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In temples across Mount Olympus, various mothers and fathers sit upright in bed, waken out of a sound sleep by the sound that strikes dread in the hearts of a parent, mortal and god alike, the sound of a crying baby.
“I’m coming baby, Ares, the baby’s crying, Mommy’s here, precious, Daddy’s coming baby.” Is said in various half-asleep tones as they run out of their bedrooms or in the case of the younger babies sit up and reach for the cradle next to the bed. Their sleepy voices trail off as they come face to face with their sleeping children.
Meanwhile, in the temple of Angelus, High Priest of Bacchus and Dionysus, though Dionysus still isn’t quite sure he needs a High Priest, Angelus, Dionysus and Bacchus look up from their efforts to comfort the crying baby as various gods and goddesses, woken by the racket despite the wards put on the temple by the two gods pop into the living room.
They’re confronted by the sight of Angelus, black hair standing straight up sleepily walking the floor with a baby screaming in his ear. As his steps begin to slow and the baby begins to scream even louder if possible, Bacchus gets up, takes the baby in his arms, and pushes Angelus into the seat he had just vacated. Everybody waits as the baby quiets for a second, then sigh in unison as the baby begins screaming yet again. Bacchus sighs, raises Alex to his shoulder, and begins to walk the floor.
“How long has he been crying like that?” Joxer asks, conjuring another overstuffed couch into existence and dropping onto it with a sigh. He hasn’t been getting much sleep since Aphrodite and Ares had delivered two months ago. Asclepius pops into existence, Edgar wrapped around him, and sighs.
“Since Spike left on that assignment Ares gave him, Drusilla, and Darla.” Dionysus mumbles from where he’s burrowed into the corner of the other couch. “We’ve been taking turns walking the floor with him. We thought it might be colic, but Asclepius says no. He’s got to be hungry, but he keeps spitting out the bottles we’re giving him, he just wants to keep crying.”
“Rupert was the same way,” Edgar says, reaching out and taking the baby from Bacchus. “You go sleep for about eight hours, we’ve got enough people here to keep walking with him.”
Bacchus looks in disbelief as the mortal reaches over and pulls Angelus from his seat with one hand as he rocks the howling baby. “Since I know you won’t want to leave the temple, lord knows I wouldn’t want to leave if it were Rupert, go lay down in the next room and sleep yourself out.”
Edgar nods in satisfaction as the men arrange themselves in the larger bed; Bacchus in the middle with Angelus and Dionysus curled up on either side of him. “Asclepius, when they fall asleep, will you knock them out for about ten hours?”
“Gladly!” Asclepius says, doing just that as the occupants of the bed fall asleep the second they’re horizontal. “I told them a couple days ago to go to bed, we’d be more than happy to walk with Alex.”
Edgar looks at his god and smirks, “Would you and Iolaus do it if it were Cassandra screaming her lungs out?”
“Good point,” Asclepius says, “Let me call him to take a turn walking with Alex.”
“Don’t wake up Cassandra!” Edgar orders as Asclepius pops out, then starts walking with Alex as Joxer and Hephaestus smirk at each other. The former mortal is good for Asclepius, they decide yet again as Ares, holding their young son, and Aphrodite, holding his not that much older sister, pop into view.
“There you guys are, we were beginning to wonder where you’d popped off to.” Ares says, conjuring a large cradle for the sleeping babies. “I’d ask what’s going on, but I can guess.” He says dryly as Edgar rocks the quietly, compared to the screaming he’d been doing earlier, crying baby. “How long has he been crying?”
“Since the day after the others left.” Joxer says quietly. “Dionysus, Bacchus, and Angelus dropped right off to sleep the second they laid down. I don’t think they’ve gotten more than a couple of hours sleep in the last week.”
“I don’t remember colic being this bad, though I’m sure Clothos, Atropos, and Lachesis could tell me otherwise.” A quiet pop in the corner of the room heralds the arrival of Iolaus, sleepily pulling a shirt on, Atropos, summoned by the sound of the screaming baby, and Asclepius.
“Trust me, that’s not Colic.” She says, staring at the baby, “That’s just his ‘I am pissed with the world and I’m going to scream until I feel like stopping’ crying. Trust me, we are quite familiar with what a colicky baby sounds like.” A second cradle pops into existence beside her, and four squirming babies are dropped into it as her sisters appear.
“Mother has a headache,” Clothos says at her sister’s look. “She told us to grab the babies and get out for a couple of hours so she wouldn’t disturb the babies with her screaming.”
“Looks like we’ll be spending the day on the beach then.” Atropos sighs, “Who or what pissed mother off this time?”
“Elizabeth Taylor is getting married again and now she’s got to change the Tapestry design again.”
“Why bother, she’ll just get divorced again in a few years.” Atropos snorts.
“How long is Alex going to keep crying like this?” Joxer asks, “so we can ward the Temple again?”
Atropos looks at the baby and smiles, “This time, who knows? You’ve still got teething and the terrible twos to deal with.” Hephaestus, Aphrodite, and Ares groan in unison. “Oh relax, he won’t be as bad as Strife was.” Joxer and Edgar give the others a questioning look.
“Nobody could be as bad as Strife was,” Ares grumbles, “Though I think half of it was his godhood asserting itself by making us jump through hoops. He screamed nonstop for over six months, from the time his first tooth came in until the last one. Just sat there and screamed, nothing helped.”
Two more figures pop into view, Cupid leaning against Strife who’s leaning heavily on the wall.
“And where the hell have you two been?” Ares snorts, “I gave birth two months ago.”
“We were just waiting for the hormones to settle back down.” Cupid mumbles as Iolaus pushes his father towards a chair. “Why are my ears burning?”
“I don’t know, if it were another part of your anatomy burning, I’d think you picked something up from those floozies you’re always picking up.” Aphrodite snorts, “Really boys.”
Cupid and Strife snicker helplessly. “I had an idea. You remember hearing about this guy who had an operation to change his sex?” Aphrodite and Ares nod, rolling their eyes. “Anyway, in the future there’s going to be a lot more of them doing that. I had the idea of making some of the streetwalkers be men going through the steps of becoming women. Or better yet, imagine somebody meeting the women of your dreams and find out she stands up to pee. I have to work it into a movie, it’s just too good to leave alone.”
Ares rolls his eyes at his husband as Joxer begins snickering. “I got an idea for you Strife, in the future reality shows are going to be the big thing. How about coming up with talk shows where the entire hour is taken up by one thing, like a beauty contest with men dressed like women and real women and people from the audience have to decide which is which or women bringing their boyfriends or other men to the show to prove they’re the father of the baby.”
“Ohh yeah,” Strife purrs, “and how about having them end up not being the baby’s daddy?”
“Hell, if you want to go all the way, have people in the audience booing the men and women alike. And, to make it even more interesting, have some of them be one night stands with other family members. Imagine finding out the baby you thought was yours might end up being your brother’s?”
“The two of you are sick, sick, sick. You’re going to be destroying television with those damn shows.” Ares grumbles, “That’s almost as bad as ‘Dite’s soap operas that never stop.”
“Hey Mom, want an idea for your shows? Introduce some kids, then have them suddenly grow up overnight and nobody notice it. They went to bed children one night, wake up the following day in their twenties with a whole new storyline, and have their parents stay the same age.”
“Either that or have them go upstairs to work on their homework and never be seen again.” Strife chortles. “Selective amnesia so that nobody ever remembers them. One day you got two sons and a daughter, the next day you just got the boy and girl.”
“How about writing annoying nerdy characters into the series, and have them take over the entire show?” Edgar says, bouncing the howling baby in his arms, “Lord Apollo’s favorite writers could easily tell you how a character can take over a story instantly.”
“Yeah,” Aphrodite says, eyes gleaming as she takes notes. “Hephy, in the future there’s going to be a lot of home improvement type shows. Want to give me a couple ideas on how they might be handled.”
“Strife, Aphrodite, got an idea for you.” Clothos says, picking up her fussing son from the cradle and changing him in the middle of the living room. A Cherubim instantly appears with a bowl of warm water and clean diaper, then disappears with the dirty diaper. “In the future, there’s going to be independent channels that will specialize in various themes, how about thinking of the stupidest shows imaginable and making sure they become instant hits.”
Strife looks at Clothos, then rolls on the floor howling in laughter. “Brilliant, then make sure they go downhill until you’re damn sick and tired of them before they finally end up being cancelled.”
“Or how about this? Make some shows instant hits with the audience, make sure there’s a big fan base among the audience, then cancel them and watch the fur fly as the audience complains until they’re forced to show the remaining episodes. Or better yet, make sure the episodes don’t air in the United States, but do air overseas and watch the fans scramble to get all the episodes of the show.”
“Speaking of fan bases, how about making some shows cult classics, with huge conventions featuring them.”
“Or better yet, make it impossible to get episodes of some shows and charge huge fees for what you do have.” Strife snorts in the corner, holding his sides. “Or have more than one company own rights to a tv show or series of movies and make the fans jump through hoops trying to get all the movies and tv shows on video or dvd.”
Edgar pats Alex’s back as he makes another loop of the room, then blinks as a strange machine appears in the corner of the room.
“Here ya go, Edgar,” Strife creates a peculiar bag and places Alex inside it. Alex scrunches his face and dirties his diaper in protest, howling the entire time. Strife shrugs, takes the howling baby from the bag, and puts him on the floor to change. Once Alex is on the flat surface he begins kicking and squirming, fighting Strife every step of the way as he strips him out of the soggy sleeper and diaper. Cupid smiles and tickles Alex’s stomach to help divert his attention as Strife gets him dressed again.
“Okay, what the hell is that supposed to be?” Ares asks, pointing to the corner as Strife hooks the complaining baby back into the bag.
“Something called a treadmill. It allows you to walk,” Strife jumps onto it and the colored mat under him starts to move, forcing him to walk so he doesn’t fall off, “with the baby and not wear a path in the rugs. In the future they’ll be in gyms so people who are too busy go actually go outside and walk can still exercise. And a lot of busy parents in the future are going to be carrying their kids in bags like these, to leave their arms free. Ouch.” He yelps as Alex’s flailing hand swats him across the chest. Alex pauses in his crying a minute, realizes his arms and legs are free, and adds kicking his feet against Strife’s stomach and squirming in the bag to his howling.
/What the hell is his problem?/ Hippolyta blinks, woken from her sound sleep. She swats her brother in the cradle next to her, waking him with a snort.
/Alex, he’s been howling and carrying on for nearly a week now./ she blinks as the blurry figure she associates with Dad swims into view above her face, picking her up from the cradle as her other Da picks her brother up.
/Dad, don’t jiggle me like that, or I’m going to throw up on you./ she warns her Dad as he pulls her up to his shoulder, rubbing her back..
/Told ya’/ she smirks as she upchucks on his bare chest. A loud belch and louder fart causes Aphrodite to smile as she accepts the baby and changes a newly dirty diaper.
Joxer smirks as he hands Ares a warm cloth to clean himself up with before taking their cooing son, and directing him to a waiting nipple.
/Yo Alex, whasssup?/
Ares smiles as his daughter turns her head to look in her brother’s direction. “Yes Lyta, that’s your brother, and the other baby is your Cousin Alex.”
/Dad,/ she stares at her father, batting at her mother’s chest as she begins to drink, wishing once again that she was old enough to put her hands on her hips and scowl at her father or that grownups understood baby talk. /I do know who he is, I was just wondering where he had picked up that idiotic catchphrase./
/Ohhh, somebody learned a new word./ her brother taunts her, /Just so you know, that’s going to be very big in about twenty years, thanks to a couple of beer commercials everybody’s going to say it./
/Still don’t mean it’s not stupid. It’s almost as bad as that damn song Strife’s been humming for the last couple of weeks. ‘I’m too sexy for my shirt, so sexy it hurts’/ she mocks.
/Are you two quite done?/ Alex’s mind voice is slightly amused, in stark contrast to his current stage of discontent./I’m presently having a fit because my slave isn’t here. I figure if I complain enough, Ares won’t be so quick to send him on another assignment./
/He means Uncle Spike, doofoid./ His sister snorts in disgust as she’s held up to Hephaestus’ shoulder and burped. /Jeez ‘Lyta, what the hell are you eating?/ her brother complains around Ares nipple, /somebody light a match./ he waves a hand in midair, cooing as Joxer catches his waving hand and kisses each little finger.
/Suckup./ his sister snorts, wailing from her spot in Aphrodite’s arms, /Daddy always liked you best./
“Here Aphrodite,” Joxer smiles as he takes their fussing daughter back, “I’ll hold her while you go change.”
Aphrodite looks across the room in the mirror, seeing she’d arrived at Angelus temple with curlers in her hair, a nightmask on her face, and a cotton granny gown and shrieks loud enough to be heard over Alex’s howling before popping back to her temple.
“Joxer, that was mean.” Strife manages to gasp out while giggling hysterically. “You know how ‘Dite always has to look her very best.” Ares and Hephaestus exchange amused smirks.
“Think of it as getting ready for when she’s taking care of the babies.” Joxer smiles peacefully. “With two babies underfoot, she’s not going to have hours to sit in front of a mirror doing her hair and makeup.”
“Three if Angelus makes good his threat to make her baby-sit while he’s down below.” Ares chuckles as his son reaches for his sister as he lifts the baby to burp him. “It’s been centuries since Aphrodite had to deal with a hyperactive flying baby.”
“Okay, I’ve been wondering where the tendency towards wings comes from?” Edgar asks, dropping onto the couch beside Asclepius who wraps an arm around his shoulders.
“The tendency towards wings runs in my side of the family, Edgar.” Ares says, “I have a set of black wings, but I don’t usually grow them unless they’re needed because, unless you grew up with them like Bliss, Cupid, and Alex, they’re a handful to get used to. Your center of balance shifts dramatically, just like being pregnant except the weight’s all in the back instead of the front.”
“Why do you have black wings, while Cupid and Bliss have white wings?”
“I have black wings because I’m War, while Cupid and Bliss are both part of the House of love, the gentler side of humanity.”
“Yeah right,” Strife snorts, “obviously you haven’t been watching the number of marriages breaking up because of affairs, or one partner killing the other one. As many lives are ruined in the name of love as they are in the name of religion.”
“Don’t even get me started on that nonsense.” Ares rolls his eyes, “My God says to kill you because you’re infidels. My god is the true god. Blah.” Joxer nods, having listened to Ares rants about religious mania throughout the years. “That’s one of the things I want to take care of when we come back into power. Religion is not an excuse to wage war against others who don’t worship the same god as you do.”
“What about those religions that subscribe to the practice of segregating women?” Edgar asks.
“Those that are peaceful and the women are happy where they are I’ll leave alone, as for the others . . .” Ares smirks evilly, “I thought I’d let Athena handle them.” Strife giggles manically at the idea of any man telling Athena what to do while Cupid and Hephaestus smirk and Joxer gives his husband a tranquil look. “I dare any religious zealot to tell her she’s inferior to them because she’s a mere woman, or call her an infidel because she doesn’t share his religious views.”
Strife snickers, imaging the look on Athena’s face when Aphrodite pops back into view, dressed in her usual ‘almost there but not quite’ dresses, hair brushed out and face scrubbed clean of the moisturizing mask.
“What are we talking about?” She asks, looking over to see her daughter trying to grab her brother’s nose. “Lyta, behave.” She tells her daughter, waving a finger in her direction. The baby turns her attention back to her mother and Joxer grins, seeing Ares best stubborn look on their daughter’s face.
/Mom, bite me./ Lyta says, turning her attention back to tormenting her younger brother.
“You are going to be a real hell raiser when you grow up, aren’t you?” Joxer chuckles, bouncing the baby in his arms to stop her screaming at being unable to reach her brother, he blinks as the baby in Ares’ arms seems to nod at him.
/Hello, we are talking about the daughter of ‘Dite and Ares, remember? With those two as parents, she’s got a double dose of attitude./ Hector says dryly. /I’m going to end up being the good kid, ‘cause I’ve got your calm, sunny nature./ Lyta screams in outrage and Hector gives everybody a smile, one that Ares knows has nothing to do with gas.
“Give her here, Joxer.” Ares says, trading babies with his husband. “She’s just upset that Hector is getting most of my attention.” He grins as his daughter immediately stops fussing once she’s in his arms, looking up and giving him her best ‘I’m the best baby in the whole wide world’ he’s seen on his other children’s faces when they’ve been up to mischief. He chuckles as his daughter makes a ‘so there’ face in her brother’s direction.
“What the Tartarus is going on in here?” Hades bellows, coming up through the floor. “Alex is crying loud enough to be heard in Asphodel. I can’t get any work done because nobody can hear themselves think, let alone hear me.”
Alex begins bellowing even louder at the interruption, bringing Angelus, Bacchus, and Dionysus running from the bedroom, despite the sleep spell that Asclepius had placed on them.
“Here, you got him bellowing again after we had finally got him calmed down a little, you settle him down.” Strife says, pulling the bag holding Alex off his chest and slapping it on Hades. “You think you can quiet him down, go right ahead.” Strife smirks and conjures an overstuffed couch, pulling Cupid down beside him and grinning as his husband reads his mind and conjures up a huge bowl of popcorn.
“You three, back to bed now.” Edgar orders, waving them back to the bedroom. Angelus looks ready to disagree but can barely stifle a yawn. He gets them settled back in bed, watching in amusement as they immediately go back to sleep the second they lie down.
“Have you tried feeding him?”
“Repeatedly, he just keeps spitting out the bottle.” Ares says, “He’s got to be hungry, but he’d rather scream his head off instead.”
“What set him off?”
“Angelus says he’s been screaming like that ever since I sent Spike, Darla, and Drusilla down below. Bacchus told me that one of his Slayers had started killing indiscriminately and needed to be taken out.”
Hades shucks off his heavy robes and tosses the medallion that’s the symbol of his status as King of Asphodel over a coat rack and begins walking the floor.
“You need to keep your steps slow and steady.” He tells the others, grinning as Alex immediately begins to settle down. “See works every time.”
/Was that supposed to do something?/ Alex snipes, having learned from the best. /The slower you move, the louder I scream./
“Well, it usually works every time.” Hades shakes his head to clear the ringing from his ears. “Jasmine usually settles right down and drifts off to sleep in my arms.” Just then, the shades of Zeus and Hera, accompanied by one of Hades handmaids carrying a baby in her arms pop into the room.
/Hey Alex./ The new baby in the room waves from her spot on Cassandra’s shoulder. /Whatcha doing?/
/Tormenting everybody on Mount Olympus, or at least everybody in the room by screaming my head off until five minutes after Spike returns, then I’m going to slowly stop crying, stick my thumb in my mouth and drift off to sleep./ Alex says, smirking.
“You know, if I were really nasty I’d bring Gabrielle up and make her walk Alex up and down the floor.” Hades smirks. “I’m beginning to run out of ways to torment her.”
“Only if you put a gag on her.” Ares growls, “Her voice is like fingernails on a chalkboard.”
/Who are you torturing, her or me?/Alex snarks from his spot on Hades shoulder when he sees Thanatos appear with the shade of Gabrielle.
“Gabrielle, I have a job for you.” Hades says, passing over the screaming baby in his arms. Gabrielle automatically reaches for the baby, holding him close and beginning to rock him. “Alex is the son of Angelus and Bacchus and has been crying non-stop for nearly a week. Treat him as you would your own daughter and try to get him calmed down. If you succeed, I will allow you to return to Earth as one of Ares helpers.”
Gabrielle turns to look at Ares and Joxer, who both give her ‘don’t fuck this chance up’ looks as she slides into the harness. Rubbing Alex’s back with one hand, she begins to softly hum an old lullaby as she starts walking back and forth, wincing as his cries gain volume and intensity.
/You realize of course,/Alex says in his best Foghorn Leghorn imitation, picked up from his frequent trips to the hall of Time with Spike. /This means war./ Smirking to himself, another gesture picked up from his favorite slave, Spike, he takes a deep breath and begins to howl, chuckling evilly when Cerberus joins in with all three heads. Everybody present winces at the howling of the three-headed dog, sighing in relief when Hades banishes him back to Asphodel.
/Alex, that was mean./ Jasmine chides, hiding a huge smirk in Cassandra’s shoulder.
/Wasn’t me that got Cerberus into the act./ Alex says /’Sides, look at Strife, he is getting a major rush from all this./
Jasmine turns her head enough to look around the room with one eye, seeing Strife bouncing in place on the couch like he’d just drunk a case of Mountain Dew in one sitting. Cupid, sitting next to his lover, gives him an indulgent look. Grabbing him by the shoulder, the love god teleports them out of the Temple to burn off some of the extra energy. Closing her eyes, Jasmine snuggles back into the shoulder of her favorite sitter and, sticking her thumb in her mouth, drifts off to sleep.
Aphrodite creates another crib, and Cassandra smiles as she carefully eases the sleeping baby into it. Hades holds his breath as his daughter mumbles around her thumb, but never wakes up. Joxer looks over at the new baby and smiles. “She looks just like Jayce.”
Hades nods and smiles as his consort of a thousand years, Jayce the God of Fashion pops into the room. Squealing, he pulls both Ares and Joxer into his arms, kissing them on either cheek. Hades chuckles at the look on Ares face as Jayce turns his attention to the new babies looking up at him from the cradle with identical ‘who the hell are you’ expressions on their faces.
“Hello Dearhearts, I’m your Uncle Jayce.” He coos, rubbing a hand over their tufts of dark hair. Hippolyta scowls up at him, and he smirks, recognizing the look from Ares face more times than he can count. “My, I’d swear that Jasmine and Hippolyta were sisters, not cousins, you two girls look so much alike.”
“Jayce, Hector is mine and Ares, not Hippolyta.” Joxer says, rolling his eyes at his brother’s theatrics.
“Pooh, like that ‘s really going to matter. You might not be her daddy biologically, but you’re her daddy anyway, and that’s all that really counts. Just like Hector is going to end up calling Hephy Daddy too.” Hephaestus grins on the couch where he’s sitting, one arm wrapped around Aphrodite’s shoulders, nodding. He’s been ‘Daddy Heph’ to all the children Aphrodite had had with Ares, he’s not going to deny Hector that love just because he’s Ares and Joxer’s son, not Ares and Aphrodite’s.
“So Ares, Joxer, what have you heard lately from Jett?” Jayce drops onto the couch beside his husband, absently raising his voice to be heard over Alex’s howls. “And whyever is Alex raising such a fuss?”
“Last I heard, Jett had took over leadership of a group of assassins.” Ares says, rubbing the back of his head tiredly as Alex’s howls begin to give him a headache. Asclepius blinks off the couch, returning a minute later with a vial of headache potion he hands Ares. Ares drinks the potion in one gulp, making a face at the taste, and washing it down with a goblet of wine the Cherubim bring him. Asclepius grins as he puts a box of the vials on the table, knowing the others would be needing them before long. Tapping a Cherubim on the shoulder, he whispers in his ear, and minutes later a refilling jug of wine appears on the table.
“Yes, I’d seen some of the new shades arrive with his trademark.” Jayce says dryly. “So he’s happy? Or as happy as he ever gets?”
“Yeah, he still takes special jobs that the others can’t take, but he complained that he was feeling burned out after the war.” Ares says, “I told him to settle down, take advantage of the GI bill the Americans had passed, and go to school for a few years, he might find something else to do with his life for a while. With his knowledge of anatomy, he might even become a doctor, and help people instead of hurt them.”
“I’m sure that went over well with our brother.” Jayce says dryly, exchanging amused looks with his brother over the War God’s head.
“He gave me a disgusted look and walked away, mumbling under his breath.” Ares grins, “You’d think I’d just told him he’d won the Nobel Peace prize for Humanity. Anyway, he decided to take a sabbatical for a few years there, then somebody put a hit out on him and he found out who had ordered it, took out the assassin and the person ordering the hit, and took over the organization.”
“Wondered why he’d ever work with an organized group.” Hades says, “He’s been too much of a loner for too long to ever take a partner.”
“If he ever decides to come back permanently to Mount Olympus, I’d offer him a Godhood in a second.” Ares says, “Even if he didn’t want a godhood, his years of guerrilla fighting would be a big asset as one of my Priests, especially when we come back into power.”
“Jett has too many bad memories of Mount Olympus to ever do more than come visit occasionally.” Joxer says sadly, “I sent him a notice about Hector’s birth, and I’m sure Jayce did the same thing when Jasmine was born.” Jayce nods emphatically. “And he sent me a baby gift, but he feels that all these years as an assassin has left him ill-suited to do anything else but kill. If he would just take a sabbatical for a few years, here on Mount Olympus where he could live peacefully without the chance of somebody finding out who he was, where he was staying, and trying to make a name for themselves killing him, I think he’d find out that there’s lot other things he could do.”
“I will suggest this next time I see him. After all, he’s going to have to retire his newest identity sooner or later when somebody puts two and two together and realizes that he’s not aging normally and tries to capture and/or kill him to find out why.” Ares says, looking over when Joxer moans as a vision rips through his head. “What? What did you see?” He asks when his husband starts laughing.
“It’s about ten-twenty years from now?” Joxer says slowly, trying to make sense of what he’s seeing. “There’s a new Temple on Mount Olympus, and Jett is standing on the steps, watching two little children playing on the grass, and there’s somebody standing beside him.”
“Jett, a father? Those poor kids.” Gabrielle says disbelievingly from where she’s vainly rocking Alex. She pales as Joxer and Jayce turn furious gazes in her directions.
“Jett had a family once.” Joxer says sadly, “His wife and young son was killed by a Warlord. Jett tracked him down and killed him, and he’s been killing people ever since.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know.”
“Not many people do.” Hades says, remembering ushering the two lost souls to Elysium so many years ago. They’d chosen to be reborn when told that Jett would not be joining them and he often wondered if one of the reasons Jett had stayed a loner so many years was because he was looking for his lost family.
Joxer and Jayce nod sadly. “Jett was the first one of us to marry, it was a arranged marriage between our father and a neighboring warlord to keep the peace. When the elder Warlord died, his son immediately ordered Jett and his family killed to break the peace. Unfortunately for him, Jett wasn’t home at the time. Father told him what had happened and Jett immediately set out to avenge his family.”
“It was brutal.” Ares says, shuddering. “I’ve seen beserkers, and I’ve seen what insanity does in a fight, but Jett was neither. He knew exactly what he was doing and who he was doing it to. He made damn sure nobody who wasn’t involved in the slaughter of his family was hurt in his ambushes. He had a list of who he needed to kill, and kept strictly to that list. That’s what got him a name as an assassin.”
Gabrielle turns her attention back to the baby howling his lungs out in her arms, automatically humming a lullaby as her mind races at the news of Jett’s lost family and the reason why he had become an assassin. She sighs, realizing that if it had been her, she probably would have done the same thing.
Jayce and Joxer smile as they see the play of emotions on Gabrielle’s face, in the old days she never would have stopped to think, or apologized for opening her mouth. Maybe she’s finally growing up. Meanwhile, the shades of Zeus and Hera bend over the cradle where their newest grandchildren lay, Hera cooing at the babies while Zeus mumbles yet again about it not being fair that they haven’t been reborn yet. Hera gives her husband a steely-eyed glare and he settles down, knowing better than to try her patience.
“Aren’t you hungry, little one?” Gabrielle croons under her breath, taking Alex from the bag and laying him on a blanket on the floor. Alex glares at the bottle approaching his mouth but gives in to his growing hunger and begins to drink, smirking as the others sigh in relief.
“At least you got him to eat, that’s more than the rest of us could do.” Bacchus mumbles from the doorway, brushing sleep from his eyes. “And don’t even think of putting me back to sleep.” He growls, waving a finger at Edgar and Asclepius who are approaching him with determined looks on their faces.
“I didn’t, the three of you falling asleep the second you laid down was your exhaustion speaking, not me.” Asclepius smirks, watching as Alex slowly drains the bottle before tossing it across the room and belching loudly.
“Still say he sounds like Angelus,” Dionysus mumbles from the bed as Bacchus slides back into bed. He snuggles against the other god’s chest, staying awake long enough to hear the door to the Temple open and close. He looks over at Edgar who smiles as he stands in the doorway.
“Clothos said something earlier about spending the day at the beach, so we’re joining her.” He says, “Maybe we can keep Alex occupied with something other than screaming for a couple of hours. The change of scenery wouldn’t hurt anyway. And Gabrielle did get him to eat, so Hades and Jayce decided she deserved a chance to see something besides Tartarus and the Temple.”
“I don’t like the idea of Alex . . .” Angelus begins to say, struggling to sit up before Edgar calmly shoves him back into the bed with one hand placed on his chest. “You, sleep.” He orders, “Alex is going to be with Lords Ares, Joxer, Hephaestus, Hades, Jayce, Lady Aphrodite and the Fates as well as Iolaus, Cassandra, Asclepius, myself, and the other babies. He is going to be fine, and look at it this way, someday Lord Ares is going to have a job for you and you’re going to have to leave him with either Lords Dionysus and/or Bacchus while you work or Lady Aphrodite.”
“Serve her right if I got him toked up on sugar before I sent him over there to play with Cassandra, Lyta, and Hector.” Angelus mumbles, falling back asleep despite his best efforts.
“Wait until he’s flying before you do that,” Bacchus whispers against his neck, “It’s been centuries since she had to deal with a hyper flying toddler.”
Edgar snickers quietly as he leaves the room. The evil grins on Joxer’s and Ares’ faces tell him they had heard Bacchus’ quiet comments. “Make sure you have a mirror there to record it when it happens.” He whispers, walking past the two gods to grab the diaper bag Asclepius had created for the trip to the beach, smirking as he quietly cops a feel when Asclepius bends over to pick up the bottle Alex had tossed across the room. Asclepius yelps and quickly straightens up and turns around, eyes narrowing as he takes in his lover’s best innocent look.
“Did Hermes start another pool on when Edgar or Asclepius ends up pregnant?” Joxer asks his mate as they port to a deserted cove, smiling as they see Poseidon and his merpeople beginning to arrive.
“I don’t think so,” Ares says quietly, watching as Cassandra, one hand trustingly in Edgar’s greets her great uncle, a couple generations removed. “But I do have it on good authority that Cassandra has been begging Edgar, Asclepius, and Iolaus for a baby, since everybody else has one.”
Joxer snorts, watching as Gabrielle puts Alex down on the blanket. The baby stops crying momentarily, rolls over onto his stomach and starts crawling across the blanket. He stops the minute his hand touches the sand, lifting one hand as if to say ‘what’s this stuff’ and takes off crawling across the beach, screaming his head off the entire time.
/This is fun./Alex giggles as he gains speed when he hears Gabrielle coming up behind him. /Nyah, nyah, you can’t catch me./
“Hello, little one.” Poseidon says, looking down as the crawling baby bumps his leg. “And who are you?” He asks, picking up the baby and holding him up to his face. “Well, such a lot of noise from such a small baby.”
“That’s Alex, Bacchus and Angelus’s son.” Joxer says, walking over and ruffling the baby’s dark curls, dodging a flapping wing. “He’s not in the best of moods right now, he’s been crying nonstop for over a week now. He just had a bottle so he’s not hungry, he’s got a clean diaper, he’s just pissed off at the world and letting everybody know it. We think it’s because Spike is down below on an assignment from Ares. This is the first time that Alex hasn’t had him around and he’s missing him.”
“That is why I’m not giving Angelus a job until Alex is a little older,” Ares calls from the blanket he’s set up. “Can you imagine the racket he’d be putting up if it were Angelus, not Spike, who’s currently away? That and you’re going to need to pry Alex from Angelus with a crowbar. Uncle Don, come meet Lyta, Hector, and Jasmine. Lyta’s mine and Aphrodite’s, Hector is mine and Joxer’s, and Jasmine is Uncle Hades and Jayce’s.”
“Angelus and Bacchus had a child? I thought that bacchii were sterile?”
“So did we, otherwise we’d have been ass deep in little bacchii years ago.” Hades snorts, conjuring a large beach umbrella to shade the babies and himself. Hector begins squirming when Joxer rubs sunscreen onto him, smirking as Lyta fusses the entire time.
/Yuck, that stuff stinks worse than my last dirty diaper./ she grumbles. /Don’t know why you’re putting that shit on me, Dad, I’m two months old, I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere anytime soon./
“Lyta sounds just like you did when you were that age, Ares.” Poseidon smirks.
“We already think she’s going to be a hell raiser when she grows up,” Ares says, “I am not looking forward to her teenage years.” Aphrodite and Ares shudder in unison.
“Teenage years hell,” Iolaus says, “Wait until she gets her first cycle. I’m not looking forward to Cassandra’s either.”
“Ahh,” Aphrodite says, waving a hand, “Find them a nice man or woman to settle down with and their hormones will even out.”
“Nope, not gonna happen.” Iolaus, Joxer, and Ares say in unison. “If Hippolyta is anything like Xena was, she can go scream, curse, and break something in the quarry until it’s over. Hephaestus always has a need to break big blocks of steel into smaller pieces for his forge.”
“I think I should be upset that you’d be siccing the girls on me, but after watching Xena during her cycle one time, yeah, I can find some heavy lifting and/or manual labor for them to do until it’s over.” Hephaestus says dryly.
“When was this?” Ares asks.
“Back when she was still one of your warlords, Ares. You had just wanted a small battle so a new warlord could take over an area, and he made a crack about Xena and she gutted him.”
“Was that that idiot, Pylennes?” Ares asks with a snort.
“I don’t think I ever got his name, though Uncle Hades probably did when he arrived at Asphodel.”
Ares turns to look at his uncle who grins and nods his head. “Yup, to quote Strife it was that loser. He was still muttering under his breath about women, so I decided that his punishment was eternity with women who were having their cycles. He wouldn’t get a seconds peace.”
“Serves the yahoo right.” Ares snorts.
/I don’t know why you children are so damn scared of your daughters when they start to have their cycles./ The shade of Zeus chides them. /You’re gods, for gods sake. Quit acting like scared two year olds./
Ares looks over at his mother, who is giving her husband a dirty look. “He never had to deal with your cycles, did he Mother?”
/No son, your father was always had ‘pressing duties’ during that time of the month./ Hera says, /And with both of us dead, I don’t have my cycles anymore./
Hades smirks at his brother, who is beginning to look scared as he looks at his wife, his brother, and back again. “Well then, since you’re not scared of a woman’s monthlies, I don’t see why you can’t join Pylennes punishment for a couple of days, to share your words of wisdom with him too.”
/Oh now, let’s not be too hasty./ Zeus says, rapidly backing up and holding up his hands in protest.
“Dad, shut it. Otherwise, you might get your wishes and be reborn sooner than expected. Of course, knowing Hades,” Ares smirks at his Uncle who smirks back as Jayce giggles against his shoulder, “You just might end up finding out first hand how bad a woman’s monthlies really are.”
Meanwhile, down on Earth Spike, Drusilla, and Darla look down at the body of the Slayer they had been sent to deal with. Madness had given her strength beyond her Slayer abilities and it had been a hard fight for the three Bacchii to subdue and slay her.
“Is . . . is it over?” A trembling voice asks from the corner of the alleyway. Spike turns to look at the young Watcher, sent to subdue the mad Slayer and bring her back to the Council to be dealt with when she had started killing indiscriminately, including her former Watcher who had been the first to die at her hands. His death was the only one Spike had felt like cheering for, he'd been a mean manipulative bastard who had started having sex with the girl with the Council's blessing when she had turned ten and
had her first period, telling her that it was her duty as his Slayer to be
his bedmate and give the Council more potential Slayers. The girl, only
sixteen when she was killed, had already borne the Council three children,
had two miscarriages, and was pregnant yet again.
“Yeah, Watcher, it’s over. She’s dead.” Spike says, wiping a trickle of blood from his mouth and dropping into his Master Vampire act as he stalks towards the Watcher. Catching his eye, he begins purring, sending the younger man into a hypnotic trance. Planting a number of post-hypnotic suggestions, he smiles as the younger man walks unsteadily over to the body of the Slayer, checks her vitals then heads for the nearest phone to make his report to the council.
Darla stands over the body and says a quiet prayer to Bacchus and Hades to receive her soul in their arms and send it to a peaceful afterlife before bending to close her eyes. Standing up, all three Bacchii turn at the light in the end of the alleyway, heralding the arrival of a God.
Strife looks over at the body and motions for the three Bacchii to join him as a police car screeches to a halt at the mouth of the alleyway. Two officers, guns drawn and looking around them slowly head for the body silhouetted by a streetlight, bending down to check a pulse.
“She’s gone,” the older man says, turning his head to look back at his rookie. “Call it in.”
“Any id?” The rookie asks, walking back to the car and picking up the radio handset.
“Nope, just another Jane Doe,” the older cop says sadly, rifling through her pockets. “No personal effects except for a cross on a silver chain.” He slides a finger under the chain, holding the cross up to glisten in the light. He stands up as the morgue wagon arrives, helping the older man open the back door and lift out the stretcher and body bag. “We got a Jane Doe here Sam, she couldn’t have been dead for more than an hour.”
“How’d you find her?” Sam asks, bringing the stretcher up to the body as the two cops help him roll the body up in a tarp and then place it in the body bag.
“We got a anonymous call about a fight in an alleyway. When we pulled up, we found lying here, like somebody wanted us to find her.”
“No personal effects?”
“Nothing except the necklace,” the older cop says sadly, “At least you don’t have to hunt for a cause of death.”
“Nope, looks like whoever killed her knew what they were doing. They probably grabbed her from behind and SNAP,” the morgue attendant mimes the breaking of her neck, “Just like breaking a chicken’s neck back home.”
“Is it over?” Strife asks, making everybody visible when the morgue wagon and police car have left.
“Yes, My Lord Strife,” Darla says. “We just need to gather our belongings and tell the woman at the boarding house we’re leaving.”
“Cupie can take care of that,” Strife says, bringing everybody back to Mount Olympus. “ ‘Cause Spike is needed back home, like now.”
“What’s the matter . . . Angelus, Alex?”
With a grin, Strife replays a portion of the events earlier in the day. Darla and Drusilla immediately head for Angelus’ temple when they hear the baby crying, pausing to look back when Spike hasn’t joined them.
“Spike, what are you doing? The baby’s . . .”
“Pissed off at the world and letting everybody in earshot know it.” Spike says with a grin. “What set him off this time?”
“You being gone.” Strife says with a grin, “He’s been howling nonstop since about an hour after you left, according to Edgar and Asclepius. Angelus, Dionysus, and Bacchus are exhausted, they’ve been walking the floor nonstop trying to calm him down.”
Spike grins, calmly heading for the Temple at a leisurely stroll. “That’s my boy. He was napping when I left.”
“Which explains why it took him an hour to realize you were gone. What, too chicken to leave while he was awake?”
“Hell yes,” Spike says, “The Whelp would just give those big eyes of his and I’d be bawling like a baby.”
“We took Alex to the beach to let Angelus, Bacchus, and Dionysus sleep for a while.” Strife says, following the others into the quiet, except for the sound of quiet snoring in the bedroom, temple. Cupid appears in the Temple, bags around him. The Cherubim immediately grab the bags to take care of as Spike grabs a change of clean clothes.
“I’ll go get the whelp as soon as I change my clothes and get a bath,” Spike says over his shoulder as he heads for the bathroom. Darla and Drusilla grab changes of clothes they keep here for occasions like this and join him in the bathroom, while Strife and Cupid settle on the edge of the tub. The sound of splashing wakes Dionysus, who stretching and yawning enters the bathroom. His yells bring the others awake instantly and Angelus, unmindful of his clothes, dives into the tub and grabs Spike, kissing him senseless.
“Thank Lord Bacchus that you’re back,” Angelus says, holding the younger Bacchii at arm’s length and pulling him back into his arms for a second hug. “Alex has been howling like a banshee in heat ever since you’ve been gone.”
“Lord Strife told me,” Spike says, grinning against his mate’s chest. “I was going to go get the whelp as soon as I got a bath.”
“Did you take care of the Slayer, William?” Bacchus asks, settling on the side of the tub beside Strife, pulling Dionysus down beside him as Angelus grabs the soap and scrubs Spike, who returns the favor.
“Yes, My Lord Bacchus, it’s finished. We were finally able to subdue her an hour ago. The Watcher the Council sent to bring her in has been given a cover story to explain her death.” Spike says, grabbing a towel and drying off briskly.
Strife grins as an evil thought hits him. He turns to look at Angelus, Bacchus, and Dionysus. “You three look like you need some more sleep. So why don’t I take Drusilla, Darla, and Spike to go get Alex?”
“Drop the other one, Strife.” Dionysus says dryly. “Judging from that smirk on your face, there’s more to your plan than Spike just calming Alex down.”
“Well,” Strife grins, waving a hand so that Spike, Darla, and Drusilla are clean, dry and dressed, “I was thinking that since Alex has been howling for Spike, let’s see how long it takes him to realize it’s Spike who’s holding him?” The god smirks as he puts an illusion on the three younger Bacchii, so that they look like Angelus, Dionysus, and Bacchus.
“You are sick,” Cupid grins, “and I must be just as bad for creating a mirror to catch the entire thing.” Cupid suits actions to words as the two gods and three disguised Bacchii leave the Temple. Angelus exits the tub, wrapping a towel around his waist as Bacchus helps Dionysus to his feet.
“You want to go see the fireworks?” Bacchus asks his lover and High Priest.
“Not really,” Angelus yawns, “Since Lord Cupid said he’s going to be taping it, I’ll see it later. Right now, I could sleep a week. And now that Spike is here and Alex is finally going to calm down, I think I’ll do just that.” Angelus settles back into bed, finally drifting off into a deep relaxing sleep with Bacchus and Dionysus joining him in slumber less than a minute later.
Joxer looks up from his spot on Ares chest as a flash heralds the arrival of Spike, Cupid, and the others. He pushes himself up on one elbow, rubbing his eyes when he sees Angelus and the others are up and around. Narrowing his eyes, he looks again, then reaches over and pokes Ares with his elbow.
Ares snorts, woken out of a sound sleep.
“Cupid and Strife are back. Look who they've got with them.” Joxer says.
“What are they doing out of bed so quick?” Ares mutters, rubbing his eyes as he looks in the direction Joxer is pointing. “And why does Strife have a 'canary that just ate the cat' look on his face?.”
“That's not Angelus, Bacchus, and Dionysus.” Joxer says, laying his head back down on Ares' chest. “They're moving wrong. Strife, you're an evil little shit, you'd better be taping this.” Joxer raises his voice slightly. Strife looks over in his direction, giving the younger/older god the manic grin that started many a rumor back in the day as Spike/Angelus picks up the howling baby from his spot on the towel, heading for the water.
“Care to share the joke?” Ares asks dryly, staring at his husband.
“Jeez Ares, think a second. What has Alex been howling about for the last week?” Joxer says, digging an elbow painfully in Ares ribs as he pushes himself up to look in Ares face. Aphrodite giggles as she realizes what Joxer is saying.
“No comments about blondes, please.” Aphrodite giggles. “Ares, who did Cupid and Strife leave to check up on?”
“He went to see how Spike and the others were. . .” Ares voice trails off as he finally realizes what his husband has been saying. Lifting his head slightly, he stares at the three figures standing on the edge of the water as Alex is slowly lowered into the waiting arms of one of Poseidon's merpeople. Squinting, Ares sees past the illusion on the three bacchii watching Alex splashing in the merman's arms. “What's going on?”
“Knowing Spike and Strife? They've probably decided that since Alex has been howling for him nonstop, they'll waiting to see how long it takes him to realize it's Spike who's holding him.” Asclepius says sleepily from his spot on the blanket. He's stretched out sleeping off the huge lunch they'd eaten a couple hours ago, Edgar tucked up against his side. Ghosting one hand over his beloved's head, he lays the other hand on his flat stomach, over where the baby they'd created last night resides. Edgar, awakened by Asclepius' voice, watches his god's actions before sitting up, remembering when Rupert's mother had done the same thing.
“When?” he asks in a hushed voice.
“Last night, my love.” Asclepius smiles. “Looks like Cassandra’s getting her wish about a baby.”
Aphrodite squeals, throwing her arms around Asclepius as Hera smiles at the two men. /You do plan on marrying him, don't you?/ She looks at both Edgar and Asclepius with a stern expression. /Edgar's already your High Priest and Consort, now he's going to be the father of your children../
“M. . .M. . .marriage?” Edgar says, looking from Asclepius, to Hera, then back again. “You want us to get married? But what about Iolaus?”
“Edgar, what Iolaus and I had was very special,” Asclepius says, holding Edgar's hands i in his as he looks at him. “And I'll remember it everyday when I look at Cassandra, but we were only together one time, just long enough for both of us to make sure that I conceived. Iolaus would be the first person to tell me to get on with my life, find somebody I loved, and spend the rest of my life with them. Iolaus is Cassandra's father, but you Edgar, are the man I love.”
Aphrodite flashes out of sight, returning immediately with a bemused Iolaus and Terpsichore. “Okay, I've got them here, go ahead Asclepius.”
“Iolaus, Terpsichore, I'm pregnant. Hera wants us to get married,”Asclepius pauses as Terpsichore squeals when she hears the word pregnant, throwing her arms around Asclepius and Edgar both. “but Edgar's worried you'll react, Iolaus.”
“Congratulations Asclepius, Edgar.” Iolaus says, wrapping his arms around the other two men once Terpsichore releases them. “You're going to be wonderful parents.”
“You don't mind?” Edgar asks.
“Iolaus, I've already told him that except for Cassandra, you and I never have been anything more than very good friends. Will you please be my witness at our wedding.”
“I'd be honored, Asclepius. I'm glad that at least one of us has found happiness.”
“Are you going to start this 'I'm going to be alone for the rest of my life nonsense again?” Terpsichore scowls at Iolaus, hands on her hips. “Your father and I have both told you that you're going to find somebody eventually, quit your damn moping. Otherwise, Edgar might indeed worry that he's taking Asclepius from you.”
“Oh no, it's nothing like that Edgar,” Iolaus says hurriedly, wincing at the scowls from Terpsichore, Aphrodite, and the Fates. “It's just the anniversary of Iphicles' death and I'm feeling sorry for myself. Asclepius isn't the first God or Goddess who's approached me to give them a child, Cassandra's just the youngest.”
“Really?” Edgar asks Asclepius, finally feeling like he isn't stealing Asclepius from a former lover.
“Really, when Cassandra's awake,” Asclepius smiles and brushes his hand over Cassandra who's sleeping on the blanket beside them, “We'll take her around so you can meet her older brothers and sisters.”
“How many children do you have?” Edgar asks.
“Cassandra makes seven.” Iolaus says. “She's the baby in the family.”
“For the time being anyway.” Atropos snorts, “There are babies in your future, Iolaus, lots and lots of babies. When you finally meet the one you're destined to be with, you're going to make up for lost time and your mate will become pregnant almost immediately.”
“Are you sure?”
“Hello, Fate here, know all, see all, say nothing.”
“You got that right,”Ares grumbles from his spot. “I'm still upset that you didn't tell me everything about Angelus' pregnancy when I asked you.”
“What makes you think we've told you everything now?” Clothos snorts at the look on Ares face. “We've seen hints of your mate, Iolaus. The time for you to meet is coming closer and closer, but there are still things left undone before you can be together.”
“Can you tell me how long I have to wait at least.”
“No more than fifteen years, a heartbeat for an immortal such as yourself. For now, concern yourself with being Asclepius' and Edgar's friend and doting 'uncle' to their child. Besides, you're going to need all your strength for when your mate appears on Mount Olympus.”
“Really?” Cupid snickers.
“Let's just say, your son and his mate are going to put out vibes that will lead to at least four new children on Mount Olympus, as well as giving you, your mother, and Strife a hell of a rush.”
“Why have our pregnancies been so frequent and close together?. Jasmine, Hector, Hippolyta, Alex, Cassandra, your four children, and now the new baby. Before Cassandra, it had been nearly a century since a birth.” Ares asks.
“It is a combination of having enough energy to fill positions left empty from the Twilight, the fact that we will be revealing ourselves to humanity in the near future, and the children will have parts to play in that. Alex,” Clothos nods at the baby who is currently being juggled between Drusilla and Darla while Spike digs a trench for a sand castle, “has a destiny helping the last Slayer under the Council's control. From what we've seen, the other children have similar tasks they must perform in the future.”
Spike takes the squirming baby from Drusilla's arms, placing him in the wet sand. Alex' eyes grow huge in his head as he feels the difference of the sand under his hands. /What this stuff?/ he asks, looking up at the person he thinks is his Da.
“This is wet beach sand, Alex, and we're going to build a sand castle with it.” Spike says, “and you get to help me.”
“Don't you think he's a little young to be building a sand castle.” Cupid asks, walking over to watch the bacchii guide Alex' hands in smoothing the sand for the base.
“Probably, but it will wear him out so we can sleep tonight.” Spike says, grinning as Cupid helps build the outer walls.
Hours later a yawning Alex is tucked against Spike's shoulder as he settles down on the blanket. They'd had to dunk him in the water again to get most of the sand off him though there's still some in his hair. The sand castle had been a huge hit with the merpeople who'd brought shells and stones from the sea to decorate the towers.
Spike snickers as he sees the baby fighting sleep before stretching out on the blanket as the sun begins to set. Alex snuggles down on his dad's chest, finally giving up the fight against sleep when he freezes. . .This isn't his dad holding him, this is Spike.
/I hate you./ he scowls as the others present chuckle at the baby's expression. Strife takes the illusion off the three bacchii as the baby glares at Spike. Spike snickers and rubs a hand over his head.”Bout time you figured out it was me whelp, the others say you've been howling for me for a week now.”
/I. . ./he says around a huge yawn /hate. . ./ he closes his eyes, one thumb finding its way into his mouth /you?/ a small snore comes from the baby.
“He's going to sleep for hours.” Cupid snickers, teleporting Spike directly into his bed. “But I hate so see how he's going to react when Angelus has to leave him for the first time.”
“Knowing my whelp,” Spike says around a yawn, stripping down one handed while holding the baby with the other, “he's going to keep everybody on their toes.”
Hours later, Dionysus awakens. Finding the Temple silent for the first time in a week, he pushes himself up on his elbow, looking across the bed to find Spike on the other edge, the baby on his chest, both of them sound asleep. Lying back down, he closes his eyes and goes back to sleep.
AN: If anybody's interested, I probably will write the story about Angelus' first time away from the baby. Judging from how long it took me to finish this story (dang muses, they're never around when you need them) it might take a while.
And yes, Giles is going to find out about his younger brother or sister. He or she, along with Edgar, is going to show up in a story that takes place between the end of 'The High Cost of Winning' and the epilogue.