AresJoxerCupidStrife - Corona


Water
Colour
My Family
Cooking with Hestia 1
Cooking with Hestia 2
Pooft
The Birds
Communication Lines
War Games
I See Dead People
Storming the Castle
Promises
Tarzan Complex
Questions
Tales from the Deep
Childhood VS. Godhood
Girl Part 1
Girl Part 2
Cecillee
The End of an Era
Love 101
Retribution
Hello Again
New Beginnings
Old Habits

Title: Water
Author: Corona
Rating: PG
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: Nothing scary, unless you have a bath phobia.
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Maybe (I'm so good with decisions)
Summary: Cupid meets Strife, for the first time.

A long time ago...

Cupid did not like the bath, which explained his carefully nurtured pout. It made his wings wet, which was nasty. They got all wet and heavy until he thought he'd fall over backwards and never get up again. Then he had to shake them and get all wet again. Besides he liked flying very much and you couldn't try and fly with wet wings. Baths were only good for escaping from but Mommy had fixed that after she'd caught him all wet and covered in bits of bathroom dust trying to climb out of the window. Now the sides were too high and slippery to climb. He was too afraid of falling to try any clambering over them. He couldn't get out unless Mommy said so.

Sometimes that wasn't such a bad thing because Mommy always had big white fluffy towels. She'd always pull him into the towel and hug him close and then ruffle him until he was all dry. That was the nice bit, Mommy said he had to have the bath before he got to be ruffled dry.

So he sat there like a good boy, without crying, in the water, with wet wings. Didn't mean he had to like it and he could scowl and pout if he wanted to. Mommy walked by every now and then to check if he was clean. He always told her yes but then she'd smile and laugh and go away again. He went to the side and peered over to see if she'd come back. She was there and she was talking to Auntie Eris, who gave her something.

"Take the brat for the day would you, Ares has one bitch of a War going on and I can't be dragging him around with me" His Mommy didn't look happy.
"If he doesn't do as he's told just yell or slap or whatever it is you do and he'll behave." Now Mommy looked very cross but he couldn't see what she was holding. She said something Cupid couldn't hear and then Auntie Eris looked cross.
"Yeah well appreciated" and then she was gone. Cupid sunk down in the bath a little bit, not minding wet wings quite so much.

His Mommy unwrapped the blanket and set the thing down. It was like magic because there was a boy there now, a tiny boy who was all white, with black hair. He sunk lower in the bath until only his eyes showed. The boy had big eyes, like the sea monsters Uncle Poseidon had. He wondered if the boy was a baby sea monster. Then his Mommy brought the little sea monster over to him and he raised his nose a bit so he could see.

"Cupid, this is your cousin Erin" Mommy didn't look cross anymore.
"He's going to sit in here with you until his Mom comes back ok" Cupid nodded, still not sure whether Erin was a baby sea monster or not. His Mom scooped him up and settled him in the water. He was much smaller than Cupid but he didn't cry or scream at all. He just sat in the water and stared at it, completely still like a little person made of stone.

"You'll watch him for a minute won't you precious" Cupid nodded again. His Mommy wouldn't leave him alone with a sea monster if it was going to hurt him. Then his Mommy was gone and Erin kept being all still. Cupid watched him, then one of his hands moved, just slightly.

It lifted and then went into the water, the fingers wiggled, and the eyes opened wider still. The fingers came out and went in again. The little mouth came open slowly and then the eyes were so wide Cupid was afraid they'd fall out. He wondered if Erin had ever had a bath before. He wasn't screaming at all.

The hand went in a little harder, there was a splash and for a moment the boy froze tried to watch the drip that had landed on his nose. Then his head came up and he smiled. Cupid decided he had a fun smile.
"I'm Cupid, I'm five" the bathroom made the words loud. The boy was still smiling at him.
"Can you talk, are you big enough to talk yet" his Mom had told him very small people didn't learn to talk til later. The boy looked at him, smiled again but didn't say anything.

"I have a bath on Sundays" he offered.
"Do you have one too?" Erin had gone back to quietly splashing.
"Is Auntie Eris your Mommy?" more splashing, and a little Mmmm noise as ripples made there was over to Cupid's elbows. Cupid made a noise, tried again.

"It's not so bad, Mommy will come back with towels. The little boy wasn't looking at him, just splashing. Cupid scowled, maybe the boy wasn't fun after all. He kicked hard in the water and a big wave went up and splashed hard against Erin.

He hadn't meant to do that, he didn't know the water would hit him. The boy scrunched his eyes shut and held his hands over his face. Since he'd lost his handhold he flailed and scrambled for the edge. Still completely silent he clung there looking miserable, frightened, frightened of him. Cupid felt horrible, worse than horrible. He felt like a bad boy.
"M'sorry" He moved forward.

"Are you drowned?" Erin wasn't looking at him, he was looking past him. He wasn't looking scared anymore, he had big round eyes and his whole mouth was open really wide. Cupid turned around, expecting Mommy to have come back but she wasn't there. A very small hand reached out and poked Cupid's wet wing.
He smiled, because Erin wasn't mad at him and he wasn't crying.
"Haven't you seen wings before?" the boy made a very small noise. Cupid leant closer.
"What?" He let his ear fall right up against Erin's mouth.
"Bird" the boy said softly, Cupid laughed.

---

Aphrodite figured enough time had passed for Cupid to have thawed his cousin out a little. She stepped back into the bathroom and found Erin practically attached to one of Cupid's wings. Cupid didn't appear bothered in the slightest. He was giggling away, which was happier than he'd been in a bath for a while. She appeared in the doorway and unfolded a huge towel. Cupid grinned and lunged for the side, bringing his cousin with him.

"Out, out" he begged and lifted his arms. Aphrodite was happy to oblige she grabbed him under the arms and dragged him out of the water, flinging the towel around him twice, she ruffled him furiously, much to his giggling adoration. Hair sticking up from all angles, wings more fuzzy than fluffy.
They fluttered and drenched them both which provoked more towel ruffling and she damn well knew he did it on purpose.
"I think you're dry honey" Cupid pouted but hitched up the towel and went scurrying round the room.

Aphrodite turned to the second little figure who was watching the scurrying Cupid as if he was something strange and bizarre. Poor little mite.
"Are you coming out?" Aphrodite said softly. The little head nodded.
"Lift up your arms then" he obliged, slowly. Aphrodite unwrapped the towel and lifted him into it. He didn't weigh as much as he should but then he was a skinny little thing anyway. She wrapped the towel around him again and he stiffened, it was unnatural, like solid rock and it made crawly things go up her arms. His elbows had locked and his tiny nose flared on a frightened inhale.
"Hey, it's ok sweetheart" she carefully unwrapped the towel completely and then ruffled his hair with it. He cringed slightly but didn't make any sort of fuss at all. Aphrodite tried to act as if everything was fine because Cupid had stopped haring around and was watching with his little worried face.
"It's his first bath" Cupid offered in a very solemn voice.
"He didn't scream at all" Aphrodite carefully chewed a lip. She wouldn't have expected him to, the kid was practically a ghost. Eris had taken the adage seen and not heard way too far.

"Is it now" she offered in what tried not to be her cross voice. She mentally drew herself back and grinned.
"Who wants ice cream?" Cupid stopped haring and dropped the towel, leapt up and down.
"Me, me, me, me" Aphrodite tried not to smile.
"Naked boys don't get ice cream" Cupid hurtled to the stone shelf and attempted to dress himself, when he'd gotten it mostly right, he stood at attention in front of her. Aphrodite plucked a shirt from the shelf and held it up, sleeves stretched out. Erin stared at it.

"Put your arms up honey" Aphrodite said quietly. Erin eyed the piece of clothing like it was going to bite but did as he was told. The stiffness came again as it was going over his head, then he relaxed. The trousers were harder, and the look on his face when Aphrodite told him to hold onto her made her crosser than she could remember. She finished and then combed his hair with her fingers.
"Do you want ice cream Erin?" he blinked at her.
"It's very nice" Aphrodite said softly.
"It's scrummy" Cupid offered but it was said quietly as if he knew something delicate was going on. Erin was very still for a moment, then he nodded.

---

Cupid clambered onto his mothers bed where she was writing. Then folded his legs and looked at her until she put the quill down.
"I like Erin" Aphrodite smiled and ruffled his hair.
"I know honey"
"He's not like me" She shook her head.
"No he's different from you" Cupid wiggled under her arm until she had to peer through her own armpit at him.
"Do you think he'd come and see me again" Aphrodite simply looked at him for a while, then smoothed his hair down.

"I think it could be arranged" Cupid wiggled further against her, wrapped his arms round her waist and grinned.
"I could teach him how to make ice cream, and we could steal one of Granny's peacocks and put it Daddy's chariot again, and I could show him how to make fluffy stuff out of sugar" He rolled until he could look up at her, a grin on his face which was positively blinding.
"Do you think he'd like that?" Aphrodite found herself momentarily breathless, couldn't resist stroking his hair again.
"I think he would sweetie, I really do."

Title: Colour
Author: Corona
Rating: PG
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: none
Warning: Nothing scary again.
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Sequel to Water, though there will be more.
Summary: Cupid and Erin get creative.

Cupid knocked on the big doors, reminding himself that he was nearly six and he wasn't going to be scared. Even if they did have scary metal heads which came out of the wood and 'Grrd' at people. The knocker was very heavy and he had to fly up a little to reach it. Mommy told him to be careful because he still wobbled a bit when he was in the air.
'Ooof' and didn't land properly either. He was on his bum when Auntie Eris opened the door, so he went all red. Auntie Eris didn't look cross though, she had lots of scrolls and she was talking to someone behind her.

"Hello Auntie Eris" she looked down, raised an eyebrow.
"What does your Mom want now?" Cupid pulled his hand behind his back because that was 'A polite way to stand.'
"Umm can Erin come out and play" Auntie Eris raised her other eyebrow, then smiled funny and shook her head. Pushed all the scrolls into one hand.

"BRAT!" Cupid couldn't see into Auntie Eris home Temple but a minute later big eyes peered round her leg. They saw him and went all wide. Auntie Eris looked at him again.
"He's all yours, I'm gonna be busy so just give him to Ares when you're finished with him" Auntie Eris pushed Erin out from behind her with her knee and didn't even say goodbye or kiss him on the cheek. She shut the door without even looking. Erin stared at him.
"Hi" he offered, Erin didn't say anything. Cupid decided that was ok since they'd only met a little while ago.
"You wanna come do something" the big eyes blinked, then Erin nodded.

---

Cupid decided his clouds should be orange. He picked up some orange chalk and rubbed it over the blobby clouds he'd drawn.
"My clouds are going to be orange" Yep, that was more like it, because clouds shouldn't have to be white if they didn't want to. They should get to choose.
"Now they can rain orange juice" He had a look in his chalk box for a good colour for the grass because green was boring, decided on purple. He stuck his tongue out while he drew excitable purple grass all over the bottom of the parchment.
He looked up, sighed just like his Mommy when he didn't do what he was told.
"You have to draw, so you can colour stuff in" Erin was fingering the parchment like it was an animal or something. Cupid craned his neck down until he could peer into Erin's eyes.
"Can you draw?" Cupid found a piece of blue chalk and handed it over. Erin stared at it for a minute, then took it.
"Draw something" Erin was fingering the piece of chalk, making his hands all blue, which Mommy probably wouldn't like if it ended up on her carpet and curtains.

Cupid pushed his chair back and came to stand behind Erin.
"Mommy learnt me how, look" he took the chalkless hand and pressed it down on the paper. Erin stiffened up like a doll.
"Don't be a scaredy cat I'm only gonna draw it" He used the purple chalk he was holding to draw round Erin's little hand. Then made a triumphant noise and pulled his cousins hand up.

A perfect purple hand showed in the middle of the parchment.
"There, now you can do fingernails and rings and scars and stuff" Erin was gaping at the drawing, then his hand, then the drawing. Cupid went back to his own picture, then slid the red across the table.
"You can colour fingernails in red, or black like your Mommy's" Erin chose the red, then looked at the purple hand again.

"You gotta stay inside the lines" Cupid pointed out because if he was teaching Erin how to colour he had to do it properly. Erin stared down at his drawing and then very carefully started colouring an entire finger red.
Cupid sighed again.
"No, not the whole finger" Erin stared at the picture, then up at Cupid, then he tried to give the red chalk back. Cupid pushed the hand away, getting a little cross.
"No, you can have red fingers I s'pose, Uncle Bacchus does" Erin stared down at his carefully drawn red finger, looked at Cupid, then back at his picture, very carefully started colouring the second finger red.

Cupid decided blue was a good colour for a horse, he wasn't sure how to start drawing a horse so he started with a foot, that turned out to be too big, so it became a chariot instead. Erin had finished his fingers so Cupid gave him the orange.
"You gotta do fingernails" Erin considered this for a minute then started making little orange half moons at the ends of the fingers. Cupid went back to his chariot. He'd have to borrow the orange for the horse in a minute.
Since Erin was still colouring in fingernails. He picked up the yellow and wrote his name carefully in the corner of the picture. Mommy always told him the 'P' was upside down, so he checked it carefully.

He looked over at Erin's red fingers,
"You gotta write your name in the corner, so your Mommy knows who drawed it" Erin squinted
"Can you write?" a little nod, Cupid handed him the black. Erin wrote carefully with his tongue stuck out. Cupid peered over his arm, scowled.
"That's not your name, Erin doesn't start with a S" Erin shook his head. Cupid gave up and started on his orange horse. Erin picked up his forgotten blue and carefully coloured in the palm.

A flash made Erin jump, blue line winding it's way almost out of the hand. He gave a little 'meep' of surprise.
"Mommy" Cupid knocked his chair backwards and leapt at her, Mommy didn't even mind the wings in her face.
"Look what we did, look, look" he dragged her over to the table until she was sat down. Cupid raised his picture,
"That's the sky, and some grass, and that's a chariot, with a horse pulling it. Look I writed my name on it too" Mommy looked very impressed.

"Ooh that's a good horse, I love that it's eating the purple grass" Cupid grinned and picked up some brown chalk.
"I've got to draw a man for the chariot, I'm gonna give him a sword cos he's a hero and he's gonna kill a dragon, but I haven't drawed that yet" Mommy looked at Erin's drawing.
"I like your red fingers" Erin peered up at her through floppy black hair, little smile appearing then hiding just as fast.

"He didn't know how so I showed him how to make a hand" Cupid squirmed forward in Mommy's lap so he could grab the green.
"I'm going to make a green man" Mommy smiled
"Green is a good colour for a man, means he can hide in the grass" Cupid laughed.
"The grass is purple" Mommy slapped her forehead, which meant she was playing. "Of course, purple grass"

Erin had finished with the blue and set it down, he was staring at the colours in the box. Cupid noticed and went for the yellow. Mommy put a hand on his arm and he looked at her funny, but Mommy was looking at Erin.

"What colour do you want sweetie?" Erin looked at her, then at the box of chalk, he looked back at her. Cupid frowned but watched. Erin stroked his fingers over the picture. Mommy waited a long time.
"Yellow please" then Erin looked at her again, like Mommy might be cross. She just smiled and rolled it over.
"Yellow is always a good choice" Erin did his little smile again and took the chalk. He looked at both of them, then slowly started drawing little loops and swirls on his hand.

"Ice cream is yellow" Cupid offered loudly, colouring and not looking at Mommy, maybe since Erin was here Mommy would think ice cream before bedtime was a good idea.
"Hmm I suppose it is" Mommy said quietly, she sounded like she wanted to laugh, Cupid didn't think ice cream was funny.
"And pink sometimes" Cupid picked up the pink and did some more clouds. Mommy liked pink, so maybe pink would make Mommy want ice cream.

"Yes, I suppose it comes in pink as well" Cupid put down his chalk.
"Mommy you're teasing" she laughed and nodded. Something whooshed on the table. A big bowl of pink and yellow ice cream, with three spoons.

---

Outside Daddy Ares temple Erin tried to hand Cupid his picture, Cupid laughed.
"No silly it's yours, you can keep it." Erin stared at the picture, then looked up at Cupid.
"Thank you" Cupid grinned, didn't bounce along though, cos that would be silly.
"You don't have to thank me, you drawed it" Cupid waved his own picture, then pressed it against his chest, carefully avoiding the smears of ice cream. He didn't know how anyone could eat ice cream without getting it everywhere. Mommy and Erin managed, though it took Erin forever to eat it.

"I'm gonna give mine to Daddy cos sometimes he puts them up in the temple" Erin walked a bit faster to keep up with Cupid's bouncing stride.
"One time, I drawed him a sword and he put it up on the doors inside where everyone could see it" They both weaved out of the way when Hermes zipped past. Erin followed him with his eyes until he was out of sight.

"He's really fast" Cupid offered, but Uncle Hermes wasn't quite interesting enough to talk about.
"Are you gonna give your Mommy the picture?" Erin looked down at the parchment he held, stroked the colours. He looked confused, a bit sad, sort of funny looking.
"It's mine" Cupid rolled his eyes like Mommy did.
"Sure it's yours, but your Mommy can put it up somewhere" Erin looked surprised, shook his head. Cupid peered up at the doors to Daddy's temple.
"Are you gonna wait for Daddy inside?" Erin nodded, they both pushed the doors, which made them open quicker.

Cupid shuffled around for a minute.
"Well bye then" Erin wavered in the doorway.
"Bye" but Cupid didn't move yet and neither did Erin.
"Bye" he turned around slowly, pouted a bit, shuffled his feet again.

"Cupid" Cupid turned around, surprised, blinked at the smaller boy. Erin peered behind him, then shuffled his feet around.
"Will you come tomorrow" the voice was higher than his, sort of quiet and new sounding. Cupid grinned widely, they could be friends now he guessed.
"Sure, we can draw some more or play in the gardens, or we could go see Auntie Hestia, she makes nice cakes." Erin grinned, and Cupid had to resist the urge to bounce around.

---

Erin walked home to Discords temple, since Mommy had forgotten him. The temple was dark, Mommy was yelling at someone in the bedroom. Erin carefully walked all the way along the wall to his own room clutching the picture to his chest. It was his, all the colours were his, and he'd drawn it so it was his.

He wanted to give it to Mommy though, he wanted to say 'Mommy, look what I did, look, look' and he wanted Mommy to like the picture. Say it was a good picture, like Cupid's Mommy had done, but he didn't want the picture to die. He held it for a long time, then he carefully folded it into four and hid it behind a brick by his bed.

Title: Childhood 3: My Family
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-13
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: Child abuse herein,
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes, sequel to Water and Colour. Childhood 3
Summary: Home life, for both the little ones...

"There was a pig, I saw it, it had it's nose in the ground and it was digging. I think it was looking for something smelly cos it sniffed a lot. Do pigs dig Mommy?" Mommy looked up from her own sandwich, made a noise and picked melted cheese off of Cupid's eyebrow.
"I suppose so honey, they make a lot of mess walking around and I suppose they figure the food has to be hiding somewhere" Cupid curled up his nose because that sounded gross.
"Ew"
Cupid pulled more bits of melted cheese out of his sandwich and made long strings before pushing them all into his mouth at once. Mommy was smiling at him, he grinned.
"Do you like pigs Mommy, they're pink" Mommy took a bite of her own sandwich and raised an eyebrow.
"Only when they're not dirty, besides some are black" Cupid thought about this for a minute.
"Can I have a pig?" Mommy smiled.
"You don't want a pig Sweetie, they smell" Cupid figured that was easy.
"I could give it a bath" Mommy was laughing, she ruffled his hair.
"I don't think that pigs like baths any more than you do Hon"

---

"Did I not tell you that twenty seconds ago" a big flash and the man Mommy was talking to wasn't there anymore. He looked at his soup instead, making sure the spoon didn't touch the sides and make a tinkling noise. He ate very quietly and didn't swing his legs, or fidget. Mommy walked backwards and forwards.
"Idiots, they're all a bunch of idiots, Aaargh why do I always get the rejects from Tartarus? Ares is screwing me around again, me Discord!" Something metal flew across the room and clanged against the wall a lot. It made spinning noises and then stopped.
"Chaos freakin' sidekick, I don't even get the sweet jobs" Mommy kicked something else, something which whimpered. Erin put his other hand on the spoon to keep it from hitting the side and ate his soup a bit faster. He wanted a bit of bread but it was crunchy and made tearing noise when you broke it. Maybe he could put it in his pocket and eat it later.
"What do I have to do to get a little respect around here" something clanged loudly and Erin hunched a little further down in his chair.
'Don't notice me, don't notice me, please don't notice me'

---

"Cupid you have cheese in your hair, how do you get cheese in your hair" Cupid put a hand up, sure enough there was a long string of cheese on top of his head.
"It pinged, the cheese pinged out of the sandwich." he groped about for a minute, then retrieved the cheese and ate it. Mommy pulled a face.
"Do you have any idea how ick that was?" Cupid giggled and offered his Mommy some hairy cheese. The look on her face made him giggle some more.
"It's not hairy"
"I don't care it's been on your head"

He bounced in his chair, wings rattling the one remaining back spar.
"Can I have fluffy white stuff for dessert" Mommy looked down at his plate.
"Only if you eat the crusts" Cupid pulled a face and looked down at the horrible hard bits of bread, all brown and yuck.
"They're all hard and horrible" he blew a breath out and picked one up, glared at it.
"If I had a pig he could eat the crusts for me" Mommy was laughing now, so he supposed he could eat one.

---

"What the hell is wrong with you" Mommy was very angry with the man who came in. The man was frightened because Erin could see him in the mirror. He was all white and sweating.
"I ask you to do something childishly simple, just one thing for your Goddess and you screw it up. I can't work with screw-ups Caliminas" Mommy's power was thrumming in his head and the mans face was going strange. Erin looked at his soup while the man made noises. He tried to concentrate on his reflection in the surface, but bits of mushroom keep swirling around by his eyes.

The noises stopped and Erin put his spoon back in the soup. He could hear his Mommy breathing through her teeth but he couldn't hunch down any more or he'd fall off.
"Idiots!" she was walking backwards and forwards again right behind Erin's chair.
'I'm not here, I'm not here, I'm not here' sometimes if he concentrated really hard it worked.

---

"Chocolate sauce!" Cupid leant half over onto the table.
"Can I have it in the squeezy bottle?" Mommy looked like she was thinking about it.
"Every time you get the squeezy bottle you end up with more chocolate sauce than dessert" Cupid grinned.
"And a moustache" he grinned some more.
"But it comes out really slowly and just oozes over everything" he bounced around until the chair wibbled.
"Sit on the chair properly, stop bouncing and maybe, maybe you can have the squeezy bottle"

Cupid sat, stopped bouncing, sent his spoon swirling through the white stuff.
"Whoosh" Mommy waved a hand and had the squeezy bottle, she squeezed some onto her own dessert very slowly and he watched it ooze around on the white stuff and dribble about in a little brown wave. He could smell it from all the way across the table.
"Pleeeeeeeease" Mommy rolled her eyes, handed it over.
"You have exactly six seconds" Cupid whooped, better make this count.

---

"This is all Ares fault, stomping around like he's a king or something." Mommy came around the table and kicked a chair out of the way, sat down.
"I'll get him for this, he'll wish he was an only child. It's not like he can't stand to lose a few warriors." She thumped the table making Erin's bowl rattle. He grabbed it with a hand and made it be quiet.
"And what are you still doing here?" Erin stiffened because she'd noticed him. The words hadn't worked today.
"Can't I even eat in peace anymore?" she lashed out.

Erin's bowl flew across the room and smashed into the wall. It shattered into little pieces, which rained down on the carpet. The soup mostly stayed on the wall. There was soup on the wall, his soup, all over the wall. He still held the spoon in his hand. He tucked it in close to him, because it was still a bit soupy and he didn't want it to drip everywhere.
"Now you're finished, disappear" Erin didn't say a word, didn't make a noise, or flinch, or look up. He simply carefully got down and pushed the chair in. Then he walked quietly in the direction of his room. ---

"Cupid pushed his tongue up his lip until it started to hurt"
"Did I get it?" Mommy smiled.
"Now you have a moustache with a hole in the middle, go sideways" Cupid did as he was told.
"Now the other way" Mommy laughed.
"Is it gone"
"Uh huh, now work on the beard" Cupid pushed his tongue down until his chin touched his chest, leaving a creative smear of chocolate sauce. Mommy shook her head and sighed. There was a flash and a warm wet towel appeared.

"You're fighting a losing battle Hon, here" Cupid pulled the towel over his face.
"And the necklace" he giggled and wiped chocolate sauce out of his neck.
"I think you got it all."
"Am I clean?" Mommy squinted, looked him over, came a bit closer.
"You still smell like chocolate sauce" Cupid grinned.
"Good enough to eat?" Mommy made a scary face, growled at him.
"Definitely" Cupid squealed in excitement, high and loud, and went haring off into the main temple. Mommy chased him, which made him squeal louder.

---

Erin wasn't big enough to make fire to light the candles but Uncle Hades had given him a worm in a jar which made everything blue. He said the worms lived in caves and glowed like this because it was very dark. It was called Fosf-something, it was a big word. He put the jar on the table and opened a drawer to find his pyjamas. Uncle Ares had made them for him because he didn't like him sleeping in his wearing clothes. They were black with red edges and he loved them a lot.

He put his clothes on the chair for tomorrow and pulled the stool over so he could climb carefully onto the big bed. He got in and pulled the sheets up to his chin. He leaned over the side.
"Night Worm" the worm wiggled at him and went a bit less glowy. He pulled the sheets over his head and listened for strange voices. Sometimes they didn't start til he was asleep, sometimes they woke him up, sometimes they came really close and he had to hide until they went away. He didn't hear anything.
"Night Mommy" he whispered.

---

"You had that one last night" Cupid peered down at his Mommy, who was trying to wiggle him into his pyjama's.
"But I like it, the dragon's really scary" Mommy shook him into the pyjama pants and lifted him into an arm.
"If I read that one any more you'll have nightmares" Cupid shook his head.
"Uh uh, cos I know Perditus killed him dead and chopped off his head." Mommy scowled.
"No head chopping before bedtime" Cupid groaned. Mommy pulled back the covers and slid him in.

"Besides Pol wrote you a new one special" Cupid nearly flew out of the bed in glee.
"He did?!" Mommy pulled a scroll out from behind her back, then wiggled up to the head of the bed until Cupid could sprawl half in her lap.
"If I fall asleep will you keep reading"
"Sure honey" Mommy unrolled the scroll, stroked a hand through Cupid's hair then slid it down until he was nestled under her arm.

Title: Childhood 4: Cooking With Hestia 1
Author: Corona
Rating: PG
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: Totally harmless
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes, sequel to Water, Colour and My Family
Summary: Cupid and Erin help Auntie Hestia.

"My little angel!" Cupid didn't mind so much when Auntie Hestia picked him up and grabbed him and spun him around, mostly because she smelled like cakes and he always got some, but also because she was fun.
"Auntie Hes" he let himself be kissed on the cheek even though it was gross. She plonked him down, then beamed at Erin, who shuffled behind him a bit. Cupid laughed.
"Don't be scared of Auntie Hes" The elder Goddess leant down a bit so she didn't look so loomy.

"And who's your little friend, is he Demeter's son?" Cupid snorted, wrinkled his nose up.
"No, Demeter had a girl, this is Erin, his Mommy's Auntie Eris" Auntie Hestia's face went funny for a minute.
"Oh my" she said quietly, then she smiled again.
"He's my new friend" Cupid added proudly.
"Well welcome to my house Mister Erin, my home is your home" Erin was still peering suspiciously out from behind Cupid's shoulder. He didn't look frightened any more though.

Auntie Hestia rolled up her sleeves and folded her arms.
"Have you come to eat me out of house and home or have you come to help me make cakes" Cupid bounced around her legs.
"We can help make cakes today, really?" Auntie Hestia pulled out some bowls. Cupid wiggled up onto a stool. Peered across the counter to see if he could see anything nice, like pots of sticky cherries or bits of nutty yumminess.
"I don't see why not" "Erin too?" Erin's eyes widened and he disappeared behind a wing again. "I don't see why not" Hestia peered over the wingtip.

"Would you like to help us make cakes Erin?" Cupid twisted until he could see a big blue eye.
"Auntie Hestia makes the best cakes" Erin made sea monster eyes at Cupid.
"And we get to eat some when we're done...don't we Auntie Hestia" Hestia grinned slowly.
"Well maybe a few, not all of them mind." Erin looked at Hestia, looked at the shiny bowls and big bags of stuff.
"Are you helping?" Erin wiggled out from behind a wing, slowly nodded, he climbed onto the stool next to Cupid but didn't wibble as much.

Hestia clapped her hands hard.
"Alright then, Cupid find my little bowls and the jar of spoons" Cupid slid off his stool and wandered into the large cupboard, he knew where everything was because Hestia was always cooking something, always. He found the spoons and the bowls that all went inside each other and carried them over to the counter.

Hestia pulled all the bowls apart and handed Erin one of the smaller ones. He took it carefully, little fingers gripping the rim.
"Erin, I want you to put fifteen spoonfuls of sugar into the bowl, can you do that for my cake?" Erin nodded, Hestia gave him a big spoon.
"That's the sugar in the blue sack." Erin carefully got down off his stool and pulled open the bag. He set the bowl down on the table next to it and sank his spoon into the tiny crystals.

"Right who's got my raisins?" Cupid rustled, then gasped.
"You" Auntie Hestia pointed.
"Those raisins have to go in the cakes not your mouth little man." Cupid laughed and put the raisins back on the side. Erin was carefully counting spoonfuls of sugar.
"Eight...nine...ten" he stopped, realised he was being watched and went pink.
"My I don't think the icing has ever been mixed so perfectly young man." He went pink again. Auntie Hestia beamed at him.
"He's gone all red" Cupid offered, who was used to his Mommy embarrassing him.

"Cupid find the three pound weight" Cupid grinned, flapped unconsciously blowing sugar into Erin's hair and ruining spoonful number twelve.
"That's a lot of cakes" Auntie Hestia nodded.
"A lot of cakes, so it's a good job I have you two to help me then isn't it." Cupid put his head into the box and found the very heavy weight.
"I found it," there was a thud and a giggle.
"But I can't pick it up." His Auntie chuckled and reached into the box, plonked it on the big set of gold scales.

"Right now can I trust you on flour duty young man?" Cupid grinned.
"Uh huh" Auntie Hes crossed her arms.
"What are the rules?" Cupid chewed his lip.
"No flapping around the flour, no putting my head in the sack, no trying to breathe it in" Auntie chuckled and ruffled his hair.
"Good enough" Cupid found the flour scoop and carefully undid the cord that held the big sack shut.

It was full, mountains and mountains of fluffy whiteness, his wings twitched and he giggled and held them still. He pushed the scoop in, scooped it full, couldn't resist sinking his arm to the wrist. It was so fluffy.

Erin's bowl was ready.
"Right little one, do you want to measure out the butter and squish it in?" Erin smiled a bit looked down at his bowl, nodded.
"You'll make lovely icing, I know it" Erin bit his lip, it appeared he hadn't finished blushing for the day.
"Butter is in the bucket, you can...Cupid no deeper than your elbow please...you can find that outside the back door." Erin set the bowl on the counter and wandered off while Hestia pulled Cupid out of the flour sack.

---

Erin peered around the door jamb before locating a big white bucket. Something yellow and squishy swished around in the cold water but didn't seem to be getting wet. He picked up a square of the stuff, it slipped straight out of his hand, back into the bucket. It must be even squishier than Auntie Hestia had said.

He used both hands to pick up a big wedge and carry it back inside.
"That should be just right, you can put it in the bowl" Hestia was patting flour out of Cupid's hair while he grinned at him.
"I fell" he offered. Erin smiled and stood on tiptoe to make the butter fall into the sugar.

"I think that should do it" Auntie Hestia gave him a very big spoon almost as big as his hand.
"Now squish the butter into the sugar until it's all gone" Erin looked at Hestia, then into the bowl, did a few practice squishes, then looked up.
"Perfect" she muttered and carefully ruffled his hair. Erin tensed slightly but it wasn't a nasty feeling. He offered a smile when she looked at him funny, squished a bit more.
"That's just perfect" she said a little more quietly.

Cupid had managed to get his scoop and only his scoop into the floor and was making cloudy white trips back and forth from the giant bowl that only Aunt Hestia could pick up. Erin didn't know how anyone could make that much mess in so little time. If Mommy's kitchen had looked like this he would have hidden, maybe forever, not that Mommy went in the kitchen much.

"I'm nearly done" Cupid pointed at the scales.
"When the flour goes down that means I'm done" Erin leant over far enough to peer into the scales, they were nearly full. Auntie Hestia was pouring raisins into the bowl and then shaking something orange in. She was had her mouth shut but she was sort of singing anyway. Cupid wiped white hands all over his white pants watched the scales sway and put the scoop down.

"I done" Auntie Hestia peered over.
"Good boy, lets have it then" Auntie Hestia picked the flour and poured it all into the big bowl. Then she took Erin's icing and pushed it along the side.
"Who wants to fetch me some water?" Cupid had the jug and was haring off before Auntie Hestia could finish. She lifted the bowl down onto the smaller counter.

"Do you want to squish some pastry Erin?" Erin peered into the bowl.
"Please" Auntie Hestia leant down and rolled Erin's sleeves up his arms.
"All you do is squish and squash the pastry until it all comes together in a big lump, can you do that for me" Erin nodded, he could try. Cupid had hurried back slopping a big jug of water.
"Cupid try not to drown my kitchen thank you" she took it, looked at it, poured some into the big bowl, looked at it again, poured a little bit more, then set the jug down. Which proved she had to be very clever.

"Ok Erin you can squish now" Erin stared into the bowl, where the water swished about, then very carefully put his hands in. It glooped, then swallowed his fingers. It was squishy, really squishy, it sucked at his fingers and squeezed in-between, then oozed back down into the bowl. He pushed down and his hands disappeared again. Then he pulled them back out, listening to the sucking noise. He made a little giggling noise.

Cupid peered over his shoulder.
"Is it fun?" Erin thought about that for a minute, then nodded. Then he thought some more and carefully leant sideways. Cupid grinned and stuck his own hands into the bowl. They squished together, Erin occasionally accidentally squishing Cupid's fingers instead of the pastry but he didn't seem to mind, he just laughed and squished and squashed harder, giggling occasionally. Erin liked the way it felt, all warm and gooey, he giggled again, Cupid giggled back. Then they were mostly squishing each other as the pastry rolled around in the bowl.

Title: Childhood 5: Cooking with Hestia 2
Author: Corona
Rating: PG
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: Nothing scary
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes, Childhood series.
Summary: More fun in the kitchen and more cakes for you guys.

Hestia was mixing her own cake beside them, only it was a drippy brown mixture. Cupid tried to stick a finger in when she wasn't looking and got boinked on the head with a spoon. Erin didn't think she did it hard because Cupid was laughing.

"We're finished" Cupid declared, when even the most excitable squishing didn't provoke a 'gloop'. Auntie Hestia patted them both on the head. Erin didn't mind much, though he did give her spoon a brief glance as she did so, just in case.
"Right now, tins, trays" Auntie Hestia waved a hand and the side was even more shiny. Giant square metal plates lined all over the floury counter. Then Auntie Hestia took their big ball of pastry and thumped it down hard on the side. Erin jumped but Cupid simply squeezed under Auntie Hestia's arm.

"Can we roll it out, can we, can we" Auntie Hestia whisked a big wooden club out her skirts and Erin thought about hiding behind his stool until Cupid whooped.
"You may roll the pastry, but try to keep it all on the side." Cupid took the big club and hit the pastry with it, making a big dent. Erin thought he'd ruined it and made Auntie Hestia cross.

"Erin, come roll" He didn't know whether he wanted to but Cupid was tugging him anyway.
"We gotta make it flat" Cupid announced in a very adult voice.
"So we can cut cake shapes out of it." he put little hands on one end of the club.
"Put your hands there" he pointed. Erin carefully settled his hands over the other end.
"Push" Cupid squeaked. Erin did as he was told and briefly lost his balance when the club went rolling slowly away from them.
"Ah"
"It's supposed to do that" Cupid offered, which made Erin feel silly.

"Now pull it back" Cupid was pulling before Erin completely understood and his fingers went into the pastry.
"Oh"
"It's okay we'll roll over them" Cupid demonstrated and the little finger holes disappeared. Erin made an impressed noise. Cupid giggled, stuck his finger into the pastry. Then they rolled the hole away. Then he did it again.

Then Erin tried, then they made a face and rolled over that too. Then Cupid rolled over Erin's fingers and they disappeared for a minute too. Which actually made him laugh out loud, which was such an odd loud sort of sound, he did it again. Cupid seemed extremely pleased by this so he laughed again, then Cupid demanded that Erin roll over his fingers and he did that too.

The pastry was now very thin and Cupid said they couldn't make cakes unless it was knuckle high so they squeezed it all back together again. They resisted the temptation to roll fingers and make hole faces long enough for the pastry to become a round circlish thing. Then Auntie Hestia appeared and plonked down little metal cutty things.

Cupid took the wibbling one and Erin was left with the square. Cupid started on one side of the pastry so Erin started on the other and followed what his friend was doing very carefully.
"Cake" Cupid announced every time he pulled the cutter up. He poked the wiggly cake out and set it down on one of the trays.

"Cake" Erin offered and they made a pattern of square and wobbly cakes. When they tray was full Auntie Hestia whisked it away and put it inside the huge great oven. Cupid told him the shelves went on forever and you could bake a million cakes in it.

When the fourth tray of cakes was whisked away they had a tiny bit of pastry left. Cupid decided they would make boat cake. Erin had never seen a boat, so Cupid told him to make the pastry look like a banana. Cupid made a little triangle and squished it on top of his banana pastry.

"That's what a boat looks like" Cupid declared. Erin though it looked like a big blobby thing but he trusted Cupid so he tried to imagine the blobby thing whizzing along on the water.

Auntie Hestia put the boat on a special little tray and slid it in last.

---

Auntie Hestia told then to not go near the oven, she'd Pooft to her other temple to get some stuff. So they were staying away from the oven. Cupid was exactly a foot away, watching the cakes go round and round because the door was see-through. Erin was behind him, not as happy about being near the oven.
"They go brown and then they get bigger and then the oven pings and they come out eatable"

Cupid backed off a bit and sat on the edge of the table. The big pot on the end quivered a bit. The water inside it sloshed around. Erin didn't look like he wanted to climb up beside him. Cupid swung his feet and the pot juddered. Erin finally put a knee on the table and slid onto the table next to him.

The pot tipped, then dropped. Cupid and Erin yelped as it sloshed, then clanged hard again the plank that the sack on flour rested on. What happened next would plant itself in memory for the rest of time.

---

The bag went up.

And then it came down.

"Uh oh" Cupid pulled both wings over his head, Erin stared, had absolutely no idea what he was supposed to do. He watched the big bag fall.

The bag hit the floor and burst.

White, a big wave of not wet whiteness. Windy and it stole all his breath away. Most of it tried to go up his noise, the rest made do with landing on every other part of him and making him wobble backwards a bit. His eyes were shut and he couldn't open them because they were too heavy. He didn't panic though, he didn't move, didn't make any noise, though he would have liked to make a little bit.

"Erin?" Cupid was giggling, somewhere past his right ear.
"Yes?"
"Where'd you go?" Erin blinked, the whole room was white, like snow, only not cold or bitey. It was like living inside of a big cake. He couldn't see Cupid, he couldn't much see himself.
"I'm...here" he offered.
"Where?" more giggling.
"Here" Cupid was laughing a lot now. Erin slowly went round in a circle. He waved a hand curiously and caught a brief glimpse of a white thing flapping.

He stretched a hand out.
"Ouch" and pulled it back.
"Your finger went up my nose" Cupid complained with a giggle and Erin gave his finger a curious look. Cupid offered his own fingers outwards, Erin flinched.
"Ew what was that!"
"My eye" Erin blinked frantically while his eye watered, he couldn't see anything again.
"Sorry"

Cupid flailed his hands a bit lower and Erin grabbed for it. Floury hands met. Then he could sort of see Cupid, well his eyes anyway, the rest of him was powdery. The wings ruffled and flour briefly did a little dance around them.
"We killed Auntie Hestia's kitchen" he giggled. Erin knew when Auntie Hestia came back she'd be really mad. He felt around for a bowl, maybe they could put all the flour away before she came back.
Cupid tugged him back.
"Don't get lost" then Cupid gave him a funny look.
"I always get flour everywhere, Aunt Hestia s'pects it"

"And are you surprised young man, five minutes alone in my kitchen and you've made it snow"

Cupid jumped, peered through the white. Erin put a hand up so he didn't get a wing in the face. There was a little click and 'Pooft' the kitchen was all shiny again and Erin could see. Auntie Hestia was standing by the oven but she didn't feel cross, she was smiling. He patted himself but all the white was gone, he didn't have sugar in his hair any more either. Cupid looked like he was going to protest his innocence but the oven pinged and he squealed in excitement instead.

---

"Now?" Auntie Hestia waved a hand and all the little bowls whisked back into each other.
"Not yet" Cupid eyed the little sultana cakes, and the two halves of Auntie Hestia's sponge. The smell was teasing him, wafting up from the counter like it was an alive smell. 'Eat me' the cakes told him, 'I'm the yummiest cakes in the whole world.' He felt like telling the cakes to be quiet but Erin was sniffing too, getting closer and closer. He grinned at him.

"Now?" Auntie Hestia was making a broom dance across the kitchen floor, both boys whisked their feet out of the way as it went past.
"Ten minutes, I'll not have you burning your mouth."
"You could make them not so hot" Hestia shook her head, wagged a finger.
"Ah but then you wouldn't learn anything" Cupid pouted and rested his chin on his hands, staring at the cakes, all fresh and soft and yummy.

He didn't want to learn something because he belly was making growling noises and he couldn't concentrate.

Finally after forever Auntie Hestia got her flat spoon and started sliding all the cakes off. She put the boat cake on a special golden plate and slid it across the table. Erin stared at it. Cupid decided he'd never had cakes before so he could eat the boat.

"You can eat the boat" Erin looked at him a lot, then reached out and pulled off the sail, he held it in his hands careful of crumbs which Auntie Hestia probably wouldn't mind all over the table. He bit it and Cupid peered over curiously.
"Yum?" he offered. Erin chewed for a minute, blinked.
"Yum" he agreed.

Title: Childhood 6: Pooft
Author: Corona
Rating: PG
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: None
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes, childhood series.
Summary: A pause in the determined fun-making so the boys can learn important life lessons.

"I'm going to knock" the door may have been scary but how else was Erin supposed to know Cupid wanted him to come out. So knock he did. The door juddered and the 'Grr' heads seemed to growl harder at him, he backed up and swallowed but didn't run away. The door opened wide and Auntie Eris scowled out, then she looked down. Then she frowned a lot and sighed.

"Don't tell me, did your Mom put you up to this?" Cupid didn't know what she meant so he stayed quiet. Auntie Eris was looking at him though so he thought he better say something.
"Does Erin want to come out?" Auntie Eris rolled her eyes, then peered back in the darkness. Then she turned back round.
"I don't know what Dite thinks I'll owe her for this" she muttered. Then she looked back round again.
"I'm gonna start making you answer the door, then you can just leave without bothering me"

Erin appeared by her leg, he looked very white today and one of his eyes was twitchy. Cupid's eyes got like that when bugs flew in them but you didn't get bugs much on Olympus. Cupid grinned at him and Erin grinned back a little.
Then Cupid remembered what his Mommy had told him to ask.
"What time does he have to come home?" Auntie Eris muttered something under her breath, then shook her head.
"He knows his way home" was all she said and then 'bang' she was gone.

Cupid bounced a little bit.
"Hi" he offered.
"Hi" a little smile, a hidey one.
"Guess what?" Erin appeared not to know the game because he frowned. Cupid scowled.
"You have to guess" Erin's forehead was wrinkling, he pressed his twitchy eye and it stopped twitching and looked normal.
"I don't know"

Well this just wasn't any fun, Mommy played the game and so did Daddy.
"I'm doing something today, you gotta guess what" Erin poked his tongue out and then bit it.
"Flying?"
"Uh uh"
"Going to the world?"
"I'm only six" Cupid pointed out. Erin frowned some more.
"Having a bath?" Cupid scowled.
"No! This is a good thing"
"Ah" Erin offered, he actually liked baths which seemed wrong but because it was Erin he forgave him.

"Going to see Uncle Ares" Cupid shook his head and because he couldn't wait forever and Erin would never guess, he bounced.
"Mommy's teaching me how to Pooft" Erin stared.
"Wow"
"Uh huh" Cupid ran around in a little circle.
"Then I can Pooft like Mommy and Daddy and everyone and if you come Mommy could teach you how to Pooft too." Erin didn't look like he believed this.

"She'd teach me how to Pooft?" Cupid grabbed an elbow and started dragging Erin along.
"Sure, then we could go anywhere, we could go to...well anywhere in Olympus or the whole world." Cupid knew perfectly well they weren't allowed into the world yet.
"We could go together" Erin still didn't look like he believed him. Cupid skipped across the main hallway and they both went through the large pink and white archway.

"Mommy won't mind, she likes you" Erin went red and Cupid snickered at him. He pulled open the big doors and found Mommy at the table with lots and lots of scrolls, which he didn't have to look at until he was bigger.

"Mommy, I brought Erin" Mommy smiled at Erin and said hello. He went a bit shy until Cupid pushed him forward so Mommy could see him better.
"Can he learn to Pooft too?" Erin went red and tried to hide but he was growing too fast and stuck over the top of Cupid's head.
"Sure he can, I don't mind if Erin wants to learn too" Cupid bounced a bit.

"I wanna watch" Mommy looked at him hard.
"You don't want to go first?"
"Uh uh, I wanna watch" Erin looked a bit surprised but Cupid grinned at him.
"I want to see you Pooft" Erin smiled a bit back.

---

Aunt Dite came over and stood very close to him. He looked up and tried to look like he wasn't all scared and excited at the same time, which was hard. Then Aunt Dite straightened her clothes and looked around made a noise.

"I'm going to pick you up Erin, is that ok?" Erin stayed still for a minute, then held up his arms stiffly. Aunt Dite smiled wide at him. Then she picked him up and sat him on her waist.
"Right little man, have you de-corped with your Mommy before?" Erin cringed a little, he didn't like it when Mommy held him while she Pooft. He nodded slowly.

"Did you feel the pull, like you were being thinned out?"
"Like pastry" Cupid couldn't resist offering, even though he was 'being quiet.'
Erin didn't like the idea of being thinned like pastry. He was scared but he didn't want Aunt Dite to be mad at him, he nodded. She was still smiley though.

"Ok don't be scared Hon, I'm gonna pick the place, not far just the other room." Erin looked at the wall and chewed his lip.
"It won't hurt I promise" Erin nodded again.
"It's easier if you close your eyes" Erin didn't like closing his eyes but Aunt Dite wanted him to and she was nice, she'd promised it wouldn't hurt. He did like she asked.

"Can you picture the bathroom in your head for me?" Erin could because he saw Cupid there first. A tiny bird boy, all wings and curious nose over the side.
"Are you picturing it?" he nodded.
"Good, now take us there" Erin frowned, then frowned harder.
"I...can't" Aunt Dite wasn't even mad then.

"It's ok Honey, have another go" Erin heard impatient rustling of wings. Aunt Dite might not be mad at him but Cupid was making bored noises. Erin asked the bathroom to let him in. He felt the strange thinning, arms and legs being pulled by tiny fingers. He made a noise and cringed away from the stretching fingers.

"It's ok" Auntie Dite was whispering.
"It won't hurt you, go slowly" he took a big breath through his nose, the pulling came back and he let it take him with a startled gasp.

"Open your eyes Erin" he did. He was in the bathroom, right in the middle.
"I did it, I did it Aunt Dite" he couldn't resist speaking, he'd Pooft, just like Mommy and Aunt Dite and Uncle Ares.
"I Pooft" Aunt Dite was grinning at him, so he grinned back.

Aunt Dite set him down on the side of the bath.
"Are you alright to wait here while I go get Cupie" Erin nodded, still too amazed to really listen to what Aunt Dite was saying. He had Pooft, all the way into another room, all by himself.

Aunt Dite Pooft away and she made it look very easy, he sat on the bath and swung his legs and grinned.

--

"Mommy" she Pooft back right next to him.
"Did Erin Pooft?" Mommy smiled.
"He 'Pooft' just fine honey, he's in the bathroom waiting for you"
"Cool" he held up his arms, Mommy picked him up and sat him on her hip.
"Wanna join him Hon'?" Cupid nodded as hard as he could.

"Ok, close your eyes, find the bathroom in your head" Cupid thought really hard about the bathroom, it had white walls and a green marble floor and there were two trays of towels and a rail that was shiny shiny silver.
"Got it?"
"Uh huh"
"Ok, now find the pull" Cupid reached out hard, the air was a bit swirly, sort of like steam.
"No Honey you're not concentrating, focus on the bathroom"

Cupid frowned and looked around a bit harder, he knew where the bathroom was, it was next door, through the wall, it was a pink wall.
"Cupid just the bathroom Honey, don't think about anything else" he scowled but pictured the bathroom again. All wet and steamy, like when he had a bath. Mommy made a short noise and cleared her throat.
"No Cupid not water, the bathroom, you have to concentrate"

Cupid pouted hard, he was concentrating. He could see the bathroom where Erin was waiting. Mommy laughed a little bit.
"No, not Erin, the bathroom, people come a bit later Sweetie" Cupid sighed loudly.
"I can't do it!"
"Yes you can"
"No I can't I'm all wrong" Mommy bounced him a little on her hip to prove she wasn't mad at him.

"Just find the bathroom, can you see the bathroom" Cupid took a deep breath.
"Yes"
"With the funny taps and the green floor, and Mommy's silver rails"
"Uh huh"
"Right keep that image in your head, keep it right in front, can you do that"
"Uh huh"
"Right now find the pull" Cupid reached out again, chanting to himself. 'Go to the bathroom, Go to the bathroom, Go to the bathroom' the pull grabbed him hard and he squeaked, then there was a whoosh!

---

Cupid opened an eye, Erin was grinning up at him.
"You Pooft!" he shouted, then immediately clapped a hand over his mouth.
"I Pooft!" Cupid shouted even louder and wiggled out of his Mommy's arms. When he hit the floor he grabbed Erin and squeezed him hard. Erin stiffened a bit, until Cupid let him go and flapped a lot, knocking Erin on his bum. Erin laughed because Cupid did look sort of silly half off the floor wobbling and grinning.

"Can we go again, can we, can we" Cupid's Mommy snatched him out of the air and set him down.
"I don't see why not, you want to try Mommy's temple?" Erin knew that was a long way away. Even Cupid looked sort of a bit scared. He looked at Erin, then back at his Mommy, then back at Erin. Mommy shook her head.
"Or we could do your bedroom" which was loads closer. Cupid and Erin looked at each other.
"Bedroom" they declared, though Erin added a 'please.'

---

"Ok what are we not to do until we're good enough" Mommy had started the serious bit, when they finally got to her main temple, which was miles and miles away.

"Pooft outside to inside" Cupid said obediently

"Or?"

"Inside to outside"

"What are you not to try?" Mommy continued

"Poofting to a person" Cupid said, that was no fun, cos he'd be able to go to Mommy and Daddy wherever they were if he was allowed to do that.

"Ok, if you're very good and practice but don't break the rules I'll show you how to Pooft other things this winter ok" Erin was nodding obediently but Cupid was already trying to work out how exactly he could Pooft to Daddy.

"Are you listening Cupid?" he nodded, because that was what he was supposed to do when Mommy said something about now. Maybe he could find Daddy and then Pooft to wherever he was.

Mommy said something again and he nodded, but then Mommy was laughing and even Erin was laughing so he frowned at them.
"What's funny?" Erin put a hand over his mouth but Cupid could still see him laughing.
"I can see you laughing" he pointed out, which made Mommy laugh harder. Cupid sighed, being little was impossible.

Title: Childhood 7: The Birds
Author: Corona
Rating: PG
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: Minor bumps, scratches and bruises.
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes, Childhood 7
Summary: Erin learns that when you hit seven fun is sometimes spelt 'Argh'

"See it's wandering around scritching at the dirt" Cupid climbed a bit higher up the fence.
"Granny Hera puts the fence up so people can't steal them cos they're very rare" he wasn't entirely sure what that word meant but he didn't think Erin knew that.
"It's not to keep me out, I don't think the birds mind though" Erin climbed up next to him, but kept looking at the ground. Cupid rolled his eyes cos they weren't that high.

"The big one is called Azil the one that looks all purple round it's face" Cupid looked over at his friend, who was clutching the fence really tight.
"It's a boy cos the girls don't have the big giant tails" Cupid went a bit higher and Erin looked at him, before sighing and carefully putting his feet into the wire and hiking up himself.

"We could go over and look properly" Erin didn't look happy about that.
"I've been in Granny Hera's garden before, Blue's scary but he's not out, he likes to peck people" he was already climbing but Erin stayed firmly where he was. Cupid looked down at him and sniffed, he didn't really want to go in if Erin wasn't coming with him.

"You can stroke them, they're very soft, and they don't mind if you take the feathers that they drop on the ground. It's called moulting, my wings do that sometimes." Erin still hadn't moved.
"You have to come" a little headshake.
"Please!" Erin frowned, then made a soft sort of noise and slowly started climbing.

Cupid dropped down the other side with a quick flap, then looked up. Erin was still at the top, looking over, he didn't look like he knew how to climb over.
"You gotta put one leg over" Erin very carefully did as Cupid said, then stopped, whined.
"Other leg, other leg" Cupid offered because they couldn't be inside the fence forever. Erin carefully pulled the other leg over behind himself, wobbled and snatched the wire hard.
"Now come down" Erin looked down, wobbled again.

Cupid had a better idea.
"Jump, I'll catch you" Erin didn't seem to like this idea.
"I'll fall"
"Well you gotta either jump or climb down, you can't stay up there!" Erin very slowly started climbing down the fence. When he was close enough Cupid tugged him.
"See you did it" Erin looked like someone had given him presents.

---

Cupid wandered over to the pond where most of the peacocks were prancing about. He stroked and scratched Peacocks as they passed but Erin mostly cringed away from them, they were a lot bigger close up. Cupid squeezed in beside him, a bird followed, pecking gently at his pockets.

"This is General, you can stroke him" Cupid put a hand out and ran it over the birds neck.
"Here give me your hand" very reluctantly Erin held his hand out. Cupid took it and put it on the birds head. Erin stroked, then stroked again. It was soft, like silk. The bird made cooing noises at him and Cupid cooed back.
Erin gave him a funny look and Cupid went red. He stroked the shoulders and the head and one of the wings. He liked the shoulders best because they were soft and slidy.

General cooed some more and pranced about, Cupid and Erin followed him.
"I think he wants to go back into his house"
"He has a house?" Erin wondered how he opened the doors, maybe with his little bird feet.
"Not a proper house, a birdy house" so Erin felt a bit stupid, he probably got doors he could just peck open.

"Sometimes I bring seeds, that's why he's following my pocket, he thinks I keep it in there" Erin didn't have any pockets so he decided that was why the birds weren't interested in him very much. He stroked one when it came close but maybe they got bored when they saw he didn't have any seed.

Cupid was wandering round stroking every one, sometimes they'd poke their heads into his pockets and make Cupid giggle. They were so pretty and soft and Erin wondered if he could have a big herd of them when he grew up some. Erin followed Cupid through the birds until he stopped suddenly. Erin's chin bumped his shoulder.
"Cupid?" the other boy was staring at a swinging gate.

"Cupid?"
"He's out" Cupid said very quietly.
"Who's out" Cupid turned around in a circle, he looked very scared. Erin felt the scared jump from Cupid to him.
"Who's out?" he asked again.
"Blue, Blue the peacock, he's huge and he doesn't like anyone but Granny Hera. Daddy say's he's sicoptic." Erin didn't want to know what that meant, it sounded horrible.

"Cupid, can we leave now?" Erin asked and hoped his voice wasn't too wobbly. Cupid nodded.
"Sure" they both started backing towards the fence, Cupid decided he didn't like not seeing behind him so he turned around, and shrieked.

Erin whipped around and saw the biggest bird ever bobbing along the fence in their direction. Cupid started walking very fast the other way, and that was about when the bird started chasing him.

---

"He's gonna eat me! He's gonna eat me!" Cupid ran around in a desperate circle, Blue chased him, making horrible noises that peacocks shouldn't have been able to make. It was probably the most scared he'd been in forever.

"Aaaargh" Erin was doing nothing just staring at him like an idiot. Until Cupid swivelled and started running towards him, then his eyes widened. Cupid expected him to move, which was the reason he found himself on the floor, with a knee stuck in his wing and a head in his elbow. Erin had made a surprised 'oomph' noise but appeared to be in no hurry to get up.

Blue took the opportunity to peck him, Cupid yelped and the sound was almost drowned out by the angry peacock going on the offensive. That really hurt, if he had been any less frightened he probably would have burst into tears.
"Ow, ow, get up, run" Erin manage to find his feet, Cupid a second behind.
"Ow, run!"
"Huh" Cupid grabbed a thin wrist in a death grip, Erin cringed a bit but Cupid was already tugging and dragging him awkwardly across the garden.
"It's easy" he shouted, then whined a bit when Blue took off after them in his weird wobbling way.
"Aaargh!" the dragging slowly became pulling, then Erin seemed to finally get the hang of it and Cupid was the one keeping up.

They were going pretty fast.
The bird was faster.
"Aaargh!"
"He's coming" Erin pointed out and Cupid could finally hear surprised fear in that high voice.
"He'll eat us for sure" Cupid panted, which he knew probably wasn't true because little birds didn't eat people. It seemed to work though because the next time the bird got close Erin was yelling too. It made him feel a bit less like a baby.

"We gotta Pooft, we gotta Pooft now!" and yelling was hard when you were running, stumbling, being dragged and trying not to get your feet pecked off. Mommy would probably say it was alright to Pooft inside since Blue was going to peck them into bits.
"The bird will get us" Cupid couldn't pull a face at him because Erin was a bit further ahead.
"Birds don't Pooft, only we do" Erin made a funny noise.
"What if he does?!"
"He won't he-"

Cupid went forward faster than his other leg could keep up, wings unfolding and smacking him hard on the back of his head. He yelped and went down. Erin's wrist was jerked out of his as his friend went down on one knee then went face first into the gravel. The only sound he made was an 'oof' before tiny stones flew up everywhere. Cupid scrambled forward on a doggy sort of whine.

Blue was still wobbling towards then in his scary birdy way. Cupid, working entirely on instinct, threw himself into Erin's lap, fists clenching in the bits of shirt that hadn't been grown into yet and wrapped a wing over his head.

"I can't see" Erin whined, high and terrified. Cupid screamed. Erin, blind and supposing Cupid probably had a good reason, screamed as well.
"Go, go, go!" and Cupid thought he might just know what 'hysterical' meant before the world disappeared in sparkly lights.

---

They hit marble with a bump, and Cupid took a moment to make sure that no birds had followed them even though he knew they couldn't Pooft. They hadn't done it quite right. It was good they hadn't Pooft any higher because Erin couldn't fly.

"Ouch, bum" Cupid declared, then chuckled breathlessly. They'd sprawled apart when they hit the floor which had knocked all the birdy pecks. They really hurt but Cupid really didn't want to cry while Erin could see him. He folded a wing and sat up.

Erin was panting a bit, and he was also checking for birds. He looked terrible, his chin and cheek had gotten all scraped on Granny Hera's garden gravel. He was a bit scary to look at and Cupid was amazed he wasn't crying, maybe cos he couldn't see how bad it was yet. He would definitely need to be taken to Asklipus for some green goo. Which was warm and tingling and ma-.

Cupid watched in astonishment as the gravely scrapes went bright then sort of faded off of Erin's face. Really quick, 'whoosh' and they were all gone, leaving muddy skin and bits of grit.

Cupid pulled a face.
"How'd you do that?" he lifted a finger and poked Erin's face. Erin let him, gave him a curious look.
"I can't do that" he looked at his knee where a little bird peck oozed brightly, looked harder, then scowled at it.
"How'd you fix your skin?" Erin thought about it, stroked his newly repaired cheek.
"I don't know, does it by itself"

---

Cupid sat still while Asklipus smeared green stuff on him. It tingled a lot and made all the pecky bites glow then fade away. It was a bit stingy but Erin was sitting very close and he wouldn't cry.

"And I'm sure you weren't anywhere near Hera's peacocks?" Asklipus asked sort of quietly. Cupid looked at Erin who made eyes at him but didn't say anything.

"We didn't go into the garden very far" Cupid finally admitted, because lying was bad.

"Blue chased us and tried to peck us to bits" Asklipus made an 'Mmm' sound. Asklipus was nice, and he was really good at making things that hurt gone, forever. He was so good that his Daddy had made him the God of Medicine.

"You really shouldn't go near the peacocks, you know that don't you." Cupid looked at his knees because he knew he was being told off in a quiet sort of way, Erin was all tense and still. He thought they should get something for not crying at least, because it had really hurt.
"Uh huh" he offered finally. More green stuff went on his leg and he winced.

"Erin didn't need any green stuff" he complained. Asklipus stopped wiping goo on his leg and looked up. He gave Erin a very serious look and Cupid wondered for a minute if he would shout at him. When Mommy shouted, which wasn't very often, it always made him cry.

"Did you get hurt too Erin?" Erin looked worried.

"I'm ok" Cupid squirmed until he could look at both of them.

"Yep, his face fixed itself" Asklipus looked surprised, then his eyes went all funny.

"He regenerated?" Asklipus didn't sound like he believed him. He made it sound like Cupid had told a lie which he knew was very bad.

"Tell Asklipus that your face knows how to fix itself Erin" Erin had now shrunk so far into the couch it looked like it was eating him. Asklipus looked at him some more until Cupid thought he really would start shouting but he just 'Hmmed' and went back to rubbing goo on Cupid's knee.

---

Cupid sniffed himself.
"Do I smell like goo?" Erin pulled a face but sniffed him anyway.
"A bit" Cupid wiped himself a bit.
"Now do I smell like goo?" Erin sniffed him again.
"Uh uh" Cupid sniffed himself just to be sure. Erin looked a bit muddy but he could have got that anywhere. He was practically certain they didn't look like they had been chased by a sicoptic peacock.

Cupid pushed the door to his Mommy's temple open and they both walked straight into Granny Hera.

Title: Childhood 8: Communication Lines.
Author: Corona
Rating: PG
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: None
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes,
Summary: Cupid and Erin get punished and learn something else. Yes, Hera invented it, blame her, blame her...
Notes: You guys are the greatest, huge thank you to everyone who's told me how much you're liking this.

Erin was curious, this didn't feel like punishment, it wasn't scary and it didn't hurt at all. Well except maybe a little bit when Granny Hera had pulled them along by their ears. He even had a pencil and some paper. He was writing for Granny Hera. He was writing 'I will not go into the peacock pen' until the paper was all full.

---

This was horrible, worse than horrible, he couldn't even move or Granny Hera would glare at him really hard and Granny Hera was the absolute best at glaring. Sometimes when she glared really hard he burst out crying for no reason. He looked at his paper instead and sighed quietly. He couldn't talk or move or anything. Cupid hated sitting still, absolutely hated it. It felt like his brain wanted to fall out.

---

Erin realised that since Cupid had very big writing and he had very small writing that Cupid should finish first but Cupid had hardly written any. He was mostly scowling into his paper. Erin had never seen Cupid so still before, it was very strange. Aunt Dite never made Cupid sit still ever but Granny Hera did, like his Mommy only Granny Hera kept looking at him, which made him think maybe he'd done something wrong. He squished himself down a bit and wrote some more lines.

---

This was boring, boring.
//Boring// Erin jumped, looked at him. Cupid peered over, Erin had stopped writing and was giving him a funny look. Cupid gave him a funny look back. What? Maybe Cupid had something on his face, but no Erin smiled and went back to his paper. Cupid rested his nose on the paper and blew it about a bit.

//Bored!// Erin jumped again and Cupid frowned at him.
'What? he mouthed, Erin shrugged. He opened his mouth, then stopped and closed it again. What was that? 'Can you hear me?' Erin didn't look like he did. He tried again, 'Erin?' nothing.
//Erin?// he definitely heard that, Cupid flicked a quick glance to Granny Hera but she was writing too. Cupid tried it again.
//Can...hear...me?// He nearly squealed when Erin nodded slowly and grinned. Then Erin was frowning at him, but he didn't look scared. Erin frowned harder, bit his bottom lip.

//Cupid...you're...in...my...head// Cupid couldn't stop the funny little noise, which he smothered when Granny Hera looked up. He pretended to be writing but his fingers shook too much for the pencil. He watched Granny Hera from the corner of his eye until she wasn't looking anymore then tilted his head sideways. Erin was looking too, they grinned at each other. 'Wow' Cupid mouthed and Erin nodded his agreement.

Cupid really really wanted to know if he could do it again.
//She?// Erin's eyes crossed and Cupid fought the urge to laugh again.
//Who?// Cupid frowned, shook his head, Erin didn't get it.
//She??// Erin shook his head. Cupid took a big breath.
//Can...she...hear...us?// Erin's eyes widened all sudden and they both glanced across at Granny Hera. She still wasn't looking at them, though she'd finished writing, she was just sitting still now.

'Wow' he could talk with his head, he had to tell Mommy about this, Mommy would fly when he told her this. He had to tell someone he could do this.
//We...gotta...tell...about// Cupid scowled
//This// Erin smiled, then laughed, it took Cupid a minute to work out that Erin had laughed in his head. He gaped, then giggled.
//How'd...do...that?// Erin made a face, then shrugged. Cupid tried really hard. He felt something, Erin was grinning and nodding.

//You...did...it!// Cupid stopped grinning, he leant closer and his paper fluttered off the edge of the table.
//I...can't...go fast// Erin tilted his head and leant in himself until they were just above the desk.
//Maybe...learn...like...Poofting// Cupid nodded, it wasn't hard as such, but you had to concentrate a lot and he didn't think they could do it if they were far away. This was the best thing, almost as good as Poofting.
Cupid made a little whoopy sound, then quickly slammed his hand over his mouth.

They both peered over the edge of the desk but Granny Hera was gone.
"Where'd she go?" Cupid whispered. Erin's eyes went all wide, he shrugged

---

Hera smiled slightly and Aphrodite didn't like that look at all.
"They were talking to each other" Aphrodite frowned.
"I thought you didn't let them speak?" Hera raised an eyebrow.
"I never said they did" Aphrodite frowned, then raised an eyebrow, then raised the other one.
"Aren't they a bit young?" Hera spread her hands, thankfully she seemed equally as surprised as Aphrodite.

"It would appear not" Aphrodite was a little put out, she'd so wanted to teach Cupid that.
"Wow" she offered.
"Indeed, after a while they appeared to become so amazed with their new discovery I think they forgot I was there" now Hera did sound put out. Aphrodite stifled a laugh.
"I don't think they even noticed me leave" and then Aphrodite was laughing, she tried not to she really did.

Title: Childhood 9: War Games
Author: Corona
Rating: PG
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: None, harmless.
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Childhood series.
Summary: The boys visit Ares, and learn stuff.

Cupid peered out from under one arm of Daddy's throne. Erin was on the other side standing quietly. Daddy was listening to some soldiers but it didn't look very exciting. Every minute or so he would look down at one of them and pull a face, provoking much stifled giggling.

Cupid decided Daddy wouldn't mind much if he sat on his lap so he wiggled round the front and put a foot on Daddy's boot. Then he used Daddy's vest laces to heave himself into his lap. Erin peered up at him and grinned. Cupid giggled when Daddy dropped an arm and used it to haul Erin up onto his other knee. Then they grinned at each other.

---

Darius was one of Ares generals for a reason, so he didn't bat an eye when Ares manoeuvred two small children into his lap. Godly children obviously, since one had wings and the other looked like milk and midnight combined. His sons perhaps. The two Warlords across the room Tileth and Milonius looked less pleased that the war council had turned into a crèche.

"So my Lord it would be extremely difficult to send troops at night" Ares nodded.

"The cliffs will be problematic during the day" the winged child, whispered something into his ear.

"Very hard" Ares explained.

"Indeed my Lord, far be it for me to request assistance but the pass is perilous" another whisper from the winged child.

"Dangerous" yet another whisper, Ares grinned.

"No I don't think there will be monsters" Darius paused until the winged child appeared satisfied.

"We have five hundred men, which should be sufficient to-" he stopped while the winged boy leaned in.

"Enough" Ares offered, then waved for Darius to carry on. Darius carefully reworded what he had been about to say.

"However we may lose a lot of men" the winged child was grinning at him. The pale one still sat quietly.

"I'll have a word with Poseidon and we can slow the Barbarians down as they come through the straits, that should give Tirus enough time to arm itself. The casualty rate should be low."

"It would be advantageous if we could-" more hurried leaning and whispering.

"Good for them, better, luck" Ares explained. Tileth cleared his throat and received a glare from Ares.

"If we could coax, that is ask the neighbouring villages to amalga- join with us for the trek" now Lord Ares was grinning. The winged boy was shifting around.

"Cupid do you want to ask a question?" Darius, unflinching directed his stare towards the boy. The boy went red and looked like he wanted to hide in his fathers shoulder. His eyes widened and he carefully opened his mouth.

"Are the villages going to join his army?" Ares looked at Darius, who thought about that for a minute.

"Well...Cupid, we're going to ask the villagers very nicely if they want to fight with us" Milonius was sniggering somewhere in the background. Darius held the boys eyes.

"What if they say no?" Darius raised an eyebrow.

"Then we will have to try our very best without them" the pale boy leant into the winged boy and whispered something. Ares appeared in no great rush to continue the meeting. Cupid looked up again, then frowned.

"Erin wants to know if there will be monsters or not" Ares gave the pale boy an amused glance. Darius redirected his gaze to the other boy, soldiered on.

"Erin, is it?" the pale boy nodded then tried to hide behind the other.

"There might be, we won't know until we get there" Darius smiled just in case that helped, usually it just frightened small children away but the winged one smiled back.

"Thank you" Darius was momentarily taken aback.

"That's quite all right"

Ares patted the winged one on the back, then whispered something into his ear. Cupid nodded

"Uh huh" the winged boy shifted a bit on Ares lap, Erin tugged his arm and whispered something in his ear, Cupid nodded. Darius patiently waited. Then Cupid leant up again for Ares ear. The God of War's eyebrow hiked but he nodded.

"Darius my son and my nephew want to know if you like being a Warlord" Darius blinked, then licked his lips carefully. Several things went through his head, and then finally out of his mouth.

"Sometimes" he offered slowly, at three looks of interest he was forced to continue.

"Sometimes it's exciting and interesting" Ares tilted eyebrow clearly suggesting there was a 'but' coming. He sighed and finished the sentence.

"But other times it's wet and cold and not very interesting" Cupid blinked, oddly enough Ares was smirking and not looking particularly homicidal. He'd been honest and that had to count for something.

"Very well Darius your request for five hundred soldiers-" he stopped when the pale one nudged the winged one and the winged one offered some advice. Ares grinned, then cleared his throat.

"Your request for five hundred soldiers approved, and an extra five hundred of my soldiers will be put at your disposal in case of monsters." the two children were grinning. Darius nearly choked on his own inhale.

"Thank you my Lord, a hundred times thank you" he slowly backed out, but not before nodding to the children on his way.

---

"I liked him" Cupid offered. Daddy grinned at him and slung them both off of his lap.

"Well that's all right then because I like him too."

"Does he have a sword?"

"A huge sword"

"Bigger than yours" Daddy raised his eyebrows.

"No one's allowed a sword bigger than me" Cupid giggled and clung very tight to Daddy's leg as he stood up. Erin without being told to squeezed his other leg.

The other Warlords didn't look happy, they looked like they wanted Daddy to pay attention to them instead. Daddy was playing with them though, he pulled them off his legs and plonked them down in front of him.

"Stand at attention troops"

Cupid and Erin saluted, though Cupid managed to salute into his own eye.

"Troops reporting for duty Daddy sir" Daddy put his hands on his hips and bent down.

"And who do we have here?" Cupid giggled.

"General Cupid" he offered, Daddy raised an eyebrow.

"Aha, gave yourself a promotion when I wasn't looking did you" Cupid giggled again.

"Yes Daddy sir" Daddy was smiling so Cupid thought he'd be allowed to stay a General. Daddy moved his eyes and Erin held his salute very still.

"Ah and Lieutenant Erin" Erin held very still but he was smiling too.

Daddy made a pretend angry face.

"Giving yourselves field promotions and consorting with enemy generals. I'm not gonna stand for this" Daddy bent down and very fast slung them both over his shoulders. Then he started stomping off across the temple. Cupid squealed and Erin giggled into Daddy's shoulder.

"It's the torture chamber for you" Cupid squealed louder, then had to stop squealing to giggle.

"Not the torture chamber!" he tried to scramble down Daddy's back, but Daddy stopped.

"Hmm, not the torture chamber" Daddy set off in another direction.

"Ah the dark room full of giant spiders!" Cupid screamed and even Erin made a pretend frightened noise.

"No Daddy not the giant spiders!" Daddy stopped, then turned off in yet another direction.

"Right, the dangerous pit of spikes" Erin squealed and surprised Cupid by yelling.

"No Uncle Ares not the pit of spikes." Cupid giggled and pretended to kick himself free. Daddy stopped again and seemed to be thinking about it. Cupid and Erin held their breath. Then Daddy said in a very scary voice.

"Aha, then maybe the room full of chocolate and ice cream."

"Yes" Cupid and Erin screamed so loud that Daddy winced.

"The room full of chocolate and ice cream" they both agreed. Daddy started off in the last direction, though he stopped long enough in front of two very surprised warlords to snatch their helmets and replace them on Cupid and Erin's much smaller heads.

Ok people please read the warnings, since this part does have to do with death. Feel free to skip it if you want, since I know a few people might not want to go there at the minute. I don't want to upset any of you guys.

Title: Childhood 10: I See Dead People
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-13
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: Abandonment, conversations with some dead people, wanderings round Tartarus.
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes, Childhood.
Summary: Erin has an adventure.

Eris swivelled, hands on her hips, teeth gritted.

"Strife! if you fall over one more time I'm gonna leave you here, and then the dead people will eat you!" he picked himself out of the dirt and brushed grey dust carefully off of himself. God she hated it down here, miserable place, she didn't know why anyone would want to rule over an endless grey desert and a bunch of dead people.

So what if she was still pissy from the time Apollo had pushed her in the river Styx when she was little, Discord held a grudge dammit. Zeus what was taking the brat so long. She took one step back and hauled him straight by a shoulder, he cringed.

"Stop screwing around and keep up. Zeus it's bad enough I had to bring you. You know the rules, no talking, no moving, no staring, got it!"

Gods the little brat couldn't even answer a simple question. She shook him until his eyes rolled.

"Got it!"

"Yes Mommy"

"Good"

---

"I'm bored" Cupid offered, because drawing was no fun without Erin. Mommy peered over his shoulder and pulled a face at the squiggly people he'd drawn very fast. They weren't good enough to put on the wall.

"I'm sure Erin will be back later Sweetie, his Mommy's showing him things he needs to learn too."

"Why can't he learn here?" Mommy put on her serious face.

"He needs to learn different things and his Mommy's best to teach him those."

---

Mommy had gone. Erin stood still for a while in case she came back, because sometimes she did. She got mad if he wandered off. His feet hurt so he shuffled around a bit, then waited some more. He decided Mommy had probably forgotten him. He almost panicked a bit but remembered what Cupid had said about finding another God and asking to be taken home. He knew Hades lived here somewhere, so he set off to find him.

---

Perditus was having a rest. The bird had gone away about an hour ago and he could already feel his insides carefully weaving themselves together. His eyes would come back any minute now. He cringed a bit, not so much from the agony but because even after all this time, feeling his eyes gloop back into their sockets was still disturbing.

Vision returned and Perditus was startled to see a small boy peering at him with an expression of horrified curiosity. It wasn't that strange for another shade to wander over but he couldn't remember seeing a child before. Thin as a foal with the widest eyes this side of the river Styx. He couldn't imagine what a child like this had ever done to end up in Tartarus.

"Hello Boy" he jumped a mile, seemed embarrassed to be caught staring at Perditus insides. He swallowed so hard his head bobbed.

"Hello" a nervous yet respectful sort of head bob, which Perditus may have been tempted to return if he hadn't been chained to a rock.

"Are you lost? it was hard to be in Tartarus and not be lost but children always took it the hardest and old habits were hard to break. The boy nodded.

"I'm looking for Uncle Hades please."

'Uncle Hades?' Perditus cocked his head as far as it would go. He'd never seen a God this small and odd looking before, but he supposed divinity could take any form.

"You a God then?" nervous little nod, Perditus peered at him some more.

"Aren't you?" the little godling offered. Perditus sighed and shook his head.

"No I'm...was mortal" the little godling appeared briefly confused, then terrified, he peered around, then took a step back.

"Are you gonna eat me?" Perditus frowned so hard his eyes crossed.

"Why in the name of the Gods would you think that!" the boy looked upwards then shook his head, muttered something. Perditus regained his attention by shifting around a bit.

"I suppose you can do godly things then?" the boy looked a bit panicked for a minute.

"I'm seven" he said at last, Perditus couldn't resist a smile.

Erin came a little closer.

"Why are you tied down, were you bad?" Perditus sighed quietly.

"Yes I was" the boy seemed to think about this for a minute.

"Did you say sorry?" Perditus blinked, swallowed, managed a mute headshake.

"No" Erin very carefully sat down on the rock.

"You're always supposed to say sorry when you do something wrong, Aunt Dite says so" Perditus had a very brief mental image which he chased away.

"Well I suppose she would know"

---

Cupid wandered into his room, then wandered out again, then sat down at the table and fiddled with one of Mommy's bottles. She came and stood behind him. Put her hands on his shoulders and hunched down.

"Hon' you'll see him later" Cupid scowled into the table.

"What if he's having more fun than with me?" Mommy sort of sighed into his ear.

"Do you really think that?" and it was serious question, maybe even an adult question, so he thought about it hard.

"I don't know" Mommy patted him on the shoulders.

"He's probably just as bored as you, wandering around after Eris while she yells at soldiers." For some reason this didn't make Cupid feel any better.

---

"Were you scared?" Perditus didn't look like he'd be scared of anything. He seemed to think about it.

"Maybe a little" Erin would be scared if a whole army was running towards him.

"There were a hundred men and they had swords and shields and armour made of the strongest metal there was" Erin stayed very quiet because this was exciting.

"We had old swords and no shields and we were wearing the clothes we got up in"

"Did you die?" Perditus nodded and Erin gave a little gasp.

"But I was fighting for Ares and I had to do it anyway" Erin could understand that because he'd do just about anything Ares asked, he said so.

"Is he your father?" Erin shook his head.

"He's my Uncle" Perditus appeared to be working this out. He looked very hard at him, then pulled a very odd face.

"You're Eris son aren't you?" Erin nodded but he knew when people said his Mommy's name in that voice they didn't like her much.

---

Cupid finally had something to do, it wasn't as much fun as usual but it was something to do. He was helping Mommy sort bottles, he wasn't allowed to open any because they did funny things to children, sometimes made then sick. He wondered what Erin was doing, and if he was having fun, no matter what Mommy said.

---

Erin hid behind a statue. The long hallway was very dark and there were hands coming out of the doorways, lots of grabbing grey hands reaching out. Some of them had hair and some had really sharp claws. Perditus had said he needed to come this way but there wasn't just hands, there was screaming too. Like the hand people were very afraid. So he stayed behind the statue.

The screaming didn't ever stop and he was afraid he'd have to find another way to go because he didn't think even Perditus would want to go into the screaming place in the dark all alone. The screaming got very loud then and he yelped and backed up, he'd go another way, the hands and the screaming were too scary.

He stopped with a bump and gave a little squeal, turning around too quickly and falling on his bum. He made another frightened noise because a lady was looking at him. Only she wasn't quite right because she only had half a face. He stared, then remembered that was rude even if the lady did only have half a face. The Lady quickly pulled her scarf a bit closer.

"I'm sorry" she said,

"I didn't mean to scare you" Erin decided that people who wanted to eat you wouldn't bother with apologising so he stood up again and swallowed a lot.

"I saw you trying to go through the Hall of Torment" Erin looked behind him.

"Yes, that's right" the Lady turned a bit so he couldn't see the big empty hole where her eye should have been. Erin took a breath,

"I have to go, because that's the way to Uncle Hades temple"

"In Asphodel?" the Lady made a noise.

"Little boy do you know who guards the gates of Tartarus?" Erin did

"Cer-br-us" he said slowly, the Lady made another noise.

"And he would let you through?" Erin was fairly sure Cerbrus liked him, he nodded. The Lady nodded

"Would you like me to help you through the Hall of Torment?" Erin looked behind him at the screaming and the hands. He didn't think the Lady would eat him or try to hurt him. Perditus was nice and he was dead too. He nodded slowly. "Please"

"Take my hand then" Erin took the Lady's hand, it was very cold but it was soft and felt a bit like Aunt Dite's hand so he didn't mind so much. He cringed a bit when they stepped into the Hall because the screaming was loud.

"Will you be quiet Trilonius...Malik stop whining he's just a boy...Harmin shame on you...Koltos if you even look at this boy funny I'll rip off your other arm"

Erin thought this was very strange, but maybe all the dead people knew each other, they didn't scream so loudly any more though and every time one of the hands reached out the Lady would unwrap her scarf and show her scary face through the bars. They seemed very frightened.

They came out by the big gates, Cerbrus was laying down but when he smelt them he 'Grrd' and all three heads came up and drooled a lot. The Lady looked afraid. She was nice so Erin stepped forward and let Cerbrus sniff him.

The big dog gave a very loud whine and snuffled a huge head under his chin, nearly knocking Erin over, while another head drooled all over Erin's hair. When it had made him dribbly enough and sniffed him all over he rolled over on his tummy and let Erin scratch him.

The lady was hiding behind a tree so Erin got up while Cerbrus whined and went back to her.

"Thank you" he said very quietly and the Lady laughed and bent down to give him a very cold kiss on the cheek.

"You're welcome little man." He went back to the gate. Cerbrus wiggled out of the way.

"Open Please" he asked and the huge gates swung apart with a horrible screechy clang.

He had just enough time to squeal in surprise when two big hands hauled him up against a very hard breastplate.

---

It was dark and Erin still hadn't come back. Cupid swung his legs and glared at his dinner, which didn't look very exciting, even with red sauce on it. Mommy was eating hers and reading a scroll but sometimes she'd look up and smile at him. He poked the things around on his plate until they were all in a different place.

He was still bored and it had been hours, he didn't think anyone could be bored this long. It had been a horrible miserable day, slower than the time he'd got stuck with Aunt Demeter and he'd had to sit still and not touch anything. He'd probably even go to bed without seeing Erin. They'd supposed to have planned stuff for tomorrow and you couldn't be excited on your own.

---

"Hello Erin" Erin surprised his Uncle by leaning into him, and briefly, stiffly wrapping thin arms around him. Hades looked down in pure startlement before smiling gently and laying a hand on his back, Erin didn't stiffen he pulled back and smiled, really smiled at him. Hades had to fight to find his voice.

"Well little man, not that I don't appreciate a visit but why are you wandering around Tartarus"

"I was looking for you" Erin stated calmly

"I met Perditus, he was tied to a rock but he was nice to me. He's dead now and he used to be a mortal. Then a nice lady brought me past the screamy place and then Cerberus sniffed me a lot." Hades was gaping very unregally, almost blurted out something stupid like 'when did you start talking?'

"That sounds like quite an adventure" but he made it clear he wasn't entirely happy about it. Erin was carefully fingering the clasp of his cloak.

"I was a bit scared" he admitted which surprised Hades even more.

"I was lost a lot and I didn't want to Pooft because it's a long way back and I don't know Tartrus very well." more clasp fiddling.

"And I thought maybe if I ask very nicely you can take me back, because Cupid can't find me down here." Hades tilted his head.

"Aphrodite's Cupid?" Erin nodded.

"Uh huh, cos Aunt Dite promised we could go sailing and I have to go to bed early." Hades stared at him very hard.

"Aphrodite's taking you and Cupid sailing?" Erin nodded and he looked excited too, genuinely excited. Hades ran a hand through excitable hair.

"That sounds fun" Erin nodded. Hades thought quietly for a minute, then settled Erin more comfortably.

"Well we better get you home to bed then"

---

"What is it Mommy. Is one for me?" Mommy was peering at the brightly wrapped presents that had just appeared on the table in curiosity.

"Uh huh" she offered slowly.

"Doesn't say who it's from" Mommy picked up what looked like her present, cos it was squishy. She very carefully unwrapped it, she looked a bit worried. She pulled the paper away and Cupid couldn't see what was in it.

"What is it Mommy, what is it?" Mommy lifted the present.

"Oh Zeus" she said softly. Cupid stared.

"Wow" Mommy didn't look like she could find any more words. It looked like a dress, which wasn't very exciting, but it was a nice one, it looked like it was made of stars, lots of different colour stars swirling and shifting. Mommy had a lot of nice dresses, but maybe this one was even nicer.

"Oh Zeus" she said again. Cupid tried to peer over her shoulder because nice as the starry dress was he wanted his own present. Mommy probably felt it too, because she slid the big box along the table.

Cupid exercised the restraint of a seven year old and tore the paper away in two long strips.

"Mommy, Mommy, look, look at it" and then he had to stop talking and just think 'Wow.' Cupid carefully lifted out what was inside and his Mommy groaned, that always meant it was a good present.

"There's a helmet too and a shield that goes with it. Oh Wow look, proper boots, they're small enough to fit me" Cupid fished around in the box some more. Wow there was even a harness so he could hold a sword under his wings, not that he was allowed a sword but Wow! Then he realised something even better.

"There's two, Mommy there's two, me and Erin can play together!" but Mommy wasn't really listening, she was stroking her dress again.

Title: Childhood 11: Storming the Castle
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-13
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: Umm terrified children, child abuse (Not shown but sort of obvious.)
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes, Childhood
Summary: Cupid gets the hell scared out of him, Erin panics. Then they each do something very brave.

It was easier to knock now, it didn't mean Cupid wasn't still afraid but the heads hadn't eaten him or tried to bite him so far. He did, then he waited. Auntie Eris didn't answer the door. Cupid grinned at Erin.

"Hi" Erin peered out into the corridor, then looked at Cupid again.

"Umm, you can come in, if you want" Cupid grinned, had a sudden urge to stick his tongue out at the heads, followed Erin into Eris temple.

"I've never been here before" Erin walked slow, probably so he could look around and stuff. It was a lot darker than Mommy's temple and sort of creepy a bit like Daddy's when he wasn't there.

"My Mom's out with some Generals, she won't come back for ages" Erin offered which was sort of cool, having the whole place to themselves.

Cupid followed him to the very back of the temple where Mommy kept all her towels, but it turned out that was where Erin's room was. It wasn't as big as his and it was a bit dark but that was kind of cool too. Like some of the alcoves in Dad's temple. Only Erin's room didn't have weapons all over the walls.

There weren't any pictures on the walls either, or curtains. Maybe Erin didn't want a cheery room. There was a chair, it was all crooked and funny looking and Cupid didn't think he'd feel very safe sitting on it. A box was sat against one wall and it had shoes on it so Cupid guessed it was probably a shoe box, or a clothes box. It was very small, he'd thought it would be bigger, since Erin could wear shirts and he couldn't.

Erin sank down to the floor and crossed his legs so Cupid sat down next to him.

"Mommy went to see Aunt Artie, she said I could come see you" Erin grinned a lot.

"They're gonna do girl things or something" which Cupid had decided long ago weren't very interesting at all. Erin shrugged as if he didn't know what girl things were. Auntie Eris wasn't as much of a girl as his Mommy Cupid supposed.

Erin gave him a wide eyed look and grinned.

"Wanna see something?" Cupid raised his eyebrows and shuffled a bit closer. It had to be cool, maybe even something dangerous. He wasn't really allowed near anything dangerous but he'd been assured by everything he'd ever seen in Dad's temple that dangerous things could be fun.

"Sure"

Erin wiggled under the bed. Cupid heard glass clink and the thinner boy crawled out backwards, holding something against his chest. Cupid hunched down, Erin was sort of glowing. The smaller boy carefully crossed his legs and unwrapped his arms.

Cupid's eyes widened.

"Wow" Erin rested his chin on the giant bottle.

"His name's Worm" This, Cupid decided, was the best pet ever. Even better than Apollo's lions, which just sort of slept a lot. Worm was very long and he had a zillion tiny little legs. He was bright blue and glowy.

"Uncle Hades gave him to me because I'm too young to make fire for the candles." Cupid scrunched a bit closer.

"Does he make you see in the dark?" Erin frowned.

"Sort of, he can get really bright" Erin pulled the stopper out of the top and reached a hand in.

Worm crawled onto his wrist and sat there glowing brightly, little head waving to and fro.

"He's amazing, Mommy won't let me have any pets til I'm ten" Cupid folded his hands in his lap.

"Cos I had a hamster when I was four but he got loose and Graegus ate him" Erin pulled a face, held Worm a little closer.

"She musta liked hamsters a lot cos she followed me around a bit. I think looking for more" Erin giggled, then petted Worm.

"He's really clever he knows words, and he knows when it has to be dark" Cupid wasn't that impressed, Graegus knew words, like 'sit' 'roll over' and 'kill.' Erin poked Worm back into the jar and re-rolled him back under the bed.

"He doesn't like to be out of the bottle long, he gets scared." Cupid thought he could understand that because if he lived in a bottle the world would look really scary. He chuckled.

The temple doors slammed shut.

Erin went white and slapped a hand over Cupid's mouth. Cupid's eyes went wide. He tried to mumble something and inhaled in surprise when Erin's hand clamped tighter. He went still in complete wounded surprise. Another door in the temple thumped shut and Erin's hand relaxed.

Erin's hand was shaking when Cupid pulled it away from his mouth.

"I wasn't going to make any noise" he felt bad that Erin would think he'd make noise and annoy Auntie Eris. He pushed Erin's arm away, stood up.

"I'm going home" he announced loudly. Erin whined into the quietness.

"Be quiet, you have to be quiet" and Erin took his arm and held it really tight and he was shaking like he was cold again. Cupid stared.

Erin was afraid, really afraid like the rabbits that Artemis hunted and like the time when Athena had shaken Cupid really hard and wouldn't stop. The sort of afraid which couldn't help but make other people afraid as well.

Cupid couldn't help the little noise he made and he couldn't help crying because he was only seven. He couldn't help that it was a bit loud and he couldn't see because his eyes were blurry and Erin was scared, so he was scared as well.

Erin's eyes were really wide and he was staring at him like he didn't know what to do and Cupid didn't know what to do because Mommy wasn't here to hug him. He was afraid and he couldn't stop crying until someone told him everything was ok again, and Erin was afraid of him crying but he didn't try and put a hand over his face again, which had scared Cupid to start with.

Erin was looking at him like he was a monster and he wasn't a monster. He wanted to cry harder and he couldn't. Then Erin was pulling him up and squishing him and pulling him to the door and Erin's heart was thump thumping so hard Cupid thought it would come all the way out of his chest.

"Erin?" and he looked up but couldn't see very well. Erin was shushing him with little hand waves. Cupid paused in his strangling hiccupy crying, sniffed hard. Then Erin pulled open the door a little bit.

Cupid didn't see Aunt Eris, the temple was all dark. He followed Erin out, quietly, quietly and he really felt like crying again but he was too busy listening to how breathing sounded in the quiet darkness. Erin was walking really slowly, making no noise and he flinched every time Cupid scuffed his toe on the carpet. The main doors didn't squeak but they clicked a lot and Erin's breathing got really loud.

The door opened and light streamed in along with the nice cool fruity smell of the hallways on Olympus. It was ok because he was nearly outside.

"STRIFE!"

Erin froze completely still and he wobbled. Auntie Eris sounded really mad, Cupid burst into tears again. Erin whined and gave Cupid a little shove. The door swung shut leaving Cupid outside. He was crying again and his nose was running and he didn't care. He was ok but Erin was still afraid and whatever scared him was inside with him. Cupid peered up at the growling heads on the door and cried harder.

---

Erin very carefully pushed his door shut, then he wiped his nose, then he picked up a bit of broken chair and tried to fix it back on. He didn't know how to make glue, he wiped his nose again, frowned at the chair. He might be able to fix it if he could find some string. He didn't know where there was any string to Pooft. He carefully sat on the chair, it wobbled a bit but didn't break. Then he got up and went to the sink, carefully washed his nose until it stopped stinging.

---

Cupid tried to look through the keyhole but it was too dark because Aunt Eris hadn't turned the light on. He leant his forehead against the door.

//Erin?// he couldn't hear anything.

//Erin...ok?// nothing, he pressed his face hard against the door.

//Erin?// 'Oh come on please' Cupid closed his eyes and tried harder than he ever had ever.

//ERIN// he waited.

//-// Cupid pulled back from the door on a very quiet whimper, cold fingers running up and down his arms, he was shaking a bit and he didn't want to try that again. That had been horrible, it had never felt horrible before.

---

Erin checked Worm's glass jar that had rolled all the way across the room. He knew it was broken as soon as he picked it up. It tinkled, Worm was curled at the bottom in a little ball but he was still glowing. Erin very carefully fished the glass out and set it down in a pile on the windowsill. Now there was a hole in the jar and he didn't want Worm to get out. Very carefully he took off one of his socks and rolled it up, then he squished it into the jagged little hole and carefully put Worm back under the bed.

Cupid didn't want to be his friend anymore, so now Erin didn't have a friend, only Worm, who's jar was all broken. He stared under the bed, he knew Cupid wouldn't come back, Cupid wouldn't like it here at all. He had Aunt Dite and she'd take care of him. Erin's throat felt all strange and he wondered if that was hurt too, maybe it hadn't fixed properly yet.

He really really wanted Cupid to come back.

//ERIN// Erin flinched, then realised what that was. His heart jump jumped and he opened his head. A loud noise in the other room made him go completely still and he shut off what he was about to send. Cupid couldn't come back in here, Mommy was here.

'Please don't knock, please don't knock, please don't knock'

---

Cupid didn't know what to do, and there was no one here to tell him what to do. 'Someone tell me what to do?' Erin was afraid, really afraid and he didn't know what to do! Cupid stared at the door hard. 'What would Dad do?' Then he knew, he knew exactly what Dad would do. He shut his eyes and tried not to be scared to death, very carefully pictured Erin's room. The big bed, the dark walls, the window too high to see out of, the crooked chair, the box of clothes.

"Take me there" he whispered.

He wasn't as good as Erin, which was why he appeared so close to him they knocked heads. Erin whined and it wasn't a good noise. Cupid peered close but the room was almost completely dark.

//Erin?//

//Cupid?// Erin didn't sound like he believed him.

//What...doing...can't be here// Cupid scowled because people were supposed to want to be rescued.

//Come...rescue...you// He saw a white flash of teeth and he knew Erin was smiling, that was definitely a good thing.

//You did?//

//Sure I did...friends right?// Erin made a very quiet noise.

//Really?// Cupid figured that was stupid, he'd said it hadn't he.

//Sure// Though he'd never realised quite how scary it was being brave.

A noise made Erin tense, and Cupid knew his bravery was going to wear off in minute. So he flung an arm out, grabbed as much of Erin as he could, and disappeared them in sparkling lights.

Title: Childhood 12: Promises
Author: Corona
Rating: PG
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: Mentions of child abuse
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes, Childhood Series.
Summary: The boys have a sleepover. Cupid asks Erin questions and gets answers.

Cupid and Erin were both laying on their stomachs inside the War Tent. Well actually it was an old set of black curtains but today it was a War Tent. They were considering battle plans to use tomorrow when they had to take Dad's temple from the Evil Enemy Horde, which had camouflaged themselves cunningly as old suits of armour.

The mission was so important that Erin was sleeping over. Worm was currently providing light for the ultra super secret battle plans, since Erin had Pooft him from his room earlier.

It would have been a lot more ultra super secret if Mom didn't keep bringing them snacks Well ok the snacks were great and everything but Mom wasn't a soldier so they had to hide them when she came in.

Erin pushed his enormous helmet up so he could look at Cupid.

"Did you get one?" Cupid carefully checked that his Mom hadn't come in with more snacks when they weren't looking.

"Uh huh, Dad gave me one that's a bit less gross than the others but I still don't think he liked it. He's a bit mad that Mom got me instead of him" Cupid made sure that Erin noticed how unhappy he was about that. No War chariots and swords for him uh uh.

He pulled the scroll out of his pants and unrolled it. They set it flat with a combination of Worm's jar, two books and Erin's elbow. Cupid shifted over a bit cos Erin could read way faster than him.

"War Cheif Caliminus brought three regiments to the north ridge, then it gives a map grid or something and lots of numbers and a date. Each man's allocated supplies-oh that goes on forever-then they moved, there's another map grid something, lots of numbers and a date" Cupid let his eyes cross.

"This is complicated, and boring" he decided.

"How many men did they kill and how and who survived" Erin obediently ran his finger carefully down the scroll.

"I think there's a list at the bottom of all the men that died" Cupid wiggled closer.

"It doesn't say how they died or anything" Erin offered, Cupid sighed. Erin pulled a face.

"Or that could be a list of the men who lived" Cupid poked a finger over Erin's.

"No look casualty, that means they died if they're a casualty of war"

Cupid spared a finger to push his own helmet up.

"What about loot? Did they get any loot?" Erin carefully read down the scroll, then frowned turned it over, turned it back.

"Doesn't say" Cupid scowled at the scroll.

"I thought it would be way cooler than this, I thought there might be pictures or something"

"Mom's scrolls have pictures sometimes" Erin frowned.

"But they're a bit gross" Cupid groaned.

"Mom has scrolls like that too, people rolling around wrestling and stuff" Erin gave him a really weird sideways look.

"What?" then Erin was looking really interested in the scroll. Cupid pulled Erin's helmet forward until everything but his chin disappeared. Erin giggled and tried to peer out of the bottom.

"So we're going up against suits of armour?"

"Uh huh"

"Will there be monsters inside?" Cupid scowled at Erin's nose.

"Dad wouldn't put monsters inside!" Erin's mouth frowned.

"Just empty armour, that's not very scary" Cupid scowled harder.

"Dad had one of them chase me when I was little, but I got so scared that I-" Cupid stopped and went red. Erin's mouth quirked up.

"He didn't do it again and Mom had a go at him something fierce" Erin wrinkled his nose.

"So the suits of armour won't move?" Cupid shifted around a bit.

"I hope not."

---

//Look who's telling this story me or you?// Erin leant up on an elbow and peered up, since he was sleeping on the floor next to Cupid's bed. Worm's jar was curled into his chest.

//Why spiders?// Cupid sighed. He didn't know it was this hard to tell a bedtime story, he'd figured since Erin had never had one it would be easy.

//Spiders are scary//

//No they're not//

//Yes they are, they've got those little legs and stuff and they crawl over your face when you're sleeping// Erin lifted Worm's jar so Cupid could see his face better, his scowling not impressed face.

//No they don't, they hang around in webs and eat bugs// Cupid rolled over onto his back, shifted around until his wings weren't all cricked.

//What 'are' you afraid of then?// Cupid listened in the darkness, heard faint rustling, breathing. He waited and after a bit didn't think Erin would answer.

//Sometimes my Mom// Cupid stared at the darkness where the ceiling would be, frowned but couldn't feel surprised because everyone was a little bit afraid of Aunt Eris. It was wrong to be afraid of your Mom though, wasn't it? The other day Cupid had been terrified of her and when he'd gone to get Erin. He tried to remember exactly. When they'd appeared back in Cupid's temple it had taken Erin a minute to look 'right' again.

Parents loved their kids it was a law, it had to be true but Cupid was starting to figure out that maybe some parents didn't quite love their kids enough, or maybe loved them a bit too much. There was a question floating around in front of Cupid's eyes which seemed to want to be asked whether he liked it or not.

//Does she hurt you?// there was a lot of silence and Cupid thought maybe it would go on forever. That maybe Erin was mad at him for asking. It was a horrible thing to ask, more horrible than the things Dad did that he wasn't allowed to watch.

//Sometimes// Cupid stared into the dark. Getting an answer had almost been worse than asking the question. He tried to imagine being hurt by his Mom, or his Dad and he couldn't. He tilted his head over the edge of the bed and caught a faint glow from next to Erin's face. It was really white in the darkness.

//Bad?//

//Sometimes// Cupid felt a horrible jolt in his belly because the only time he'd ever been really hurt had been an accident, he'd fallen, before his wings worked properly and he couldn't imagine anyone hurting him like that on purpose.

Trying to imagine his Mom doing that made something huge bob around in his throat and he was glad they weren't speaking because he knew he'd cry. The silence was getting bigger and bigger and he knew he'd have to say something or he'd just explode, or cry, or worse.

//You should tell someone// because that was an adult thing to do. Adults could fix anything, especially bad stuff. Mom and Dad were ace at making bad stuff disappear. There was nothing but quietness from the floor. Cupid swallowed.

//Erin//

//I know// it was a horrible flat noise.

//But I don't know what would happen//

Dad would fix it, Dad could fix anything. Cupid chewed his lip really hard, but he didn't want to get Erin in trouble. This was serious stuff, he wasn't old enough to deal with serious stuff without screwing it up.

//Next time, next time it happens you have to tell// Erin was quiet.

//Please Erin// more quietness and Cupid wanted to stop talking about this, but that would be the little kid thing to do.

//I don't want you hurt Erin// something rustled.

//Ok//

//Promise you'll tell Dad, or Mom, anyone// Erin sighed and it was so hard Cupid felt his hair float around.

//Promise// Cupid lay down and swallowed until his throat stopped wobbling. It felt like he'd done something really good, but you never could tell with adult stuff.

//Night Cupid//

//Night Erin//

Title: Childhood 13: Tarzan Complex
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-15
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: Some injuries and a swearword
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes,
Summary: The boys experience the outside and get into trouble again.

"Jungle boys live in the trees" Cupid offered, grunted. Erin glanced over the branch he was balanced on and shut his eyes.

"I'm not a jungle boy" he cracked one eye open.

"Did we have to 'Pooft' this high" Cupid peered over and shrugged.

"We couldn't be jungle boys near the ground stupid" Erin wrapped his arms round the trunk.

"Yeah but you can fly, you have wings, I'd just fall all the way to the ground" Cupid rolled his eyes.

"Chicken"

"I don't like being high" Cupid sighed at him.

"It reminds me of Granny Hera's windows" Erin muttered something about seeing the ground from a zillion miles up. Cupid shuffled along the branch and looked up.

"Wow, we really are high" Erin made a groany noise and clung tighter. He wished Cupid wouldn't say that.

"I'm going higher" Erin untangled himself and grabbed another branch.

"Don't go higher, we're high enough already!"

"I want to see what's in the tree" Cupid carefully padded along his branch and vaulted up onto the next level. Erin sat there, annoyed and not a little scared.

"Cupid" little legs disappeared.

"Cupid!"

Cupid sighed, stamped a foot when he got just above Erin's head.

"Ok, ok I won't go far" though he didn't sound happy about it, which made Erin feel really bad for being a chicken. He couldn't resist another peek at the ground and he kept forgetting that he shouldn't and that they really were high.

Cupid was rustling about and Erin kind of did want to be up there, he felt silly sitting down here clinging to the trunk. If Cupid wanted a friend who'd climb all the way up to the top of the tree he should at least try. Then when he fell and broke into a zillion pieces he'd at least know he did it. One look at the ground changed his mind though.

"Wow!" Erin looked up but all he could see were Cupid's feet balanced on the branch above him.

"Erin you gotta come up here and see this!" Erin was seriously considering saying 'No way' and clinging even tighter to the branch he was on, but Cupid sounded really excited. All the way to the top, that's what he should be doing with Cupid.

"What?"

"Come up and see! This is so cool" Cupid moved and a shower of sticks and leaves went straight by Erin's face, he watched them fall all the way to the ground, then swallowed hard.

"Can't you bring it down?" another shower of twigs.

"I'm not gonna move it, Aunt Art said not to move them when you find them" Erin took a really deep breath and relaxed his arms from around the trunk. Then very carefully he made his wobbly legs stand up.

"Are you coming or not?" Erin lifted a hand and wrapped it very tight around the branch in front of his face.

"I'm coming" he said quietly and pulled himself up. He was very aware that the ground was getting even further away. He went up again until Cupid moved his foot. Then shakily he climbed up next to his friend.

"I really don't like this" he offered. Cupid bounced on the branch and Erin made an 'Ooo' noise and pressed his chest against the trunk until they stopped shaking.

"Don't do that!" Cupid grinned at him. Erin really wanted to call him a brat but his Mom called him that so he wouldn't.

"Look!" and Cupid was practically orange with impatience. Erin leant over his shoulder, stared.

In the crook of the branch was a mess of sticks and bits of moss and in the middle of that there was a sort of messy wobbling thing, with sticks for legs, it was tiny. It was wobbling around falling on some stones.

"What is it?" Cupid stared at him, then rolled his eyes.

"It's a baby bird!" Erin looked back at the wobbling mess, it didn't look like a bird, well ok maybe it did, a sort of runty wet one.

"Really?"

"Uh huh, it's new" Cupid stepped aside a little and let Erin peer closer. He realised straight away that they weren't stones but eggs and more little wet birds were going to come out of them. It was odd he guessed, in a bit of an exciting way. Not really exciting but interesting enough.

"Ok I've seen the birds, can we go down now?" because Cupid had wings and he could like high places as much as he wanted. Ok so maybe Erin was more afraid of the actual ground than the high places. The ground was comforting when you were down there but really hard and menacing when you weren't. Cupid gave him a miserable look, then nodded.

Erin tried not to sigh hugely with relief where Cupid could see him, but he felt a lot better when Cupid turned and went down on his belly to slide down. His legs disappeared, then his waist, then...

"Ow" Cupid tried to stop a small whip-like branch from wrapping round his head, leant sideways.

"OW" Cupid stopped moving, leant back, shifted. Erin stepped forward. He'd got prickled a bit on the way up.

"My wing is caught" Cupid offered.

"Ow that hurts, it's all bent about" Cupid tried to pull back, then tried to go back up, then sideways.

"It's stuck" Cupid sounded terrified. Erin's eyes widened

"What do you mean stuck?"

"My wing is stuck it's-Ouch- on the branch" Erin scrambled over the branch he was on and tried to avoid at all costs looking at the ground. The moment he was close enough Cupid made a grab for his shirt. Erin yelped and his chest hit the branch hard. The bough shook and Cupid screamed. The noise froze Erin rigid.

"Cupid?" he whispered, his friend was shaking and very white. He was crying something fierce. Erin looped his hands under Cupid's armpits and tried to pull him up. He stopped when Cupid screamed again.

"Stop!" Cupid scrambled and the tree shook again, provoking more whimpering and stillness.

Erin could see Cupid's wing and it didn't look right, it was bent at a really strange angle. He leant down and settled his hands on Cupid's shoulders.

"It'll be fine see, we'll Pooft out of the tree, ok, straight to Asclepius" Cupid nodded shakily. Erin tried, he really did.

"Cupid" his friend obviously knew it wasn't good news, he started crying again.

"I don't think I can seperate you from the tree" and Erin knew Asclepius wouldn't be happy if he Pooft a tree into his temple, even if he could. It didn't look like Cupid cared much.

"It really hurts" he whispered. Erin very carefully shimmied along the branch being careful not to wobble it.

"Erin, don't leave" and Cupid's voice was very quiet, he'd stopped crying but he was almost as pale as him. Erin made a noise.

"I'm not gonna leave" very carefully he leant down and let his head peer over the side. It was a very long way down and his heart was thumping really hard, he swallowed until he could look down again, then bent his head a little farther.

"What are you doing?" Cupid whispered. Erin could just see where a branch had gone through the inside of Cupid's wing. It was sort of gross but Erin definitely wasn't going to tell Cupid that. It had lots of spindly little branches attached to it and they were making all the feathers stick out the wrong way.

Erin reached a hand down, very carefully touched the branch. It wasn't very thick but Erin didn't think he could break it. He was quietly panicking. He couldn't Pooft anything to cut the branch because he didn't think kitchen knives or even Mom's short sword would do it. He had to slide Cupid back off of the branch, but then they'd fall to the ground.

He might be able to get Cupid off sideways but he didn't think his friend would want to do that.

"Erin?" He scrambled back up the branch.

"Can you move?" Cupid's eyes widened and he shook his head. There was a very long pause and then Cupid carefully tried, burst into tears when the branch wobbled.

"I don't wanna fall" Erin really wished Cupid hadn't said that.

"You're not gonna fall." He wished he knew how to make fireballs.

"I'm gonna fall" Cupid's eyes had gone all wide.

"You won't fall, I won't let you" Erin crouched down again, carefully laid out on the branch. He leant over again, trying not to look at the ground too much, which really was a long way away. Then he looped his legs round the branch as tight as he could and stretched out his hands.

Cupid made a funny whiny noise, which told Erin to hurry. Erin broke a twig off of the big branch and then look back up at Cupid. He didn't make any noise so Erin guessed it hadn't hurt none.

"Hurry" Cupid whispered.

"I am" Erin offered and carefully broke off a few more bits.

That was when something cracked.

Cupid made a really strange whiny noise. Erin's hands were shaking.

"Was that?" Cupid's eyes were so wide it made him look like a fish.

"It's breaking, It's breaking!" Cupid's feet came up again, tried to find a foothold on the trunk. Something creaked.

"I'm gonna fall!" Erin looked sideways, the branch that Cupid was stuck on was bending in a funny way.

"Oh Shit!" this didn't seem to make Cupid feel any better.

"Whad'ya mean Oh Shit!" he screeched, then his last scrabble on the branch did something because Cupid lurched down a tiny way. He screamed again. Erin let go of the branch he was on and wrapped both hands around Cupid's wrists.

Erin got the impression of weight, not gently but all of a sudden, then there was a lurch and Cupid screamed right in his ear, then they both slid forward.

'I will not fall out of the tree' Erin decided and then, as if someone on Olympus really liked, him his foot wedged in a fork. Erin lurched to a stop, fifty feet up, half off the branch. Ok so they weren't falling anymore, now if only Cupid would stop thrashing around like a fish.

"Will you stop wiggling" Erin panted, still terrified. Cupid's hands were sweaty and Erin could feel it slippy sliding them apart.

"That hurt" Cupid said very quietly. He twisted his head around slowly as if to see if he still had two wings after all. Erin didn't know how he could move his head at all, because looking at Cupid meant sort of looking at the ground as well. What Erin really wanted was to get the hell out of here.

Calculating for height and distance was hard even when you weren't dangling out of a tree. When he'd done the best he could, he squeezed Cupid's hand.

"Get ready" because they'd have to fall when they reappeared if only a little way.

Title: Childhood 14: Questions
Author: Corona
Rating: PG
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: Injuries, Godly psycho-babble.
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes,
Summary: Someone finally starts asking questions.

"Ow" Cupid protested when Asclepius touched his shoulder. His wing felt really huge and hot and nasty and he was sure if Asclepius went near it then he'd scream.

"Well yes, and how exactly did you break this bone?" Cupid was too busy watching Asclepius wander round behind him to hear the question. Erin, who was sat on the table next to him, obviously did though.

"Um we were in a tree and a branch broke" Asclepius lifted an eyebrow.

"Did you fall?" Cupid made a quiet noise and Erin had to swallow before answering.

"Maybe a little way"

Cupid was glad that Erin was concentrating on what Asclepius was saying because he was busy watching the God of Medicine's hands wave back and forth. He was sure they were going to do something which would really hurt any minute now. He wiped his nose on the back of his hand when Asclepius wasn't looking, and concentrated on not crying like a baby.

There was no way he was going to ask Erin to leave just so he could cry if Asclepius started prodding him, because he wanted Erin to stay. Erin who could fix himself so nothing ever hurt for very long and maybe, just maybe, Erin could teach him how to do that, so next time it would hurt for a minute and then he'd be ok. That was how it worked right? Or maybe Erin fixed himself so quick that it barely hurt at all.

Besides Erin hadn't let him fall out of the tree and Cupid knew how scared he'd been, he'd asked him to go higher and then acted like he was a baby when he wanted to go down. He figured maybe Erin would forgive him if he promised to never take him anywhere high again.

"Right Cupid, I'm going to fix this now, it won't take long and it shouldn't hurt at all, ok?" Cupid fought the urge to shrink away from Asclepius, but he couldn't wander around with his wing like this forever, that would be worse than horrible.

He reached over and found Erin's cold hand, wrapped his own around it. Erin gave him a strange look but didn't pull his hand away.

//If it hurts I'm gonna squeeze// Erin nodded carefully.

//Ok// and Cupid was relieved because he really needed a hand to squeeze just in case.

//Erin?//

//Uh huh//

//Thanks// Erin squeezed his hand, Cupid smiled.

"Are you ready?" Cupid nodded and Asclepius put very warm hands on his shoulder right above where his wing was throbbing. After a few seconds Cupid realised they weren't going to prod, they were tingling though, well not tingling so much as sparkling along his skin.

After a minute Erin spoke.

"Does it hurt?" Cupid shifted a tiny bit and the sparkling shifted with him.

"Not really, feels a bit weird though" He didn't take his hand out of Erin's though, just in case it was going to hurt in a minute.

"Feels a bit like tiny bugs crawling inside me" Asclepius laughed a little at that.

"But it's not really nasty" Cupid looked at Erin who wasn't so much as scratched.

"What does it feel like when your skin fixes itself." Erin shrugged.

"I dunno, tickly maybe, and a bit stretchy. Sometimes it stings at first if..." Erin glanced up at Cupid and didn't say anymore. Cupid winced at a particularly deep crawling sensation, then sighed.

"Do you think maybe you could teach me?" Erin shrugged again.

"I don't know, I could try I guess" Cupid breathed a sigh of relief.

---

He knocked, always best since no one wanted to walk in on one of their parents having sex. He hadn't long had his own temple so he really liked to think he could take care of problems by himself. His Dad was the expert though and Medicine was something you couldn't guess at.

His Dad didn't bother to call out, he just let the huge Gold doors swing open.

"Ace?" and it took him a second to locate Apollo behind a volumous pile of scrolls. His Dad was only ever a big reader in private.

Apollo must have seen his serious face because he cleared a space in front of him and waved a hand.

"What's eating you?" Asclepius pulled out a chair and sat down.

"Erin" Apollo frowned, waved a hand.

"Eris son, skinny little stick boy about yay high" Asclepius scowled at his father but nodded.

"Now that's a kid that looks like he could trip over his own shadow" Asclepius pulled another face at his father, who was always only ever serious on the inside.

"He's come in with Cupid's normal childhood bumps and scrapes" Apollo nodded.

"But I've never seen him actually hurt and twice now Cupid's told me Erin can fix himself" Apollo raised an eyebrow, mouth turning down fractionally. Asclepius nodded well at least he hadn't been worried for nothing.

"What is he seven?"

"Eight" Apollo frowned.

"Did you scan him?" Asclepius went red.

"I didn't see any need, he was fine, besides I didn't want to scare them."

Apollo picked up a quill and tapped it against his chin.

"Well Bia provoked a lot of panic by regenerating young but you know how that turned out." Asclepius shivered and nodded. The only person that had ever terrorised Bia had been himself.

"Ares, Eris, Phonos and Mania were regenerating before twenty, if he's got a violent Godhood-"

"He's going to be Mischief" Apollo closed his mouth and scowled.

"Oh that's striking fear into the heart of no one"

Asclepius raised a curious eyebrow.

"How old were you when you could regenerate?" Apollo smirked.

"Fifty or so but I shot up fast and missed the whole waddling drooling stage which you made so adorable" Asclepius went red, scowled at his father. Apollo set down the quill.

"Regeneration is a combination of divine energy and the physical body's reactions to damage. So if you're Godhood is offensive, like war, pain, fear, violence then your divine energy ups the stakes and prepares your body for it" Asclepius sighed but leant forward, he'd heard this before but he knew that when his father repeated himself he figured you'd missed something the first time around.

"On the other hand if your body takes a lot of punishment then your divine energy kicks in early and makes damn sure you won't slice yourself to bits, like a certain God who we've already mentioned."

Asclepius sat back. "So if Erin is regenerating...and he doesn't have an offensive Godhood" Apollo remained quiet and let Asclepius finish the thought.

"You don't think maybe Eris?" Apollo picked up his quill again, twirled it round and was quiet for a minute.

"To be honest I think Eris barely notices the kid's there" Asclepius let out the breath he'd been holding. Apollo kicked his son under the table and Asclepius jumped and winced.

"But what I think doesn't matter, next time you see the kid scan him and make sure. Or if you're really worried have a word with Dite." Asclepius stood up, rearranged his robe.

"Thanks Dad" he turned, was stopped at the door.

"Ace, there is another possibility, the kids may be lying" Asclepius shook his head.

"He knows Dad, he knows what it feels like, I heard him."


Title: Childhood 15: Tales from the Deep
Author: Corona
Rating: PG
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: None
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes,
Summary: Cupid tells Erin a story and Asclepius has doubts.

"You're not even gonna try?" Cupid scowled across at Erin who was mostly black hair from this far away.
"No"
"Awh Cupid come on, this is great" Cupid was so far from being convinced.
"Hello, wings, I'm not built for it" Though he would admit it did look amazing, like flying underwater
"It's amazing, I wish you'd try this" Cupid scowled across at him even though he probably couldn't see it.

Erin disappeared and Cupid swallowed briefly, he surfaced a little closer to the bank.
"It's fun and it's not as if you can drown."
"Erin you know I hate the water" Erin sighed and swam over, rested his elbows in front of Cupid's toes.

It was all his Mom's fault, she'd always known Cupid wouldn't like swimming, or water, or rain, so she'd unloaded one of her greatest passions onto Erin. Which just meant he got bugged twice as much.

"I don't get it, how can you like sailing and not like the water"
"Well you're not actually in the water when you're sailing. It's more to do with the wind" "Not afraid of falling in" Cupid glared at him and he giggled.
"That was harsh"
"Sorry"

Cupid sighed and unfolded his legs, dangled them into the water. Erin raised an eyebrow.
"Are you getting brave?" Cupid glared at him.
"You're such a brat!" another giggle, though less enthusiastic than the first.
"Just because I don't like the water doesn't mean I don't know anything about it"

His Mom had talked about it all the time when he was little and he knew she was a bit sad that he had never had a big thing for it. So she'd told him all the stories so he'd see things in the sea whether he wanted to or not. Erin turned around and leant back against his legs.

"Like what?"
"Like I know about all the monsters that swallow ships and I know where the merpeople live, and how to find my way North, normal ship stuff"
"Pretty dumb monster to swallow a ship, I'd roll the ship and eat the people instead" Cupid pulled a face.
"I wouldn't eat the people at all"
"Though maybe sea monsters have a thing for wood" Cupid kicked him under the water.

"Ok, ok, I give, so what else" Cupid briefly thought about kicking him again but he looked sincere.
"Well she told me about those guys that found the city of gold" Erin tilted his head back.
"What guys?"
"The bunch of guys who were diving for pearls"
"Pearls come from underwater?"
"Sure didn't you know that"
"I do now" though Erin sounded sullen. Cupid poked him with a toe because he knew Erin wasn't stupid he just didn't know some stuff.

"Yeah they come from Oysters or something, Mom has the biggest one on her crown. It took Poseidon a year to find it. I think he had a thing for her a long time ago." Cupid and Erin shared a brief look of distaste.

"Anyway these pearl diving guys, they found a lost city of gold under the sea and it took them seven years to haul it all up to the surface"
"Seven years?" Erin peered over his shoulder.
"There was a lot of gold, only some sea monster or something got really mad that they'd stolen from the city-"
"I'll bet Uncle Poseidon wasn't too happy either" Cupid cleared his throat.
"Right, right, your story"

"So anyway, Uncle Poseidon sent the sea monster or something, are you happy now" at Erin's nod he continued.
"So he sent the sea monster after these men and it came and started gobbling them up one by one."
"Your Mom told you this when you were three?" Cupid frowned.
"It didn't seem quite as gross then" Not that Cupid would ever have to worry about being gobbled up by a sea monster but that didn't mean it had to be a nice story.

"Anyway the sea monsters gobbling them up and everything-"
"Are you telling me this to get me out of the water?"
"No, now will you stop interrupting and let me finish the story!"
"Hang on a minute" Cupid sighed.
"What?" Erin turned around a bit.
"What was this monster doing for seven years?" Cupid blinked.
"Oh for the-I don't know, sleeping, or eating, or maybe it was on holiday with Mrs Sea Monster." Erin giggled.

"So the divers were being chased and eaten but this one guy, I don't know his name he made a deal with the sea monster." Erin obviously couldn't resist.
"He spoke to it? I didn't know mortals could talk to animals and sea monsters and stuff" Cupid sighed.
"Well they can't, maybe Poseidon helped ok?"
"Ok" but Erin didn't sound convinced.
"Anyway if he promised bring the treasure back and to guard the city of gold the sea monster would let him live" Cupid waited for the interruption.

"Underwater, forever? The guy thought this was a good deal?" Cupid shrugged because even he thought it was a bit of a crappy deal.
"He musta thought so"
"So anyway he's down there guarding it but the sea monster says he can't try to leave or he'll eat him"
"Obviously" Cupid scowled at him.
"But the man worked out when the sea monster slept and got past him somehow"

"What a surprise"
"Erin" Cupid splashed water at him. Erin waved a hand and made zippy mouth motions. Cupid glared at him.
"So the man got past the monster and got back to the surface and gathered all the villages" Cupid glared at Erin again.

"That were still there after fourteen years and they all went down with harpoons and nets and stuff and caught the sea monster."
"Your sea monster is an idiot" Cupid kicked him again.
"It's not my sea monster it's a story, I didn't make it up" Erin didn't look convinced.

"Anyway the sea monster gets dragged up onto the beach and they all have a big party" Cupid stopped, looked at Erin.

"Is that it!?"
"Yeah" Erin snorted and leant back again.
"I would have stuck to the pearls" Cupid rolled his eyes at him.
"Well maybe it wouldn't have been too bad living underwater forever" Erin offered. Then he frowned.

"So what happened to the city of gold?" Cupid shrugged.
"Hey it's your story you should know the details" Erin was quiet for a minute.
"I bet they ate him"
"What?"
"The sea monster I bet they ate him"

Cupid sighed, maybe Erin just wasn't a story person, he definitely looked miserable now. Cupid hadn't meant to make him miserable. He'd figured a sea story would make up for not swimming.

Cupid sat swishing his legs in the silence, Erin was quiet, it always bugged him when Erin was quiet. He prodded him with a toe.
"Hey are you ok?" Erin peered up at him,
"Sure" when he saw Cupid's serious expression, he nodded slowly.
"Yeah Cupid, I'm ok."

---

"Aphrodite, are you busy?" she turned and did that smile. Asclepius cleared his throat and tried to act as if he didn't know his face was gradually turning red.
"Hey Ace, well look at you, all grown up and serious" and that so wasn't helping with the redness.
"What can I do for you?" ok more redness, but he was going to be professional and ignore it.

"Well actually I wanted to have a little chat with you about Erin" Aphrodite set down the two bottles she was holding.
"Is he ok?"
"That's what I wanted to talk to you about" Aphrodite blinked and sat down.
"Ok"
"I'm just making sure everything's fine, checking up on the children. Make sure they're all growing up fine." Aphrodite nodded, a deep serious nod.

"Is Cupid?" Asclepius waved a hand.
"Oh Cupid's just perfect, he comes in for the occasional scrape here and there but he's as balanced as they come, no need to worry."

"Erin?" Asclepius nodded
"Yes, he's become quite adventurous hasn't he?" Aphrodite grinned.
"I think Cupid's had that effect on him. I'm dreading when they hit their twenties I really am, and well he is Mischief, which I'm sure he'll love, all that chaos, like a candy factory."

"Mischief and...sorry did you say Chaos?" Aphrodite shrugged.
"Not sure, it seems to fit. I mean people usually take a tiny slice of their parents vocation don't they?" Asclepius shut his mouth and for a brief second was unaware of Aphrodite's smile. He was doing calculations, it could be his vocation then after all.

He'd have to look into this more before he started asking questions or making accusations. A scan was definitely in order next time he saw Erin but anything he did before then would have definite consequences. He chewed his lip for a minute. This was his responsibility now and a scan would make sure, next time he saw Erin, next time.

"Is everything ok sweetie?" Asclepius couldn't resist a final blush, cleared his throat.
"Yes Aphrodite, I think everything's fine, thank you for your help"



Title: Childhood 16: Childhood Vs Godhood
Author: Corona
Rating: PG
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: Nothing scary
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes, Childhood Series.
Summary: Cupid and Erin become Godlings in training.

"Why'd I have to do this, this is stupid" Cupid had a thumb in his blindfold and was scowling out from under it.
"It's tradition, now your Godhood's official you have a statue done." His Mom wasn't looking at him, this didn't seem fair, since he was pulling the best tortured face he had.

"I'm not wearing any pants! Can't I at least have some pants!" Oh now his Mom was looking at him. He sighed and poked the end of his bow, which was very sharp.
"Why isn't Erin standing around with no pants on?" Cupid offered because he'd feel a lot better if he wasn't looking stupid all on his own.
"Because Erin doesn't have house duties, he's Mischief" Cupid scowled some more.

"He got a dagger, a real one, that's cool" his Mom gave him a surprised look.
"A crossbow isn't cool?" Cupid rolled his eyes and hiked his blindfold up higher.
"It's got hearts on it!" His Mom sighed and turned back around.
"Honey you're passionate love. I don't think swords and skulls would be appropriate" Cupid thought they would be. You could point it at people and growl and say things like 'Fall in love or I'll shoot you with my cool knifey crossbow.' He fingered the bow again, it was pretty cool really and Aunt Artie was going to teach him how to hit stuff with it.

Erin however was learning how to fight, like Dad and Aunt Eris. He was getting Phonos as well. Pretty soon he'd have a sword to go with his dagger and loads of other stuff and Cupid would be stuck in no pants surrounded by girls for all eternity.

"I'll have to hang around girls and stuff, I wanna be something else!" Mom didn't look happy.
"Hold the bow, put the blindfold back on and hover straight or by Zeus I'll make you the God of Whining" Cupid scowled and tugged his thumb out of the blindfold, reluctantly flapped properly.
"You've never had a statue done with no pants on!" Mom merely grinned at him.
"Ew Mom!"

---

Phonos shook his head and swore to never ever have children.
"Kid you're gonna be working for the House of War, you gotta learn how to take care of yourself." Erin stared across at him with the biggest eyes.
"I'll do it slowly" Erin not only seemed reluctant, he looked downright terrified.

"I'll fall!" Phonos gritted his teeth.
"You won't fall and if you do you'll end up in the air net" Phonos flashed a lance. Erin was still looking down, down thirty feet to where the ground admittedly looked far away. The barrel sized podiums were barely wide enough for Phonos to stand properly.

"Look you don't have an offensive Godhood so this isn't gonna be instinctive for you, you need to learn it" Phonos watched him nod shakily.
"Right now listen up, when I swing this" Phonos shook the lance.
"I want you to jump over it" Erin just gaped at him wide-eyed.
"Ya ready" Erin made a little noise but he wasn't screaming or jumping around so Phonos crouched, and swung.

There was a soft thump, then a slowly decreasing yell, followed by a soft 'boing.' Phonos settled his hand over his face, sighed. Then he leant over the side.
"Let's try that again shall we."

---

"No Cupid you're standing wrong" Cupid sighed, shifted a tiny bit for the millionth time.
"That's better, bend your arm" he did as he was told.
"That's it, now lift your head a little, don't hold the bow so tight." Aunt Artie pulled and prodded him a bit more.

Cupid gritted his teeth, let her move him through positions he'd swear he'd already been in.
"Now don't pull, squeeze" finally he was actually going to shoot something.
"Try for the door of the temple" he pulled the trigger.

A second later they both ducked as the arrow pinged wide, hit a statue of his Mom, clattered down the balcony and landed in a bush.

---

Erin ducked, winced when wood hit him in the head. He hit the podium hard enough to knock all the air out of him. He lay there for a minute, waiting for the floor to come back into focus. He looked across long enough to see an upside down Phonos roll his eyes. He carefully wobbled to a stand.

"Kid please tell me you're gonna get this soon, preferably before I knock out what little brains you've got left." Phonos leant on the lance, sighed. Erin got back into position. He had to do this until he got it right, cos Cupid was probably being brilliant. Which would make him look like an idiot.

"Ok now this one is a 'duck' not a jump or a swerve or a catch it with your chin or a drop to the floor and scream, a 'duck' got it." Erin carefully nodded because when someone who knew several hundred thousands ways to kill a person told you to do something then it was probably best to shut up and do your best.

---

Artemis carefully picked bits of bush out of her hair. Then she took a deep breath and strode back to Cupid. He was looking sufficiently sheepish that she didn't feel like grabbing his bow and snapping it over her knee. She made a final check to make sure no foliage had crept into her bodice.

"I'm sorry" Artemis considered his apology, then smiled slightly.
"The delicate art of ricochet will come later" Cupid offered a grin.
"For which we will be using shields" Cupid went red.

---

Erin peered up into not best pleased black eyes and gave Phonos a sheepish look. Phonos pulled a hand over his face really hard.
"It's called a somersault for the simple reason that no, repeat no flopping is in fact involved." Erin resisted the urge to pretend he'd been knocked unconscious by that particular disaster but Phonos was already pulling him to his feet.

Phonos stood him up again, then wrapped an arm around his waist and his back.
"Don't relax, turn like a wheel, bend your legs" then the ground disappeared and Erin desperately fought the urge to curl into a ball, or put his hands down. He thought he did quite well, but since he eventually ended up face down on the floor with his arms flung out and kind of hurting, he reasoned he probably hadn't. He fought the strangest urge to giggle.

---

Cupid flopped down next to Erin, sighed loudly. Erin shifted on the bench, healing bones and skin or not he still felt like someone had thrown him out of a moving chariot and then run over him several times. Cupid glanced over at him, Erin peered back. They both sighed. Cupid shuffled, leant back and pulled a bit of tree out of his hair.

"I am so utterly rubbish" Cupid offered finally. Erin looked up at him in surprise.
"You are?" Cupid went red.
"I managed to hit everything but the target. One of the arrows hit one of the shields and came back and stuck in Artie's arm" Erin groaned in sympathy.
"Then we had to jump in a bush because Graegus wasn't mad about having an arrow in her butt either" Erin nearly bit through his own lip.

"She chased us, Artie didn't even help she just Pooft away and you know I can't Pooft when I'm running. I ran straight into Granny Hera's fountain, which is why I'm wet." Erin clamped a hand against his side and nodded carefully. Cupid scowled at him and continued.

"Then the string pinned into my arm and that really hurt, really hurt so Artie told me off for whining. So I told her the bow slapped me and she was laughing" Erin made a little whiny noise. Cupid stopped and glared.

"S'not that funny, just because you were brilliant" Erin shook his head. Cupid tilted his head carefully.
"You weren't?" another headshake. Cupid grinned, Erin sighed.

"Pho told me I fell off more than anyone ever" Cupid grinned some more.
"I couldn't stay on for five seconds, I couldn't jump, I couldn't duck, I couldn't flip even when Pho helped me on the floor." Cupid smirked.
"Then I got the staff stuck inside my boot and threw myself off" Cupid laughed, Erin wasn't scowling so Cupid laughed a bit harder.
"Well at least I didn't put any arrows in someone's butt!" Cupid shunted Erin with his elbow.
"At least I didn't try and beat up myself" Erin pulled a face.
"You're just mad cos you sucked"
"I did not suck"
"You totally sucked" Cupid shoved Erin with a sore elbow, Erin scowled at him.

"You sucked!" Erin looked at Cupid for a minute, then carefully shoved him back. Cupid laughed, shoved him again.
"Mischief"
"Love"
"Mischief!"
"Love!"

Then they both stopped, winced and rubbed their elbows. Then Cupid started laughing again, which set Erin off as well. Until they had to stop and wince again. Erin leant against the back of the bench and Cupid flopped back as well.
"Do you think we'll suck forever?" Cupid wondered. Erin pulled the laces of his shirt straight.
"We can't else we'd be the Gods of Being Totally Sucky" Cupid had to agree with that.
"Well at least we'd be totally sucky together."



Title: Childhood 17: Girl Part 1
Author: Corona
Rating: PG
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: Umm, nothing I can think of.
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes,
Summary: Ok the boys are nine, they have Godhoods and responsibilities but are they prepared to baby-sit everyone's favourite princess.

"You both have Godhoods now, responsibilities, to Olympus and each other" Cupid was trying his best not to look responsible, in fact he was trying his best to be swallowed up by a giant whale which was about to burst through the floor any moment now. Erin looked terrified, like Mom had told them they were about to be shot or something, which was sort of funny.

"Are you two listening to me" Mom was tapping her foot, which was never a good sign. Cupid practically saluted and Erin knew his Mom well enough to straighten up and attempt to look more like a stick with hair.

"Which is why I've decided you're old enough to take on more duties" the side of Cupid's mouth perked up instantly and even Erin attempted to prove he had a chest. His Mom had duties for them, this was gonna be so cool. He could be important now, next thing he'd have his own temple and him and Erin could have base camp there. His Dad might even take him on a march, he'd finally get to go to meetings and-

His Mom pulled something out from behind her back.
"Say hello to Persephone" Cupid frowned, Erin looked startled.

Persephone was tiny, and made entirely, it seemed, of hair. Huge great brown clumps of it which flew out in assorted directions away from pointy features which appeared curious. She had most of her fingers in her mouth.

"Er...Mom" his mother shunted the girl forward until she bumped into Cupid's legs. Persephone immediately looked up, big eyes wide, she made an 'Ooo' sound.

"I have a lot to discuss with your father, and Demeter has given very reluctant permission for you to watch her." Cupid made frog eyes.
"What! You can't be serious" his Mom didn't look impressed by his righteous indignation.
"I'm seriously serious, I know perfectly well you two were planning on sneaking into Ares armoury." Cupid sent a glance at Erin, who shook his head.
"But-"
"Nope, sorry Hon but this is happening" His Mom settled her hands on her hips, Oh Zeus she was gonna start tapping her foot any minute now.

Cupid glared down at Persephone who was trying to stand on his foot. She'd grabbed a handful of his trousers and was making little noises of effort.
"I'll be back by dark, you just have to watch her until then" his Mom grinned.
"It won't kill either of you, and you might learn something for a change"
"Mom!" his mother vanished.

"Oh man" he looked down at the hairy monster clinging to him and scowled, Persephone promptly sunk her teeth into his knee.
"OW!"

---

Cupid was still muttering angrily in the bathroom and it didn't sound like he was coming out any time soon so Erin very carefully looped his hands under Persephone's armpits and lifted her. She grinned at him and kicked her legs, then she giggled. Erin couldn't help grinning at her, until she reached a hand out and poked him in the eye.

"Zeus!" he leant back out of range and blinked angrily.
"What is with you?" she screwed up her nose until her eyes disappeared and giggled again.
"Oh Yeah I can see you fitting into polite society just fine" he blinked again. Persephone swung a leg, if she'd been an inch taller he might have been very cross indeed. He set her down again, looped a hand round her arm and let her into the living room.

Ok, now what did you do with kids. He stood there for a minute and stared around, shrugged.
"What do you wanna do?" Persephone grabbed a handful of her skirts and tried to stuff them in her mouth.
"That's lovely" he offered and tugged them out, smoothed them back down again.

Persephone giggled and grabbed the skirts back, shoved them in her mouth again.
"Fine you eat your clothes if you want, I don't care" Persephone dropped the soggy material and came close, poked his waist.
"Ooo"
"What's that, what have you found?"

"Shiny" she declared. Erin slid a hand round until he found the point of his dagger.
"Shit!" Erin slid the dagger out of his belt and set it on top of the dresser. Persephone watched, then strode over and held an arm up for it.
"No you can't have it, it's dangerous" Persephone gave him a great wide open mouthed stare, then screamed.

The bathroom door juddered open and Cupid skidded out.
"I didn't do it!" Erin snapped
"I didn't do anything"
"What! What happened." Erin pointed at where Persephone was jumping up and down in front of the dresser, chubby hands stretched as far as they would go and screaming with all her might.

"What's up there? Why is she screaming?" Erin fought the urge to clap his hands over his ears.
"My dagger" Cupid pulled a face.
"Find something shiny!" Erin bellowed. Cupid grumbled and limped towards the kitchen. Persephone screamed some more until there was a clang and Cupid came back out holding something. He brandished it.
"Will this do?"

Erin peered at it, sighed, shrugged. "I dunno, give it to her" Cupid held out the kitchen implement. Persephone looked at it, then shut her mouth. She went to snatch it. Cupid pulled it out of reach.
"Hey no snatching" which only provoked more screaming. Erin, who was learning exactly what sound could do to a brain grabbed the whisk off of Cupid and thrust it back towards her. Persephone clutched it and proceeded to try and shove the entire thing in her mouth.

"She's gonna choke" Cupid offered, still holding his knee. Persephone pulled the whisk free and then shook it hurling dribble in all directions.
"Or she could do that" Erin wandered out of range. Then she started shoving her fingers through the tiny spars.

"Pep sweetie don't do that" Erin watched in curiosity as Cupid ventured closer. Ok now that was brave.
"Your fingers will get stuck" Erin figured since Cupid was being brave and everything he could offer advice.
"Maybe we should feed her?"

---

Persephone it seemed didn't like potatoes. The first thing she did was bang her spoon on the plate until most of it ended up in her hair, the rest was shared between the table and Cupid's left wing. Cupid sighed and flicked a bit of potato across the table. Erin scowled as it ran down his eyebrow. "Thanks" Cupid had the grace to look sheepish, until a spoon flew past his nose.

"PEP! We do not throw cutlery" Persephone grinned at him, then she grinned at Erin. Then she bounced in her chair until it gave an alarming creak.
"Persephone sit down properly!" the girl stopped bouncing and glared at him. Then since her spoon was still scuttling across the carpet she started smacking the remaining potato smears with a hand.

Cupid looked to Erin for help who it seemed had gone past frustration already and was happily coasting through fascination.
"She can't be normal" he muttered. Cupid leant over far enough to punch him on the shoulder. Erin flinched and looked up at him.

"Help me!" Erin took one look at the giggling, dripping, potato splattering four year old and then looked at Cupid like he was a crazy person.
"How!"
"I dunno do something Erin please" Erin raised an eyebrow.
"Erin!" he sighed
"You get the kid I'll clear up!" Cupid sighed then went behind Persephone and grabbed her while Erin stole her plate.

Persephone wiggled, smearing potato over the left side of Cupid's face.
"No, no, no, no, no!" oh and there was going to be screaming in a minute. Since Erin was way better than clearing up than him it didn't take him any time at all. He just sent the table to oblivion and flashed a new one.

Cupid pulled a face and leant as far away from Persephone as he could.
"Will you stop that, you're disgusting do you know that." Ok think quickly, he stopped to spit out potato flavoured hair. What did kids like to do? He didn't know, he didn't have any, he was nine for Zeus’ sake. Erin was still hurrying back and forth grabbing things and throwing things towards the kitchen, which wasn't helping him much. Persephone was attempting to kick a hole in mid-air and Cupid swerved out of the way twice before clocking a heel on the knee, which had only just stopped hurting.

"OW, you little." Pain, ow, that hurt.
Drawing, ok kids liked drawing right, right?
"Erin get the paper out" he rearranged his hold nearly fell forward in surprise when Persephone went slack in his arms, in fact she drooped almost all the way to the floor.

For a minute he had the strangest notion that she'd worn herself out completely and fallen asleep or something. Then he realised something.
"Are you dribbling on my shoes?" Persephone giggled. Cupid ground his teeth until he thought they would all shatter into a million pieces. His knee was protesting that standing up was bad and sitting down would be lovely.
"Erin!" he snapped.

Erin dashed across to them, paper in one hand and spoon in the other, box of chalk tucked under his arm.
"What?"
"Take her!"
"Cupid?"
"Erin will you just take her please!?" At Cupid's desperate pained plea Erin didn't say a word but dropped everything he was carrying and scooped Persephone up. Cupid heaved a sigh of relief and rubbed his knee. Then he sighed and limped over to pick up the scattered chalk and bits of paper.

---

Cupid walked Persephone over to the table.
"You know how to draw right? That is if you can sit still for more than a minute" Cupid ran a very harassed hand through his hair and caught Erin sniggering.
"You want to try this" he wasn't surprised when Erin put his hands up.
"She's all yours" Cupid lifted Persephone and sat her at the little table, slid some paper in front of her.
"Ok you want to draw some-no Pep don't eat the paper, we don't eat paper." Cupid grabbed the first piece of chalk he could reach, which was green. Erin sat down opposite the girl and slid a piece of paper off the pile.

"Look Pep, Erin's drawing" he turned back to her and made a noise.
"No, we don't eat the chalk" though eat might have been too strong a word, since most of the chalk was now either up her nose or squashed in her palm. Calmly he took away the mess and gave her some red chalk.
"Don't eat this one, it can't be good for you" He glared at Erin who wasn't helping the situation because he was laughing and everyone knew when you laughed at a kid they did exactly the same thing they'd just been told off for.

"No Pep stop eating them" Cupid pulled the red chalk out of Persephone's mouth, she gave him a rather gruesome grin and then proceeded to dribble all over the paper. Erin glanced up from where he was drawing a great be-haired monster and sighed.
"Tell me we were never this gross" Cupid gave him a worried look.
"I hope we were never that gross"

Persephone proceeded to dribble an entire picture, along with the occasional handprint and once when Cupid wasn't looking a bitemark. Then she brandished it with a grin that almost split her face.
"That's lovely" Cupid offered, trying to look encouraging, then looked pointedly at Erin.

Erin considered the picture, to be honest he'd eaten things which were prettier.
"What is it?" Cupid shrugged.
"House!" Persephone declared and shook the picture, adding some red splashes to the rooms decor.

Persephone grinned, looked at them. Cupid and Erin shared a pained look.
"Bath" they both declared.
"Bath!" Persephone screamed and promptly fell off the chair.

---

Cupid set Persephone down and looked at her.
"It's a wonder your Mom bothers to dress you at all" he tugged the dress open then pulled it over her head. Erin had to grin when she got a face full of potato and crayon from the material. Persephone grinned up at him, then bounced, Cupid managed to bounce her out of her underwear while she was distracted.

"Right, come on sludge monster, into the water" she surprised both of them by lifting her arms up and not swinging a foot when Cupid lifted her. He looked like he was fighting an urge to just drop her in but Erin really couldn't blame him.

Persephone tucked her arms in and made an 'Mmm' sound when she hit the water. Cupid grinned like an idiot.

"Hey look, she likes the bath, we've found something she actually likes." Then Persephone laughed like a banshee and sent both palms smacking against the surface. When she dislodged most of the water she watched Cupid and Erin drip at her, giggled some more and crouched down until she could blow bubbles.

Without a word Cupid threw the shampoo at Erin. Persephone turned in the water and peered up at Erin.

"And you thought I was a sea monster?" Cupid grabbed her while Erin squeezed shampoo on her, she struggled a lot. The girl had too much hair, way too much hair. When Persephone realised squirming wasn't helping, she went for her back up and screamed, very loudly.

"Now!" Erin said simply. Cupid clapped a hand over her mouth and nose and quickly dunked her. She came back up utterly silent, peered around, snorted water, then giggled.

"Zeus talk about a short attention span" Erin squeezed all the water out of her hair and flopped it all on top of her head.

"She may actually be clean" he offered. Persephone put her head down and blew bubbles again. Cupid sighed and leant against the edge of the bath.

"My Mom said kids are precious, was she lying or is Pep just an evil monster from Tartarus.
"Grr" Persephone provided in-between blowing bubbles. Cupid and Erin glanced at each other and then slid away fractionally.
"Maybe Mom sent her to test us" Erin peered at Persephone, who was now entirely underwater blowing big bubbles.
"But if she isn't a monster her Mom has a lot of explaining to do" Cupid snapped and tugged Persephone topside by a shoulder.

"I'm voting for monster" Erin mumbled. Cupid didn't say anything which was incriminating enough. Persephone chose that moment to splash towards the side. Little hands grabbing the stone and trying to pull herself out.

"Erin!" Erin leant forward, tried to snatch Persephone before she scrambled over the side. He reached a hand out, caught thin air, teetered, grabbed Cupid and they both fell face first into the bath. Persephone flopped out onto the floor, then naked and soaking she made a break for freedom.



Title: Childhood 18: Girl 2
Author: Corona
Rating: PG
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: None
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes,
Summary: After Persephone's escape things get a little hectic.

Ares leant back in his chair and listened to his sister agonise. It wasn't hard, he just sat still and nodded, or shook his head when she paused, depending on her facial expression at the time. Sometimes he'd make an encouraging noise but mostly he just sat and did other things in his head.

Most of Aphrodite's conversations were pointless but she was nice to look at, it paid to keep good relations with her and she wasn't all that bad compared. So he took time out of his extremely tight schedule to go through this routine. Besides they were in the garden and he could peer into a few of the temple windows.

He could actually see Dite's temple from here.

"So she married them, isn't that cruel. The guy is an oaf, seriously." Ares gauged her facial expression, then shrugged and nodded.

"I can't do anything about it now because Hera would be right on my arse. That damn queen has put me in a bind and I am not happy"

Ares blinked, for a second there he could have sworn he saw a little naked girl run past the window. Since his eyes had never in his entire life played tricks on him he kept a cautious eye there just in case. Aphrodite rambled on, switching from one subject to the other so fast it became a monologue.

"Do you think they'll be alright?" Aphrodite shook her head.

"No forget it I'm sure they'll be fine.

The little naked girl, who appeared to be mostly hair, dashed past the window again. Ares blinked, then the sides of his mouth curled up slightly, he stifled a laugh.

"I mean they're what nearly ten now, they need the responsibility" Aphrodite daintily chewed a lip.

"She's a little goddess after all, ok she can be a bit of a handful but it's not as if she could get hurt"

The little naked girl reappeared, then laughed and skidded away on podgy legs. Which lead to his dripping son and an equally wet Erin colliding so hard, they both bounced back. Ares turned his laugh into another cough and received a glare from Aphrodite.

"I'm so glad you find this all amusing" Dite looked on the verge of a sulk.

"Are you even listening to what I'm saying" Ares waved a hand.

"Kids" he offered, then breathed a sigh of relief when she grinned and started talking again.

"She really is precious when you get past the fact that she tries to eat absolutely anything."

The little naked girl was ambushed from both sides and grabbed in a huge towel. She didn't seem annoyed by it, if he kicking legs and enormous grin were anything to go by.

---

Erin pushed wet hair out of his eyes and held a struggling, squealing Persephone while Cupid turned her dress round and round.

"Er, how did we get this off again?" Erin eyed the purple and white swathes of fabric, the loops and ribbons, the waistband. He made a confused face.

"Oh come on" Cupid pleaded and shook the dress.

"It's not quantum physics, it's a dress"

Persephone appeared to have gotten bored with her struggling and was investigating Erin's fingers. He had to do some very quick manoeuvring to prevent her from putting them in her mouth to see if they were edible.

"Pep will you stop that and stay still" Cupid offered, which didn't seem to accomplish much since Persephone had somehow managed to get the towel over her head and was giggling underneath it. Cupid made a noise and pulled Persephone over. He held his hand out and something appeared in it. Erin handed over the squirming bundle and Cupid unwrapped her.

Sensing freedom she immediately tried to bolt for the doors. Cupid grabbed her and struggled her into what he'd created. Persephone stopped trying to hurtle away and looked down, then she looked down some more.

"I don't think Demeter will appreciate that."

"She looks cute" Persephone was busy trying to find her underwear.

"Besides it's bedtime, she gets pyjamas"

It didn't look like anyone had ever put her in pants before, or pyjamas, though in admittance of her girlness they were pink.

"She looks a bit like..."

"Don't say it" Erin shut his mouth and grinned. Persephone was still trying to find her legs.

"Do you like the Pyjamas Pep?" big green eyes gave him a funny look.

"Pants!" she declared, seemed impressed at last. Then she tried to stand on her head.

"Uh huh, that's right, pants?" Erin shrugged, kids got a kick out of everything. Persephone reappeared.

"Brush hair now" she decided, Cupid and Erin looked at each other.

"Hairbrush, hairbrush" they both shrank away slightly.

"She has to be joking?" Persephone apparently wasn't because she'd sat down on the little chair surprisingly still. After a few seconds she looked round and scowled.

"You gotta do it"

//Oh just brush her hair and we can put her to bed// Cupid glared over his own shoulder.

//Why don't you do it then, she likes you?// Erin made very unsubtle head motions.

//Erin I had long hair when I was little remember, very long curly, tangly hair//

//Which made you look like a girl//

//Yeah-// Cupid glared at him. Erin sniggered then held out his hand, a second later there was a brush in it.

"Ok Pep, you're now at the mercy of Erin God of Style" Persephone tilted her head back and Erin dragged the brush through it. She made a horsey noise.

"Plaits?" Persephone offered.

"Not a chance" another long draw of the brush. Persephone bounced, while Cupid watched in befuddlement. She wouldn't have sat that still for him.

Erin whisked the brush away and patted her on the head.

"There flat as a pancake"

"Pancake?"

"Not before bed" Erin offered and Persephone giggled, then she yawned. Cupid sent a brief and concise prayer to Zeus.

"Right you're clean, you're brushed and you're yawning, excellent" Cupid scooped up Persephone who, far from yelling or biting or kicking, decided to flop her head onto his shoulder instead.

"Bedtime"

"Bedtime" she agreed, mostly through her nose. They wandered into the guest room and plonked her in the middle of the bed.

"Do you think I should fold her in and stuff?" Persephone giggled and went exploring under the sheets. She appeared a moment later and flopped into the pillows.

"Probably not" Erin offered. Persephone lay down.

"Night Pep" she blew spit bubbles.

"Nighty night"

Cupid took a step backwards, bumped into Erin who was already backing towards the door. Persephone sat up.

"Kiss?" Cupid blinked, sighed, shuffled forward. Persephone offered her cheek. Cupid obliged since she'd had a bath and was clean.

She stayed there, Cupid whacked Erin with an elbow, Erin pulled a face.

"Do I have to?"

"Do you want her to cry?" Erin groaned and leant forward, kissed the other cheek. Persephone made a happy 'aah' noise and snuggled down. Cupid and Erin stealthily backed out of the room.

---

Erin fell back onto Cupid's bed with a little groan. "My feet hurt"

"No they don't you just think they do" Cupid flopped down beside him, didn't even move when one of his wings creaked nastily.

"No Cupid my feet really hurt, I think she did it" Cupid made a noise.

"She's back" Persephone grinned over the bed at him.

"I thought you went to bed" she giggled.

"Pep!" which wasn't a particularly good scolding from the God of Love.

Erin was briefly frightened as Persephone made a decision and used great handfuls of his shirt to pull herself into his lap. She'd brought a book with her, the damn thing was almost as big as she was.

"Princess!" she offered and the book swayed, Erin swerved to avoid having it shoved up his nose, and where the hell had she got it from anyway? He didn't know whether she was calling him a princess, or if she was a princess or if she wanted to be read a story about a princess.

She set the book down and then wriggled to get more comfortable. Erin put a hand down just in case she got too exuberant with one of her shoes, then he sighed loudly.

"Do you want a story?" Cupid shifted to make room with an even bigger sigh. Persephone giggled as the bed bounced.

"Princess" another gesture of the big book, she wiggled into a more comfortable position, knees shifting perilously close to certain bits of himself he was very protective of.

"Princess in'a tower" she tried to lift the book over her head, gave up. Then she stared at them both.

"Please" Erin sent a glance at Cupid who was looking a bit shocked himself. Erin opened the book and flicked through it. Cupid peered over his shoulder.

"There, page seventy two" Cupid was right it was the only story with a princess in the title. Erin pulled a face.

"Oh alright, wiggle down" Persephone bounced and then energetically squirmed into a more comfortable position.

Cupid sighed, folded his arms and leant back against the headboard.

"Ok are you ready?" Persephone nodded, squirmed.

"Comfy?"

"Uh huh" Erin cleared his throat, Cupid sniggered at him.

"Shut up" Erin looked back down at the page.

"In the castle by the sea lived a king and his queen and their daughter, the beautiful princess Lydia. It was the depths of winter and Lydia was sat by the roaring fire in the ballroom. 'Oh it is so cold' she said " Cupid sniggered. Erin looked up.

"What?" Cupid sniggered again, Persephone was grinning, she shook her head.

"Are you gonna do the voice all the way through?" Erin scowled.

"What voice?" Cupid bit his lip.

"The beautiful princess voice" Erin went red.

"You wanna read it?" a head-shake.

"Well shut up then" Persephone giggled, flopped her head onto Erin's chest.

He peered down at her for a minute, then went back to the story.

---

Aphrodite found her son asleep on his bed, lying sideways, inches from sliding off onto the floor. His wings splayed crookedly and his hair was a spiky mess that had very likely become attached to the headboard. Erin was slumped against his shoulder equally dishevelled. A huge book was open on his chest, spine bent close to snapping. The cutest thing though, in the middle was a dip and Persephone was snuggled there. Hair an electric mess across all of them, one hand shoved in her mouth and the other clutching a mass of white feathers.

Aphrodite carefully looped her arms round the girl and lifted her up, watching her hands clutch reflexively. As quietly as she could she carried her out of the room.

"Come on Honey, lets get you home" Persephone made a little groany noise and sighed happily into Aphrodite's neck.



Title: Childhood 19: Cecillee
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-15 (swearing)
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: None
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes,
Summary: Erin has a surprise for Cupid's birthday.

"You're going to have to close your eyes" Erin stated. Cupid pulled a face.
"Why?"
"Cos it's a surprise idiot" Cupid grinned and shut his eyes, Erin slung an arm around his shoulders.
"You're gonna like this" Cupid saw the flash behind his eyes and his feet went from stone to wood.

It took him a few seconds to take in everything he couldn't see. The wood under his feet was creaking, and there was a strong wind making his hair fly about.

"It's windy"

"Uh huh, now stay there, keep your eyes closed" Erin clomped off across the creaky wood. He could hear Erin giggling, something metal creaked and it sounded a lot like a winch.

"Can I open my eyes yet?"

"Nope" came back through the wind. He waited a few more seconds.

"Now?"
"No"
"Now?"

"No hang on" Cupid tapped his foot, he could hear Erin clomping around in his boots. He was tempted to peek.

"Awh Erin come on can I look yet?"

"Nope, wait a minute" the boots went off in the other direction and Cupid sighed but kept his eyes shut. There were some dragging sounds then the sound of a rope snapping. Then boots hurrying back over towards him.

"Ok you can open your eyes now" Cupid did, blinking into the light. He was on a boat, a really big boat, no it had to be a ship because it was that huge.

"Wow, we're sailing" he wrinkled his nose.

"I didn't smell the sea"

"I'm not surprised" Erin offered with a grin then flicked his head sideways.

"Look over the side" Cupid wandered over to the railing and peered down.

"Zeus!" he stood up with his mouth open, then ran over to the other side and peered down again.

"Shit!" Cupid clapped a hand over his mouth and giggled.

"How did you do this!" Erin was grinning at him like an idiot.

"Well it's mostly from your Dad, but I owe Poseidon big time for the boat, since him and your Dad are fighting" Cupid laughed and peered over the side again.

"I'm flying in a boat" he squealed.

"This is so cool" He grabbed Erin and danced him around.

"Thank you thank you thank you" Erin had gone red by the time he let him go.

"No problem" Erin gave him a jaunty salute.

"Am I Captain? Oh Gods I'm captain, this is great" Cupid ran to the front of the boat.

"Wow, it's got a figurehead" Cupid leant further over and considered the woman on the front.

"And she's naked!"

"They come like that"

"Really she doesn't mind?"

"Big thing for mermaids to swim around naked" Cupid had to admit that was true. Wow though, a naked woman on his boat, scary.

"So what are you gonna call it?" Cupid had a brief breathless moment.

"I get to name it?" Erin laughed at him.

"It's your boat" Cupid stared at the deck, the sails, the figurehead. His boat, an entire boat and it was his and he got to name it. This was better than cool this was...he couldn't think of a good enough word.

"I have no idea what to call it?" and he was aware he sounded utterly miserable, it wasn't like he laid in bed at night thinking up names for his own boat.

"Take your time, say can I pull this rope and see what happens" Cupid laughed.

"Sure pull away" Erin tugged the rope he'd been leaning against. There was a brief ratching noise and the sails unfurled.

"Whoah"

"Whoah" they were both agreed that that was cool. The wind filled them and the boat started to veer left.

"Yes, go boat!"

Cupid leant into the wind and looked at the figurehead, maybe a mermaidy name, no that was silly he didn't want to give his boat a girly name. Though his Mom would go mad if he named it Aphrodite, not that he'd name his boat after his Mom. Something War-like, since the present was from his Dad as well.

"Oi Captain, you wanna take the wheel before we crash into a big ol mountain" Cupid looked up but there weren't any mountains in the way. Erin laughed. He went up the creaky stairs anyway and slapped both hands on the wheel. That was better actually, now he felt captain-like.

---

"He's ten, he's perfectly capable of taking care of his new present" Aphrodite looked up from powdering her chin, frowned at her brother.

"You haven't actually told me what you got him yet, please tell me it's not a dog. I really don't want a dog haring through my temple upsetting all my precious bottles, drooling grossly over my one of a kind outfits. Ares flopped onto the couch.

"No I didn't give him a dog, I gave him a flying ship"

Aphrodite blinked, dropped her puff, mouth gradually slipping open. "You gave him a what!!"

---

"I still can't think of a name"

"No rush, hey can I wind this"

"Sure" screechy winding noises ensued and the beam holding the sail moved.

"You are remembering what everything does aren't you"

"Sure" Cupid had another think.

"How about Poseidon's Adventurer?" Erin screwed his nose up.

"Bad name" Cupid spun the wheel, the boat swayed.

"Cool" he spun it the opposite way. This was so much fun.

"I can really keep this, it's really mine"

"Yes Cupid it's really yours"

"Woohoo" Erin chuckled and wound whatever he'd found before again. The beam swayed back.

Cupid peered over the wheel. A speck on the horizon loomed beneath some clouds, which was kind of exciting too.

"Oh oh Land ahoy, ho, over there!" Erin appeared beside him and squinted into the sun.

"That's not land" Cupid leant further forward.

"It's not?"

"No it's a flock of birds"

"Are you sure?"

"Oh yeah" Cupid thought about that for a minute.

"So we probably won't have to steer round them?" Erin grinned at him.

"No" and that was disappointing because barring the appearance of any suspect mountains they could fly in a straight line forever.

"Titanius" Erin offered from his shoulder. Cupid frowned,

"Sounds kinda pompous" he spun the wheel again just for effect, Tartarus it was his boat he could steer round the clouds if he wanted to.

"Oh oh, Winged Death" Cupid turned round far enough to poke Erin in the chest.

"No, be serious"

"I was being serious, we could hang skeletons, make it cobwebby-"

"Lend it to Uncle Hades on the weekends" Cupid finished and shoved Erin out of the way with a hip.

"You're not putting skeletons all over my ship" Erin didn't look upset, though his sulking face was the same as his ordinary face.

"How about The Heroicus" Erin pulled a disgusted face.

"That's just crap" Cupid scowled

"It's not crap"

"Don't give the boat a crap name it'll annoy it" big bug eyes couldn't express his bewilderment.

"It's a boat, it doesn't care what I call it"

"Well maybe the figurehead does" Cupid glanced up the boat against his will.

"It's not even alive, look she's made of wood, I could call it Cecillee and she wouldn't care"

"I'd care if you called me Cecillee" Cupid stamped a foot and didn't care that it was immature.

"I'm calling it The Hero of Cecillee" Erin shook his head made wavy arm motions that narrowly missed Cupid's head.

"Cecillee is a name not a place, it should be Cecillee's Hero"

"But that's rubbish"

"Exactly" Cupid stomped across to the figurehead, cleared his throat.

"Excuse me half naked Mer-lady but what would you like to be called" Cupid waited.

"What was that?" he leant forward and put his hand to his ear.

"See she doesn't care what she's called because she's made of wood." Cupid lifted a hand and rapped sharply on her shoulder. Cupid turned around to show Erin his 'ha' face.

Erin had gone red.

"What?" someone cleared their throat behind him. Cupid yelped and stumbled forward, grabbed Erin's shirt.

"I'm rather partial to The Hero of Cecillee myself."

"Mom, you scared the shit out of me!" Cupid clapped a hand over his mouth but not before his Mom gave him a 'later' eyebrow. She unfolded herself out of the figurehead and slid onto the boat then folded her arms, looked around.

"Oh Zeus! Well at least he made a good job of it, though why you'd want to be this high no one knows." she peered over the side.

"Some fish maybe, swimming around you, now that would look ace" Cupid had recovered a little bit.

"What a thousand feet up, swimming around in the air, get real Mom that would look stupid." He untangled himself from Erin and grabbed the wheel again.

"Do you like it?" he didn't really think she'd take it away but she'd make life horrible if she hated it. She wandered across to the front again, made Hmm noises.

"It's old and creaky but it has charm" she sighed theatrically and wiped a few fingers across some beams.

"It's a good job you can't catch diseases, I've told Ares a thousand times to tell me what he's planning to give you" She must have noticed his panicking face because she stepped forward and ruffled his hair, then she leant over and ruffled Erin's, he made a squeaky noise.

"It's yours honey, just don't tie it to the window frames, Pol had a nasty accident with his chariot when he tried that" Cupid grinned,

"Woohoo!" Erin made another squeaky noise and nudged Cupid.

"What?" then he noticed.

"Oh...Mom?"

"Hmm"

"Can you please put some clothes on."



Title: Childhood 19: The End of an Era
Author: Corona
Rating: PG
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: None Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes,
Summary: The boys have fun, and then something happens.

"I still can't believe the guy actually made little animals by twisting all the balloons together like that" Erin couldn't stop being impressed, it had been cool and the guy hadn't even been a god, just one of Apollo's priests.

"And when Bia pricked them with his knife and they popped and then the guy-"

"Made a balloon shaped exactly like him and everyone laughed" Cupid finished.

"Now that was cool"

"Did you see the man juggling fire!" Cupid bounced beside him.

"Did I, I mean sure I've seen Bacchus juggle fire but the guy was mortal he could actually have burnt his arm off or something.

"Which would have really hurt"

"He didn't even looked scared" Cupid rolled over onto his back.

"I am so full and I feel fizzy"

"I told you not to nick Ambrosia off your dad's plate"

"But it looked yummy"

"You could have shared"

"You should have asked" Cupid groaned.

"I wish you'd asked, Zeus I feel like my stomach's about to burst open and spray bits of me all over"

"Lovely mental image there" Erin debated sliding away just in case it actually happened.

"Did you see Dad throw Pol in the fish pond?"

"Uh huh" they both laughed.

"It just gave him an excuse to change his clothes." Cupid offered

"And he wasn't too mad since Calliope helped pull him out"

"They'll be at the second party"

They pulled faces at each other, since they both knew what went on at the second party, everybody got drunk and had sex then you had to tiptoe around them the next morning and wait and see who got their face slapped. Which was sort of fun in a way, Aunt Dite had some great stories she'd promised to tell them when they were older. Cupid wasn't sure whether he wanted to know or not but Erin was up for some family dirt dishing.

Erin rolled over onto his belly let his feet hang over the edge of the balcony they were both sprawled on.

"Did your Mom make stuff again?" Cupid snorted but didn't have the energy to roll over and face him.

"Did she, she was lugging a box of the stuff downstairs this afternoon"

"That stuff is mad, the swirly purple one that smells like cherries makes my eyes want to go inside out." Erin flopped his head over.

"Is it true that Hermes swallowed a bunch of the stuff when he was little."

"Yep"

"Did he go funny colours" because Erin knew Aunt Dite's secret recipes had way nasty side effects if you weren't six feet tall and at least fifty. Cupid was quiet for a minute but Erin heard him swallow.

"No he was just throwing up a lot and some stuff came out of his ears" Erin lifted his head.

"Like what wax?" Cupid chuckled, then stopped and groaned.

"No like slime and stuff, Pol threw an absolute fit"

"I can imagine"

Erin tried to picture Hermes all little with slime dripping out of his ears, it was funny, so he laughed. Cupid sniggered too, then flopped a hand out and caught Erin across the chest.

"Don't make me laugh I'll puke" Erin laughed some more.

"Erin I mean it"

"Did he float, like those slime balls in Tartarus?" Cupid snorted through his nose.

"All bloated and dripping" Erin did an impression. Cupid snorted so hard he nearly made a mess. Then groaned and hit him again instead.

"Erin!"

"Bouncing off the ceiling and then drifting off along the hallways"

"Erin!"

"Did Pol have to prick him with a pin so he'd deflate?" Cupid pulled a wing over his head and sniggered into it.

"Erin, do you want to see me puke" Erin lifted the wing.

"Only if it's very decorative" Cupid pulled his wing back down but it was shaking in a familiar enough manner.

"I can see you laughing you know" the wing peeled back and Cupid glared at him.

"Have some respect for the dying" Erin sighed.

"You can't die moron you're a God, well a weenie one anyway"

"I'm not a weenie!" Cupid pulled himself to a sit, then groaned and glared at his stomach. It wasn't Cupid's stomach that was his problem it was his eyes and mouth. Erin glanced out the window and saw the sun had sunk quite a ways.

"I gotta go" Erin held a hand out and heaved Cupid to his feet.

"Sucks much, at least Aunt Hes makes great chocolate dip, if Mom found out we ate that stuff before bed she'd throw one." Erin's stomach gave a very appreciative rumble.

"Save me some?" Cupid grinned.

"I'll stash it in the bookcase" Cupid gave the window a look too.

"Wow, it's late, I thought your Mom wanted you home earlier?"

"So I'll be late, she never has anything to say to me anymore anyways" Erin shuffled, then they hugged awkwardly.

"Tomorrow we'll take out Cecillee" Erin grinned at him, flashing more teeth than most people thought he owned.

"I'll be there"

---

The first thing Cupid saw when he woke up was his Mom, cos she was shaking him.

"Cupid honey, come on, up" for a minute he was panicking.

"What? What is it?" His Mom didn't answer him, she simply handed him a pair of pants.

"Get dressed Cupid" now he was scared, he'd never got dressed so fast in his life. Mom led him out of his bedroom doors and he was surprised to see his Dad pacing in the main room.

"Dad?" ok he knew he was ten and everything but he could still feel his eyes blurring. Dad looked mad, really mad. Mom was all flat looking but he could feel lots of swirling stuff underneath.

"What's happening?" and he wasn't even ashamed of his croaky barely there voice.

"What's going on?" His Dad surprised him by stooping and ruffling his hair, which made him feel horrible.

"Mom? Dad?" They didn't even flash, they led him out of the temple doors like he was going to jail or something. If it was really serious they'd take him To Granny Hera and Zeus. He felt sick, horribly sick. Maybe his parents felt it too because they were heading for Apollo's temple.

Then he felt even worse.

"Oh no" he whispered

"Oh please no"



Title: Childhood 21: Love 101
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-15 (swearing)
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: Some people may find this disturbing, though I haven't described anything.
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes,
Summary: Cupid is taken into Apollo's temple.

"Mom?" His Dad smacked the temple doors hard and they swung open. Apollo and Asclepius were there, like they'd been waiting.
"Apollo" and he wasn't smiling at all.
"He's not good"
"Who?" Cupid snapped because he was tired and scared and he'd had enough. He already knew though, oh he could tell by his Mom's face he already knew.
"It's Erin isn't it, It's Erin!" his Mom was nodding.

"What's happening Pol?" Ares said quietly. Apollo gave him an angry look, then it disappeared and he just looked tired and not quite so shiny.
"He's a mess Ares" he sent Cupid a very quick glance.
"The Incident has just shut down everything"

Asclepius was trembling, he opened his mouth, then closed it, cleared his throat. He blinked quickly but couldn't stop his eyes from watering.
"Oh Gods" Apollo put his arm around his sons waist. He leant down and whispered something in his son's ear, Asclepius nodded. Then he looked up again
"Erin's divinity can't cope, it's leeching through his physical body" Asclepius face was white.

Cupid couldn't stop shaking next to his Dad, Apollo was just making this sound more and more horrible. His Dad's arm tightened round his shoulders and he was clenching his teeth hard, Cupid could feel the tension.
"What does the Tartarus does that mean?" Apollo swallowed.
"It's like a giant backlash, Erin's body is trying to heal but it can't cope so we're helping him."

"Why did this happen?" it wasn't a question.
"His Godhoods twisting, it's trying to change." His Mom made a horrible groaning noise, which made something behind his eyes go fuzzy. His dad clenched his shoulder hard and swore.
"I want to see him!" and no one said no to his Dad when he talked in that voice. It took Cupid a long second to realise Apollo was looking at him.

"Dad!" because he wouldn't be left out here, not when really bad things were happening to Erin.
"I wanna see him too" Apollo was shaking his head, really shaking it in a bad way.
"Ares he doesn't want to see him" Apollo said softly.

"Apollo that's my son now open the doors" Apollo winced then nodded, Asclepius went ahead of him, shoes not making any sound on the marble. Cupid felt silly because his boots made flop flop noises.

The room was empty apart from the main bed, Asclepius old bed, but the God of Medicine had moved to stand in front of it. Dad's hand was rolling on his shoulder and Cupid could hear the creak of leather but it was a bad noise, like sound was going to snap and float away and they'd be left in silence.

Asclepius moved to one side, showed them. His Mom made an awful noise and grabbed his Dad, who went very white and very still.
"Tartarus" Ares whispered, then his Dad pulled his Mom to one side and made her sit in a chair.

Cupid frowned, looked at the bed, went a little closer, peered down. Asclepius hovered by his shoulder like he was waiting to catch him, which seemed really strange.
"That's not Erin" and it wasn't because he was really close, closer than he wanted to be, chest so tight he couldn't even try and breath, stomach shrinking away into nothing.

"That's not Erin" his Mom was crying and she never cried. Someone had to have made a mistake. They'd tell his Mom any minute and she'd stop crying. "Mom that's not Erin right?" because it wasn't, it couldn't be.

"That's not Erin" but this time it was just a whisper and his eyes were playing tricks on him, and he didn't like what he saw.
"Oh" and everyone was quiet and Cupid wasn't sure he wanted to look any more but he did anyway. Even though his stomach didn't like looking and his forehead had gone all damp and cold.

Cupid lifted his arm, he wanted to hold Erin's hand, just in case he needed it. He couldn't see...couldn't find..he let his hand drop and stared instead. He was about to think of something else to do, when a voice made crawling things go up his arms.

"Apollo, I'm here" Cupid's head crept round on his shoulders and he made a squeaky noise.
"What's she doing here!?" thank Zeus, oh thank Zeus, his dad would make her go away, his Dad would make her go away.

Mania stepped through the threshold and Cupid didn't want to look at her but she was right there, looking wrong and unfinished.
"Ares" Apollo warned, but it was said quietly, he said something else and Cupid didn't understand at all, but it made his father swear and turn his back. Then Cupid was alone facing her and he wouldn't lie, she scared him, and she was smiling a funny little smile which was all wrong.

"No go away, you can't have him, you can't!" the Goddess stepped closer. Someone laid a hand on Cupid's shoulder and he struggled out from under it. Asclepius wound his arm all the way around him.
"Cupid, Cupid listen to me, she's going to help Apollo"
"No" he tried to pull away to go to his Mom, his Dad, anyone, get them to help him.

"Cupid 'listen' Erin's very mixed up and she's the only one who can help, she won't hurt him." Cupid wrenched away.
"Dad, tell him Dad" and his Dad was there, scooping him up and crushing him against his chest really hard and now he couldn't see because he was crying in front of everyone, all he could do was yell into warm leather.
"Dad, help him!" but his Dad didn't say anything at all.

---

"Oh Zeus" Aphrodite fell into a chair, hands clawing at each other. She was white, eyes dark, her mouth a slack line. Ares laid his hands on her shoulders, fighting the urge to crush her between his fingers. Aphrodite's softness helped, her shock ran the rest of the way.
"Gods Ares, Asclepius came to me, he came checking up on the children and I didn't see it, I didn't see a thing. No, shit that's a lie, I knew something was wrong, I knew and I did nothing." Ares smoothed his hands over her shoulders.

"He's practically a baby Ares, he's practically a baby. How could anyone-how could anything do that to a child" Ares made a growly noise in his throat and backed up a step.
"Dite, I can't stay here, I have to go" and he was amazed that came out sounding half way sane.
"Go Ares" and he exhaled sharply and vanished.

--- Asclepius was aware his dad watched him as he chose potions and then tossed them aside.
"Ace you're doing just fine" his Dad offered quietly. Asclepius shook his head violently, then spared a glance at the bed.
"I didn't say anything" and it came out hissy. His Dad moved closer and he couldn't take it anymore, people looking at him like he was helping.

"I didn't say anything" Asclepius screamed, whirling.
"I didn't say a thing, I was right there Dad, I was right there and I didn't say a thing." His Dad wrapped an arm around him and Asclepius made a horrified noise.
"I thought I was being careful, I thought I was being diplomatic for Zeus' sake. What the hell have I done!" Apollo crushed him even closer, didn't pull away when Asclepius struggled, streaming nose pressed to the fabric at his shoulder.

"I fucked up Dad, I really fucked up," and he couldn't talk anymore because it felt like he wanted to be sick. There was a hand stroking through his hair and he burst into tears because his Dad hadn't done that in such a long time. He had to say everything, he had to explain.
"I did everything wrong and I could have stopped it, I could have stopped it!"

---

Aphrodite stared at the space where Ares had been standing. Zeus she pitied anyone who came across him today. She folded her hands again and breathed softly, concentrating on that and not the shape on the bed. Her second baby and no one had been there when he needed someone the most.
"Oh Zeus, Apollo you better be the best you've ever been or I'll skin you alive and let the harpies have you." Oh God she couldn't breath, she gave a funny little laugh and remembered she didn't need to. Oh Erin you little fool, why didn't you say anything-

Cupid was staring at her and he looked terrible, maybe even worse than Ares. 'You adore him don't you honey.' She reached a hand up to pull him down but he tensed, made a soft desperate noise.

"He didn't want to tell but I made him promise, I made him promise if Aunt Eris hurt him again he'd tell" Aphrodite shut her eyes.
"Oh Zeus" she said very quietly.
"Mom I made him promise but I didn't promise. I could have told, I could have. He thought it would get him in trouble." Aphrodite felt her chest contract and there was no way in Tartarus she could stop the sob from rising. Cupid was crying too

"I'm sorry Mom, I didn't tell and I thought everything would be ok and now it's not and it's all my fault Mom, it's all my fault." His voice turned into a horrible wet squeak and Aphrodite grabbed him and squeezed him as tight as she could, folding his wings and petting his hair.
"It's not your fault honey, it's not your fault"
"It is!"
"No it's not" she rocked him like he was very small again, wished briefly that there was someone there to rock her.

---

Eris stopped in the middle of the room and tapped her foot. Where the hell was he, she'd left him right there making a mess all over the Turkish carpet. If he'd gone off somewhere damn him to Tartarus. Either that or he'd run off with Cupid. Love and War's gawky little spawn. She gave a small growl of utter annoyance. "I am utterly fed up of arranging my schedule around you Strife." She couldn't be bothered with him now, she was far too busy. Busy, busy, busy, he'd turn up somewhere, the little bastard always did.



Title: Childhood 22: Retribution
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-15 (swearing/angry people)
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: Swearing, and everyone being generally pesky.
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes,
Summary: Cupid talks to Erin, then Eris is found and it begins.

Cupid sat on the end of the bed, watched Asclepius wander off through the doors.
"I brought you something" Cupid pulled the bird out of his waistband.
"It's a bit crushed, it's supposed to be a bird" Cupid tried to straighten it out.
"It's made of paper." Cupid looked up but Erin hadn't moved.
"I'll put it over here" Cupid set it on the table, it actually stood up.
"Asclepius says you'll wake up soon, you've been asleep ages" Cupid turned his head a little, looked at Erin.

"Mom reckons you should sleep for a bit longer though, fix yourself up a bit more" Cupid wouldn't want to be awake and walking around if he looked like Erin. He wouldn't look away though because he was damn sure Erin would look at him.

"Mom's coming by later, I think she's got something for you. She wouldn't tell me what it was which means it's probably neat and I'm gonna be totally jealous. Loads of people have been by but mostly Asclepius won't let them in. The only one who got in was Hestia, she just walked straight past him, she brought you stuff too. I've eaten one of the cakes but I figured you wouldn't mind."

Cupid looked at the table, where the bird still sat crookedly. Then he looked back at the bed.

"Mom's really worried about you, and Dad, though Dad's too mad to come see you yet, not at you, you know that right. He just..." Cupid couldn't talk about Eris at all, he didn't even want to think about what she'd done. He knew everyone was looking for her, even Zeus was throwing one.

Cupid didn't know what he'd do if Eris came in here right now.

"Asclepius has been giving you some fizzy purple stuff which looks really suspect" Cupid laughed quietly.
"Though you haven't started floating yet" Cupid stopped then because talking about stuff like this was stupid.
"I miss you"
He stared at the sheets instead.

---

Eris yanked her armour off and dumped it in a bloody heap, let the rats have it. Gods knew one victory didn't constitute a war won but this was a long one dammit and she didn't even have the energy to pat herself on the back. Neither was she that stupid. She changed her outfit and slumped on the throne.
"Strife!"

"He's not here" Eris flew to her feet and drew her sword.
"What the fuck are you doing in my temple!?" Hermes stepped away from the wall.
"Waiting for you" Eris raised an eyebrow, gave him a disgusted once over.
"What could I possibly want with you?" Hermes unrolled a scroll.

"Discord you are hereby ordered before a council of twelve to answer the charges brought against you. One, attempted murder of another God. Two, using you Godhood offensively against a minor God with intent to harm. Three abscondment when requested in person" Discord hissed through her teeth.

"You must be kidding" Hermes produced a set of chains. Discord laughed and raised the sword. She barely registered movement until the sword was pressed against her throat. Hermes had a new expression on his face.
"I have children too Discord, just give me a reason."

---

She's in the inner temple, Hermes brought her there an hour ago. Aphrodite twisted her hands together.
"I can't go in there Ares, if you make me go in there I'll kill her" Ares gave his sister a long look.
"If War can restrain itself then Love can as well" Aphrodite shook her head violently.
"I didn't see any restraint from her" Ares grabbed a slender arm.
"If you start on her you'll be up before Zeus too" Aphrodite wrenched her arm free on a snarl.
"Don't you dare protect her Ares!" She backed up a step.

"Don't even try to protect her after what she did" Ares lunged, snatched up both arms and pulled Aphrodite off her feet.
"Did you see Aphrodite, did you actually see what she did, because I did, because I'm the one that was sent like a fucking dog to the Halls of Time." He dropped her abruptly.
"I saw what she did Dite and I'm so far from protecting her right now, that I need you in there!"

---

She wasn't even chained, she was pacing like an animal back and forth across the room. Aphrodite let her hip rest against the wall. If she leant on the wall she could watch herself, she could stay there letting the cold stone seep through the fabric of her skirt and know that she wasn't killing Eris just yet. Gods had instincts too, she had the cold dark feeling that if Ares wasn't here Eris would already be flayed and hanging from the wall.

Ares took the chance, he stepped in front of her, his twin stopped pacing.
"Do you even know what you've done Eris?" and Aphrodite could never have made her voice that calm, because if she even opened her mouth she knew she'd be screaming.

"Let me guess, Strife went running to his Uncle and told how Mom slapped him around once too often."

"'Erin' won't be talking for a while?" Ares said very quietly in that same calm voice. Eris shrugged
"He'll pull himself together, he always does" Ares stood absolutely still and Aphrodite saw a hairline crack appear in Ares careful mask. Aphrodite realised quite suddenly that Ares was one threat away from lunging forward and snapping his own sister in half.
"He's not regenerating Eris" Eris raised an eyebrow, shrugged.
"Well then I guess he just wasn't strong enough"

War couldn't, if War lost it in this room then only two would walk out. Love though, was another matter entirely.

Aphrodite lashed out at that smug grinning face, Eris went through the wall, crunched onto the bricks on the other side spitting blood. Ares didn't move, wouldn't move. Aphrodite was literally shaking with rage.
"Your own son Eris, your own son" Eris folded her feet under her. Aphrodite put a small shoe on her chest and forced her back into the rubble.

Eris eyes narrowed, hand settling on a brick.
"Try it" Aphrodite said softly, and she'd never wanted someone to attack her more.
"See how far you get" Eris eyes flickered to Ares, Aphrodite set her mouth in a tight line.

"Ares?"
"Yes Aphrodite"
"You promised me Ares, you promised me a hundred years ago that no one would hurt me and get away with it." Ares nodded, she could see him even though she wasn't looking.
"Yes I did" Aphrodite took a deep breath, swallowing a lump that she didn't know whether was rage or grief.
"I want to see her dragged out of here Ares, I want to see her dragged all the way to Zeus."

---

The Great Hall hadn't seen this much action since the Titans were overthrown. Apollo had to shove five minor Gods out of the way before he got to his seat. It had been ludicrous trying to make it a council of twelve because anyone who had an ounce of divinity in their soul was present and none of them was happy.

His two eldest sons were already talking close together by the doors. Surprisingly it was Asclepius who appeared to be calming his elder brother down and judging by the frantic hand motions, which he could barely follow, Hermes was pissed. The argument apparently could wait, because the great doors were opening.

---

Oh this was delightful, utterly delightful. Mania concentrated very hard because otherwise she feared she'd be distracted away from it, by the voices or the colours or the itchy pain where her nails were gradually sliding against her palm. Ares with a fist twisted into his twins collar, twisted tightly tight. Pulling her along like a sack of flour across the shiny shiny floor. A shiny shiny patch of red here and there where her lip bled and pressed and offered it's little gifts to the marble.

The mother, destroyer of movement and motion. Despiser of the spiral of chaos that was another living extension of herself. The boy with the twisty colourful life drawn in spots of red and black. The woman slidy slide, across the floor.

She wasn't a happy Discord, not happy at all. A monkey with no toys, spitting and struggling and sliding like snakes in a basket. Discord with no toys left, all gone, streaking brightly towards retribution and judgement. The voices liked it too, they urged her to applaud, so she did.

---

Phonos slid his eyes around the room, because rage and murder often went hand in hand, and Zeus this was a feast. Ares had dropped her below Zeus throne. Just dropped her smack on the marble. You could hear the 'thwack' when her head hit. Crude but effective in a crowd. Dite didn't look happy at all and Phonos purred at the way her lip curled just so.

If Bia had been above ground they'd have to chain him to a wall. You could taste the violence in this room. When you wronged Murder there was a certain price to pay, but since it was for a child he would be satisfied with a little blood and a lot of screaming.

---

She was snarling in a humiliated indignant way. Trying to get up and there was no way Ares was going to let her. Artemis had to give Ares points for his calm. She wasn't dredging up an ounce of sympathy for Discord, if anyone had done that to Apollo she would have hunted them to the ends of the earth.

She deserved everything she got, Discord had tried to murder her own child. She reached a hand over, gripped her brothers. He gave her an odd touched look and squeezed back.

---

Oh now Discord was protesting her ignorance, never a good idea to yell at Zeus. Ouch that had to hurt and Hermes didn't see anyone rushing forward to help her off of her face. Now Hera was on her feet and if you were smart you just shut up and took what was coming to you.

Discord never did know when to keep her mouth shut and Hermes had never seen Hera look at someone with that much contempt. It went through the crowds like instinct, punishment wasn't going to come in the form of a decree from Zeus. It was going to come straight from Hera herself.

Hera had never held back in her life and she wouldn't start now. This wasn't a room that wanted words and sentences, admissions of guilt and eloquent words. They wanted their queen to pass judgement, because she could and because she would.

---

Hera stepped forward, she looked at Zeus and he looked back.
//I want her Zeus, you don't give me much, give me this// Zeus considered Eris, panting like a snared rabbit on the steps. Zeus sat back in his throne and without a word gave his wife rule.

What to do with a Goddess of her power that would shred a child without thought. Hera didn't know, killing Eris was out of the question, and she wasn't sure rendering her mortal was wise. There were none here that would protect her. Then Hera knew, she knew without question.

"Give me your hand!" Eris regarded her with suspiscion and disgust. Hera merely bent and wrenched Eris upwards by a wrist.

"You think to teach another how to suffer Discord, you think to teach a child pain and misery." Hera smiled a tiny tight smile.
"You made a family into a tragedy, so now I make a tragedy into a family." Discord tried to tug at her wrist. Hera wrenched her closer.
"Tommorrow you marry, I hope you have something nice to wear." Discord's face curled in confusion.

"Who? Oh that's easy dear, someone you couldn't hurt if you tried. Someone who could teach you all there is to know about pain and what it can do to a child." Discords face went white.
"Oh you've guessed haven't you, Discord and Violence, what a beautiful couple you'll make." Hera had the satisfaction of hearing Discord screaming as she was dragged from the hall.
"Poetic justice" she whispered, only Zeus heard her, yet he nodded, and smiled.



Title: Childhood 23: Hello Again
Author: Corona
Rating: PG
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: Slight reference to injuries.
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes, Childhood
Summary: Erin wakes up.

"So Mom said I could look after Graegus sometimes and if I make sure he doesn't pee on the furniture or anything then maybe she'll let me have a dog. We could take him to see Cerberus and they could chase dead people or something. Well ok I know you like dead people but only the nasty ones then. We could teach him tricks too, like with Cerberus and the biscuits. Man I still can't believe Hades taught him tricks." Cupid folded some legs into his giraffe.
"Where was I?"
//Tricks//

"Shit" Cupid squished the giraffe and rolled over. A single blue eyes was open and peering at him.

"Erin!" Cupid didn't want to hug him in case it hurt so he settled for grabbing a thin hand.

"Erin, Erin, you're awake" Cupid made a whiny noise. Erin's eyebrow lowered slowly.

//Where?// Erin's mental voice was creaky, like a person buried in dust.

"Pol's temple"

Cupid had so much to say it all got lost.
"Hi" Erin grinned, then winced and a thin line of red appeared. Cupid made a noise and wiped it away.

"I knew you'd wake up, you just had to work out where everything went." Erin raised his eyebrow again.

//What...happened?// Cupid flicked a glance at his crumpled giraffe.
//You don't remember?// Erin wet his lips carefully.
//Mom// Cupid couldn't even nod, it hadn't been a question anyway.

"Oh Gods I have to get Asclepius, I have to get someone, cos they told me, they told me to get someone" he squeezed Erin's fingers.

//Cupid//

"What, you want something, I can get you something, I'll Zoom right away." the corner of Erin's mouth went up carefully. Cupid stopped talking and rolled his eyes. Babble me incoherent.

"Sorry, but really I gotta get Asclepius, cos he's been waiting for ages, everyone's been waiting ages!" Erin's eyes flickered. Cupid frowned at the jumble that came through his head.

"Gods Erin no one's mad, no one's gonna yell at you. Look I'll stay and if anyone yells at you I'll kick them, Kay?"

//Kay// Cupid concentrated.

//Asclepius, he's awake, he's awake right now so you better get down here//

Asclepius appeared right next to the bed and Cupid made a point of grabbing his sleeve and pointing ferociously.

"See he's awake, I told you he was awake." Then Asclepius was grinning at Erin and it was cool because adults just weren't normally allowed to grin like that.

"Hello Erin it's good to see you again" Erin smiled lopsidedly and his hand twitched, muscles in his neck tensing. Asclepius put a hand on his shoulder gently.

"No don't try that for minute Erin, You've been asleep a long time." Erin tilted an eyebrow again, flicked his eyes across to Cupid.

"Two months" Erin's eyes went a bit wider, then his mouth twitched again.

//I'm...eleven// Cupid grinned.

"Yep, you totally missed your birthday, which means of course I don't have to get you anything." Asclepius shook his head and laid a hand on Erin's forehead.

//Weenie// Cupid pulled a face, 'Oh Zeus' he'd missed him.

//Heard...that// Cupid scowled. Erin smirked,

//Weenie//

"Dizzy?" Asclepius asked.

//No//

"Cold?"

//No//

"In pain?" the pause was longer.

//No// Asclepius ruffled Erin's hair with a thumb.

"You're allowed to be you know, you have to tell me so I can help" Erin sent a very brief glance at Cupid, then peered up at Asclepius.

//Yes// Cupid now had an excuse to glare at Asclepius even though it wasn't exactly fair.

"Good boy, that helps me a lot, thank you"

Asclepius pulled the sheet down a little way and folded it at Erin's navel. Cupid fought down a little disturbed noise, focused on Erin's face instead. He was trying to take a sneaky look at himself but couldn't move enough. Asclepius put a hand on Erin's chest and pressed with his fingers.

"Do these hurt?" Erin winced his reply. Asclepius made his 'Hmm' noise and lifted a thin arm, poked it, twisted it around. Erin watched him curiously but didn't yell or anything.

Then Asclepius was peering into his eyes and Cupid would remember to ask one day just why he did that and what he expected to find floating around on someone's eyeball. Asclepius was smiling again so everything had to be ok.

"Well I'd say that pretty much clears it up. You're as divine as they come your body's just taking a little longer to catch up that's all, you're still incredibly young for a God you know." Asclepius flipped the sheet back up.

"Well I know have the great honour of telling Ares and Aphrodite that their most favourite nephew is blinking into the light, if you'll excuse me." Asclepius ruffled Cupid's hair, then flashed away.

"Mom and Dad are gonna flip" Erin squinted down the bed.

//Stuck// Cupid had a moment of utter incomprehension.

"Huh?" Erin looked more confused than worried.

//Can't...move// Cupid let out a long breath.

"Oh that was something Asclepius did, to make sure you couldn't move around much and..." oh he wasn't actually going to say it because it was gross.

//Crack// and Erin was actually sniggering softly in his head. Cupid didn't think it was very funny but Erin seemed to think it was hilarious.

Cupid folded his legs on the bed, let his wings hang down over the edge.

"You scared the hell out of me" Cupid said quietly and his wings made the little jerky movements they made when he got upset.

"It was the middle of the night and Mom just got me up and didn't say a word. I thought you were dead or something." Erin's neck muscles tensed again and then he scowled slowly and relaxed.

//Pretend...I...hugged...you...kay?// Cupid laughed and wiped his nose.

"Ok"

---

Erin lay looking at the ceiling, watching the shadows wibble back and forth. The view pretty much sucked but his head didn't work right just yet and something grated every time he tried to move. Which was gross as well as really painful so he wasn't trying it again.

Pretty much everyone had come to see him, which scared the Tartarus out of him at first but no one had yelled at him so Cupid hadn't needed to kick anyone.

They weren't mad at him at all, well Uncle Ares was mad but he was always like that, and not necessarily at a person either. Aunt Dite had squished him practically to bits until Cupid had made her stop. Ok it had hurt but it had been really nice. Hestia brought more cakes even though he wasn't allowed to eat anything.

Asclepius had explained the purple stuff had smidges of Ambrosia in it and he was technically eating through his skin, which sounded kinda wild and utterly gross, he loved the idea of that and he was gonna definitely have to tell Cupid tomorrow.

No one had mentioned Mom at all and he didn't want to spaz anyone out by asking. He hoped she was ok, people got mad at her all the time but she was always ok. He'd have to remember to explain that it hadn't been her fault, his body had just choked up that one time and forgotten how to fix itself. Mom just didn't notice cos she didn't notice anything when she got like that, didn't notice anything at all.



Title: Childhood 24: New Beginnings
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-13
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: None
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes, part of the Childhood series.
Summary: Erin is convinced he's better, and he tries to convince everyone else, Ares has a surprise.

"Are you gonna help or not?" Cupid thumped his head against the wall.
"Asclepius is gonna skin me if I do." Erin was scowling at him and he could do it really well now. He reached a hand out and it was so thin and scary still.
"Erin, I'm serious, what if I drop you and you crack into a billion pieces" Erin sighed and it sounded creaky.
"You won't drop me, Cupid please, if I lay here much longer they're going to bury me by mistake."

Cupid really didn't want to do this, it was going down in a small book of bad ideas. He knew he would though, he knew he would.
"Oh Zeus" he leant down and wrapped an arm around Erin's shoulders.
"Gods you're thin"
"I told you I'm shrinking away." Cupid was doubly frightened because Erin didn't weigh half as much as he should.

"Oh shit" Cupid offered.
"I have complete trust in you."
"Oh shit" Erin giggled in his head and very carefully Cupid lifted him off the edge of the bed.
"I can stand up Cupe"
"No you can't"
"Cupid!
"I'm not putting you on your feet" Cupid leant against the bed and held Erin half slumped against his side. Erin was still laughing in his head.

"Gods we must look a sight" Cupid didn't move for a minute. "Where are we going again?" Erin smirked up at him.
"Anywhere"
"Ok" Cupid pushed off from the edge of the bed and wandered slowly across the inner temple. He'd be glad when he was as strong as his Dad. Erin wasn't heavy, just long and bony.

"Window" "Erin!"
"I know, I know I'm kidding" Cupid scowled down at his best friend.
"This is such a bad idea" Erin dug sharp fingers into Cupid's shoulder.
"No it's not, I swear I won't fall apart and get you in trouble" Cupid shifted his grip.
"Really not helping Erin"

Cupid made it to the window without falling over anything and let Erin slide down onto one of the chairs. Erin tried to lean on a hand, whined and leant against the wall instead.

Cupid flopped down in front of him.
"I'm gonna be in so much trouble if anyone comes in" Erin peered at him through his hair.
"No problem I'll just tell em' I fell out of bed." Cupid turned his head, snorted.
"And then rolled all the way over here and fell up onto the chair."
"Stranger things have happened."
"No they haven't" Erin made an 'Aha' face.

"What about that guy in Thrace that was eaten by a cow." Now that was worthy of looking at him like an idiot.
"That wasn't a cow it was a bull and it didn't eat him it just gored him, then dragged him around." Erin raised an interested eyebrow.
"Bet he was a mess." Cupid snorted.
"Bet he had to wander round Tartarus for ages trying to put himself back together again.

"That's truly horrible, if you weren't so creaky I'd hit you with this cushion,"
"You can owe me one, so what are you gonna call your dog?" Cupid pulled a face.
"Oh I don't know"
"You're hopeless you know that, you've had months!" Erin giggled at him.
"Oh this from someone who's only two pets have been named Worm and Bird." Erin scowled and his hand twitched.
"If I could lift it I'd hit you with a pillow" Cupid rolled his eyes, then grinned.
"I could do it myself would that help?"
"Nah I'd just feel cheated." That was when Cupid made a squeaky noise.
"Can I hear footsteps?" Erin said slowly.
"Shit!"
"You know I may have been a bad influence on you" Cupid was too busy getting up and shoving his chair back.

"Ok, God Erin put your arm up"
"I haven't finished looking out the window"
"Erin!" Erin giggled and raised an arm. Cupid carefully gripped him and then turned.
"Whoah, not so fast, Oh Tartarus spinning" Cupid padded over to the bed and twisted a hand far enough to flip the sheet back and flop Erin down.
"Sorry" Erin groaned quietly.
"No problem" Cupid flung the sheet up, then pulled it down off of Erin's face.
"Good idea Cupe, wouldn't want him to think I was dead."
"Oh will you shut up!"

The doors swung open.

Asclepius had that look on his face that all adults got when they knew they were missing the joke.
"What have you two been up to?" Cupid flicked a glance to see how innocent Erin was looking. He was giving Asclepius a serene little smile.
"Nothing" Asclepius rolled his eyes, then peered down at Erin.

"Well how are you feeling this afternoon"
"I'm fine, I'm good, can I get outta here yet." Asclepius raised an eyebrow.
"Fine eh?" Erin offered a jittery lopsided nod.
"Move your hand" Erin sighed through his nose and lifted his hand, poked Asclepius in the chest with a finger. Asclepius grinned at him.
"That was perfect, do it again if you like" Erin gave him a grin and poked him again.

Asclepius shook his head, then laid a hand on Erin's forehead.
"He does this a lot" Erin mock whispered. Cupid laughed, then tried to smother it when Asclepius eye cracked open. He moved his hand though.

"Well I don't see any reason for you not to be out of here in a few weeks." Erin gave a loud unhappy groan.
"Cupid tell him to let me out I'm fine, or at least get new walls, I've counted every single crack and yesterday I watched a snail crawl all the way across the room." Cupid raised an eyebrow.
"That must have been intense"
"Oh shut up, you come lay here for hours at a time and see how long it takes before your sanity melts away under the influence of magnolia." Cupid couldn't stop grinning. Oh this was definitely Erin getting better.

Asclepius shook his head and muttered something about children being impossible, then lifted the tray off of the table and carried it away.

"I'll see if I can mock up some shadow puppets" Erin scowled.
"Pretend I hit you again." Cupid laughed.
"I have to leave you in abject misery, if I'm late they'll be moss on my plate, and Mom will bitch" Erin lifted a hand far enough to grab a stray handful of feathers.
"What I wouldn't give for a plate of moss, can you save me some" Cupid very carefully tugged his feathers free.
"You'll be fine" but he couldn't help laughing,
"Until then I get to be miserable" Erin looked up, face relaxing into something more serious.
"You are coming back right?"
"Of course I'll be back you idiot" Cupid hugged him until he made squeaky noises, he let go more carefully, then he flashed out.
"Show off!"

---

Someone had sat him up, Ares noticed when he peered round the door. Probably Asclepius, considering how stiff he looked, he was almost certain his son would have left him sprawled like an Emperor. He also noticed someone had turned the bed round until Erin faced the window. He stepped through, making his presence known.

"Hello you" Erin flopped his head sideways and grinned.
"Hi Uncle Ares" Ares strode in, Asclepius was nowhere to be found, good that would help.

Ares lifted a hand, brushed it through Erin's hair. Erin sighed quietly.
"So Asclepius said you can start walking around soon." Erin nodded slowly. "On your own as opposed to getting my son to help." Erin looked up at him sheepishly.
"We just had a quick wander around when no one was looking, well he did anyway."
"That's why they call it adult supervision y'know, so we can supervise" Erin rolled his head back and forth.
"It's no fun when you're looking" Ares grinned. He sucked a breath, then let it out in a chuckle.

"I have a room prepared for you, since you'll be living with me now. I hope you'll like it, it faces the sea." Erin's eyes went wide, mouth opening on a soft breathless noise.
"Wha?"
"I've had Cupid move your stuff over already but I expect you'll want to rearrange it about fifty times again anyway." Erin swallowed very hard but Ares kept his voice steady.

"You can look after Graegus when I'm not there, he has a nasty habit of chewing through the furniture to spite me for being away." Erin was still staring and Ares wanted to tell him everything, wanted to tell him why he wouldn't be going home. Because his Mother was married to someone who terrified her and she couldn't see him again until he was a full God.

Ares cleared his throat, Erin looked utterly spellbound, throat contracting then releasing. This wasn't the moment, because Erin was still a child, maybe for the last time but he was still a child. "Well, I'll see you at our temple when Ace lets you out." Ares bent, kissed the top of Erin's head and then strode out through the doors.



Title: Childhood 25: Old Habits
Author: Corona
Rating: PG
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: None
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody here. I never have done and I never will. I'm borrowing all of them for this story, I'll give them straight back afterwards.
Series: Yes, the very lastest part of the Childhood series.
Summary: Erin goes home.

Erin didn't know what came next, he sat down carefully on his new bed, which belonged to him now. Everything in this room belonged to him. He tried to let that sink in but it wasn't working. He pushed the bag further onto the bed and limped over to the window. Ares hadn't lied, you could see the sea from here, as far as divine vision could go. You could even step out onto the balcony and see down until the sheep were the size of dust mites.

It had curtains, well it was big enough to have curtains and they were big soft huge grey things which smelt like new clothes. Facing the window it could have been someone else's room all together. He turned around and leant against the sill. Worm was perched on an oak table shoved against the far wall, hiding under a leaf at the bottom of his jar. His chair sat by the table.

It wasn't technically a chair now so much as a sculpture. It had been fixed so many times with bits of string, sticks, glue and sometimes even wadded paper that it no longer even looked like a chair. It looked like something primitive people may have worshipped as a God. He hadn't sat in it for more than two years, unlikely it would survive it. It was his chair though, and he'd had it for as long as he could remember.

Now it was here, in Ares temple, with him, Worm, his chest and two dozen pieces of clothing which he'd never been able to conjure up quite right. Putting all his stuff in this room was the weirdest most uncomfortable thing he'd ever done. Everything looked temporary.
'You won't be staying long' the curtains said as they swished back and forth, and the bottle green rug was sniggering at him. Even the bed looked menacing now with his bag on it. This was his Uncle's temple, everything about it screamed Ares.

His Mom's temple was empty now of course, he stared at the wall briefly. He couldn't live there on his own because he wasn't old enough. He wouldn't have minded though, he wouldn't have minded if Ares had wanted him to stay there. His Mom was ok though, Aunt Dite had promised that she was ok. Even though she was married which must have really made her mad.

Erin didn't even want to think about who she was married to because he scared the crap out of him. Erin didn't know how anyone could be ok and be scared at the same time but people were checking up and they said she was ok. That was all Aphrodite had been prepared to say and she got upset when he asked anymore so he hadn't.

'Oh Zeus' what if he screwed up, where the hell would they send him then. He didn't know where homeless godlings got sent.

Very carefully he stood up and limped back to the bed, sat down and sighed when his hip didn't make it's favourite creaking noise. Something white obscured his vision for a second.

"Hi, I come bearing-" Cupid stopped and looked around.
"Whoah he changed the colours again, or did you do it!" Cupid spun around. Erin shook his head vaguely.
"This is an entire extra room you know, it wasn't a closet job where stuff gets cleared out, Dad whacked another couple of rooms on his temple." Cupid sat on the bed, bounced.
"This is bigger than mine, right that's it I'm now totally jealous." Cupid hopped up, shoved the curtains aside and leant out of the window.
"And you got a better view, I have to look out of the window at my Mom's temple." Cupid appeared to remember that he was holding something.

"Oh here" he handed over something badly wrapped in purple paper. Erin frowned.
"Open it, open it" Erin grabbed a corner and tugged it free, the paper unravelled. He considered what was inside for a moment.

"I spent ages-oh ok I found it, but it's cool so it still counts." Erin lifted it, it looked like an egg timer only it had liquid in it, well apart from the bottom where a huge pile of green goo sat.
"It's...interesting" Cupid frowned.
"Do you hate it?"
"I have no idea what it is" Cupid didn't look upset, he laughed.
"Turn it up the other way" Erin did, though it was still registering in his brain as a big-whoah. The liquid in the bottom started oozing through the middle in tiny little blobby shapes.

"I found it in my Mom's closet, she said I could have it" Cupid waved.
"If you shake it it goes mad, it works just like an egg timer only when the green stuff's all at the bottom instead." Erin turned it upside down again, watched it ooze.

"It's cool" "Well you didn't have any stuff just laying around and being useless so I thought I'd get you something, Cupid frowned.
"That sounded really bad." Erin chuckled.
"No I like it, it's different." he leant over and set it on the table to ooze by itself.
"My Mom makes the weirdest things" Cupid stood up and spun around.
"Gods you have so much room, or maybe that's just because my rooms full of junk."

Cupid spun around again, then flopped down in the chair, which collapsed in a series of splintering crunches.

"Aaargh" Cupid looked up from the floor with an odd pained look on his face. Erin watched a spar roll across the floor. "Ow" Erin very slowly shook his head. Cupid pulled himself out of the mangled woodwork. A piece of brown string holding a length of wood dangled from a wing, Cupid furiously shook it free.
"Er..Ooops" he went red, looked at the remains of the chair again.
"I'm really, really sorry" Erin blinked at him.

"Umm are you ok, you look kinda funny" Erin made a squeaky noise.
"Erin?" and Cupid's voice was sheer panic, but then Erin burst out laughing loud enough for Cupid to jump. He fell down on the bed, managed a soft 'ow' then carried on laughing until he fell sideways.

"Ok it wasn't quite that funny" Erin made hyena noises into the sheets.
"Erin, you're gonna break something if you don't stop."

Erin didn't sound like he was going to stop anytime soon and he was going very red.
"Erin!" the laughter gradually wheezed away to nothing. Erin snorted one last time into the sheets and tugged himself to a sit.

"Better?" Erin made a wheezy noise, coughed, nodded.
"Sometimes I think you're really weird" Erin looked up.
"Thanks" Cupid rolled his eyes.
"Can we have a me moment now?" Erin smirked, nodded.
"I have splinters in my butt" Erin giggled.
"No really splinters, and a lot of them, I'm suffering here."

"I have a bathroom, it may have tweezers in it, I haven't looked yet?" Erin offered.
"You do not, you total wench!" Cupid flopped off of the bed and yanked open the nearest door. His voice floated out.
"I totally hate you!" Erin grinned and flopped back on the bed.
"No you don't"

---

Ares stopped writing and looked up. Erin was carefully restacking his scrolls in the little alcove where he occasionally remembered to keep them. Then he limped quietly over to the windowsill and picked up the scroll he'd been writing on, the pen, the cup he'd been drinking out of and took them into his room. He appeared a minute later for the cushion he'd been leaning on and the feathers that had come from the cushion and had somehow made their way into the back of the couch.

In fact Erin was carefully removing all evidence that he'd ever been in the room. Ares sat back until the chair creaked, watched Erin pause and turn around. He changed what he'd been about to say.

"Well now my brain has turned into goo I'm starving, you eating with me?" Erin blinked, nodded.
"Good" Ares shoved the scroll off the table and waved some food onto the polished woodwork.

Ares watched Erin quietly limp across to the table, slide in opposite him in utter silence. He tucked his legs under the chair and slid the fork from the table to his hand by rolling it over his fingers. Then Erin very carefully starting pulling food from the rim of his plate to the middle, before spearing it and eating it.

Ares frowned, slid his eyes to the other hand which was holding the plate still. It took a cold second to realise what he was doing. Erin had carefully and concisely made sure that he was not noticeable in any way. He wasn't even breathing. It was what he'd been doing for the last few days, Ares had assumed the quiet neatness was due to being in a new place, it wasn't it was conditioning, and it was the most disturbing thing he'd ever seen.

"Don't eat something if you don't like it, just shove it on the side of the plate or something, or push it onto the table if you like." Erin looked up, nodded.
"Ok" Ares peered at Erin through his hair, then picked up his fork.
"I'll try and remember then" Erin looked up from his fork again.
"How do you like your room?" Ares offered before Erin could look away. The boy nodded slowly.
"It's amazing Uncle Ares, thank you"
"Cupid wanted to paint it green and yellow" Erin's face remained completely neutral.
"But I figured you wouldn't want to live in a room that looked like someone had been sick on the walls." Still no reaction. Ares stared at his plate, then considered something briefly. He let Erin eat the rest of his lunch in silence.

---

Ares snuck a look at Erin, grinned, now this was a sight worth treasuring.

Ares had decided to let the dog in now instead of letting Erin settle first. Graegus had decided he liked having a new, if delicate, playmate and had wiggled under one of the rugs. Since he was excited a large portion of the rug was shaking back and forth. The dog had already smashed three vases, sent a rack of shields crashing to the floor, upended a bowl of fruit and had a very excited accident on the marble.

Graegus worked out the intricacies concerning whether or not he existed since he couldn't see anything and had wiggled out and was now dashing across the temple carrying a small yet very mauled black shoe.

Erin was following the action closely and with a mixture of bewilderment and horror.

"Graegus sit, bad dog, give that back, no I'm not playing tug of war, give me the damn shoe!" Quiet yet authoritative, Erin gave the shoe a careful tug but there was no way he was getting it free. Graegus seemed to realise Erin wasn't quite up to scratch and not having much fun so he reluctantly unhooked his teeth, ran in a circle, then flopped on his back and made 'Whupf' noises.

"Oh now you want to be scratched, what about my shoe, and the room, you're a bad dog!" Graegus whined pitifully, then barked loudly.

Ares put his feet up on the table. Oh this was going to work out just fine.

The End


Update  | Fiction  | Challenge  | Round Robin  | Joint Effort Fiction  | Links  | Gallery  ]

Broken links or other errors can be sent to Carrie. Suggestions are also welcome.