmed herself.
"Psyche, there is something you need to know." Her tear stained face looked up, afraid.
"Your godhood has been influencing your judgment. That's part of why I'm not screaming at you right now." Cupid said in his most reasonable tone.
"What do you mean influencing?" Psyche asked quietly.
And Cupid explained how made gods are effected by their godhoods.
Psyche had stopped crying and seemed to understand his explanation. Then he continued, "So now it's time to do something about it."
"What can we do?" Psyche asked timidly.
"Not we... you. I'll discuss what needs to be done with you, but in the end it will be up to you to do it."
When Psyche looked blankly at him, he continued. "I wouldn't be much help, I don't understand it well enough, but some of the senior gods will probably be able to help you."
Psyche looked at him confused, "Who should I ask?"
Cupid shrugged and fell back on the bed, flattening out his wings. "Maybe Dad, he has a strong godhood, but he isn't driven by it. Maybe Apollo, as the head of the house of intellect he probably understands it best. Daddy Hep would help, he seems to understand it pretty well."
Psyche seemed to shrink into herself as she said, "They all hate me, I can't ask them to... not after... "
"None of them hate you, Psyche. None of them know you... " Cupid paused, waiting for her to look up.
"...I promise that if we explain what's going on and ask them to help, they will." Cupid said with certainty.
Psyche got up from the chair and made to lay next to Cupid.
Cupid sat up suddenly and moved off the bed. "That's the other thing I need to talk to you about."
Psyche looked at Cupid with wide eyes.
"In all the time we've been married, I've been under a spell that effected my feelings. I don't know what's real. I don't know how I feel about you. I don't know you." Cupid said with a diminishing voice.
Psyche began crying again. Cupid continued, "I'll help you do the things you need to do... and while we're working on that... we could try to get to know each other... if you wanted to?"
Psyche looked up with teary eyes and asked, "How do you mean?"
"I mean, get to know each other, the way people do. Talk, do things together, maybe even become friends, if you want to."
"Why? Why are you doing this?" Psyche asked as she wiped the tears from her eyes.
"Because it needs to be done." Cupid said simply.
After a glance at Psyche, he continued.
"I didn't deserve what happened to me. I'm angry about that, but I have to work it out." He noticed a little fear on her face and went on, "And you don't deserve the things that happened to you. However you feel about that, you'll have to work out. There are some things I'll be able to help you with, if you want me to. And other things I can't help you with, we'll find you someone who can."
Psyche began to move toward Cupid and asked, "Can I have a hug."
Cupid stepped back and said, "No, I can't do that yet. Psyche, you're not the only one who's working things out. I just... can't."
Psyche stopped and nodded her head.
* * * * *
Ganymede heard a summons from another god. He followed the call and appeared before Ares in the halls of war.
"Ganymede, would you care to explain what you did to Salpus?" Ares began immediately when Ganymede appeared.
"Salpus?" Ganymede asked, completely confused.
"Salpus! The man that you threw through a wall. One of MY warriors?" Ares continued loudly.
"Him? He hurt one of MY harlots. I had to protect her... " Ganymede started.
"Not by disabling one of my warriors! If he needs disciplined, then I'll see that it's done but you WILL NOT attack one of my worshipers." As Ares spoke he stood to his full height for the full intimidation effect.
Ganymede stood silently for a moment looking up into Ares eyes, then spoke, "You're right. I could have stopped him from hurting her without breaking his legs."
Ares lowered himself onto his throne and sat back, pleased.
Ares snapped back to attention.
"I will do what is necessary to protect my harlots. If I bring a matter like this to you, will the warrior be disciplined?" Ganymede asked in a steady tone.
"What did he do that you found objectionable?" Ares asked, somewhat irritated.
"Salpus seems to think blood, bruises and screams constitute foreplay, Sarima, the harlot involved, did not agree, nor did I." Ganymede said, his ire coming to the fore.
"What do you want, for my warriors to bring your whores flowers and candies when they visit?" Ares said with venomous sarcasm.
"NO! I just want YOUR warriors to leave MY whores in basically the same condition that they found them!" Ganymede said in an increasing scream. He froze for an instant with a distant look in his eyes. Then he broke into laughter and said, "But... but... I want to be th... there if you tell your warriors... to bring fl... flowers an... and candies to the harlots." and he broke into full laughter.
Ares watched Ganymede having his laughing fit and began to smile.
"I... I wanna see... the looks on their faces... when you tell 'em." And off he went into another gail of laughter.
Ares let out a little laugh and said, "Deal. I'll let my warriors know to leave the harlots in the condition they found them..."
"...and I'll let my harlots know that they shouldn't expect flowers and candies." Ganymede said as he turned to leave.
"Ganymede, one more thing."
Ganymede stopped and turned around.
"I don't know if anyone's told you but, you're doing a good job." Ares said with an uncharacteristic timidity.
Ganymede smiled and said, "You're the first. Thank you."
And Ganymede continued out of the halls of war.
* * * * *
The night before, they had sat by the campfire and talked about general things and just enjoyed the feeling of not having to hurry anywhere or worry about anything. Now Hercules and Iolaus were sitting by the stream silently. They had been sitting there for an hour.
"Herc?" Iolaus broke the silence.
"Do you think Ares meant it when he said he would leave us alone?" Iolaus asked contemplatively.
Hercules sat quietly for a few minutes, then answered. "I don't know. I hope so."
"With Zeus being out of power, he doesn't have anything to gain by lying to you about it. He could have attacked us, but he didn't." Iolaus said quietly.
"I suppose." Hercules said warily.
"But, what if it's over? I mean Hera isn't married to Zeus anymore, she doesn't have any reason to be after you anymore. Ares said that he wouldn't bother you. What are you going to do?"
"What do you mean?" Hercules asked as he turned to look at Iolaus.
"I mean, just imagine if the gods are going to leave us alone. You could have a family again. You could have a life that doesn't revolve around fighting everyday." Iolaus said dreamily.
Hercules remained silent, thinking of the possibilities.
Iolaus broke the silence again by asking, "What would you like your life to be like, if this is really for real?"
"I suppose I'd like to find a place to settle down. Someplace where I could hunt and fish." Hercules answered absently.
"Someplace like Poteidaia?" Iolaus asked with a mischievous smile.
"Merciful Gods! No! I'm ready to wring Gabrielle's neck after one day of travel with her, I wouldn't settle anywhere NEAR her home town." Hercules said then noticed that Iolaus was laughing.
"Very funny. How did you know?" Hercules asked Iolaus honestly.
"I saw you wince a couple times when her voice went into the screechy range. And I noticed how quickly we HAD to be somewhere else every time we met up with them." Iolaus said with a laugh.
"Well... Um... " Hercules stammered.
"So where would you like to live?" Iolaus interrupted.
"Someplace close to Corinth, so I could visit Iph."
"I know just the place!" Iolaus said enthusiastically.
"Where's that?" Hercules asked warily.
"Alcemene's house. I mean, since she died, no one has lived there. It's close to Corinth. And you already own it." Iolaus stated reasonably.
"Hmm, I guess. What would you do? I mean if there really were no more fighting?"
"I guess I'd find someplace around you, I'm kinda used to being around you now. It'd just feel wrong if you weren't there." Iolaus said, then realized what he'd said.
Hercules thought about it for a minute then said, "You could stay with me. The house is big enough for two. I'm used to you being around too."
* * * * *
Joxer walked into the halls of war and headed straight for the bathing chamber. He walked past Ares without saying a word, Joxer didn't even seem to notice where he was. After Joxer had passed, Ares caught the scent of fish.
He got up and followed Joxer to the bathing chamber, knowing what had happened. He'd never tell Joxer, but he had landed in the fishwell more than once when he had been learning to transport.
By the time Ares reached the bathing chamber, Joxer was already submerged in the water up to his neck. Ares quickly stripped and slid into the water beside him.
"So, how did your lessons go?" Ares asked quietly.
Joxer groaned once as his only response.
Ares decided that he knew what Joxer needed.
He put an arm around Joxer's waist and pulled him in for a hug.
Joxer just melted into the embrace and started silently crying.
This was the last thing that Ares expected to happen when he gave Joxer a naked hug.
So he just had to ask. "Joxer, what's wrong?"
"Nothing.... Everything... I don't know..." and he broke into full sobs.
"Well, that about covers it, I guess. Tell me why your upset." Ares soothed.
"I... can't..." Joxer whimpered.
"You can, just go ahead and tell me."
"I'm not as good a mischief god as Strife and a five year old can transport better than me and I try to help people and it doesn't work and when I try to use my powers it goes all wrong and when anyone talks to my mind my knees go funny and... and I'm bad because I hurt people." and Joxer was crying again.
Ares sat for a moment, petting Joxer's wet hair and trying to soothe him while at the same time trying to make sense of all the things Joxer was saying. Finally Joxer settled.
"I'll let you in on a little secret Joxer." and Ares moved his lips close to Joxer so they barely touched his ear as he whispered. "You're not Strife."
Ares moved back and continued at normal volume. "You'll do things you're own way and be your own type of mischief god. As far as Bliss being able to transport better then you, that's true. But Bliss has been transporting himself for almost a year now. So if you need to compare your performance to Bliss, compare it after a year."
"As far as using your powers, it just takes time and practice. I think maybe you missed your true calling. You could've been the god of impatience. You've only been a god for a few days, you can't expect to know how to do everything. It just doesn't work that way. We can talk to Asclepius about the thing with your knees if it bothers you."
Then Ares turned Joxer so they were eye to eye. "Why do you think you are bad? Who did you hurt?" Ares asked with complete concern.
"Xena and Gabrielle, and Argo I guess. I did all those things to them and I enjoyed doing them and... "
Ares interrupted him and said, "Your godhood just pushed you to do some mischief and you got carried away, but did you actually hurt them at all?"
Joxer shook his head and Ares pulled Joxer's face to his shoulder and rubbed his back soothingly.
"Would you feel better if you could spend some time with them?" Ares asked quietly.
Joxer nodded into Ares' shoulder.
"Okay then, let's get to bed. In the morning we'll transport down so you can meet up with them."
"Okay, thank you Ares. I've never fallen apart like that before." Joxer said embarrassed.
"I think the god thing alone is enough reason for you to have a breakdown, put the rest of the week on top of that and no one would blame you."
* * * * *
Just as the sun was beginning to light the sky, the sleeping women sat up with a start. Argo began to act agitated and the birds were startled and flew away. Xena and Gabrielle looked at each other as they could sense the approach of something. Then they heard it.
"He's Joxer the Mighty, He's very tidy..."