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Aftershocks

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"Ares come on... I wanna sleep." Joxer's voice was muffled against the pillows.

"Aw, Joxer, you've been sleeping for three hours now," the war god said as he left a trail of kisses down the tired man's back.

Joxer turned slightly so he was on his side, facing his lover. "What do you take me for? A rabbit? I'm a mere mortal, Ares. I need my sleep. I've only been getting half of what I need. I'm gonna burn out Ares."

Ares turned his back to Joxer with a 'huff'. "I thought you said you loved me, that you only wanted to please me. I can see I was wrong. Maybe I'll go to Cupid, or Strife. They have more stamina."

"Ares, " Joxer said, annoyance clear in his voice, "you know how many times you've said that already?" The mortal rolled Ares so the god was once more facing him, and he pulled him into his arms. "Ares, you're a god. You don't know how it feels to be outright exhausted. You don't know how it feels to be a man on three hours of sleep daily, for almost half a moon."

"I have been mortal before," Ares said, defensively.

"Yeah, but only for two or three days, at most. And remember I wasn't your lover back then."

"True." Ares hugged his lover closer and started kissing his neck. There was something about that neck...

"Ares, no," Joxer moaned as Ares latched on behind his ear. He wanted to sleep, but his body was starting to take interest. He had a small debate whether to let Ares have his way, with him, or to stand firm on wanting to sleep. When he felt his arms so heavy he couldn't move them, he decided for rest. "Ares, stop it now! I want to sleep."

Surprise alone made the god pull back. He thought Joxer had been teasing. Something he was remarkably good at doing. He didn't realize he had meant it. He remembered a few moons ago, when he hadn't listened. Joxer didn't. He had erased those memories when Joxer started to have nightmares. He asked his brother to make him wrist guards. He never wanted to see those scars again. He made up some story for Joxer about the scars, which he accepted without a second thought. He fought back the tears that threatened to come. "Joxer, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean... I thought you were teasing."

"It's okay Ares."

"No, it's not okay. I want you to know that I'd never hurt you. I love you too much." Ares hugged him tight.

"Ares... air."

Ares released Joxer and cupped his face with both hands. "How about I take you to a cabin I have in the mountains. You sleep for a day or two, while I go burn my energies starting a war or something."

"As long as you leave Xena and Gabby out of it."

Ares remembered how the bard had helped Joxer, and how Xena had stayed behind with him, and never mentioned to anyone how he cried at the thought of loosing Joxer.

"I promise."

"Okay. And Ares?"

"Yeah?"

"I know you'd never hurt me. That's why I love you."

Ares transported them to the cabin, tucked Joxer into the king-sized bed, and left to his temple in Trace. He buried his face in his hands and cried. "Oh Joxer, I'm so sorry."

Fin?