Strife stood in front of the Fates. The Maiden, was a young dark haired girl, with skin that was a dark nut brown. She had a happy expression in her emerald eyes. The Mother, had with dark ash blonde hair and cafe a latté colored skin, her eyes were a sepia hazel that knew a hard won joy. The Crone, had snow colored hair, her skin almost as pale as her hair with light azure eyes with a sad expression in them, of some one who had known hardship and death quite well.
In Strife's arms he held a small bundle against his chest wrapped in a black blanket. He had thought long and hard about what they had told him. To say Strife didn't like any of this was an understatement. But what choice did he have...none really.
Mirra, the Goddess of Destiny, grandmother of the Fates, would get what she wanted. She was such a bitch when she didn't. Strife had known, he wouldn't like what he would hear, when they had summoned him the first time. When they had told him who he must take as a lover. They never told him that he would come to truly love that god or that he would lose them. Nor that he would bare that god's child.
Strife did know he wouldn't like what was in store for him or his child. He hated it, when he was right. But this? This was too much. To be asked to give up the only child he had ever bore of his own body. It was like asking him to give up a piece of his soul!
Strife also knew he could not stop what the Fates had put into motion. He looked down into his son's dark eyes...his father's eyes, and hoped his life would be happier than Strife's own. Hoped he would find the love, happiness and the acceptance that Strife hadn't and mostly likely never would find.
"You must do this," said the Maiden, hopefully.
"Send him through the portal." said the Mother, but not without compassion.
"The child must learn the darkness of humankind, and that of his own soul, in order to save us all." Said the Crone, wisely.
Strife sighed he was just a pawn in the game. He knew that. Just as his son would be to one day. A small glowing blue-gray portal opened, to Strife's right. Strife kissed his son on the forehead, marking him as a child of the Gods and sent the him through the portal. With tears in his eyes, Strife braced himself to face his own fate.
For in a few hours he was to meet up with Ares and Callisto to plan a way to stop Dahok once and for all.
A Few Years Later.
The blond winged Love God sighed as he watched the dark-haired, blue-eyed God of Mischief. Cupid wished he knew what was bothering Strife. The Mischief God had been depressed since his return from the dead. Being alive wasn't making Strife happy like you would think it would. Strife seemed to just go through the motions. He did his duties, spoke to no one outside of them and would retreated to his small temple
Strife hadn't been returned to life by Zeus, Hades or even a clever plan of Ares. But by the Fates themselves. Hardly any of the gods noticed Strife's return. Just as they hadn't noticed his death. With the exception of the House of Aggression, Wine, and Death.
Cupid would do any thing to see Strife smile the way he use too, to see that insane gleam come to his eyes when he was causing mischief. Cupid ran a hand through his blond hair in frustration. This could not go on.
Xander Harris sat in the Magic Box listening Giles go on and on about how to kill this week's demon. He didn't know about the others but this was getting boring...Oh, don't get him wrong Xander liked saving the world...liked not living in hell. But sometimes he just wished that it wasn't on a weekly basis. Once a month or better yet once a year would be good for him. But Xander was good at it, after four years he should be.
Xander was the powerless one of the group. Somehow in the chaos that Xander called his life he got surrounded by superheroes. A Vampire Slayer, her Watcher, two Witches, a government chipped vampire and a young girl who was an ancient energy source. It sounded like a bad ideal for a teenage supernatural based TV show! Sometimes Xander wondered if he should leave Sunnyhell. Leave the Scoobies behind and forge a new destiny for himself. Then Xander would remember than destiny was a bitch and seemed to have it in for him. Xander couldn't be normal if he tried.
Xander jumped as he was poked in the ribs.
"Hey!" he mock glared at the red-haired witch that had done said poking, "I was listening." Xander defended himself at the looks the others gave him. Spike's snort of laughter was heard in the background.
"Oh, really, how do we get rid of it then?" asked Giles with a raised eyebrow.
Xander knew everyone thought he hadn't been listening...and...well...they were right, but he wasn't going to tell them that. So Xander took a wild guess. "Mmmm, something about a rock and a portal?"
Giles looked shocked as he said, "Very good, you were listening."
"That or the Whelp has just gotten better at guessing." Spike said snickering; at the glare Giles gave Xander at that.
"What are we waiting for let's go slay it!" Buffy said, tossing her long pale blonde hair over her shoulder. It was nice to see her embracing her calling, for once. "Goodies is having a midnight madness sale and I'm not missing it!"
"Well, you heard the lady, let's go slay so she can shop!" said Xander.
Soon, young Mischief...it was said hopefully.
Your child shall be returned to you... it was said compassionately.
A new era for the Gods will begin... it was said wisely.
When Strife first began hearing those words they were first whispers on the wind. Then they were sang to him by the stars. Softly murmured to Strife by the sea. Sometimes Strife thought he had lost what little sanity he had. Not that it had been much to begin with but the Fates had called him back to their caves...and repeated the so offend heard words. Strife now knew the child he gave up, would be returned to him...soon.
That piece of his missing soul would be called back for him to hold.
STRIFE!!! Came the mental shout.
It had surprise Strife to find out that he had once missed that sound.
Strife got over that quickly. Strife sighed as he flashed into the Halls of War. Strife watched as the dark god, War God paced back and forth like a caged jungle cat.
"What took you so long," Ares muttered, with no real heat behind his words, before throwing himself onto his throne.
Strife just gave his uncle a bland look. Ever since coming back form the dead, Strife found he no longer fear his uncle. He still respected the fact that Ares could cause him a lot of pain. At one time Strife would have starting babbling at the show of temper from the war god but now, he just found it mildly amusing. Not that he would ever say that. Strife like all his parts where they were just find thank you.
"Have you seen him?" Ares asked, sharply.
Strife knew who he was but just shrugged in reply. He didn't blame him for disappearing very once in a while. But Ares got upset when he pulled one of his disappearing acts. It drove Ares nuts. To the point where Ares would start wars just to find him.
After all, what better way to find Peace than with a war...
"What did you do, Unc?"
Ares sighed, deeply " Oh, what didn't I do?"
Strife had always thought Ares relationship with the God of Peace was interesting...and deadly at times. A normal happy Olympus marriage some would say.
"Would you like me to look for him?" Strife asked. Ares nodded and tried not to look as grateful as he probably felt. It wouldn't be the first time Strife had done this and it more than likely this wouldn't be the last time he did it either.
Strife flashed out of the temple in search of peace...the irony was not lost on him.
Xander sat in the middle one of the many graveyards in SunnyDale, holding a crystal that would send this week's demon to its home realm. No slay-age for Buffy. A shame that. Xander thought. He liked to watch her work.
So, here Xander was being used as bait...again. Sometimes he wondered just how stupid his friends, Xander used that word loosely, thought he was. Xander knew he was a demon magnet that was no secret to him. But the others thought it was and it was just easier to let them think it. Sometimes it got old especially on nights like this...when the demon of the week had kept him waiting two hours and he had to listen to Spike bitch and moan about how unfair his un-life was.
Xander thought, at times like this, his life must be some sort of joke. Lord knows Xander had no luck in love...the mess that had been Anya and other past relationships speak for themselves.
Xander was sure it was all that blond winged-guys fault.
Before Xander ever got involved with anyone that guy always showed up. Things always just went to hell after that for Xander. The winged-guy was messing with him for some reason and Xander knew it. He just couldn't do anything about it.
After all what could you do against a God? Yes, a God, Xander even knew which one he was too. He knew first hand how cruel love could be.
Out of the never-ending boredom Xander began to throw the crystal up into the air and catch it in the palm of his hand.
"Oi, whelp, should you be doing that?"
"Don't know, Spike, but I'm bored."
Spike shuttered at the answer. A bored Xander was a dangerous thing, Spike had learned the hard way. His hair had just recovered from the last time Xander had gotten bored.
"Demon should be here right about now." Spike muttered hopefully.
No sooner than when Spike stopped speaking, a bright white-blue portal appeared. Xander snorted softly. Like he was going anywhere near that thing. The wind picked up, the portal began to draw debris of leaves, small sticks and some flowers that were in the graveyard into it.
"Uh, Spike? I'm pretty sure we should leave now!" said Xander standing up from the tombstone he had been sitting on, dropping the crystal on the ground. Xander lost his balance from the strength of a sudden gust of wind and found himself flying through the air towards the portal. When he stopped suddenly, looking down he saw Spike had a hold on his ankle with one hand and with the other was hold on to a tombstone.
"Let go," Xander shouted to Spike over the wind, because as long as someone knew that happened to him there was a go chance Giles and the other could figure out how to get him back, "Tell the others what happen."
Spike only shook his head stubbornly, as he started to lose his grip on the tombstone. Both human and vampire went flying through the portal. Xander knew this was not going to be a good thing.
Strife, invisible to all mortal eyes, appeared where the God of Peace's power felt the strongest. He took in the scene before him. Xena and the blonde bard were sitting next to each other by the fire that burned brightly. The God of Peace was a lithe man with pale chest-nut brown hair, his eyes the same color, he sat across from the two women singing softly about love, betrayal, and death the things that made up a good song. It was one of Strife's favorites and he always enjoyed hearing this God sing.
When the song was over Gabrielle, the blonde bard, said it was beautifully sung. Xena nodded, her onyx colored braid of hair shifting over her shoulder and was about to speak when she froze, her eyes narrowed and she looked around then said " Alright, come out."
There was a feeling of displaced air and a popping noise and a flash of blue-ish light. It was showy but Strife thought they deserved the show. "Ya'know, that's neat. Unc thought it was only him you could sense."
"What do you want?" Xena asked suspiciously.
"Keep your leather on, I'm not here cause of you." Strife said then walked over to the God. "Ares knows you've slipped your leash."
The other God shrugged, "So?"
"You can't keep doing this, you know. It's getting old. Remember the last time? He started the war at Troy." With a nod the God of Peace sighed as Strife continued, "Your Consort needs you to return." Strife said formally, as the other God stiffened, "It's time to come home."
"I...I will...When I'm ready." Said a voice full of a calming peaceful power.
"Joxer?" Gabrielle asked confusedly "What is Strife talking about?"
Strife smirked "You still haven't told them?"
Joxer shook his head.
"Why...Joxer here...is the God of Peace, didn't you know?" Strife said with a giggle, knowing he would get a boost of power from this bit of mischief. Strife flashed away leaving Joxer to explain things to them.
Joxer would have laughed at the shocked looks on the women's faces. If it hadn't been for the fact that Joxer knew his plans for them were now screw up. He knew it wasn't Strife's fault, Strife had just been doing Ares bidding. Joxer had thought there would to be yelling... there should have been yelling and hitting(mostly Gabrielle doing the hitting).
When Xena finally spoke..."Why didn't you tell us?"
"Xena your views of the Gods are well known. I would have told you, if I though you needed to know." Joxer looked at Gabrielle who looked angry but said nothing.
"I thought the God of Peace was just a legend." Xena said calmly knowing that Gabrielle would follow her example.
"Yes, and there is a reason for that. Zeus doesn't like the power I hold. And because of that my Chosen mortals seem to always die under strange circumstances. But I could never prove he had anything to do with their deaths. So to protect them I became a legend. As long a mortals believe in peace and pray for it I still get the power I need. Zeus can't stop the hope for peace. Although he does try." Joxer said stared into the fire.
"Strife said something about a Consort?" asked Gabrielle, wondering why she wasn't feeling angrier at the fact Joxer had been lying to her and Xena since they had met the man, she realized that Joxer was still himself, their trusted friend and ally.
"My Consort," Joxer said with a sigh, "We have an uneasy relationship. Mostly because our god hoods are so different but without each other we would more than likely go mad and the world would suffer for it."
"So, are the legends true about who your Consort is?" asked Gabrielle.
Joxer nodded, Xena saw the looks they exchanged and felt like she was missing something important. "So, who is your Consort, Joxer?" She asked.
"The God of War..."
Xander and Spike had been walking for several hours, since they had landed on the other side of the portal. Xander was wondering where they could be; he had never seen so many trees. They had been walking for hours had had not come across one house or road.
Luckily, it was night wherever they were, here too. Spike grabbed his arm and pointed to the light from a campfire Xander could barely make out. Xander knew they had to be careful, but he also knew they had to find shelter before dawn or Spike would fry. Not that he really cared what happened to Spike. It's what he told himself anyway.
But the vampire was familiar company in this strange place.
Spike on the other hand liked himself just the way he was, as in not dust. Spike saw the two women and man sitting by the fire.
Joxer had been about to explain about Ares and how everything with them happened when a crashing sound came from the woods then a voice...
"Bloody hell, whelp, can't you walk without tripping over your feet?" came a brash accented tone. Xena stood with her sword in hand, Gabrielle with her staff. Joxer just sat leaning against his tree and waited to see who would come stumbling out of the woods.
A lean built man with the palest blond hair they had ever seen, with cheekbones(both women would have killed for to have) sapphire eyes that were tinged with yellow. He moved with a predatory grace that was off set by a swagger that oozed sex appeal.
Then they heard, "Well, Spike, if you had done what I told you maybe the gang would know what happened since they were herding that demon to the graveyard. I wouldn't be tripping over nothing in the woods but, noooo. You had to go and be noble for once!" Said a dark haired man, who had followed the blond; he had a warrior's build and a bounciness that remaindered them of someone...
The blond stopped suddenly and the dark haired one ran into him, the two women knew that the men weren't speaking Greek. Xena noticed the smirk on Joxer's face...and thought he must have done something so that they could understand them. Xena just hoped it worked both ways.
"Alexander, William, welcome to Greece." Joxer told the dumfounded men. Xander saw how they were dress and realized they weren't in modern day Greece...
"We are soooo, screwed, Spike." Xander murmured to the vampire.
"Who are you and how the hell do you know us?" Demanded Spike.
"I'm Joxer, and I know who you are because I've seen you in the Halls Of Time..."Joxer said looked over at Xena, "Put your sword away, they won't hurt us, their Champions from a distance future. Although I don't think their suppose to be here?" Joxer said with a slight frown.
Spike snorted at that obvious question.
"Joxer?" Xander muttered, "I know that name..." He frowned then his eyes widen. Could it be that Joxer!? Xander wondered. "As in the God Of Peace?" Xander asked.
Xander noticed the look Spike was giving him, "What? Giles had books...I did read some of them. Had to do something during research sessions besides look at the naughty pictures."
Spike always knew the boy was smarter than he appeared...of course, the boy appeared to be dumber than dirt. But this proved what Spike had thought. Most of the books that Giles had that contained any reference to the God of Peace weren't written in English.
"Do you think you could help us?" Xander asked, timidly. This was a God, after all, some one who could kill him with a thought. If the god thought Xander was insulting him. Everything Xander had ever read said the Greek Gods were volatile by nature. "Cause we are so, out of our league here. If nothing else maybe help us find a cave or something for us? I don't want Spike turning to dust come morning."
"Of course, I'll help you." Joxer told him and smiled at the boy's sigh of relief. As Joxer looked at Xander he saw Strife's mark on the boy. That's interesting... thought Joxer.
There was a sudden flash of gold light and falling red rose petals, Cupid appeared,
" Uncle Joxer you have to..." he trailed off when he noticed the mortals.
"You!" Shouted Xander and Spike together, they looked at each other then back to the new god.
The Love God looked confused, "Do I know you two?" As he brought up the crossbow he was holding and Xander flinched at the sight of it.
"Put that thing away! You've made me suffer enough! What's the deal with that anyway? What did I ever do to you?" Xander babbled out.
Spike pointed to Xander and said, "What he said."
"What are you two talking about? I've never seen you before today." Cupid told them.
Xander was about to give a scathing remark when Joxer said, "Xander, remember you are from the future. Whatever Cupid did to you," Joxer noticed the look Spike waas giving him, "both of you. It wasn't this Cupid, but his future self."
"Whoa! They're from the future? Grand pappy Z isn't going to like that. Isn't time travel against one of his laws?" Cupid asked.
"Only time travel with intent, yes, but this looks like it was an accident." Said Joxer. Cupid then got a far off look to his eyes then shook his head. "Well, this was neat but I've got love to spread and worshippers to help..."
"Don't you mean torment?" Xander popped off, the Love God glared at him then smirked cruelly.
"I'll be seeing you," The god promised as he patted his crossbow the threat clear to Xander, "again," before Cupid flashed away. Xena had been watching the exchange and wondered what Cupid had done in his future that had hurt the young man so badly and he had been hurt. You could see it in the young man's eyes.
"Not if I see you first..." Xander muttered.
"Well, pet, at least you know why your love life went to crap." Spike said.
"What are you talking about, Spike?" Xander asked, glaring at he blond vampire.
"Well, it's not hard to figure out, you meet a god who's never met you, then insult him pissing him off..." Spike nodded to himself, "I'd said the answers obvious."
Xander looked at the vampire blankly then realization dawned, "Oh, god! I bought it on myself."
"Looks like." Spike agreed.